Another battle for the brave forces of the Kingdom of Italy on the dusty fields of Spain, heroically trying to enlighten the natives to the benefits of being ruled by the noble Rey José I! Rather than pick a scenario out of the Sharp Practice book we decided to fight a battle over the control of a vital road junction.
The brave Fucilieri under the command of the noble Capitano Rossi entered the field of play first, marching boldly down the road towards the all important junction. Avanti valorosi soldati d'Italia!
Meanwhile Teniente Fuego and his brown-coated Fusileros emerged from skulking in the woods!
Captain Rossi's bold lads were well up for a fight this day, a random movement event seeing Rossi cry out "Di' agli uomini di cantare, sergente" (“Tell the men to sing, Sergeant”) with the Fucilieri advancing another 2D6 towards the enemy!
More activity in the woods saw the appearance of Capitán Manzanas and his blue-coated Fusileros.
Fresh from Milan Tenente Baresi and his Volteggiatori of the 1° Reggimento Fanteria Leggera (1st Light Infantry Regiment) arrived on the field of battle, looking rather resplendent. They opened fire on the Fusileros of Teniente Fuego, killing three and inflicting some Shock on them. Eccellente!
Despite the casualties, emboldened by his previous successes against the Italian Grenadiers, Teniente Fuego ordered his Fusileros out of the woods and to snap into line to confront the rapidly advancing Italian Fucilieri.
Speaking of the Granatieri, Tenente Conti and his smartly dressed men then arrived.
More Spanish began to emerge from where they had been hiding in the woods. Teniente Estiércol and his Cazadores deployed along the forest edge and opened fire on the Italian Fucilieri...
Three brave lads from Savoy fell to the Cazadore musket fire and the attack column took a little Shock.
This only stirred the blood of the brave Fucilieri and Capitano Rossi ordered the attack column to Al Doppio! (Pas de Charge!) and bayonets gleaming in the Spanish sun, the Italians smashed into the Fusileros of Teniente Fuego!
A vicious flurry of bayonets (and dice rolling) saw five Italians fall and six Spaniards!
This melee saw one group of the Spanish formation forced back as its Shock exceeded the number of men left in the group, dragging its supporting unit back with it.
The other group having killed the equal amount of the attackers in the group facing it had to fight another round of fisticuffs. More men fell to the stabbing bayonets, including Teniente Fuego who was knocked out!
The surviving Fusilero broke, dragging the unconscious Teniente Fuego to safety.
This round of fighting saw many rolls on the 'Bad Things Happen' table for Andy and his Force Morale plummeted from nine down to three! Ahia!
I have to confess there was a certain amount of smugness on my side of the table at this point. After three attempts I had at last managed to get an attack column into contact with the enemy and it had badly damaged them. Surely Andy could not recover from this position? Surely the Italians would secure their first victory?!
With typical Spanish sneakiness "Hijo de la Víbora" (the son of the notorious guerrilla killed in the previous battle) deployed with his men from a Moveable Deployment Point, Andy opting to launch an Ambuscade with them. Normally this would allow them to inflict double shock on an enemy they engage.
However, as the Guerrillas were behind the Fucilieri this meant than any Shock would be quadrupled!!! Oddio!!
Whilst their fire was not that effective it did cause one group of Fucilieri to break...
Despite that the brave Italians shrugged off the impact of two 'Bad Things Happening' and their Force Morale only fell one point...
Tenente Baresi's Volteggiatori opened fire on the Guerrillas but to no effect.
However Primo Corporale Zoff and his line Volteggiatori deployed...
And showed the 'bei raggazi' how it was done, firing at the Guerrillas...
Killing two and wounding "Hijo de la Víbora". Unfortunately for the Italians this had no effect on the Spanish Force Morale as the regulars cared little for the smelly peasant boy with his gun.
Capitán Manzanas ordered his Fusileros into line and they fired an uncontrolled volley into the Italian column.
This volley saw three Fucilieri fall dead and another group to fall back.
This time the rolls on the 'Bad Things Happen' table went against the Italians and their Force Morale dropped to a rather worrying five.
Could Andy and the Spanish snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat?!
Deciding he needed divine intervention Andy used his Holy Man to 'move in mysterious ways' and aid the two groups of un-led brown-coated Fusilero. His presence (and a good D6 roll) saw him remove the Shock from the wavering Fusilero!
They then opened fire inflicting more Shock on another group of Italian Fucilieri who were forced back, along with another group who themselves took more Shock...
From the Cazadores skulking in the tree-line!
More 'Bad Things Happen' rolls saw the Italian Force Morale drop to just one! Mamma mia!
The situation was now precariously balanced, My hope was that I could activate the last group of Fucilieri and charge into the Fusilero brown-coats putting them to the bayonet and maybe killing that pesky Holy Man. Andy was hoping to get a final decisive volley of fire in from either of his Fusilero formations.
So of course the Tiffin chit came out!
The chits went back in the bag, which leader chit would appear first in this new chapter? Unbelievably it was the Tiffin chit again!!!
When the Tiffin chit is the first one in a Chapter lots of interesting things happen such as unloaded units automatically reload, but unfortunately broken units with double of more shock are removed from the table along with any attached Leader!
For Andy this mean that the now conscious Teniente Fuego and his Fusilero ran off the table which meant two 'Bad Things Happened" (Leader Routs and Group Wiped Out). With his Force Morale down to just three potentially two bad rolls could see it reduce to zero. However the dice gods were with Andy, he rolled low and only lost two Force Morale points taking him down to one.
Unfortunately for me, the same rolls applied to the wounded Sergente Bergomi and his Fucilieri companion. With Group Wiped Out automatically resulting in the loss on a minimum of one point of Force Morale it was all over for the Italians!
Che mucchio di merda! (as I think Capitano Rossi said afterwards). I'm still somewhat amazed at the dramatic turn in the fortunes of the Italian force there. Yes, the attack column was unsupported. The drawing of the chits (and random movement event) saw them storm up the table whilst the Grenadiers loitered at the rear along with the Skirmishers for the most part. However having smashed the Spanish Force Morale in one go, the Fucilieri were still in a position to administer the Colpo de Grazzi but failed to do so. I think I was a bit too reliant on the bayonet here and maybe once the Spanish brown-coats were reeling I should have snapped my Fucilieri into line and poured a volley or two of musket fire into them, rather than try to close with them again. Curses! Maybe next time...