Friday, 15 January 2016

Vimiero, 21st August 1809 - a battle report the game was played over the course of the day

Hi all (warning this is a long post, get a cup of coffee and settle in)

just recently most of my posts have been about zombie/post apocalyptic gaming, in fact most of my hobby recently has revolved around this theme.  However i do play other systems, in fact this blog is titled a Warhammer blog although it hasn't featured that in about 4 years and probably won't for a while until GW (boo-hiss) sort out the Age of Sigmar abomination.  Just after the New Year I was able to return to another game I'm very passionate about - Black Powder!

I have some semi regular games with a couple of good friends, normally revolving around BP or Bolt Action.  The BP is set in the Napoleonic era, one of my favourite periods of history.  So on 4th January my buddy Rich and I, who live in East Kent travelled up to Crowborough (East Sussex) to game at my old mucker Chris's man cave.  Chris has a very large room in the top of his house with a huge table, i'm guessing and i'm sure Chris will correct me but it has to be about 12x6 foot!  Chris is also a prolific painter and despite only starting BP last year he has amassed an astonishing amount of figures.  In fact all of the figures in the following report bar 12 (yes 12 measly models!) are his. The game was played over the course of the day and was so all consuming in its excitement that we played through lunch!

Anyway i will hand you over to Chris, who not only supplied everything and hosted us but has also prepared the bat rep. Enjoy.....

1. The British deploy first and may be deployed in any permitted formation within their marked Divisional zone. The French may then deploy as above.
2. 50% of formed British battalions must be deployed behind the crest of the ridges (see below) or behind the ridge. This was the first time Wellesley used the reverse slope in a defensive battle.
3. The 43rd Monmouthshire Light Infantry and 60th Rifles may not deploy into skirmish formation until a French unit comes within 12".

1. The hills represent ridges running along the table length. The crest of the ridge runs lengthways along the halfway point of the ridge. A unit on one side cannot see a unit on the other side or shoot over the crest of the ridge. 
2. The two orchards and the vineyard (not on map) class as soft cover and may only be entered by troops in skirmish formation. Corn fields are table dressing and provide no bonus or penalties.
3. Vimiero and Ventosa are built up villages and provide +2 to both saves and combat resolution. Toledo is a farm and provides only +1
4. The impassable rocky area is impassable to all troops.

Broken Divisions retiring count as lost.
Glorious French victory if they take Vimiero, break 3 or more British Divisions and lose no more than 3 Divisions.
Victory if they break 3 or more British Divisions and lose no more than two.
Any other result is a British victory.
British achieve a glorious victory if they obtain a "Victory" and occupy Toledo by end of game.
Duration 12 turns.

British orders of battle

Cavalry Reserve
20th Light Dragoons

43rd Light Infantry Monmouthshire
23rd Royal Welch Fusiliers
57th Middlesex
6lb battery
Skirmish company from 43rd

5/60th Rifles All American Volunteers
50th Foot West Kent
Company from 60th Rifles

2nd Foot Queens Royal
20th Foot East Devonshire
Company from 1/95th Rifles

82nd Foot Prince of Wales Volunteers
29th Foot Worcestershire 
Company from 1/95th Rifles

32nd Foot Cornwall
6th Foot 1st Warickshire

36th Foot Herefordshire
40th Foot 2nd Somertshire
6lb battery
Skirmish company from 40th 

45th Nottinghamshire
12th Portuguese Regiment "Chaves" 2 battalions

57th Middlesex weren't at Vimiero historically but they were my dads regiment so had to have them.

French orders of battle

Marshal Auguste Junot
Army Reserve Artillery 3 8lb field guns 1 howitzer

1. Charlot's 
2 Line battalions
Skirmish company

2. Thomieres 
2 Line Battalions
Skirmish company

3. St Clair
2 Provisional Grenadier Battalions

4. Kellerman
2 Provisional Grenadier Battalions

5. Solignac
1st Swiss - Elite
1 Line 
2 Light 
Skirmish company
Foot Battery 3 8lb guns 1 howitzer

6. Brennier ( off table arriving on the road turn 2 on French right flank on 4-6 on D6 or turn 3 automatically)
2 Line
2 Light
Skirmish company
Small Dragoon Regiment

7. Maragons Cavalry Reserve ( off table and available from Turn 4. Must be announced the turn before they deploy.)
1 Dragoon
2 Hussar

Click for Options
10am. Wellesley outmanoeuvred by the fast moving French Army of Portugal under Marshal Junot has withdrawn his army to the town of Vimiero. Deploying to fight a defensive battle he deploys much of his army behind the rolling ridge lines either side of the town. His left flank anchored on the village of Ventosa. A dismissive Junot surveys the field of battle.....en avant.......
The French brigade of Charlot advances, swinging left, rapidly screened by skirmishes almost swinging round the ridge. Thomieres advances cautiously towards the British held ridge. St Clair's Grenadiers move slowly in support. Kellerman moves to occupy Toledo and support the battery engaging the ridge. Solignac moves at speed, his men full of enthusiasm "pas de charge" beating almost gaining entry into Ventosa. On the British right General Anstruther is still drinking port in Vimiero, his ADC's look on horrified as the French swing around the ridge. Only the eagle eyed Wellesley sees the danger, rapidly ordering the 20th Light Dragoons to secure the British right flank. General Nightingale on the left sees an opportunity...."forward you scum" he barks ordering the 29th and 82nd forward, one wheeling left to flank Solignac's brigade and delivering a disciplined volley at close range into the Neuchatel battalion. Hit simultaneously by point blank canister the battalion disintegrates fleeing for safety.
sorry about the photo, mix of mine and Chris
Solignac pulls his brigade together and pushes for the ridge, the chance of glory blinding him to the danger to his flank. A brief firefight and the skirmishes defending Ventosa are driven out. The rest of his remaining two battalions advance towards the British battery on the 50 paces canister smashes into them...the advance slows....a volley from the 82nd feels their fate as another battalion disintegrates in the inferno around them. Solignac wounded...orders a retreat.....half of his brigade dead or fleeing the field. Kellerman and his Grenadiers hold in the centre and St Clair slowly advances. Thomieres pushes forward...round shot bouncing through his columns, they catch an isolated company of the 60th Rifles in the open who sell themselves bravely slowing the irresistible columns. Charlot takes a risk and throws one battalion into square the other into line and fires at the approaching Light Dragoons barely slowing them as they charge home but fail to break the square. Anstruther, obviously inebriated, sends unintelligible orders to his brigade. His officers debate his non-sensical writings. Acklands brigade moves to secure the approaches to Vimiero and the vineyard.
Click for Options
The Light Dragoons charge again...unsuccessfully but there efforts are keeping Charlot pinned. Wellesley relieves Anstruther of his command and orders his brigade forward as Fanes has begun to retire, broken by the unerringly accurate French artillery. Thomieres likewise begins to withdraw. His brigade shattered by canister and musketry. On the right both sides are reinforced. Brenniers and Maragons cavalry brigade arriveto support the French as does Craufords with his Portuguese. Brennier pushes forward rapidly towards Nightingale.
Click for Options
Brenniers columns smash irresistibly into Nightingale pushing the brigade back. Craufords Portuguese occupy Ventosa with one battalion the other advance on the flank of Brennier. Now menaced by infantry Charlot tries to redeploy from square but shaken by repeat cavalry charges realignment is slow despite the fact the Light Dragoons are racing for the 2000 French horse now crossing the plain, in the finest tradition of British light cavalry. St Clair's Grenadiers push forward for the ridge once occupied by Fane. Once again British canister smashes into the closest battalion. St Clair now isolated in the centre with Acklands brigade holding firm in front of Vimiero orders a withdraw.
Nightingales brigade is broken under the continuing pressure from Brennier and begins to withdraw. The cavalry clash in the centre. There can be but one outcome. The fight is short and vicious. Already blooded from repeated charges against the French squares the Light Dragoons are soon vanquished and turn and flees. The French cavalry are left scratching their heads and twirling their moustaches........ French guns finally break Acklands brigade defending Vimiero who retire but it's too little to late. With three brigades in full retreat there are no troops to exploit this. On the French right Brennier is running out of steam, Charlot is exhausted and Kelkermans brigade is to far to influence either flank. The French cavalry launch a half hearted charge towards the ridge as Junot orders a withdraw from the field and wonders how he will word his report to the Emperor.


  1. Sounds like a great day :-) . I gather that the French lost, but I didn't manage to keep track of all the various divisions on each side.

    1. You're right Hugh, the French had too many broken brigades and couldn't complete the task at hand. This was mostly my fault as I rather incautiously advanced my French brigades as fast as they could go in turn one without declaring a charge so they had to stand a few inches from a firing line of redcoats and got decimated! That summed up my battle tactics all day.....

  2. Great battle, one of my favoutire Napoleonic engagements and the first one I recollect fighting (back in the 70's)- and a good day was had by all o doubt

    1. It was a great day Joe even though I was on the losing side! Chris does host a good BP game

  3. Thanks for the comments mate. Was a good game.....just felt a bit like Napoleon watching Ney squander everything lol. Should have had a plan.......

    1. Chris, was a great game. My first time with the frogs so maybe next time.......