As we’ve chronicled in many past articles, Warlord Bossman John’s excellent games room is a truly awe-inspiring sight, and has seen many fantastic evenings of wargaming over the years. Unbeknownst to most, however, it has a secret second function as a time machine, and recently it took a stalwart band of Warlord’s finest back to the Peninsular War of 1809 for some Black Powder action. What follows is an account of what transpired…
Massed French forces under Generals Colin Stone and Wojtek Flis prepared to storm a vital set of heights as Massena’s army pushed into Portugal. With Wellington’s British fighting in Spain, the defence of these heights fell to Signor Steve Morgan with his fighting Spaniards, supported by General Lorenzo Pala, whose Portuguese were determined to protect their homeland at all costs.
With his usual subtlety, Monsieur Stone launched an all-out frontal assault on the allied positions – no messing around with any artillery bombardments for this Frenchman! On came the French in the same old (and rather glorious) way, with the Spanish and Portuguese doing their level best to defy them. It looked for a moment as though this would be too much from the allies as it so often had been in the past, but after some initial wavering the line held as the French columns began to run out of steam before reaching the heights. Meanwhile, some good old-fashioned taunting from General Flis’ French cavalry wing had drawn some of the Spanish cavalry into a hasty charge which saw them driven back in disarray, although the French horsemen were similarly thrown into confusion by the brief combat.
It was not long at all before things started to unravel for the French. Spanish grit and Portuguese determination, coupled with some truly catastrophic dice rolling (as usual!) from Colin led to a rapid collapse of first the French centre, and then their right. Even the Imperial Guard were unmanned by the sheer number of 1s hitting the table, and the proud columns disintegrated into a mass of confused and terrified men fleeing the table. Wojtek’s cavalry tried gallantly to turn the tide, but could do little against the combined allied force alone, while the remainder of the French turned and headed back the way they had come (in the same old, not-so-glorious, way). Just like that, it was all over – some commanders reportedly hadn’t even had time to finish scoffing their sausage sandwiches! Despite this, a great time was had by all – even Colin!* Better luck next time, Mr Stone!
*The majority of this report was submitted to your trusty war correspondent by Steve Morgan, but Colin did in fact also submit a report of his own, which… differs somewhat. I’ve reproduced it in full below, only slightly censored to spare your sensibilities:
Colin: “It was a <RUDE WORD> disaster. I managed to destroy three French infantry brigades (including one elite Guard) and a light cavalry brigade in two turns…not bad considering I was the French general!
My bold charge across the table started well and made contact with the Portuguese forces and the Spanish right flank. Then the dice went predictable, and my army dissolved into a retreating mass.”