When we left our intrepid heroes, The 1st Faraway Infantry Brigade was reforming in an arc around the bridgehead with its back to the buildings. To its right the 2nd Oberhilse Infantry Brigade backed by 3 guns was closing in while to its front the Oberhilse Ist Infantry Brigade was reforming and pressing forward.
After a vicious, if somewhat one sided, exchange of musket fire, the Royal Fusiliers were reduced to 1/2 strength and forced to retreat onto the bridge where they rallied. As they fell back, the Oberhilse artillery unlimbered on top of the small hill and opened fire with tremendous effect. The guns of 'A' Battery were turned on the wooden walls of the General Store and smashed them to splinters, lighting the stores of kerosene on fire. (3 dice for 5 or 6 - 3 hits + a fire). The last surviving man of the 4 man garrison, fighting his first action, slipped out the back door and across the bridge. 'B' Battery, deployed closer to the river had a clear line of sight to the bridge. Aiming carefully they opened up. The very first shell landed squarely on the bridge and exploded killing 1/2 of the sappers as well as the Engineer (again 3 dice for 5 or 6, this time only 2 hits but the officer risk die came up 1 laying low the engineer). The Sappers were dazed and confused (not to mention very disordered) With no Engineer left, the remaining mines could not be finished but the Sapper corporal set about rallying his men, hoping to be able to prepare the existing charges for ignition.
The Charge of the Blue Guards.
To give the sappers time to recover, the Wye Fusilers stood their ground. They were holding their own in an exchange of fire with the 1st & 5th Infantry when the latter pulled back. Into the gap with bugles blowing came the steady ranks of the Blue Guard. With a shout they leveled bayonets and charged forward. The redcoats were already reduced to nearly half strength when their beloved Brigadier went down. It was too much and they broke and ran. The Guards pressed forward, battering at the doors of the Stone House. Inside, the 8 man garrison stood confidently awaiting their onslaught. It was their first battle but Major Topper, their Brigadier was on hand to steady them. They emptied their muskets at the attackers then met them in fierce hand to hand combat but they were no match for the veteran guards. The garrison fled out the back door to seek shelter along the river bank. (Garrison: 2 dice for 4,5,6 vs 3 dice of Blue Guards looking for 6 with a +1 to the die. sighhhhh. At least it was close.) Leaving a company to garrison the Stone House, the Guards pressed forward yet again.
Disordered elements of the Blue Guards try to force their way past the Royals to halt the demolition.
Trapping the remnants of the Wye Fusilers against the Royal Fusiliers standing firmly across the bridge, the Blue Guards forced them to surrender. Gathering a few stragglers together, a captain of the Guards led a final push to brush aside the Royals but these held firm. This gave a brief respite allowing Turner to rally the sappers. If the rockets could silence the enemy guns or if he could seize the initiative from General Lentulus, retreat the remaining Royals and blow the bridge, there was still a chance. The Rockets had been firing with unusual accuracy all night. It would take 2 hits on 2 dice to disorder B Battery and then they would have to fail their rally roll, but it was a chance.
Snake eyes for the sailors! 1 rocket goes North into the river while the other smokes off to the South.
There was still a chance of winning the intiative....TIED! Rats, that meant that Oberhilse would continue to go first. Would Lentulus offer his enemy the chance to blow the bridge? or press forward? B Battery thundered again, 3 dice for 5,6: 2 more hits! Give those gunners a biscuit! The Blue infantry pressed forward while the Guards fell back to rally but none were close enough to charge the bridge again.
With no Engineers or sappers left alive, I wasn't sure it was legal to try to set off the existing charges but it was academic. Having been interrupted and having taken 3 turns to lay one of the charges, there were only 5 and 2/3rds in place. I rolled 5 dice needing a total of 18 to blow the bridge. .....total .....17. Arrghhhh!!!
With over half my units routed or destroyed and the bridge not blown, it was a clear victory for General Lentulus and the army of the Blue Republic.
Tomorrow a discussion of the rules, what worked, what wasn't written the way I thought it was, what worked ok with this game but wasn't needed and might cause problems when playing a larger game such as I intend to with my ACW armies or when Lentulus hosts with his hordes of 10mms, and general thoughts and plans for the road ahead.