Monday, 1 May 2017

Peninsular project part 10 The battle of Rolica

I've had a bit of a brake from the Peninsular what with work and life in general so its been a while since I posted anything. So following on from part 9 of the project, I thought  it would be good to have a quick look at the forces involved in the re-fight of the battle of Rolica. Then a bit of a recap of the set up.

The British
Commander General Nightingall

29th regiment of foot

5th regiment of foot

9th regiment of foot

95th rifles

British Field artillery

The French

Commander General Delaborde

commander of the infantry general Brenier

2nd light infantry battalion

4th light infantry battalion

1st battalion 70th line infantry

2nd battalion 70th line infantry

4th Swiss line infantry only 2 companies

French Field artillery

26th Chasseur a Cheval  

The battle starts with the British in column on the main road at point A. The French have withdrawn to their second position on the ridge line. The British have 15 turns to brake thought the French holding the ridge. On turn 15 the two flank columns make an appearance on at point E and F at which point the French must start to withdraw from their position even if the main assault from the centre columns has failed to drive them from their position. As you can see the British will win the battle its a question weather the French can cause the main assault to stall and clam a tactical if not a morel victory, and make the British pay a high price for the ridge line.
The battle sketch of the battle the main British can be seen in the valley, The 29th can be seen charging up one of the narrow ravines 

For the Battle i will be trying out the Sharpe practise 2 rules, I'm not going to give a blow by blow round by round account of the battle, but more of a narrative which the Sharpe Practise rules cover so well. 
so with colours blazing like the sun, onwards we go.

The British centre advances 

The French hold the ridge

main view of the battle 

 The British advancing on the French. The French open up with their artillery, luckily for the British the French gunners are not at their best.

The 29th reach the base of the ridge and roll to see if they charge head long up the ravine, or wait for the rest                                     of the British. With a wild cheer the 29th rush up the narrow track                                       ( brave or crazy ill let you decide )

The British artillery are in range and start to fire at the French, but the shots land short or fly over the heads of the French who are on the reverse slope of the ridge. " know there's an idea"

The 29th make slow work as they clamber up the narrow track, and the voltigeurs of the 4th light infantry are about to make things even more difficult for them.

The 4th light infantry skirmishers start to pepper the 29th as they struggle on up the hill.

lower down the slope the two units of the 95th move up on either flank of the 29th.

Grasshoppers and voltigeurs fight it out on the slopes.

Somehow the 29th are making progress up the hill despite being shot at by the 4th light's skirmishers .

The 70th line lead by general Brenier move up to hold the ridge line against the rapidly approaching 29th.

The 95th rifles are also making good progress and the 9th lead by general Nightingall and the 5th regiment of foot are behind the other group of 95th rifles.

general view of the battle the British are making slow progress the 9th regiment with the 95th are making their way up the track on the left. The 5th and another company of 95th are moving up on the right.

The British artillery continue to fire at the French missing each time.

The French artillery fire and inflict some casualties on the 9th regiment of foot but not enough to stop them.

The ridge line is a blaze of musket fire as the British stumble there way up the slopes.
The 29th come under increasing pressure from the 2 battalions of 70th line infantry and start to crumble.

Both the two units of the 95th start getting the upper hand and push forwards on the flanks of the 29th.

The Swiss take one look at the 95th and the 9th following them, and decided its time to leave and neatly file off the table. leaving the guns exposed and forced to withdraw.

The 26th  chasseur come to the rescue and charge the 95th and the 9th as they reach the ridge line, sending them falling back.

Its turn 10 and the British are on the ridge, but not all is going well. The 29th are hanging in there by a thread, the 9th and a unit of 95th are sheltering in a wood on the left, and the 5th and the other unit of 95th have reached the ridge line but are engaged in a musket duel with the 2nd light infantry on the far right.

As casualties start to mount on both sides the British have to brake through the French line.

 The 29th after fighting up the ravines and fighting two battalions of French, finely brake and fall back down the ridge.

The 5th foot decide that a musket fight will not win the day and charge the 2nd light, the 2nd fire a volley at the advancing red coats but they keep coming.

on the other flank the 9th and 95th advance again once the French cavalry withdraw, the 70th swing round to cover this flank.

The 95th rifles start to pepper the 70th as the 9th move up to join the fire fight.

A monumental fire fight blazes along the French right flank.

Slowly the 9th and 95th start to withdraw under pressure from the French, the 5th having broken the French light find themselves facing the French infantry with cavalry on there flank also start to withdraw before the are surrounded.

Well its turn 15 and the game ends with the two British flanking columns about to appear to a scene of total
 scene of chaos. The French still hold the ridge line, but they are shattered having held off the first British assault. general Delaborde gave the order to withdraw, and the French units retire with there heads held high.

Wow what a fight, the rules worked well, an interesting game with the French fighting off the British, and claiming a tactical victory. The British fought hard but in the end the French just held their ground.  Well that's it for the moment. Next time I'm going to have a go at a what if battle of Rolica. what will happen when general Loison, appears on the battle field stay tuned till next time thanks for reading .

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Peninsular project part 9 the campaign continues

It been a while since the last post but i'm back with part 9 of the project, After the skirmishing around the village of Borilos, the French units withdrew in good order to the town of Obidos. The British followed closely, and after some shots being exchanged the skirmish came to a halt. With the French still holding the town as night fell. 

                                                           View of the wall and town of Obidios

In the morning the French units had withdrawn from Obidios and rejoined the rest of the French. Who were know on a hills surrounding the village of Rolica. Delaborde keeping an eye on the situation, knew that he was heavily outnumbered by the advancing British, but he still intended to follow his orders to slow their progress. He skillfully positioned his force on a hill west of Rolica. This position was a strong one, which would force the British to assault up a step hill giving him the advantage. He had also stationed skirmishers all along his front to harass the British assault. Delaborde also had a second position about 2 miles behind his first position, which was on top of a ridge line with the village of Columbeira to its west. Delabordes plan was to hold the British for as long as possible using these two positions to anchor his fighting withdraw. He also hoped that general Lision would come to his assistance during the day, so they could if possible go on the offensive.

map of the battle 

Wellesley having the advantage of numbers, set about advancing in 3 columns the right column under the command of  Colonel Trant made up of Portuguese infantry and cavalry. This column was to advance and turn Delabordes left flank. The left column under General Ferguson was made up of British infantry, cavalry and artillery they were to apply pressure on Delabordes right flank, General  Ferguson was also tasked with keeping a watch full eye on the road for general Lisbon. The centre column was under General Wellesley him self and would advance on general Delabodes main position.

Delaborde stationed on the hills above Rolica watched as the British centre columns advanced on this position. They advanced across the open ground with parade ground precision, with pockets of skirmishers moving forward. The dull thud of the British cannon sounded the start of the battle.

The French artillery soon opened fire on the advancing British, and the French skirmishers traded shots with British skirmishers, in the valley. Colonel Trant had reached a small village called Quinta Gruga on Delabordes left flank. At this point Delabode decided to withdraw to his second and stronger position on the ridge line above Columbeira, which he did behind a screen of skirmishers and cavalry.

A photo of Delabordes second position the village of Columbeira can be seen on the right. There were four ravines leading to the top of the ridge.

Wellesley was know forced to regroup his columns, and continue his pincer movement as before on Delabordes second position. This was going to be a hard assault as the approach to the ridge was more open but the ground was far more broken, with dry river beds, and the ridge itself could only be accessed via steep narrow ravines.

 A photo of the narrow ravine that the 29th foot assaulted The photo doesn't show what a steep climb it was, but it dose show how much of an easy target the British must have been  as they struggled up the ravine.

The scene  is set for the next battle of the project. the re-fight will concentrate on the assaults made by the British to capture Delabordes second position the ridge line above the village of Columbeira.

The units involved: 

The allies:     under Arthur Wellesley
13'300 British
2'590 Portuguese
The British had six brigades of infantry and a small detachment of cavalry namely the 20th light dragoons.
The Portuguese contingant was made up of 3 battalions of infantry a small contigant of cavalry and around 500 Cazadores from Porto, and a artillery unit. The Portuguese were under the command of Lieutenant-colonel Trant.

The French:   under the command of General Delaborde
Total around 4'400
It was made up of around 4,000 infantry under the command of Gen-Brigade Brenier. The cavalry was made up of 250 men of the 26th Chasseur Cheval. The French also had around 5 artillery guns.

 Only around 6'000 British infantry were involved in the main assault on the French position, with around         4'000 making the main assault on the narrow tracks. These units are listed below, and will make up the forces of the British.

From General Nightingall's 3rd Brigade the 29th regiment of foot

From General Hill's 1st Brigade the 9th regiment of foot

From General Hill's 1st Brigade the 5th regiment of foot

From General Fane's 6th Brigade the 95th rifles regiment

For each of the above foot regiments i will be using 2 smaller bases each with 6 miniatures and i will also give each regiment 5 light infantry single bases to represent the regiments skirmisher company. The 95th will be made up of 12 single miniatures, these will give them a fighting chance of getting up those ravines.

Battle sketch of the battle of Rolica The 29th can be seen advancing up one of the narrow tracks, as the rest of the British units move into position. 

The game starts with the French main body deployed on the southern ridge point B, having withdrawn to their second position. The British will start in column at point A. The battle will concentrate on the attacks made by the British centre column. The French are deployed at point B and have a limited time to to hold this position, as the flank columns under General Ferguson and Colonel Trant will appear at point E and F on turn 15 after which the French will start to withdraw from their position.

Victory Points for the French
After turn 10 the French will gain 1 VP for each turn that they still hold the ridge ( if the French are still on the table. )
For each British base routed/lost the French gain 1VP

Victory points for the British
The British will gain 5 VP if they manage to take the ridge from the French before turn 10.
For each French base routed/lost the British gain 1VP

The Swiss problem
When a British unit comes to within musket range of the Swiss (only one test) The Swiss must roll to see it they fight on or walk away Roll 1 D6 1,2,3 and they fight on. 4,5,6 and the call it a day and are removed from the battle.

The 29th and colonel Lake
The 29th battalion of foot will be the lead regiment as they where on the day once they have reached the foot of the ravine they must roll a test to see if they charge strait up the ravine or wait for the rest of the battalions.

Roll 1 D6 1,2,3,4 and the 29th charge the French. 5,6 and they wait for the rest.

Well that's the set up for the battle. This should prove to be an interesting battle with the British attacking the French who are holding a ridge line. till next time, and thanks for reading.