Sunday 17 April 2016

First Carlist War AAR Battle of Oriamendi

We had the first Carlist War battle in quite some time today using Black Powder rules. This is the first of two posts I intend to share. This first will be an after action report with some Photos I got during the day. The second will be photos my friend Chris has taken along with feedback on how well the rules played and what we might consider changing in future.

The game itself was based on the Battle of Oriamendi. This is one of the scenarios in the Perry's book and also in Kingscarbine book All Honour is Lost. It also ahs the advantage of being one of the few scenarios with lots of British and as Mark wanted a game with his British Legion I thought this would make a good battle for us.
 The above is the map from the Perrys book.  The premise is that a combined Spanish and British army has captured a long ridge and forced the Carlist defenders back to a second line anchored on a fortified village. As dawn breaks about half of the Liberal army is advancing to capture a hill that overlooks the village in order to support an attacked with artillery and flanking fire.
Chris is seen head in hands as he realises he is attacking two brigades with only one of his own

Unfortunately for the Liberals a relief force of Carlists has marched through the night and launched their own dawn attack across the river and into the Liberal left flank which is defended by one British battalion and a brigade of Militia. Neither side was expecting dawn attacks from the other and so all the players have to start the game thinking on their feet.

In terms of numbers there were 19 Carlist Battalions of Foot and 20 Liberals, The Liberals also had an advantage in Cavalry with 6 squadrons to Carlist 4. But half of this Cavalry was off table and the Carlist foot was much better than the Liberals.

 The three battalions of Carlists on the left wing began to advance quite quickly and over ran the single British battalion with little trouble, however the white capped Carlists did get caught by Cavalry early on and reduce the attack on this wing.. The troops in the town stayed curiously motionless whilst the Navarese brigade between the hill and the town quickly got moving forward. 
Hoping to hold back the Navarese the French Foreign Legion advanced, I think the plan was to stop them joining forces with the Carlist flanking force.  The best troops on table and a nice rounded force with Cavalry and a light gun in support.
 Mean while to their right the next brigade of liberals took its time getting forward to try and capture the hill in the Carlist centre.

 Two small brigades of British also advanced on the hill, somewhat piecemeal it has to be said. I learnt the error of small brigades fairly early in this game. Brigade moral rules favour 3 battalion brigades.

The guards brigade advanced in fine style on the Liberal left but then spent most of the game caught in a desultory firing match with the Carlist left.
The Legion bravely stormed forward as the Carlist left began to falter and a brigade sized melee tied these troops and Navarese down fro three turns whilst the Liberal centre got going and assaulted the hill. The Carlist troops in the town seemed to still think it was siesta and did little more than form into column during this time.
 Finally one of the Battalions set off only to be charged in the flank by the Legion Lancers who they promptly drove off.

The right flank Carlists now began to punish the Militia to their front despite being outnumbered as the white caps are driven off by Liberal cavalry.

The Legion Etrangere

The British Legion on the Right Flank of the Liberal army.

 The centre of the Carlist line is now looking very shakey and the right is not much better (althrough the Liberal Militia have had a bit of a kicking here) at this point the Liberal Cavalry reserve of three squadrons arrive and we think its all over.  However as the Princessa Hussars and Grenadier Guard Cavalry get stuck in things begin to unravel for the Liberals.

 In the centre the Legion breaks after a desperate struggle with the Naverese, this is quickly followed by both the militia on the left and one of the British Brigades in the centre. the cavalry now outnumbered are also pushed back and then fairly quickly broken, only the Liberal right remains fairly intact.
Guard Grenadier Cavalry charge the Navaerese in a vain attempt to shore up the middle

 Carlist Gun
Hussars D'Arlaban and Princessa Hussars battle it out, all heavily converted Perry figures.

As over half of the Liberal army runs away the rest decide that it is better to live to fight another day and the retreat begins.

A really enjoyable game, I took some liberties with the army list to make it more playable. In reality the Carlist flanking force was 6 battalions not 3 and there was no cavalry reserve. In the end neither of these changes altered the outcome of a very hard fought game.

I do hope you enjoy reading this and as mentioned next up will be more pictures with our thoughts on how the rules played.

Thanks for reading.

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