Last Thursday, Steve C hosted a Peninsula Napoleonic "Black Powder" game at his new war-games room.
Steve and Mike took the French and Ian and I had the Spanish, Portuguese and British Allies.
The table is laid and the French in position far side. We both had five infantry brigades complete with a artillery piece and cavalry brigade.
French staff officers take a squint at the approaching enemy
The French are deployed in attack columns and their cavalry concentrated on their left of centre.
A pre-battle parley !
El Murrio, the friendly local bar owner has shown up again
"Why don't you put your guns down and come in for a drink ?"
French artillery try a ranging shot
Spanish & Portuguese cavalry arrive on the Allies left together with a gun and the Commander-in-Chief
A Spanish brigade marches on smartly in column
In the Allied centre, we have brigades comprising two British and one Portuguese battalion
The French cavalry under Mike have recklessly dashed across the battlefield against Ian's Portuguese brigade which has just arrived on our right.
The Spanish have occupied a walled field and pushed skirmishers out front
Here come the French brigades !
Their cavalry get shot up by the Portuguese Cazadores amongst the trees
Disorder occurs as well as casualties and the French cavalry will have to retire
but their appearance has forced the Allies to bring on our British cavalry which were in reserve off-table - Light & Heavy Dragoons.
Time for the French cavalry to get back behind lines and lick their wounds !
Undeterred, the French infantry continue to trudge forward, skirmishers out front
They are quickly in the centre of the battlefield
One battalion is detached to support the right wing attack building against the Spanish
As others gain the high ground dominating the right of centre.
A British & Portuguese brigade are pushed forward to counter this with RA in support
The Spanish infantry take one hit from French artillery, fail their morale test and break !
The rest of the brigade are pulled back for fear that they will all run !
This leaves a big gap in the Allied line and gives the French a leap in morale
The British & Portuguese try to battle on, aware that their left is exposed - apart from the cavalry.
Steve thinks his time has come - advance the brigades to contact !
Suddenly, its looking grim for the Allies as the French columns mass and come on
One British gun has been hit too often and goes to add to our woes.
No day at Goldhanger is complete without a visit to the nearby Chequers pub for lunch - this time accompanied by Mrs C and their son, Richard. A welcome break for the Allies.
But before you know it, we are facing the enemy columns again
and now that Mike has reformed his cavalry, here come the French hussars and dragoons again
We seem to be losing every fire fight against this lot
The French have a firm grip of left, right and centre.
Ian's skirmishers try their level best
and the Royal Artillery too
but to no avail
The Spanish are rooted to their start line so a Portuguese battalion has been detached to hold the walled field
Spanish and French skirmishers clash
and some French have deployed into line now
Wherever we look, we seem to be outnumbered.
One minor victory - the Spanish skirmishers saw off their counterparts !
but we are under pressure all along the line
Our hard pressed left hand British & Portuguese brigade has mounting casualties
and now Mike's cavalry charge the guns
we failed to kill enough of them to prevent contact so the guns are destroyed
and the French cavalry continue their charge into the British cavalry lines
We did manage to get the Heavy Dragoons into the front line which helped
The Portuguese on the left are now disordered
and combined line and skirmish fire has done the same to their adjacent British battalion
The French infantry on their right charge home
We are down to two effective brigades now
and the French have squeezed us back to our start line
although Ian's British cavalry held off this French attack, our infantry morale has dropped to the point we are having to concede
Tell the boys to withdraw.
Needless to say, we will not rely on Spanish Allies next time - their early collapse really cooked our goose. Made it an interesting game though.
Don't fancy being the man to tell Wellesley though !