Final Light Infantry

I’ve now finished the second batch of Fleurian Chasseurs a Pied. This gives me a further 10 men and 2 leaders (Big Men for Sharp Practice), making 3 dozen light infantry in all, when added to the earlier Voltigeurs.

They are the same Perry early ACW figures as before, including a command pack this time. When done, the flag will be a clipart printout and highlight paint job. The sergeant (who was originally another standard bearer with an empty hand) has had a plasticard and greenstuff sword added.

This batch:

 

 

Combined Fleurian light infantry (minus 1 figure which I foolishly left in the drawer). This makes 3 ‘groups’ for Sharp Practice, or 1 battalion (on magnetic sabot bases) for the big games at Ayton when we do 19th century:

 

 

 

 

 

Light battalion deployed with Voltigeur flank companies skirmishing out front on open order bases (as per Tim Hall’s excellent ACW rules):

 

 

On to the line infantry next.

A Very Eventful Skirmish – part 2

So, up went the first pair of rockets…. and down they came… about halfway to the target! The rules for them certainly made things interesting and unpredictable, and we soon agreed that the safest place on the table to be was the target they’d been originally aimed at. Simon had some nice explosion pieces containing flickering lights which really looked the business.

 

As my units struggled forward over the rough terrain, I was beginning to feel that I was at least as likely to hit my own troops as the enemy. It was a good premonition, as the very next rocket mischievously decided to turn hard right and plough into one of my rifle groups (which had just failed by 1″ to charge the voltigeurs). Lovely. I’d been aiming at the village again, so as you can see from the next pic, this was a significant miss! One dead and a few shock (disruption) points. It could’ve been worse I suppose..

 

Still, the rifles rallied and after 1 more shot I ordered the crazy Major Brock to desist for a while, and let the enemy take a turn shooting at us. That last rocket came down short of the target like all the rest, but at least evened the score by killing a voltigeur! We were beginning to close in on the village and the fire from the rifles and the light infantry’s muskets was causing Simon a growing problem in casualties and shock points. His earlier sortie, which had caused me some concern, was recalled or forced back, and his voltigeurs somehow made it back to their own lines by routing faster than my men could catch them. With 26 shock points on a unit with only 5 men left, they weren’t going to play any further part in the action, and about time too.

 

Getting back to the mission, the church was still a long way away and there remained a lot of French infantry between me and it. Despite the deadly fire my units were now pouring into the defenders, time was running out and with a flurry of unhelpful (to me) cards and turn ends, the French cavalry finally turned up. As I’d feared, my rifles were too spread out and were vulnerable to being ridden down, even on the rough hills. As fate would have it, the turn ended suddenly again (those damned cards!) which freed up the newly-arrived cavalry to launch an immediate charge.

The first group of riflemen fought well, but were killed or sent packing, and over the next couple of turns the horsemen slaughtered another group, killing the rifles officer and the Irish priest who’d led them by hidden paths to the village. Although my speed-bump rifles did finally manage to stop the cavalry, and cause enough casualties and shock to dent their effectiveness, the game was up. We reviewed the table and agreed that despite the losses and disruption among the French, a successful assault by the remaining British would have had little hope of success. In retrospect I should probably have tried to focus on moving faster and ignoring the temptation to stop and shoot. That said, there’d have been a lot more enemies left to face an assault if I hadn’t wittled them down as I did, so the outcome would still have been in doubt.

The final positions, with the rifles major and the priest lying dead on the hillside as the cavalry pull back to re-group, and the remaining attackers still too far away to achieve their objective:

All in all this was a very enjoyable game with lots of fun and surprises, and a believable outcome at the end. Simon was an excellent host, and played his position well, holding on for the cavalry to thunder to the rescue. The rockets were amusing and completely hopeless at the same time, but added extra flavour to the game. The rules are very good, but are vague in places and we were understandably rusty a year on from game 1. We certainly speeded up once we got going, despite grappling with cavalry, artillery and rockets for the first time. The card-generated turn sequence, with all its uncertainty and swings of luck, makes for great entertainment and a real challenge. Roll on the next game!

A Very Eventful Skirmish – part 1

Yesterday Simon (Goat Major) hosted me for our second ever game using the Sharp Practice rules. We used one of the scenarios from the Compleat Fondler supplement, which involved the British attempting to rescue an important officer from the clutches of the dastardly French before he could be hustled out of the Peninsular. We took advantage of some of our own back-story from the first game we played last year, where the British commander, Fondler himself, was captured (due to my carelessness and Simon’s initiative). It was therefore Fondler who was to be rescued then, by his own men.

Simon had set up the table (6′ x 4′) as an exact replica of the one called for in the scenario, even going to the trouble of putting in some after-work sessions last week to add a necessary large hill! As you can see, the battlefield looked enticing to play over. Pics are from my phone, but hopefully they’re OK.

 

The figures were an eclectic mix of our 18th and 19th century forces, some on group bases and some as singles, along with the appropriate Big Men to lead them – and my new rocket battery of course. We rolled for sides, with me getting the ‘British’ and therefore being the one to attack. Simon duly set up a tough-looking defence of the church in which Fondler was being held, with one squad of voltigeurs under Sergeant Petain required to be out on the hills to provide warning of the British approach.

The various arrivals due included my main force of light infantry and the rockets by road at the start (on blinds), my riflemen (represented by Simon’s lovely Grenzers) via the middle road after a few (but randomly timed) turns, and finally the French cavalry which Simon had to hope would come to his rescue in time. The action kicked off with increasing numbers of my infantry peeling off the road to go cross country and push the voltigeurs back so the rockets could deploy unhindered. It was to take a long time to drive them away, which definitely had an impact on my troops’ positions in the closing stages of the battle.

 

 

I had some luck with the timing of my rifles’ arrival and they were soon racing to cut off the frustratingly resilient voltigeurs, who were benefiting from the cover offered by the scrub-covered slopes they were retreating across.

 

The game was beginning to hot up as the rocket battery deployed on the road within sight of the main French position and started taking fire from the enemy’s light gun. As the eccentric Major Brock (slightly mad scientist and inventor of these experimental rockets) ordered the first fuses lit, no-one on either side could prevent themselves from ducking a little in anticipation of the impending mayhem that was expected to follow.

Part 2 to follow..