Friday, 8 February 2013

Battle Report - 6 Feb 2013 - Principles of War

We had our first battle in Gav's second computer-moderated Penninsular War campaign this week. An entire French Corps under Maréchal Victor ran into a rather disorganised but larger force under Wellington just outside Palencia.

Battle lines drawn up, the French along the ridge line.
Unfortunately (or not, depending on how you look at it) the bunch of players for this one are dotted round the world (quite literally: one's in Australia and more than one in the US), so after a bit of negotiation it eventually fell to me and Gavin (it would have been Richard as well, but he had to cancel.)

We used Gavin's 6mm forces, and the Principles of War ruleset, which I've played a couple of times before, but am rather rusty with, so I was profoundly grateful that as rulesets go, they're pretty good at encouraging you to play period tactics.
Deploying short of the village pays off, as the British
advance gets rather logjammed round it.


As the British were (eventually) going to outnumber the French, I adopted a defensive position along a ridge line and the front edge of a relatively open forest. Basically I had one brigade in reserve from each division, plus a full division in reserve. There was a small village just in front of that line, but after a little consideration I left it as an obstacle for the British, rather than bend my line.

The British turned up somewhat piecemeal, rather hampered by a) Gavin's awful dice rolling for command points for the commanders that mattered and b) Wellington having to command a massive group of several otherwise leaderless stragglers, which meant he was never going to have enough command points.

Villatte's Division engages the British.
My deployment seemed to work quite well: on the right, the British got rather snarled up round the village, taking odd retreat results from speculative artillery fire, and generally being short on command points.

On the left, I advanced some of Victor's cavalry to force the British division (with no cavalry to support it) into square, and had Victor change that flank's orders to engage, in the hope I could shift them before the considerable column of reinforcements (nearly two divisions worth) arrived. It nearly worked. Had my dice rolls not decided to desert me at the crucial moment, I'd have driven off at least one if not two brigades.

The British make a renewed attempt to force an attack
through the village onto Ruffin and Lapisse's Divisions.
On the right, a couple of British units got within canister range, and veered off pretty sharply, which did nothing at all to help the snarl up in the village.

In the centre, Crawfurd and the Light Division (or at least, elements thereof) were doing better than the rest (helped by Crawfurd not having much to command). However, they did get on the receiving end of several turns of artillery fire from Victor's horse and foot artillery, and were starting to look pretty shaky, not helped by Crawfurd himself getting hit.

The British, having fallen back from the French
counterattack. Crawfurd's brigade is on the extreme right.
By now I'd lost a couple of units on both flanks, and was quietly very glad I'd kept brigades in reserve to plug holes. Villatte on the left had managed to force the British back, but not as successfully as I'd like, despite Beaumont's Hussar's charging in on a British regiment.

And there, or thereabouts, is where we left it, with about a turn and a half to go before nightfall (it was gone 11:15pm). As the remaining turns don't need much strategic input from me, Gavin will run them over the weekend. It's still a bit touch and go, IMO, although I get the impression a fair few of the British units are low on morale. The main worry is Spencer's entire division of infantry heading for the French centre, but I think nightfall may beat them.


The one problem I have with Principles of War, once I've got used to the odd turn sequence (effectively Morale, Firing, Melée, Move), is that I find the morale roll (d20 vs unit strength + mods) slightly more prone to extreme results than I'd like. I wonder if 3d6 would be a better roll? Maybe that's one for the Probability For Wargamers series? :D



2 comments:

  1. Sounds like you had a good time, even if the dice were troublesome. Happy gaming!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the report - sorry I couldn't make it. Hopefully next time!

    ReplyDelete

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