Steve has been playing to the Sharp Practice rules for a little while and this is his report of one such battle
“Lieutenant Harry Lost took a moment to survey the battlefield and ponder over the predicament that he found himself in. Technically, the detachment had done its job and prevented the French from crossing the river and taking the village.
However, this had been achieved at a terrible cost with almost 40% of the detachment killed or routed. Furthermore, the French, although delayed, looked as though they were ready to continue with their implacable advance. Even worse, there was no sign of the relief column that had been promised.
As Lt Lost relived the battle, he remembered the series of events that had led to this dismal position that he now found himself in.
On his right he had seen Sgt Roberts charge the French artillery only for the whole squad to be scythed down and broken by a withering hail of canister. Whilst Sgt Roberts had tied down the French artillery, preventing it deploying against the main British force, it still seemed a heavy price to pay, particularly as Sgt Roberts was now lying dead along side his brave men.
To make matters worse, the French columns had largely avoided the British Artillery under the command of Harry himself. Under the cover of the intervening woods the French had marched straight into Major Robinsons Company and killed or routed them all. It was still not clear whether Major Robinson had survived amongst the retreating rabble. The only consolation was that the French column and skirmishers were now in disarray after the victory and that the lead column was preventing the reinforcements from immediately following up the victory.
On the left, Sgt Barker, commanding a detachment of rifles had some small success in dealing with the numerous French Light troops screening the columns but had been overwhelmed and put to flight in a similar manner to Major Robinson
The other detachment of rifles, commanded by none other than Major Dick Blunt, hero of the Regiment, was literally stuck in the middle of the battlefield. Dick certainly had a dilemma! He could hold his position and try to stop the French column that had just wiped out half of his company to his left, or he could fire on the disorganised columns to his right and attempt to prevent them from rallying. A sensible man would simply fall back to the bridge but Dick Blunt had a reputation as a hero to uphold!
To make matters worse, if they could be, that insufferable man, Captain Small, had spent the entire battle shouting and waving his sword whilst marching his men back and forwards over the bridge, never once engaging the enemy. He had now formed a firing line to defend the bridge, oblivious to the threat from the French moving to cross the river at the ford to his left. Hopefully, Captain Small would ignore the detachment of Prussians that made up the remainder of the lieutenants command, so that Harry could manoeuvre them to protect the artillery.
Things certainly looked bleak. Where on earth were the British reinforcements!”