As the Rebels advanced from Sevilla, government forces took positions on a series of low hills protecting Merida. A battery of loyalist artillery forced to rebels to spread out and a Moroccan assault on the government right flank was repulsed. However, with the help of armoured cars and artillery and a flanking attack by another Moroccan Tabor, the Rebels kept up the pace of their advance. The thinly held government positions were reinforced by communist and anarchist militia, but in the end it was the infinitely better training of the Moroccan tabores and the banderas of the Spanish Foreign Legion that decided the day. At sunset, only a single and isolated company of Asaltos held what was left of the government lines. On both flanks the Moroccans pursued the fleeing remnants of the militias. However, the victory had not come easy, with at least one of the two veteran banderas taking about 50% losses.
Rebel forces succeeded in taking Hill 302, the feature that dominates the road from Zaragoza to Calatayud and Medinacelli. The battle for this position saw some particularly hard fighting between a company of loyal army forces supported by anarchist militia and attacking rebels spearheaded by a battalion of the Guardia Civil. The government forces were reinforced by a company of dinamiteros who decimated the attacking Guardia Civil. However, in the end, numbers told and the defenders – who lacked artillery and machineguns – had to fall back leaving the road to Calatayud open to the Rebels.
The first attempt to stop the Rebel advance from La Coruna to Madrid was at Orense, where loyal troops, reinforced by communist and anarchist militia, occupied a vital ridge. The rebel commander pinned the government forces in the centre, and attempted to turn both flanks. On the governments left flank, fighting was extremely fierce when the communist militia not only stopped the attackers but drove them back. The communist militia even charged a Rebel battery, although in the end they were thrown back and virtually destroyed by a falangist counterattack. However, in the meantime, on the governments centre and right flank, the defenders were defeated by superior numbers and firepower. The intervention of the Republican air force could not turn the tide. The victory at Orense brought the Rebels one step closer to Madrid.
As soon as the pronunciamento in Madrid was defeated, it became clear that Rebel forces in the regions where the rebellion had succeeded, would march on the capital. To thwart a Rebel advance from Pamplona, forces loyal to the government organized a defence line near Burgos. They made skilful use of a dry river bed that served as a trench. In the centre, the attacking Rebels were stopped in their tracks at the edge of a wood with the help of the loyalist air force. Neither the Carlist Requetes on the Rebel left flank, nor the army units on the right flank managed to take the government positions. When night fell, the Rebels retreated with heavy casualties.
Some pictures of our Peninsular testgame with the ‘Black Powder’-rules. ‘Willie’ Massena launched a massive attack with three infantry-brigades in the centre and a cavalry brigade on both flanks. His army was even more colourful than usual, with Dutch, Baden, Wurzburg and Irish troops in the ranks. He faced an allied force led by ‘Celle’ Wellington (Portuguese on the left, British in the centre) and a Spanish division under ‘KarimV’ Iglesias. Was it sheer luck with the dice or just the genius of Willie? The French were not only successful on both flanks but also smashed their columns through the allied centre. The Spanish militia fought unexpectedly well, but most of Picton’s British division did not even participate in combat. This battle was a clear victory for the French, but also left us with some very mixed feelings about the rules. ‘Black Powder’ surely has some interesting concepts, but we met a lot situations that were in contradiction with our idea of how a Napoleonic battle was fought.
In the second scenario of Sea Lion, German infantry of the 39th Infantry Regiment (played by Frederik) had to clear the area around Pevensy and overcome several pockets of resistance of the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. To balance the scenario, I allowed the British player Elias (who is only 9 y.o.) a free deployment and upgraded the local Home Guard platoon to regular infantry status.
Elias posted almost all his forces in the houses in Wallsend Road, overlooking both bridges that were vital for the German player to capture. Two sections of British infantry and a light mortar were positioned in the area of Bexhill Road with orders to delay the German advance. Although these two sections were eventually whiped out, they kept busy quite some German troops for most of the game.
The rest of the Germans advanced to the bridges, but were halted by heavy British fire. Lacking artillery support or armour, the Germans took heavy losses and managed to establish only a small bridgehead. After fifteen turns, the Germans had run out of steam (and troops) and decided to wait for further reinforcements. Although losses were about equal (42 British k/w/m against 40 Germans), the British had held their positions and had thus achieved a clear victory.
Some pictures of the first scenario of ‘Operation Sea Lion’ that we played: ‘the Fight for the Military Canal’. A company of the British Home Guard had to guard a bridge. They were attacked by German paratroopers that had landed behind the British lines. Because Elias, who played with the British, is only 9 y.o., I upgraded the 3 sections of Home Guard to 4 sections of Regular Troops. Still, the British had a very hard time against the highly trained paratroopers, led by Frederik. Half of the British troops were on the wrong side of the Canal, and when they tried to cross, they were pinned on the bridge by German fire. With British troops on the bridge, it was not possible to blow it. Soon, the Germans took the boathouse with the detonator and then dashed to the other side of the canal. By now, British reinforcements launched a counterattack with infantry and carriers, but this was halted by the German fire. In the last turn, a determined British bayonet charge overran two German machineguns that were facing the wrong direction. That could not change the result: with the bridge in German hands and 10 Germans killed against 56 British losses (k+w+m), this was a clear German victory.
deel van onze 1805 campagne
deel van onze 1805 campagne