Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Date: 25 August, 1810/2012

Location: Between Almeida and the Coa River Bridge

Rules: Batailles de l'Ancien RĂ©gime {BAR} adapted to Napoleonics

Situation: An outnumbered British force at first stands to fight and then must scramble to the Coa River Bridge to escape.

For Part 1 see:



We left Captain Magoo's unsupported 5th Foot Grenadier Company about to receive a charge from French Dragoons. The French arrived unmolested solely because for a time they were unseen by officers one inch tall down on the table in the British main battle line. Those metal fellows had to first see the threat develop, write a message about it and send a courier to reserves to react. Then reserves had to comprehend orders and act properly. Thus, several turns transpired whilst the French galloped for the bridge. A success for them there would close the exit route for the British Army. A humiliating disaster was pending.

The natural delays above were important because Captain Magoo's situation would not have otherwise happened. Towering above the tabletop I saw the French coming. I could have unrealistically sent British forces to the area very early in the game. However, I held my reserves back waiting for orders to move.

We also had sighting rules. Officers in the main battle line were required to throw percentage dice to observe enemy forces far away. Luckily they did. However, our isolated grenadier captain failed every opportunity to see the threat developing. He was therefore named Magoo after the nearly blind cartoon character.

Now back to the game.

Captain Magoo finally sees the French cantering toward his men.

Magoo: "Stand quietly boys and do your duty. The French are coming. Make ready!"

Magoo: "Present. FIRE!"

In spite of losses, the dragoons crashed into the grenadiers and a melee was fought. Elsewhere....

Reserves were finally reacting. The horse artillery battery deployed and the light cavalry brigade arrived. Without a courier this could not have happened. Without natural courier system delays this would have happened much earlier.

Now officers on the spot take charge. The horse artillery battery shifts to the right, fires and limbers move back allowing the light cavalry to wheel right and head for the Coa River Bridge.

Right Flank British forces more forcefully attend to securing the bridge. A French lancer regiment is greatly reduced at the top of the photo and a second squadron of French dragoons is not ignored either. Lord Paget's Light Cavalry Brigade canters forward in a column of squadrons.

As Captain Magoo fights his melee at the other end of the bridge, the 15th Hussars engage the French.

We turn around to see things from the other side of the bridge. The eventual result is French forces are defeated, the bridge is secured for now and....

The light cavalry wheels left to pursue fleeing enemy cavalry to the French Back Table. The bridge off image to the middle right is safe for now.

The cleared exit route enables the retreat to commence. Note Captain Magoo's grenadiers to the right of the bridge. He lost three miniatures. "Oh Magoo. You've done it again!" However, let us turn our attention away from the British Right Flank to....

The British Left Flank where French infantry surges toward the red coats.

Two French battalions to the left of the previous image also move forward.

The French can not be stopped and so....

The British retreat toward the Coa River Bridge.

The retreat continues behind a walled hacienda.

While the French assault it.

A stand is made behind the hacienda.

The British edge backwards though a foothold in the hacienda exists.

The loss of the hacienda is inevitable.

Expecting the French soon, the British horse battery turns to engage the flood of French while....

A final British line is established in the upper right of the image. We have returned to the British Right Flank.

As we turn around to see part of the attack from the British perspective.

To the right of the previous image things are even worse. French infantry are closing in on the bridge off the lower left of this photo. A baggage train has also been lost.

There is one glimmer of hope left. If you recall the successful attack by the Light Cavalry Brigade, the remnant of the 15th Hussars reformed behind French lines near the river on the French Back Table.

The 15th crossed back onto The Main Table and gallantly charged a French battalion in the rear to help. The latter about faced the third rank to shoot at the horsemen; easily done with individually based miniatures. However, the 15th was too weak to penetrate the foe, was repulsed and so....

The horse battery cantered across the Coa supported by Captain Magoo and a few more of the 9th Foot. Not much else escaped though....

Lord Paget exited the battlefield earlier with the 16th Light Dragoons and his personal troop of the 7th Hussars.

Our companionable participants observe the last British to cross the Coa. From left to right: John B., Jeff H., Earl K., John M., Jim P. (Der Alte Fritz), yours truly Bill P. and Chris K.

French players are in blue. British players are in scarlet.

Congratulations to the French!


1. This scenario was adapted from information generously given to Jim and I by Charles Grant. He has a winner here. Look for optimum details in his upcoming Wargaming In History - Peninsular Actions available before Christmas 2012.

2. Jim and I like this scenario a lot and will replay it on 10 November with seven participants. Between now and then new British and French forces are being raised. 

3. The terrain mat and river were custom-made by The Terrain Guy in Texas, USA. Put just about anything underneath to create gently rolling terrain. The bridge is from Miniature Building Authority. The lovely large trees were made by H.G. Walls.

4. Comments welcome below.


  1. Make that two God Save The Kings :-)

    Thanks for a very interesting and enjoyable presentation.

    I'm very much looking forward to CSG's book as well.

  2. Very nice AAR, the table is looking great!