001 Roliça (French First Position) (17 August 1808)
After landing unopposed at Mondego Bay, Sir Arthur Wellesley led a Portuguese/British army of some 15,000 men south towards Lisbon. Opposing him was General Henri Delaborde, with a force consisting only of some 5000 infantry, 500 cavalry and 5 field pieces. Delaborde resolved to fight a delaying action against Wellesley’s advance while awaiting reinforcements from Generals Junot and Loison.
Delaborde chose his first defensive position in the hills just northwest of the village of Rolica. Wellesley advanced in three columns against the French, ordering the Portuguese troops under Colonel Trant on the right and Fergusson’s column on the left to turn the enemy’s flanks, while the artillery and infantry in his center were to engage the enemy in the front and hold them in position.
The British attack was underway by seven o’clock in the morning on the 17th. Although the French were hotly engaged all morning, Delaborde’s outnumbered force still held onto the hill position. However, by early afternoon, the wary Delaborde could see that his position was being outflanked and quickly moved his forces back to a second defensive position to the south.
The stage is set. The battle lines are drawn and you are in command. Can you change history?
• Commander: Wellesley
• 6 Command Cards
• Optional 5 Tactician Cards
• Move First
• Commander: Delaborde
• 5 Command Cards
• Optional 4 Tactician Cards
• The two hill hexes on the French baseline are Victory Banner objective hexes for the British player. If a British unit occupies an objective hex at the start of the British player’s turn, the British player gains a Victory Banner. As long as the unit remains on the objective hex it will count as a British Victory Banner (the French position has been outflanked). If it moves off or is eliminated, it no longer counts (Temporary Victory Banner Turn Start).
• The entire river is fordable.
As I manoeuvred the British left flank across the river, Evert got a good half of the French forces onto their left flank and attacked the Portuguese units.
A continuing sequence of tactic and left flank cards, plus some good dice rolls, saw Evert punish the Portuguese as my lack of right flank cards stopped me responding effectively. The one British line infantry that got into the fray was promptly obliterated by a lucky roll.
My one success was finishing off one French light cavalry as Evert won 5:1. Ouch!
First Battle of Roliça: Stanislav (FRANCE) 5 Victory Banners vs. 2 Victory Banners Mikkel (BRITAIN)
Second Battle of Roliça: Stanislav (BRITAIN) 2 Victory banners vs. 5 Victory banners Mikkel (FRANCE)
Overall result: 7-7 draw
It was two very exciting iterations of the first scenario of C&C: Napoleonics (though only the one above has been immortalized so far), and we both thoroughly enjoyed it. Somehow, it was also fitting that two seasoned C&C: Ancients generals would end their first conflict in the Napoleonic wars in a draw. Interestingly, both battles featured very different ideas and execution. Whereas the key to my own victory as the French was to exploit the mobility and shock value of my cavalry against the weaker Portuguese elements, Mikkel focused on the Frenchmen’s superior melee capabilities by charging the British centre. In the end of our second battle, I only snatched the necessary 2nd banner for the draw by using my Portuguese troops to seize one of the objective tiles.
All in all, this game is amazing, and the tactical choices and possibilities are incredibly fun and engaging, capturing the historic period in thrilling manner without being overly complex. Needless to say, I can’t wait for more!
As the French I, of course left the hill and attacked.
I had 2 Counter Attackes to start and figured that as he responded to my attack I could counterattack and keep driving forward.
Alas he had very little centre response.
The battle probably turned early when my Light Cav on the flank attacked the Portuguese Line only to have them first strike and get 4 cav hits!!
After that there was a bit of back and forth with the Brits edging ahead 5 to 3.
I did get Wellesley though.