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"Rearguard Action at Pombal" Topic

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734 hits since 20 Sep 2019
©1994-2020 Bill Armintrout
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Personal logo War Artisan Sponsoring Member of TMP20 Sep 2019 10:16 p.m. PST

Welcome once again to sunny Portugal! The Gentlemen Wargamers return to the Peninsula, where Wellington's army, having given the French a bit of a bloody nose at Bussaco, are currently engaged in falling back to the lines of Torres Vedras. Their retreat to Leiria and beyond is being covered by the experienced and reliable Light Division of "Black Bob" Craufurd, who finds himself directly in the path of a pursuit by part of Junot's corps.

Historically, all that occurred at Pombal was a cavalry skirmish, the bulk of Massena's relatively inexperienced French army being occupied with pillaging Coimbra. We have assumed, for the sake of this fictional encounter, that one of Massena's more veteran divisions (Clausel's, to be precise) had managed to pull itself together and launch a pursuit of the Anglo-Portuguese rearguard a day or two earlier than actually happened.



This was an adaptation of the sample scenario from my essay on Scenario Design (which you can find here: PDF link ) which I did almost four years ago, but never actually got around to putting on the table.

You can view a detailed, illustrated AAR on my website, here:

PDF link

Or, if you'd rather just flip through the captioned pictures:




138SquadronRAF Supporting Member of TMP22 Sep 2019 3:00 p.m. PST

An excellent chronicle as always.

The PDF write up is particularly appreciated.

Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP23 Sep 2019 7:48 a.m. PST

Another inspuring write up. You make Napoleonics look fun.

- Ix

Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP23 Sep 2019 1:28 p.m. PST

PS: "inspuring"? <groan> Apparently today is Typo Day in Ixland. I've been fighting with the keyboard so much since I woke up this morning that I expect to have bruises tomorrow. I'm not even sure I can say I'm winning. frown

Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP23 Sep 2019 1:35 p.m. PST

You know, there's one thing I hate about Jeff's write-ups, and in fact about nearly everything on his web site: they're very distracting. It's hard to keep focused on the projects I have under way when he makes some other project on the backburner seem more important.

I'm also jealous of his ability to take photos worth publishing and organize them into a narrative worth reading. My attempts at both of those activities have been failures.

- Ix

Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP23 Sep 2019 4:49 p.m. PST

One thing unclear from the write-up: how did all the British troops get onto the table?

In one overview, a huge French force is approaching a very small British one; in the next overview, the British side is teeming with infantry, cavalry, and an artillery park, with only a small force on its way over the bridge from Pombal. Did we skip a few overviews of in-between movements, or was this some kind of deployment in secret revealed only after the French passed some kind of line? Or… something else?

- Ix

Personal logo War Artisan Sponsoring Member of TMP24 Sep 2019 2:01 a.m. PST

The Light Division began on the table, encamped adjacent to Pombal. Their movement began only after a delay appropriate to the distance a message would have to travel from the first unit to spot the enemy, which, as it turned out, was Anson's brigade. He could have raised the alarm quicker by firing a gun, but he didn't have any artillery with him so his only option was courier.

All the Anglo-Portuguese movement was hidden until an enemy unit had line of sight to it.

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