Monday 27 May 2019

Peninsular War Game

Sunday’s regular scheduled game was a Peninsular War battle set in 1807 in which my Spanish had their first outing.

The game was set up with my Spanish in a central position covering the road to Madrid. Their objective was to hold the British until a large French force could arrive.

I had ten battalions in two brigades, a brigade of two regiments of dragoons and four guns.

I did not have exact knowledge of where or when the French would arrive, but I had in my deployment zone a wonderful broad ridge that I chose to hold my entire force behind, with just the artillery on the crest.

The British deployed two brigades and a cavalry brigade directly opposite my position, with a second force, again of two brigades, across a winding, but fordable river to my right. Yet a third force of another two brigades (including some Portuguese) and a cavalry brigade deployed beyond my left. Clearly a double envelopment was intended.

The action started in the centre when the massed British artillery blasted my guns, causing significant damage in the first salvo, but my main force remained protected from their fire by the ridge. When the British on my right moved to extend along the river, clearly intent on gaining my right rear, I shuffled the cavalry in that direction in the hope that I might be able to catch them in some disarray when they crossed the river.

Meanwhile in the centre the British infantry moved forward boldly despite taking some fire from my guns on the ridge.

On my left the third British force was thankfully more concerned with the possible arrival of the French from that direction that with developing an attack against me.

As the threat against my right developed it was suddenly removed when a French infantry division, supported by a small cavalry brigade and some guns arrived behind the British, compelling that force to turn at least one brigade back to face the threat. On the opposite flank the threat of another French arrival held the British there from moving against my left.

In the centre things began to heat up. Two battalions of light infantry began to advance up the ridge and the rifles slipped through to the woods the left. Seeing the opportunity to disrupt the British advance I pushed forward two battalions of Spanish infantry against one of the light battalions and opened fire. To my surprise the fire, supplement by some canister from one of the batteries, was effective the British were disrupted. When we took the initiative in the next turn I charged forward and routed the disrupted unit. It routed through another unit immediately behind, shaking that unit,  and I broke though onto it. That unit too broke and ran to the rear.

In the next turn a British battalion from across the river attempted to drive off the right hand unit of my advanced battalions, but it had been unable to form into line and could not bring its full force to bear. What should have been an easy victory for the British developed into an extended tussle that resulted in the British being pushed back. At the same time another British battalion, that has been passed through by the other two routing units, turned tail and ran.

In the meantime the British light dragoons had come forward and charged the heights against a single Spanish battalion on the crest. Unable to form square the Spanish met the attack in line and, supported by one of the Spanish batteries, delivered a heavy fire on the British cavalry that knocked them about badly, but they prevail and they destroyed the Spanish battalion, only to find themselves standing in the middle of the hill, in bad shape with another Spanish battalion in front of them. Another volley from the Spanish drove the light dragoons away.

To my right, across the river, the French were struggling against the British, despite some initial success the held them in check, until superior numbers came in to play. One British brigade eventually collapsed, while the other managed to get itself tangled up in the difficult terrain around one of the bridges before clearing out my two advanced battalions.

On my left things began to look more threatening for me. While I managed to roughly handle the rifles, supported by two other battalions they made a determined advance. The British left hand battalion was cut to pieces by canister and musketry and was easily repulsed. The next British battalion should have had an easy fight, but I rolled well and the enemy did not and this attack too was repulsed. The rifles, that were in poor shap and should have been easily defeated, drove off the Spanish in front of them and then swung onto the flank of the next Spanish battalion in line. However, despite having all the factors in their favour, the luck of the rifles ran out and the best they could do was score a draw, that meant that next turn the Spanish could turn to face and fight them on slightly better than equal terms. What had looked to me like an impending disaster had been suddenly turned around. A determined push from my battalions drove off the British.

On my right two of my remaining battalions became engaged in an inconclusive fight with some the British that had advanced across the bridge from the right.

On the extreme let the French second division had arrived and opened fire on the British right, but before they could advance from their elevated position the game was called as a British defeat.

The Spanish had had an auspicious start to their gaming career. I had given them some tactical disadvantages – made the clumsy in their manoeuvring and placed some disadvantage on their musketry, but perhaps allowed them to be more effective than they should have on close combat. But then again I did hold an excellent position that I was able to exploit to my best advantage.

Saturday 25 May 2019

An Eastern Spanish Unit

This week’s effort is another line infantry unit but this time from eastern Spain, in top hat.

Again the uniforms were British made.

There will be another of these units to come, but in pale blue.

Wednesday 22 May 2019

More Spanish Infantry

With the chill of late autumn beginning to bite here in New Zealand we took a few days out of our busy work (and painting) schedule to slip up to Fiji for a few days to celebrate her indoors’ birthday.
After four days of 28 degree C temperatures, good food and drink and fabulous sunsets like the one below it was a bit of a shock to wake up to 10 degrees C on Monday and then face the sea of emails when I got to work.

So back to the painting schedule and on Monday night I finished the last figures of this second unit from Northern Spain. Again they wear British supplied uniforms.

The blue coat provides a little more colour to this unit than the grey one in the previous post.

Only another five battalions to go and the collection is complete.

Wednesday 15 May 2019


This week’s output on the painting table is a line infantry unit  from northern Spain, probably from Galicia, Leon or Castile, circa 1810.

They wear British made uniforms with bell-top shakos. This unit in all gray with black cross belts is a little dull, although some variety can be gained from their packs and the occasional figure with an umbrella tucked in the knapsack straps.

I will have a total of four bell-top shako battalions, some with blue coats, some with gray. Maybe I will mix up the trouser colours in a couple of the units.

Sunday 12 May 2019

Meanwhile in the Iberian Peninsula...

Today sees the return to the Spanish Napoleonic project.

Specifically it marks the start of the third and final phase that will see the addition of eight battalions to the 1809-1811 period

This the first of two battalions I am doing from the Catalonia Legion. Consisting of four battalions this legion looks rather smart in its bright blue trousers and jacket. The 1st battalion presented here, sports scarlet lapels, collar and cuffs.

The second battalion that I intend to do in this legion will be the 3rd battalion which will feature black facings, piped scarlet.

Saturday 11 May 2019

The 69th Foot

Despite some further interruption to the painting schedule, I have managed to work on a couple of units this week.

Only one has made it through the uniform store and out of the basing department. That is the 69th Regiment of foot.

I have done this unit a little differently to the other three British units, in that they are all in the present, or at ready, pose, and I have given them a variety of trouser colours.

The second unit, a Napoleonic Spanish one, is uniformed by not yet based.  I hope to finish it over the weekend.

Saturday 4 May 2019

Number Three

It has been a slow week on the painting table this week with too many work distractions.

This post is the third in a couple of ways.

First it is the third regiment of British line infantry for the British Napoleonic collection.

Second, inspired by Aly Morrison’s recent post about the Buffs for the War of Spanish Succession, I have painted these as the 3rd Regiment of Foot, the Buffs.

With this collection I am not following a specific order of battle, although all of the units will be drawn from Sir John Moore’s Expeditionary Force that fought at Corunna. Rather I am making up units based on a variety of facing colours - so far I have done one unit each in yellow, black and buff facings. Units with white, green and blue facing will follow.