Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Battle of Vimeiro: 1808. A "Black Powder" Battle

PLayed part I of the Southern end of the Battle of Vimeiro which sees a desperate attack by Kellerman against a British position along a ridgeline.  The British have strong positioning and the French have some excellent troops.  (you can read up on Vimeiro, a British victory, here)

So far the results have been almost historically accurate, save for the "blunder" table, which unbelievably in their moment of triumph, saw the British move off the hill they were defending.  Luckily for them, Kellerman's Brigade was in such bad shape they couldn't exploit.
French massing for the attack!

French Fusiliers marching towards the British!

Kellerman's Brigade with the Grenadiers

My unfinished British atop the hill, waiting for the French to attack.

Royal Artillery in action!

Kellerman's Brigade rated "8" moves into position

The British left.

Marching into destiny.

British taking casualties from musket fire

French taking casualties from just about everything.  The Chasseur a Pied Battalion would be out of the fight almost as soon as it began.

Sacre Bleu!  Look at those casualties!  British "First Fire" rule and the Artillery are earning their pay.

Break-test determines the Chasseurs withdraw.  So the Grenadiers move up to the front.  The artillery is setting up this turn as well.

On the French right, the fusiliers are victims of enemy artillery fire as well.  They pass their morale save, but are themselves disorganized moving up.  Meanwhile, the other battalions form a column.

My legere charge into the British.  This combat would last 2 rounds, with the French getting the worst of it.

The Grenadiers are sharp!  Instead of charging, they advance to close range and fire into the British.

British Command blunder.  So after winning the hand to hand, the brigade is forced off the hilltop (it was a Brigade order).

Kellerman wisely holds his Grenadiers in place as he attempts to rally and organize the rest of the Brigade...they are scattered all over!

Kellerman rallying the Legere.  They lose 1 casualty.

Here we are at the end of the first half.  The British are behind the hill on the left, and still in front of the farm on the right.  The Fusiliers on the French right are about to come crashing into them soon.  Meanwhile on the French left, Kellerman is attempting to organize things to continue the assault, but now the British are in a reverse slope situation! 


French Attack Columns:  Deploy your French in attack columns off the bat so they receive the bonus and can get into action quicker

Artillery: Use your artillery every step of the way.  If you have more than 1 battery, try to time it where 1 battery moves while the other fires.  This ensures a steady stream of fire on the enemy.  Hopefully the casualties are inflicted by the time your troops get there.

Reserves:  Keep your reserves close behind your front troop lines.  That way they lend "support" to the guys fighting in front.

Can't wait to play the second half of the battle.  If Kellerman can get his act together, it's going to be a whole new fight on the backside of the hill!  Tune in!


  1. I've been recently introduced to "Black Powder" and I'm liking the rules. We did a small War of 1812 battle and then a 7YW game. Good play. Decent results - so long as the blunder table doesn't schwick you over. I'm hoping to play more and I've ordered the rules from the local games store.

    1. John,
      Black Powder are my favorite Horse and Musket rules. The book is really neat too - a fun read.

      I'm probably going to buy the supplements as well. I bought Hail Caesar as well and will be trying that out at some point in time.

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. Great post. How did you think the rules compared with Rank and File. Would it have been a very different battle?

    1. Thank you, Duc. It has been very different from R&F. fewer morale tests and the units have more staying power. Rank and file it seemed like my units were constantly falling back and it really plays hell with your plans. I dont know if Mark Sims intended the morale system to be a fog of war component but it feels that way as you never know if your unit will stay put. Dont get me wrong, I like R&F but black powder is my hands down favorite. It's always enjoyable.