Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Camerone - 149th anniversary re-fight

The Battle of Camerone or Camarón first came to my notice through reading Look and Learn in the 1970s and 80s. Angus McBride did quite a few illustrations for the magazine and his images of the ferocious fight at  Camerone caught my imagination.

Today, 30th April 2012, is the149th anniversary of the battle and it is also the night we meet at the Slimbridge club so I decided to do a re-fight.

Last stands are always tricky to do on the wargames table as it still needs to be an entertaining game for both sides even though everyone knows the outcome. A search on the internet throws up quite a few rule sets and scenarios for Camerone.

I decided to use the scenario from Tim Tilson's Colonial Campaigns book Maximilian in Mexico. Although Tim's scenarios are geared towards using The Sword and the Flame rules, I find that with a slight tweak we can use our own rules - well Rodge's rules.

I spent the weekend making a very functional Hacienda. This morning there was a post on TMP from the Mad Guru about his 150th Anniversary Camerone blog which has some very interesting picture, plans and descriptions. Mad intends to build the Hacienda in 25mm . I intend to wait until he has fully researched it and then get Rodge to build it in 15mm  8)

The walls of the Hacienda were too high to climb and the Republicans had no ladders so the only entrances are two at the north wall by the road and one in the south-west corner.

The game starts with the Legion already in the Hacienda. They have 4 units each of 12 figures plus 3 officers, Capitaine Danjou and sous-lieutenants Maudet and Vilain,  so bizarrely there are 51 figures on the table representing 49 men. Danjou can be seen in the centre of the right-hand photo with Vilain just up and to his left and Maudet between the 2 units holding the north wall

The Republicans attack in 3 waves. Each wave is either 4, 6, 8 or 10 units of regular or irregular infantry chosen by the Republican players. Each regular unit is worth 2 Victory Points (VP) to the French and each irregular unit  is 1 VP. The Republicans get VPs for killing the French. There are also VP awarded  to each side for other activities but I'm sure Tim would appreciate it if you bought his book to find those out.

An assault wave ends when the Republicans roll less than the number of units they have lost.

For the first wave the Republicans decided to send in 10 irregular units. They also get a half unit for free that starts on the roof of the Hacienda which is why Vilain's squad is lined up ready to give them a volley.

The Republican irregulars armed with muskets avoided a shooting match and went straight into the attack. After losing a couple of units they failed their assault wave roll and left the table.

VP score  The Legion 10 Republicans 8

Our rules for shooting are very simple - the shooter rolls a D6 and modifies by -1 if over half range and -1 if target is in cover - the target then rolls a D6 and has to equal or better the shooter's dice otherwise they receive 1 hit. If the score is double then they receive 2 hits. Officers with units hit are killed if they roll the number of hits received.

Melee is the same except that modifiers also include +1 if officer attached to unit and +1 if supported by another unit.  Hits are the dice difference divided by 2 and rounded up so a score of 5 to 3 would inflict 1 hit. As well as hits both sides get a fatigue for fighting in melee. When this reaches a certain level then a -1 modifier is applied

In the photos red counters are hits and yellow counters are fatigue.

The Republican second wave had 6 regular units and 4 irregular giving the French an extra 6 VPs.

This wave saw sous-lieutenant Maudet fall with his squad defending the front gates and Capitaine Danjou shot as his squad held the breach in the south-west corner. Although the Republicans failed their assault wave test they carried on by giving the French a VP for each turn they stayed on.

VP score The Legion 30 Republicans 31.

The 3rd and final wave again saw the Republicans charge on with 6 regular units and 4 irregular giving the French yet another 16 VPs. This time the Republicans fired off several volleys which saw the squad at the south-west die and also one of the squads holding the gates.

The last remain squad commanded by sous-lieutenant Vilain retried to the stables to hold off 10 Republican units.

And they did!

The number of 6s the Legion rolled in succession was astonishing - the 2 French players even changed their dice. Eventually the Republicans failed their assault wave roll. Carrying on by giving the French a VP for each turn they stayed on would not make any difference so the Republicans retired leaving sous-lieutenant Vilain and his very fatigued squad holding the Hacienda and awaiting the Relief Column

Final VP score The Legion 51 Republicans 40.

The French were lucky in the huge number of 6s they rolled and in the fact that the Republicans didn't stand-off and shoot - although the French get VPs if no Republican units charge in a turn.

My thanks to Tim for an excellent scenario, to Rodge for a excellent set of rules and to Steve, Paul, Shaun and Graham for playing

More photos can be found here

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