Saturday, 4 December 2021

Sharp Practice: El Puente en El Carajo del Toro

With Phil having devised a number of interesting scenarios for us over the last few months I volunteered to come up with one for a recent Thursday evening Sharp Practice game set in the Peninsular.

I had been wondering how some of the scenarios from Charles Grant's Scenarios for Wargamers book would convert to Sharp Practice with its random unite arrival/activation so decided to try one of his Tabletop Teasers that were printed in Battle For Wargamers (and later Military Modelling) in the late seventies, indeed I picked the first 'teaser' published in the February 1978 of Battle - The Bride Demolition.

The scenario has Red Force attempting to destroy a key bridge before the recently arrived Blue Force attempts to capture it.  To add some 'fog of war' Grant had a random generation/arrival of the Blue Force. 

I decided that the existing Sharp Practice activation system would largely suffice for this, though I advised Phil that his French had to capture the bridge from a small Spanish garrison before a pursuing British force smashed into his rear. Each turn I rolled a D6 to "see if the British had arrived behind the French", in reality this cumulative roll was to see if the Spanish engineers (who the French thought were just peasants) had managed to mine the bridge!

Unfortunately I've managed to lose Phil's army list and I can't remember the names 'Colonel Double Entendre' gave his leaders, but his force was a Dragoon one, with elite company troops deploying on foot first.

More dismounted Dragoons appeared through the trees, three groups marching directly towards the valuable bridge.


On the French right flank a group of mounted Dragoons appeared...

Swiftly reinforced by a second. What an imposing sight for any Spaniard hiding in the forest!

Hah! Spaniards hiding in the forest! Andy deployed a group of Guerrillas from a secondary deployment point...

And ambuscaded the elite Dragoons to their front...

Unfortunately Andy's dice rolling was rubbish and the Guerrillas only inflicted a point of Shock on the Dragoons. They responded by going in with the bayonet!

In the ensuing fisticuffs one Frenchman fell dead but the Guerrillas were broken and their leader captured!

On the French right more elite Dragoons deployed along the tree line.

Whilst for the Spanish three groups of brown coated Fusileros deployed in line to protect the bridge.

Just in time as the Dragoons were marching resolutely towards it.

The Spanish opened fire...

Killing six of the Dragoons and piling Shock on the advancing Frenchmen.

And as the French swept round on their right, Andy deployed his Caçadores...

Their opening volley taking down two of the advancing horsemen.

En Avant! The Dragoons resolutely stormed towards the bridge. Suddenly they realised that those slovenly peasants were in fact Spanish Ingenieros mining the bridge! Merde! Vite! Vite!

Annoyed by this shock development, Phil decided to hang the captured Guerrilla leader from a nearby tree!

With the French almost at the bridge, the Fusileros poured another volley of musket fire into them!

Whilst reinforcements arrived to try and hold back the French.

The elite Dragoons opened fire on the Spanish Fusileros...

But they kept plugging away at the Dragoon column...

Which having been forced to fall back deployed into line...

Only to be shattered by another Spanish volley, one group routing, the other two being forced back further.

Phil dismounted the mounted Dragoons to engage the Caçadores...

Their fire knocking down the Caçadore officer!

On the French left two groups of elite Dragoon skirmishers pushed forward...

Firing at the Fusileros reinforcements...

And inflicting some Shock on them.

A bloody firefight raged on the between Spanish and French across the river, Andy needing to utilise a Holy Man to stop his battered Caçadores from breaking.

At last the cumulative dice rolls reached 30 meaning the bridge was now mined so the Ingenieros withdrew.

Leaving their officer to attempt to light the fuse!

The blue-coated Fusileros fired a volley at the elite Dragoons to their front.

Whilst their brown coated camaradas focussed their efforts on the advancing Dragoons who had almost destroyed the Caçadores.

Unfortunately for Andy three consecutive flags were drawn and as his Ingeniero officer's task was the last action so it automatically failed. He had to attempt to relight the fuse again! ¡Maldición!

The Caçadore officr having recovered, ordered his men to shoot down the advancing French.

Success for the Ingeniero officer the fuse was lit... but the cord must have been damp as it spluttered slowly towards the powder barrels (in Grant's original scenario he added a fun optional special rule with a D6 roll dictating anything from the bridge blowing immediately to it needing the fuse relaying. Andy was only slightly frustrated with his slow fuse meaning it would take two turns before the powder exploded destroying the bridge).

The French Dragoons pushed forward, firing again at the Spanish...

Forcing the Caçadores to fall back with excess Shock.

The Fusileros opened fire at the enemy Dragoons...

Taking down their officer.

French return fire killing Andy's Holy Man!

With the clock ticking (well, the fuse burning) Andy pushed his Dragoons forward...

Whilst the Spanish Fusileros fired once again into the elite French Dragoons.

Forcing them back, resulting in the French Force Morale hitting Zero...

Just as the bridge exploded!!!

Well that was a lot of fun! I wasn't sure how well a 43 year old scenario would translate to Sharp Practice, but overall it seemed to work very well with the battle ending extremely closely from a Force Morale point of view (Andy ended on just 1) and the bridge blowing up. A couple of luckier dice rolls and more favourable leader activations and this could well have seen the French victorious...


  1. Looks like a huge amount of fun.

  2. Thanks a great reworking of an old scenario, and I liked the disguised purpose of the engineers progress.