|Kempt: The Rock of Maida|
In a surprise twist, Matt, my longtime British adversary in our AWI campaigning, opted to lead the French on the attack.
As a reminder, the battlefield is contained within a 6' x 6' playing area. The battlefield looks like the photo below at the start of battle. Stuart's British are situated at the top of the photo and Reynier's French positioned at the bottom.
Before plunging into the battle account, first, a brief overview of the combatants.
British army under the command of Major General John Stuart.
Stuart fields an army of infantry and guns with no cavalry. The flank companies from the foot regiments were stripped and consolidated into two combined elite battalions. The light companies were combined into one battalion under Kempt on the British right. Also in Kempt's brigade were the Royal Corsican Rangers supported by additional flank companies deployed in the scrub along the Lamato River.
The grenadier companies were consolidated into one battalion under Cole on the British left. This meant that all of the foot regiments would be without their elite companies on this day.
In the center, Stuart placed Acland's brigade. Acland commanded the 2/78 and 1/81, both green. Oswald was placed behind these three brigades in reserve. The British battle line was deployed in echelon such that Kempt's Brigade was closer to the enemy than was Cole. If the French attacked across a broad front, the first blows would naturally fall upon Kempt. Both flanks were protected by scrub to hinder any attempts at outflanking the position.
French army under General de Division Jean Reynier.
Reynier fielded a combined arms force of all three branches but all artillery and cavalry were on the right under the command of Digonet. Digonet's command also contained two battalions of the 23rd Legere. Veteran troops having seen action in northern Italy.
The French left was commanded by General Compere. In his brigade were two battalions of the veteran 1st Legere and two battalions of the 42nd Ligne. Both regiments saw action in the Revolutionary Wars with the 1st Legere present at Marengo.
In the center, Reynier placed Peyri's brigade of foreign troops. Present were two battalions of Polish-Italian Legion and one battalion of Swiss. The Poles were unreliable, reportedly having been recruited from former Austrian prisoners of war.
Reynier wants to drive the British back into the sea while Stuart wants to brush aside these interlopers so that he can support the Calabrian insurrection.
Enough of background, on to battle!
|The British wait|
|While Stuart is content to await the French attack, |
Compere steps off on the French left.
|Kempt readies the Lights.|
|The French advance across the plain.|
Acland and Cole move up to support Kempt.
|Compere sends one battalion of the 1st Legere into the |
scrub to eject the Corsican Rangers.
|Compere, with three battalions, |
is within striking distance of Kempt.
Skirmishing at the Lamato intensifies as the
legere contact the Corsicans.
|Choosing to remain in attack column rather than deploy|
into line, Compere attacks!
Kempt's Lights give a good volley but the French push on.
The 42nd cannot reach Kempt in time to join in the assault.
|In the heavy firefight, Compere goes down. |
Dead on the field.
British guns are telling on the 42nd.
Kempt has his hands full!
|Peyri advances in the center with the Swiss |
flanked by the Poles.
Acland moves up to support Kempt.
Casualties mount in the fight
between 1st Legere and the Lights.
|2/1 Legere waivers and then breaks.|
Kempt is not out of danger as the 42nd closes in.
|Over on the French right, |
Digonet orders 2/23 Legere to clear
the scrub of the 20th Foot so that the 9th Chasseurs
can advance unmolested.
|1/23 Legere bears down upon Cole's 1/27th Foot.|
Again, the French attack in column screened by a swarm of skirmishers.
|In the center, the Poles are taking fire from two guns.|
They begin to waiver but the Swiss press on.
On the French left, Kempt repulses the attack of the 42nd.
|Before the Swiss attack, |
the Poles give the British a volley.
The 2/78th breaks and runs!
Its rout is stopped by the 1/81st but for how long?
|Furious firefight continues in the scrub on the French right|
while the chasseurs look for an opening.
|The 20th Foot is driven from the scrub |
falling back in search of safety.
|While the Swiss press on and drive the British back,|
The French center is breaking apart.
One Polish battalion has had enough and breaks for the rear.
The 1/23 Legere reels back from artillery fire.
|Kempt, the Rock of Maida, remains.|
The 42nd is not finished.
Back both battalions go in against Kempt.
|Although suffering mightily,|
the 42nd's second effort scatters Kempt's Lights.
|For the 20th, there is no safe harbor.|
The chasseurs catch them as it retires.
They are cut down to a man.
The Butcher's Bill is telling. Each participant lost in excessive of 40% of its army in this sharp conflict.
The game gives me much to think about especially in how forces were deployed and fought. I came away with some useful insights into the battle. Before I have time to reflect, the battle must be reset for Tuesday's game.
Thank you, Matt! That was good fun.