Thursday 26 March 2020

Battle of Rio Doloroso

Inaugural battle in the new War Room - but solo due to the Lock Down. More Black Powder Peninsular action.  This is an encounter game - neither side was prepared for a fight and brigades were fed in piece meal (on a throw of a 5 or 6 at the beginning of each turn).

The river runs the length of the table, French appear on the left, British the right. To start with, the British have the advantage - three infantry brigades and light cavalry out on both flanks.

but not for long - on comes a big French infantry brigade with divisional artillery and two cavalry brigades

The British C-in-C orders a Portuguese brigade to advance to the bridge

but the French have the same aim and they move quicker

and there are far more of them !

a mixed KGL & Brunswick Brigade head for the woods protected by Hussars out on the right flank 

a French light cavalry brigade now arrives opposite the Hussars

whereas the right flank has the Berg Lancers with horse artillery 

The French C-in-C gets his 12 pounders to deploy centre of the battlefield

The French infantry have got to the bridge but have to change from attack column to cross it

The French cavalry out on their left canter towards the river as their horse artillery set up on a bit of high ground

The two opposing light cavalry brigades clash once the French cross the river

First round to the British Hussars - one enemy regiment is flung back and the Hussars smash into the Chasseurs that were supporting.

So both French regiments find themselves thrown back to the river banks

The Guards Brigade starts to get some attention from the French battery at long range

The French infantry are over the river and four attack columns have waded across

Now the British have a problem

The British cavalry advance once more intent on dispersing the French cavalry from the field

Not to be out done, British Light Dragoons advance on the left flank, cross the river and gain the hill at the confluence of the rivers

Their horse artillery deploys on a hill and gives fire - the Guards are in the background

Three battalions plus Royal Artillery

The Portuguese have changed into line to get maximum firepower on the advancing French columns

Cavalry clash again

The French have broken and flee the field

Masses of French infantry attack the Portuguese

The Berg Lancers are content to sit next to the artillery and see what happens

The attack goes in but the Portuguese have managed to disorder the lead French unit

and they survive the attack - French troops retreat

but more step up

The British C-in-C encourages the Portuguese 

Two disordered French regiments have retreated

The British Light Dragoons now cross the river and threaten the Berg Lancers who are taking fire from the British horse battery 

So far so good, the British lines have held but one Guards battalion has retreated disordered due to enemy artillery fire

The Portuguese counter attack

as the KGL Light Battalion swings round to present a line facing the enemy flank

and a welcome sight - a fresh Portuguese infantry brigade marches on, to the right of the Brunswickers

Its a bit of a traffic jam as the KGL try to make room for the new arrivals

a RHA battery has managed to establish itself on high ground enfilading the bridge

this causes problems for the French occupying the bridge itself

the Portuguese attack falters

Out on the British right, the elated Hussars cross the river to attack the enemy left flank 

Officers are still trying to sort out the Allied brigades

Another arrival - a French Lancer brigade arrives in the centre - they are directed to head over to the left flank to stop those pesky British Hussars 

A French heavy battery is all that is protecting it now the Chasseurs have disappeared

The French are still holding the bridge

More arrivals - a French infantry brigade arrives on their right flank

The French artillery has disordered the advancing enemy Hussars

Alarm ! The Portuguese brigade has had enough and withdrawn but the French are not in great shape either !

The Guards brigade attacks

as the KGL/Brunswick brigade moves forward too

The second Portuguese brigade has advance right up to the river on the right

The British Hussars charge again but the French gunners are ready

the Hussars have pushed their luck too far - the front regiment breaks 

and now the French lancers head for the remaining regiment

The French have reformed and attack the KGL

but repulsed

The plucky Hussars decide to charge the French Lancers !

The Brunswickers and KGL form into attack columns and counter attack

as Portuguese troops join in the flank fire towards the bridge

and the Guards have charged too - surely this will break the enemy ?

Melee ! Surely, the Hussars are over reaching themselves again ?

The French stubbornly hold

and the Guards have broken !

But the good news for the British is that the French brigade has taken too many casualties and the brigade has broken - they must retire

The Hussars have retreated but the Portuguese are ready to plug the hole on that flank

One Guards battalion has gained the heights dominating the river line

but fresh French infantry are heading their way in numbers

The French Lancers have seen off the British Hussars with the help of their horse artillery

Here they come ! Four battalions in attack columns

The French 12 pounders still hammer away

The broken French brigade has retired back over the river

The RHA on the hill belong to the Hussar brigade so they will be limbering up to leave too

For a moment, the KGL/Brunswickers survey a clear field

The Guards fire at the approaching enemy infantry

The British and Allies now form a mutually supporting line along the river bank 

"We must hold, men"

If this works, then we can take the bridge

But the 12 pounders are cutting swathes through the British lines

One French battalion gas become disordered but the attack goes in

The British Light Dragoons charge, forcing two French battalions into squad before retiring

Retreating French infantry cause a problem for the French commander

The Guards hold and disorder a  second enemy battalion

they fall back

but the fight continues on the hill

a second round sees the Guards broken - now the whole brigade is bust and must retreat

The British C-in-C can't believe it !

With nightfall approaching and the British centre gone

even though the big French brigade has had enough, the smaller one has taken the hill the other side of the river and the British have nothing there to stop them - apart from light dragoons.

The French 12 pounders have damaged the KGL/Brunswick brigade so much that they are in retreat

The British commander orders a general retreat so the remaining cavalry and Portuguese brigade must extricate themselves and retire.

The French have taken the ground but do not have any fresh units to pursue the enemy. Its a win but a costly one.

This game has taken me three days trying to handle both sides, so quite exhausting but fun nevertheless.

This is the way it has to be for quite a while yet, I guess.