My Peter Gilder French cavalry had their first outing on the table this weekend, as part of a visit to Scotland play-testing Tony's computer driven hex based system for large Napoleonic actions. After a small practice encounter, the battle of San Tigre saw the British 1st Division, most of the 7th Division, Le Marchant, Anson's and von Bock's cavalry brigades fighting a defensive battle against the French 1st Division, King Joseph's Guard and a German Brigade, supported by heavy and light cavalry brigades. My Gilder Carabiniers and Chevauxleger Lancers formed part of the French forces, commanded by Tony, as did the Empress Dragoons and a Provisional Cuirassier regiment.
Inevitably, these Gilder troops miserably failed to make their presence felt on the battle: the Dragoons and Cuirassiers remained on a hill crest throughout, held in check by the threat of British cavalry action on their flank, while the Carabiniers and Lancers both suffered near 50% casualties and routed from the field.
Anson's Hussar Brigade advanced quickly and purposefully to seize the main defensive position, which was then occupied by the Foot Guards Brigade. The Hussars thereupon charged King Joseph's Guard and promptly routed off the field. My standout units were the Scots Guards, who held the village of San Tigre against all comers from two divisions, and most of all the mighty Chasseurs Brittaniques, who held off all comers from the 1st Division. Rather appropriately a unit of Ros figures, the Chasseurs belied their lowly reputation.
We had to call a halt to the action with plenty still to play for, with massed Allied (French, Spanish and German) infantry lacking room for manoeuvre and unable to crack the central defensive position, while strong British infantry reinforcements were moving up to form a second defensive line.
A cameo performance saw the Brunswick Oels occupying a wood throughout the action, and the 1st Light Battalion KGL spending the whole action in square receiving artillery fire and just one casualty.
In total the French and Allied force lost 44 figures with General de Brigade Cheminau killed and 6 units eliminated; British losses were 41 figures with 4 units eliminated. The situation was left well balanced and plenty of hard fighting would have taken place before any conclusion would have been reached. It was deja vu all over again for M Cheminau who had also perished in the morning engagement.
Thanks to Tony for a thoroughly enjoyable weekend. The rules were fascinating and my first experience of the use of blinds, which really added to the challenge and uncertainty of the game. Seeing Tony's set up has given me some inspiration to look at organising my large French and British infantry forces into a divisional structure and order of battle, to allocate commanders to the resulting brigades and divisions, to give individual units identities within this structure, and therefore to have a long term painting plan for them.
Unfortunately I forgot to take a camera so no pictures are available (perhaps just as well in the light of the performance of the Hinton Hunt units on display). A large proportion of Tony's forces were Les Higgins figures, but other manufacturers represented included Minifigs S Range and intermediate figures; Kennington; NapoleoN, Ros; and others.
Apart from the Gilders, the other other Hinton Hunt presence on the field was courtesy of two French limbers and a Caisson, which I had painted up for the occasion. Tony's 9th Cacadores, which are also Hintons, were one of the two units of the British forces not to make it on to the table.