The French were still slightly disadvantaged as the forces were equal, and usually the attacker would have more. Since I was in charge of the Emperor's forces I took great cheer from this but on the bright side the French had been successful twice before.
The Allies deployed in a defensive position behind the main stream.
Characteristics were used M = Medium, L = Low, H = High
2 Foot battery's
points paid to remove wavering and unreliable special rules
Guerrillas - tiny
|1st Brigade 2/2 Leger and the Dragoon brigade|
|The French ready for the off|
|Royal Welch Fusiliers supported by a Spanish battalion|
|Allied right and centre|
|End of French first move|
|Portuguese in blue behind the British 1st Brigade|
|View towards the centre|
|The French Dragoons slowly moving up to support the French 1st Brigade|
|View from the French right across the battlefield|
|The white smoke of disorder on the 95th Rifles defending the knoll|
|View from Allied left flank before they moved|
|The French 1st Brigade nicely disordered. The flying British dragoons can be seen bottom right.|
|Such good shooting needs a second picture|
|The Portuguese hadn't moved but you can see the Hussars slowly following the successful British Dragoons|
|View of he knoll with the disordered 95th and the new positions of the Spanish and British cavalry after their charges|
|View of the French 1st Brigade|
|The successful 12th Prince of Wales's Own Light Dragoons|
|The view from the French Light cavalry positions|
|The French Light Cavalry Brigade|
|The French dragoon taking cover behind a hill having charged and forced the Royal Horse Artillery to fall back.|
|The Cazadores are disordered|
|The French 2/4th (centre left) overshoot the hill in a blunder.|
|French 3rd Brigade moving over the hilly rough ground|
|The French Light Cavalry wonder why they haven't received an order to support their horse artillery (top right)|
|Overview before the Allied moves and shooting|
|French Light Cavalrys' horse artillery shot to shreds...|
|... and flees|
|The new French squares caused by the cavalry charge are disordered|
|The centre and French left|
|The Allied right|
|The Allied centre|
|The Allied left|
|The Leger in line, and the shaken columns in the centre|
|The centre and 3rd Brigades attack. Note lack of disorder smoke on the British line.|
|The Allied right flank and the French 3rd Brigades' attack|
The Allied firing moved down the line and the Portuguese artillery shook and disordered the 2/4th of 2nd Brigade. The rest of the brigade was out of harms way but as it was the smallest French brigade with 3 large battalions, if 1 more battalion could be shaken the brigade would break. That earlier blunder was proving costly. Another take would be that the previous failed command rolls now ensured that the brigade was safe, however if I'd been successful I'd have used them to soften up 3rd Brigades assault.
|The broken French 1st Brigade before their retreat and the supporting Dragoons close to breaking too|
|The broken French 1st Brigade and the hurt supporting Dragoons|
|The 1 casualty on the West Kent's facing the French 1st Brigade. They needed 3 more to be shaken as they are a large unit.|
True to form the staff officer calling for the 2nd Brigade to move up the centre and cover the retreat of 1st Brigade and use it's artillery to support 3rd Brigade got lost. The amount of lost staff officers worried the French commander. The rules don't put a number on the staff available but I must have been getting close to sending valets and grooms!
The 3rd Brigade had nothing for it but to charge. The fit units could have pulled back but their disordered comrades were stuck and if they broke they'd all have to retreat. The Provisional Croatian battalion and the 3/76th chose glory and charged. The Albion Triumphant rule regarding French columns meant if they survived closing fire only 1 battalion would charge home to simulate the difficulty of less trained troops co-ordinating their attacks. Miraculously both battalions made it, although the 3/76th was disordered from the Connaught Ranger and Royal Artillery shooting. The Croatians became the first French to get to grips with the British and showed their mettle by shaking the Rangers who fell back. The Croatians formed line ready to continue the advance next turn.
|Glory! The Croatians take the ridge pushing the Rangers back and form line|
|In the the distant right the French 1st Brigade retreats|
The French Light cavalry still had nothing to add so kept their station. The final act was for the commander in chief himself to gallop forward and attempt to rally the 2/4th's square of 2nd Brigade in the centre which he successfully did.
|The Allied right with the French Light Cavalry observing|
|French Light Cavalry|
|Centre left the French CinC rallies the 2/4th's square|
|View of from the French 2nd Brigade of the 3rd Brigades attack|
The Allied focus was naturally on breaking 2 more brigades and victory.
Firstly they charged the shaken and disordered French Dragoons with their British counter parts. The French were unable to evade or counter charge so had to take the charge at a standstill. The British Hussars with them charged the Dragoons' horse artillery in the rear.
Next the British Hussars in the centre charged the Croatians and made them form square which they did but became disordered. The Royal Artillery batteries on the ridge them turned to face the new square. The tension was mounting. The Spanish Rey regiment who had been next to them followed the British Hussars charging the 3/76th forcing them in to square as well.
|The Croatians. Interestingly if the Allies hadn't forced them in to square both Royal Artillery batteries could have manoeuvred and claimed enfilading fire from both sides firing down the line. That would have been very bloody.|
Not surprisingly the Croatians were blown from the field. Surviving 2 lots of canister then the inexpert fire from the Spanish Militia put them over the edge to fail their break test. 1 more battalion from the Brigade was now need to be shaken. The coup de grace was delivered by the 87th Prince of Wales Own Irish upon the French 50th Regiment, the battalion who ironically had been guarding the baggage for the previous 2 games.
The French had now lost 2 brigades and 1 to go for a Allied victory.
Continuing the Allied firing the Portuguese artillery and the Cazadores concentrated on the newly rallied 2/4th square. This combination of fire broke them and they fled the field taking the French commander with them.
|The 2/4th about to flee with the CinC either dead or carried off in the panic. An ignominious end to French battle.|
|Victorious British cavalry|
Temporarily without a commander in chief the French dragoons faced the British Hussars who scattered the disordered dragoon regiment and continued their charge into the next dragoon regiment who did not have time to counter charge shaking it and thus breaking the French heavy cavalry brigade. The final act the British Hussars rode down the horse artillery.
|The end of the French Dragoon brigade middle top and the end of the French fight|
|The broken French 3rd Brigade|
|The rocks clearly visible now the French square had run off with their CinC|
|The retreating French left flank - 1st Brigade and Dragoons|
|View from the Allied left down the line|
|The victorious Allied line|
|Another view of the death of the French Dragoon brigade. The gun was destroyed but I haven't taken it off the board|
|View from the Allied left with the retreating French 1st Brigade and Dragoons in the distance|
|End positions of the victorious Spanish and British cavalry|
|The Allied right flank at the end|
|Clear gap left from the destruction of the Croatians|
|The Allied right still being observed by the French Light Cavalry now readying themselves to be the rearguard in the French retreat.|
The French with 50% of their army broken and in retreat had no choice but to quit the field. The 3rd battle of El Valle was a resounding Allied victory over turning the 2 previous defeats in style. Of course for me I'd now lost 3 games.
Great game. The Allies did everything I wanted them to do when I dreamt up the scenario. The only issue was I wasn't in command. The French were bedevilled with bad command dice then completely shot in the foot by a bad order charging the 3rd Brigade towards the ridge before they were positioned correctly and the 2nd Brigade artillery had time to soften the enemy up. I was too impatient or as my kind opponent said too aggressive. I do like a good headlong charge!
The Albion Triumphant rule additions worked nicely and gave the game a Peninsular feel. The French ruling for columns charging home in a stagger is harsh, especially if the Allies are getting their all arms combination right. I think the French do need to 'prepare' the enemy line with skirmisher and artillery fire before launching an attack. You definitely do not get the sense of unstoppable columns.
This ends the fighting in El Valle and the war will move on next game.