Sunday 29 May 2016

Sharp Practice: A bridge at Cacabelos

We are currently working on a small campaign based on the retreat to Corunna by Moore forces for Sharp Practice. The campaign rules are not ready yet and Richard Clarke already warned that we should dump away the Chain of Command mentality, as in this period battles are less important than outmanoeuvring your foes in the field. For this reason, the plan is to play four interlinked scenarios instead of a full campaign with the same forces. Eventually (...this is our intention..) the campaign will be published in the Summer Special 2016.
The game today was the action taking place on 3 January 1809, a rearguard defensive battle of the British at the town of Cacabelos in El Bierzo (Leon) area. It is a well known action because the French commander General Colbert was killed by a British rifle marksman called Thomas Plunkett killed at an uncertain distance. There is some confusion about this event, but likely a known impatient Colbert risked too much when reconnoitring the advanced outpost and rifleman Plunkett took his chances... and hit bang on target.

Dashing French Dragoons

Friday 27 May 2016

The Peninsular War: A New History by Charles Esdaile

As many other wargamers, history is an integral part of my hobby activities. Believe or not, I have neglected the Napoleonic period for a long time and even more the so called (more on this later)  “Peninsular Wars” in the English speaking world, about which I’m a total ignorant despite being Spanish.
The recent publication of Sharp Practice by TooFatLardies is marking an end to this period of ignorance, as my gaming mates have embraced the rules with our renowned Spanish passion… and of course with a view to fight games against the invader of our sacred soil.
The fact is that part of my lack of interest in the Napoleonic period in Spain is the result of my school education. Being a child of the 60s, with Franco still alive and kicking, history was taught always in the key of the Spanish Civil War.
I’ll try to clarify. Script:
·      Spain had always been Spain since the prehistoric ages.
·      The Romans were invaders, The Visigoths, the Moors… all were invaders alien to our immortal soul and culture and all were defeated in due time.
·      The French of course were also invaders and actually a bunch of pre-communist revolutioners and atheists that wanted to destroy our culture.
·      The last attempt to destroy our Spanish soul was the unholy alliance of Marxist-Leninists, Jews and Masons in 1936… thank God, Franco was there and we were free to live as true Spanish since then.

Sunday 22 May 2016

Sharp Practice: The Storm of Cascajales de Alba

The French and British forces in the Iberian Peninsula fought today for the control of Cascajales de Alba, a small poor village in the border with Portugal, but key to the French defensive line in the Tagus valley.

This was Scenario 5 of the Sharp Practice book. The French were on the defensive this time and to win, the British must capture the house with the blue line on the map below. The French had a Regular core force plus 10 support points, invested in a gun with leader level I.

Sunday 8 May 2016

Sharp Practice: Attack on Cerro Medellin (July 1809)

Today I played my second Sharp Practice game (third for my gaming pals as I missed the one organized the last weekend). We used Scenario 3 “Defence in Depth" of the book, in the context of the Talavera Battle (July 1809), the French attack on Cerro Medellín.

French attack and British defend in this scenario. I played on the French side and chose the French Regulars as core force, adding an artillery piece, a Dragoon group  and a Big Man level I as supports.
The terrain was basically featureless, with a hill (Cerro Medellin) dominating the British deployment area and small stream (minor obstacle) marking the limit of its defensive line. The British had a primary and a secondary deployment points located within the first 12 and 36 inches of its table edge.
The French also had two deployment points to be located in the two halves of their table side and with 6 inches of the edge.
The French had to capture the British primary deployment point or force their withdrawal from the battlefield to win.