Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Double Time!, Part 1 - General d'Armee AAR

Having had our fill of nautical combat, Ted and Chip brought their Napoleonic collections together with General d'Armee.

The scenario was based on the Battle of Corunna, which saw the British retreating after a French campaign to force their enemies out of Spain. 

The scenario starts with a massive French advantage; three infantry brigades, an artillery brigade, and a cavalry brigade lined up against only two British infantry brigades. The British do have two more infantry brigades in reserves, but had to wait to bring them on. One of those brigades consists of two elite Guards battalions. The British also control the BUA of Elviña. 

The French do face one complication, however. Their cavalry brigade is on the opposite side of a river, and can only cross over once a ford is found (by rolling doubles on a pair of average dice). 

Originally the scenario was set for 10 turns. Post game, we discussed carrying on a few more turns as the rules the scenario was meant for has faster movement rates overall. 

Steve and Chip took command of the British, while Ted, the two Johns (whom I'll call près John and loin John) and myself commanded the French. 

Most of our ADCs went towards loin John's brigade to give them extra movement. Unfortunately, près John's brigade halted on the first turn, opening a gap between the two brigades. 

Loin John's brigade continued to press onwards at the French's far right flank, with four battalions in columns steamrolling directly towards one of Chip's battalions. Près John had gotten his own brigade moving, looking to close the gap and put more pressure on the British left flank. 

Over on the British right, Steve had followed history and moved one of his battalions into Elviña, directly opposing my own brigade. 

Seeing the tide of blue coming his way, Chip had his own infantry step off down the slope to meet the French columns.

My own brigade managed to chase Steve's defending battalion out of Elviña as my artillery hammered another British battalion (we did later realize that this should not have happened, as battalions defending BUAs ignore discipline tests). And Ted's cavalry squadrons were continuing to search for a ford to cross at. 

The first of the off-table British brigades made its way on, march columns quickly moving down the road to reinforce the British right flank. At the same time, Ted's cavalry had discovered a ford, and moved their artillery battery up to cover the crossing. 

Chip and Steve were hard pressed by the French attack, but the Guards had finally arrived. These massive battalions of elite infantry were going to be a massive obstacle for the French, as difficult to dislodge with fire as with bayonet. 

With Ted and I moving around Elviña, this did leave a gap in the French lines that potentially left their artillery vulnerable. But with no cavalry and attacks on both flanks, the British were stuck repelling the French infantry instead of going after their artillery. 

While the Guards moved up into position, Chip had to deal with a faltering brigade after losing a battalion. 

Less eager to charge into combat against the fresh Guards battalions, the two Johns began changing their battalions from column into line. 

After taking turn after turn of artillery bombardment, one of Steve's battalions broke and routed. But his Highlanders were still fresh, and neither Ted nor I were in a position to really push yet. Steve did lose his artillery to concentrated skirmish fire, which gave the French a monopoly on big guns. 

After wavering for a turn, the British line had solidified along the hilltop. I did managed to put a dent into one of the Guards units with a decent Artillery Assault order. 

Chip demonstrated how deadly the Guards can be by removing one of près John's weakened battalions in a single volley. While the rest of près John's battalions were in relatively good order, loin John's infantry was shakier (since he had been the spearhead of the attack). 

In loin John's favor, however, was the fact that another of Chip's battalions broke and routed. While he managed to keep the last battalion of the brigade in place

Steve's position was doing better (he wasn't outnumbered as much as Chip was), but the French brigades he was facing were much less haggard.

As we ran out of time, we put the game on hold and decided to continue next week with a few more turns. It wasn't looking good for the British, but they didn't need to break the French; just hold on until sunset ended the battle. 

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