Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Rolica - The C&CN wargame.

This is a report of my first C&CN official scenario. I was planning to use Foys rather good 'Blind Hand' method of controlling the French, but a few run through tries proved a bit limiting for this specific scenario where the majority of the French forces were concentrated in just the centre sector. So I played it with both hands open. The British plan to pin the French in the centre whilst attempting to attack on both flanks. The troops on the British Right are Portuguese.

The battle begins with a strong attack against the French right, which they immediately counter with   a charge by Chasseur a Cheval and Legere, the Chasseurs forcing a British Battalion to form square. The Legere successfully force back the British battalion it engages ( 1 hit and 1flag thrown). The combat between the Chasseurs and the square is inconclusive.

On the extreme left a British battalion is marching to take control of the hill which is a British Victory point (above). The next moves sees more French infantry take up position on the ridge, engaging the British square downhill of them and still pinned by the Chasseurs. The combat is decisive, the square is routed and first blood goes to the French. On the British right Portuguese troops have begun to move forward.

Picture above shows the position on the French right after routing the British square. One British Light Infantry battalion fights on although outnumbered and reduced by 2 blocks.

British turn - An advance is ordered in the centre to engage the French with musketry and artillery fire, the cacadores emerge from the woods and open a peppering fire upon the French battalions. The British are not yet within range of the French centre and are attempting to deploy the foot artillery forward. As the British attack against the French right has broken down the French now turn their attention upon the now unsupported battalion upon the hill to the rear, the Chasseurs smartly changing face and again charging forcing them to form square. An inconclusive combat follows, with the Chasseurs being unable to even throw a single dice against the square as they are attacking uphill.

As the Portuguese on the British again edge forward the French centre opens up on the British centre, who are now within range. All along the ridge musketry fire pours into the advancing battalions and a battery of artillery opens upon a British battery that has just positioned itself ready to fire. The French fire is deadly effective, the British artillery being forced to limber up and retire with casualties. The cacadores also fall back into the woods behind them. A battalion of Light Infantry on the British left are forced to make a double retreat move and with heavy losses. Things are beginning to look tough for the British. The French already have 2 victory points.

The  action now focuses upon the French left, where Portuguese infantry and cavalry are beginning to press home their attack,the Dragoons making a somewhat rash uphill charge in order to force a French battalion into square. (In C&CN this causes loss of a command card and also pins the square in position so that infantry and artillery can be brought up in support). Again, cavalry attacking a square uphill results in no combat dice to throw in response to the fire of the square (1 dice only). The cacadores again emerge from the woods having sorted themselves out, and again open fire upon the French to their front. Two more Portuguese battalions are close by now in support of the Dragoons. But yet again the French counter by attacking the brave Dragoons who are downhill of them, they are first forced to retreat and then routed by heavy French fire. Now 3 Victory points to the French. British command cards are not great, nothing to order a major assault on the centre in order to push the French back off the ridge. Wellesley is frustrated, his left flank attack has crumbled and his brave Portuguese on the right are meeting heavy and determined resistance, French light cavalry forcing a battalion into square with the general attached taking cover in its centre!

Again Wellesley pushes forward the Portuguese on an 'attack right' card, this time with better coordination. The cacadores continue to cause casualties among the French as the second line battalion attacks in support of the square which is pinned by Chasseur a Cheval. Outnumbered, the cavalry elect to retire and reform by falling back 2 hexes onto the hill which is one of the British objectives. The Portuguese press forward to turn the flank. A French battalion is routed, only the Chasseurs upon the hill can stop the hard fighting Portuguese from achieving their objective it seems.

And then suddenly the game swings back in favour of the French! All of the fighting is concentrated on the French left where realising how precarious the situation was becoming two French battalions are ordered to 'move and battle' under a probe card. The battalion that was under fire from the cacadores retires 1hex and engages the leading Portuguese battalion downhill routing them, at the same time the redcoated Swiss move to the left and open fire upon the cacadores who have been heavily engaged from early on, routing them too. This gives the French the 5 Victory points required for a win! The end was abrupt and unexpected. The British centre had achieved very little in the way of corodinated attack, but the command hand was poor and hampered by having 2 cards placed on the square tracker. They could not get close enough to use the 'bayonet charge' card they were saving for an assault of the ridge, and where they did advance they were repeatedly driven back by heavy French fire.

I will post this game report now and offer some C&CN related notes about the game to follow. Suffice to say for now I will play this game again some time, as I believe the French CAN be beaten given better cards and a more co ordinated attack.

Final picture shows the end of the game. Some British units have not even been able to move, and where they did advance beyond the line of woods they were forced back, the French making plenty of flag rolls as well as casualty rolls. The French reinforced the ridge and refused to be drawn from it unless in a position to attack downhill into melee. The ability in C&CN to march units to a flank or the rear and still battle that move proved decisive in the final stages.


  1. Hard luck - attacking, particularly a good positions, is a hard skill to master. Try to keep your units in line so that they can provide mutal support to stave off those retreat results, shore up with the flanks with leaders to bolster the unsupport tail enders at the end of the line.

    Also, don't be afraid to skirmish, cycle your hand until you've built a hand that your comfortable attacking with. Best case scenario, the enemy have to sit there and fume while you put together the attack you want - worst case, they leave their position and attack you.

    Keep the battle reports coming. We must look into the possibilities of Facetime.

  2. Not having used the C&CN system, all I can report from is a historical view.

    The UN-coordinated attacks are the key here.

    The French have inside lines of communication, therefore they must be pressed simultaneously. The early stages of a Napoleonic battle were marked by artillery exchanges, most often the attacker concentrated fire on the enemy batteries - so that they could not fire on the attacking battalions once the assault pressed home. I do not know if this is simulated in C&CN or not.

    With a strong defensive position, such as the French have here, then the probing of skirmishing with cavalry ready to punish any counter attack or exploit any opening in the lines are the next stage - while keeping the heat on with artillery. If the enemy withdraws to shelter 'reverse slope', this is the time to move forward to case-shot range and prevent any rolling forward of the opponent, for once at such a range the defenders are not going to be able to re-occupy the high ground and you may be able to site batteries there - watch out for doing so UN-supported, as marauding cavalry are your worst enemy in such a situation with the guns vulnerable.

    By keeping the heat on with artillery and wearing away your opponent, their reserves will become depleted, then you will have the victory potential.

    With the inside lines of communication, this is the Defenders battle to loose, only a patient, persistent and steady Attacker will prevail.

  3. I was going to put a comment in to compliment you on an engaging battle report on a smart little action, but having read the earlier comment I realise I am not worthy.

    Cheers - MSF


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