General de Brigade – 12/03/2011 (Solo)

A large scale tryout for the new edition of these rules – a French Infantry Division with a Cavalry Brigade in support against 2 British Infantry brigades with artillery support.

French Division

The scenario, for what it is worth, is that the British are retreating past the walled town when they are surprised by the French. They turn to fight, but the French attacks are not co-ordinated, with the General-de-Division feeding in a brigade at a time and ordering his cavalry to hold until ordered (he dislikes the peacock commanding the cavalry brigade). All of which gives me an excuse to try out different aspects of the rules in turn. The terrain is flat, with the British left flank resting on an impassable wood and the left resting on a walled town, which is out-of-bounds to both sides, though no-one seems to have told the 95th!

Rifles in the town

The 1st French brigade by the town comes on in attack columns covered by skirmishers. They have 1 Veteran battalion and 1 Line battalion in the lead, with two 2nd Line battalion bringing up the rear – they are of lesser quality then the 2nd brigade of 2 Veteran, 1 Line and 1 2nd Line battalions. The French artillery are ordered to engage the enemy to their front, so will be softening up the British for the 2nd brigade’s assault when their general decides it is time. The 1st brigade will be going in against 2 veteran British battalions (the Buffs and the Cameron Highlanders) with no artillery support. The British on the other hand have a RHA battery to support their left flank.

British Artillery

The French advance brings their skirmishers into contact with the Rifles and some light companies. The French skirmishers’ eye is in, and they cause 2 casualties (2 sixes on 4 dice) for none in return. The French artillery shot bounces over the Gordon Highlanders, but the RHA causes 3 casualties on the massed columns of the French 1st brigade, 2 on the Veteran battalion, and 1 on the battalion behind due to bounce through. Their skirmishers declare a charge on their British counterparts, who evade behind their main line. The columns continue their advance, taking a few casualties, with the rightmost column angling across so as to hit the same Cameron Highlanders regiment as the column beside them.  As this exposes their flank to the the Buffs battalion supporting the highlanders, the other French Brigadier decides now is the time to send in his brigade. He rolls to change his orders, needing a 6 on 2 dice and rolls – a 6…just! The second French brigade lumbers forward, forcing the RHA to switch targets away from the flank of the 1st French brigade.

Gordon Highlanders

Next turn the Brigadier of the 1st French brigade declares a charge for the 2 leading columns (as an average commander, he can only declare 2 charges per turn). To charge home, each column has to take a morale test after any defending fire is taken into account, and if they falter, they can get entangled with other charging columns. In this case, the column which exposed its flank suffered 6 casualties to fire from both British battalions, while the other column suffered 3. This put the veteran column at minus 7 off a 2D6 roll – they were lucky they only rolled a retreat result. The other column only being rated Line rolled a “halt” result, so although still formed it is standing still in front of a British line – not a good place to be if they can change their hold orders to charge next turn. If the halted column had have been able to charge, they would still have to roll a formation test to stop becoming entangled in the retreating column.

I had to stop at this point as I ran out of time – it wasn’t that the rules played slowly or anything, I simply didn’t have the time as I had to set up the table for another game the next day, and the 6 Nations Rugby on TV interupted the proceedings! I certainly enjoyed what I played and will give the rules another go, but they would be better played against an opponent than solo.

Portuguese 9th

I might need a bigger table if I am going to use these sorts of rules (he said laughingly – more like a new house) – 6′ x 4′ needs to be 8′ x 5′. My eyes are too old to paint 15mm (I sold all my 15mm a couple of years back), so 28mm is the scale for me now. I’ve resisted using Field of Battle (which I love for ACW) as it uses 4 base units and I like my 5 and 6 base battalions, but 4 gun French artillery batteries can take up to 10″ frontage, which is a lot of table. LaSalle also has a 4 base unit, but with the option for large units, and the new Die Fighting rules also don’t seem to concerned with unit sizes. We shall see….


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