Friday, 29 May 2020

General D'Armee, Vittoria Scenario Book,

Recently I purchased the new Vittoria Scenario the battle for Spain book written by Dave Brown for General D' Armee from Too Fat Lardies fantastic web shop. I have like GdA since I purchased it some time ago, it has a nice mix of command morale and blood letting for a decent days gaming, and you can alter the mix of units to suit any scenarios and size of battles.

Since lockdown my gaming has been very limited, been playing computer wargames and gaming with friends online but it is not the same as pushing toy soldiers around a battle field and rolling dice even if you get rubbish rolls or results, seeing some other people trying gaming by themselves, I tried this and really didn't like the thought of it, so after seeing the Perry's playing a game with friends vis skype or face time thought I would give this a go with my mate Jason Ralls "Taffy",  after much discussion on what to play we decided to try working through the first scenario of the Vittoria book, Combat at Osma.

The combat at Osma arose as a result of Wellington's great turning movement, which involved Graham's column marching to the north of the French position at Vitoria. Graham commanded an independent column composed of 1st Division, 5th Division, George Anson's Light Dragoon Brigade and Thomas Bradford's Portuguese Brigade, plus a Spanish force. Wellingtons' orders directed that that his columns coverage towards Vitoria and hence Grahams column was now leading the march on the Medin to Osma road towards Vitoria. Wellington was anxious that this march was to be conducted as speedily as possible in order to deny the French any significant time to react. New orders followed on the 17th June directing Graham to move via Osma and on towards Orduna and it was only on this day that the French received an indication of Wellington's movements. Indeed, the rough and sparsely populated route taken by Wellington's forces probably assisted with keeping his advance relatively secret from French spies and scouts. Discussions at French high command incorrectly concluded that Wellington must be advancing his main army by the more natural route via Valmaseda and Bilbao and as such directed Reille's command (the divisions of Sarrut, Lamartiniere and Maucune) to march in that direction to cover the Bilbao approach. This would also mean that Reille could concentrate his force with the northerly French garrison from the Army of the North bringing the French numbers up to about 25,000 in the region. As Reille's divisions marched northward they soon encountered British columns marching towards them. Maucune's division encountered the Light Division at San Milan where a series of see-saw running battles through the villages and mountain roads saw Maucune's command break up and forced back to regroup on Gazan's division near Miranda. Reille's remaining forces were marching on Osma where they also soon encountered British troops blocking their march. Initial dispositions indicted that Reille had sufficient strength to push through and as such deployed his command into a fighting formation at Osma. Graham sent forwards the Light Division while he formed up the remainder of his forces to oppose Reille. As more British and Allied troops began to come into sight Reille decided that he would withdraw, and a lively series of fire fights developed as Reille skilfully withdrew his command. Reille soon linked up with Maucune troops and began a retreat to the safety behind the Bayas River and then informed French command of the situation. The French generals now held a further council of war debating whether to hold the line at Vitoria or withdraw to avoid Wellington's flanking manoeuvre. Joseph refused to consider a withdrawal and demanded that the great chasse to France be held open and of course, this decision also protected his great convoy full of the trappings of state and his numerous Afrancesado supporters, without which he would be quite literally be King of Spain in name only.

My command would be the French for this game
For this scenario the French field the following forces in three Brigades.
Their Commander in Chief is Reille who is rated as a Campaigner with three ADCs

Brigade Fririon
1st/2nd Light 1 x Standard Veteran
2nd/2nd Light 1 x Standard Grenadier
36th Line 2 x Standard Line
Skirmishers 5 skirmish bases Line

Brigade Menne
4th Light 2 x Standard Grenadier
65th Line 2 x Standard Line
Skirmishers 4 skirmish bases Line
Artillery 6pdr Foot Battery Standard Line

Gauthier is initially in Reserve. The French player may place this brigade anywhere along his table edge on reserve at the beginning of the game. Gauthier may be released from reserve via an ADC tasking, the turn following a French Sauvé qui Peut or Retire command result.

Brigade Gauthier in Reseve
118th Line 2 x Standard Reservist
119th Line 1 x Standard Reservist
Skirmishers 3 skirmish bases Line

Jason would take the British force.
For this scenario the British field the following forces in five Brigades.
Their Commander in Chief is Graham who is rated as a Campaigner with four ADCs and one off-table ADC.

Brigade Ompteda
1st KGL Light 1 x Standard Veteran
2nd KGL Light 1 x Standard Veteran
Skirmishers 3 skirmish bases Veteran

Brigade Halkett
1st KGL 1 x Standard Veteran
2nd KGL 1 x Standard Veteran
5th KGL 1 x Standard Line
Skirmishers/60th Foot 4 skirmish bases Line

Brigade Haye
3rd/1st Foot 1 x Standard Line
9th Foot 1 x Standard Line
38th Foot 1 x Standard Line
Skirmishers 4 skirmish bases Line
Artillery 6pdr RHA Standard Veteran

Brigade Spry
3rd Portuguese 1 x Standard Line
15th Portuguese 1 x Standard Reservist
8th Cacadores 1 x Standard Grenadier
Skirmishers 3 skirmish bases Line

British Reinforcements Anson’s brigade arrives on table on Turn 5’s movement phase. ADCs are not required to bring the brigade on table, it automatically arrives anywhere along the allied table edge and is not classed as in reserve.

Brigade Anson
3rd/27th Foot 1 x Standard Line
40th Foot 1 x Standard Veteran
8th Foot 1 x Standard Veteran
Skirmishers 3 skirmish bases Line

Because the scenarios in the book can be linked there are results that impact on future games, so in tis game if the British win this scenario, then Maucune’s Division, which was fighting a duel action at Medellin is considered to be soundly defeated by the Light Division. As a result, it is sent back in disgrace to guard the French convoy. Consequently, Maucune’s Division will not available to help the French in the next scenario, the Battle for the Puebla Heights. If the French win at Osma then add Montfort’s brigade (from Maucune’s Division) to the French order of battle in the next scenario.

To win the game, the following victory conditions apply. The British must demoralise two French brigades or inflicts a Sauvé qui Peut or Retire command roll results on two French brigades by the end of the game. The French must avoid the British achieving their victory conditions. The game ends after 10 turns. A French Sauvé qui Peut or Retire command result extends the game by two further turns.

The British may deploy anywhere along their table edge up to 20cm [9”] in. The French must deploy both Brigades across the table up to the half-way point. At least two close order units from each brigade must deploy exactly at the half-way point, the remainder of the brigade units may deploy as the player sees fit.

With the French forces set up Meinne on my left with guns to the left of the village, Fririon on my right flank and the table laid out, I called Jason on Whats App video call and went through his brigades and his deployment area, he went with  Spry on his far right, Haye in the middle, Ompteda on his left, and Halkett just behind both brigades, and with Anson to come on as re-inforcements on turn 5.

Initial deployment of Forces
French command with ADC's behind Soma
Turn 1 British advance with skirmisher fire fights along the line

French Artillery pounding the Portuguese Line as they approach 

Turn 2 Haye goes hesitant so Halkett has to pass by him to keep up with Ompteda to support his advance, with only ten turns the British are tight on time to beat the French back.

Unfortunately Fririon goes hesitant as well in turn 2, doesn't stop us shooting our skirmishers though...
Turn 3 having put my ADC's on Artillery support we managed to inflict another 5 casualties on the Portuguese Line they are now at 10, breaking at 12!

British push forward causing my skirmishers to fall back towards my line, big fire fight with my skirmishers taking the worst of it, loosing a base and an additional 2 more casualties, just too many of them...

British massing in the centre, steady boys...

Haye's Brigade advancing on the village...
Turn 3 ending, although both my brigades went hesitant we have managed to keep it together and formed our line on the right, as Ompteda comes through the woods and ridge with his KGL LIght troops and Halkett supporting him, Haye in centre massing ready to hit my line, and the Portuguese at top of image taking fire from skirmishers and artillery. 

This is where we left it for the afternoon as I was bloody knackered from running back and forth moving troops for both sides and doing all the donkey work whilst Jason sat back drinking and rolling dice, we will pick up the rest of the battle very shortly and I will update from there, turn 4 awaits... it worked very well playing this way albeit tiring doing all the work, but I think Jas would agree played quite well so far, although I think the hard work and blood letting will increase from now on...

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