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The Bloody Battle of Vimeiro - Take 2

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The Bloody Battle of Vimeiro - Take 2

Post  MJP on Mon Jan 19, 2015 7:44 pm

Yesterday the French took the field in an effort to drive the Anglo-Allies from the sleepy hamlet of Vimeiro and back into the sea.   It was a tall order indeed being outnumbered and facing an enemy superior in overall quality.   As the role of Junot, C-in-C of the French, I looked at our initial dispositions and determined that if we had any chance of victory, we would need to use some level of deception to achieve a local superiority at some point in the field to wipe out an English division in an effort to even up the odds and then proceed from there.   As such, I ordered nearly a complete change in the dispositions of our forces.    The map below shows the French plan.  A lot of moving parts and I commend my subordinates for carrying out these complex movements with such precision.  


The thin lines show the phase 1 movements with the solid blue blocks being final dispositions after movement.  The thick lines ending in arrows show the phase 2 assault plans.  

In looking at the opening deployments and terrain it seemed fairly obvious to me that the most open route of attack was to turn the British left by using the undefended road that runs along the eastern ridge line.  Because this seems such an obvious approach and knowing that the enemy, having battled me countless times in campaign, would suspect such a movement I determined that we would reinforce this impression with a demonstration of infantry and cavalry on the British Left while secretly massing two divisions on our far left/British right to smash their front line in and around Vimeiro.   As such, Travot's/Mr Harpers tiny division was ordered to use the roads and swing behind our army to go north and show himself on the British left.   Supporting this move was to be Maurins/Morseys cavalry brigade, who was also ordered to show himself moving in that direction but then to double back and deploy on the back side of the ridge to later be involved in our offensive.   Delaborde/Mark was ordered to secretly extricate himself from our right, double back behind the ridges and mass his troops behind a tall hill on our left.   He did this superbly and as far as I'm aware, the British showed no signs of recognizing our impending build up and the storm that would fall on their right flank.   I was in control of the Reserve Grenadier division and reserve artillery and sent both to our left to begin to shell that part of the English line and to form up the infantry in assault column for eventual attack.   Sahuc's/Grog's cavalry was ordered to guard the battery on our left and support the eventual assault.   Finally, Loisin/Kevin with EJ as a subordinate was to stretch his front to the east to cover the ground being abandoned by Delaborde and basically give the English something to look at and keep them focused on a part of the field which was secondary to us.   Overall, I felt the plan, while complex with a lot of moving parts, was relatively sound and offered us a decent chance of achieving success.

In the early going, the plan was proceeding relatively smoothly.   I road back and forth across our lines collecting my troops and beginning to shift them left, when i saw Charlot's (EJ) brigade advancing rapidly towards the English lines.  Clearly someone had not understood the plan and a series of couriers were fired off to immediately recall him before he destroyed himself.  Loisin/Kevin got control of that situation and he was recalled.   Other than this, as far as I'm aware, all of our forces made the proper moves and things were moving accordingly.   On our left our reserve battery came under fire by an aggressive little rifle battalion before it could unlimber and an immediate call was made to Sahuc to come up and protect the guns.   Sahuc/Grog did this, but lost control of the cavalry and they all charged the rifles in square leaving piles of dead horseman.   Eventually the cavalary disengaged and with the battery now depoloyed at short range, cannister fire made short work of the rifles and sent them packing.  The Cavalry wasn't too worse for the wear and redeployed to rest up and lick their wounds for the eventual assault.  

At this point i received a courier from Delaborde that he had extricated himself unnoticed and was in the process of moving around our rear to his staging area and would arrive in 30 minutes.  I rode back to check their progress and when i was satisfied that they were near, i issued orders to all divisions.    Loison/Kevin was to begin to press the English line at 17:45 and Delaborde, Sahuc, and the Reserve Grenadiers would launch off at 17:55.   Maurin's Cavalry were to assist Loison and Travot on the far right, a forlorn hope if ever there was one, was to bang pots and pans, light fireworks, and just generally make a lot of noise off the English left flank.   A few couriers were sent to him that were meant to be intercepted to reinforce the notion that the attack would come from his direction.  Further, a courier was intercepted by us stating that there was only the artillery on our left flank, so to all appearances things were looking good.  

At 17:55 our attack stepped off.  The Reserve Grenadiers would use the main road and would break off to the east of the road to capture what would later become the "bloody knoll".  Delaborde was to align his right against this same road and deploy his columns left from their and essentially attack along the NW edge of the road.   Sahuc would support in an effort to drive off enemy cavalry and otherwise force the enemy infantry into square.   One key point was that the reserve artillery was ordered to immediately deploy to the knoll at the same time the attack kicked off so that we would have gun support immediately upon any success.  

With much pageantry, drums, and fifes we broke cover and poured to the Northeast.   It was a beautiful sight indeed and we were confident that no force could resist such a determined offensive.  The general orders were to close with the bayonet as the English are renowned for their rifle fire.   With the distance covered half way, i noticed that Charlot/EJ was actually marching directly west in a direction that was perpendicular to our main assault.   I ordered him many times to immediately take a hard right and go up the knoll, but to no avail.  He continued west and actually ended up between the reserve grenadier division and Delaborde's division.   While this didn't have too drastic an effect on our attack on the far left, it did prevent us from following up our success on the knoll as we simply didn't have enough men to press on.   A courier was received from Loison asking where his brigade had gotten off too.  Reprimands will be written later.  

From this point, with the arrow loosed, there was little grand tactical commanding left to do and I settled in to directing the Reserve Grenadier division's fight for the "bloody knoll" while periodically requesting updates from Delaborde and Loison, the latter of which was given overall command of our right wing because he was in a better position.    

With the Reserve Grenadiers having reached the southern base of the knoll and advancing up in attack column, i sprinted forward to the Crest to see what awaited me.   Loison was doing his job perfectly and had engaged the British line earlier causing them to be facing directly east while my 4 battalions were approaching their undefended right flank.  A green jacketed light infantry regiment was the only thing in our way from effecting rolling this part of the British line up, so i deployed my battalions in line and promptly drove off this little unit who may not have had LOS to the battalions until it was too late.  Our fire was devastating.   The battalions advanced and we had firm control of the knoll and in combination with Loison drove the english from this place.   It was at this point that the reserve battery arrived and was deployed on the crest of the knoll.  Two battalion were deployed in line to the left and two to the right and the guns began to do their work.   A large force of English came on to drive us from this place and through a combination of effective musketry and the horrible effect of the cannister, wave after wave of English were mowed down.   Realizing I'm sure that there was no hope for them to fire us off the knoll, a few elite regiments of english charged my grenadiers and routed them.   They were in turn counterattacked and sent packing themselves.  This back and forth battle continued for some time with the British breaking into the guns and capturing one or two only to have them routed and captured back.   A stalemate developed.   I periodically looked to my left to see the progress of Delaborde and from what i could make out, he was having a similar engagement with ebb and flow, attack and counterattack.  Loison to the left, same thing.   Essentially we had advanced as far as we could and would get no further, so at this point I ordered a general withdrawal across the line.  

The butchers bill was high on this for both sides.   The british took 8400 casualties while the French took 7700 or 7900 (i think, going from memory).  However, they just had too many additional men than we did so we were forced to retire.   In looking at an overall assessment, I think we could have done better than we did.  Our advantage lay in our cavalry and I'm guilty perhaps of not having massed it to greater effect from a grand tactical perspective.   Loison did say that Maurin supported him effectively forcing the enemy to his front to square, but overall we weren't able to get a decisive result from this advantage and i take that blame myself as had i left the cavalry in full division strength on our left its weight may have been decisive.   Further, with hindsight perhaps rather than launching the massive attack, we may have done better to advance and take the knoll and then concentrate our artillery in this forward location along our line to batter the english back.  Instead under my orders our attack on the left closed with the bayonet and inevitable result was that the French wore themselves out in the process.  With the English having so many more men, they were able to maintain their line.   So grand tactically, though i felt our plan was good, i think i could have done better by massing our cavalry better and by using our guns more judiciously.   On the other hand, i had great success at the tactical level with my Grenadiers and guns inflicting over 2500 Allied casualties.  So with about 13% of our force, my brave troopers inflicted about 30% of the allied casualties.   Of course, i was army commander so success with four regiments at the expense of losing the battle is not a very good trade off and moving forward, I think i'll go back to divisional command.  As this was done not so much with the bayonet, but with the guns being supported by lines of disciplined infantry, I can see that where i failed was in ordering the main assault to go in so hard.  Rather, we should have  probably launched a more methodical assault of lines of infantry and guns and rotating fresh battalions to the front.   As I'm still quite new to this, I'm still learning how best to launch an effective attack.    

I will say that everyone on our team fought hard and fought well and followed their orders extremely well.   Our failure to achieve the breakthrough was no fault of anyone's other than myself, as our commanders executed my plan perfectly, but the plan itself was found wanting in the end.   Kudos to Mark for his deft handing of his troops during his redeployment.  Kudos also to Kevin for sucking up a lot of the English line with an inferior force and getting that part of the line facing away from our main assault which was exactly what we needed.  Finally, Kudos to the Allies for defending in such depth and not allowing us to break their line.  Well played by all!

Junot

PS:
Regarding the whole crossed the line/didn't cross the line in the northwest, part of the issue with this was that our complex plans were drawn up using the map attached.  On this map, the entire hill in that area is in play according to the boundaries.  However, the in game boundaries are tighter than this.  So this put us in a strange situation to sort of find out once the game started and once we actually rode over there that our buildup area was right along the edge and our battery was technically out of bounds according to the in game markers but most definitely in bounds according to the map above.   Given that Digby offered some flexibility, we moved ahead as planned.  I don't think our minor violation in this area had any impact on the game and we certainly were not trying to turn the English right, rather smash directly into it frontally.  Apologies for the somewhat heated exchange in game.  Knight has a special way of driving me crazy sometimes.  Evil or Very Mad
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Re: The Bloody Battle of Vimeiro - Take 2

Post  Uncle Billy on Mon Jan 19, 2015 9:22 pm

Your plan was quite good and would have worked well had the British cooperated a little. I too was amazed we were able to execute the complex maneuver you designed. Having played this the first time as General Hill, I gave up that knoll very early in the battle as it seemed to me it was just the sort of place Custer would like. That ridge beyond it is the real fortress. Still, as you said if we had another fresh brigade we'd have stood a reasonable chance of breaking the 2nd British line in the south. That would have given Big Nose something to think about.

Still it was fun to play the French side. We were just a brigade short. Poor planning there, Junot. Very Happy From my limited viewpoint, I thought the troops on both sides were handled extremely well. No one made any major mistakes that allowed either line to be broken.

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Re: The Bloody Battle of Vimeiro - Take 2

Post  Mark87 on Mon Jan 19, 2015 9:37 pm

A totally, utterly frustrating experience. There was a real failure in communication between myself, Grog and EJ.

Firstly, I saw EJ approaching from the East I assumed he was going to fill in the gap between my right and the reserve division under MJP's left. I rode away to attend to the left of my line (more on that later). When I had ridden back to my right I saw that EJ formed right in the center of my battleline, there was now a gap between myself and my right. I hurriedly rushed three small battalions to cover the space.

That leaves me to explain the situation on the left. My initial plan was to rush my second and smaller brigade up the hill and engage in melee combat, then to rush my second brigade through the gap to capture the next ridge. Well, Grog rode to my left with his huge cavalry division. Our line quite overlapped the British Right. I assumed Grog would ride behind the British so I began forming my men up in line to shoot the British squares; this is the point I had to ride over to my right.

I positioned the second brigade in column of divisions 10 meters behind my first brigade who were now in a stand up fight with the British. When I rode back, I saw that the British were still in line of battle and that my men had taken a pounding, including my second line! I positioned my artillery and began to blow the British line apart but, to my chagrin, a second British brigade was formed on the slope behind the ridge I was currently fighting over. It was a stronger line with artillery.

My hopes faded. Two or three of my battalions made a half-hearted assault on that ridge and were easily repulsed.

I did not coordinate with my fellow commanders, I made assumptions and got lost with minute tactical details. If I had coordinated with Grog and EJ better I feel we could have swept Josh's lone brigade off that ridge quicker and assumed a dominant position on that second ridge before British reinforcements arrived. Alas, my division was cut to pieces, roughly 300-400 casualties more than they inflicted.

I think the chain of command in the actual assault was a little foggy, I sent messages to Grog as to where my division should be positioned and such. Retrospectively, as I had the responsibility for the main portion of the assault: almost 5,000 French infantrymen, I should have taken a more forceful role, instead of devolving into battalion control. Additionally, I had my reserve brigade too far forward and it suffered several hundred casualties uselessly. That brigade should have maneuvered behind Josh to his right. There was really nothing there for a significant period of time.

It was quite a challenge to remove 5,000 men under the enemies guns without them being sighted. It took an incredible amount of micro-managing and caution, something rarely used to describe my gamesmanship!
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Re: The Bloody Battle of Vimeiro - Take 2

Post  MJP on Mon Jan 19, 2015 10:17 pm

I just watched the replay again and read Mark's report of what happened on our left.   It appears that our overall plan actually worked in that it did result in the isolation of Knight's Division on the British Right and the Allies shifting Digby and other trooops to their left out of fear of attack from that direction.   So overall, our maneuver had the desired effect and Mark's Divison supported by Grog's Cavalry and very inadvertently by EJ's Brigade should have had a local superiority over Knight's Lone British Division and destroyed it.    It seems that we were unable to take advantage of this favorable situation at the tactical level and Mark, Grog, and EJ were essentially repulsed.   I'll be curious to know how many men Knight had.  

Mark, you were specifically selected for this attack because of the aggressiveness with which you handle your troops.   No marshal's baton for you today!     Evil or Very Mad   Laughing Laughing

Mark does bring up a good point however, that i probably should have delegated the command structure for the attack better. Mark was ordered to attack of course, EJ wasn't even supposed to be there, so he was ordered join in, but where I think i failed was in not giving Grog more detailed instructions. He was ordered simply to support Mark's attack. At one point i had sent him a courier to come to my left (i.e. left of the knoll) because we could really have used some cavalry there, but the courier went unanswered......
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Re: The Bloody Battle of Vimeiro - Take 2

Post  Iberalc on Mon Jan 19, 2015 10:19 pm

I think from the British side I had a privileged position to watch the execution of the French attack, as my division was initially holding the first line and I was on top of the bloody knoll.

After watching the reply (there are always things missed ingame) I must confess Junot's battle plan was totally worthy of admiration. I am sure all allied commanders were deceived at one point about where the real attack was going to come from.

Have to leave now, I will write my POV of the battle soon.
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Re: The Bloody Battle of Vimeiro - Take 2

Post  Iberalc on Mon Jan 19, 2015 10:28 pm

Josh had a brigade in my division, and I sent my reserve brigade in support behind him, I guess between 5,000 and 5,500 men were defending that flank, I used also two squadrons of hussars.


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Re: The Bloody Battle of Vimeiro - Take 2

Post  MJP on Mon Jan 19, 2015 10:32 pm

Thanks for the info Pepe. So it appears we initially isolated a single Brigade of a division with our overall plan. So at first, it was probably 7000 French Infantry and 1,000 Cavalry against first 2500 or so men and then later 5000 or so men. I'm not counting the Reserve Grenadiers in this total as they were engaged only on the knoll, not on our left against Knight's men.

Of course, they were a British Brigade which means they're twice as effective as anyone else! Very Happy
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Re: The Bloody Battle of Vimeiro - Take 2

Post  Guest on Tue Jan 20, 2015 4:58 pm

I really enjoyed the battle, even though we were on the wrong side of the victory. MJP's plan was a good plan and very intricate. I remember my first few hits games were hard to follow some map directions and I have had experience in the real world with this stuff, but as time went one I got better at getting the battle orders completed. I am sure that those who are having the same problem will get better at it too. You can print off the game map or put it on a second screen. Thats helps me reference my movement when comparing battle map to the in game mini map.

The smallest mis communication can lead to defeat and in some rare occasions a victory.

Don't take it so hard when things don't work out, you will lose more then you win! If I had 2000 more horses and men I would have won the battle for us. LOL


On a side note, during the game there was a difference of opinion on game boundaries. Digby took care it, he is the game master, we should let him take care the rules and decisions. One person did and one did not, kind of rude and disrespectful to someone who works his ass off giving us the amount of enjoyment we get, to continually complain and even after the battle is over and you were on the winning team.

Water under the bridge just for thoughts for the future.

Looking forward to the next battle.

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Re: The Bloody Battle of Vimeiro - Take 2

Post  Iberalc on Tue Jan 20, 2015 6:10 pm

My beloved division was the first line of Wellesley’s corps, two brigades forward and one in reserve. Anstruther/Josh’s brigade was deployed in the extreme right of the position, with Hill’s reserve brigade far behind. Lane’s brigade with the divisional battery was positioned on “Bloody Knoll” around 500 yards south from Anstruther, the weak cavalry brigade attached to the division was behind in support.

The Knoll has pronounced slopes and defended with enough troops to secure the flanks, it can be, as soon was going to be seen, a formidable defensive position. Held by just one brigade it was really an advanced outpost, as there were no friendly troops ready to give support quickly.
I started with Anstruther, and rode fast to the Knoll, my first impression was that the French were splitting in two bodies heading towards both our far flanks. Shortly there was just an infantry brigade and a battery within sight.
Gral. Acland (Martin Diggers) asked me where to deploy his battery to support me, and I had to answer; “I don’t know, there are not many targets in sight at the moment”.

After a while the French deployed a battery on the big hill northwest of the Knoll and then a second one. There was a skirmish around those guns, bold and restless as usual Ferguson had moved forward some companies of skirmishers and French cavalry had to advance to defend their guns.
Another skirmish took place when the French brigade (the only one clearly in sight) of EJ advanced south of the Knoll, by coincidence shortly before Mark Soldier/Ferguson’s division had been ordered to attack them. I threw two battalions and one squadron to support Mark’s right, and then I saw a French battery so lonely I sent the Portuguese cavalry to charge the guns, they took four before retreating but wasn’t successful moving them to our lines so some were recaptured and others routed.

Back to the Knoll I felt much better with Mark on my left, as originally planned. Now I could distinguish two more French brigades (Kevin’s force) farther to the south.
The French Grand battery was making life uneasy on top of the Knoll, so I ended pulling back men and guns to the reverse slope, I stayed on top because otherwise I wouldn’t have had LOS to my front (the west).

At this point the French started the real thing.

Gral. Wellesley/Ron informed me that Ferguson’s division was redeploying back to our rear as a reserve. I read the message, and I couldn’t believe what I saw, British battalions heading away to the east, crossing the creek and moving uphill and leaving the way wide open to a strong French column (eight or nine battalions) moving from the south in perfect order, one after another, from my position the whole force seemed a snake crawling.
I informed our CnC that Ferguson was moving away precisely when the French were advancing on the ground he just left.
I had to deploy the whole of Lane’s brigade facing south to stop Kevin’s push, and wouldn’t have been enough without help as some of Ferguson’s troops were turning back, and the French had to face them.

About this time, from the top of the Knoll, I saw the French main attack starting, the wide slope was packed with columns of troops from north to south and moving east towards the lone brigade of Anstruther. It was an impressive and colorful sight I was not able to enjoy.
Reported up and down the chain of command, and realized Josh was not strong to hold the forces massing against him.
I had brought the reserve brigade of Hill closer to me, as the supporting brigade (7thGalaxy’s just arrived from England) was melting away, and I had no more troops.

At that moment, to my relief EJ’s brigade started to move north-east towards our extreme right, I had been keeping an eye on them fearing an attack from the west. It must be something personal with Knight, I thought.
After a while I decided to support Anstruther/Josh with Hill’s brigade as it was the only help I was going to get for a while, and Ferguson and the rest of the corps were closer to the Knoll than to our extreme right.

As the French advanced east the front was narrowing and they concentrated so it was even more intimidating. I tried to redeploy my guns to give them flank fire, and sent a squadron of British cavalry in a flank suicidal charge to gain some time. At least now Hill was supporting Anstruther.

Gral. Wellesley was close at hand, he asked where I needed help, and I said send it to our right they are facing the main attack.

Then I realized Matt’s grenadiers were about to crest the Knoll from the west, I just could send a battalion resting from early fight to meet them, and had just enough time to pull back my guns without loss. Our Cnc reassured us that help was coming, Acland’s division had been tasked with retaking the Knoll.
These were my most anxious moments as divisional commander, I was holding the base of the Knoll with two light infantry units, to my left there were 2 battalions facing my one and some others behind I guess recovering from the stress of battle, my other battalion was fighting the grenadiers. I could not understand why they were not kicking me out of there. To my right Anstruther and Hill were getting fully engaged, I thought I should be there but didn’t dare to leave my small hold in the Knoll. A couple of times started to run north and came back.
The French brought a battery to the Knoll, when Acland’s leading brigade arrived to the level of my troops there, I was relieved to leave the “Knoll business” to Acland and rush to the north to take charge of Hill’s brigade.

They had held their own well four battalions out of five remained with the colors (Hill), Anstruther had pulled back behind the creek and Hill was on top of the ridge, there were some sharp clashes with French infantry and cavalry, there was also a battery giving real close support, but at the end of the battle Hill’s brigade held his ground.

From time to time I looked over my shoulder to the Knoll, and as has been related it was a very though struggle with the lines moving back and forth. Here in the north it was no less of a fight, and as bloody at least I would say.

Congratulations to all French commanders, they fought valliantly and skilfully against an steady a more numerous foe. I believe Junot's plan was very close to get us off balance. We took very heavy casualties counterattacking to recover lost ground, my division fighting on the defensive mostly in ground of our chosing was the only one in our side that did more damage that received.

Brigadier General Rowland Hill.


Last edited by Iberalc on Wed Jan 21, 2015 6:49 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: The Bloody Battle of Vimeiro - Take 2

Post  Mr. Digby on Tue Jan 20, 2015 6:22 pm

The boundary issue was my fault entirely and I take full blame for the confusion (which was understandable). I used a map for the two sides briefings that had a hand-drawn boundary line which didn't correspond to the in-game line of boundary markers. In addition to the confusion this caused I gave a very weak and woolly rule to cover boundary rules. I think I said, prior to the game that the boundary was flexible "for about 200 yards". Unfortunately I fear I gave this rule out verbally over teamspeak and with the faults that software has over clarity of sound my rule got heard as "for a few hundred yards" which is obviously something very different!

I tried to be fair when I was asked to clarify this after the game began and I have to admit I was bothered by the fact that outside the boundary on the French left there is some excellent high ground from which to shoot guns or attack from and I was concerned that this area nullified the good defensive ground the scenario was supposed to allow Wellesley to hold. Of course by then Matt had invested a lot of time and effort in his fine battle plan and not allowing him to use that area seemed both churlish and (because I was playing on the Brits side) biased.

Therefore I am sorry for the problems this caused, I will try harder in future to make things 100% clear before player teams and C-in-Cs go and spent time and effort working within a framework that is incorrect. Sorry to all.

One point Morsey raises is fair though. In the event of doubt or confusion during a game please don't start discussing it over TS; it breaks players immersion and its often best not to start a heated discussion in any game but to talk things through afterwards. I know I made a bad call and I am sorry about that, but if a scenario designer gives a ruling during a game please be of good grace and accept it, even if it goes against your favour.

Also as Morsey says, when all was over the extra space used by the French on the left turned out to have no effect at all on the gameplay or the result.

As to the size of Pepe's command on the British front right, he had Hill's division:



Josh commanded Anstruther's brigade (highlighted) which had 3 huge battalions all of good quality. Anstruther was reinforced during the French attack by Hill's own brigade so the British right consisted of 2,300 men initially, later 5,000. 5,000 good quality redcoats holding a hill is a tough opponent in anyone's book.


Last edited by Mr. Digby on Tue Jan 20, 2015 6:32 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: The Bloody Battle of Vimeiro - Take 2

Post  Mark87 on Tue Jan 20, 2015 6:30 pm

Without my hesitation and jumbling of ranks, then trying to cover both flanks; I guess what I mean is that if I had used my first brigade to pin or melee Josh while using my second brigade to maneuver around his open right, such a move I anticipated being made the cavalry after I saw them from my right, I would have taken the ridge.

I made a bad call early and it was further reinforced when EJ charged direct center of the line. I was actually contemplating pulling back, reforming, and coming on again. Retrospectively, that would have been a far better choice.
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Re: The Bloody Battle of Vimeiro - Take 2

Post  Mr. Digby on Tue Jan 20, 2015 6:33 pm

Did someone keep a game dump at the end? If so can you upload it and post a link to it please? I forgot to and would like to compare the fruits of the French efforts in the refight vs those in the campaign game.

My gut feeling is that Matt and his team caused Wellesley more damage than was done in the campaign game and very definitely more than in the historical battle. If that's the case then this game was a French win within the framework of the conditions set.


Last edited by Mr. Digby on Tue Jan 20, 2015 6:43 pm; edited 1 time in total

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The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: The Bloody Battle of Vimeiro - Take 2

Post  MJP on Tue Jan 20, 2015 6:38 pm

I just sent you the dump csv by email.....

Matt
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Re: The Bloody Battle of Vimeiro - Take 2

Post  Mr. Digby on Tue Jan 20, 2015 6:46 pm

Thanks.


Historically Fane's and Anstruther's brigades were, in the actual battle, merely outposts for the main British line which consisted of Hill's Acland's and Craufurd's brigades with a second artillery battery. Quickly after the French first division attacked, Anstruther and Fane fell back to the main position. The combat on this flank devolved into a bloody fight for the village of Vimerio itself which changed hands several times but ultimately the French exhausted themselves trying to take it. Each side held about half of it when Junot signalled his retreat.

The other French division went right around Wellesley's southern flank where it got delayed in the gully of the dry stream bed and a bit disorganised so that it's attack up the slopes of the left flank of the British position went in piecemeal and were defeated quite easily by Ferguson's brigades who had ample time to form positions to face the approaching columns.

Due to the rocky nature of the ridge Wellesley defended the great superiority of French cavalry was almost useless.

http://www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/1808VimeiroAlison.jpg

I seriously doubt this battle can be turned into a genuine French win but perhaps we could refight it again another time. The thing is almost in the nature of one of those tactical problems student officers get set. There might be a key to unlocking the defence somewhere.

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The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: The Bloody Battle of Vimeiro - Take 2

Post  Mark87 on Tue Jan 20, 2015 7:01 pm

If I had performed better, my 5,000 Frenchmen should have overwhelmed Josh's 2,300. That was the difference between victory and defeat. The plan worked, we achieved local tactical superiority in numbers, guns, and cavalry. I failed to press home fast enough.
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Re: The Bloody Battle of Vimeiro - Take 2

Post  MJP on Tue Jan 20, 2015 7:09 pm

Again, I must apologize for the TS "skirmish" that erupted during the game. You are right that it does ruin the immersion which is the best part and I've noted not to let it happen again.

A large part of the problem for me was that when you gave me the detailed briefing the morning of the battle, I loaded up the Pipe Creek map that the scenario was being played on and specifically scouted out the terrain and how the boundaries impacted what we could and could not do. I based our plan by using your hand drawn map against the in game map being careful to determine where the boundaries were but the in game map i was using that morning was not the specific scenario map, so it didn't have the boundary markers on it. It wasn't until maybe 10-15 minutes in game that I discovered that in fact, that very large hill which had a great field of fire on the "bloody knoll" was out of bounds. Based on the hand drawn map, everything up to the woods on the north side of the hill was in bounds. At that point, I did try to alter our plans a bit to keep our main attack as close to the main road as possible specifically instructing Delaborde to tie his right to the road and not to drift too far north. The replay will also show that i moved the RG Division back south and towards the road in an effort to keep it as close to in bounds as possible, so we did hear what you were saying and were trying to respect the ruling as best we could. But I felt that if that entire area was determined to be out of bounds, we might as well just stop the game because our entire plan which was already in the process of being executed was dependent not so much on the hill itself, but on being able to hide our troop build up on the back side of that hill and being able to advance along the north side of the road. Interestingly enough, by advancing directly north east from our build up area, Delaborde starts out of bounds but then goes back in bounds prior to contacting the english line as the boundary is wider along the english front.

All of this caused me some frustration in game which i let get the better of me further exacerbated by Knight sending his officer up and around our left and his skirmishers up to shoot the guns, which were actually in the process of heading back towards the in bounds. But as he was shooting the guns and had positioned his officer where he possibly could have seen our build up which certainly from my perspective would have ruined the game, I made the snap decision known as "screw it I'm using the hill". I noted in the replay that Josh stuck one if his infantry regiments way far out in the woods to the north well beyond all in game boundaries, obviously not believing that we had no intention of using the woods and turning the English right.

All in all there is enough fault to go around here, not just on you Martin, but clearly on both myself and Josh as well. A learning experience for all I would say and hopefully one that won't come up again.



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Re: The Bloody Battle of Vimeiro - Take 2

Post  MJP on Tue Jan 20, 2015 7:23 pm

I seriously doubt this battle can be turned into a genuine French win but perhaps we could refight it again another time. The thing is almost in the nature of one of those tactical problems student officers get set. There might be a key to unlocking the defence somewhere.

Having played in the battle, I absolutely wouldn't call it a French win, rather at best a draw at worst a British Marginal Victory (as compared to historical results, for just an SOW game it's a British Victory of course). Our attack was defeated and had to withdraw. I do take some measure of solace in that the real thing, the English put a beating on the French inflicting some 2100 Casualties on the French while taking less than 800. In our refight, we inflicted 8200 on the English and took 7700. So we certainly did better than real life Junot, but it definitely didn't feel like anything close to a win.

That being said we did have our opportunities and i would love to play it again, but in a further playing it would be interesting to offer the French some flexibility to reorganize the French Command groupings and to have a "free setup" within a defined deployment zone. One issue with a replay is that if everything is exactly the same, the result will probably be the same. While having the exact same forces and general starting locations but with the flexibility to reorganize the forces a bit and to have a setup more in line with the battle plan might be an interesting tactical problem to try to solve.

Really, this is sort of like the old movie "Wargames" where perhaps the only winning French Move is "not to play". The English troops are stout and their position is tremendous. In our game we fought to a standstill simply trying to beat the English outpost forces. The main ridge behind is even more daunting and I'm not really sure that it's possible to take it given the forces, but I for one would like to try again!
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Re: The Bloody Battle of Vimeiro - Take 2

Post  Iberalc on Tue Jan 20, 2015 7:35 pm

Matt wrote:I noted in the replay that Josh stuck one if his infantry regiments way far out in the woods to the north well beyond all in game boundaries

It was me who send that unit, I didn't realize about the boundaries markers when I ordered it to go there, sorry about that. Embarassed
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Re: The Bloody Battle of Vimeiro - Take 2

Post  Guest on Tue Jan 20, 2015 9:15 pm

Iberalc you had a perfect chance to use the I did not understand a word you said.  Thats what I do to stay out of trouble down here.  bounce

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Re: The Bloody Battle of Vimeiro - Take 2

Post  Grog on Wed Jan 21, 2015 12:25 pm

Thanks again Martin for the scenario and for all that took part. A great pleasure, as always.

A big disappointment to me, though, as I was unable to beat my previous week's record for the Highest Mountain of Horse Meat produced in 5 minutes flat. I eagerly await the Eylau refight, where I fully intend to create a huge equine mound for a statue of Marshall Murat Very Happy

Thanks also to Matt for the Battle of Shevardino scenario last week.

Mike



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