Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Peninsular Slippage in the Space/Time Continuum!

 The Spanish Peninsular: The scene....a little known and minor action (except to those who saw 'Sharpes Eagle' with 14 men, three women and a dog representing the whole British, French, Portuguese, Spanish armies and the population of Spain on TV) concerning the misdirection of the French Army by blowing up...

The Bridge over the Tagus at Alcantara: 14 May, 1809.

It was a much smaller affair than we have depicted but we have given it the Hollywood caveat of the 'loosely based on' treatment.The action opened very much as we have here with a beer belly competition (winner not pictured)
 Many famous and generous players arrived from gutters far and wide. Mark (winner of the Baton and cup at the Borodino game) brought shiny new figures and we hung our heads in shame at our inadequacy as they were paraded and dazzled before us...
 Billy C. (winner of a Baton at Borodino) deployed his skirmishers forward to observe the ground...
 The cavalry, artillery and infantry were deployed either side of the the hill covering the approaches to the bridge.
 The idea was for the bridge to be held long enough for the engineers to rig the explosives (18 moves)
 The Hanoverian 5th Brigade shone in the Spanish sun.
 The engineers got to work.
 The first of the French to arrive was the cavalry. Ingeniously, Colin (winner of the 'I can hold a beer bottle upright' award at Borodino) had made a method of guaranteeing  a random arrival of French forces...
 Envelopes of mystery would be rolled for and would then be opened to reveal the next units to arrive on that roll...clear?
 The French secret weapon turned out to be....lots and lots of French.
 The French attacked down both approach routes simultaneously.....oopsy.
 ...the artillery went for tea...
 Allied casualties grew alarmingly high, very quickly...
 ...necessitating a change of Allied underwear...
 The French came on in seemingly endless columns....
 The Duke of Cumberland's shiny Hussars dazzle the cuirassiers and have some success...
 Colin fails to qualify for this games 'I can hold my beer bottle upright' award (see picture) and dowses his cuirassiers with bottled lager...henceforth they are to be known as the Steinhauser Cuirassier Regt.
 The French under Marks command execute a perfect left wheel to threaten the Allied left flank...
 The remaining Allied battalions form square in the face of cavalry knowing that the artillery will mow them down...
 ..only a few moves to hold out...(move 8...er...half way...I think)
 The D of C's Hussars are stopped in their tracks (en route to Brussels) by the convoluted maneuverings of the next (beer free) cuirassier regt.
 Equally convoluted conjugations send the last of the Allied cavalry bounding off to glory....
 French reserve Divisions come up...(half way, move 10...er, no...half of 18 is?)
 ...forcing a third route over the top of the hill and sweeping away the (shiny) Landwehr skirmishers using their new secret weapon...sunglasses.
 The squares stoically prepare for the end..
 ...only a few more moves to hold on...
 The cavalry flings itself at the hords of French...
 The French can sense that victory is close....
 ...they risk all in a pell mell rush to the bridge...
 ...leaving someone up a tree smoking a pipe...
 Desperately, the Allied Brigade commander orders a suicidal attack to try and silence some of the enemy guns...
 The KGL obey and march to their certain doom.
 The Hanoverians move to block the end of the bridge as best they can....
 The Hamlin Landwehr make their stand...
 The D of C's Hussars can't get the sat nav to work...and go round in circles ( at the next French , turn left)
 The artillery reduces each square in turn...
 ...more French flock to the scene...
 Artillery prepares to move...
 KGL runs into insuperable odds...
 ...and gets flanked by the guns it has been sent to stop...
 ...they hold on, fighting furiously...
 ...the squares watch in despair...
 Zealous cavalry smashes into the squares...
 ...and the battle rages blade to blade...
 ...volley after volley...
 Counter battery fire (falls short) at the French now edging the Allies away from the waters edge and bringing the far back under fire.
 The Allies can't hold much longer...
 Battalion 'dead' markers all over the place.
 This is the end...the bridge has to blow now!
 Like a cork in a bottle the Landwehr stands.
'Come here, Jimmy while a tak ma hon aff yer face, pal'
 It's two moves left...Scot's i/c miffed...
 ...one move...
 The Hanoverians die to a man and the French cavalry get the follow up move...
...and it's all over on the last move. The French get the bridge before it can be blown and history is changed. Well, not quite, because they had a pontoon just up river anyway.

My grateful thanks to Ferdy with his advice on flag sizes, Mark for the generous donation of kit to the cause, Billy for remembering his name all day, Colin for umpiring and dowsing his troops and not mine, Alan for convoluting to be here, Roy for loaning us his relative (long story) and for a great laugh, days gaming and knees up.

12 comments:

  1. Great stuff, Simon. Shame I couldn't be there - a certain nine-year old's birthday took precedence...

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    1. We'll get you next time around Paul. Happy Birthday to the wee one.

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  2. A rip-roaring battle report! Sorry to see the allies take such a drubbing.
    Totally agree with your comments about the "vast" number of extras employed on "Sharpe" ;)

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    1. Thanks mate.Yes, I loved all the books and even the TV series grew on me.

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  3. What a fantastic set up and great painted figures. Wish I do do a game like that!

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  4. What a epic looking game. Nice one.

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  5. You would be welcome to join in if you ever came north of the border.

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  6. Your sand table continues to be one of the most awesome things ever in wargaming, in this poor cleric's opinion. A terrific and most entertaining account. Win or lose, sounds like a jolly time for all concerned.

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    1. Thanks Padre. It was exciting. No over riding need to win, just a good companionable day (with some gentle ribbing) and everyone keen to see how it would all pan out by close of play.

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  7. Great looking game, some beautiful pictures!

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    1. Thanks. We're working on the next set up as we speak. Watch this space...

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