Saturday, May 2, 2009
The Final Chapter of my 10mm Napoleonic Playtest!
And so the end has come!
On the left Colonel Sharpe and Colonel Ducout both deployed skirmishers as they tried to organize their men. The Guard were on the top of the hill in the center, but they were also outnumbered and battered, having already taken the center. Colonel Sharpe, on the other hand, had his two Scottish battalions untouched and eager to fight. Both sides deployed skirmishers in an attempt to force the enemy to either slow or maybe break, and Ducout took a chance by sending half of his brigade to reinforce the attack on the center. His men had already suffered, and being far from their commanders would not help them stay in the fight, but Ducout began to realize that only a daring move could win this battle.
In the center both sides crashed into each other one last time, with both the French and Allied brigades close to breaking. Colonel Smith's single battalion held at the edge of the woods as it fought not only the French to its front, but a unit of Guard crashing through the underbrush into its flank! At the top of the hill Colonel Krzyski's brigade (or at least the parts that had not fled) crested the ridge. The single French battalion that had made it to the hilltop was smashed backwards, and the Allies opened fire down the hill at the French in front of them as well as at the battered Guard battalion that was attacking their flank.
And amazingly, the Allies held! In the forest Colonel Smith's sole battalion, battered and bloodied but unbowed, managed to throw their attackers back despite being heavily outnumbered and exhausted from the near-constant struggle in the woods! On the hill a few of the Allied battalions, already having taken casualties, broke and ran, but the rest stood, and below them the French, fighting uphill and through the woods against a determined enemy and already Shaken, broke. Men in blue uniforms streamed back through the trees, including a battalion of Guard that had made the mistake of attacking Colonel Smith's troops. There were few French infantry able to contest the hill, and the last few made a final climb...
On the left Colonel Sharpe, being far removed from the fight and from his Division Commander, held his men in place, maybe unsure if the men were ready to push forward up the hill against the French Guard, who were siphoning off troops to attack the center. The center, however, was about to end... Allied troops fired down the hill at the last shaken French battalions in the woods, and Colonel Smith's battalion advanced with bayonets fixed on the last battalion of Colonel Lafleur's brigade, the battalion the Colonel was leading himself. And Colonel Lafleur's battalion broke, and with that, his brigade broke, and the French infantry streamed away, leaving the French with only a pair of Shaken battalions of Guard left on the field!
And so Sir Thomas Picton, cursed by the delay of the Allied Brigade of Colonel Krzyski, but blessed with two determined brigades under the commands of Colonel Sharpe and Smith, managed to hold the French at bay and hold the road to the city. Colonel Smith led his battered battalion out of the woods to the cheers of the Allies on the ridge above and to the personal thanks of Picton... if they had caved at any time the French would surely have taken the hill, and the brave Battalion saw off four French battalions, including a battalion of Guard! Meanwhile Colonel Sharpe's brigade began to count their dead, gather their wounded, and finally slake their thirsts, their mouths dry from the saltpeter and smoke.
Overall it was a very satisfying fight. The rules generally worked okay, although it was clear there were a few points that needed clarification... but playtesting is where you find the weak spots! The "Stand!" tests are very neat, and I felt like the rules really represented morale vs casualties well. Next up? Well, I'll probably work out some cavalry and artillery rules and give the whole thing another go, maybe with slightly larger forces! And if, in the meantime, anyone has any photo requests I'd be happy to take them!
Below is a shot of the table ready for the next game... that chateau might just play a part in the game!:)