Monday 10 February 2020

Battle of Almeida 1810

Postie ran a Peninsular War game yesterday but for various reasons, it was a bit of a bust. The UK was battered by Storm Ciara yesterday and several Rejects wisely decided not to travel in the 80mph winds. I, on the other hand, decided nothing was keeping me from a game, not even the flying debris and driving rain of an extratropical cyclone! The Shed-o-War was rocking and shuddering in the gusts, and there were a few leaks in the roof, but at least it stayed on and we were able to complete our game, albeit to an unsatisfactory conclusion. 

With just three players rather than the planned six this was already shaping up to be a busy game with lots of figures to move and multiple decision to make. Unfortunately for myself and Ray playing the British/Portuguese army, the game was effectively decided in the first 30 minutes of play.

Stuart based this game on an actual siege, however historically Wellesley decided not to attempt to relieve the town of Almeida, hoping that they could hold out long enough to keep the French tied down while he reorganised his forces. The siege, however, came to a very dramatic ending when a mortar shell hit the town's powder store. The resulting explosion flattened nearly every building, killing hundreds and precipitating the surrender of the garrison.

In this what-if scenario, the British are trying to break the siege however, with hindsight, it was clear that in this case, Wellesly was probably right not to attack. The longer the game went on the weaker our army became and Surjits forces were all the time marching to concentrate on our assault. Certainly, had we been allowed to set up our forces I think we would have deployed very differently. As it was our opening disposition forced ceratin actions on us that, compounded with brilliant dice rolls from Sujit, meant we were fighting a losing battle almost from the start.

Orders of Battle
Rather than struggle with Posties handwriting (he's so old-school he doesn't even own a mobile phone, let alone a computer), I decided to just post the pictures I took of his Orders of Battle sheets. Good luck reading them!

The Action
British forces (under myself and Ray) advance towards the besieged town of Almeida

View from the other direction across the French siegeworks.

The British advance looks strong, and we have a lot of good units in the centre. 

From above it looks very ordered (not for long). The French though have a lot of elite Legere units, with another division marching as fast as they can towards the British left flank. 

The French reinforcements, troops for the other side of the town, brought around to bolster the French defence. They are at least 7 or eight turns from the fight so it's essential the British hit their objectives quickly. 

Our Cavalry on the right flank are forced to counter the French Cavalry which means running right into the path of French guns. They make contact with the French Cavalry already reduced in number...

Surjits dice rolls are phenomenal and combined with superior numbers they wipe out or rout all the British Cavalry!! Frankly, that's game over. Our flank is completely exposed. 

Portuguese infantry brigades hastily form square but the rapid advance we needed for our plan is being thrown into disarray. 

My elite troops in the centre advance and wheel slightly to respond to a rapid French advance...I'm hoping to take some pressure off the Portuguese as French Cavalry slams into the flank of our army. 

Surjit looks calm as he presses his attack. 

The British continue to advance but are now looking to the French relife division bearing down on our left flank. 

The centre looks impressive, but it masks the crumbling flank. 

French columns bear down as they press the attack. 

British reserve cavalry starts to come ontop the flank but its too late to stop the crumbling of our Portuguese infantry. 
A view down the table shows an impressive vista. Pity, it wasn't also showing a British army on the edge of victory! 

Now the infantry Melee's begin...and we come off worse yet again! Today is not going our way. 

The thin red line

Troops everywhere. 

The British plan has fallen apart. We can't possibly achieve any of our objectives and the French Relife division is about to start pressing our left flank.

Surjit with his well deserved victory. He kept his cool (mostly) and managed an army that was designed for three players. 

I could waffle on an on here, but I think Ray and I felt like we were beaten by the scenario and the deployment as much by Surjits cool head. It was an unmitigated disaster for the Britsh and probably confirmed that Wellesly was right after all not to attempt to break the siege. 


  1. Least said about this the better! Don't wanna upset Postie do we!!!

  2. That's a lovely looking game. Shame it was such a disaster for the British:(

  3. Such a lovely game. Too bad it ended in disaster up for you and Ray but Surjit looks the model of a confident general. Chapeau to the French!


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