This was meant to be a four player game but Richard P was unable to join us as his father was ill in hospital. The best wishes of all at stately Counterpane Manor go out to Mr Philips senior.
Set in 1865, our game involved a force of French Tirailleurs Algeriens (or Turcos) who had been ambushed by a superior number of republican guerrillas and who have retreated to a derelict hacienda. So far so Camerone.
Where things differ this time is that rescue is one the way. A mixed column of contra-guerillas is marching to the sound of the guns.
With the Imperialist forces split in two it made sense to have one player looking after the Turcos and one the contra-guerillas. This left one Republican player commanding the largest single force in the game. Jamie being the most experienced Sharp Practice 2 player, he copped for that role. Leo played the Turcos commander and Gus led the contra-guerillas.
I failed to take a pre-game photo of the battlefield but this early shot shows most of the layout:
The main road from the provincial capital is in the foreground. A tree-lined stream can be seen on the left. A side road runs up to the main house of the hacienda past a couple of outbuildings.
The main house (remember a hacienda is actually the whole estate, not just the owner's mansion) has a courtyard in front that's surrounded by eight-foot-high walls. The front gate has long-since been broken up for firewood but there's a reasonably stout side door on the side facing the stream.
All three players were faced with tactical decisions right from the start. Leo's Turcos could manage to salvage enough ration boxes and abandoned furniture to build either a barricade across the main gateway or to construct a firing platform to allow one group to fire over the courtyard wall. Leo chose the former and his men set to work.
Jamie's Republican forces included a group of Zapadores (engineers). They were likely to be useful in breaking into the courtyard and Jamie set them to work breaking down the side gate. Clearly this would not be a quiet job so the Turcos were able to plan their deployment knowing that an attack from that quarter was imminent.
Gus meanwhile started with no chits in the hat. He could only add his officers' chits to the bag from the start of turn two and only if he made the right die roll. The score needed on the die would vary depending upon which elements of his column he rushed to the scene. Gus chose to lead with his single group of cavalry and with both of his groups of infantry. This gave him only a 50:50 chance of getting hit chits into the hat on turn two but he made the roll.
In the meantime, Jamie had brought on three groups of Republican regular infantry to support the zapadores on the river side of the house. Two groups of state militia and one of skirmishers deployed on the opposite side. Finally, an imposing-looking group of lance-armed Republican cavalry formed up to protect their flank.
Even without the contra-guerillas deployed the forces were beginning to look quite impressive.
The contra-guerillas now deployed on the highway.
A clash between the two groups of cavalry now looked possible.
And the Republican cavalry was supported by skirmishers.
Sergente Asdrubal Cortez was careful to lead from the rear!
But Gus's dice rolling continued to be helpful as far as the arrival of the contra-guerilla forces was concerned. Their artillery was soon deployed facing the enemy cavalry.
Withering fire from the mountain gun and from the accompanying contra-guerilla artillery soon had the Republican lancers turning tail.
Although the contra-guerilla cavalry had taken some casualties from the fire of the Republican skirmishers.
By now the zapadores has broken down the side gate of the hacienda yard. Some casualties had been taken on both sides when Jamie decided to launch his regular infantry into an assault through the gate.
I ruled that the defending Turcos would gain the benefit of defending hard cover. They were also rated as Aggressive. Together these two factors were enough to put the slightly outnumbered Turcos at an advantage. Jamie's poor dice rolling did the rest of the job and the Republican infantry were routed. They fled across the stream taking two Leaders with them. In one combat the Republican Force Morale fell from nine to zero and the battle was over!
So a bit of an early finish, but it gave us the chance of a leisurely pack-up and allowed Gus to drive back to Nottingham in the daylight.
I'm pleased with the Maximilian Adventure collection; I thought they looked good en masse. I must organise more Saturday Afternoon Wargames this year so I can make sure they see a reasonable amount of use.