Thursday, 17 June 2021

Peninsular War: Volteggiatori 1° Reggimento Fanteria Leggera

After their initial battles I concluded my Kingdom of Italy force needed some more skirmishers, two groups was not just cutting it for the size of force I had so I decided it would be good to have the option of a couple more groups. 

I could have painted up some more Perry's from the plastic Elite Companies box but I stumbled across some lonely HaT French Light Infantry Voltigeurs in Capocks which I'd bough many moons ago for an aborted imagi-nations project and finding enough for two skirmish groups with an officer I decided to paint them up as Volteggiatori  of the 1° Reggimento Fanteria Leggera (1st Light Infantry Regiment).

As you can see, unlike the Line regiments, the Light troops wore green which makes a nice contrast on the table to the mass of white tunics. There is some debate of the 1st's facings. (as there was with the Line troops) some sources (Von Pivka's Osprey book) having the 1st with red facings (possibly pre-1811) and others yellow (though this maybe after 1811). In the end I went with the yellow as if Von Pivka is correct these guys will be the 2nd Light Infantry Regiment which he claims had yellow facings.

The miniatures are more slender than Perry and a fraction shorter (the Victrix artillery I'm working on slightly in between) but as Light Infantry recruits were generally smaller chaps I think look do ok.

Friday, 11 June 2021

Sharp Practice: ¡Defensa en Profundidad!

Smarting after their recent humiliation and the Grenadiers having undertaken the latrine duty punishment, the forces of the Kingdom of Italy once more took to the table to defend the honour of Milan! This time we decided to play the Defence in Depth scenario and both of us took groups of cavalry to spice things up!

On the table below (with Andy's lovely Charlie Foxtrot farm buildings) the Italians had two deployment points (blue) on the lower edge, the Spanish main one on their edge (just off camera at the end of the road) and a secondary one just visible behind the smaller building...

Once again the infamous guerrilla "El Víbora" was first to deploy with his band of cut-throats in the vineyards (which Andy made following the instructions in the excellent Setting the Scene Volume Two).

Meanwhile Primo Corporale Zoff and his brave Volteggiatori start to scout towards the buildings to see if there is any unattended jamon iberico around to purloin.

Eager to regain their lost honour (and avoid more latrine duty) Tenente Conti and his Granatieri advanced onto the field...

Suddenly Teniente Estiércol and his Cazadores appeared at the farm, having no doubt having been enjoying a sneaky siesta in one of the buildings, and opened fire on the advancing Italians.

One of the Volteggiatori fell to a Spanish musket ball and both units took a point of Shock. Urca!

Back at the main Spanish deployment point Teniente Fuego and his brown-coated Fusilero conscripts marched onto the table.

Whilst Corporale Collovati and his group of Volteggiatori Skirmishers moved into the vineyard to clear out the Guerrillas... 

Capitaino Rossi marched an attack column of four groups of Fucilieri conscripts down the road towards the enemy. Avanti dei miei coraggiosi!

Collovati's Volteggiatori opened fire on the Guerrillas inflicting a couple of points of Shock on them.

While Zoff and Volteggiatori moved into the central barn...

Opening fire on the Cazadores, unfortunately without any effect.

Viva l'Imperatore! The attack column stormed forward as Capitaino Rossi ordered the Al Doppio (Pas de Charge)!

In the vineyard the Guerrillas returned fire, one Volteggiatori is killed whilst Corporale Collovati is struck my a musket ball and knocked to the ground. The unit also took a point of Shock.

Suddenly Capitán Manzanas and his blue-coated Fusilero regulars appeared in the farmstead at the secondary deployment point.

Teniente Estiércol ordered his Cazadores to open fire on the Italian attack column.

Which also came under fire from Capitán Manzanas' Fusileros!

Spanish fire smashed into the Italian ranks. Brave Fucilieri fall and the groups all take varying amounts of Shock.  Oddio!

Tenente Conti moved his Granatieri up around the barn in an attempt to outflank the Spanish forces firing at the attack column.

But comes face to face with their nemesis from the previous battle - Teniente Fuego and his brown-coats... Time for vendetta!!! 

A strange feeling of déjà vu (or should that be già visto?) came over me as the activations started to roll Andy's way with first the Cazadores pouring another volley of musket fire into the Fucilieri...

Inflicting more casualties and Shock on the attack column, Sergente Bergomi being knocked down by a Spanish bullet!

And then the Fusileros opened fire again on the Italian Fucilieri...

After taking four rounds of musket fire from the Spanish, two groups of the Fucilieri broke! Fortunately Capitano Rossi had sent his Fisica (Physic) to aid the wounded Bergomi before his group fled...

Meanwhile Teniente Fuego's conscript Fusilero who were reeling under musket fire from the Granatieri were saved from potential disaster as a Holy Man appeared and removed much of their Shock.

Elsewhere on the battlefield "El Víbora" and his Guerrillas moved into the vineyard aiming to wipe away the pesky Volteggiatori with their unconscious Corporale...

Having loosed an ineffectual round of musket fire at the Italians they charged the enemy!

Bravely protecting their wounded Corporale, the Volteggiatori fought off the Guerrilla attack killing three, including "El Víbora" who fell dead, an Italian bayonet plunged into his black heart!

Capitano Rossi left his broken group and rushed back up the road to take control of the two remaining groups of battered Fucilieri.

Also taking the opportunity to order the Fisica to now go treat Corporale Collovati...

Back in the centre of the battlefield the sound of hooves is heard as Sargento Caballo cantered a group of Dragoons (in generously donated British uniforms!) up the road...

Elsewhere the a group of 1° (Real Italiano) Cacciatori a Cavallo under the command of Sergente Altobelli appear on the battlefield - and spot an opportunity for glory!

Suddenly things begin to look bettered for the battered Italians. Capitano Rossi ordered the Fucilieri to Al Doppio (Pas de Charge)! The Cazadores afraid of the shining Italian cold steel turn and run, narrowing managing to avoid being caught by just one inch! Non gli piace su di loro! (or something like that).

Sargento Caballo moved his Dragoons forward with the aim to charge down the abandoned broken Fucilieri in an attempt to break the Italian Force Morale...

Whilst Sergente Altobelli ordered his Cacciatori to ride like hell and capture the unprotected Spanish main deployment point to win the battle!

Corporale Collovati advanced his Volteggiatori though the vineyard, aiming to catch the Spanish dragoons in a crossfire with Zoff's Volteggiatori in the barn.

Capitano Rossi's Fucilieri charged into Teniente Estiércol's Cazadores...

Putting them to the bayonet. One group of Cazadores is wiped out and the remaining group broke!

Unfortunately we had to stop the battle delicately poised there as we had ran out of time with BIG about to close for the evening...  

At this point the Spanish Force Morale was down to 6 and the Italians down to 5. The Cacciatore were about two rounds of movement away from the undefended Spanish main deployment point but the Granatieri were very close to be pushed back or even breaking, faced as they were by a lot of muskets, which may well have handed Andy victory if the 'Bad Things Happen' checks pushed the Italian Force Morale to zero. 

Who knows? What we do know is the Italians didn't lose and were happy to report a score draw to head-quarters in Milan given how things went early on in the battle

Thursday, 10 June 2021

Sharp Practice: ¡Un Encuentro!

After their inaugural debacle in the Peninsular, my Italians returned to the plains of Spain (aka BIG) to take on Andy's treacherous Spanish rebelling against their king, the noble José I! As the Rescue Mission scenario had restricted the deployment options of the Italians last week, we decided to play a straight forward Encounter battle loosely based on that in Sharp Practice. It would also allow me to try out a new formation that I had discovered by actually reading the rulebook!

The game started with the infamous guerrilla "El Víbora" and his motley crew taking up a position in the woods near the Spanish deployment point.

A group of brave Volteggiatori Skirmishers under the command of  Primo Corporale Zoff carefully moved into the small village near the Italian deployment point checking for any unattended vino...

Meanwhile the main Spanish force arrives, three groups of Fusileros under the command of Capitán Manzanas, two groups of newly raised Fusilero conscripts (in the brown uniforms) under the command Teniente Fuego and two groups of Cazadores skirmishers under the command of Teniente Estiércol...

Enter the brave Italian Fucilieri under the command of Capitaino Rossi screened by a group of Volteggiatori led by Corporale Collovati. This time I decided I was going to try an Attack Column massing four groups of line infantry into one formation as a hammer to punch through the Spanish line!

Protecting their flank, Tenente Conti and two groups of Granatieri advance though the village to take up a position behind a screen of Volteggiatori.

Avanti miei soldati! Viva l'Imperatore! The Italians march resolutely towards the Spanish...

Spotting the enemy Cazadores moving towards an orchard on the right of the Italian battle line, the Granatieri advanced swifty to engage, the Volteggiatori screening their advance.

Teniente Fuego's Fusilero conscripts moved forward between the Cazadores and blue coated Fusilero regulars...

Whilst Capitán Manzanas and his Fusileros marched forward to the sound of the drums, receiving encouragement from a Holy Man!

On their left Teniente Estiércol spotted the enemy to his front and ordered his Cazadores to open fire on the advancing Italians.

Both sides open fire taking Shock!

Meanwhile the main Italian column came under fire from Manzanas' Fusileros and the Guerrillas. The effect was minimised as the hits were spread between the five groups although one brave Fucilieri fell dead and the Volteggiatori took more Shock than they should have due to some poor dice rolling!

Another volley of fire from the Spanish saw the Attack Column suffer more casualties and take some more shock. The Volteggiatori were now carrying too much Shock and fell back. Fortunately I had moved them out of the line of march of the column so they didn't end up falling back into the Fucilieri.

Resolute in the face of the enemy fire the Fucilieri continued their advance!

Having a spare flag token when Capitaino Rossi was activated I was able to order Al Doppio (Pas de Charge) and the Italian Fucilieri surged forward towards the Spanish Fusileros, the Shock they accumulated to this point being discarded as they charged bravely forward! 

One more push men...

Unfortunately Capitán Manzanas was activated next and his three groups Fusilero poured a volley into the brave Italians...

And another as Capitán Manzanas was activated again, killing more Fucilieri and piling Shock on the brave Italians...

On the right flank Primo Corporale Zoff and his Volteggiatori Skirmishers took refuge in the orchard and opened fire on the Cazadores.

As did Tenente Conti and his Granatieri...

Four Spaniards fell to the Italian musket fire and Shock was piled on them!

With my Fucilieri one good Al Doppio from smashing into the Spanish line, Andy managed to get another activation in for Capitán Manzanas (three in a row). Poor Capitaino Rossi could only see his men fall to the enemy fire and accumulate a load of Shock! Orendo!

This proved too much for the brave Fucilieri. Two groups were forced back and two broke (along with their Volteggiatori)... 

The Italian Force Morale collapsed!

Still the battle was not (quite) lost. Tenente Conti ordered his Granatieri to Al Doppio (Pas de Charge) into the Fusilero conscripts of Teniente Fuego. Sweep them from the battlefield and maybe the day could still be won. With a cry of Avanti! the Italians the Aggressive Granatieri charged into the Fusilero conscripts!

Surely there could only be one victor? But no the brave conscripts held their own with a drawn round of Fisticuffs, wounding Tenente Conti in the process! As it is a draw we fight again!

Disastro! Somehow the Fusilero conscripts defeat the Granatieri killing four and causing the supporting group to break! The battle was lost...

I did have to check we weren't playing in Libya in January 1941 so poorly had my Italians fought...  :-(

The gods of dice (well tokens) were with Andy tonight. To get my Attack Column so close to the Spanish line and then see the Andy's leader pull three activations in a row allowing them to smash the column with volley fire at close range without reply was somewhat galling (the British had clearly trained them to fire three rounds a minute). However there is nothing I can say about the Grenadiers (in polite company) who are now on latrine duty after being bested by some lowly Spanish conscripts.

All in all a great game that was going really well for a while before the ignominy of the general collapse. I'm going to have another crack at that Attack Column thing, maybe using a bigger Skirmish Screen.