Monday, September 2, 2019

General du Corp: Vitoria - pt 3: D'Erlons second line of defense

This is a continuation of the battle of Vitoria (pt 1 and pt 2). The French have found themselves under an assault by a large coalition army across most, if not all, of the crossing of the river they have encamped behind. In addition, a enemy force has appeared on a flank on the same side of the river. Their supreme commander, the installed monarch Joseph Bonaparte, is busy partying and ignoring the battle and the all important baggage train will not move until Joseph is startled into action (by a corp morale failure).

Gazan has managed to delay 50% of the attackers for long enough for D'Erlon to set up a second line of defense just beyond the hills.

To the right we see D'Erlon contesting the crossing to the North and thereby holding Gazans right flank. In the bottom and bottom right troops from Gazan and Rielle are moving to establish the second line. 

A clear view of the gap that has developed between the front line (left just off picture) and the second line (right across hill). D'Erlon trades space for time as he falls back on his defensive line. Clever positioning of his artillery costs von Picton heavy casualties  and makes him unwilling to pursue closely/agressively.

A full table image we can see the second line in the centre. A large mass of troops in the upper left is where the coalition has been snarled up by an aggressive cavalry defense/local counterattack by Gazan.

Lower right Rielle is scrapping for the village that dominates the 3rd major crossing. Shortly Grahamski, his opponent, will dominate the road leading down right (North East) with a cannon, thereby closing the main retreat route of the french.

Joseph Bonaparte remains unmoving in the village to the lower left with the baggage train (2 of 3 wagons visible).

Gazan's defensive line has shattered and he is about to fall back barely ahead on the enemy troops.

D'Erlon creates his secondary defense line with a sizeable reserve. Most problematically is a good 1/3 of the reserve is the balance of Gazans troops. The heavily damage corp is fairly brittle and would be best to avoid battle. 

Von Hill's troops screen the mountain village to the lower left of the picture allowing his troops to march aggressively toward.  Gazan can be seen barely ahead of the lead elements (4 green dice by the stand just left of the hill).

Von Picton has been sufficiently injured by D'Erlon, and distracted in picking off Gazan's remnats that got pinched in a Northern (top) pocket that the second line has a reprieve.

 It takes a good hour or longer (2+ turns) for the troops to form up to face the second line. D'Erlon moves up his limited cavalry to counter vin Pictons heavies (bottom end of the flanks).

Doug's clever direction marker seen in the bottom centre. Looks like a fence scatter terrain, but is actually a compass arrow.

Another angle giving a good look at the horde closing in. Hills seriously degrade artillery batteries so placing the artillery to ravage the enemy as they cross the hilltop is a fairly handy tactic. 
Battle is joined! The coalition has spent their time well to line up all 3 commands to go in at the same time. D'Erlon counter charges with cavalry (upper left) and routed the British/Prussian heavies. They will disappear to cannon fire immediately afterward. Gazans routes (Left flank of the french x4 bases) are forced to move into the line. 
Take note of the two staggered bases just beneath the french artillery by the village. These are troops that Rielle left behind as he didn't have the command points to spare to move them up to fight Grahamski in the battle to control the line of retreat.

 A brief reprieve as the french swap fresh units to the front and fallback the near dispersed one. D'Erlon is falling his artillery back. The coalition has been stunned by the fighting and unable to followup (some HOLD results on their morale checks).

The battle for the main route of retreat has been lost and it's closed. Joseph has finally been activated by a morale failure and is starting to move the baggage out via the secondary road (loss of victory points). 
After the coalition crash into the rear guard again we face an important moment....Gazan's morale finally crumples and the remnants rout and all stands are removed. D'Erlon has FALLBACK results. The two Rielle stands are now the only speed bump to slow the much attenuated coalition tide. Imagine streams of french wounded and demoralized streaming to the bottom of the picture.

The coalition is pressing strongly on the french who continue to hold a thin blue line as the light falls. Approximately 21 turns were played (10.5 hours) and the French have lost their main line of retreat as well as more forces than the coalition. Despite some hopes by the French to call it a phyrric French win the host calls it as a coalition minor victory.

Ahistorically Rielle was about to prevent Grahamski from sacking the baggage train, but otherwise the game seemed to parallel fairly closely the historical results. Another great looking game with fun players hosted by Doug.


  1. You took some great pictures; they really give a good impression of the game. Gazan sounds like he was the hero of the defense.

    1. I may have done that unconsciously as Gazan was my command (and Rielle). It's pretty easy to be a hero when your command is twice as big as all the other ones on your team.
      I try and take lots of pics so I can cherry pick the ones that best convey the action. Thanks for the kind comments.

  2. Great looking game, lovely pictures and nice report...

    1. Sorry, found this in my moderated folder. Apparently you don't get a warning! Thanks for the positive comments =)