The Napoleonic Wars, Warfare in the Age of Napoleon, 28mm
The second of our try-outs of “Warfare in the Age of Napoleon” involved a fictitious French attack on an equally fictitious British-held village called El Casa Vaggio. The village was the outpost of an area occupied by the British, and was held by a Highland Brigade – the troops being the pride and joy of Dax Robertson. He and Angus played the British, while Dougie Trail and new chap Jim Roche took the side of the dastardly French. The French led their attack with their light cavalry – a brigade of Chasseurs a Cheval and Hussars, who came hurtling over the old Roman bridge on the Albuera road, leaving the French infantry to plod through the shallow river to the side. Dax played it cool and did nothing for the first few turns, knowing full well that his own cavalry – a light brigade of Light Dragoons and Kings German Legion Hussars – was coming to the rescue.Sure enough the two cavalry forces clashed on the far side of the village. At first things went entirely the French way. The 2nd Hussars got the better of their tussle with the 16th Light Dragoons, and the British pulled back a full move in disorder. The French didn’t follow up their success, but instead they kept apace with the 5th Chasseurs a Cheval, who were having a tougher time of it with the German hussars. While all this was going on the French infantry continued their advance against the village, while their supporting battery of foot artillery pounded away at a British unit – the 79th (Seaforth) Highlanders who had formed square as the cavalry rushed past them.That was when things started to unravel for the French players. First off, the 16th LD returned to the fray, and this time the 2nd Hussars took casualties from the British square and some British Horse Artillery, which gave the British a slight advantage when the melee started. The turn ended with both French light cavalry units breaking and running – an event that took place just minutes after Dougie declared his brown-coated 2nd Hussars had never lost a game. You shouldn’t say that sort of thing out loud, as the Gods of Miniature War might be listening. The British gave chase – actually they didn’t have any choice, as controlling them isn’t easy. For the rest of the came the light dragoons harried the remnants of the French cavalry back across the table, over the Roman bridge and out of the game. Only the better-controlled 1st KGL Hussars halted, reformed and stayed in the game, but that was enough to force the French to withdraw their guns.Things weren’t going well for Team France… It was now up to the French infantry to win the day. Unfortunately for them the British reinforcements arrived just before the French assault went in, and this new brigade of British foot deployed in whatever space was available on the British right flank, or else formed a reserve line. The French were certainly enthusiastic – after driving back the British skirmishers they deployed from column into line, and launched an assault against the entire British front. Only one unit – a battalion of the 64th Line Regiment – remained in column, and it charged the 3rd Foot (Buffs), and pushed them back. This though, was the only success of the day. In the centre the 42nd Highlanders (the Black Watch) used firepower to break the two battalions which were attacking it – both from the 27th Light Infantry Regiment. Elsewhere the 71st Highlanders (HLI) and the French 28th Light Regiment engaged in an inconclusive firefight, after the French declined to move into contact.This was the point when the two French commanders called off the assault. They British were in a stronger position, they now had reinforcements, and most importantly the one remaining unit of German cavalry dominated the exposed French right wing. Jim was particularly disappointed, as he was convinced his 64th Line were onto a winner – a solitary success in a day of French disappointment. The British failed to pursue, partly because their own units were disordered, but mostly because it was time to retire to the pub.Once again the players all enjoyed WAON, and for Dax and Jim this was their first contact with the rules set. While the mechanisms are slick, the rules themselves are terribly laid out, and it took no end of poring through their 24 pages to find the right bit. Still, they did exactly what we wanted, which was to produce a fast, enjoyable game, with a believable result. We’ll certainly use them again for club night games.