I noted back on 30 June 2014 that I was having the last battle at the Gun Bar for a while as I was taking up a new job and moving from Singapore. Well, as is the way of things in IT and Banking, that move was delayed a week, then another week, then another week and we are still sitting here.
So, it was off to the Gun Bar again, this time with plastic soldiers painted ready for Anthony to base (see previous posts here). To make the trek worthwhile, another Napoleonic game was organised with Général de Corps Anthony facing off against Major General Thomo the Lost again. This was also a special battle as again it was likely to be the last time I was going to be in the position to battle with Anthony, face to face, beer to beer, for some time to come as I up sticks and hopefully high-tail it out of Singapore.
The battlefield was laid out as I arrived, with the battle being taken from Stuart Asquith’s Programmed Wargame Scenarios. The scenario was the British were withdrawing in the Peninsula to the defence lines at Torres Vedras and a rearguard had been left to delay the French by holding a village and a bridge. Again, for depth, it was decided to play along the battlefield rather than across it.
Now, I have mentioned the dice feng shui before so this time I suggested I take the poorly rolling blue dice and Anthony used the high rolling red ones. We again diced to see who would be French and who would be British. Again, I ended up as the British commander.
The British had two battalions of green Portuguese Line and a Battalion of veteran Caçadores. Accompanying the Portuguese were two battalions of British line troops (one understrength) and a battalion of Highlanders (who also were veteran). There was the 5th battalion of the 60th foot, armed with rifles and already having taken casualties earlier in the retreat. In support was a regiment of Light Cavalry, a foot battery of artillery and a horse battery.
The French started the battle with two regiments of light cavalry already in the table with the rest of the French force arriving one unit at a time, one bound at a time.
I based my tactics around holding the village on the British right with the poor quality Portuguese. Meanwhile the British would hold the more open ground as well as defend the bridge. The Horse battery was deployed forward with the 5/60th to slow the French advance a little and the foot battery was deployed on the hill to the rear. The Caçadores were forward on the British right flank.
The Highlanders were held as a reserve in the centre of the line, able to turn either way as the situation required.
The French advanced and the British fired. The blue dice were indeed rolling low, at one stage I rolled 9 dice and scored nothing higher than a three. However the British tactics were sound and the French élan was such that they came forward rather piecemeal.
The Caçadores went into square on the right, holding up and preventing the French cavalry from attacking the British right. In the meantime the horse battery and the 5/60th fell backwards firing all the while. After 10 bounds, with the scenario due to end, the British still held both the village and the bridge. Victory in yet another of my last games at the Gun Bar. To be fair, 10 bounds was not really enough time for the French and I suggested for the depth of table we were using that a variable finish between 12 and 16 bounds would be more interesting and give the French a better chance.
The photos below are from Anthony’s phone as for some reason as yet unknown, my phone was talking really odd photos and they were not at all clear,
Interestingly, throughout the entire game I won the initiative roll only once, Anthony won that nine times. I inevitably rolled down, he rolled up. I think there is definitely dice feng shui here and the next time we play, the blue dice will be reserved for marker duty, replaced by the green set perhaps.
Dice feng shui exists – at least with those blue dice! After the game finished, I rolled the nine dice again and had seven numbers four or greater! Go figure. The only dice that rolled well was the 8-sided dice being used for morale checks. I should also note that Anthony’s rolls were generally positive – split about 50:50 around 1,2,3 and 4,5,6 on using the red dice so, dice feng shiui exists!
The British wait for the French – Caçadores on the left of the picture, 5/60th on the foreground right, Portuguese in the village and British on the left flank
British battalion manning some field defences
The highlander reserve with Portuguese in the village
The French légère infantry advance behind a screen of hussars
The Bavarians move into the battle
The Caçadores form square in front of the advancing French cavalry
Now the Caçadores become a juicy target for the French infantry
The French advance is stalled by the British Light Troops
And the Portuguese stand firm in the village whilst General Thomas Picton looks on (umbrella in camp)
Meanwhile the British left is comfortably held
The 5/60, unsteady from 50% casualties fights bravely on to the chagrin of the French
The Bavarians blazing away at the square
The square gets smaller but fights on