Friday 10 December 2021

What if: Vimeiro 1808. Battle Report, Part 3

 Turn 4

On the Eastern Ridge the French and British are hotly engaged.

The British are firing for all they are worth as the French press forward where they still can.

Then the French charge home and two of Nightingall's and Furgusson's units are forced to recoil shaken. This combined command is now on the brink of total collapse - it has one divisional morale point left.

....and the French keep on coming, hitting the British with a fresh charge and rout a British unit of infantry. 

Nightinghall and Furgusson's division is shaken, sending three units to the rear (or into the casualty box). Vive l'Empereur!

Wellesley loses five army morale points.

At Vimeiro Hill the fortunes are mixed. 

The now exhausted British light dragoons are finally put to flight by the French dragoons who, in turn, are slaughtered by decisive British volleys, delivered at close range by the 43rd Monmouthshire Light Infantry.

Note: All of the British infantry on the hill are represented by the correct units - my collection hit its mark by absolute fluke.

A French column (pictured), at full strength and its dander up, charges up the slope and into the British line. The British are ready for them and even though the French are rolling D12 Vs D10, the British beat the French by 9 clear pips - the French are broken beyond recall (eliminated).

The British get lucky: They draw a 5:6 domino Vs a 0:0, and get eleven points of initiative without response. They use it to pour volley after volley into the French, nibbling away at their numbers. 

The French immediately respond with a 5:6 Vs 1:1 and get thirteen to two initiative points.

Solignac attempts to rally his troops, all of which are shaken and unable to close with the British because of it. He rolls a natural 1 and is downed, he rolls another 1, indicating his wound is mortal and must be carried from the field.

Things are starting to go very badly for the French. 

The legere moving to flank the second British line on Eastern Ridge are subjected to the most terrible fire as they emerge from the pine wood, fail a morale challenge, and flee back the way they came.

As an act of bravado, more than anything else, the French try to equal things up on Vimeiro Hill with cannon shot. 

They do serious damage to the 50th West Kent. Unfortunately, this French 'division' is so short of morale points it can't spare one for a morale challenge.
However, French efforts are all for naught. The British turn another Infantry Firepower card. 

The last of Charlot's infantry are put to flight by the constant British musketry but, it is Kellerman's grenadiers that take the worst of it (4 UI loss) and are routed.

At Vimeiro Hill, the French are spent.
On the Eastern Ridge, the Frenchmen's last huzzah is to rout the last of Furgusons infantry with two effective if very ragged volleys. 

It is a worthless act, because it is the fresh British line, comprising the battalions of Bowes and Craufurd, that are doing the real killing.
At Vimeiro Hill, the British advance down the slopes to finish off Thomiere and Charlot's brigades.
Up on the ridge, Bowes' men charge, sending Brenier's last legere battalion packing. 

It's done. The French have too little left to carry the battle and are sorely short of divisional morale points. Before the army's retreat can be forced into a rout, the French choose to withdraw. The British have no cavalry with which to pursue so most of the French will be able to march from the field.
This picture of the French strength on the Eastern Ridge is deceptive. All but two units are shaken, and there isn't a single unit that hasn't felt the sting of the relentless British musketry. In contrast, almost all of the British here are fresh.

At Vimeiro Hill, it looks like a retreat might well become a rout, and the last unit of Kellerman's grenadiers, being completely surrounded, looks like it is going to be captured in Vimeiro.

The field at the end of a thoroughly enjoyable solo game. 

At one point, especially on the Ridge, I thought the French might carry it. Unfortunately for them, the British got both initiative and cards at the right time, and in the right order, to stop them in their tracks - the French were simply worn down by relentless volleys of musketry before they could get to grips. 

However, not a single French command group ended the game shaken (though at the end of the game they couldn't amass more than a dozen divisional morale points between them), whilst the brigades of Nightingall and Furgusson were both very roughly handled and did become shaken: They took the brunt of the French attack on the Eastern Ridge: In a campaign game this would be important, of course.

Note: Although Sacre Bleu!, the name I have given the set of rules I'm using, is Piquet-esque, it isn't the same and has several key mechanical differences. It isn't a set of minor house amendments to a set of rules, it's virtually a complete set of house rules in its own right. I might do a post on them at some point. 


sirlancelot said...

Enjoyed this so much. Fantastic layout and great to see the fruits of your long project of painting.

Sgt Steiner said...

Excellent looking game

Ratmaul said...

Really enjoyable battle report!
I played a lot your Fleet of Battle and looking forward to seeing your Sacre Bleu ruleset presented.

David Morfitt said...

Wonderful. Really sets the standard for Peninsular Wargames. I was on tenterhooks, though; would Wellesley's career be finished before it was even really begun? So very glad it wasn't and you got the "right" result! :-)