Thursday, May 24, 2012

Part 3: The Battle of Costa Blanca (The End)

Date: 12 May 1808/2012

Location: Costa Blanca, Iberia
Situation: Game #2 French Army Arrives

The previous posting described portions of Game #1, a reconnaissance game. See:

Britannian Left Flank

General Paget commanded the red coat left flank. His mission was to delay the French advance for as long as possible and later fall back to Costa Blanca or to the northwest.

Portuguese (left) and British (right) Rifles
fire on two French battalions.

To their right the Royal Marines stand fast
as more French approach.
The 16th Light Dragoons are....

Withdrawing to Costa Blanca covered by more Rifles.
The odds are....

Too great for the British.
Three French battalions (left) inexorably advance
covered by a cloud of skirmishers.

All British will retreat to their "Back Table"
in a fighting withdrawal.

Closest to the bottom of the image the toll begins to rise on the nearest French battalion; it's volitgeurs were felled to a man. The Royal Marines (to the right of the image not shown. See previous photo) in particular suffered terribly from French skirmisher fire.

Except for the Portuguese Rifles who retire to a wooded ridge on the left flank all British forces retreated and were lucky to get away.

General Paget did have one hand to play. During the above action, his 15th Hussars managed to ride from the extreme left, (on a Side Table) then turn right and penetrate deeply into the French rear. He hoped this would discombobulate the French advance against him. Did it? For this curious story bordering on disobedience to orders see:

Britannian Center

Lt. Colonel Charles Gordon (Jim P. Der Alte Fritz) was the overall commander in the center and right. His mission was to hold Costa Blanca or if unable, fall back to the north.

The 9th Foot marched into the battlefield center pushing back a screen of Chasseurs A Cheval. The red coats were careful not to fire and waste a very potent first fire bonus on them.

The reason? Large numbers of French infantry were known to be approaching the battlefield. They are shown here as the Chasseurs A Cheval depart.

The 9th has it's work cut out for it.
The battalion has a small reserve and it's....

Light company has deployed in cover along the river bank to....

Soon give fire upon the advancing foe. French strength exceeded that of the British locally by 50%. Given events on the right flank, the 9th would soon began to withdraw.

Britannian Right Flank

Jim's new Polish Lancers with French infantry nearby have pushed back the British. Note Hacienda Robles on the French Back Table in the upper left of the image. Stan G. defended that position with some of his British collection. Unfortunately I do not have photos of this.

At the top of the image a French cavalry regiment appears to have penetrated into Costa Blanca threatening the British hold on the village.

Lt. Col. Charles Gordon's 83rd Foot did the best it could but the British were forced to withdraw to their Back Table.

Closing Remarks

1. Units are 25-28mms based on a 1:10 ratio of miniatures to real men. Castings are based individually facilitating flexible ratios, formation changes and casualty removal. No rosters are needed. Magnetics are used with underlying movement trays.

2. Prodigious and sincere thanks to Jim P. Der Alte Fritz, Curt B., Earl K. and Stan G. who participated with distinction in the two games.

3. Jim, Curt and Stan added their collections to mine to make the two games played an extremely colorful ensemble of Old School gaming with modern accents to make game play faster and more efficient. The morning and afternoon games consumed roughly two and three hours to play respectively.

4. By our usual quitting time of the turn in progress at 4:30pm, the British were in full retreat off the Main Table onto their Back Table. Though a French victory was certain half way through the afternoon, the dynamic of a fighting withdrawal was the idea. Delay the French as long as possible and hope for some event to discombobulate them. The last card the British had to play was the arrival of the 16th Light Dragoons into central reserve on our Back Table. At 4:30 they were ready to charge onto the Main Table to disrupt French cavalry threatening the withdrawal of the 83rd. Foot. This could have bought more time but the outcome would not have changed. Alas we then decided to conclude, have a companionable chat and pack up.

5. Curt and Earl's French battle plan called for a heavy push in the center with lighter pressure on the flanks. It was a good plan with success everywhere for them.

6. The 9th. 16th., 83rd. and all rifles on the left flank are castings from Elite Miniatures. A lot of the French are Dixon and Old Glory. Many thanks to Jeff C. who mailed the Portuguese to participate!

7. To paraphrase the Duke of Wellington about Waterloo, "They came at us in the same old way." What he meant was in columns. In Spain the French used columns designed to shock their foe whilst the British used lines to shoot them down. Most in our group do Seven Years' War a lot. Columns to us are a horror. Lines are the thing - the only thing 99% of the time. Thus, at game end, it dawned on us we might need extra provisions to encourage use of French columns.

8. Rules: Batailles de l'Ancien Régime 1740-1763 adapted to Napoleonics. Our play tests go back about three years with 1-2 games annually. We hope to have another game very soon. Indeed, Der Alte has already commenced his next battalion, Curt is talking about more cavalry for himself and I have the 5th Foot waiting for my brushes after August. Tally-Ho!

9. Thank you for looking in. Your comments as always are very welcome below.


  1. Fascinating, thank you Bill. I particularly liked the shot of the cacadores in the pine wood, made me think of Barrossa.

  2. Move in column, fight in line. Sounds like the Frenchies read their drillbooks! A splendid battle - it's nice to see what 1:10 looks like.

    How do you handle columns? Do they move faster, better, get less messed up by terrain, but provide a minus in combat?


Comments Here