Thursday, 19 February 2015

Skirmish on the L'Adour - 15mm Napoleonic Muskets and Tomahawks

General Situation
By 1814 an allied army of British, Portuguese and Spanish troops was operating in southwestern France. The French army under Marshal Soult had retired east from Bayonne towards Orthez. followed by an Anglo-Portuguese Army under Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, Marquess of Wellington leaving Bayonne under siege. The siege was described as "leisurely to the point of apathy" with French and British soldiers fraternizing and exchanging goods and letters
View from the south east corner - Shaun is in the river
The Scenario
This scenario is set in a small hamlet somewhere along the south bank of the River Adour between Bayonne and Orthez.
View from the south west corner
The hamlet of 4 houses is set hard against the river, just off table to the north. There is a road running east-west through the hamlet with a road running off to the south. The area to the south of the hamlet rises up through wood hills to a ridge.
The French
A supply column escorted by an infantry battalion and an artillery piece has left Bayonne aiming to join up with Soult's army. The objective is to get the 2 supply wagons off the eastern edge of the table
6 Officers Veteran, Scout
3 Fusilier Companies Average, Musket, Firing Line (8 bases each)
1 Fusilier Company Green, Musket, Firing Line (8 bases)
1 Grenadier Company Veteran, Musket, Firing Line, Scout (8 bases)
1 Voltigeur Company Veteran, Musket, Firing Line, Scout (8 bases)
1 Gun
2 Wagons
The French can deploy 3 companies in the hamlet, the remainder of the force enter on the western road on turn 1. The order of march must be set out beforehand as arrival will be at the mercy of the Activation cards
The British
A large reconnaissance force of 4 Companies, Kings German Legion has been tasked with capturing the supply column and locating and escorting 2 British spies back to friendly lines.
3 KGL Officers Veteran, Scout
2 Light Companies KGL Veteran, Rifle, Scout (8 bases)
2 Line Companies KGL Average, Musket, Firing Line (8 bases)
The British can deploy anywhere along the southern edge of the table

The Game
The French deployed 3 companies  in the buildings at eastern end of the hamlet. The column was set out  with 2 wagons, the gun and the remaining 3 companies.
The British deployed all of their troops in the southeastern area of the ridge and moved rapidly to form a loose north-south line across the eastern edge of the table. The riflemen then proceeded to shoot the French troops in the hamlet.
At the other end of the table the column became a traffic jam as the wagons blocked everything else from coming onto the table. Eventually the jam was sorted out and the 3 extra companies started forming a line to advance against the British
The British realised that if the French advanced them then they would be overwhelmed so they moved a rifle company back up onto the ridge to enfilade any approaching French. They caused severe casualties to the French as a result of this.
Back at the eastern end of the hamlet the rifles played havoc with the French troops picking them off slowly but surely. The French mistakenly decided to return fire rather than charge out and engage the British in close combat.
Inevitably the riflemen wore down their opponents who belated decided to charge out forcing the KGL Line companies to retire with losses
The artillery piece did not get into action and was over run by a rifle company swarming through the buildings searching for the spies. With barely a full company left the French quit the field leaving both wagons, the gun and the 2 spies to the British.
The End
An interesting game between a shooty force and a stompy force with the later playing into the hands of the former by going for the fire-fight rather than closing with the bayonet. The rifles were lethal in this game even though they take twice as long to reload. The artillery was almost useless so I might have a tweak with the rules for them. Otherwise I'm very pleased with this variant of Muskets and Tomahawks.
The Toys
The buildings are from 4Ground's La Haye Sainte range and work fine as standalone buildings
The figures are by Campaign Game Miniatures
The Muskets and Tomahawks variant can be found here


  1. This terrain is really amazing, I do like your hills especially...great report!

  2. Hi Shedman,
    this is very interesting indeed. I have been trying to use M&T for Napoleonic Retreat from Moscow games. Had our first game yesterday and 80-90% of the rules seem too work. The main issue is with the Cavalry rules. There is no obvious advantage to cavalry in melee once you get past the first round. I am very interested in hearing what rule changes you have come up with for cavalry.

  3. Hi Kaspar

    Pretty basic melee rules for cavalry at the moment - I've only done cavalry vs cavalry

    Lance moving into contact +1
    Lance other occasions -1

    Armour +1
    Infantry not in Square vs cav -1
    Infantry in Square vs cav +2

    I allow cavalry to breakthrough a single line of opponents as well as breakoff or remain in contact

    I'm looking at doing a cavalry vs infantry square scenario just to see how it works

    nice blog btw


    1. Thanks Alan,

      The retreat from Moscow was IMO much more skirmish like and I'm not sure that the Column formation is something I would add to the game. I was thinking about giving Cavalry a +1 bonus to Aggresiveness when in melee with infantry. I also plan to create a Cavalry Charge similar to the Bayonet Charge in the rules. The last thing is a rule about infantry not being able to charge cavalry straight on, only from the Rear.

    2. I of course meant the Square formation not Column

  4. sounds good to me - especially the Cavalry charge. I wouldn't let cavalry charge infantry defending a linear obstacle. maybe give the Aggresiveness bonus only on the first round - if the infantry haven't run after the initial combat then it should be a straight fight