|British cross the Puebla bridge...|
It was a Donald Adamson scenario involving his hero Capitaine Gerard in which a British Force (commanded by myself and Colin Jack) advancing from Vittoria encountered a French rearguard force commanded by Hugh Wilson. The player briefings and orders of battle are given later. Donald provided most of the troops with myself provided the Puebla Bridge guard. The terrain set-up was provided by Hugh Wilson on his 12 ft by 5 ft table.
All the troops used the standard factors in the rules. The French infantry were reliable in attack column and the line British infantry had first fire. Veteran units were given the Crack special rule. We used the alternate move sequence with firing occurring after initiative moves. Player briefings, scenario events and OBs are at the end of this article. A map and more photos with descriptions on flickr at
How it Played
My British infantry brigade advanced onto the table along the Royal Road while the flanking Light Brigade played by Colin came onto the table in the first turn just south of the Sacramento River. This meant that the 2 French reserve brigades could act immediately against Colin’s isolated force. The main action and excitement in the game resolved around this apparently unequal struggle.
The French attacked the Light Brigade initially with 4 battalions who closed quickly with the British and went in with the bayonet. Three of the French battalions were broken in the hand to hand conflicts (not much you can do when you roll 2 for the first break test and 4 for the supporting unit.) while the other battalion retired shaken and disordered.
|First French attack goes in - En Avant mes amis...|
A second wave of attacks by the French broke the British light infantry and a combined battalion but both the French battalions were broken by firing and fled the field. This left the French artillery and 2 battalions including the Royal Guard engaging the similar sized surviving force of the Light brigade from long range whilst the Swiss battalion had moved to the Los Mission Dos Putas Ridge as a distant support for the Puebla Bridge guard.
On their front the Bridge Guard had concentrated on the north side of the Puebla River. They allowed enough space on the north bank for the British to cross with 3 of their large battalions. The leading British battalion proved to be very poor shots - scoring 2 hits with 12 dice at short range - so the French held their position. Only as the game was ending did the British manage to redeploy to get 2 fresh battalions into action but their first volley of 10 dice proved ineffective! The cavalry brigade had by now crossed the river but never got into a position to unsheathe their swords.
|French Bridge guard holds British....|
With the Royal Road cut behind them the French survivors would have to make their way cross country towards the beckoning Pyrenees.
|British masses across the Puebla Bridge|
French Briefing: General de Division Le Pard
It is 1813, and the British, Portuguese and Spanish are pushing north for the mountains and border with France. The French are fighting a glorious and bitter rear-guard campaign.
Your orders are to hold two key bridges over the Rio Puebla, and then over the Rio Sacramento. Your duty is clear.
You have positioned a small force, of two battalions, around the bridge over the Rio Puebla, together with your aide, the gallant Capitaine Gerard. They are ordered to hold the bridge until reinforcements arrive, which will be summoned by Capitaine Gerard.
Your main force is camped just south of the Rio Sacramento, east and west of the road by the bridge. You are clear that the Rio Sacramento not fordable for many miles. You are less clear about the nature of the Rio Puebla, and have therefore astutely retained your forces by the bridge over the Sacramento, until Gerard informs you of the position. You then plan to move forward to save the day when you know what threats you are facing. You will do nothing until you hear from the gallant Capitaine.
CinC Generale Etienne Le Pard 8
Brigade Auberge 8
Battalion of King Joseph’s Guards – small; veteran
Infantry de Griswald (Swiss) - veteran
Brigade Foix 8
16th Legere - veteran
Brigade Gris 8 at the Puebla Bridge
44th Ligne - veteran
46th Ligne - veteran
French Special Event
On reaching the house of the Fallen Women, Capitaine Gerard throws a dice.
1. Two of the whores offer themselves to the bold Gerard. Delay of D6.
2. One husky beauty leads the Capitaine to a boudoir. Delay of D3
3. Rides on next turn
4. Rides on next turn
5. Charms on the ladies with his ready wit. She tells him that a shepherd has reported a British force at point x on the map.
6. Having written a love sonnet to a dusky eyed beauty, she tells Gerard not only where the British are, but also the exact composition of the force.
British Briefing: Major General Hope
It is 1813, and the British, Portuguese and Spanish are pushing north for the mountains and border with France. The French are fighting a bitter rear-guard campaign.
You have an opportunity to punch through what your Spanish allies tell you is a thinly defended sector on The King’s Road – the royal road to France. Your orders are to seize two key bridges over the River Puebla, and then over the River Sacramento. Your duty is clear.
You approach from the south with one brigade under the somewhat foppish Brigadier Nicholas St Aubyn. The brigade is newly sent out from England with four fresh battalions. It is accompanied by a cavalry brigade of two regiments of dragoons, and a battery of foot artillery.
You have been informed by your Spanish allies that the Puebla River is crossable by ford a few miles to the west and east of the bridge. Unfortunately the Sacramento River is deeper and faster flowing, and thus not crossable for many miles. You send a brigade of light infantry and rifles under the irascible Red Rob Crawford on a flank march. The regiments are veterans but are supported by two line battalions that have been badly mauled in previous engagements and now form two composite battalions. They are accompanied by a troop of Royal Horse Artillery.
CinC Major Gen John Hope 8
Brigadier Nicholas St Aubyn 7
1st Foot (Royal Scots) - Large. Blue facings
28th Foot (Gloucestershire Regt) – Large. Yellow facings
31st Foot (East Surreys) –Large. White facings
37th Foot (Hampshires) – Large. Yellow facings
Brigadier Robert Crawford 9
60th Rifles - veteran
52nd Light Infantry – Small -veteran
1st Composite – veteran; 1 casualty
2nd Composite – veteran; 1 casualty
British Special Event
Before the game starts, the British throw a D6—this determines in how many turns the Light Brigade appears.
The British throw another D6. This determines where the Light Brigade appears between the two rivers.
East side of Board
1. Near (South) of ridge
2. On ridge
3. Far (North) side of ridge
West wide of Board
4. Near (South) of ridge
5. On ridge
6. Far (North) side of ridge
On throws of 1 or 4, the troops do not have to be put on table until they either go onto the ridge or go through the woods towards the bridge.e