Sunday, April 23, 2017

Action at the Convent Garden

I was keen to have another try at Sharp Practice 2 so I set up a solo game and managed to play it through on Sunday evening.  The setting was somewhere in Spain in about 1811.

A French column escorting a wagon-load of valuables belonging to King Joseph is stranded in the vicinity of the Convent of the Sacred Liver after their draft horses died of acute glanders.  Led by the devoutly Catholic Captain La Roche, the French have stayed out of the convent itself but taken over the sisters’ walled garden as a place to secure the wagon from prying eyes.

A cavalry patrol under Ensign Lefebvre has been sent to look for La Roche’s column and may arrive at any moment.

A British force under Captain William Stowe has been tracking the French for days.  Finally they have arrived within sight of the convent garden to see the smoke of French campfires....


The French have lined their stores up along the wall of the garden
making a firing platform for its defenders

Captain La Roche deploys his men immediately outside the walled garden while Lieutenant Fillon
deploys his from their tents.



Along the road marches the main British column led by the detestable Captain Stowe.
The column's mule train is guarded by hired Spanish thugs... sorry, freedom-fighters.
 
Lt Phillipe's voltigeurs line the garden wall

Stowe's men begin to advance.

Lieutenant Fowler's Rifles advance on the British right. Fowler is barged over by his men in their
enthusiasm to get forward and give Johnny Crappaud what for.
In the confusion of battle Fowler's lead group of Rifles end up far too close to the French line...
Meanwhile Captain Stowe begins to wonder if it is a good idea to march in column down the tree-lined road.
Will there be room to shake out into line at the end of the trees?
 
Stowe's column comes under long-range fire from Lieutenant Phillipe's voltigeurs who have now
mounted their improvised firing position in the walled garden.
 
The Voltigeurs cheer as their first shots hit home but then...

Supply difficulties - Phillipe realises he forgot to check his men's ammunition
this morning!  A frantic search initially fails to find the spare ammunition.
Stowe makes the fateful decision to split his column into three groups, left, right and centre to move past the trees.
Meanwhile the Rifles come under withering fire from La Roche's line.  Even with Sergeant O'Malley's group
firing at the French from beside the barn things don't look good.
One of Fowler's Rifle groups falls back. Like the staunch light company lads they are, Stowe's right hand group
opens ranks to let them through. 
Sensing his hour of triumph approaching, La Roche steps forward to exhort his men to yet finer deeds and
is immediately shot in the backside by one of his own!
  
And suddenly it is all over: on the right Sergeant O'Malley's men are withdrawing in good order.
The other Rifles groups flee in panic as does Sergeant Stripe's left flank group of redcoats.
Captain Stowe and Sergeant Stripe are both lightly wounded.
SP2 worked nicely for this solo game.  There were several random events including Fowler being barged over and La Roche being shot in the arse.  In addition, randomised movement gave a couple of unpredictable moments.  Fowler's riflemen, ordered to move forward to the left of the barn rolled 15 on their 3d6 movement and ended up dangerously close to the French line, whilst Lt Phillipe's men, ordered to climb down off the improvised firing step (deemed to be bad going) rolled snake eyes and so didn't move at all!

Sadly I made a complete pig's ear of the British deployment.  I should have put the Light Company men on the right flank and send the rifles up the tree-lined road where the trees and undergrowth would have made little difference to a skirmish formation.

Please excuse the uncompleted mule train (basing mixture still wet at the start of the game) and the untextured sabot bases.  I'm going to need to get more of the latter.

6 comments:

Richard Phillips said...

Great little game Mr C. Like the scenario :-)
Cheers, Richard P

Counterpane said...

Cheers! I'm trying it again this week. Be interesting to see how differently it plays out.

Richard Phillips said...

How did you get the speech bubbles on the photos? Very useful!

Counterpane said...

I did it in Photos on the Mac. Start to edit the photo by hitting the sliders button, then select 'Extensions' and then 'Mark Up'. Speech bubble is one of the shapes you can add.

Anthony Miles said...

Great AAR, got these rules myself but not played them yet.

Counterpane said...

Thanks Anthony. They are a fun set of rules once you get your head around them.