Once again we were using Rebels and Patriots rules for a Napoleonic clash between the Austrians and French with the Lamment Ridge scenario. We used 48pts a side with dual command on each. For those not knowing the scenario there is a central point marker on the board and being in posession of this at the games end gets victory points (plus destroying the enemy units). In our case we had a pack donkey on a hill in the centre. No one was quite clear why each side was fighting over possession of the donkey. It seemed to be loaded with unknown baggage, perhaps it was looted gold or enemy maps. Whatever the reason it was a beguiling donkey and everyone wanted it (no not in that way) but only at the end of the game.
The French had their paymaster Cashbox McGregor and the victor of many past actions the Comte Del Monte as commanders. They fielded a couple of line units and large light units some light cavalry and one unit of heavy cavalry and a medium gun.
The Austrians had Baron Leopold von Wankendorf and Count Krapp-Losser in command. As in the past they had a lot of line units, some regular, some poorer quality Landwehr, two units of light cavalry and their prized possession a heavy gun.
The French opened by cautiously probing forward towards the hill in the centre whilst more actively attacking on the flanks. Cashbox took his unit into the cover of a field and then announced an old wound meant he couldn't climb over the wall out of it (leader trait). At least he could fire in support of the Guarde de Paris lights and Chasseurs Generic . The Chasseurs were similar to those seen in several episodes of Sharpe, the ones in blue coats with yellow trim who attack infantry in houses with swords. These one were obviously superior though as they skirmished forward and shot effectively throughout the game, eventually with help causing their opposite numbers in the Austrian ranks to flee.
The Comte did his usual trick of staying back, this time by the gun. This is usually a tactic that maintains his safety however faced by Dave's new found double 1 tactic (see previous game report) it proved not to be the case this time.
Von Wankendorf's Austrians started the game by shooting each other (a double 1 effect). It wasn't an effective tactic and saw disorder spread in the ranks. Throughout the game repeated failed rally attempts and morale tests weakened his command until the French Cuirassiers who had been hanging back looking for a suitable target (much to the derision of the Austrians) charged a disorded unit and routed it before hitting the unit behind and disordering that in turn. The Cuirassiers suffered next turn as they were isolated and every Austrian gun poured on the shooting until they broke and fled.
On the opposite flank the Count Krapp-Losser was managing to get some shots off from his heavy gun and sporadic forward movement of his troops. The concentration of French fire on his light cavalry and Jaegers however soon denuded him of all but his line and gun.
Just as things were looking comfortable for the French the Hanovarian Lights rolled a double 1. This was a magnificent double 1 though. A double 1 of dash and elan! Ok it had them make a suicidal charge (without making contact) into the killing zone of 4 Austrian line units and the gun. Remarkably they avoided devastaing casualties (Austrian failed shooting helped) and only fell back disordered. They were treated to two more rounds of shooting before they could fully clear the killing zone that left them at half strength but despite it all, unbroken.
With the end of the game approaching the Austrians had some depleted units on the table but the French had also suffered, the Guarde de Paris and Cuirassiers and Hanovarian Lights having the worst of it. They did have a unit of Spanish and Hanovarian line ready to march onto the hill and sieze the beguilling donkey at the games end though as opposed to the Austrians who only had one depleted line unit available to contest the stunted equine. As the Austrians would have the last move the idea was that the French took the hill straddling donkey with multiple units so that whatever lead the Austrians put out one unit would be likley to remain with said braying prize.
Oh how it was all to change in the last turn.
The Hannovarian line failed to activate, no problem the Spanish line can do it. Wrong, a double 1 caused them to retreat a full move. The Comte, furious with his retreating Spanish ordered his gun to fire on them (another double 1). Remarkably they didn't break but they certainly wouldn't be winning the game. That just left the half strength Hannovarian lights. Resplendent in red coats they pushed through the stuttering line units and took the donkey prize.
Now the Austrians had victory in their grasp. Despite multiple morale and rally failings and units fleeing they had one line unit left who could easily charge up the hill, brush aside the weakened Hannovarian lights and claim the fabled donkey. Von Wankendorf savoured the prospect of victory. Of course the Austrians failed activation and didn't charge the Hannovarian lights.
Still all was not lost Count Krapp-Losser was about to weild the notorious double 1 tactic. He directed his heavy gun to counter battery the French medium gun where the Comte Del Monte was esconsed, safely as he thought.
One casualty was caused. The Austrians rolled a 1 & 2. This was enough to take the Comte out of the game as his leadership trait was 'easily wounded' - wound on 2D6 3 rather than 2. The comte was propelled backwards into a hedge row.
Now all his units including the depleted but game winning Hannovarian lights had to roll to a morale test. This could be it. Victory was within the Austrian's grasp again.
Every French unit passed morale including the game winning Hannovarians who needed and rolled 7 on 2D6, no need to overdo it with that overblown double 6 nonsense, enough is sufficient.
The French led off their stumpy equine catch but wait. None of them made an enquiry where the Comte was. Perhaps they were too elated with their prize or perhaps they were secretly pleased to see the back of the Comte.
The Austrians found him in the hedgerow later on and took him hostage, a sort of booby prize behind the donkey.
A great game whose outcome was in doubt again until the very end.