Sunday, October 19, 2014

Relieve Cadiz!

Date: 18 October 1810/2014
Location: Behind French Siege Lines At Cadiz

Situation: Allied Landing Force Appears From The Sea Behind The French.

Rules: Private Napoleonic variation to Batailles de l'Ancien RĂ©gime 1740-1763 (BAR)

This was not part of our campaign. It was a what-if and one of game inspired by the historical stalemate at Cadiz. French besiegers are indolent because of the heat and impossibility of taking Cadiz. The British somehow land and march inland. The French react only when the latter appear.

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The French were so indolent that the left most British Brigade was able to easily cross the river opposed only by a detached company of French in the buildings in the upper left. British Hussars are scouting in the distance. We are on the Main Table looking east.

The reality is I have a bias about river crossings. It has to be easily accomplished for the good of some scenarios. Had the British been opposed even weakly, it would have disrupted the timetable of playing the game. This can cause player frustration and ruin a game. Anyhow, the game needed to take place beyond the river - not at it. Plus, it is fun to march around a bit and deploy into a battle line.

Another British Brigade easily advanced on the right of it's neighbor on the Back Table looking east.

Still looking east, aroused by the British appearance, the French begin to form up in the siege lines not facing Cadiz but in the incomplete works protecting their rear. Heavy works can barely be seen in the upper left of this photo on the edge of the Main Table. Cadiz is even farther to the left. The British are far away approaching the bottom of this photo.

French forces begin to appear a little more numerously but they are not enough because....

Turning around and looking west, the distant British are only 1/3 of their force now forming up. They have bypassed that building the detached French company had been defending. The latter were shot to pieces by overwhelming firepower. They fled into the stream and vegetation in the upper right to hide. One battalion of the 51st French Line has been able to form to oppose the oncoming foe.

That battalion of the 51st is surely nervous, but they press on hoping....

That French column of companies on the left will arrive in time. Note the lone stand of three British Hussars opposing the column. Previously the full squadron (12) penetrated deeply into the French position cutting down a company of volitgeurs. The Hussars would soon depart. To the far right siege lines facing Cadiz have been abandoned.

Closer view of the British left flank on the Main Table and ....

Other friendly units adjacent to them.

The local French commander had been bringing forward enough units to oppose the advancing foe.

Would even more British arrive to make the situation impossible? There was only one thing to do....

All was in readiness. A 6 pounder, the somewhat reduced battalion of the 51st., Polentz Chasseurs a Cheval and the column of companies belonging to one of the battalions of the 61st. Moments later....

They all CHARGED! The hope was to overwhelm the thin red line, throw it back and cause disorder in the British second line. All combats were won by the French!

British foot on the two flanks of the melee were forced back. French infantry surged after them. In the center, they held. Still - the entire melee round went to the French. When morale dice were thrown, the stubborn redcoats held everywhere! Instead of a pursuit into the British rear, a second costly round of melee next turn had to be played out. And....

When it was played out, the redcoats routed back whence they had come.

To the buildings they had cleared earlier in the day. However....

The victory cost the French too much. You see them in the upper right withdrawing as new British units forced them to retreat. Meanwhile to the left of the great melee, another gambit was under way. French forces abandoned the outer works to support the attack just described. To their left....

Another French battalion is charged by British Heavy cavalry which was shot down.

Even farther to the left on the Back Table, other French infantry pressed forward too. However, when news of the defeat of the French right flank arrived, it was time to order a general retreat.

Amazing! French grenadiers hovering in mid-air on the right of this photo are standing on a clipboard inserted into the Back Table. The gap between the Main and Back Table is solely for the convenience of players so they have someplace to sit and walk around. Otherwise the interval between the Main and Back tables does not really exist for our miniatures. Sometimes it is disorienting to ascertain where units are when they straddle both tables. The clipboard helps reduce our confusion!

Victorious British forces advanced vigorously past where the grand melee had been fought.

Far far to the French rear, 1/4th Swiss Infantry, the last reserve, formed up sending part of itself....

To a tall hillock offering a rallying point for establishment of a new....

Last line of defense for the retreating French Army. Siege lines have been abandoned except for one end where two Swiss companies protect the flank facing Cadiz.

The Swiss stand firm as more...

French forces retreat toward it. Congratulations....

For a game well-played by British commanders John B. (left) and John M. (right). Yours truly, Bill P. commanded the French.


51st Line (2x battalions): 144
1/4th Swiss: 72 (Required to stay there by the scenario)
Independent Companies: 36
3x 6 Pounders (Saxon)

61st Line (3x battalions) 216
Saxon Polentz Chasseurs a Cheval (24)
Saxon Prinz Clemens Lancers (24)

1 sqd hussars 12
2 sqd hvy cav (24)
1 bn Portuguese cacadores (60)
1 bn Portuguese ln (70)
half bn rifles (40)
1 ln bn (80)
3 howitzers standing in as 6 pounders
hf bn highlanders (50)
1 ln bn (90)

(4) This was a so-called BIG Battalion game. Ratio of miniatures to real men is 1:10. All British/Portuguese belong to John M. All French/Saxon forces are from my collection. Saxons in Spain, Bill? No. The French needed artillery and cavalry which I do not have. So my Saxons got to get out of their storage boxes for the day. I was happy about that.

(5) The game started near 11:00 a.m. and concluded at 4:20 p.m.with a decision.

(6) It's been too long since our last post on this blog! I hope you enjoyed it. It was great fun and very satisfying to get out our Napoleonics after a year of idleness.

The best thing though is to be with companionable pards instead of sitting silent and alone in hobby isolation painting in a basement for too long. The latter is enjoyable but give me a game and I'll stop painting anytime. I say the latter to all who want and find it hard to find games to play merged comfortably adjacent to vital family and work activities. You can do it.

(7) Thank you very much for looking in! Your comments are sought and are absolutely welcome below.

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  1. Looks like another fantastic game, Bill. Just what I needed to see following four looonnnggg hours of undergrad papers.

    Best Regards,


  2. Bill, so impressive I felt the need to fondle my Napoleonics...Bill

  3. Wonderful looking game and a fine report. Love the tough Swiss, in Bicornes, no less.

    I do sometimes think our hobby is more "War Planning" then Watgaming, LOL!

  4. Thanks for a most interesting report and enjoyable pictures. The new Swiss are very well turned out!

    I understand, or at least have pondered sympathetically, the point about not always getting bogged down or busy around a river crossing, for the good of the scenario; in my experience, that can sometimes be a concern with buildings too.

  5. A nice AAR full of good pictures! Thank you for developping this bit of history

  6. Great looking game, very nice report!