Today, we played our first game of the year and also the first game of a new period, the Carlist War of 1830-1838 (approx.).
The vast majority of the beautiful Perry figures were painted by Mark of "1866 and all that" fame, and my contribution was a brigade of the British Auxiliary Legion (BAL), comprising three battalions of British mercenaries recruited for service in Spain, two battalions of Spanish infantry and a battalion of regular British Royal Marines, plus a troop of RMLI rockets. Mark also produced all the splendid buildings that comprised the two villages.
Almost all the troops on the table were either Raw or Trained - in my case, only the RM were Trained, all the rest were Raw! The rest of the "Isabellina" force ie the forces loyal; to the legitimate heir to the Spanish throne,. a ten year old princess, were of similar dubious quality.
Facing us across a river passable only by the three bridges, was a slightly smaller but also slightly better quality force of Carlist troops - ie supporters of the evil usurper who wanted to wrest the throne from the pure, gentle Princess Isabellina (I think he may have been her least favourite uncle!)
The aim was for the Carlists to defend the river line and the two villages controlling the roads to Bilbao, and conversely, the Isabellina forces had to cross the river and take control of both roads. The task was not made any easier by the fact that the river was only crossable by one of the three bridges.
The initial deployment was as shown below
In general terms, the plan worked well. We had some nervous moments in the second quarter of the game, when about one quarter of our army was taking on about three quarters of the Carlists in the centre, but these forces managed to weather the storm and hold their own, despite several reverses, until the bulk of our army had marched around the flank as indicated in the map and fell upon the Carlist forces #, driving them firstly form Village One and latterly, clearing them from the hill in the centre.
On the right flank, my BAL sat in position doing very little for almost the entire game, exchanging rocket fire with the Carlists mountain gun battery. I did initially send my lancers charging over the bridge at the very start of the game, but they were decimated by musket and cannon fire, forced to retire, and then driven from the field by the end of move three! Thereafter, I remained more or less motionless, absorbing casualties from the Carlist artillery, as both lots of infantry were outside effective musket range of each other.
After the destruction of most of the Carlist army, the small force opposing the BAL on my flank decided on a strategic withdrawal and at the very end of the game, I was finally able to advance across the bridge and capture the second road, thus allowing "The Times" to report that the British troops had won the battle!
Initial deployment of the BAL on the Isabellina left flank
The left flank position showing the bridge and Village Two
Royal Marine rocket troop
One of the Isabellina brigades
Carlist troops deployed in Village Two
The church on the left flank with Carlist troops defending the bridge in the rear
Carlist lancers in the centre
The BAL lancers making their rash and ill fated advance at the very start of the game
A couple of moves later, the lancers have suffered severe casualties and bee forced to retire, unfortunately......
A Carlist infantry unit followed up and poured another volley into the retreating lancers - and they "popped" - no more cavalry on this flank!
The Isabellina forces in the centre cross the bridge and advance uphill
Meanwhile, the flanking march crosses the far bridge
The Isabellina cavalry brigade in the van of the flanking manouvre
Isabellina cavalry supported by artillery on the far right flank
The Carlist forces in the centre react to the flank movement of the Isabellinas
Meanwhile, the main Carlist forces on the hill confront the Isabellina advance
View from the summit of the hill (the Carlist position) as the Isabellina centre advances
The BAL on the Isabellina left flank, as viewed from the Carlist right flank
And looking the other way - Carlist troops confronting the BAL across the river. After the suicidal cavalry charge, the BAL commander had decided to play a waiting game, simply holding his position to ensure the Carlist forces could not be redeployed to their left.
Isabellina forces continue to cross the far right flank bridge
The Isabellina lancers circling to the rear of Village One as part of their flanking movement
Artillery in action, supported by cavalry
The Carlists on my flank strayed a little TOO close to the river and BAL battalion moved up to pour musket fire into them
Next move, it was two on one and the BAL battalion beat a hasty retreat outside musket range again!
The same situation as viewed from the Carlist side of the river
View of the ongoing struggle for mastery of the heights in the centre of the Carlist position
A view from the Carlist position atop the heights
Cavalry collide in Village One - Isabellina lancers on the left, Carlist on the right - in the ensuing melee, the Isabellinas were victorious
The BAL reposition slightly, anticipating a move by the Carlists to reinforce the centre but it never came.
The bulk of the Isabelina flanking movement advances on Village One
After their victory in the melee, the Isabellina cavalry now control most of Village One
The central position from the Carlist line
The Carlist centre hold firm, driving off another Isabellina attack
Carlist units face off against the advancing Isabellina flank attack
Isabellina forces assaulting the last remaining Carlist unit in Village One
The assault is supported by artillery fire and succeeded in destroying the unit occupying the village
The last remaining battalion of one of the Isabellina centre brigades, with the Brigade commander, continue the fight
An elite Carlist unit desperately charges against three battalions of Isabellinas in the centre. After initial success, they were driven back and subsequently destroyed
The Isabellina flank attack continues to advance around Village One and through the forest adjacent to the heights
The Isabellina lancers
As the tide swings in the centre, the BAL assemble in assault formations to cross the river when the opportunity arises
The victorious Isabellina centre continues to advance
The unstoppable tide of the flank attack contacts the Isabellina forces advancing in the centre
Carlist lancers confronting their Isabellina counterparts
One of the last remaining Carlist units in the centre is attacked from three sides
The Spanish component of the BAL brigade advancing over the bridge
The traffic jam at the bridge as the BAL wait to cross
Isabellina light infantry and guards advance
A lone Carlist unit engages the leading BAL unit as they attempt to cross the bridge. The remainder of the Carlist force on this flank are making a strategic withdrawal down the road to Bilbao
The melee on the bridge continued for two turns, then the Carlists succeeded in driving back the Isabellina unit
Isabellina mountain gun redeployed form the centre to support the BAL advance
The victorious Carlist defenders of the bridge - but they are only postponing the inevitable as Isabellina forces from the centre advance from their left flank
Massed Isabellina infantry stream across the table
The last Carlist unit beats a retreat and the BAL cross the bridge at last!
RM Rocket battery supporting the advance
A final view as the last Carlist look over their shoulders as they sprint down the road to Bilbao!