Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Insurrection - First Battle

Where we left the narrative last time.  The lancers are seeking
out the Insurrectionist right flank.
The first battle of the insurrection in Gatonegro could scarcely have been less sophisticated in its execution, but there was no denying its ferocity. As dawn broke over the dusty, scrubby plain south of Arabispo town, the Royalist lookouts could discern the steady approach of what looked uncommon like an army: uniformed and regimented, and even well enough armed. The insurrections were advancing in line, too, not something might expect of hastily trained troops.  (Fact is, it only crossed my mind later that the insurrectionists might have adopted columnar tactics.  On the other hand, the Yankee revolutionaries were not noted for tactics of that type...)
The view from behind Royalist lines.
The Insurrectionists approached with Buzbar and Carryon brigades side by side. The leading four battalions were arrayed in order, from the right flank, 3rd, 9th, 5th and 10th; the second line comprised 4th and 6th Battalions. Sufficiently well equipped with muskets though they were, they were altogether lacking in horse and guns. Heavily outnumbered as he was, Don Lardo faced the oncoming rebellion with confidence in his well-balanced forces and the training of his troops.
A rather fuzzy pic of the Lancers overrunning the rebel
3rd Battalion.
So confident was he withal, that, retaining his militia to garrison the town, he advanced to meet the enemy. A point to be made here is that for this action I used 'priority' chits, rather than the 'median' system used in the previous action. There being a total of 14 units and command staffs (figures) on the table, the chits were numbered 1 to 14, and each turn shuffled and randomly distributed among the units.  
Carnage of the Insurrectionist right flank - 3rd Battalion
overrun; 9th Cazadores decimated.

4th Battalion await their turn to join
 the fight
This proved rather unfortunate for the Insurrectionists' right flank. The Royalist Lancia d'Esci drawing a high number on the first move swung off slightly towards the open right flank of the enemy line. The following turn, they drew low, and promptly flung themselves upon the line of 3rd Battalion. Had the infantry drawn a low number, no doubt they would have formed square. Whether we put it down to lack of training, lack or awareness or simply surprise - the infantry were completely overwhelmed. The pitiful remnants fled incontinently from the field. Just two lancer figures were lost.
Action on the Insurrectionist right
With their blood up, and encouraged by their victory, the lancers plunged on, their target the reserve 4th Battalion some distance further on.
Action on the Insurrectionist left.
In the meantime, a savage firefight had developed in the centre. On their own, the 4th del Grado Regiment would probably have been outmatched by two Insurrectionist battalions, the firepower even, but numbers favouring the latter. But the Royalists had their artillery, and that made a big difference. They were also helped, as the rebels closed the range, by 5th Insurrectionist Battalion straying within range of some of the Loyalist militia in the town.
The fight was made the bloodier by the eagerness with which 4th del Grado closed the range. Ninth Cazadores soon broke, leaving a good half its numbers strewn about the field. The 5th Fusiliers were left desperately hanging on, until the 6th could intervene. That intervention brought new life into the Insurrectionists' main attack. It proved decisive.
On the extreme left of the Insurrectionist line, 10th Cazadores found themselves in a firefight with a company of loyalist militia, who had barricaded the main street of the town. Getting somewhat the better of this action, the Insurrectionists began to think about a direct assault, to unseat the defenders.
Loyalist militia defending the town.
Events had developed apace on the other wing. Emboldened by their easy victory over 3rd Battalion, the lancers surged on, to sweep into the line of 4th Battalion. Once again it was determined by the priority dice that the infantry would fail to form square betimes. All the same, the sketchily trained infantry gave a creditable account of themselves, and emptied many a saddle in the charge and in the melee.  It was to no avail, though. Having taken much the heavier losses in the melee, 4th Battalion soon followed their comrades of the 3rd from the field.
Both sides nearing the end of their tether - but,
less able to sustain the losses the Royalists
seem to be in worse case.

That victory proved to be the Royalist high point of the action. The collapse followed quickly after. Though 4th del Grado had carved great chunks out of two Insurrectionist battalions, the attack by another - the 6th - was the decisive moment of the battle. Fewer than half its numbers remaining with the colours, the Royalist regulars began to fall back in disorder. His lancers having not more than one charge left in them - if that - and the militia looking a bit battered as well, Don Lardo ordered the retreat to be sounded.   

The Insurrections had won.
4th del Grado Infantry about to collapse and fall back,
taking the rest of the Royalist Army with them.
This was a very quick action - maybe three or four turns, not more. But you will see by the state of the stricken field it was no light affair for the troops involved. Of the Royalist forces, 4th del Grado lost 15 from 28, the lancers 6 from 15 and the militia 5 from 19 - a total of 26 out of 67 figures.
10th Cazadores about to storm the town.  The Loyalist
defenders would quit the place before they came to blows.
Not having the details by individual units, I can only estimate Insurrectionist losses at about 40-odd.  Greater numbers, and hardly surprising given the disparity in combat effectiveness, but heavy as they were they were proportionately less than the Royalists'.  The Insurrectionist Army had been blooded (as well as bloodied), and, having won their victory, gained in confidence.  They began to think of themselves as veterans...

Fairly deliberately unbalanced - certainly asymmetrical - I was surprised in the event just how near a thing this battle turned out to be.  Having said that, I'll probably have just one more action with the Insurrectionists counting as 'militia', after which they will be ungraded to 'line' status, They will also, of course, have acquired some artillery and horsed troops meanwhile... Oh, yes: and numbers...

To be continued...


  1. Interesting game. I was expecting a Royalista Victory due to superior firepower and training.

    1. It was close, but I thought the numbers would be the decisive factor. The system I used for these battles is a very simple version of my preferred volley groups. The Militia volley group was 8 figures; 'line' was 6 and elite, 4. That gave the rebel infantry just double the firepower of the Royalist, though in numbers outnumbered them 5:2. The lancers and the artillery made up some of the difference, but I didn't expect them to be quite enough.

      Having said that, I recall an action from about 25 years ago based on one of Charles S. Grant's 'Teasers' set in Spain. I had the French, a Division comprising 5 regiments, with 2 guns, and a regiment of dragoons, some 150-odd figures. The Spanish had 9 battalions, a couple of cannon and a unit of hussars - over 180 figures. But complicating the action was a band of ten figures of guerrillas hising in the town. I detailed the 13th Light infantry to deal with the guerrilla guys, whilst the remainder of the column advanced west of the town to dislodge the Spanish main body drawn up along a line of ridges.

      That, too was a very close action, but the French won, though they had a fair bit of luck.

      Interestingly enough, the 13th Light failed to destroy the guerrillas outright, though one might have thought 27 figures would deal fairly shortly enough with ten.

      Noe that I think of it, the thing is worth an article, though I don't have any pictures of it.

  2. Sounds like a beautiful - and bloody - battle, nice pictures!

    1. Thanks, Phil. I like to see a bit of carnage. There's more to come - I hope soon...