Friday, July 11, 2014

Action at Arroyo con Pollo - BatRep


KGL hussars ready for action
With the scenario background laid out in an earlier post (Scenario Arroyo con Pollo), on to the battle report of the action.  In this fight Kevin and his brother, Dylan, commanded the French while I took up responsibilities for the British.
With flanks protected by the embankments,
British deploy across the valley
KGL lights garrison one of the farms guarding the defile
while the KGL lights skirmish with the approaching French.
French skirmishers swarm around the outpost
French skirmisher from the grenadier battalion takes aim
The French advance is quite orderly and precise
 with lead battalions in line and supports in assault column.
Outnumbered, the KGL skirmishers abandon
the farm to the French
and take up positions in the farm house to the rear.
The parent KGL battalion falls back from the farm
and slowly gives ground back to the main defensive line.
Sweeping view of battle as French advance upon the farms,
concentrating their attacks on the British left.

Seeing the French concentration on the left,  British advance
from the relative safety of the defile into the fields on the right.
Hussars position themselves for counterattacks against the
French among the buildings.
French take the second farm without much resistance from
the KGL and begin working their way along the ridge line.
French advance continues through the farms
as French guns are brought up.
French grenadiers prepare for action.
French cavalry prepare for action.
Countering British advances on the British right,
French redeploy Taupin's brigade to the opposite bank of the arroyo.
Skirmishing erupts from the field as French columns close with
the lead KGL battalion.
Faced with overwhelming odds, KGL skirmisher calls for reinforcements.
Four French battalions on one, this will not be fun!
French press on into the field to close with the KGL.
Rather than sending three battalions in against the lone KGL foot,
Taupin receives a directive to pin and flank.
Relieved to be facing only one opponent, the KGL foot remain steady
firing two volleys into the French.  Both volleys are ineffective.
Shaken by their failure to stop the French, the KGL are pushed out
of the field in the assault.
Spencer joins the KGL to stiffen their resolve.

Note in the background that all French cavalry have been
 redeployed to support Taupin. 
French take cover from artillery fire behind the farm walls.
Spencer spends more time than he would like under fire
in an attempt to rally the KGL.
To protect their KGL foot brethren, KGL hussars cover the right of the infantry.
French launch a charge with four squadrons against two.
In the melee, the hussars are scattered and the British right is in danger.
British right is exposed 
while 5th KGL advances to cover the
7th KGL as it attempts to rally.
With both farms cleared of KGL, French advance on British
defensive positions at the mouth of the defile.

To relieve pressure on the right, British attack on the left,
 driving back one French battalion beyond the farm.
British right attempts a retrograde in the face of both
cavalry and infantry.
French musketry and artillery fire-volume increases
 and the KGL begin to waiver.
With enemy cavalry on the flank, the 7th KGL forms square.
Spencer points out that French cavalry are upon the flank.
KGL foot attempt to stand firm against increasing pressure.

French skirmishers soften up the line
before sending in the Swiss.
The 5th KGL recoils, uncovering the gun
which immediately becomes a target of French cavalry.
Anticipating the danger, the gun limbers and heads into 
the cover of the defile.
With the British right uncovered and nothing to stop the
marauding French cavalry, the contest ends. 
Congratulations to the victorious French but what a dismal outing for the British!  As the British CinC, I made a number of blunders, only a few of which I will account.

Edit 12JUL2014: The British disaster was even worse than first recounted.  Looking at the game table, I saw that the British overall commander, General Spencer, was in the dead pile.  That triggered a memory forgotten in the heat of battle.  What happened to Spencer?  While attached to the 7th KGL in square, the infantry square came under heavy French artillery bombardment.  Spencer suffered a horrible death causing his entire command to drop 1 CE for the remainder of the game.  Spencer's death, the CE drop of the whole force, and the French cavalry success in breaching the defile forced the British to concede the game.    

First, the British would have been better served to remain within the confines of the defile and let the French come to them.  As the deployable space contracted, the French attackers would have been forced to do the same.  Overwhelming odds against any one British unit would have been difficult if not impossible.  The tactics at Agincourt were too long in the past to recall, I suppose.

Second, British firepower was abysmal throughout the game.  Even with their higher Combat Effectiveness and larger frontage, none of the British infantry could hit the side of the proverbial barn.  Even the French were astonished!

For the French, they directed a well-made assault using combined arms tactics to soften and then destroy two foot battalions.  French skirmishers were very effective at driving the KGL lights out of their defenses on the left and weakening the KGL foot on the right.

Well done, guys!

With my poor showing, I will likely reset and try the scenario again to test my thoughts above.  Until next time.

24 comments:

  1. Phew! :o) great battle,game report with lots and lots of photos all 37 of them!
    Excellent!.... well done Jonathan

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    1. Thanks, Phil! Too many photos? At least the explanations were terse...

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  2. Superb report and a welcomed break from the triads

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  3. With the wild and unexpected results, this battle might be renamed El Pollo Loco. Great photos and report!

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    1. Certainly unexpected results for the British. I was, perhaps, too aggressive and it cost me. In a solo replay, I have at least a fighting chance at victory...

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  4. Ah, a battle to warm the heart of a Francophile nearly as much as a nice coq au vin! :-)

    Beautiful troops and pics, Jon. I think some very public dice sacrifices might be needed, "pour encourager les autres", however!

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    1. Yes! The Francophiles were very pleased with the result. Coq au Vin? Boy, I haven't made that dish in years. Sounds good!

      The dice Gods did not smile on the British in this game. The French players were smiling at my atrocious rolls and simply shook their heads in disbelief. How could someone roll that many sixes (automatic failure regardless of modifiers)?

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  5. I love a detailed batrep with lots of photos! I can feel the frustration and disbelief at the British lack of success; been in that position myself many a time! (usually self-inflicted, too..)

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    1. Johnny! You get lots of photos with this one! I should have been cashiered for my poor performance in this battle.

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  6. Great report accompanied by loads of photos and an analysis, a joy to read. I do agree with your overall take on the English. Without knowing all the details, it also seems that their artillery never got to take any real bites at the French. The real charm will be to run it again, with the added knowledge of the above outcome.

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    1. Thanks, Soren!

      Quite right. British artillery was ineffective throughout just like British musketry. It would be unlikely for the British to have any less impact with respect to firepower than in this play.

      Thanks!

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  7. Brilliant! Loads of lovely figures to!

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  8. Magnificent, Jonathan! Would love to have been there :)

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    1. Thanks, Aaron. The door is always open for you.

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  9. Fabulously painted figures and wonderful looking game. I see you went all out with Front Rank figs - very impressive!

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    1. Thanks, Dean! Yes, many of the figures are Front Rank although there are Sash & Sabre, Brigade Games, and Elite mixed in too.

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  10. Great looking game, beautiful pics and figures, my favourite is the troops behind the farm walls, really good!

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    1. Thanks, Phil! The French standing behind the wall is a good choice for favorite photo. I like that one too.

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  11. Wonderful looking armies and great report Jonathan!

    Christopher

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    1. Thanks, Christopher! There is replay value in giving it another go. The British ought not be able to duplicate their first, poor showing.

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