Wadi and Mister Blob bring their armies to the table. A Netherland infantry division face its French counterpart in an assault scenario
That day, the French troops in the sector met with a sizeable Anglo-allied force determined to make a stand. Beyond the few cultivated parcels, enclosed with hedges and small walls, which were occupied by the French in the morning, the battlefield spread over gentle grassland, bordered on the east side by a small isolated wood. On the west side, the ground was more rugged, with a patch of woodland, and was dominated by a steep, impassable craggy hill. A gentler mound stood closer to the centre and offered a prime position over the battlefield scene.
Wadi introduces his 2000-point Anglo-Allied Army, designed in view of an upcoming wargaming session:
“I am really fond of the Netherlands list: its backbone infantry features no impressive abilities – it’s lackluster courageous/ drilled + two skirmishers, so has no shortcomings either – but it’s so cheap (40 points!!!) that it allows you to field a respectable amount of battalions, and still preserve most of the budget for more impressive material.
MisterBlob introduces his 2000-point French Army, designed in view of an upcoming wargaming session:
“Well, first of all, I wanted to field a Grande batterie. The Imperial Guard list was tempting, but the costs are so prohibitive I would have ended up with a fistful of units and would probably have been exaggeratedly outnumbered, so I chose the classic infantry division list instead.
It is interesting to note that while British infantry consistently bested their French adversaries – examples abound during the Peninsular War – Napoleon’s infantry still managed to dominate their continental opponents for most of the Napoleonic wars. Most French successes up until 1809 can be attributed to Napoleon’s operational genius and grand tactical superiority; yet, the best laid plans are nothing if the troops fail to perform efficaciously when called upon. Battle accounts provides with ample testimonies of French infantry enjoying success in their assaults against Austrian, Prussian and Russian adversaries, precisely what they weren’t able to achieve when facing British infantry.
The Swiss had already a long and honorable reputation serving the French rulers long time before the Napoleonic age. Francis I used them in large numbers in his Italian wars against the emperor Charles V in the 16th Century. Machiavelli in “The Prince” praised them as very reliable troops only inferior to the Spanish. And to say that on that age was to say a lot. The only setbacks was the infamous “No money, no Swiss” they refused to fight unless paid in advance; in acute contrast Spanish troops never mutined before but after the battle to not be accused of cowardice.
British infantry enjoyed an astonishingly high rate of success on the battlefield during the Napoleonic Wars. Common wisdom tends to associate its performance with two factors: the stolidness of His Majesty’s soldiers and the effectiveness of their fire. This has sometimes led to misconceptions about the British drill regarding delivery of fire, effectiveness being confused with sustained rate of fire. On the contrary, the British held the view that a single volley at close range, steadily leveled and delivered, could be more destructive that the sum of numerous volleys delivered during a prolonged but disorganized firefight at longer ranges.
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