Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Basque-ing in the glory: Carlists do the Isabelinos in Carlist Wars game

It was our monthly meet at the Lanyan Vikings and there were half a dozen games and over 20 gamers - not a bad effort! Amongst these games Doug put on a terrific Carlist Wars battle with his beautiful collection of Perry's figures using the adapted ACW rule set Regimental Fire & Fury. Andrew also put on a Chain of Command WWII game with his superb tropical scenery for George's Aussies and Michael's Japs to battle it out in.

Jap's in Andrew's jungle - a very unpleasant thing to encounter - they need a dose of 'Honey' to get rid of the infection!
 The Honey all shot up - the driver dead and the loader with his hands full - can only stand off and blaze away at the Jap's in their well camouflaged bunkers
Nothing for it but to go in and winkle them out with a bit of bayonet work - with the help of a bit of Bren too!
There were two other substantial games - Ancients (Romans @ Cremona) and a 15mm ACW, both of which looked the business. Unfortunately I only had time to record the Carlist War and a bit of the WWII action but you can see more great shots of the others, particularly the Roman refight of Cremona at the satrapminiatures blog.

Being a massive Perry's fan and never having had a Carlist Wars game before, I had to try Doug's scenario. It was a pretty basic set-up with a scaled down version of the scenario in the book - both the Carlists and the Isabelinos lined up across an open field with a village at one end and a walled farm at the other.  The mission was simple: drive your opponent from the field or inflict so many casualties on him he'd wish he had left the field!

The two sides line up - Carlist Basques etc, on the left, the better dressed Isabelinos on the right!
The Carlists had two brigades of Basques with their natty flat hats and one of Castilian 'filth' (as Doug labelled them) - I'm sure so-called because of their lack of personal hygiene! The Basques were regulars (trained) and Castilians militia (raw AKA 'filth') accompanied by two magnificent regiments of Basques lancers - veteran of course - and two light guns.  The Isabelinos likewise had three brigades, two regular and one Guard/crack (on the right above, closest to the walled farm). Doug had a battery of heavy guns, one of light and three veteran cavalry regiments to make up for the smaller infantry units.

Pretty Basques line up on flank & centre...
...and prettier Isabelinos (crack Light Infantry & Grenadiers) line up opposite!
One of the Basque mountain guns - being a light gun I tried to get extra firing points as a howitzer - but Doug was having none of it! 
Some of the even more attractive Basque lancers.
...and the less attractively dressed Castilan militia at the other end - ably supported by the Basque pop-gun and the other Very Useful lancer regiment!
Not to be outdone the Isabelino veterans also had their own mule-driven pop-gun!
Doug being the Isabelino commander and reckoning his lot were better dressed got to go first, his co-commander Dave started off with the Spanish-style taunting 'why don't you grow a pair and march into musket range' etc, (people can be so unkind...)  The stoic Basques were having none of it and beaten to the walled farm by the Isabelino LI, loosed all their ammo at them at close range, getting a few stands and a disorder. But being crack they hung around and wouldn't budge from those nice safe stone walls for the rest of the game.

Fearless Basques march up to get some firing practice!
While at the other end the Castilan militia run into a wall - where they remained for the rest of the game!
The crack Isabelino Lights in skirmish line to present less of a target - the Basque shooting on them was particularly poor - nothing wrong with theirs though and the Basques soon lost stands and copped a Disorder
The Basque mountain guns proved surprisingly effective from the outset - using plunging fire to catch the Isabelino regulars in enfilade at the rear of their lines, costing them stands and disordering: 'Hey Manuel - go get another golf ball from the donkey - you just got a hole-in-one!' Doug's fearsome heavies didn't do nearly as much damage - hitting the veteran lancers who just laughed it off. Had he hit the militia, that would have been a very different story!  I fully expected my left flank to run away after a few turns and having one unit blundering into a wall and getting stuck there (OK - my bad - I wanted them to occupy the nearest village buildings) things didn't get off to a great start. But I decided to have a go with them anyway.  They ended up firing a huge volley at the 'Belino regulars that stopped the latter in their tracks and disordered them.  That used up most of their ammo which, if you are militia 'filth', just about does away with any slim advantage you may have had.  The only thing for it - charge!

Perhaps encouraged by the fearless lancers, the militia steady to shoot down the oncoming 'Belino regulars
 The situation at half-time: having shot off their ammo there was nothing for it but to charge - only possible due to the disorder and reduced size of the larger 'Belino unit.  At this point two more veteran cavalry units appeared on the other side. Great. The only real advantage I had (cavalry) was gone!
The Castilans, encouraged by the fearless Basque lancers, muster up the courage to charge the oncoming 'Belinos
...and in they go!  The lancers give them the edge in numbers but they in turn are threatened by fresh 'Belino cav closing fast!
And charge they did - with the help of the lancers!  I needed to roll high to have any chance in the hand-to-hand and just failed to do it - the Castilans and the Isabelinos both suffered the same casualties but the Castilans recoiled. That's OK - they didn't run!  But it was the lancers that made the difference. They rode down the 'Belinos who broke and ran. They kept on running.  So bad was it that the supporting unit also recoiled and disordered.  But Doug wasn't finished yet - his veteran Light cav counter-charged the lancers as they made their break-through charge.  The two met head-on. But it was the lancers who prevailed - sending the Isabelino cavalry off the table! In one turn the Isabelino wing had gone from a more than reasonable prospect of destroying the Castilan militia to looking very shaky themselves.

Not quite enough, the Castilan militia are pushed back but crucially, they have taken a stand of the 'Belinos and the lancers are able to roll them up and finish the job!
One lot are running, the other disordered with the unit in the middle wondering just what the hell happened with the formerly threatening 'Belino cavalry are gawwwn!  Their full move retreat saw them off the table . Things suddenly looking very dodgy on one 'Belino flank!
Earlier, despite some great shooting the Isabelinos had not been able to drive off any of the Basque units on the opposite flank. The Basques regulars proved resilient so the Isabelino cavalry made a courageous charge up the middle, hoping to catch one of the Basque battalions in line as it moved up. Unfortunately for them their timing was slightly off as although they avoided the closing fire were just short of preventing a hasty square and the Basques managed to drive them off.

The Isabelino cavalry crash into the hastily formed Basque square 
The cavalry recoil and suddenly a gap opens up in the Isabelino centre...
The pressure in the middle and flank between the Basque regulars and the Isabelino veterans was intense, with the latter getting the better of the shooting and initially, the hand-to-hand. But once again, things were about to change.

Intense pressure in the centre with neither side giving an inch
The crack Grenadiers and Light Infantry were proving tough opponents and excellent shots but were starting to run low on ammo and still the Basques were coming on...
The Carlists seize the opportunity for another combined assault on the Isabelino Grenadiers
The square hastily reformed into an attack column, Carlist co-commander Paul crashes them into the now isolated 'Belino veterans
The battle reaches its climax in the middle - who will break first?
Surprisingly it was the 'Belino regulars who, although outnumbering their opponents, were the first to break.  They had driven back the lancers but the infantry were just too much to handle - proving yet again the value of combined arms assaults!
Situation at the end of the final turn - the rallied 'Belino cav look like they are about to hit the Carlists in column but they would have got about 10 stands of defensive fire as they did - so their charge by no means a sure thing. The running regulars had stopped running but the Isabelino centre was now a gaping hole into which Carlists were poised to pour. 
 The infantry rally but the veteran lancers, recently awakened from their lunchtime siesta, arrive too late to affect the outcome.
The victorious Basques can't believe their luck - or the nice juicy cavalry target in front of them!
The victorious Carlist lancers eye off their next victim as the Castilan filth itch to get in on the action and prove that they are, well...  not hygienically challenged! The remaining Isabelino infantry unit sits there dumbfounded.
The action on the other flank was by no means decided - in fact the crack Isabelino troops had barely made an impression but the 'Belinos had no centre left and the other flank barring a miracle, was facing annihilation. The battle could have gone on for a few more turns but Isabelino commander Doug graciously conceded the game to myself and Paul.

A great game with beautiful figures and table and a leisurely fish'n chips and beer for lunch with your mates - wargaming doesn't get any better than this folks!

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