Wednesday, 9 August 2017

C&C Napoleonics - Ocana (Cavalry Action) 18th November 1809.

For my third and final test battle using the Spanish Army expansion, I have chosen the cavalry action at Ocana. Light, heavy and a single Spanish Cuirassier unit. The French also have two batteries of horse artillery.

In the real battle, our old friend General Milhaud encountered three Spanish cavalry divisions under the command of General Freire. General Paris' light division of hussars attacked, and cut the Spanish light cavalry to pieces, but were then forced back when the Spanish heavy cavalry reserves made a counter attack. Milhaud then led his dragoons and sent the Spanish cavalry fleeing from the field.

This was one of the largest cavalry actions of the whole Peninsular War, and with the Cuirasssiers fully engaged elsewhere in Europe against the Austrians, this action helped the French Dragoons establish themselves as the premier heavy cavalry in the Peninsular.

Excellent cavalry country.

Initial deployment of forces.

As the Spanish commander, I don't want to make the same mistake as my historical predecessor. I know my hussars are weaker in combat than their French equivalent, so would like to have my heavy cavalry in close support. I would also prefer the French to attack me, this way if they wished to use their horse artillery, they would have to order it forward.

Looking from the French perspective. I would like to move my horse artillery forward if possible, to harry the light cavalry. My heavies are already in close support, and I wish to keep it that way. Dependent on the cards, a swift attack on the enemy light cavalry, before their supporting heavies can get involved would be ideal.

This is a seven victory banner scenario, The French have six cards, the Spanish five. The latter also start with one Guerrilla token. The French move first.

End of Turn One. One unit each of horse artillery and hussars advance on the French right flank, bringing the guns into range next turn. The two Spanish generals attach themselves to units and a light cavalry unit on the extreme left flank advances into line.

Horse artillery will have a target as the Spanish flank unit moves into range.

The two Spanish generals attach to units of heavy cavalry.

Spanish hussars in line.

End of Turn Two. More organising, as the two French generals attach themselves to a hussar (Paris), and a dragoon (Milhaud). The horse artillery unleashes a salvo at long range and pushes back one unit of light cavalry on the extreme flank. The Spanish begin to move forward their heavy cavalry.

French generals now attached to units.

The horse artillery making a nuisance of itself.

The Spanish heavy cavalry move forward to support the lights. I am careful to leave retreat paths, should the French charge.

All quiet before the storm.

End of Turn Three. Disaster for the French! General Paris leads four units of hussars on a charge at the enemy light cavalry.

The left most unit attacked and forced the enemy back one hex, they followed up with a cavalry breakthrough, but only managed another flag. In the centre the hussars caused some casualties on two enemy light cavalry units, but took severe hits in return.

Spanish General Rivas, with his heavy cavalry smash into the weakened unit of General Paris, destroying it, the general perished with them.

Two victory points to the Spaniards.

The French hussars did cause some casualties.

The Spaniards play the Guerrilla token, which takes away the French turn.

General Burnuy and his heavies, smash the weakened unit of hussars, as do the light cavalry beside him. Both French units are destroyed.

The Spanish now on four victory banners, and most of the French hussars are now off the table.

End of Turn Four, and end of battle!

The French played the La Grande Manouevre card, which allowed four dragoon units to thunder forward up to four hexes, but not battle. The Spanish had the Give them cold steel card, which gave an extra die to attack any enemy unit in an adjacent hex. Buoyed by their success already, General Rivas charged and destroyed one full unit of dragoons, carried out a cavalry breakthrough, and smashed into a second full unit of dragoons. This unit was also totally destroyed.

General Burney charged General Milhaud's unit, destroying three blocks, the French failed to hit on the battle back. The icing on the cake, was the Spanish lights charging into Milhaud's sole remaining block, destroying both it and the general. Game Over.

A sorry sight for the French, the Spanish actually have eight victory banners, as Milhaud also counts. Final result was 8 - 0.

That battle ended much sooner than I expected, the French had lousy cards, the Spanish had cards everywhere they were needed, the playing of the Guerrilla token, to rob the French of an activation, and the amazing dice rolling, did the rest. Very enjoyable, if somewhat short.

Next up I shall crack open the Russian Army expansion, see what Ivan can do against the French.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

C&C Napoleonics - Gamonal 10th November 1808.

For my second battle using the Spanish expansion, I have chosen Gamonal, which occurred just ten days after the previous battle featured on this blog. The Pico River is fordable along its entire length. Just a village and small town on the map, no hills and some forest.

The terrain laid out on the board, not too much to negotiate and ideal for cavalry.

The troops deployed. The French left wing consists of three units of dragoons, two of hussars and a single horse battery. The rest of the line being line, lights and a single unit of milita, plus two foot batteries. The Spanish have two units of light and one of heavy cavalry, on their right flank, with a single unit of light cavalry stationed behind the town of Vellimar on the left flank. The remainder are a mixture of foot artillery, line, grenadiers and a single militia unit.

The Spanish commander at Burgos, Conde de Belveder, was an inexperienced and rash officer. He had moved out of the strong defences of Burgos into an open plain well in front of Gamanol.
Soult and his advance guard arrived, and seeing the enemy's weak position, immediately launched an attack.

As the Spanish commander my options are pretty limited. The bulk of my cavalry on the right flank will need to be steadfast to prevent that flank being rolled up by the French. I will have to make the most of the forest terrain, in the hope of slowing down the enemy in the centre and my left.

As the French commander, I am licking my lips. Just as Soult did, cards willing, I shall launch my mobile left flank at the Spanish cavalry, destroy them and turn on the now vulnerable Spanish line. In the centre and right, I will advance enough to engage with artillery, use the forest to cover the advance of my infantry and await the cavalry to do their work.

This is a six victory banner game and the Spanish begin with one Guerrilla token.

End of Turn Two. The French heavy cavalry advance on the left flank, General Milhaud attaches himself to one of the units. In the centre, the Horse Artillery advances and fires ineffectively at the Spanish Grenadiers. The French lights advance through the forest towards the advancing Spanish line.

Milhaud and his two units of dragoons threaten on the left, whilst the lights and horse artillery advance. A Spanish line has also entered the forest.

On the Spanish left, the militia move into the town of Vellimar as the light cavalry move up.

End of Turn Three. The French lights in both forests are very successful against line regiments, in the centre losing two blocks and being forced out of the forest. In the right forest, the lights almost destroy the Spanish line facing them. On the Spanish left the light cavalry charge the foot artillery and force them back, but the other foot artillery push back a unit of French line.

The battle in the left forest.

The lights are also successful in the right forest.

Spanish casualties.

French foot artillery and line pushed back.

End of Turn Four. The French horse artillery cause a casualty to the Spanish Grenadiers, the lights in the left forest advance and battle, pushing the Spanish line back two hexes to the base line. However, the Spaniards are not sitting idle and awaiting the French to form up their cavalry for a mass assault, instead they play Cavalry Charge and units on both flanks thunder forward.

The target of the light cavalry on the French right, hastily form square and are able to roll a flag to push the attackers back.

It does cost a card.

On the French left, the Spanish charge is successful, one unit loses a block and is forced to retreat, The unit containing Milhaud loses two blocks and only his presence, prevents them retreating, They are in such a disarray, they fail to hit on the battle back.

The first French casualties.

The Spanish line who had been in melee with the French lights fall back two hexes.

Spanish casualties.

End of Turn Five. The French cavalry on the left flank are rallied by their general and charge the Spanish light cavalry, one unit is completely decimated whilst the second suffers a loss and falls back. A third French heavy cavalry unit also crosses the Pico River. Better luck for the Spaniards on the other flank, they now have two infantry units in square, but do take a hit themselves.

Death by the river!

The first victory banner goes to the French.

Two infantry units tied down, but at a cost, the light cavalry lose one block.

The Spanish foot artillery unleash a salvo into the forest, and remove a block of French lights.

The French casualties so far.

The two lost cards are going to present problems for the French general.

End of Turn Six. The French light cavalry advance in the centre, as the Spanish light cavalry by the river fall back. The single block of infantry in the forest also fall back. The French lights are pushed back in the left forest and finally the Spanish foot artillery, score a hit on the advancing light cavalry.

The light cavalry, with general attached advance in the centre, but are hit by artillery fire.

The lights in the forest are pushed back.

End of Turn Seven. The heavy cavalry on the left flank advance. The French lights in the right forest are pummeled and the Spanish light cavalry try to break one of the French squares, both suffer a loss.

Finally, a card to enable the heavy cavalry to continue their advance on the flank.

The lights in the forest are taking a lot of punishment.

The square and light cavalry continue to duel.

Spanish losses.

French losses.

End of Turn Eight. The French lights in the right forest are finally defeated, a victory banner for the Spanish. However, the French respond with the light infantry in the wood closest the weakened Spanish light cavalry, unleash a volley which wipes them out. A French victory banner.

All the action in this area of the field.

It allows one line unit to abandon square, the offending enemy light cavalry having been destroyed.

Getting a card back in the process.

The French are now on two victory banners.

The Spanish have one victory banner, but are chipping away at the French.

End of Turn Nine.

The French dragoons make their move, one unit attacking the light cavalry which they destroy in melee for a victory banner. The Spanish heavy cavalry advance into the river to charge the dragoons, they cause a casualty, but in the battle back, are wiped out, for another French victory banner.

All of the Spanish cavalry are now destroyed, the Spanish line is now at the mercy of the enemy cavalry on their right flank.

Most of the French cavalry have casualties, but they are still a potent fighting force.

End of Turn Ten. As one unit of dragoons crosses the river, another charges the weakened Grenadier unit and totally destroys it for the fifth victory banner. The horse artillery opens up on a line unit and causes two casualties. the last French square is able to reform and the card is returned.

Scene of the cavalry charge and artillery fire. The Spanish general advances a line regiment forward and attached himself to it.

The last square marker is removed.

Things do not look good for the Spaniards, the enemy to the front and flank.

Five victory banners.

Very little to show for the Spanish effort.

End of Turn Eleven. A La Grande Manoeuvre card allows the French right flank to advance. The militia in the town, score a hit and push one of the line units back. The Spanish line unit beside the town also throws back a French line unit with a casualty for good measure.

The French taking casualties.

Plenty of casualties, but very spread out, the next victory banner seems as far away as ever.

End of Turn Twelve. French dragoons charge and destroy a weakened line unit. Game over as the French take the sixth and final victory banner.

The victorious dragoons, run amok on the flank.

Six victory banners.

Just a single banner for the Spaniards.

Another very enjoyable game. As the French player the cards finally arrived to carry out my cavalry assault, a little later than planned, but very effective when it did get going. As the Spanish general, the cards were not very kind, I decided to use my cavalry on both flanks in a bold move, rather than just sit and wait for the French to hit me. It had some success tying up two units in square, but the gamble by the river, initially successful with the charge impetus of the card, was doomed once the heavy dragoons recovered.

For the final test battle of this expansion, I am eyeing an all cavalry affair. Dragoons and Hussars on both sides in pretty equal numbers. It should be interesting.