The following battle report was written by Peter, photos are by Peter and myself.
Rules used were Les Grogonards by Piquet. This was the first time I’ve played Les Grogonards, my preferred Napoleonic rules are Piquet’s Field of Battle.
Orders of Battle:
For Fuddland: 1/2, 2/2, 1/1,2/1, 1/6 Infantry Regts.), Position Battery #6 (12#), Horse Battery #3, 1st Cossacks. Observation Balloon #1. (All units are “Line”, except Cossacks “Militia”). Fuddland reinforcements: 1/4, 2/4th (line) and Horse Battery #4. (All “Line”)
For Gulderland: Daulhat's Converged Grenadier BN ("Elite"), 1st Battalion, 68th Light Infantry Regt. ("Crack"), 1st Battalions, 16th, 18th, and 50th Regiments of Foot (all three "Line").
“I have a bad feeling about this” remarked Major General Ignatius S. Brumwell to his aide, the right honorable Boniface Achilles Kerr, generally know to the army as ‘Bonkers’. “Our Infantry is better trained and more experienced than theirs, being particularly proficient at musketry. I wouldn’t hesitate to take on 7 of his units with five of ours”. Still, one of the units of his small Division was unaccounted for, and would be sorely missed in the upcoming battle. The real problem, though, was that the criminal Fuddlanders, while equal to his command in Infantry, had not one but TWO batteries of artillery to his none (One of those being a heavy 12 pounder battery from the unique screeching sound of their roundshot, just now beginning to rain down upon the Gullderland position), and a regiment of those never-to-be-sufficiently-accursed Fuddlander Cossacks. A veteran Officer, he knew the disadvantage he faced possessing only one arm as opposed to the enemy’s combined arm force, and being outnumbered as well. In addition, dust clouds on the horizon betokened additional reinforcements being likely for the opposition. Even worse, the suggestions he had been given for possible withdrawal seemed to amount to and advance against the enemy rather than putting distance between them. “Bonkers, I’ll have a flask of that fine Port we picked up last week, if you please!” He had the feeling that before the day was over, he might have need of even stronger solace.
It was early afternoon before the Fuddlanders, under the command of General Ernest Davros Blowfeld, deployed and began their advance. Their 2 artillery batteries made good use of the time by shelling the elite Daulhaut’s Grenadiers at medium range repetitively, the fire of 12 pounders being particularly effective. Forced to stand immobile while file after file was bowled over by the cruel roundshot of the enemy, the veterans merely closed ranks after each comrade fell. Yet even such a magnificent display of discipline has its limits, and by the time the Fuddlander Infatry had closed to engagement range with the Gullderland lines, the Grenadiers had ceased to exist as an effective fighting force (all 4 stands lost).
The Fuddland Observation Balloon was launched and provided a panoramic view of the Battlefield for the edification of their commander. Three Columns of rapacious Fuddlander brigands, with yet a fourth trailing behind closed upon the single Gullderland defending their Western flank. This unit, the 1/18th Foot had its blood up, being sickened by the reports of murder, rape, and despoilment of fine shrubberies by the Cossacks that had poured into Gullderland (unit rolled up Determined). Their initial volley staggered one of the advancing Fuddlanders (The 2/2 Line - 3 stands lost), but the others still came on, firing before they charged home. The brave 1/18th stood firm, however, despite severe losses from the enemy’s well synchronized volleys (3 stands!). Heavily outnumbered in the melee to come, the situation was looking grim indeed for the Cause!
Note the sheep with the lower left unit, this indicates the unit is 'out of command'. The puffs of cotton indcate that the unit is 'unloaded'.
Waxing his generous moustache carefully and adjusting the brassard that was the emblem of his Aide de Camp status to an appropriately jaunty angle, Bonkers responded with a breezy “Yes Sir!” as he galloped off to carry the General’s orders to the rest of the Division. “We’ll give them bloody blighters a right what for, General!” he called out as he did a stylish pirouette of his horse for the benefit of the Division’s Artist-in-Residence.
Unfortunately, the debonair Bonkers was never heard from again. It was rumored that his neck was snapped in a fall when his horse broke its legs in one of the dastardly wabbit holes known to permeate Fuddland… or perhaps it was one of the many drainage ditches found on the battlefield. Whatever the truth is (perhaps he met up with one the Lady Boobees more attractive 2nd cousins?), the message never got to the troops (in 2 complete turns, Gullderland never got the chance to act on a single Infantry MOVE card until the final death throes of the battle. The first turn ended with them at last turning an Infantry Move card, but lacking impetus to act on it, and then Fuddland wining the subsequent initiative and going through the remainder of their deck, thus ending the turn).
On the Fuddland side, there was dismay at the way a single Gullderland infantry unit had repulsed the attack of 3 of theirs, but recognition that there was little they could do exploit the success with no cavalry, not to mention the powerful Fuddland artillery ready to pulverize any troops exposing themselves (to fire, that is, as much as Gullderlanders have been known to “moon” Fuddlandish soldiers from time to time). Secure in the knowledge that additional infantry and artillery reinforcements would soon be arriving, the plan was changed to avoid the paladins of the heroic 1/18th Foot, and split the remaining forces in two, if possible.
Maneuvering through the gap between the cottage and the largest woods, the fresh 2/1 Line infantry first assailed the Gullderland Light Infantry skirmishers, driving them back, and then turned to fire upon the flank the Gullderland 1/16th Foot, cleverly stationed in reserve in attack column (sheltering behind the Cottage and out of the field of fire of the cursed Fuddland gunners). Meanwhile said artillery turned its attention on the victorious 1/18th. It was too much. Their numbers reduced to a pitiful few, they ceased to be an effective fighting force (the 4th stand was finally lost). Meanwhile, the Cossacks conducted a grand sweep around the farm and into the rear areas of the Gullderland Division. It was as though the Gullderlanders were mesmerized, seemingly unable to take the initiative to respond to changing circumstances on the battle field.
The inevitable result of such inaction thus occurred; the Cossacks swung all the way around to strike the 1/50th Foot in the rear, routing them. The 1/6 Fuddland Line swept forwards as well, exerting still more pressure on the crumbling center. Major Percy Grunwald of the 68th Gulderland Light infantry at last seized the moment and directed his men to about face and draw a bead on the infernal horsemen of the steppes. With a terrific cheer (and a large cloud of black powder smoke), the greencoats fired. When the smoke cleared, the Cossacks seemed miraculously unaffected. It appeared that, in their eagerness, the Light Infantrymen had aimed high, not allowing for the reduced height of the wiry ponies the infernal marauders used as mounts. “I have a very bad feeling about this” mumbled General Brumwell to no one in particular, that scoundrel Bonkers being nowhere to be seen. Ordering his silver tea service to be packed hastily, he personally directed the only intact unit in his command to withdraw from the field via the road to the North. Hopefully many of the stragglers from the other units would later rally to him there.
In the event, the Light Infantry were all but surrounded by the Cossacks, 1/6 and 2/1 Line. Defeated in Melee by the cossacks with heavy losses (2 stands), the remainder fled, the majority of whom were captured. Brumwell would have to nurse his wounds (and his now difficult to replace tea supply), whilst Blowfeld called for some celebratory brandy, as well as a patriotic local wench. “Oh, and get that stupid balloon packed up, will you?” [Gullderland ended with zero MC, while Fuddland still had half of it starting allocation.]
Regarding the non-appearance of the Fuddlander reinforcements for the battle, the fol,lowing interaction was noted, several miles behind the leading Fuddland units. Captain Shtarker (aide to General Siegfried) galloped up to General Siegfried, "Sir, I hear cannon fire to our front! Vhat are your orders? Should ve to ze sound of ze guns march?"
Siegfried replied, "Shtarker! Ve are Fuddland; Ve do not 'to ze sound of ze guns march’ here!
Fuddland – 1/2nd Line routed off the table to the South, no stands lost; 2/2nd Line 3 stands lost, good order; 1/1st Line 2 stands lost, routed off the table to the South. All other units intact and in good order.
Mentioned in Dispatches: Position Battery #6, Major Mayhem and the 1st Cossacks.
Gullderland – Daulhaut’s Grenadiers 4 stands lost; 68th Light Infantry 2 stands lost in melee, ¾ surrounded, we ruled it surrendered, maybe 25% of the unit slips away to the West; 1/16 Foot 1 stand lost, exits the table to the West (with Generals) in good order; 1/18th Foot 4 stands lost; 1/50th Foot 1 stand lost, routed off the table to the North.
Mentioned in Dispatches: 1/18th Foot (only Gullderland unit to inflict any losses on the Enemy at all!)