Sharp Practice - Rescue at Cedillo

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Capt Fortier
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Location: Canberra, Australia

Sharp Practice - Rescue at Cedillo

Post by Capt Fortier »

My latest Sharp Practice game: Rescue at Cedillo, or Saving Colonel McDougall. This was a Peninsular War rescue mission drawn from the standard scenarios, and an excellent SP introduction game for my old wargaming partner. He has mostly been a 15mm battalion and brigade level gamer, but I think he enjoyed the change of scale and pace, and the scope for more narrative-driven gaming. As he said, it was much more than just two largely equal lines battering away at each other!

As always keen for any feedback and suggestions.
Capt Fortier

“Un optimiste, c'est un homme qui plante deux glands et qui s'achète un hamac.” - Jean de Lattre de Tassigny

BaronVonWreckedoften
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Re: Sharp Practice - Rescue at Cedillo

Post by BaronVonWreckedoften »

Splendid.
No plan survives first contact with the dice.

bunguster
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Re: Sharp Practice - Rescue at Cedillo

Post by bunguster »

That looks and reads like an exciting game, so much so we are planning to run that same scenario with your AAR as a basis this Friday at the club.
I will address the omission you mentioned by having a minor character and his unit performing the guard duties.
Will the rescuing force commander be able to persuade the guard commander to release the prisoner or will he have to fight off the guards to effect a release? We shall see. I'll keep you posted as to the narrative of the game.
Keep up the good work.
Regards
Paul C

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Capt Fortier
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Re: Sharp Practice - Rescue at Cedillo

Post by Capt Fortier »

Thanks for the feedback. I look forward to how you get on - and to see if I rather cheated my opponent by giving myself an easier run at the rescue!!
Capt Fortier

“Un optimiste, c'est un homme qui plante deux glands et qui s'achète un hamac.” - Jean de Lattre de Tassigny

bunguster
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Re: Sharp Practice - Rescue at Cedillo

Post by bunguster »

Rescue at Cedillo – Rerun 13 Jul 18 by Staines Wargamers:
The terrain layout, forces and command structure were the same as those used by Captain Fortier in his original AAR. Deployment points also as per original AAR. British Leaders all named after characters in Sharpe Novels.
The British commander opted to use the two light in line groups plus the light skirmishers to start within the walled farm area. The two groups of line infantry plus the rifles deployed off the Primary point west of the ford.
The game started with the British rescue detachment under Captain Knowles (II) confronting the Minor Character leader and his 8 strong prisoner guard. Demands were made for the prisoner to be released and dice rolled against tables 20 and the modifiers on p63. With at least sixteen muskets pointed at him the French guard commander saw reason and allowed Col. McDougal to be released. This all took place before any game cards were drawn.
The game proper had early French deployments of the skirmishers under the French c-in-c from the southern (primary) point and a three group formation of line infantry off the northern point. Some early Tiffin appearances and good draws for the French soon had a French firing line on the eastern ridge while the British lights in the farm area were unable to press on home. The light skirmishers under Lieutenant Price (I) did get some moves in, heading towards the southern table edge in a route between the farm buildings.
Soon after disaster struck for the British. French fire from the eastern ridge caused some casualties one of them Capt. Knowles, struck stone dead by a musket ball. When his leader card was next drawn we allowed Col. McDougal to move three dice in the direction of and under the protection of Lt. Price and his skirmish group who by now were approaching the woods and the French primary deployment point.
Other deployments elsewhere had the French dragoons appearing between the central ridge and the road and the other three French line groups in a firing line formation facing the ford. The remainder of the British forces had also deployed, the two line groups under Col. Bampfylde (III) facing off the French just west of the ford and the rifles with Sergeant Harper (II) near the stream south of the road. Effective range Rifle fire and controlled volleys at long range began to tell in favour of the British.
Meanwhile back at the farm the British lights still in two separate groups were getting the worst of it from the French firing line and cap it all the dragoons took the opportunity to charge into the exposed flank of the nearest group. 11 dice against 2 for the hapless lights saw an amazing turnaround. The lights scoring 6 and 2 (kill plus one shock) and the dragoons failing to score more than 4 on any dice!! That triumph was short lived as further volleys caused both leaderless light groups to fall back and eventually break.
Lt. Price, McDougal and the skirmishers pressed on to overrun the French deployment point and beat off not one but two attacks by the French skirmishers, wiping out the group although leaving their commander (the force CO) still active. The British skirmishers now reduced to four men moved to fire on the rear of the other French firing line, who were suffering a shock accumulation from the British controlled volleys, the Rifles who were slowly working their way to the French flank and a volley from the light skirmishers. Despite the appearance of the French CO who tried to stem the rate of shock this was a fight that the French were going to lose within a few turns.
However they still blocked McDougall’s escape route so on the next draw of Lt. Price’s card we has the Colonel move his three dice towards the stream and undertake a ‘Derring-Do’ roll (p66) to see if it was fordable and as we had him mounted whether he might make it across at that point. It was decided that he had an even chance so a roll of 4 allowed him to cross to safety. At that point we concluded the game as we had already run out of time.
Force Morale for the French had fallen from 11 to 7 and the British (as I recall) had dropped similarly from 11 to either 6 or 7. However the safe if damp passage of the errant Colonel made this a British victory.

Our thanks to Captain Fortier for his original inspiring narrative. We shall be looking at other AARs to try out at our club.
Thanks and best regards
Paul C (Staines Wargamers)

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Capt Fortier
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Re: Sharp Practice - Rescue at Cedillo

Post by Capt Fortier »

They say imitation is the best form of flattery, but I think your rematch and write-up has truly surpassed the original! Getting the set-up right with the minor character and guards provides a great frame for the start, and your outcome gives it a great sense of narrative colour. It also sounds like a truly desperate and at times nail-biting fight (or maybe flight), and I love the idea of McDougall's last dash for freedom! Thanks Paul and Staines Wargamers - so very glad you had a great game.
Capt Fortier

“Un optimiste, c'est un homme qui plante deux glands et qui s'achète un hamac.” - Jean de Lattre de Tassigny

bunguster
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Re: Sharp Practice - Rescue at Cedillo

Post by bunguster »

Thank you for the kind remarks, Captain. In fact if we both did another re-run using the same orbats and start conditions I'll bet the outcomes would be different again. I find that due to the card draw randomness that an otherwise identical game can go in a completely different direction once the first few cards are drawn. As a consequence it had the effect of making the play testing of a scenario we were putting on at a show recently difficult to assess for balance of play as each play test (and indeed the game on the day) went completely differently to each other. But hey not a bad problem to be dealing with. I'm now planning to run your earlier Villar de Ciervo mission in a couple of weeks along with some other AARs I've collected. I find using other peoples work a great boon at the moment as I usually end up running a game at our club every two weeks and the time saving allows me to continue to work on other projects like IABSM without major scenario devising distraction.
Thanks and best regards
Paul C

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