Thursday, 15 September 2016

Battle of Maida - 4 Jul 1806 - 6mm

6mm starting positions, British on left

In just the same way that Mad Mac used Maida to test different Napoleonic wargame rules I thought I'd use Maida to compare scales. So having fought the battle in 20mm I thought I'd also give it a go in 6mm.

Now the ground scale is staying the same - 1:1000 (1 x 100mm hex = 100m), but the figure scale is increasing from 1/72nd to 1/300th (6mm), so this means that there is only a mismatch between ground and figure scales of 1:3, quite unique for any Napoleonic game I've ever played (its usually 1:14), so I was  hoping to get a far better perspective on ground and movement. It also meant that since there were now 90 figures in  a battalion (6 of my standard 6mm battalion blocks) I only had a figure:man ratio of 1:5 (for a 450 man battalion).

To make the game slightly different I decided to have the French attack in column, not line, but nothing else was different.

The 90 figures of the Combined Light Battalion, 1:5 figures:men

The change to column made a big difference from the start. Both Compere and Peyri's leading battalions managed to close with the defending Brits and get into melee (they move faster, so less artillery/musketry, they get a +1 on resolve and 1 +1 in melee against line, but effectively lose the power to fire on the way in). The 42e sent the 81st reeling back again, but the Light Brigade managed to eventually win their melee and send 1/1e Legere back, and then 2/1e. Oswald again move forward to help fill the gap left by the 81st, and the 78th Highland were also now in melee with the Poles. On the left flank the 23e Legere of Diagonnet made far faster progress in column round the thickets, and the Chasseurs having corralled the Grenadiers and 27th into square held of the attack until the 23e could arrive.

By the end of turn 4 (about 9.20) the 1/23e had gone in against a 27th weakened by the fire from Griois' guns and routed them. In the centre 1e Polish failed to go in against the advancing Swiss of Oswald. However Dyneley's battery managed to rout 2e Polish, which then took the French Swiss with them. Oswalds 58th then fell on the flank of the halted 1e Polish, sending them home too.

Two battalions of 23e Legere in Column of Divisions

Technically it was now game over as the French had two broken brigades, but I was keen to get the 20th onto the table so let the game play on. I soon almost regretted it as Raynier was first out the deck and used a command point to rally 2/e, bringing Compere's Brigade back under control.On the left flank the 20th failed to materialise and so 1/23e Legere charged into a now weakened Grenadier square and routed that. Turn 6 and the 20th are still not there. 1/23e failed to charge in against Dyneley's battery which had begun to rake the French on the left flank. Likewise the 58th failed to go in against Griois battery which had placed itself in a commanding position on  a small hillock. 2/23e managed to push Watteville's Swiss back, and Acland and Oswald were struggling to build a defensive line on a much refused left flank. On the right things were also not looking good as a rejuvenated 2/1e pushed the Light Brigade back and took the gun battery.

Final positions

On Turn 7 the 20th finally turned up, right onto the flank of a weakened 2/23e. 2/32e routed immediately from this surprise flank attack, and took the unformed and battered 1/23e right next to them with them. Game over.

Endex as the 20th Foot goes in against 23e Legere

Interesting how a change in tactics resulted in a far more bloody and close fought battle. Given my comments last time I do wonder if perhaps I need to up the impact of musketry, need to dig out some detailed casualty figures again, to make it harder for the columns to go in, and also to make more of an incentive to stop and fire.  One other minor change I made was to force morale tests when units retreat past you (a lot more common then rout - which was the original condition) - think that worked well.

Playing with the 6mm really did give it more of  a "battle" feeling, 90 figures not 18 per battalion. The ground coverage looked quite convincing, although there wasn't too much of  a sense of unwieldiness that I was expecting with long lines as there were in reality on 2 hex wide (would have been interesting on my 40mm hexes - then 6 hex long!). It's certainly something I'd do again, and it may be a ideal job for the MDF Napoleonics.
So overall another cracking game and a nice scenario.

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