Tuesday 9 July 2024

Sharp Practice: En Avant!!... Holding The Line (Day Two)

After a less than stellar performance by the Italians at En Avant!!... Holding The Line day one, Chris and I knew we'd have to pull our metaphorical socks up on day two. Yeah right... :-)

Game Three:

Our third game of the weekend was against Phil and Rob's Anglo-Portuguese force, the Brits being a Royal Marine contingent, our mission to capture a rebel priest hiding in a monastery and pull down the Papist flag, whilst the Brits had to steal some brandy!

The smell of the Spanish brandy must have wafted towards the Brits as the Marines rushed skirmish units forward...

Along with three smart groups in column. I had to wonder would Phil be able to keep his men under control when they got near the alcohol?

The Italian light infantry Volteggiatori pushed forward up the road, forcing the Marines to snap into line after having a pop at them, whilst the line Volteggiatori hid in the wood waiting for the Marine skirmishers to try and get the booze out...

With the Fucilieri moving up in support, the Volteggiatori traded shots with the Marines, both sides taking Shock.

Having taken a fair bit of shock, the light infantry Volteggiatori fell back as one column of Fucilieri snapped into line to trade musket fire with the Marines as a second moved up behind.

Meanwhile the Cacciatore a Cavallo, in true cavalry fashion, trotted to and fro behind the front-line...

As the one group of Marines convinced the Guerrillas guarding the brandy to join them in its liberation, whilst a second pushed up alongside the storehouse.

And then in the centre a moment of madness! My cunning plan was for the Fucilieri in line to echelon off the road to the hedge line and pour more musket balls into the Marines before the second charged up in column to finish them off. Forgetting to stipulate where they were to stop I rolled 17 on 3D6 and the line charged forward stopping two inches from the Marine line!

The Marines activated, charging in themselves on the unloaded Fucilieri. In a rash moment of desperation my force commander challenged the Marine office to a duel!

Two rounds of sword play saw my commander lying dead and the Marine charge routed the Fucilieri, and knocked their NCO down! 

Lots of Bad Things happened there and the Italian Force Morale slumped. I don't think Chris was overly impressed with my cunning plan!

Bad though things were now for the Italians we had some light relief when the Marine skirmishers fired and charged in on a group of Villagers who had professed their loyalty to the new King.

I only had seven dice against 20 odd for the Marines, but the gods of war(gaming) like a joke don't they?

Despite losing two comrades the villagers practically wiped out the Marines and wounded their officer...

Who was dragged to safety by the sole surviving Marine!

The other group of Marines (with the brandy) and Guerrillas tried to break out but were hit by the line Volteggiatori.

Whilst in the centre the second formation of Fucilieri moved up to trade volleys with the Marines who fell back...

To be replaced by Rob's Portuguese Fuzileiros...

Who with their Caçadore support poured more fire into the Fucilieri.

Eventually the inevitable happened and the Italian Force Morale hit zero, the Marines with their Pork and Beans allies winning a decisive victory.

Game Four:

Our final game saw Chris and I up against birthday boy Julian and Al and their British army. Our mission to seize an important bridge, theirs to stop us!

Despite having a cunning plan to move swiftly with Volteggiatori shielded columns, the gods of war(gaming) favoured the British early doors with their line, Rifles and light cavalry storming up the table.

Eventually the forces of the Kingdom of Italy began their advance...

The Fucilieri screened in textbook fashion by the Volteggiatori...

Whilst the Granatieri marched swiftly up the road on the left flank.

The Rifles moved swiftly to seize the bridge and have a pop at the Cacciatore a Cavallo who had been a tad impetuous in their advancing.

The light infantry Volteggiatori moved into a lemon orchard and began firing at the British line whilst the Fucilieri snapped into line and moved through the copse.

Spying enemy cavalry to their front the Granatieri snapped into line and presented, ready to give the horsey boys a good volley of Italian lead!

Whilst the Volteggiatori continued to chip away at the line of redcoats...

Soon joined by the Fucilieri.

Many a redcoat fell dead and the line reeled under the deadly Italian musket-fire.

The thin red line looked very thin facing the mass of Italian white!

Having caused the Italian horse to retire out of range, the Rifles switched targets to the line Volteggiatori... 

However this did not stop the second formation of Fucilieri snapping into line...

 And loosing a volley at the second redcoat line!

On the Italian left the British cavalry cantered through the orchard into the rear of the light infantry Volteggiatori but were defeated, their officer being knocked out by the dashing boys from Milan!

The two survivors somehow managing not to rout, but were pushed back and effectively hors(e) de combat!

With the Italian left flank now secure, the Granatieri formed back up into line and began marching towards the sound of the gunfire.

The Fucilieri in the copse continued to pour fire into the British to their front, forcing them back...

However the second formation buckled under the fire from the other redcoat unit and the Rifles.

Despite this success, the British position looked somewhat tenuous...

The first group of Fucilieri yelling Avanti! stormed towards the British, bayonets levelled!

However, before they got the chance to wet their bayonets, the line Volteggiatori moved swiftly forward, fired a volley into the surviving Rifles on the bridge, causing them to break and the British Force Morale to hit zero.

Technically, according to the scenario conditions, Chris and I still had not won as the Volteggiatori were not holding the bridge when the British Force Morale collapsed (a second objective in itself), but I think we can all agree this was a decisive Italian victory! (come on, give us one! :-))

Overall another great weekend of Sharp Practice gaming with a wonderful group of gamers, the doubles approach working well for the Peninsular, Looking forward to the French & Indian event in November now!

Wednesday 3 July 2024

Sharp Practice: En Avant!!... Holding The Line (Day One)

The latest 'En Avant' Peninsular War Sharp Practice weekend was held down Bristol Independent Gaming over the weekend, this time as doubles event, with two players a side controlling a total of 110 points of troops. I paired up with Chris Clark and we used my Kingdom of Italy troops.

Game One:

In our first game we faced Lloyd and Tom with their Anglo-Spanish army, our mission to burn the village and make off with the livestock. With a Spanish cannon in the village covering the road we decided to try and flank it with half our force...

The Italian line Volteggiatori pushed forward to try and suppress the cannon, eventually forcing it to fall back behind the building.

Meanwhile one formation of Fucilieri advanced along the left flank, the second along the road...

...towards a line of presented Highlanders.

Whilst Irish line moved up behind to reinforce the "Diavoli in gonna"

However before they got there, the Highlanders found themselves under fire from some Italian light infantry Volteggiatori in the wood.

And then receiving a volley from the Fucilieri who had marched up the road.

Leaving several dead behind them, the Highlanders tried to charge the Italian line but came up short.

Meanwhile the Granatieri engaged the Spanish Guerrillas who were attempting to flank the Italians...

A well aimed Italian musket ball hitting the Guerrilla leader between the eyes!

The Irish arrived, too late to help the broken Highlanders, unleashing a volley at the Italian Fucilieri to their front.

Meanwhile the light infantry Volteggiatori charged into the village, attacking the cannon.

Capturing it and killing several of the crew and routing the survivors. That task done, they started to set fire to the buildings.

Back in the centre, the Irish poured fire into the Fucilieri breaking the formation and causing two groups to break...

Unfortunately at this point we had to call the game, somewhat finely poised, a draw as it was almost time for the afternoon game to start.

Who would have won? Well the Volteggiatori had almost completed the task of burning one building, a cow was being escorted to safety and we still had a full strength Fucilieri formation on the left, along with the Granatieri and two Volteggiatori  units. However the Irish were still in a strong position and Lloyd was moving up his Spanish infantry and cavalry around the village to threaten the Italian left, so only the gods of war(gaming) will ever know...

Game Two:

This time Chris and I had to escort a priest and his donkey to safety, with Leigh and Jack's Anglo-Spanish force trying to capture him!

The Escort Mission gave us three turns of movement before we started pulling leader tokens and if Chris and I had been a little more switched on the light infantry Volteggiatori could have captured Leigh and Jack's deployment point before they got any troops on the table and then we'd have been down the pub!

As it was we missed the opportunity for an early drink and Jack got his Light Bobs on to give us a volley.

Somewhat untypically the Granatieri were well up for a fight and stormed forward along with both the line and light infantry Volteggiatori.

The woods were full of smelly Guerrillas (masquerading here as monks) who opened fire on the Italian scouting cavalry...

Two Cacciatore a Cavallo and their leader fell to the Spanish irregulars fire and the unit took a lot of Shock...

More enemy troops spilled out of the woods, British Light Infantry Skirmishers having a pop at the Italian cavalry.

The fight around the allied deployment point was heating up with the light infantry on both sides trading blows...

The Granatieri snapped into line and poured a volley into the British, inflicting more casualties.

Meanwhile the woods were alive with the sound of Guerrillas as the "monks" pushed forward...

And some Guerrilla cavalry trotted forward looking for a priest and a donkey to skewer!

With the Cacciatore a Cavallo deciding discretion was the better part of valour left it to the Fucilieri to escort the priest to safety...

Back on the flank, the battle was becoming more vicious as the British, weakened by the Italian volleys, charged in on the line Volteggiatori in a desperate attempt to change the inevitable outcome...

They were beaten back, the Light Bob line disintegrating.

Having taken casualties, and suffered a wounded leader, from guerrilla sniping, the Fucilieri snapped into line ready to give the enemy cavalry what for...

However it was on the flank where matters were to be decided. With both sides Force Morale on the low side (British 5/Italians 3), I rashly charged the line Volteggiatori into a group of Light Bobs, commanded by the British force commander, as they were carrying a lot of Shock. My dice rolling however was a disaster, the Volteggiatori were defeated and pushed back and their NCO killed. They were then charged by a unit of Guerrillas hiding in the wood, and wiped out, all the bad thing happen rolls resulting in the Italian Force Morale hitting zero - I don't think Chris was impressed with my gung ho tactics here! :-)

Two enjoyable and fun games there against great opponents. What would day two bring?