After a few weeks of holidays and playing other things (I think I've converted Evert to the Breakthrough version of Memoir '44), Evert and I have resumed our play-through of the base game scenarios. Evert's preference is to attack, so he took the Allies first.
He started by charging forward with British Light infantry and cavalry on his left flank. The French Light cavalry attacked and destroyed their counterparts [a lucky roll making the score 1:0 to me] while the French Line infantry in the woods engaged the British Lights with support from the Horse artillery. There was damage on both sides, but General Loison fell to the enemy musketry [the luck evens out to take the score to 1:1].
This skirmish continued, Portuguese Light infantry joining in and both sides' infantry units taking casualties, until what was left of the British Lights retired to the hills whence they came. Musket fire forced the French cavalry back, allowing the Portuguese to move round the wood. In the meantime, French forces crossed the Ancos river from their left flank to join their main force and the British Grenadiers and Grenadier Guards moved forward.
In a bold move, the British threw the Grenadiers forward with their Foot artillery, trying to get a more effective location against the French positions. In response, French Line infantry and the useful Horse artillery opened fire and pushed the Grenadiers back with casualties. However, this was just a prelude as the Allied infantry marched fast to engage all the French positions in the centre. [Evert played a "Force March"] Fighting uphill, the Grenadier Guards all but destroyed the French Line commanded by General Mermet, but took a few casualties. The Portuguese infantry supporting them was battered, while the Grenadiers pushed back the French infantry that had been shooting at them.
General Marchand quickly took Mermet's place and the reinforced French line repulsed the Allied attack, finishing off the battered Portuguese into the bargain. [That's 2:1] The Allies then did what they do best: stood back and fired their muskets, causing hefty casualties amongst the French troops holding the central hill. A Portuguese line advanced to finish off one of these, but was met with bayonets and fled with major casualties. ["Bayonet Charge" let me attack one unit with four, but I rolled two flags on my first attack, allowing it to escape.]
The Grenadier Guards advanced again on the battered French line, taking casualties from the French Lights hiding in the woods left of centre. They pressed on, storming up the hill to destroy a full-strength French Line unit, General Marchand only just escaping. [Another lucky roll and it's 2:2]
That was the end of the Guards' luck as they were crushed by the remaining French forces in the centre. [3:2] At the same time, the French cavalry hit the British lines in an effort to finish off the Grenadiers with support from the Horse artillery. Forming square, the Grenadiers held firm, despite further losses. [My second "Forward" card was very useful]
A fusillade from the Allies in the centre removed another French Line unit. [3:3] The British Horse artillery opened up on the French cavalry and what was left of them retired out of harm's way. The Portuguese Lights entered the woods on the French right flank to inflict further casualties on the French Line therein, but were damaged themselves by the combined arms of the infantry and Horse artillery. On the British right, cavalry and Portuguese infantry started moving up. [Yes, Evert followed my "Advance" with "Counter-attack"]
With support from the muskets of the remaining Grenadiers, the Portuguese in the woods finished off the French line in front of them [4:3] as the British cavalry trotted onto the central hills, putting General Mermet's battered troops into square. French line opened up on the British cavalry standing on the hill, but couldn't hit them. However, the French Horse artillery dispatched the Grenadiers on the right. [4:4]
While the heavily damaged French units tried to dodge the British cavalry in the centre, the French right flank was reprieved by the Horse artillery now getting rid of the Portuguese Lights from the woods. [5:4 with a poor result from an "Elan" card]
The coup de grace was applied by the British Light cavalry. They took out two French Line in square, General Marchand just escaping again. [5:6 with a very useful "Cavalry Charge"]
Well, that turned out to be an attritional battle with a flurry of banners at the end as one-block units were mopped up. It was good to see cavalry doing what they're supposed to do (at the end), while I was very grateful for the prowess of my Horse artillery. Still, a deserved win for Evert leaves me seeking revenge at our next encounter.