A civil war!
Two weeks ago, I arranged a game with Malcolm, giving us a chance to dust off our Napoleonic armies and our curent favourite rules set Black Powder. I told Mal I’d bring my French, expecting him to bring his British, but instead he too brought a French army! Clearly, somewhere along the line we had our wires crossed. So what could we possibly do with two French armies? A civil war of course! This is not as crazy as it sounds, in fact there will be an article in a future issue of WSS on this very idea… (yeah, yeah, make up the evidence with hindsight, Ed…)
Mal and I took identical armies. These consisted of two brigades of infantry, each three regiments strong, and a third brigade of one cavalry regiment with two squadrons and one gun battery (consisting of 2 guns). Mal’s forces were Napoleon supporters (Imperialists) while mine were Bourbon Royalists - apt as we had no flags. I must get round to putting some flags on my models… (Tssk, tssk, for someone who’s always quoting “Faces, bases and flags”, you don’t follow your own recipe much, Ed…)
Mal won the first turn and, in characteristic fashion, threw his men forward in attack column, seizing the initiative. I decided to risk receiving his attacks and meeting them with firepower, and so formed line. He also threw his cavalry forward in an attempt to disrupt my infantry but, as luck had it, they ran into several volleys of infantry & cannon. The horse retreated and both were sent packing. I had wisely kept my cavalry in reserve behind my line. Mal now advanced his infantry and cannon to point blank range and opened fire…
Not a scratch! He’d rolled 1’s and 2’s… I then charged his cannon with my infantry. My troops survived the closing fire and caught the guns in melee with minimal casualties. For once my dice were rolling well but Mal’s luck started to recover. His orders went very well and he now marched his infantry, formed line and gave my outnumbered units a volley… Luck rolled my way again! His shots were ineffectual, even though he had superiority in numbers. I decided I’d take the gamble of sending two infantry units in a flanking move to see off the cavalry and they were now in a perfect position to flank charge his advancing infantry.
My one cavalry unit moved out of reserve and made his extreme right flank form square, while my infantry advanced to engage in the centre. The end result was I broke his infantry brigade. With two of his three brigades broken, the Imperial forces would have to retire from the battlefield. Victory to the Bourbons!
So while it had been a close battle (he broke my left infantry brigade in the last turn), Mal’s dice had equally worked both well and disastrously for him. When it came to orders, he seemed to pass every one, but when it came to firing, the poor rolling for the cannon sealed their doom. On the other hand, my poor dice rolling for command (I hardly advanced and my Chasseurs a Cheval didn’t move all game) actually went in my favour by forcing me on the defensive. It was also interesting to have French vs French for a change (it’s historical too, I tell you!).