Carnage at Dor de Cabeca
With flags unfurled and bugles and drums sounding the French marched out of camp and took up battle positions. The Comte had devised a cunning plan and loaded the bulk of his attack on to his right flank where the 1st Swiss formed line with their Voltigeur company and the Garde de Paris Voltigeurs as a first wave supported by the 13th Curassieurs and 2nd Swiss ready to exploit the anticipated break through. A light battery gave fire support. In the centre it was weaker with the 1st Garde de Paris supported by the Hannovarians lined up against the village supported by artillery. The left flank (2nd Garde de Paris and Dutch Hussars) was the weakest but they’d been given orders to skirmish forward and occupy the defenders.
For their part the Allies had 3 large veteran units, the 1st on the Allied right behind earthworks supported by a battery and defending against 2Coy G de Paris and 3rd Dutch. The village was held by the 2nd supported by a heavy battery and the 3rd manned the earthworks on the allied left. On the river a strange sight greeted the French, a hastily constructed vessel was anchored in the river apparently serving as a gun platform. The Allies seemed inordinately proud of the unusual craft and cheered it as it bobbed jauntily at anchor, an elderly looking officer aboard waving his plumed bicorne vigorously before being overcome by a coughing fit. It was indeed Old Wheezy on the proud craft Giselle (named after his similarly broad beamed former mistress).
Major Braveheart took up position with the 1st and 2nd Light Cavalry ready as a reserve.
The French jeered at the rickety looking craft and cries of merde were directed its way.
The Comte sitting aside his white charger (it was really a dull brown horse but he’d had it painted especially for the occasion) waved his brightly cockaded bicorne and the advance began.
On the French left the 2nd G De Paris and 3rd Dutch skirmished forward but out gunned they suffered badly and after 5 rounds of combat the Garde fell back severely disordered their retreat barely covered by the 3rd Dutch. The Allied 1st Line had taken casualties but held their line.
In the centre the religiously eccentric Capitain Chevre who emerged from his tent at the start of the day with red rimmed eyes having claimed to have been praying all night led his men on as if possessed. Several rounds of hard fighting took the French into the village where fighting went building to building before the allied 2nd line recoiled but beat off the 1st Garde de Paris who broke. This was the point the Capitain had been waiting for and ignoring the 1st Garde streaming back out of the village he led the Hannovarian Chasseurs head long into the narrow streets scattering the battery and smashing through the weakened 2nd Line though the street fighting did not suit the Hannovarians who also took casualties.
On the French right the front line pressed hard to the earthworks and though taking heavy casualties stormed the defences and broke the 3rd Allied Line unit. The French 2nd wave had been awaiting this opportunity and the 13th Chasseurs and 2nd Swiss crossed the defences free from injury.
The French battery had failed to support the assault and instead seemed preoccupied with assailing the odd Allied river craft which itself had a light artillery piece on board. In what the artillery officer would later claim at the disciplinary hearing was justified counter battery fire the brave Giselle though out gunned fought back until a stray round hit the powder store on board and a crashing explosion left the Giselle ablaze and slowly sinking.
With his 2iC and his craft apparently sinking beneath the rivers icy waters and his left and centre broken Major Braveheart led the 1st Light cavalry to fight the Hannovarian Chasseurs now emerging from the village whilst he sent the 2nd against the French Chasseurs and supporting Swiss infantry. If his charge could throw the French back the enemy had no more reserves and the line could still hold.
What followed was two hours of grim charge and counter charge. Braveheart’s 1st eventually broke the Hannovarian’s with Chevre being wounded blood seeping from a sabre slash to his scalp. However in a cruel twist of fate as he rallied the depleted 1st Braveheart, who had in turn come under fire from the 2 voltigeur companies now occupying the village, was struck through the shoulder by a musket ball. At the sight of this the badly depleted 1st light horse began a retreat from the field.
On the Allied left the 2nd Light’s were badly beaten by the Chasseurs and Swiss and disintegrated fleeing the field mingling in with the also fleeting 2nd and 3rd line.
Braveheart barely conscious through blood loss led the 1st Line and remnants of the 1st Light Horse from the field the smoke drifting from the blazing wreck of the Giselle helping cover his retreat.
And that was it. The Comte from the safety of his painted white steed viewed the carnage with pleasure. A victory for his forces and apart from a spill from his glass of cognac as a stray musket ball caused his painted white charger to jump, no mishap to himself. With the Capitain hors de combat with a nasty head wound it would be left to the Comte to write the reports home. A fine day indeed.
On the Allied side as his beaten force straggled away through the wooded hills Major Braveheart managed quell the pain long enough to do doff his bicorne towards the smouldering gunboat in acknowledgment of his 2iC and now departed companion Old Wheezy. Indeed it had been one campaign too far but he met his end with the namesake of his former love Giselle . There were some who said that has the vessel sank beneath the icy waters he was seen talking to a picture he kept on the inside of his hat.
With time in the campaign up the French didn’t get chance to reconnoitre Endiabrada and the stalwart allied defence denied them any futher victory points in the final battle but similarly the Allies failed to achieve any victory points so the French took a 10 to 7pt campaign win.