Sunday, 10 July 2011
Historically after landing unopposed at Mondego Bay, Sir Arthur Wellesley led a Portuguese/British army of some 15,000 men south towards Lisbon. Opposing him was General Henri Delaborde, with a force consisting only of some 5000 infantry, 500 cavalry and 5 field pieces. The French decide to fight a delaying action against Wellesley’s advance while awaiting reinforcements.
Delaborde chose his first defensive position in the hills just northwest of the village of Rolica. Wellesley advanced in three columns against the French, ordering the Portuguese troops under Colonel Trant on the right and Fergusson’s column on the left to turn the enemy’s flanks, while the artillery and infantry in his center were to engage the enemy in the front and hold them in position.
In the resulting action the British outflanked the French positions forcing them to withdraw to the south.
Game wise the two hill hexes on the French baseline are Victory Banner objective hexes for the British player. If a British unit occupies an objective hex at the start of the British player’s turn, the British player gains a Victory Banner. As long as the unit remains on the objective hex it will count as a British Victory Banner. If it moves off or is eliminated, it no longer counts. The entire river is fordable.
We played the battle 3 times, victory going to the French twice 6-3 and 5-0. The British won once 5-3. Each game played out differently and all were great fun. In the first game the French came off the hills and attacked in the centre, while the British got bottled up on the their left flank crossing the river. After bitter fighting the blues were victorious, killing Colonel Trant.
In the second game the French very quickly over powered the Portuguese troops on the their right wing and routed them with much slaughter. Game three and the French planning went to bits as first they withdrew from the heights in the centre and then launched an attack from the same location. This attack went in piece meal and got badly mauled. A massed cavalry charge almost retrieved the situation for the French before petering out on the British canon.
All in all a great evenings fun. Thanks to Dave for bringing his little lead men, which really added to the look and feel of the game.