Sunday 19 June 2016

Sharp Practice: The River Neira Crossing

The final game of the Corunna Retreat campaign for Sharp Practice was put to test today. In this scenario, we saw the British crossing a major obstacle (the Nerea river at Constantin) with the French in hot pursue. The full campaign will be published in the cinoming TFL Summer Special 2016.
To achieve a victory, the British had to cross the only passable point (a bridge) with at least a 75% of its forces (equal to 48 models with the OBs used). The British forces started the game fully deployed on the south bank of the river.
The initial French forces were off table, but only the cavalry contingent was available in the first few, reflecting the scattered situation of the French column. After each Tiffin card, the French player rolls a D6 dice and if the result is equal or less than the turn number, the infantry command cards are then added to the deck. 

The first game lasted less than 10 minutes. The British moved its artillery first to the other side of the river, and then immediately after a large infantry contingent in open column formation.
The French deployed two Dragoon groups in the first Tiffin. When the new turn started, the Dragoons were activated a first time by its leader card and run to close to the infantry (who had only crossed half of the formation); withg four command cards, the cavalry unit charged (what else!) catching the British by the rear… a full massacre!!

First charge...
Having lost most of the unit, the victory conditions were impossible to achieve, victory for the French.
The second game was slightly different. The British could activate the artillery but also de infantry and cross the river before the French could get anywhere near for a charge. In addition, I have some pretty bad dice rolls and my infantry only arrived after the 6 Tiffin card.   
My only option was then to target another unit in the south bank, So this time I deployed my Dragoons and an Hussar formation behind to charge a formation of British cavalry that were covering the flank of the British force.

Nice looking prey, thought the French commander
The activation cards were net favourable to me and before the enemy cavalry could make any move, we charge and won the fisticuffs by a difference of 4, forcing a mandatory retreat in addition to doubling the shock. 

...second charge...
The river (impassable) blocked the British cavalry’s line of retreat. Here a heated discussion followed as I argued that then the unit should surrender; the British player was obviously in disagree and argued that the cavalry could move along the river bank towards the bridge.
In any case, a new activation of the French cavalry in the following turn followed and of course I charge again (oh la,la! Three consecutive charges!!) that finally destroyed the the British Hussars, only surviving half of one of the groups.

... and a thrid grlorious charge!!!
A new discussion emerged because as a result of the charge part of my unit was in the LOS of the British infantry. The cunning British had in the meantime deployed the infantry in line at the other side of the river.
4 British infantry groups firing controlled their first volley is not what you want for your troops believe me. Unfortunately (for the British), the British remaining cavalry stand was also in the LOS of the friendly infantry line so another discussion (literally) erupted.
I argued that the whole firing formation could not be used as it would have risked a blue on blue. The British argued that a 45 degree unobstructed line could be traced from the farthest group to the French, so everybody was allowed to fire.
In any case, the discussion was unnecessary. In the following activation the  final British units in the south bank (2 rifle groups) run and crossed the bridge, adding enough troops on the safe bank side to achieve the victory conditions.

Crossing the river mauled but in time
It was the end of the game but not of the discussion, which is now in a hotly debated in the TooFatlardies Yahoo Group and Forum… your contribution welcome!!

Infantry... who cares when you have cavalry?
Finally, we have a special guest today at our club, Canadian blogger celebrity and one my most admired model painters señor Curt Campbell, of world fame by his Annual Painting challenge.
International Celebrities in our club (the guy in the front)

Curt and his lovely wife Sarah had been in a 5-week trip in Europe his last stop at Madrid before returning to the Alberta forests…. I only hope that he did formed a bad opinion about us as a result of the heated atmosphere this morning (I think we behaved like true spoiled brats in some moments).

Curt and part of the Madrid Lardite Chapter


  1. I had a marvellous time with you and the lads Benito. Of the two games played I must say I preferred the first as it displayed an admirable combination of both clarity and brevity. ;) All that is left now is the battle of the memoirs!

  2. It was a grand day out Benito and many thanks to you and the rest of the boys for your wonderful hospitality. I think I preferred the first game of the two - it had a certain clarity and brevity that was to be admired. As to the second? Well, I suspect it will be a battle fought out in the opposing generals' memoirs. :P

  3. Sounds a great game, Benito. We are concentrating on American War of Independence for now but Peninsula action will follow I'm sure

    1. AWI will be my following project in fact! ... if I do not fall in the lure of the Carlistas Wars before

  4. It appears to have been a great battle.