Saturday, March 19, 2016

Return of Marshal Soult - Part 2

The Battle of Rio Mondego Continues
Well let's see, when we last saw the intrepid brigade of Brigadier Alexander Sinclair at the Battle of Rio Mondego, it was close to being driven off of the front table and back onto the center table in our war-game  (originally played on Saturday March 5, 2016).

As always, click or double click on each of the pictures to see an enlarged view of the action.

Sinclair advanced the 45th (Nottinghamshire) Regiment onto the first table to relieve the beleagured 94th Regiment. The remains of the 94th are off camera to the right of the 45th.

It seemed like the French always drew the first fire card each turn, so the 45th  Regiment  received casualties almost immediately after it crossed the aisle onto the left-hand table in the game.

Eventually the French compel the 45th Regiment to retire back to where they came from. Mermet brought up his battery of 8-pounders to create more discomfort for the Red Coats.

Meanwhile, in the center of the table, the French division of Delabord was coming on in the usual style - l'ordre mixte.

Sinclair forms a new line to protect the road leading to the harbour at Cabo Mondego, where the Royal Navy transports await.
By the time that Sinclair had established a new line of defense on the center table, anchored by a small village on his right flank, it was readily apparent that victory would go to the French.

The Swiss Regiment Arrives (its first battle) - Elite Miniatures painted by John Preece for the collection of Bill Protz

The Swiss Regiment, shown above, entered its first battle as a wargaming unit, and thankfully, they did not come under fire.  They can observe the battle carnage that preceded them, shown via the casualties that are laying on the ground.

It was a fun and well-fought game by both sides, but at the end of the day, Marshal Soult (the Duke of Damnation) and his French prevailed over Major General Pettygree's outnumbered British army. As I mentioned above, the cards were not friendly to the British, who rarely drew the first firing card on any given turn, but sometimes it is just not your day.

My French opponent, General Mermet (Kurt B.) did a masterful job of utilizing his voltigueurs to great effect - they came after the British not just in single companies, but rather in whole clouds or swarms of skirmishers. My previous opponents had never used their skirmishers in such a matter (much to my relief), but Mermet knew what he was doing. On several occasions, I had to waste my first fire bonus on the skirmishers, rather than saving my fire for the columns of advancing formed infantry. The only way to drive them off was to advance towards them, forcing them to fall back. However, this then exposed the British to the fire of the French battalions.

I have no idea what was going on at the other end (right and center sections of our line) of the table. I gather that General Delabord smacked the Royal Horse Artillery around quite a bit and drove off all of the British cavalry. Delabord's French division was following up fast on the heels of the survivors. Pettygree's Red Coat infantry seemed to be holding its own in the center  (off to Sinclair's immediate right flank).

The Butcher's Bill

Here are the roster returns of Brigadier General Sinclair's brigade at the conclusion of the battle, once they were safely aboard the Royal Navy transport ships.

45th Regiment: 34 casualties out of its original strength of 72 figures (47% casualties)

94th Regiment: 48 casualties out of its original strength of 84 figures (57% casualties)

83rd Regiment: 17 casulaties out of its orginal strength of 84 figures (20% casualties)

5/60th Rifles: they were scattered to the winds, maybe 50% losses?

Grant's section of 9-pounders RA: 2 casualties out of 12 figures (17% casualties)

You can see that the 94th took a hard pounding from the French, as it was the unit deployed the furthest forward and was faced off against two or three battalions at a time. It was my plan that they should be sacrificed to delay or stop the French for a few turns in order to buy time for Pettygree's infantry to march down the road to Cabo Mondego. Then the 94th was to fall back to a prepared second line where the other two regiments would take on the French. The 45th came to the aid of the 94th and got mauled as well, losing 47% of its effectives. The 83rd Regt. was held in reserve, but still took 20% casualties.

Post-game, I rolled dice to see what the fate was for the casualties. On a D6, a roll of 1-2 was Dead; 3-4 was Wounded; and 5-6 Recovered. After the Dice Gods spoke their piece, the following results were achieved:

45th Regt. = 6 dead, 6 wounded and 10 recovered. 60 of 72 original figures survived to carry on and the 6 wounded would come back eventually. So killed represented only 8% of the orginal 72 figures.

94th Regt. = 8 dead, 13 wounded and 14 recovered (nice die rolling there!). So the killed represented 10% of the original 84 figures.

83rd Regt. = 7 dead, 4 wounded and 8 recovered or 8% of the original 84 figures died in the battle.

Thus the cumulative brigade totals, after recoveries and wounded, were 22 dead, 23 wounded and 32 recovered or about 9% of the original 240 infantry died at Rio Mondego. The wounded will eventually come back after a couple of months and rejoin their units. Were we to have another battle in a month or two, we would deduct the dead and wounded from the regiments at the start of the game.

We haven't played a BAR Napoleon game in several years and so I was glad to have the opportunity to bring the lads out onto the table once again. I hope that we get another chance to play some more Iberia games in 2016. One of our regular British players moved to Florida and with him went 4 or 5 British and Portuguese regiments, which severely depleted the forces that are available to General Pettygree. So unless some reinforcements arrive soon from Olde Blighty, the Duke of Damnation may soon be taking up quarters in Lisbon. We can't have that.

Never fear, Major General Pettygree and Brigadier Sinclair will march again, so be sure to come back here (probably in June or July of 2016) to see what happens next.


  1. Beautiful and impressive pictures as usual...

  2. Wonderful stuff - I'm sure Pettygree will come back fighting.

  3. Perfectly painted miniatures and the fine reporting!!! My congratulations!

  4. Clouds of volitgeurs is right. Only the British developed light companies to counter act this. Great looking game

  5. Thank you for an entertaining and informative report Jim. We'll talk later aboard the transport ships!