Tuesday, June 05, 2012

3rd Montblanc Main Battle AAR

A proxy battle for the Defiant Principality, game played on 2 June 2012 using Warfare in the Age of Reason rules.

General Bellver of Catalonia, had two line regiments and a collection of light infantry companies, from different regiments, that he amalgamated into one actionable force of regimental strength.

The mountain region to the south west was again going to be key in forcing the Spanish into a narrow corridor.

The difference this time was the Spanish column was twice as large as last time and there was a siege train of artillery moving towards them at Montblanc.  Worse still the Spanish Guard had a mixed brigade of grenadiers and horse closing in from the north.  There was no question of having to fight, the only question was how long they could hold out and how many casualties they could inflict on the main body to the south before having the Guard arrive.

Catalonian forces were ranged in two lines covering the outlet from the mountains and bordered by the river.  On both flanks of the foot were the batteries, medium to the east by the river and two light ones to the west.

Catalonian lines before Montblanc

The Spanish under Brig. Gen. Torremayor, chose to break into two brigades of three regiments each.  One was to form an advance guard and press along the flank of the mountain sides and sweep or at least engage the skirmish infantry, then if possible press on to an assault of the Catalan lines so as to  wear them down and pin them so that the second brigade and the siege train of artillery could deploy and deliver the knock out blows.

Straight away the Spanish got their plan into action.  The skirmish forces could not hold their ground with the advancing formed battalion closing in on them and lost their nerve routing completely off the mountain to the North, only personal reaction from Bellver kept the mountaineers from fleeing the field entirely.

While Bellver was engaged in rallying the skirmishers, the Spanish drove forward to within close musket range, the leading battalion even attempted a charge under the command of their temporary brigadier Colonel (fill in the blank), this failed and the men refused to close in.  Undaunted by the confusion facing them the infantry of Catalonia and the two light batteries opened fire!

by turn 4 the volleys were being fired.
The Catalan medium battery had chased off the Spanish medium battery while they were maneuvering to position the guns.  Those guns had retreated behind one of the second brigade battalions and were now advancing with the siege train guns covered on all sides by infantry columns.

Bellver rallies the skirmish infantry

devastating first fire takes out 1/4 of the lead battalion
A little later, 30-40 minutes, and the lead battalion had fled, taking the temporary brigadier with them, now shot through with what would prove to be a mortal wound.  Not fatal on the field, yet deadly enough that by sunset he would be no more.  As the battalion fled to the rear they temporarily disordered the lines behind them, now a fresh battalion would be facing the combined fire of the Catalan lines and light batteries.

The skirmishers had recovered and were now sweeping back south into the highlands on the enemy flank.

all Spanish forces had a toe hold on the field, the horse was present and waiting

The Spanish siege train was now unlimbered and the guns were being positioned.  It was to be only a matter of time now before the casualties for the Catalans would come....

the Catalans on the line were delivering fire at a furious pace

The Spanish horse had begun to arrive also, now held in reserve awaiting the moment to run down any fleeing survivors.

With a great roar the siege guns opened fire on Our Lady of the Disempared IR, in the opening salvo destroyed fully 1/4 of the regiment.

siege guns fire, in AoR you count a hit for every '12' pips ... this was big!
 While suffering the Our Lady of the Disempared IR did not flee, nor even become disorganized from the pounding, indeed the kept their line formed and continued to deliver fire into the lines facing them.

Another 30-40 minutes later, now Our Lady of the Disempared IR was below 50% strength and continuing to melt from the pounding by artillery and opposing muskets.  The siege guns continued to fire, on Saint Narcissus IR, while only taking 17% casualties in one salvo series, it was clear that very soon there would not be any more men to face the still firing Spanish infantry.

Along the highland terrain, Spanish officers had seen the skirmish line reforming, now the second Brigade deployed into lines to face the left flank and cover any possible sniping from the skirmishers.

casualties from artillery were mounting
opposing front lines kept up a weak disordered musketry exchange
An hour later and the situation for the Catalans was desperate, continued casualties with Saint Narcissus IR now had sent them fleeing past Bellver to the north of Montblanc, only a scattering of muskets remained around the battle flags of Our Lady of the Disempared IR.  They were disordered and suffering from 83% casualties, yet they steadfastly refused to recoil.  This helped the light batteries as they kept up a continuous barrage on the Spanish front battalion, likewise keeping them from charging.

terrible losses now in Catalan lines
Our Lady of the Disempared IR holding fast amidst terrible losses
the massive siege battery continues to deal out death with each salvo
skirmishers on the flank do some damage, not enough to change the battle results
The siege battery, having run out of massed infantry targets, now switched to the medium battery of Catalan.  They proved to have no courage in the face of the mighty barrage and quickly packed up their guns and began to retreat out from the field via the north east road.

Watching this Bellver, also scanned the north horizon, seeing dust clouds in the distance and much closer now a formation of Guard Horse.  The trap was shut, his brigade was melting from the heat of the siege guns.  Our Lady of the Disempared IR was still weakly holding its position, the light batteries were firing.  He could see that the mountain skirmishers were slowing fire now ... likely they were in retreat to the west.

The End had come
Bellver must now choose his end
Spanish left and center, Catalan skirmishers could not win this alone
Carnage in the center
view to the north west ... no way out with the Guard here now
The final options
With the casualty count to the Spanish of one battalion/regiment that led the charge in the advance guard and a 'field' promoted brigadier (former colonel) dead, the Spanish were to easily take the ground of Montblanc.

For the Catalans, the story is more complicated.  Any hope of retreat for Our Lady of the Disempared IR is impossible.  They were exhausted, with 83% casualties.  The others?  There were 8 squadrons of fresh horsemen, two of them Guard, that had not taken any action at all that day.  Only two light guns to slow any of them down and no horse on the Catalan side to cover any retreat.

Want to find out what the final decisions were?

Go to Defiant Principality to get the tale...


Soldadets said...

A thrilling account indeed. That's what I can say after a first, quick reading. Now I must go out for a meeting, in some hours I'll be back and read it again more calmly.

Oh-oh, I'm thinking, this is quite of a serious setback for my half-born Imagi-Nation... no more than sexty or seventy miles away from my capital city, Barcelona...

Must go must go must go. Read you again later. THANKS!!

MurdocK said...

The rules do not get into the colonels or battalion leaders casualties.

Since the lead formation were 83% casualties and more than 1/2 of that was from the massive siege artillery then it could be that leadership was at least wounded. This formation did not budge all battle though, so I would say that they were amply led and with great morale.

The other foot formation was quick to fall back after the second artillery barrage, so they may have suffered leadership failure or death.

For the cavalry, they were shredded in the battle, unless there is some person or place to rally around, I would say that they are gone back to their fields and farms and likely to keep heads down. Leadership was great there until the very end, likely again that they lost the leader at the very last moment before charging home into the grenadiers.

I have left the General's situation and options open to your interpretation as the 'game' only really handles up to that moment.

Soldadets said...

Thoughtful reasonings, I find them fully appropriate to situation. These are going to be most useful to me, for deducing overall casualties, fallen personalities and after-battle decisions.

Thanks a lot for your co-operation, wish you enjoyed at playing it.