Sunday, March 24, 2013

Army Returns: 1 April 2013 Real Time

British/French Army Returns Are Below. 

Revised numbers engaged at the Rio Minio:
British: 582
French: 933
Total: 1,515

Numbers Available 1 April 2013
British: 476 + garrison of Lisbon 32 = 508
French: 829
Total: 1,337

What's Next?
1) On May 1st 2013 rethrow for those in hospital and for repairs.
2) Determine next battle location and story.


Available For Duty:

5th Foot: 58
9th Foot: 78
60th Rifles: 35
83rd Foot: 80
94th Foot: 67
95 Rifles: 15
Cacadores: 11

7th Hussars: 6
15th Hussars: 14
16th Lt. Dragoons: 22
KGL Hussars: 24

Royal Horse Arty: 32 + 4x Pdrs.
Royal Arty: 10 + 2x 9 Pdrs.
Arty Train: 24

In Lisbon
Royal Marines: 32

In Hospital:

5th Foot: 22
9th Foot: 15
60th Rifles: 0
83rd Foot: 3
94th Foot: 5
95 Rifles: 7
Cacadores: 0

7th Hussars: 0
15th Hussars: 10
16th Lt. Dragoons: 1
KGL Hussars: 0

Royal Horse Arty: 0 (1x 6 Pdr. under repair)
Royal Arty: 0
Arty Train: 0

In Lisbon
Royal Marines: 0 (in Lisbon)

2nd Division + Attachments 

Available For Duty:

Infanterie: 705

1st Chasseurs: 9
7th Chasseurs: 11
12th Chasseurs: 14
Vistula Lancers: 20
20th Dragoons: 40

4x 8 Pdrs: 20
2x 5.5" Howitzers: 10

In Hospital

Infanterie: 57

1st Chasseurs: 1
7th Chasseurs: 2
12th Chasseurs: 7
Vistula Lancers: 0
20th Dragoons: 0

Artillerie: 0


1D6 Medical/Repair Throws
1-2 KIA/MIA (Rethrow these: 1-2-3 KIA and 4-5-6 Return To Duty)
3-4 Wounded
5-6 Return To Duty

During 2013 on the 1st of every month starting in May, rethrow for those in hospital.
1-2 Died of Wounds. 4-5 Remain In Hospital. 5-6 Return To Duty.

Throw 1D6 the week before the next game for each unit not back up to full strength.
Don't throw for units back up to full strength.
Five units = 5D6s. Nine units = 9D6s. Etc.
Each 5 or 6 earns one replacement arriving from the home country.
If as a result a unit is brought back to full strength, give the replacement to any other unit starting with the same kind.

Add when finished being painted/based.
No other restrictions.
If you game with us and want to add 25-28-30mm units of your own at 1:10, please do so.
British, Portuguese, KGL, Spanish, French and nations (Swiss, etc.) serving with the French in Iberia.
Bill and Jim

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Chapter 2: Battle of the Rio Minio (Minho)

Date: 27 January to 17 February 1809
Location: Northwest Iberia:
Situation: Marshall Soult's French II Corps Moves South
Purpose: Fictional campaign novel adapted from actual historical events.

Recommendation: See previous Chapter 1: The Game Is Afoot

Following the January 17th embarkation of the late General Moore's British Contingent from Coruna, Spain, Marshall Soult's II Corps recuperated from the battle of the 16th. there. Ten days later they marched southwest to Santiago. No intact British forces existed between Coruna and the Portuguese border. Therefore, there was no hurry and no advantage exerting his tired men further. The march proceeded leisurely.

The road from Santiago to Pontevedra and Vigo Galiza was not as good. Consequently II Corps began arriving at the latter only on the 14th of February. Two crossings over the Minio River would take them into Portugal.

The 12th Chasseurs A Cheval led II Corps into Vigo Galiza.
 [Photo and collection from Jim P.)

Behind them stretched 23,500 soldiers of Emperor of France, Napoleon Bonaparte. He had decreed that Portugal would be more firmly under the control of France. Marshall Soult was his means to accomplish this.

Major General Pettygree's Personal Journal
17 February 1809

"When I learned Soult was heading for Portugal, there were two options available to me. Remaining in Lisbon utilizing natural defences there was one. Should matters go poorly we could request evacuation by sea from the port. The other was to march north to slow or stop the French. The future will only know if my decision was correct."

"I was convinced Lisbon even with some natural defences could not be held long with my 10,000 men. Nor have I been an ardent proponent of the fortress mentality. All fortresses as Vauban taught can be breached and taken."

"Soult's men were bloodied and tired from fighting General Moore whereas my men were fresh. I therefore resolved it better to stop the French in the north rather than freely give up half of Portugal above Lisbon. A little luck and panache might breed success. At the least it would buy time. We therefore forced marched to stop Soult at the Rio Minio separating Spain from Portugal."

"Part of Lord Paget's Advance Guard began arriving there hours before the French appeared. Most of the Army was still stretched out in road column for miles to the south. Would we have sufficient strength to stop Soult at the bridge?"

"Before dawn on the 16th. Lord Paget (left) reconnoitered the Minio River from a long ridge.

"As the sun rose, officers to his right saw only a small Roman Catholic Church presiding over a still darkened stone bridge crossing the river."

"Before nine of the clock our Advance Guard began deploying behind and to the right of Paget but the French were already crossing. There was nothing to be done except wait for leading elements from our Light Cavalry Brigade as well as the 2nd. Brigade to finish forming out of sight from the French."

"From left to right behind the ridge were posted Paget's Light Cavalry Brigade, 5th Foot, Royal Horse Artillery, a Portuguese Cacadore Rifle Company, two companies of the 95th Rifles, a converged battalion of the elite companies from the 5th and 9th Foot and finally the 9th Foot itself."  

"Hours to the rear the 1st Brigade was marching hard to support Paget. Would they be in time?"

 "The French marched in earnest across the river."

 "Paget thought he saw a very senior officer at the bridge."

"It was Marshall Soult."


"Near half past ten French Chasseurs approached to probe our left flank. Two more light cavalry regiments were in the distance as well. Lord Paget therefore ordered the RHA to prolong onto the ridge top and sent orders for his cavalry to do the same on our extreme left."

"When the Royal Horse Artillery opened fire...."

"Round shot ruined one French regiment."

"Routing it toward and behind the church. The other...."

"Was surprised to see the 15th Hussars breach the rise and ride toward them."

"The 15th. charged down slope to engage. The French counter charged."

"The French prevailed early on but were overcome when the 16th Light Dragoons [Not shown] were ordered into the fray."

"Eventually survivors of the brave and hard-fighting Chasseurs fled toward  forming French infantry. To my regret both light cavalry regiments pursued them into the French deployment area. The Chasseurs were cut down."

"Luckily our troopers [middle left] recovered their senses, began to turn back and galloped back to and over our ridge to safety and to reform."

"After cavalry of both sides vacated the area opposite our left flank, French infantry came forward with cries of en avant!"

"Their leading battalion crested the left side of the ridge and received fire from the 5th Foot."

"Before I could order the 5th to fall back to our newly formed second line, it broke."

"I posted myself behind the 94th. whilst the foe continued to press forward. Behind me the 5th Foot was rallying and Lord Paget had brought his Light Cavalry Brigade back into order. These would be our final reserve to stop the inexorable advance of the enemy. Things did not look promising here."

"However, a little to my right, 1st Brigade's 9 Pounder section had been joined by the Royal Horse Artillery to stabilize our situation. In the end the French did not assault this position and fell back from our left flank."


"Events to my right centered upon the French assault on a brick casa de fazenda [farm house] covered by a rock wall. Two companies of the 95th Rifles initially held the wall but were quickly  turned away...."

 "Because French numbers were far in excess of ours."

"The Royal Horse Artillery battery made a wise decision to withdraw. Fortunately two companies of the 83rd came forward to shore up the line for a while."

"As the French assaulted the casa de fazenda."

"Within the farm house elites from the 5th and 9th held up the French advance as long as they could but they eventually succumbed. The French began to pour through."

"On our far right [on a side table] the 9th Foot had their hands full, lost heavily and fell back. The French could not be stopped."


"By mid-afternoon our second line was fully formed by 1st. Brigade." 
[French are off image to the right.]

"Our line was anchored in the center by a massed battery of nine and six pounders. First Brigades battalions and rifles were in very good condition as we awaited the next blow. However, it never came. Marshall Soult called off the attack at the four o'clock hour. Evening came on fast and only desultory fire was heard till then. The battle ended and was not resumed the next day."


"Word came that half of Soult's II Corps had crossed the Rio Minio southwest of Vigo Galiza whilst the battle of the 16th raged. Our left flank was turned. Therefore, I ordered our forces to march to Braga and Oporto the next day. It would be a race to block Soult's 1st Division from crossing the western bridge over the Rio Este north of Oporto. If Soult reached Oporto first, we would be cut off from Lisbon."


1) Rules: Our private Napoleonic adaptation of Batailles de l'Ancien R├Ęgime.

2) Turn 1 started at 10:00 am. Turn 17 concluded at 4:00pm.

3) Losses: 210 British and 211 French.

4: British: Jim P. (Der Alte Fritz) John M. and Bill P. [yours truly]

5) French: Earl K., Keith L., Jon P. and Jim H.

6) Der Alte Fritz produced a very good report with more photos here:

7) Your remarks are welcome below as always.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Brigadier General Sinclair's Report

Brigidier General Alexander Sinclair receives the regimental returns from the Sargeant Majors

Major General Pettygree's division attacked Marshal Soult's French army today as it attempted to cross the Rio Minio from Spain into Portugal. While the French successfully crossed the river and gained entry into Portugal, the British army met its victory conditions for a minor victory by holding back the French for 16 game turns or 6 hours = 1 game day. As a result, Soult was temporarily stopped and Pettygree successfully retired back towards the town of Braga, on the Rio Este, north of Porto.

Brigadier General Sinclair, commanding the First British Brigade of 2,500 soldiers, held back the French advance on his left and center throughout the day. Major Devereaux, commanding the Second British Brigade of 1,500, defended the British right flank and successfully retired his command off the field, though at considerable loss to his brigade.

After the battle, Brigadier Sinclair assembled the brigade for roll call in order to assess the battle damage for the day. The senior regimental sergeant majors of the 83rd and the 94th regiments, took roll call and presented the list of the rank and file that were present for duty.

Sinclair: "Gentlemen, will you present the roll call?

Sgt. Major Quincannon (83rd Regt. - yellow facings): "The 83rd began the day with 840 men, all ranks, and have 780 men, all ranks fit for duty, sir!"

Sinclair: "Thank you Sergeant Major, and the details?"

Quincannon: "The roll call indicates that 10  are dead (1 figure), 30 (3 figures) are wounded to various degrees, and 60 stragglers fell in at the beginning of the roll call, sir!"

Sinclair: "Very good Sergeant Major, you may return to your regiment"

Sgt. Major Munro (94th Regt. - green facings) "The 94th began the day with 840 men and 670 men, all ranks are fit and reporting for roll call, sir. The details (he turns to Quincannon and winks) are 120 dead (12 figures), 50 wounded (5 figures) and unfit for duty, and 120 (12 figures saved) returned in time for the roll call."

Sinclair: "thank you Sergeant Major, you may return to your regiment."

Sergeant Parker (5/60th Rifles): " Sir, our losses were light, having 10 killed (1 figure) and no wounded, despite being heavily engaged with the enemy all day. We have 350 men of all ranks present and fit for duty. We began the day with 360 men.

Sinclair : "Thank you Sgt. Parker, just the roll please, no commentary just now. Tell Captain Bond that his Rifles performed wonders today.

Sgt. Munro: "Yes sir. Thank you sir. I will present your compliments to Captain Bond."

Sgt. Shockley - Royal Horse Artillery: "Sir, Captain Grant's B Battery Royal Horse Artillery reports 320 men of all ranks reporting for duty. We began the day with 360 men. Sir, we lost two of our guns to counterbattery fire from the French. Captain Grant conveys his apologies."

Sinclair: "No apologies are necessary Sgt. Shockley. You can not account for blind luck for the French. You may return to your company."

Sinclair turns to his ADC, Captain Young, who has been writing down the results of the roll.

Sinclair: "Captain Young, you will present the results of the roll call to Major General Pettygree, post haste.

Sinclair's brigade at roll call: 94th Regiment (front) and 83rd Regiment (second row)

The infantry regiments within the brigade are shown in formation at the roll call, above, minus their losses (Killed and Wounded).


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Chapter 1: The Game Is Afoot

Date: 1 February 1809
Location: Port of Lisbon, Portugal
Situation: Expected News Arrives
Purpose: Fictional campaign novel adapted from actual historical events.

Toward the end of 1808 the military situation in the Iberian Peninsula for allies Britain, Portugal and Spain was hopeless. Napoleon had overrun most of Iberia and seemed unstoppable. Spanish armies were defeated and disorganized. Portuguese forces were insignificant and wanting. Finally, Sir John Moore's British contingent was greatly outnumbered and retreating fast into northwest Spain. Lest everyone be lost, he intended to embark for home from the port of Coruna.

Wind kept troop transports off the port until 15 January. Embarkation commenced almost immediately. The next day Marshall Soult's II French Corps arrived commencing a furious battle to prevent it. The line held but Moore was killed. On the 17th the French paused allowing the rest of the British Army to embark and sail for England.

A fortnight later only one viable allied body was left in northwest Iberia. It was the 10,000 man division commanded by Major General William Justinian Pettygree in Lisbon. News was expected any hour saying Soult's 23,500 men were marching south into Portugal. All that stood in his way was the garrison of Lisbon.


During the indolent morning of 1 February, Marshall Soult's plans were of no concern to Royal Marines guarding the seawall at the Lisbon Custom's House. Their boredom had been barely relieved observing a pair of two deckers rapidly arrive and depart the roadstead. For Thunderer and Conqueror, both 74s, it had only been a matter of touch and go to deliver an important dispatch from the inshore squadron near Coruna, Spain.

Captain Michael Siggins, Aide de Camp to General Pettygree, arrived to receive that dispatch.

Siggins: "Thank you Captain. This will be hand-delivered to the General without delay."

Major General Pettygree's Personal Journal
1 February 1809

"In the early morning Major Ridge (5th Foot) and I left Castelo Vasco de Gama for exercise. He pointed to a rider clattering in haste over a bridge toward us."

 Ridge: "It's Siggins Sir. I'm thinking he's holding a dispatch."

Siggins: "It's news from the inshore squadron off Coruna General; no more than two days old. They must have flown to get here in that time."

Pettygree: "It was news about the French. The dispatch read.

Pettygree: "There was not a moment to lose. Soult was on his way and we needed to respond. Cutting our ride short, we repaired to headquarters and consulted our map of the region."

Siggins: "Three days ago Soult left Coruna in the north heading for Santiago and probably Oporto."

Ridge: "I reckon he'd like to have Oporto's docks and control the Duero River bridge."

Pettygree: "Quite so."

Ridge: "If we leave Lisbon in the morning General, we might deny Oporto to him."

Pettygree: "No Major. We shall force march past Oporto to the Spanish border and deny the crossings over the River Minho (Minio) near Vigo Galiza to him. --- How soon can the 5th get underway?"

Ridge: "I daresay we can be on the road at noon today."

Pettygree: "Let the men eat first and afterwards be on the march no later than an hour past noon."

Ridge: "The Fighting 5th. will do as you say General! Quo Fata Vocant (Whither the fates call.)"

Pettygree: "Ridge was as good as his word. His gosling greens were indeed on the road at one of the clock in the afternoon waiting only for...."

Pettygree: "Captain Siggins to render my orders to Lord Paget and his Light Cavalry Brigade. I could always count on him to be ready to gallop off at a moment's notice. Paget would lead and screen our Advance Guard to the Minho. The rest of the garrison would follow in the morning."

Pettygree: "The 16th Light Dragoons trotted down the river road in style."

Pettygree: "Ahead of them was Paget's personal guard from his own 7th Hussars."

Pettygree: "Leading were the celebrated 15th Light Dragoons of Emsdorf fame. None better."

Pettygree: "I could just see Lt. Colonel Stomper in front reviewing his troopers as they passed by."

"I would leave with most of the rest of the garrison in the morning. The game was truly afoot. --- Quo Fata Vocant applied to all of us."

Major General William Justinian Pettygree
Chief of Staff: Lieutenant Colonel Hyde
ADC: Captain Siggins
Exploring Corp Officer: Major Hogan
Royal Marine Detachment (320)

Brigadier Alexander Sinclair
2/83rd Foot (840)      Lt. Col. Charles Gordon/ Major Amos Dundee
94th Foot (840)         Lt. Col. Blackford Oakes
2 Coys 5/60th Regt. (240)  Captain Ward Bond
Lt. Harry Pearson's RA Section 2x 9 Pdrs. (10 crew)

Brigadier Petrus Young
5th Foot (860)      Lt. Col. Devereaux/Major Hicks
9th Foot (1,060)   Major Henry Ridge/Captain Packard
95th Rifles A and B Companies (250)     Captain Hunter
Portuguese Cacadore Company (120)     Captain Mendes

Major General Lord Henry Paget
7th Hussars (60)
15th Light Dragoons (250)      Lt. Col. Stomper
16th Light Dragoons (250)      Lt. Col. Valentine
KGL (240)      Major Kinch
Grant's Horse Artillery 6x 6 Pdrs. (300) Captain Hew Grant
Artillery train (240)

Total Rank and File: 5,970 Foot, Horse and Artillery


1) Our Prelude was adapted from Michael Glover's, The Peninsular War 1807-1814 A Concise Military History published in 1974 by Penguin. My copy dates from 2001.

2) The Custom's House is from Miniature Building Authority's Spanish horse and musket era collection.

3) We will occasionally provide information using the Murat Campaign System map of Iberia. On 6 November 2012, Malcolm, the owner, granted permission for use here. Thank you very much Malcolm. This is an important and singular opportunity to better explain campaign movements, etc.

4) Captain Siggins is a 28mm Front Rank British Napoleonic courier. Foundry produces the Royal Marines whilst Elite Miniatures has the yellow-cuffed officer.

5) Most of the cavalry and infantry are 28mm Elite miniatures. For variety officers from other manufacturers have been posted to the 5th Foot; Front Rank, Foundry and others. Paget and his 7th Hussars are Front Rank.
Friends, readers, lurkers and enthusiasts. 

This is the start of a serial story Jim P. (Der Alte Fritz) and I (Bill P. of the General Pettygree Colonial Blog) we  hope you will return to again and again. The story will advance with captioned photos, character development and some narration as you've just seen. 

It will also feature historical miniatures tabletop games conducted by our regional pards. Their conclusions are unknown. Quo Fata Vocant!

We sincerely appreciate your interest. Pass the word to friends, if you please. 
Germane remarks will always be welcome below.