501 Sahagun - Cavalry Action (21 December 1808)
Sahagun (Cavalry Action) - 21 December 1808
Sir John Moore was determined to defeat Soult’s isolated French corps with his British Army before retreating from Napoleon’s much larger army entering Spain. The first step was to penetrate Soult’s cavalry screen under Debelle at Sahagun. Lord Henry Paget got the mission and set out with two regiments of Hussars in bitter winter weather, with snow and icy roads slowing the approach. At dawn the French outpost was overcome, but survivors fled back to Sahagun and raised the alarm. Debelle’s troopers had left their mounts saddled during the night, and in some confusion, they mounted and left the town. The chance to capture the French brigade by coup de main was gone, but Paget split his force and to try to sandwich Debelle’s
troopers between his 15th Hussars skirting the town and Slade’s 10th Hussars coming through it.
Debelle was trying to break contact, but Paget moved more quickly.
When Debelle saw he could not outrun Paget, he turned his two regiments to face the outnumbered 15th Hussars. Slade’s Hussar regiment was nowhere to be seen. As bombastic as he was incompetent, Slade had halted his men to deliver a lengthy harangue, and his leading troops were only entering Sahagun by the time the battle ended.
Undaunted, Paget charged at full gallop into the first line of French cavalry, a provisional chasseur regiment composed mainly of Hanoverians forced into French service. The regiment dissolved completely at first contact, with the retreating troopers throwing the reliable 8th French Dragoon Regiment behind them into disorder.
Debelle’s depleted and defeated brigade escaped across the river from Paget’s victorious but disorganized regiment. The 15th Hussars Sahagun (cavalry action) - 21 December 1808 were awarded the battle honor ‘Sahagun’ and the much reduced
provisional French chasseurs regiment was disbanded.
The stage is set. The battle lines are drawn and you are in command. Can you change history?
• Commander: Paget
• 5 Command Cards
• 2 Tactician Cards
• Move First
• Commander: Debelle
• 4 Command Cards
• 2 Tactician Cards
• *Victory Points are gained by the number of blocks eliminated or blocks that escape from the battlefield
• *Both armies receive 1 Victory Point for each enemy block eliminated in battle.
• *The French player receives 1 Victory Point for every cavalry or leader block that exits the battlefield from the river ford hex or the bridge, along the left side of the map.
• The River Valderaduey is impassable except at the ford and bridge.
The scenario picture shows 2 french Leaders "Debelle". The Leader attached to the Heavy Cavalry is "Dud’Huit".
Moreover, the dynamic of the game certainly changes, the French can no longer rely upon harder hitting power and stronger units to use brute force to win. My previous experience was this is a 3-5 card play game, with the French cavalry smashing straight up the centre for the win. This time round the French lost 2 units, and managed to exit 3 blocks over a 50 minute game (on VASSAL) in a pretty tense match. The main problem we had was the card decks, with both the Command deck and Tactician deck turning up a lot of infantry cards that weren't much use. I'm considering a smaller deck for these scenarios, just to weed out the over powerful or narrow focus cards that sometimes can upset these scenarios.
Overall, I found the French 3 block version was certainly no worse than the original, it changed the dynamic considerably and made for a tense match which followed the historical narrative somewhat more closely.
I'm always a bit concerned about all cavalry scenarios in C&C, because the Command Cards aren't really designed for it. Maybe the Command Deck should be weeded?