Monday 31 May 2021

The Battle of Bournemouth – The Game

The British cavalry advance with Rob's stirring order ringing in their ears "The enemy Cuirassiers will be seen off by our Heavy Cavalry!"
The Brunswick Hussars had their own orders to "...disperse enemy skirmishers if an opportunity offers". Well it did, however the skirmishers evaded which resulted in the Hussars ploughing into the 45th regiment who failed to form square.

The Inniskillings charge the Cuirassiers but lose the first round of melee and become disordered. No worries though, the Blues and the Greys are in close support.

The French artillery found themselves under counter-battery fire that continued for the whole game. However the last French gun was only silenced on turn 8.

To add insult to injury the 45th lost their eagle to the Brunswickers right under the nose of  Marshal Ney.

Opps, now this was NOT in the script - the Inniskillings are running away.

The British infantry are advancing steadily in line but the Higlanders are coming under fire from the French artillery and skirmishers.

The 49th Foot reach the church whilst the Rifles (out of shot on the other side of the building) pop away at the French in the cottage.

Hang on, this is DEFINITELY NOT in the script - Murat's Cuirassiers have just routed the Greys!

With all that cavalry milling around the French have wisely formed square.

This one is for Nigel - the 85th standing firm in line (the only French unit not to lose a single casualty).

The situation at the end of turn 4 - those white arrows indicate the direction of rout for the British heavies.

WHAAAT? Yep, that's the Blues being seen off - if only I'd had two units of Cuirassiers.

This one is for Lee - the 30th Cambridgeshires advancing in line.

And this one is for Goya - Mainwaring goes down (it was just a scratch).

Finally some cavalry who know how to fight turn up and see off Murat. You just can't get enough Brunswick Hussars I find.

Fortunately for Wellington the British cavalry all managed to rally and save themselves from total disgrace.
The French squares were coming under fire now and it was all too much for the 105th regiment.

Nearing the end and the Brunswicker's come forward one more time to claim one of the VP locations.

The French have had enough and take to their heels.

"This way mon ami, my horse will have no problem swimming the channel!"

Rather cruelly, in the dying moments of the battle poor Davout takes a tumble.

"Forward lads and complete your victory!".

The situation at the end of play. The final score was 18 to 6 to the British but you have to say some credit must go to Murat and, of course, the Brunswick Hussars. 

So, the Battle of Bournemouth draws the campaign to a close and I think we can say that the British won. I’ve enjoyed playing the campaign as it’s resulted in some fun solo games that otherwise I would never have been motivated to play. My thanks to Rob for entering into the spirit of things and for his merciless dedication to pushing the French back into the channel.

I’ve got some ideas on how to improve the campaign system (and make sure the French win) and we may play another one later in the year.

Friday 28 May 2021

The Battle of Bournemouth – Scenario

Napoleon and the Guard have sailed for France leaving Ney with the remainder of the invasion force to await evacuation from Bournemouth beach. Wellington has decided to press his advantage straight away and try and bag the whole enemy force before they can escape.

If the British win this game, then Ney will be forced to surrender, if the French win, then they will be safely evacuated to Boulogne – the honour of France is at stake!

British OOB

Foot Guards (23) (k) A+
42nd Highlanders (22) A
The Royal Horse Guards A+
1 x Foot Battery

30th Cambridgeshire A
49th Hertfordshire (23) A
1 x Foot Battery
6 x Rifles (5)

Ponsonby (k)
Scots Greys (k) A
Inniskilling Dragoons A
1 x Horse Battery (5)

Brunswick Hussars (11) (k) B
1 x Brunswick Horse Battery

French OOB

4th Swiss (16) (k) B
6 x Skirmishers

105th Line (19) B
9th Light Infantry (15) A

85th Line B
24th Line B
1 x Line Foot Battery
6 x Skirmishers

45th Line (21) B
Converged Grenadiers (19) (k) A
1 x Line Foot Battery (4)

Cuirassiers (8) A

The numbers in brackets denote the reduced strength of a unit, a ‘k’ means that the unit has no Colonel and the letters in bold are the combat ratings for Muskets & Marshals.

This time the game is being played on my full 6' x 4' table. The red stars are worth VP's to the British if they occupy them at the end of turn 8.
This is becoming something of a hallmark of Rob's tactical deployment - massed ranks of British Cavalry! The blue counter denotes that the Greys have lost their Colonel in a previous engagement and now suffer a permanent -1 to morale as a result.

The British right flank. Today the Duke has Mainwaring as his ADC due to the wound suffered by DeLancy in the last game.

The French infantry have taken a battering over the last few games and this is reflected in the low starting strengths of many of the units.
On the extreme left is Davout's Division who are the only force at full strength on the French side.

VP’s will be awarded on the same basis as before except that the VP locations are worth 5 VP’s to the British but nothing to the French.

Tuesday 25 May 2021

6th Chasseurs completed

Having finished the one-piece castings, I decided to tart up the original two-piece ones as they were a bit battered in places. I then based them mixing the two figure types together as I like the look that gives even though it is not very old school.

All the figures used were vintage Hinton Hunt castings:

6 x FN/310 Chasseur a Cheval in shako (on horse FNH/7)
6 x FN/122 Chasseur a Cheval of the line (mounted) charging
*the trumpeter is converted from FN/122

I painted the first six of these Chasseurs back in 2007 and in fact they were the first cavalry figures I painted for this project. I can’t remember where I got the uniform information from and it doesn’t look all that accurate to me now, but I thought it best to paint the new recruits to the same scheme.

Thursday 13 May 2021

6th Chasseurs nearly finished

Painting time has been a bit scarce lately due mainly to playing the campaign, which has been fun. However, I have just about managed to finish the 6th Chasseurs and all they need now is another coat of gloss varnish and then basing before they can take to the field, sadly this will be a bit too late to help Napoleon out of his current predicament.

I’m please with the way the one-piece-castings have turned out and it was worth the fiddle to reconstruct their plumes. I’m particularly proud of the trumpeter who has had a head swap (with a broken DK French Guard lancer) as well as the addition of the trumpet. I based this one on the picture on the front of the Osprey book on French Chasseurs.

Finally, I’m not the only one recruiting Chasseurs as Roy recently sent me the photo below of the latest recruits to his ever-growing forces. Nice addition Roy.

Tuesday 11 May 2021

Scurrilous British Press!

It would appear we are to have one final battle of the campaign as Rob has decided on an immediate attack against the French troops remaining in Bournemouth. This one will be interesting! 

Sunday 9 May 2021

A change of plan

The campaign objective for the French was to take either London or Oxford but with the destruction of his cavalry and attrition to his infantry, the emperor has decided to cut his losses and evacuate the army back to Boulogne. To be fair, Rob has played a great game keeping the French army bottled up and unable to reach the interior of the country where they may have been able to out manoeuvre the smaller British force - not to mention the fact that he has trounced me three times on the battlefield!

The French must retreat to Bournemouth where they may evacuate up to 2 Divisions per turn (there are currently 7 Divisions) to Boulogne. The British are now allowed to stack up to 3 Divisions in any town (previously it was 2) which gives the potential for a bigger battle. Rob needs to judge the optimum time to attack whilst I must try to save face by bringing the army home as intact as possible.

Thursday 6 May 2021

The Battle of Andover – The Game

The sequence I’m using for playing these solo games is firstly, the defender deploys and writes his battle orders (battle orders include general intention, notes on tactics and timing of events) and secondly, the attacker gets to see the enemy deployments on the map and then writes his own orders. This gives the attacker a slight advantage over the defender to represent reconnaissance of the position to be attacked. The VP locations are always in the centre of the table to keep the action moving but this is something I may refine if I were to attempt another campaign.

For this game Rob was the attacker and having seen my deployment he cleverly chose to mass his artillery on the right (not on the hill where I expected it) and ordered the two British battalions to advance and protect either end of the gun line, in square if needed. For my part, I ordered Murat to hold the cavalry back until turn 5 in the hope that I could draw the enemy forward towards my own guns and then smash him with a spectacular cavalry charge – how wrong could I be?

The action commenced on the French right flank where both sides made a spirited advance with the intention of taking the VP location there.
The Brunswick infantry pressed forward in column while the Nassau Grenadiers, Brunswick Hussars and the 49th Foot provided support.
The Brunswickers and the Grenadiers collided in a clash of bayonets following a mutual charge. The Brunswickers got the worst of it (although only just) and became disordered.

Following a second round of melee they then routed. Meanwhile the 45th line and the Nassau Grenadiers became locked in a musketry duel.

Seeing that the French were moving up their lancers, Stapleton Cotton moved forward and declared a charge.

As a result the lancers retreated in disorder and finding they had no target, the Hussars decided to charge the Guard horse battery instead. This is always a tricky manoeuvre but the guns rolled low when they fired and the Hussars rolled high for morale  - scratch one battery!  

The situation at the end of turn 4

Meanwhile Murat's cavalry had sat for four turns under the fire of the allied guns. The Carabineers with their fancy red helmet combs seemed to attract most of the shot and being reduced to just 3 figures were now removed from play.

As the Brunswickers ran away the French deployed a strong line to conform with their orders to take and hold the VP location.
Finally Murat got his dwindling cavalry force forward to support the infantry but they were still taking casualties from the merciless artillery fire and now also from the Rifles to their front.

The DK Cuirassier/Dragoons made a charge at the Brunswick Hussars that sent them packing to the rear.

However, this just meant that the French troopers were exposed to a cruel close-range volley from the square of the 49th foot. Next turn the Rifles reduced them to 4 figures and another unit bit the dust.

In a final throw of the dice (literally) the 5th Lancers charged at the shaken Nassauers but they too came crashing down from their sadles.
The situation at the end of play (turn 8). It was another win for the British with an 11 to 7 VP score line.
The victory really went to these guys!

And finally the British spin on events.

After three lost games in a row, things are looking bad for the French whose forces are suffering from attrition. However, each of Wellington’s Divisions have now seen action whereas I still have the Old Guard and Davout’s command intact. Crucially though, the French cavalry has been virtually destroyed with only two out of the original six units surviving.