Saturday, August 26, 2017

Near Obidos, Portugal, 15th August 1808

Andy, Chris, and Arthur came over today and we had great fun determining the names and characters of the officers of the Borsetshire Regiment and particular of the Regiment's Light Company.  All in all they seem to be a pretty unsavoury lot and I don't think it will be a happy mess, at least until some of the current crop are weeded out by the exigencies of warfare.

After that we played what will hopefully be the first of a series of games following the Borsetshires through the Peninsular War.

The action was based on the clash between Sir Arthur Wellesley's advanced guard and the French rearguard on the even of the battle of Rolica in August 1808.  Andy played a small (probably too small) swarm of French voltigeurs whilst Chris took on the role of Lt Villiers of the Borsetshires.  Arthur played the role of Sergeant Goodison, whose dozen men of the 95th Rifles were on the Borsetshires' flank.

Andy was tasked with holding off the British whilst gunners and drivers tried to empty a tightly
wedged wagon said to contain the General de Brigade's collection of stolen statuary.

First to arrive on the table was a small group of voltigeurs under Sergeant Jarier.  Almost immediately they were in trouble. It seemed their water discipline had been poor and it became apparent that, parched, they were lagging behind their expected pace under the hot Spanish sun.

Worse yet, three of the men thought they had spotted a Spanish seƱorita entering the building in the corner of the battlefield.  Keen to 'present their cards' they set off for the farmhouse leaving Sergeant Jarier with only three men.

Jarier set off after his men and caught them up as they crossed a small field...

... as Jarier began to remonstrate with his men, a fusillade of shots rang out as Sergeant Goodison's riflemen found their range. At once Jarier fell wounded and the three men decided that the farm house was probably a good place to hide too.

Meanwhile Lt Villiers' men of the Borsetshires' light company were approaching in open column.

By now the rest of the French force, two more groups of voltigeurs under Lt Delaborde had arrived in the centre.  There was some exchange of shots with Goodison's Rifles.

Keen to exhort his men to greater deeds, Goodison stepped forward and was shot in the buttocks for his trouble.  A random event came up, the Rifles had acted last so got a 'shooting random event' and Arthur rolled snakes eyes!

Meanwhile the Borsetshires marched up the flanks and Delaborde's men turned to face them.

The Borsetshire lads turned to form line, advanced and they sent a punishing volley into Delabord's men.

Caught in the crossfire from light bobs and rifles, the French stood no chance an they were soon in headlong retreat.  French force morale was down to two when we called it  day.

So Lt Villiers and Corporal Brown of the Borsetshires survived the Regiment's first action in the Peninsula.  Sir Arthur Wellesley will now march his army to Vimeiro, where the Borsetshires may again see action.

All enjoyed the game and we agreed we should play some more while the rules are fresh in our minds.

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