Tuesday 17 August 2021

Sharp Practice: När Solen Lyser Klart På Himlen Blå...

After their defeat at the hands of the Italian army in the 'Return to the Valley of the Tres Cojones' game, Phil and Jenny challenged Andy and myself to another 110 point Sharp Practice game, this time seeing Phil roll out his new Swedish army and Andy supply the French...

Phil devised the scenario whereby "following a series of defeats in the forests and swamps of Pomerania, French forces are retreating towards Leipzig. A small French force, escorting members of the General Staff and a wagon load of their ill-gotten plunder are making their way through the forest, hoping to rest for the night in the remote chapel of The Saints of Agnatha and Anni-Frid. Shadows among the trees dog their every footstep!"

The shadows in the trees soon manifested themselves into the form of two groups of Swedish Line Infantry skirmishers commanded by Sergeant Erik Erikksonn...

Swiftly followed by another three groups commanded by Kapten Nils Nillson.

The French began to advance down the road to the chapel, the wagon and General Staff escorted by Lieutenant Pierre Touchard and four groups of Line Fusiliers. 

The road to the chapel of The Saints of Agnatha and Anni-Frid  was looking increasingly more difficult when Major Magnus Magnasson arrived with three groups of Swedish Line and a subordinate leader in the form of Sergeant Lars Larsson.

Andy had expressed a desire to try out some dragoons in the game with a view to buying some for his own army so Phil lent him some for a test drive. Commanded by Lieutenant de Dragons Estienne LeRâteau two groups of French Dragoons entered the table and began to canter down the road towards the chapel.

Meanwhile Capitaine Rene Gateaux arrived with four more groups of French Line Fusiliers and decided to enter the woods to clear them of the enemy skirmishers.

Supported as he was by Sergent Forgeron and a group of Voltiguers...

Who spying the enemy in the trees opened fire to no good effect.

Meanwhile the Dragoons moved swiftly down the road with Touchard's Fusiliers trying to keep pace.

Unfortunately the Dragoons were waylaid by Sergeant Erik Erikksonn's skirmishers who poured a volley of musket fire into their flank!

Two men and their horses fell to the Swedish fusillade and the unit of Dragoons took double Shock for being hit in the flank!

Meanwhile in the woods Capitaine Gateaux's men, now supported by two more groups of Voltiguers commanded by Sous Lieutenant Jean Odorant, advanced on the Swedish skirmishers. Unfortunately Sergent Forgeron's Voltiguers had lost a number of men to enemy fire at this point...

Gateaux ordered his front ranks to fire at the Swedes and a handful of Kapten Nillson's men fell to the French musket fire. They did not flinch though.

Meanwhile Sergeant Erikksonn's men fired another volley into the flank of the Dragoons and more men and horses were lost and double Shock accumulated.

Although advancing in column Major Magnasson ordered his front group to fire at the bewildered Dragoons...

The Swedish volley breaking both groups of Dragoons who fled off the field of battle!

(I'm not sure what conclusion Andy reached with his Dragoon 'test drive' but I did notice he did not buy a box of the Perry plastics from the shop after the game...) :D

The collapse and destruction of the Dragoons saw Andy have to make a number of rolls on the 'Bad Things Happen' table and by the end of the innumerable number of rolls he had to make the French Morale stood at just 2. The  Swedes were still on 11. We'd only be playing an hour and I was wondering whose round it would be first at the pub at this point...

Back in the woods Sous Lieutenant Jean Odorant ordered his Voltiguers to shoot down the Swedish skirmishers...

As did Capitaine Gateaux, his Fusiliers pouring fire into the Swedes.

Several of Kapten Nillson's men fell to the French musket balls and his formation's position was looking tenuous, especially the middle group, so he combined his weakened groups into two from three. This did mean however that one group was carrying the combined Shock of the two that merged.

Sensing an opportunity to deal the Swedish Force Morale a blow Capitaine Gateaux snapped his troops into line and unleashed another volley on the Swedish skirmishers.

More Swedes fell and they fell back reducing the Swedes Force Morale but then Captain Sven Svennson arrived on the battlefield with two more groups of Line Infantry skirmishers. Merde! Capitaine Gateaux muttered.

Elsewhere Major Magnasson deployed his troops into line and his horse nibbled the grass...

Awaiting the advance of Lieutenant Pierre Touchard and the General Staff with their precious cargo.

The excitement of battle clearly befuddled Sergeant Erikksonn who ordered his skirmishers to charge along the wood line to deal with a group of Voltiguers commanded by Sergent Fuguer. Unfortunately for the Swedes their charge came up short and with a cry of Vive L'Empereur! Lieutenant Touchard launched his Fusiliers across the stream into the Swedish skirmishers!

Eight Swedes fell dead and Erikksonn and the survivors fell back into the woods! The Swedish Force Morale took another hit.

Back in the wood Sous Lieutenant Odorant's Voltiguers fired at the recently arrived enemy skirmishers...

Wounding Captain Svennson which following another roll on the 'Bad Things Happen' table saw the Swedish Force Morale now reduced to 2!

Another hour had passed since the debacle with the Dragoons and the French had hammered the Swedes with both sides Force Morale now on a precarious 2!

Continuing to utilise the firepower of the Fusiliers of Capitaine Gateaux fired again at the Swedes but were unable to inflict enough casualties or Shock to force them back.

The tide was clearly with the French so the Swedes went with a Hej Maria! (Hail Mary) move. Kapten Nillson's men charged up a rocky outcrop and shot down the remaining two of Sergent Forgeron's Voltiguers. The destruction of this unit saw the French Force Morale drop to just 1! 

However this did leave the Swedish Skirmishers badly exposed to a potential devastating 32 dice volley from Capitaine Gateaux's men - if the French officer was activated first...

Sadly at this point the Gods of War(gaming) deserted Andy and myself. 

The next turn saw Kapten Nillson activated first and his men charged down the lone French Voltiguer Sergent. Despite killing one of the attacking Swedes, outnumbered Forgeron was knocked down and captured resulting in the French Force Morale hitting zero. Victory to the Swedes.

En jäkla närgång! (as Wellington would have said if he was Swedish). A remarkably close game given the position the French found themselves in after an hour. We probably should have won the game having pulled it back to 2-2 but leaving Sergent Forgeron exposed to the attentions of the unsporting Kapten Nillson (may his name live in infamy) was a silly mistake on my part and allowed Phil and Jenny to pull their meatballs out of the fire. That said, Dragoons eh?

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