Sunday, October 8, 2017

Back to 1812 Retreat from Moscow

Over the last couple of years I have sold of most of the project/armies that I have built. Usually because finding someone interested in historical skirmish games with units have been difficult. 

Of the projects sold, my 1812 Retreat from Moscow was my favorite. I find the Retreat very interesting and have read a couple of books on it. The miniatures from Perry are the most characterful and detailed I have ever owned as well. So this was something that I thought I might come back to.

Prompted by a fan created supplement for Sharp Practice 2 about Napoleon's Russis Campaign I decided to take the plunge.

SP 2 is an excellent ruleset and will work better than my own modified Muskets and Tomahawks. Most importantly though is that I have some opponents who are interested this time.

So I placed a huge order with Perry, which arrived quickly.

It took two evenings just to clean them up, and another to base them.



I have also started making 8 60x60 boards and some burned out village huts.

Friday I then started the painting, so I should have some units finished soon.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

A Skirmish at Granja de Duraznos

This was the first game in our campaign The Corrupt Magistrate.


The small farm with the peaceful name Granja de Duraznos (Peach Tree Farm) is normally a quite place where farmer Hector Morales and his family harvest their peaches and bring them to the market at Cerezo de Oca.

This all changed when British Rifles lead by Capt. Willoughby moved into the farm to take up a position. Their aim is to forage and stop the French forces their spies had told them where heading this way. The Morales family managed to flee to San Cebrián.

The French commander Capt. Armand Lefine had early in his mission decided to move away from the main road to La Casa Condesa in a bid to avoid to much attention and possible British spies. So after leaving the village og El Ribero he went west towards San Cebrián.

In San Cebrián Lefine was approached by the farmer Morales who told him about the takeover of Granja de Duraznos. Capt. Lefine was shocked that his movements where already know to the British.

With his position known, Capt. Lefine has decided that swift and decisive action is needed. He has informed his officers that they will advance North to remove the British.

Sensing the French were on their way Lt. Chadbourne ordered his group of Rifles to take up a position behind the breastworks they had raised.

The French scout had done his homework and the French started to arrive from several areas. The elite Vistula Legion Voltigeurs lead by Lt. Wozniak were particular keen to get into action

On the French right flank both the Dismounted Dragoons and Dragoons were also getting into positions.

The young Sgt. Vernier was convinced of French success so he arrogantly moved down the dusty road between the Dragoons.

The remaining Rifles were still foraging in the farm and were to busy to notice the French advancing.

Fortunately the alert Lt. Chadbourne kept his cool and spotted the Dismounted Dragoons hiding in the treeline. The crack shots of the Rifles would take aim and fire.

Sgt. Denuse and his Dragoons heard the rifles crack and sought cover. No one was hit, but the surprise shooting shocked them.

Leading his Voltigeurs furiously forward Lt. Wozniak was determined to open up the left flank, and hit the British in the flank.

Finally Capt. Armand Lefine arrived to take charge of the attack. Lefine planned for his Voltigeurs to take center stage and head straigth for the farm.

The brave Dragoons lead by the aggressive Lt. Bremond could see no British and eager to get into the action decided to move onto the road in a sweeping move, cutting in front of Sgt. Vernier.

Immediately before the Dragoons were given the order to move forward. Sgt. Webb showed his hand. His Rifles had taken up a position with the upper floor of the farm and despite the long range, killed one of Sgt. Vernier's Voltigeurs, the death of their comrade taking a toll on the morale of the Voltigeurs.

Finally being alerted by sound of French cavalry, British commander Capt. Willoughby swiftly moved his two groups of Rifles out of the farm, staring straight into the charging Dragoons. The rifles of Willoughby's cracked and immediately two Dragoons fell.

Luck turned out to be with the British as the shooting of the Rifles stalled the French, and the British were able to reload.

When the French got their act together again, Lt. Wozniak had his Poles move onto the flank of the farm and Lt. Chadbourne's men. Sgt. Denuse charged forward in behind some timber, where they returned the fire. The breastworks took the majority of the hits though and despite being attacked from two side the British were left large unscathed.

In a desperate move to try and close in on the Rifles, Lt. Bremond ordered his remaining Dragoons into a gallop. Despite their frantic pace it was not enough, and the Dragoons were left closer to the Rifles but unable to engage them. This would be the beginning of the end for the Dragoons.

Sensing the problems the Dragoons were having, their Dismounted Dragoon comrades, had tried to strike against the main group of Rifles. Fast reloading by the Rifles meant more dead Dragoons and Sgt. Denuse was down to two men and himself, and was forced to move back.

Capt. Willoughby had ordered his Rifles to remove the Dragoons, which they duly did. Only Lt. Bremond and a single Dragoon was alive to flee. Sgt. Webb in the farm caused more havoc on the Dismounted Dragoons who also fled. The French right flank had been destroyed.

Seeing the Dragoons broken, Sgt. Vernier decided to get out of the way of the onrushing Rifles. Their musket fired and the Rifles were a bit shocked by the bravery of the young sergeant, but they took no casulaties.

In a final throw of the dice, Capt. Lefine moved his groups of Voltigeurs forward - despite the attacking having spectacularly failed, he would not leave before taking a British scalp. The Voltigeurs fired and managed to wound Lt. Chadbourne and kill a rifleman, before they withdrew from the attack.

This was a fun game where everything went the British's way. Twice we drew the Tiffin chip first meaning that Eric's British twice got fulled reloaded - a total of 12 actions granted by the Tiffin chip. My attacking style with the Dragoons failed when the dice roll was incredibly low and their charge into the Rifles came up too short.

Capt. Lefine will need to rethink his strategy. The straightforward task of arresting the magistrate just got much more difficult with the British interfering. Capt. Willoughby on the other hand won an important victory, he caused havoc to the French plans and managed to forage supplies as well. The British have a difficult choice; does Capt. Willoughby press forward and pursues Capt. Lefine before he can regroup or does he retreat back closer to Casa de Condesa.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Campaign: The Corrupt Magistrate

Today my friend Erik and I sat down to play our first Sharp Practice Peninsular War campaign game - A Skirmish at Granja de Duraznos - in the overall campaign The Corrupt Magistrate.

Before presenting a narrative for the skirmish I will present the overall campaign.

Campaign background - The Corrupt Magistrate

Magistrate Sebastián Salvador has always been one to grab a chance whenever it presents itself. His greed for gold is insatiable.

So when British spy Sir Francis Moore needed someone to spy on the activities of the French, his sources told him to approach Salvador. Sir Francis was not disappointed after meeting Salvador – this magistrate would prove a valuable asset for the spymaster.

The local population in the town of Cerezo de Oca and the nearby villages, have for years not been happy about the corrupt official. Every decision and ruling has basically been a commodity that Salvador has sold to the highest bidder.

For the population, things have become even worse with Salvador feeding the British information. They fear that this could give them problems with their French masters.

A decision has therefore been made to let the French know. The French will then arrest and convict Salvador and the population would show their loyalty.

French briefing

Colonel Guilard presented Capt. Armand Lefine with an arrest warrant for Sebastián Salvador, magistrate of Cerezo de Oca.

The corrupt official has been feeding the British information in return for gold, but has now enraged the local population so much that they have turned on one of their own.

Salvador has fled Cerezo de Oca and is believed to be hiding in the villa Casa de Condesa, the home of a local noble Lady Consuela de Peya. He may have moved since then though.

The order is straight forward; arrest Sebastián Salvador and bring him back for trial. The Lady Consuela de Peya is not to be harmed as she is very endeared by the local population.

British briefing

Sir Francis Moore, one of Lord Wellesley’s spies has persuaded the lord that one of his informants, the magistrate Sebastián Salvador is worth rescuing.

While a regular rescue party is out of the question, Capt. John Francis Willoughby commander of a small detachment of elite Rifles has been tasked to take his force into French held lands, and cause havoc and forage supplies.

Salvador has sent information that he is hiding at the residence of Lady Consuela de Peya, a large villa called Casa de Condesa or one of the outlying farms close by.

The captain's orders are clear; cause havoc and forage, to give Salvador more time to get away. Should you get close to Salvador he will send a message to you requesting assistance. You are then to take him into your care and protect him from the French.