Thursday, March 21, 2024

Rangers of Shadow Deep - The Infected Trees

The second scenario from Rangers of Shadow Deep Standard Edition. Played with Martin's hand-drawn 20mm figures and pop-up terrain.

Examining the bodies of the zombies, along with the other clues from the village, left little doubt. The village had been attacked by some horrific species of giant spider, whose venom reanimated the dead. Thankfully, such creatures move slowly. Likely, they will have retreated to the nearest shelter to slowly feast upon the missing villagers. Your duty is clear. Taking just enough time to patch up your wounds, and make a quick pyre for the dead, you set off after the spiders, following their faint, but unique tracks. After nearly a day’s pursuit, the tracks lead into a small forest. Chances are the spiders are not too deep in the woods. You must find them, destroy them and any nests they might have made, and, if you are lucky, rescue any survivors.

Our band of heroes consisted of two Rangers and their Companions:

On the left, Ranger Rogon Gosh Shadowstalker with his companions Geoffrey the Archer and Bill & Bull the Warhounds,

On the right, Ranger Alan De Paladin with his companions McGregor the Dwarf and Bill Bagskott the Archer

Our heroes advanced through a landscape filled with trees and a few dense patches of briar. In the distance they spotted four 'spider nest trees'. Five web cocoons could be seen spread out between the trees. Five giant spiders could be seen moving quickly among the trees and cocoons.

Geoffrey the Archer moved stealthily in advance of the party. With the help of his Survival skills, he noticed some farlight leaf. Chewing on such a leaf would increase his shooting accuracy but at the cost of his close combat skills.

Ranger Rogon Gosh Shadowstalker and Geoffrey the Archer moved forward carefully to examine the first cocoon.

Shadowstalker searched the cocoon. He found a young villager, badly wounded but living.

Ranger Alan De Paladin and Bill Bagskott the Archer advanced towards a second cocoon. 

All the five spiders ran towards our heros.

Bill & Bull the warhounds and McGregor the Dwarf advanced to support their friends.

A sixth giant spider crept into view by one of the nest trees.

Alan De Paladin and his two companions moved forward as a tight knit group. Alan and the Dwarf attacked and killed the menacing spider while Bagskott examined the cocoon,

Bagskott searched the cocoon. He found a pretty villager girl, badly wounded but living.

Shadowstalker and his three companions grouped themselves around the advancing spider, leaving the village boy in safety behind them, They killed the evil spider without mercy.

The heroes moved together for mutual support.

Ranger Rogon Gosh Shadowstalker used his Swat spell to destroy the threatening spider.

While all alone on the right flank pf the party, McGregor the Dwarf single handedly eliminated another spider.

Three more spiders were spotted advancing past a cocoon to the party's left.

Ranger Rogon Gosh Shadowstalker, Geoffrey the Archer and Bill & Bull the Warhounds moved as a coordinated group, surrounded the nearest spider and attacked.

McGregor the Dwarf advanced to the next cocoon, only to be horrified when it was revealed to contain a zombie.

The party continued their battle with the spiders. Unfortunately, Geoffrey became entangled in a giant spider web, but luckily he was strong enough to break free quickly.

Alan De Paladin hurried forward to help McGregor the Dwarf destroy the zombie.

Bill Bagskott killed the last remaining spider with a well placed arrow.

There being no spiders remaining anywhere, the party spread out and moved towards the nest trees.

While Bill and Bull kept watch, our heroes moved to each and every nest tree. They set fire to each nest which burned up quickly.

Monday, March 18, 2024

Medellín (28 March 1809)

This scenario is a refight of the Battle of Medellín (28 March 1809) during the Peninsular War. It was played using the Commands & Colors Napolionic rules but on hex terrain from Kallistra, buildings from Total Battle Miniatures and using 6mm figures from Baccus instead of blocks.

The History

After being forced out of its defensive positions on the River Tagus, General Don Gregorio Garcia de la Cuesta’s Spanish army was retreating in the face of Marshal Victor’s advancing French army. On the 27th of March, Cuesta’s army was reinforced by the Duke of Albuquerque, and Cuesta decided it was time to fight. Cuesta’s plan was to strike both French wings and hope to catch the French army with their backs to the Guadiana River. Victor was outnumbered, but had veteran troops who knew how to win, so he willingly deployed for battle. Victor’s plan was to keep withdrawing his flanks closer and closer to the center until a powerful counter-attack could shatter the Spanish line.

Cuesta formed his infantry into one long, thin unbroken line since his greatest fear was that French cavalry could destroy his infantry if there were gaps in the line. At first, Cuesta’s plan seemed to be working. Lasalle’s position on the French left was at risk, but his men held on to their tenuous positions. Spanish infantry formations were also pushing forward against the French batteries on Latour-Maubourg’s hill position. Latour-Maubourg flung his cavalry into a counter attack, but the cavalry was forced into a disorganized retreat. As the Spanish infantry threatened to capture the French guns, Latour-Maubourg ordered his reformed cavalry to attack again – this time against the Spanish cavalry covering the end of the infantry line. Events now unfolded quickly. The French cavalry charge succeeded and the Spanish cavalry fled the field, exposing the thin Spanish line to a devastating flank attack. Cuesta’s left flank dissolved in panic. Lasalle and Villatte, seeing the opportunity, ordered a counter-attack that caught the right flank of the Spanish army between infantry to their front and cavalry to their flanks and rear.

The result was a massacre. Entire battalions were destroyed as they tried to stand and fight, and the French cavalry showed no quarter in their pursuit of fugitives. Over 7,500 Spaniards became casualties. In the aftermath, Cuesta’s shattered army retreated to Monasterio.

The Refight

The Spanish started the battle by repositioning their infantry on the central ridge to make room for a battery of foot artillery, moving forward so as to be in a good position to bombard the French.

Marshal Victor ordered La Grande Manoeuvre and moved his left flank over to face the Spanish centre. By doing so, he got his troops out of a tricky situation, as they had had their backs to the unfordable Guadiana River.

General Don Gregorio Garcia de la Cuesta ordered both his flanks forward.

On his left, Spanish line infantry and Heavy Dragoons advanced. Perhaps hoping to surprise the French right, or perhaps just to secure the town of Mengabril.

While on the Spanish right, the troops moved towards the centre, to mirror the French manoeuvre.

Marshal Victor ordered his right flank to assault the advancing Spanish. General Latour-Maubourg took command of the Dragoons, and supported by their horse artillery, they attacked the Spanish Dragoons. While French infantry advanced to fill the gap they had left in the line.

Charging down the hill, with the supporting cannon fire from their horse artillery, Latour-Maubourg's Dragoons wiped out their Spanish counterparts.

The Spanish Force Marched their left wing infantry commanded by Brigadier Juan Henestrosa to oppose the advance of the French right wing.

Marshal Victor was about to order his troops forward, however troublesome Spanish Guerrillas delayed his chief of staff from sending out the command.

Taking advantage of the apparent hesitation of the French, General Cuesta ordered his left flank to attack.

Musket fire from the Spanish line infantry caused severe losses to the French horse artillery causing it to retire behind the crest of the hill.

However the Spanish infantry's attack on the French Dragoons was less successful, resulting in heavy losses for the Spanish infantry and the death of Brigadier Juan Henestrosa and no noticeable effect on the French.

The French centre was ordered to attack. One light cavalry unit charged a Spanish infantry unit and a second light cavalry unit moved up in support.

The Spanish infantry formed square, creating a temporary stand-off.

Showing inspired leadership, General Trias led his Spanish infantry unit through the valley between the hills in order to attack and push back the French cavalry.

On the French right, the horse artillry advanced again and the Dragoons attacked the Spanish infantry in front of the town of Mengabril, The Spanish infantry formed square, repulsing the Dragoons.

Seeing the success of their comrades, the remaining Spanish infantry attacked the French on the hill.

The first attacking Spanish line infantry column was repulsed by the French horse artillery, causing it to retreat back to the ridge after taking losses. The second attacking column caused the French artillery to retire behind the crest of the hill, but did not follow up its victory.

The French ordered their centre to attack. Two units of light cavalry rode forward to attack the Spanish positions.

When the cavalry attack was over, one cavalry unit was destroyed and one had retired. However both Spanish line infantry units had severe losses.

Back on their left flank, the Spanish infantry climbed up the hill and attacked the French horse artillery.

The horse artillery was destroyed.

The Spanish light cavalry advanced, causing the French light cavalry to retreat to their own lines having taken severe losses.

On the French right, the dragoons advanced to attack the Spanish artillery while a line infantry column advanced over the crest of the hill.

The dragoons rode passed the decimated Spanish square, which the line infantry opened fire on and destroyed.

The dragoons attacked the artillery on the hill.

General Latour-Maubourg and his dragoons caused serious casualties and only a few surviving Spanish artillerymen managed to retreat.

The dragoons followed up the attack and overran the few surviving Spanish artillerymen.

General Latour-Maubourg and his victorious French Heavy Dragoons...

Having taken heavy losses, and their left flank turned by the French heavy cavalry, the whole Spanish army gave up the battle and started to fade away and head for the sierras.

The Outcome 

Spanish Victory:   Spanish 6 - French 3