Wednesday, 11 April 2012

The French in Mexico #2

This battle is based on the fight at San Lorenzo on 8th May 1863.

We used 15mm armies with a set of home-grown ACW rules that we are currently playtesting. Comments on the rule mechanisms will be enclosed in []. The Republicans were commanded by General Shaun and the French/Imperialist forces by Brigadier Rodge

The Republicans have launched an assault to capture a pass and the village behind it. A small force of Imperialists has been ordered to prevent the capture of the pass and the village. A French relief force is on the way - will they be in time to save their allies?

The Imperialists
3 Companies Infantry
2 12pdr Napoleons (what else!)

The French
3 Companies Foreign Legion
1 Company 92nd Line
1 Company Zouaves
1 Squadron Chasseurs d'Afrique
1 Squadron Contra-guerillas

The Republicans
9 Companies Infantry
4 Companies Irregular Foot
3 Squadrons Irregular Horse

The picture shows the Republicans arriving onto the battlefield with the Imperialist infantry and artillery entrenched on the right hand hill overlooking the pass. 

The Republicans carried out a general advance with their cavalry rapidly advancing over the left hand hill [Cavalry can move 15" and if there are no enemy within 18" the move can be doubled - hence they moved 30"!]

As the Republican horse thundered across the table the French relief force arrived lead by the Chasseurs d'Afrique and a squadron of Contras. I do apologise for the Republican Horse not having their bases done.

Who are the best? The Republicans are pretty good. The Chasseurs are pretty good. There's only one way to find out - fight!

The ensuing melee saw the Chasseurs gain a slight advantage by pushing the Irregulars back. Their charge however allowed the Foreign Legion to advance swiftly to support them.

The cavalry melee expanded to include not only the Legion but also Republican Regular Infantry companies. However first the Chasseurs disintegrated followed by 2 Irregular Horse squadrons and the Contras leaving just one Republican Horse squadron and a Regular Infantry company to face the Legion.

The Legion went onto destroy the Republican Infantry company and then turn to face off both the cavalry and  the infantry advancing down the hill.
[The red counters represent hits and the yellow counters represent fatigue which can be recovered]

On the right flank the Republicans sent 3 Regular Infantry companies and 4 Irregular Foot companies against the Imperialists entrenched on the hill

On the right flank the Republicans sent 3 Regular Infantry companies and 4 Irregular Foot companies against the Imperialists entrenched on the hill

Waiting until they could see the whites of their eyes the Imperialists opened up with muskets and Napoleons destroying 2 Regular companies. The Irregulars however carried on over the entrenchments into hand-to-hand combat with the Imperialists.

The Irregular stood little chance charging the entrenchments and were easily pushed back leaving the Imperialists not only  holding the hill but advancing down to support the fight in the pass.

The Pass was only wide enough for a company to advance in column which put the Republicans at a disadvantage. [The circular bases were classed as impassible]

The Republicans bravely attempted to push through the pass but the exit was held by a company of Zouaves supported by a company of French infantry. The arrival of Republican Regular Infantry companies from the left hand hill did open up the pass but the Republican army was on the verge of breaking.

In total the Republicans lost 6 units and the French lost 2. The early arrival of the French column scuppered the chances of the Republicans capturing the town and combined with the defence of the pass by the Zouaves left the French/Imperialists victorious.

The rules worked well but it was the first time we had used cavalry in anything other than a skirmishing role.

For the ACW Brigade game they are used either in the pre-battle terrain game to modify terrain placement dice rolls or they can be used in the game to move fast and then dismount to shoot. They are not allowed to charge anything even other cavalry.

For the Maximilian Company game they were allowed to charge but their factors need tweaking as they were too good in some respects but pants in others.

We are also considering whether shooting should be more effective in the Company game.

More photos can be found here


  1. Hello - how many figures per unit/company and what is the figure ratio if want to transfer it(your order of battle) to 25mm or 28mm

  2. I have a company of 6 bases of 3 figures each = 60 to 90 men so 1 base is 10-15 men and 1 figure = 3-5 men.

    I use Tim Tilson's Maximillian in Mexico scenario book which uses TSATF with 8 25mm figure units so I sometimes use 1 base = 1 25mm figure and it works.

    However I am doing the Camerone scenario next Monday (30th April) and for that I am having 1 base = 2 figures which in 15mm works out at 1 figure = 1 man

    Hope that makes sense