It was a fictional scenario, set in the Peninsular War, with the British on defence on the high ground and the French attacking.
The forces were roughly equal, the French having a battalion of infantry advantage, one more battery and two regiments of horse to the British one.
|British on the high ground to left, French attacking from right|
The British strung out in supported lines across the high ground, sending a battalion of Rifles to hold a forward position in the centre, in skirmish formation in a woods bordering the stream that traversed the battlefield. The French elected to send the bulk of their force against the British left (employing two brigades, one very strong) while the third brigade and cavalry tied down the British right.
|Rifles in skirmish formation deploy in the woods in the British centre, with the remainder of the brigade behind in reserve.|
|The British left, two battalions up, one back.|
The French advanced in column, ranged behind two battalions of light in skirmish formation, screening them from the enemy cannon.
|French right skirts around the village.|
|French centre advances in column.|
|Two French battalions of light infantry fail to dislodge the Rifles in a tough skirmish battle.|
As the French light infantry hit this speed bump the bulk of the French cannon unlimbered on the right, keeping the British guns engaged as the French columns advanced towards the high ground.
|French guns deploying to the front take fire from the British cannon.|
|French centre skirt around the right flank of Rifles to press home the attack.|
|Poles (foreground) and a second French brigade slam into the British left, driving it back.|
|Short range canister fire routs one of the brigades and the British right holds.|
|Wellington surveys the battle as it unfolds.|
|French cavalry advance to the stream in line.|
|Forming into columns of squadrons before crossing.|
|KGL Hussars take refuge behind infantry squares.|
|Vistula Lancers ride a British battery into the ground and scatter a battalion of infantry on the British right.|
The charge, however, drove the lancers deep into the enemy line, and, receiving more hits from flanking fire from the squares they were forced to retire and the flank held.
Meanwhile, on the French right, the foreign brigade was in trouble, as the stubborn British battalion on this flank refused to give up anymore ground. The Rifles, too, held fast against repeated attempts to flush them from their central position in the woods. The French finally pulled back their skirmishers and brought up cannon to try and drive them out.
|French light infantry are driven off by the Rifles...|
|And a French battery is brought up to try and drive the skirmishers out.|
The enemy battalion facing this threat, let loose a devastating volley and then charged the enemy, throwing him back down the hill and into the following line, destroying it as the two battalions became interpenetrated with one another.
|Huzzah! British fire and charge French centre.|
As if things weren’t going badly enough for the poor French, a brigade was also marching into disaster on their far left. With the British cannon destroyed on this flank and now the entire British brigade in square, the French columns, thinking themselves now safe and supported by cavalry, skirted around the Rifles in the centre to bring pressure on the British right.
|French march on British squares.|
|Hussars charge into the french columns.|
With the French left decimated, the British commander could begin to move his centre and right over to help his left. The Rifles were pulled back from the stream, continuing to skirmish with the French light while in a series of subsequent attacks, the French were driven off the British high ground.
|Huzzah again! A second French battalon is scattered.|
|Wesphalians make one last attempt at cracking the British right.|
|British battery silenced by French fire.|
The final butcher’s bill was one battalion and two batteries lost for the British to six battalions of infantry and a brigade of horse lost to the French. So a resounding victory for the British.
|French hussars also routed form the field.|
The game was a lot of fun and I loved this rule set. I’m thinking that there are two or three optional rules I may let go as either too fussy or just too hard for me to remember (for now at least!) but overall I loved the look and feel of this game. I wasn’t using Orders either, which would make a huge difference, but I wanted the freedom to simply try things out. Employing entire battalions as skirmish screens looked and felt right on the table and made skirmishers seem a bit less abstracted than they are in the core rules. I loved the interaction between horse and infantry squares, the vulnerability of infantry not in square, and how in this game the British right simply formed into a series of squares with interlocking fields of fire as the only reasonable response to enemy horse. The British ability to volley and charge against the French (mostly attacking in columns) was devastating for the French and felt right.
So eager to have another go!