Tuesday, December 6, 2011

AAR - December 3 - Shako, at the Hangar

Steve McCabe posted the following After Action Review of a Shako Battle, held at the Hangar on December 3. It was a refight of the battle of Salamanca, from 1812.


Just wanted to comment on this weekend's game.  Thanks to all who came. 

This was by far the largest Shako battle we have fought to date.  With the British numbering roughly 37 infantry battalions, 4 cavalry regiments and 3 artillery, while the French had roughly 50 infantry battalions, 5 cavalry regiments, and 7 artillery. 

The initial set up was Thomieres (Callahan), Maucune (Dave), and Cuto's Cavalry (Dave) swining around the left flank.  Claussel (Oscar) was marching straight down the center, with Brennier & Ferey in reserve, and Foy (Scott) waiting on the British right flank for something to happen.  That is when as per history, Marshall Marmont was wounded, and Bonnet (historically Bonnet was wounded as well, but the French lucked (?) out) took command at the end of turn 3. 

At the end of turn 1, Wellington sent send orders for Crauford (Carl) to advance against Scott.  Turn 2 saw Leith's 4th Division (me) advancing on timed orders against Oscar and Carl advancing against Scott.  While the French continued their flank movement. 

Turn 3 saw the trap enfold that Wellington had set up for Marmont.  Pakenham's 3rd Division (John) was waiting for for Thomiers in line.  The British Cavalry Division (I forgot the gentlemen who played this division) showed up on Johns flank.  The unexpected appearance of the 3rd Division and the cavalry shocked the French players as much their historical counterparts.  At this time, the British 1st Division began their timed advance up the slope toward the flanking units.  ADCs from the now Bonnet were dispatched, and each one met an untimely demise for the French. 

Turn 4 saw Calhan's fore units get destroyed by volley and charges, The British Cavalry charging Dave's lead cavalry elements and the rear brigade of Calahan's.  In the mean time 2 heavy french guns commanded by artillery master Scott, was blasting holes thru my portuguese and highlanders.  This pounding went on and on and on.  By the way Scott, did I tell you how much I DON'T like you!  :-) 

Turn 5 on...  The British 3rd division destroyed Callahan's lead division (which is historically what happend).  The British Cavalry division destroyed Cuto's division.  My division fertilized field with blood but eventually defeated Oscar's Claussal's division.  Another division, Brennier's followed up and even though I had a significant help from 1st division, eventually broke (historical note, the 4th division was the only division that broke in the actual battle, and this was done by Clausal's).  The British Cavalry broke against Dave's Maucuane Division.  Meanwhile, Carl's Light Division was beating up Scott's Foy Division.  Carl was on the verge of routing Scott's division, when ADC's finally made it to Ferey now led by Callahan, and started turning Carl's flank.  There were desperate cries of help from Carl, but there was no one near enough to help.  The closest division was mine and it was in its own death throes.  Callahan was relentless in advance, with two battalions of the elite 95th rifles routing.  Scott in turn counterattacked turning the table on the other two light battalions.  Scott, Callahan, and Carl ran the fight all the way to night time, where Carl's light division barely survived with two Portuguese Cacadores badly wounded but still holding their own.  They limped away, with the French unable to claim a victory there, but the casualties on the light were tremendous. 

For the rest of the game, we called the fight at the end of turn 11.  Dave's Maucune division was almost entirely gone between John's hammer blows and Justin's division in the center on the hill fighting Dave's rear and flank.  That division was ready to break.  Oscar's Ferey Division was badly mauled but was still fighting against Justin.  We ended the game with a 3-2 victory for the British.  The right and center was in pretty much a British victory but the left flank of the British was only being held with barely two battalions against two divisions, even though one was badly mauled. 

As a historical note, there were a lot more British divisions on the table then we played with.  There was also the 5th, 6th, and 7th... I did take the liberty to move the 1st division to the British right center (this was historically next to the light division) and boosted it with two additional guard battalions which did not make it to the division until 1813.  As for my 4th division, this actually was the only British division routed in the battle, but the new 6th division (which we didn't play with) ended up turning back Clausal's division.  The 3rd division in history did surprise the French on the flank and rolled up one division after another.  Instead of British KGL's on their flank, there were actually Portuguese Cavalry and in one of those rare moments, performed quite well, and routed the French light cavalry they went against.  Where the 1st division was situated, there was actually the British Dragoons.  This heavy cavalry charged over the hill and into the flank of the french.  With infantry and Portuguese cavalry to their front, and heavy cavalry on their flank, whole French divisions evaporated.  On the other side of the battle, both Ferey and Foy didin't get into the fight and acted as a rear guard when things went bad for the French.  There was only one division we didn't play with for the French, which was Bonnet (which I believe never was close) as well as the Army Heavy Cavalry (dragoons) that were never even on the maps...

So ended the Battle of Salamanca, 1812... Thanks everyone for joining in...