Well, it's been more than a week ago now that the Boy General and I played another Napoleonic game using Neil Thomas' One Hour Wargames. Once again it was a blast; we continue our fictional campaign in northern Europe, continuing with the boy leading the British against my dastardly French. The scenario was "Double Delaying Action," with the idea being that I (the French), having been defeated in the last battle, was doing my best to flee to the north, being harried by the British from the south.
The French chose a river as a defensive line to try to slow the British pursuit; the Brits can cross at a ford in the west or a bridge in the east, and the Brits are trying to first take the village of Trois Bras (at the river) and then the road exit in the north, just east of Mont Vert. The two forces are equal in size, at least at the beginning; the French must have one unit depart the table via the north road exit on turns 4, 8, and 12, but still hold either Trois Bras or the northern road exit at the end of the game (15 turns). Failure to do so is a British victory.
The French have their General, the 1st Grenadier Brigade, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Ligne Brigades, a grand battery of Horse Artillery, and the 1st Light Cavalry Brigade (a regiment of Hussars and a regiment of Chasseurs a Cheval).
The British have their General, the Foot Guard Brigade, the King's German Legion (KGL) Brigade, the Highlander Brigade, the 1st Brigade of Foot, the Rifle Brigade (95th and 60th), and the Union Brigade (Blues and Scots Greys). General Nickolls complained about once again having no artillery in support; General Dadie replied: such are the fortunes of war (and using a D6 to come up with your force composition).
My preliminary plan is to give ground at the ford while trying to hold the town as long as possible, using my General to rally hits off them. I will launch my cavalry straight down the road as soon as possible, charging repeatedly until they are nearly destroyed and then having them be my first unit to depart via the north exit. I figure the boy will press for the town, so when the 3rd Ligne is pretty beat up I will have the Grenadiers move up, have the 3rd Ligne fall back behind them for protection and ultimately be my second unit to exit the map. From there is anyone's guess, but that's my plan. Oh, and I'm keeping my arty up close to deliver canister at enemy units crossing the river, then fall back to Mont Vert as it becomes pressed.
Let's see how it worked out.
I am surprised the Boy General has decided to push so many units towards the ford, with the necessity of taking the town. It will be very difficult to pry the 3rd Ligne from the town without bringing overwhelming force to bear as all casualties on the men in the town will be halved due to solid cover; I think the boy has hurt his chances of victory significantly by lack of concentration of forces on the town. But if he pushes strongly on the ford, maybe he can force the French first line back and isolate the town.
This is very bad news for the boy; he will no longer be able to rally hits off his infantry units, which is absolutely essential in order to maintain a sustained fight with the 3rd Ligne in the town.
Perhaps I moved the Grenadiers to the exit a bit too early...
Just off camera to top right, the French Grenadiers leave the table and the Light Cavalry again stand fast.
Thus ends turn 3. But turn 4 starts very fortuitously for the French...
This is getting ugly! It feels like both sides are on the ropes...
Turn 4 ends, and turn 5 again starts well for the French.
But the Highlanders are near death; as I said, without a General to pull hits there was no way they could survive a protracted shootout with the 3rd Ligne. The only hope the boy had there was charging into close combat with the KGL and Highlanders, General supporting. It still would only have had a 50-50 chance of success, but it least it was a chance. But I understand his hesitance in charging forward with several French infantry and artillery units pouring fire into them the whole way, and with the Light Cavalry staring menacingly down the road, just hoping the Brits would charge across the bridge.
Good grief, what a fight! The fight ended with me having only the 3rd Ligne, the Light Cavalry, and the artillery Grand Battery, while the British had only the Foot Guards and 1st Foot. But keep in mind, the Light Cavalry had only one hit to give, and needed to leave by turn 8, and the 3rd Ligne or Artillery would have had to leave on Turn 12. We could have played on, but there's no way, even with me having to take two units off the table, that realistically he could have won: I would have been forced to leave Trois Bras, but he would have had to move across a lot of open ground to take the north exit, being pounded by my artillery the entire time, to include canister (causing double hits) in the last 12", and without a General to rally hits off. Not to mention, we like keeping it a little more realistic, not fighting to the death.
Honestly, I'm not sure he could have won that fight. I helped him by running my grenadiers off the table too early, which helped him in collapsing my left flank. I should have kept the grenadiers on the table, and used my cavalry earlier, then ran them off on Turn 4. Again, I think he should have charged the town with the KGL and Highlanders, and pushed more aggressively on the left to get across the river there. But that's easier said than done; it really sucks pushing your troops forward into the waiting guns. He may have lost, but he sure scared the hell out of me when he threw the Union Brigade at me, destroying the 1st and 2nd Ligne Brigades in quick fashion, and staring down my guns.
I hope you liked it; we're having a great time, and have already played the next fight, which I'm working on.