Race to Río de la Manteca

The 69e Ligne are now within reach of the Río de la Manteca. If they can cross this obstacle, Marshal Massena’s plan to turn Wellington’s flank will be much advanced. Although Lieutenant Boursoufle’s grenadiers suffered a reverse at Iglesia de los Santos Pederastas, that officer has gathered his remaining men and forged onward, travelling by an alternative route and reinforced by some horsemen from the flamboyant Escadron de Mamelukes de la Garde Imperiale.

Captain Campbell and his highlanders from the 42nd Foot, supported by Portuguese sharpshooters from the Atiradore company of the 3º Caçadores aim to head off the perfidious French.

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Racing to the River

As the 42nd step out in style down the road past the vinery, pipes playing and drums beating, the French arrive with less fanfare but almost as much speed.

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Chasseurs-à-Cheval

Lieutenant Sauter of the 15e Régiment de Chasseurs-à-Cheval intends to take his horsemen along the road that runs between the vinery and the outskirts of the village, so turning the Allied left flank.

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The French Dispositions

Meanwhile Lieutenant Dupas brings up his Mamelukes on the other flank.

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Mamelukes

And Sous-Lieutenant Hugo de Nigot leads his voltiguers through the woods.

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Voltigeurs in the Woods
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McLaren’s Lights Screening

Half a dozen atiradores follow the much-admired Sargento Sexias into the upstairs of the largest house. From the windows they can cover the French approaches to the river. They open fire and, even at extreme range, their best shot, Ricardo Olhomorto, brings down one of the colourfully clad Mamelukes.

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Sargento Sexias Opens Up
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A Mameluke Falls!

Alferes Nagedas, who has been somewhat tardy, gets his riflemen onto the hill by the rather impressive windmill.

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Alferes Nadegas Holds the High Ground

The highland skirmish screen shoot at the voltigeurs and prove remarkably accurate, dropping four of their trousered counterparts.

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Good Shooting
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Voltigeurs Fall!

The Mamelukes canter up, sabres and pistols at the ready.

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Mamelukes Charge!
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McLaren Orders a Retreat

McLaren has left it too late. He gives the order for his men to fall back but before they can retreat through their supporting line, the Mamelukes are upon them!

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Caught!

The highland lights are slaughtered, their remnant routing.

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Mamelukes Victorious

Dupas orders his Mamelukes to ready their blunderbusses. He’s not keen on charging Campbell’s line.

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McLaren’s Remnant

McLaren manages to halt his remnant at the village where they begin to regroup.

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A Volley

The highlanders carefully controlled volley is effective.

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Mameluke Losses
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The 42nd Reload

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Boursoufle is urging his men along the road while the cavalry occupy the attention of the highlanders.

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Boursoufle’s Grenadiers Reach the River
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Grenadier Column

Boursoufle turns his men, forming a classic French attack column.

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Blunderbusses

The blunderbusses crash out, though to little effect.

The chasseurs find the street narrower than they had hoped for but they canter down it regardless.

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Turning the Flank?

Campbell’s men fire another volley and the Mamelukes decide they’ve had enough.

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Mamelukes Thrown Back
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Formation Broken

The recoiling horses break Boursoufle’s formation. the lieutenant is not pleased.

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French Disorder

Hugo de Nigot takes his voltigeurs forward.

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Voltigeurs Advance

Boursoufle reorganises his column and orders a charge! His men surge forwards singing Le Chant de l’Oignon.

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Pas de Charge!

A fierce melee ensues. Sergent-Major Boumdier is wounded, as are both the highland serjeants. It is the French who, grudgingly, give back. Both sides have taken significant losses.

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The Highlanders Hold!
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The Grenadiers Recoil
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Scotland Forever

The surviving highland lights occupy the ground floor of the building that Sargento Sexias is in. They fire at the advancing French light cavalry and Lieutenant Sauter falls from his horse, stunned.

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Flank Fire
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Overview

Campbell is tempted to charge the grenadiers but the threat the voltigeurs would pose to his flank decide him against it and he orders another volley.

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The Highlanders Fire Again

Boursoufle’s ranks are thinning and French morale begins to sink.

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Thinned Ranks

The chasseurs fall back in considerable disorder, leaving their officer lying in the dusty road.

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Chasseurs Fall Back

But now Hugo de Nigot gets his men firing and the highlanders become disordered. Drummer Watson cops a nasty wound.

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Voltigeurs Inflict Casualties
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Thinned Ranks

And the ranks are further thinned by more accurate fire from the voltigeurs. Nagedas’ atiradores fire in support of the highlanders from  the hilltop.

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Atiradores Fire

Boursoufle’s grenadiers are looking very ragged now, and the lieutenant himself is hit.

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The Column Reels

But Boursoufle is a great veteran and has ambitions to join the Old Guard. A musket ball in the shoulder does not deter such a man! Quickly, he instructs Isabelle Bitche, well-beloved by all the men of the 69e Ligne to hand out cognac, gets his sergents to dress the ranks, reorganises his men into a compact line and raises a chant of ‘Vive l’Empereur!’

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Boursoufle Reorganises and Deploys

Campbell too has consolidated his depleted ranks. The French charge again!

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Pas de Charge!

And this time the charge is decisive. The highlanders are still in some disorder and the French are fired up by passion and the superb example set by their leader.

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Grenadiers Victorious!

It is a rout. But French morale is still brittle despite this success.

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Driving On

Alferes Nagedas hopes his men can kill enough French to turn the tide back in favour of the Allies.

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Last Chance

But to no avail. Nagedas realises that his men dare not stand to receive a charge from the grenadiers and orders a retreat.

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Alferes Negedas Orders Retreat

The French win and now control the vital crossing of the Río de la Manteca!

The Butcher’s Bill

BRITISH:

  • Dead – 12 Highlanders
  • Wounded – Serjeant MacDougall, Serjeant MacDonald, Piper McIntyre, Drummer Watson, 5 Highlanders
  • Captured Wounded – 9 Highlanders

PORTUGUESE:

  • No Losses

FRENCH:

  • Dead – Lieutenant Dupas, 8 Grenadiers, 2 Voltigeurs, 4 Mamelukes
  • Wounded  – Lieutenant Boursoufle, Sergent-Major Boumdier, 3 Grenadiers, 3 Voltigeurs, 2 Mamelukes

Riposte at Iglesia de los Santos Pederastas

Following the successful French Assault on La Concha and the significant reverse inflicted upon the 42nd Highlanders, Général de Brigade Antoine Louis Popon de Maucune urges the men of the 69e Ligne onwards towards Cerro Manteca with all speed.

But the notorious guerilla known as El Hombre Sin Nombre has, with the assistance of Padre Ryan of the famous Iglesia de los Santos Pederastas, escaped from French clutches and taken refuge in the crypts below the church. His comrades have arranged to meet him there, little knowing that the grenadiers of the 69e Ligne under the redoubtable Lieutenant Boursoufle have chosen that road in their pursuit of the retreating British.

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Iglesia de los Santos Pederastas and its Environs

And neither Spaniard or Frenchman are aware that Captain Campbell, having reorganised his highlanders, has cooked up a surprise for the advancing French and is determined that this time he will land them in the soup.

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The 42nd Highlanders Advance

Enrique, the mild-mannered potato-peddler and sometime janitor of the Iglesia de los Santos Pederastas approaches the church. Surely he cannot be the notorious El Hombre Sin Nombre?

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Henrique

French voltiguers arrive ahead of the main column.

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Voltigeurs

They press on towards the church with orders to detain Padre Ryan.

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Padre Ryan and his Cock

Lieutenant McLaren brings his highland light bobs onto the crest of a low ridge where they see the French.

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Highland Lights

Before McLaren can even begin his pre-battle peroration, Spanish guerillas fire from the church, alarming the French light troops under the much-scarred Claude de Rière and killing one of them.

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¡Emboscada!

As the sound of musket shots rings out, Lieutenant Boursoufle arrives at the head of the main column.

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Chanter Remorquer Rangée Rangée Pour les Grenadiers Français

Isabelle Bitche, well-beloved by all the men of the 69e Ligne, hastens to bring some relief to the hard-pressed voltigeurs.

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Cognac?

With over a dozen guerillas ensconsed in the church and firing in relays upon the voltigeurs, Captain Campbell hastens to the action.

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Overview

Boursoufle leads his men down the road. If the line companies could beat Les Amazones then his grenadiers should sweep them aside with ease.

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Chantant Toujours Remorquer Rangée Rangée

Brandy and shouting restore some order to the voltigeurs although continued firing from the church has brought down a few f their number.

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Plus Cognac Quelqu’un?

Just as De Rière is about to get his men moving again . . .

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¡Emboscada!

La Señora Adora Heras has an unwelcome surprise for the poor voltiguers. Her men fire from the woods.

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Adora Heras

More voltigeurs fall and further disorder ensues.

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Casualties and Disorder

Campbell gets his men into line and advances with McLaren’s Lights screening his front.

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Interested Goats
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Highland View

Somewhat belatedly, having taken a wrong turn, the French cavalry arrive at the canter.

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Chasseurs à Cheval

Seeing this fresh threat, Adora Heras orders her men to fall back through the woods.

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Guerillas

The cavalry ride on, intent on chasing the guerillas outside the church from the field. Then they can fall on the flank of the highlanders.

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Pour la Gloire!

Finally the French voltigeurs get into action, firing rather ineffectually against the guerillas in the church.

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Exchanging Fire

McLaren is ordered to Campbell’s right flank. The Scottish captain doubts that the Spanish irregulars can be relied on to hold their ground.

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McLaren Opens Up

Emboldened by the advance of McLaren’s lights (and damned if a bunch of foreign women are going to look braver than her), Adora Heras advances once more.

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Holding the Wood

Meanwhile Campbell and Boursoufle have advanced to meet each other, Boursoufle attempting to form an attack column.

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Overview

The French horse charge in at the gallop against the guerillas who, rather unwisely, decide to stand their ground. Numbers may be even but the odds are hugely in favour of the chasseurs charging home against dispersed infantry, even with the trees offering some advantage to the defenders.

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Adora Heras Holds her Nerve

The result is a shambles for the French and a surprising win for the guerillas.

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Thrown Back!
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Adora Heras Victorious
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Still Holding the Woods . . .

Lieutenant Boursoufle has now arranged his men into a magnificent column of attack.

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Attack Column

Seizing the opportunity, the grenadiers volley into the highlanders hoping to reduce their line before pressing home a charge.

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French Fire

Campbell orders Piper McIntyre to play a rousing tune, reorganises his firing line and his men present their muskets.

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Scots Rally

The highlanders begin to trade volleys with the grenadiers.

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French Losses
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Exchange of Fire

Ragged volleys by Adora Heras’ guerillas speed the retiring French horse on their way.

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Sauve Qui Peut!

Meanwhile the fight at the church continues.

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Skirmish Duel

Can Boursoufle get his men to charge in before the voltigeurs give way?

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Overview
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“Mind My Cock!” Cries Padre Ryan
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Still Trading Fire

Lieutenant McLaren takes stock and decides that cold steel is the answer.

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Get Tore Intae Them!

With a wild cry the highland light company men charge.

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Close Quarters

The voltigeurs facing them are cut down to a man, Claude de Rière is wounded and surrenders his sword to William Mclaren. They’ll be dancing in the glens when word of this reaches them!

With his left wing collapsed, Lieutenant Boursoufle grits his teeth and orders a retreat.

The Butcher’s Bill

BRITISH:

  • Dead – 2 Highlanders
  • Wounded – 3 Highlanders

SPANISH:

  • Wounded – 1 Guerilla

FRENCH:

  • Dead – 2 Grenadiers, 7 Voltigeurs, 4 Chasseurs
  • Wounded  – 1 Grenadier, 2 Voltigeurs
  • Captured Wounded – Capitaine De Rière, 3 Chasseurs
  • Captured – 1 Chasseur

 

 

Assault on La Concha

After losing touch with Second Lieutenant Moon following the Foray to Corazón Sangrante, Captain Tom Blunt has fallen in with a small company of the 42nd foot under Captain Campbell. With the victorious 69e Ligne advancing on Lord Wellington’s lines of communication, Campbell and Blunt resolve to stop them at the village of La Concha. But the French are marching hard and their light troops are almost at the village when Old Nosey catches their scent.

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The Battle-Scarred Veteran Lieutenant De Rière Leads the Way
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More Voltigeurs

Blunt hastens his Riflemen into a good firing position in the loft of the local granary where, firing in relays from the half-dozen small windows, they pick off a couple of  the battle-scarred Lieutenant Claude De Rière’s voltigeurs.

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The Rifles Open Fire

Meanwhile, the highlanders advance up the road on the other side of the church.

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42nd Foot

The highland light bobs line the wall of a freshly ploughed field despite the protestations of the local priest. The open up at nearly a hundred yards range but manage to pick off a French skirmisher.

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42nd Light Company Troops Fire Their First Shots

Lieutenant McLaren commanding the highland line apologises to the priest for any damage to the recently planted crops, for which he generously offers recompense. However it turns out he must have left his money in his other sporran and the Spaniard must be content with a hastily scrawled note of hand.

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Scotland the Brave

While the highlanders advance boldly up the low road, the French are on the high road.

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The Column Presses On

And French cavalry appear on the other flank.

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The Chasseurs Arrive

Capitaine Pépin decides to divide his force in the face of the enemy.

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The British Left Flank
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The Column Prepares to Divide

The highlanders, on an open column, left wheel and send some lead towards the voltigeurs.

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The French in the Village

The French hold their ground but with Blunt’s men in the barn and the highlanders now in front of them, they are caught between two fires.

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Musketry Continues
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Shooting From the Barn

The gallant Pépin leads his fusiliers to drive Blunt from the barn while De Rière’s men begin to falter.

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Pépin Attacks
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De  Rière Still Holds His Ground

The highland lights continue their long-range duel with the voltiguers. A man or two falls on either side.

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Skirmish Duel

Sous-Lieutenant Bouffon brings his men up in attack column, threatening the flank of McLaren’s line. Now it is the British caught in a closing vice.

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Bouffon Threatens the Highland Flank

But Tom Blunt realises the danger. Even as Pépin’s men force open the barn doors, the rifle captain leads his men down the back steps and straight at the depleted voltiguers under De Rière.

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Fix Swords!

The rifles have the numbers and the edge in quality.

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Blunt Charges In!

And the French are cut down, only Lieutenant De Rière and the nimblest of the voltigeurs surviving to beat a hasty and somewhat ignominious defeat.

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The Rifles Win!

The French light cavalry canter past the windmills, planning to wheel and then charge down the skirmishing highlanders in the ploughed field.

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Les Chasseurs

Bouffon wheels his column and McLaren, realising his danger, frantically orders his men to turn.

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Can the Scots React in Time?
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Bouffon Takes His Chance!

But the French Lieutenant is too quick and leads his men in a rush against McLaren’s flank and also into the left of the skirmish line.

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The Moment of Crisis

Savage fighting. The highlanders are unloaded and disordered by the unexpected advent of Bouffon’s column. The fight is short and sharp.

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Will the Highlanders Hold?

The impetus of the French is too much and the kilted Scots are broken, retiring fast down the road.

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Rout!

Victory to the French!

The Butcher’s Bill

BRITISH:

  • Dead – 4 Highlanders, 1 Rifleman
  • Wounded – Captain Campbell, 1 Highlander, 1 Riflemen
  • Captured Wounded – 4 Highlanders

FRENCH:

  • Dead – 6 Voltigeurs, 2 Fusiliers
  • Wounded  – Sergent Corniaud, 5 Voltigeurs, 3 Fusiliers

Escape to Vitória

The guerillas of El Hombre Sin Nombre and Adora Heras have captured the infamous Major Manque, but, in the company of some riflemen commanded by Ensign Valentine Moon, are being hunted by the French. If they can reach the small Portuguese border town of Vitória, they should be safe. Close to that place, they must cross an expanse of open country and Polish lancers are rumoured to be scouring the vicinity.

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Guerillas and Riflemen Hasten to Vitória
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The Outskirts of Vitória

An agent of Major Lee (exploring officer extraordinaire) awaits the arrival of the captured Manque. Miss Juliet Mycock may have the look of a simple English governess but has a reputation for remaining unfazed by even the most impressive weapon that might be pointed in her direction, and packs a loaded pistol beneath her skirts.

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Miss Juliet Mycock Waits

Half way across the open ground to Vitória and still no sign of the enemy.

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La Señora Adora Heras Leads the Way

But suddenly . . .

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With their gallant officer leading the way, the Poles come on at the canter.

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Lejt. Lech Wódka in Command

And voltigeurs appear in the woods.

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Recently Exchanged Sous-Lieutenant Hugo de Nigot

And Lieutenant de Rière advances to the flank of the lancers. The trap is sprung!

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The Trap is Sprung!

The guerillas of El Hombre Sin Nombre blaze away at the oncoming lancers, causing some disarray in their ranks but no casualties. De Rière’s voltigeurs shoot down two guerillas and Serjeant ‘Kid’ Fiddler brings his riflemen into action. Battle is joined.

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Fiddler’s Men at Play

La Señora Adora Heras and her men press on, ignoring fire from de Nigot’s men atop the hill.

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Adora Heras Presses On

But Sergent Serin, whose brother, you may recall, recently met with a well-merited demise, has reached the north gate of Vitória. Will he be in time to rescue Major Manque?

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Le Sergent Serin est Arrivé à la Porte Nord

Lejnant Wódka leads the charge, his men bravely galloping at the rag-tag guerillas.

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Atak!
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Overview

Adora Heras enters the town.

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Nearly There

Second Lieutenant Moon adds his fire against the lancers but his men take two casualties from de Nigot’s sharpshooters.

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Moon Waxes Poetic to Inspire his Men
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De Nigot Prefers Bullets to Fine Words

The ragged line of guerillas flee from the onrushing lancers but are caught.

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Too slow!
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¡Ay!

The fleeing guerillas are skewered, some of them several times over as the Poles use them as live targets to practise various techniques. El Hombre Sin Nombre turns just before he is ridden down and pistols one man from the saddle, hurls the empty weapon into the teeth of another , draws his second pistol and shoots Lejnant Wódka through the shoulder. But his heroic stand is to no avail and pricked by lances, he is brought down and captured by the vengeful Poles.

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El Hombre Stands Alone

La Señora and Miss Mycock meet. But Sergent Serin’s men are in the granary whose steps Miss Mycock is standing at the foot of. Escape will be a near run thing . . .

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Miss Mycock, I presume?

Moon has his riflemen fire at the French voltigeurs who are running down the road. Two of the Frenchmen fall, one is Lieutenant de Rière himself!

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Have that, Froggie!
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Moon, Full of Himself

Serin leads his brave voltigeurs from the granary, charging down the steps into Adora Heras’ guerillas who meet them knife to bayonet. The struggle is short and vicious. At the end, the three surviving French retreat into the granary, dragging their wounded Sergent with them while two guerillas lie bleeding in the dusty street.

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Streetfighting

And with that, the battle is over bar some angry French and polish shouting. El Hombre Sin Nombre’s little band are scattered but Moon and Fiddler win clear to join Adora Heras and Miss Mycock in Vitória.

The Butcher’s Bill

BRITISH:

  • Dead – 1 Rifleman
  • Recovering from Wounds – 1 Riflemen

FRENCH:

  • Dead – 3 Voltigeurs, 2 Polish Lancers

SPANISH:

  • Dead – 4 Guerillas
  • Wounded – 2 Guerillas
  • Captured Wounded – El Hombre Sin Nombre, 2 Guerillas

Foray to Corazón Sangrante

Major Robert Edward Lee, an exploring officer ever in the shadow of the far more principled, able and well-known Grant, has stumbled across some French despatches (literally stumbled, he tripped over the mutilated body of their bearer in the dark whilst lost and drunk). A rather hungover assessment of their contents has revealed to him the likely location of his French counterpart, Major Barthélémy Manque. Fired by dreams of glory, perhaps even a public statue complete with a suitable plaque describing his fine virtues as a soldier and man, Lee has sent the local guerillas to abduct the Frenchman. And, as an afterthought, Captain Blunt’s riflemen to make sure Manque arrives more or less in one piece.

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Major Manque

Manque, with a small escort of grenadiers, is interrogating a young Spanish woman in a barn when a band of picked guerillas, armed with blunderbusses and under the command of the Amazonian Señora Adora Heras throw open the doors and unleash a hail of shot, killing two Frenchmen stone dead.

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Trabuco Naranjero

As Tom Blunt’s Rifles spread out, Voltigeurs appear on the crest of a hill to the north.

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The Rifles Arrive
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French Voltigeurs Advance

El Hombre Sin Nombre brings up more guerillas as Adora Heras encourages her men to fire another volley, which fells another grenadier within.

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El Hombre Sin Nombre Brings Reinforcements

More blunderbussing, another two grenadiers hors de combat, a failed attempt at an assault on the barn with no casualties on either side, another charge – successful – and the guerillas butcher the sole remaining grenadier attempting to surrender, and begin to scour the loft for Major Manque who must be hiding amongst the musty sacks of grain.

Meanwhile, the 69e Ligne advance against the riflemen.

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Skirmishers

Captain Blunt and Second Lieutenant Moon form a skirmish line while Solomon Grundy leads some riflemen into the tower.

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Opening Shots

The Voltigeurs exchange shots with the Rifles, coming off worse.

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Skirmish Duel

The guerillas discover Major Manque, who has just finished his intimate examination of a young peasant girl. Though the honest Spaniards would have normally cut off more than just his protestations, with the 69e Ligne arriving in force they content themselves with bundling him unceremoniously out of the barn before he can even button his flies.

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Captured!

By the tower, the skirmish duel continues.

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Close Range Skirmish Duel

Lieutenant Connard brings his men forwards, intending to turn the British flank and threaten their line of retreat.

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Attack Column

Sergeant ‘Kid’ Fiddler brings up his men at the run to reinforce Blunt’s thin green line.

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‘Kid’ Fiddler Dashes Up

Capitaine  Pépin arrives with the balance of the 4e Compagnie of the 69e Ligne.

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Pépin

 Pépin advances very briskly.

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The French Advance Apace.

Fiddler’s men add their firepower to Blunt’s line.

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Rifles Hold the Line

Adora Heras hopes to stall the inexorable French advance by turning their open left flank.

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Guerilla Tactics

Lieutenant Connard moves to the west of the tower.

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Turning Blunt’s Flank
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Threatening the Rifles’ Line of Retreat

El Hombre Sin Nombre gets his men moving towards the walled garden, hustling along their prisoner.

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Hustling

Pépin realises the threat to his flank and detaches Sergent Nigaud with a couple of files to deal with the threat. He begins to get the rest of his men into line.

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Forming Line

The Rifles bring them under fire, and also the remnant of the poor French skirmishers, who have been very roughly handled.

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Deploying Under Fire
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Roughly Handled Skirmishers

Pépin completes his line and his men present their muskets. Tom Blunt does not flinch, although some of his men swallow rather hard.

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Not Flinching. Much.

Lieutenant Connard, meanwhile, gets inexorably closer to cutting the line of retreat.

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Closer

Inside the garden, behind its high walls, the guerillas feel safer – though Major Manque does not.

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Feeling Safer

Connard detaches Sergent Corniaud to hold the road and moves the rest of his men to trap Blunt’s Rifles.

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The Road Cut
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The Trap Closes

Grundy and his men waste no time in quitting the tower.

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Run For It!

Capitaine Pépin orders his drummer to beat Le Chant de L’Oignon and his men move forwards, singing lustily. Tom Blunt realises that even his gallant lads cannot hope to beat both Pépin’s advance and Connard’s force to their rear and orders Bugler Tooting to sound Retreat. Moon and Fiddler lead their men through the gap in the wall to join the guerillas while Blunt heads west to join Grundy. Pell-mell flight ensues, during which several riflemen are captured.

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The French Charge!
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Leg It!

Major Manque remains in guerilla hands. With Captain Blunt separated from the group, can young Valentine Moon convince Señora Adora Heras not to separate Major Manque from his assets? How will El Hombre Sin Nombre react to the fresh-faced Moon’s attempts to engage Adora’s attention? Will Robert Lee ever get the statue and plaque he feels he richly deserves?

Captain Pépin has no time for questions. he will leave the fugitive riflemen to the tender mercies of the Polish lancers who will be sent to hunt them down. He must press on for Cerro Manteca.

The Butcher’s Bill

BRITISH:

  • Wounded – Second Lieutenant Moon, 2 Riflemen
  • Captured Wounded – 2 Riflemen
  • Captured – 3 Riflemen

FRENCH:

  • Dead – 2 Voltigeurs
  • Wounded – 4 Voltigeurs
  • Captured – Major Manque

SPANISH:

  • No loss.

Clash at Granja de Grasa

Flushed with the French success in forcing the Río de la Cocina Laga, Lieutenant Boursouflure and his grenadiers of the 69e Ligne spearhead the advance into Cerro Manteca. In their path lies Granja de Grasa, an estate owned by Don Elver Galarga, who just happens to be the father of the infamous guerilla, Señora Adora Heras. The señora’s ally and would-be paramour, the notorious individual known only as El Hombre Sin Nombre has therefore directed a force of the 1/3rd Guards, commanded by Captain & Lieutenant-Colonel William Sillie, to intercept the French before any harm befalls Don Galgara or his property.

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Don and Señora Galgara
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Time for a Smoke and Glass of Vino in the Viñedo Gargala

Voltigeurs under the veteran Lieutenant de Rière, who is doubtless still aching from his many recent wounds, and the rather unsavoury Sergent Serin, are the first to arrive, but they are quickly overtaken by a gun under the command of Lieutenant Boulet who dashes forwards in the best spirit of the French artillery.

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Boulet Avance le Canon!

The 1/3 Guards reach the small farm of the aged and diminutive Viuda Pato, who is here seen watering her cow as the guards march past.

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The Guards

Lieutenant Whistler brings his rifles up at the run as Sillie manoeuvres the guards to face Boulet’s rapidly advancing gun. El Hombre Sin Nombre and his motley band assemble to the rear.

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The Allies Deploy

Lieutenat Boulet’s dash is beginning to look foolhardy as the voltigeurs struggle to keep up.

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The Gun Forges Ahead!
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And the Grenadiers Arrive

De Rière’s voltigeurs can’t coordinate themselves properly and end up losing two men to Whistler’s riflemen – a fusilade that also kills an artilleryman and sees Boulet’s gun crew wheel sharply and retire.

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The Rifles Engage
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Boulet Recule!

As Serin and his men occupy the ground floor of the Galgara house, El Hombre Sin Nombre’s occupy the garden and approach the west windows. The Guards shake out into a firing line and the French grenadiers bash on up the road.

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Surround the House
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Form an Orderly Line
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Avant!

Sillie orders the Guards and Rifles to advance and Whistlers men fire some rather ineffectual shots as they do so that merely hasten the retreat of Boulet’s gun. They take some return fire which throws Sergeant Havers’ men into a bit of confusion.

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The British Advance
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The Voltigeurs Return Fire

Boulet’s gun has churned the dirt road to the point where it is making slow going for the column of grenadiers.

Always keen to resort to the dagger, and mindful of impressing the man who he hopes will become his future father-in-law, El Hombre Sin Nombre orders his guerillas to assault the house. The Spanish are thrown back but Sergent Serin falls, mortally wounded, while holding the door. While a man of poor repute and vile deeds, he died a heroes death in the service of the emperor.

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¡Ataque!
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¡Retirada!

Boulet gets his gun crew into some semblance of order on the flank of the French line. The gun must still be loaded. Rifles and Voltigeurs exchange fire with the French getting the worst of it but the handful of rifle shots hitting home isn’t nearly enough to stem the French advance.

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Skirmish Duel
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The French Advance!
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French Attack Column

Under constant harassing fire from the guerillas, the remnant of Serin’s voltigeurs quit the house. The don and his señora have a grandstand view of the unfolding battle.

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Les Voltigeurs se Retirent

The Rifles fall back through the line and Sillie calmly gives the orders to present and fire.

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Rifles Retire
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Presented Fire
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Some Disorder
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Voltigeurs Retire

Boulet gets his gun into action, firing canister into the left of the British line. only one man falls, but there’s some confusion that the crisp Sergeant Pringle endeavours to bring under control.

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Le Bang!
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Canister Hits Home

While his sergent-major and sergent restore order to the ranks, Boursouflure decides to give the British a taste of their own medicine and the French fire a nicely controlled volley that fells several guardsmen.

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Have Some of Your Own Medicine!
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Give Them Another, Lads!

The Guards are superbly drilled, of course, and they get another well controlled volley in before the French can reload. ‘Three rounds a minute will do very nicely indeed, my fine fellows,’ says Captain & Lieutenant Colonel Sillie.

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Third Time Pays For All

But Sillie’s rather smug satisfaction is short-lived. Lieutenant Boursouflure somehow manages to exhort his men to fire two volleys before the Guards can reply. The French grenadiers’ shooting has been more deadly than the of the British Guards – and so it continues!

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The Grenadiers Volley!
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And Volley Again!
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The Guards’ Line is Broken!
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Denouement

Lieutenant Whistler’s riflemen pick off a couple of the French gunners as they cover Pringle’s men. El Hombre Sin Nombre bids Don Galgara farewell and makes a swift exit.

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The British Withdraw

Captain & Lieutenant Colonel Sillie watches the triumphant French advance.

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Captain & Lieutenant Colonel Sille Bids the French Au Revoir

Vive l’Empereur!

 

The Butcher’s Bill

BRITISH:

  • Dead – 2 Guardsmen
  • Wounded – 6 Guardsmen 2 Riflemen
  • Captured Wounded – 2 Guardsmen
  • Missing – 1 Guardsman

FRENCH:

  • Dead – Sergent Serin, 3 Grenadiers, 4 Voltigeurs, 1 Gunner
  • Wounded – 1 Grenadier, 4 Voltigeurs, 1 Gunner
  • Recovering From Wounds – 1 Voltigeur, 2 Gunners

SPANISH:

  • Dead – 1 Guerilla
  • Wounded – 2 Guerillas

 

 

 

 

 

Forcing the Río de la Cocina Laga

L’Enfant Chéri de la Victoire, Marshal Masséna’s bold plan to turn Wellington’s left flank by pushing the 69e Ligne over the Río de la Cocina Laga and into Cerro Manteca has foundered at the outset. Serious reverses at Fuexu and the Viñedo Tripa de Pudrición had left the French seriously short of food – a state of affairs remedied by a descent upon Hueco Soñoliento, though at some cost in men and matériel.

Even fortified by good beef and pork, Capitaine  Pépin is reluctant to try and force his way to the bridge at Fuexu again because the 1/3rd Guards are reported to now be there in some strength; however a patrol of Polish Lancers under the stolid but dependable Sierżant Iwo Lacowicz has revealed way via a ford usually only practical in the summer months, but now unseasonably low. Mustering the men of the 4e Compagnie and, taking in tow some Voltigeurs under the experienced but morally dubious Sergent Serin, Pépin makes a dash for the ford.

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The Ford

As Pépin’s column nears the ford, he and his men are delighted to meet a rather dishevelled Lieutenant de Rière, who has just escaped from the clutches of the notorious guerilla, known only as El Hombre Sin Nombre. However, Pépin is considerably less delighted to discover that de Rière is hotly pursued. Drums beating, the 4e Compagnie race for the river.

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Who is El Hombre Sin Nombre? Surely it is not Enrique the Mild-Mannered Potato Peddler?
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Old Nosey Sniffs About the Abandoned Viñedo
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En Avant!

Lieutenant de Rière, recently lacking one of his ears and now thirsting for revenge leads the voltigeurs across the river.

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French, By God!

Lieutenant Connard, leading the main column is hot on his heels.

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¡Emboscada!

Of a sudden, a motley group of ruffians, led by an Amazonian figure resplendent in a (slightly bloody) uniform of a French officer of hussars, burst from the nearest windmill and fire into the voltigeurs! It is La Señora Adora Heras, the subject of many lurid  and frightful imaginings amongst the men of the 69e Ligne.

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Embusqué!
And no sooner have they fired than the guerillas dash back into the windmill, after a little unseemly pushing and shoving at the door.
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La Señora Adora Heras
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De Rière Advances Towards the Windmill
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Serin Presses On

And the drum beats the pas de charge!

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The Column Fords the River

The bold pressing by Sergent Serin has already denied the Rifles an excellent firing position from the high windows of the Vinery (Chosen Man Grundy had had the opportunity to take that position but his men were too busy looking for wine).

As Captain the Honourable Tom Blunt is fond of saying, ‘In the nick of time will do nicely,’ and so he is. He directs some well-aimed shots at Serin’s little band, wounding the sergent and bringing down two other men. ‘Merde Alors!’ is the shout.

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Captain Blunt Arrives
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Serin Injured!

 

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The State of Play

The rest of the French column arrives. Can they press on to victory?

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The French in Force

Meanwhile, de Rière begins to surround the windmill. La Señora Adora Heras abuses him from the doorway, promising to remove more than an ear when he is captured again . . .

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Surrounding the Windmill

Old Nosey’s snarling and biting forces Grundy’s men from their ransacking and into position to flank the column, which is quite an impressive sight.

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Grundy Among the Peach Trees
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Grundy’s View

Another volley from Blunt’s men sees Serin scuttle for the river.

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Serin Recule!

Lieutenant Connard presses on and Serin’s men wade up to their necks to get back to the other side.

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But those behind cried “Forward!”
  And those before cried “Back!”

Second Lieutenant Valentine Moon, annoyed not to find Grundy there already,  gets some men into action from the high windows of the Vinery.

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Moon Fires

A Frenchman falls and there is some confusion at the head of the column.

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Column Under Fire

Sergent-Major Froussard sorts things out with a stentorian bellow from the rear and Lieutenant Connard moves his column inexorably onwards.

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Ploughing On!

De Rière continues the stand off at the windmill but sends some of his men to interrogate Enrique, the mild-mannered potato peddler who denies all knowledge of El Hombre Sin Nombre, but offers to sell some potatoes at very reasonable prices.

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Enrique is Questioned

Serin’s men are routed by shots from Grundy’s riflemen and it is a very sorry and bedraggled bunch of voltigeurs struggle from the river and run.

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Unstoppable?

Voltigeurs secure the road. El Hombre Sin Nombre must retire and surely La Señora Adora Heras is trapped!

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Securing the Road

Blunt’s men advance into the copse of trees and fire on Connard’s column, which is beginning to deploy, but is it too little, too late? Where is Sergeant Fiddler? What has become of El Hombre Sin Nombre?

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The State of Play

La Señora Adora Heras tells her men that she at least will not die like a rabbit in a trap, and so of course their honour as Spaniards compels them to follow her. They fall with knives and, in the case of Adora, sabre upon De Rière’s men.

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¡No moriré como un conejo en una trampa!

The struggle is brief and furious. Both leaders are wounded – something that is happening to the unfortunate French lieutenant with monotonous regularity – but it is the voltigeurs who give way.

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¡Victoria!

In a raging fury, La Señora whirls about and charges the remainder of the voltigeurs who, unprepared, facing the wrong way, attempt to flee, but they are caught.

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Too Slow!

The fight is horribly one-sided and the French do not die well.

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Butchery

The lone survivor throws himself on La Señora’s mercy. He is kept alive to provide some evening entertainment. Poor fellow.

Now both French columns press on relentlessly. British rifle fire is, for once, proving surprisingly ineffective and Sergeant ‘Kid’ Fiddler is nowhere to be found. Blunt orders Bugler Tooting to sound ‘Retreat’.

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The Way Ahead Secured
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Over the River
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Closing In
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Time to Retire
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Endgame

The French finally succeed in getting across the river! Poor Lieutenant de Rière must now surely be the most wounded man in the entire French army. Adora Heras performs heroics and lives to fight another day. The rapist Serin and his accomplices receive just deserts. A poor day for the Rifles though.

 

The Butcher’s Bill

BRITISH:

  • No Casualties

FRENCH:

  • Dead – 7 Voltigeurs, 1 Fusilier
  • Wounded – Lieutenant de Rière, Sergent Serin, 4 Voltigeurs, 1 Fusiliers
  • Captured – 1 Voltigeur

SPANISH:

  • Recovering from Wounds – 2 Guerillas

 

 

Engagement at Hueco Soñoliento

After successive defeats at Fuexu and Viñedo Tripa de Pudrición, the men of the 69e Ligne would be on their chin straps had they not been reduced to eating them. The Rio de Cocina Laga must still be forced but a good meal (and perhaps a bottle of wine or two) is now of more pressing importance.

Lieutenant Boursouflure rouses the men of the grenadier company and, with the assistance of Lieutenant De Rière and some voltigeurs and a gun under the command of the recently arrived Lieutenant Boulet, heads off towards the tranquil village of Hueco Soñoliento. The Cantinière Isabelle Bitche, well beloved by all the men of the 69e Ligne, accompanies the small column.

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Lieutenant Boursouflure
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Cantinière Isabelle Bitche

Unbeknown to Boursouflure, Hueco Soñoliento is the headquarters of the notorious guerilla known only as El Hombre Sin Nombre. He and his men have taken residence in the house of  Señor Pinchazo while awaiting the arrival of another notable guerilla, Señora Adora Heras. To further complicate matters a small force of the 1/3rd Guards and 1/95th Rifles under Captain & Lieutenant-Colonel William Sillie is also marching on the village. Sillie has orders to make contact with the local priest who, he is assured, will be able to put him in touch with the enigmatic El Hombre Sin Nombre.

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El Hombre Sin Nombre
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Captain & Lieutenant-Colonel William Sillie of the 1/3rd Guards

Voltigeurs  under the rather unsavoury Sergent Serin lead the way into the village. The residents flee in panic but one woman is not quick enough and finds herself bundled into a toolshed by Serin and his men where a very sordid incident ensues. C’est la guerre, mais ce n’est pas édifiant.

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Déployer le Canon

The British come swinging down the road. Lieutenant Wolfe Whistler in command of the Rifles.

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The British Arrive
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Grenadiers En Avant!
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Le Boom!

Boulet’s gun opens up on Sergeant Havers’ Rifles who have taken position on the hill where the church stands, but to little effect.

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The Battle Begins!

Whistler’s men engage the French right flank, which comprises some grenadiers under Sergent-Major Boumdier (Sergent Serin’s men are still busy in the toolshed just in front of Boumdier’s left flank). Lieutenant Boursouflure has boldly advanced the bulk of his grenadiers in the centre where they are being harassed by Havers’ rifle fire. The guards are out of sight behind the hill. On the French left, Lieutenant De Rière and a dozen voltigeurs have reached the wall of Señor Pinchazo’s small estate and captured a rather disgruntled pig that was snoozing beneath an olive tree.

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Rifles Sniping
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The Guards Form an Orderly Line
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The Villagers Seek Refuge

Sergent Serin’s men finally emerge from the toolshed and, after buttoning their trousers, add their fire against Lieutenant Whistler’s riflemen, who are now feeling distinctly outnumbered.

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French Volleys

One villager, trying desperately to save his pigs, was caught in front of the first volley that Boursouflure unleashed against the Guards, who were emerging from behind the hill under the command of Sergeant Pringle – a very crisp-looking individual – while Sillie went off to interview the priest. The villager mniraculously escaped unharmed but two of his precious pigs were slain. La guerre c’est l’enfer.

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The Guards Reply

A long range musketry duel ensues between Pringle’s guardsmen and Boursouflure’s grenadiers.

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Long Range Musketry
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Le Choc!

Half a dozen voltiguers enter the courtyard in search of chickens. They receive a rude surprise as the guerillas emerge from the house to fire with blunderbusses. No Frenchmen are hurt but the noise and smoke of the discharges have considerable effect and they recoil towards the doorway.

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El Hombre Sin Nombre

El Hombre Sin Nombre leads more guerillas onto the balcony where they fire at the rest of De Rière’s men.

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La Belle Bitche!

The grenadiers are getting the worst of their exchange with the guards but Isabelle Bitche, well-beloved by all the men of the 69e Ligne, hands out free brandy to restore the men’s spirits. Enthused they deliver a crashing volley that severely discomfit’s Pringle’s previously crisp firing line.

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Une Vache Capturée

Meanwhile, Serin captures a cow. Lieutenant Whistler has been forced to retire, the firepower of the French right being too much for his small band, even when reinforced by Señora Adora Heras and her entourage. While Sergent-Major Boumdier presses forward to threaten both the British left flank and some chickens, Serin rounds up the stray cow, which will feed the company for a week.

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At the Church

Captain & Lieutenant-Colonel Sille has not been idle. Unfortunately it turns out that Latin as taught at Eton is not quite as that used by churchmen in Spain, and the French cannon, for want of better targets, has begun firing on the church, so communicating with the priest has been more difficult than he anticipated. Nonetheless he has gathered that the guerilla leader he seeks is in the large house. Wishing the somewhat perplexed priest,  ‘Die enim bona,’ he sets off to restore some order to his faltering guardsmen.

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La Garde Recule! Les Voltigeurs Fuir!

Sillie is only just in time. The relentless French volleys have forced the guardsmen back and quite ruined their previously nice neat line. But thing have not gone all in favour of the French. El Hombre Sin Nombre’s guerillas have chased the voltigeurs out of the courtyard. But there’s no doubt that Boursouflure has gained the upper hand.

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Spanish Stand-Off
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Adlante!

While some of his men push through the doorway to fire into the remaining voltigeurs with blunderbusses, wounding Lieutenant De Rière, El Hombre Sin Nombre takes his dagger in his teeth and leads the rest over the high wall to come to close quarters.

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Thrown Back!

El Hombre Sin Nombre is stunned by a French musket butt and falls back into the courtyard. Recovering, he tries again!

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To the Knife!
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¡Victoria!

The fight is savage and brief. Gallant to the last, Lieutenant De Rière gives up only when he is knocked senseless.

And now the tide has turned in favour of the Allies. His blood up, El Hombre Sin Nombre falls upon the remnant of fleeing voltigeurs and then the gun crew, who are forced to abandon their piece.

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¡Sin Piedad!
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Rapide! Tourner le canon!
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Trop Tard!

Alarmed by the unexpected and utter collapse of his left, Boursouflure orders his men to retire with their haul of one cow, one pig and several chickens. It is no victory for the French but it is enough for a feast.

 

The Butcher’s Bill

British:

  • Recovering from Wounds – 1 Guardsman, 3 Riflemen
  • Dead – 4 Guardsmen, 1 Rifleman
  • Wounded – 1 Rifleman

French:

  • Dead – 3 Grenadiers, 4 Voltigeurs, 2 Gunners
  • Wounded – Sergent-Major Boumdier, 1 Grenadier, 4 Voltigeurs
  • Captured Wounded – Lieutenant De Rière, 2 Voltigeurs
  • Captured – 4 Voltigeurs, 2 Gunners
  • Missing – 1 Grenadier

Spanish:

  • Recovering from Wounds – 2 Guerillas
  • Dead – 2 Guerillas
  • Wounded – 1 Guerilla

 

Encounter at the Viñedo Tripa de Pudrición

Having received a savaging at Fuexu, Pépin’s company of the 69ème Ligne have fallen back in search of much-needed supplies. But although short on food and water, the ever-aggressive Pépin, discovering that Captain Blunt’s small force of riflemen has followed them, decides to try once more for the crossing of the Rio del Cocina Laga. Unbeknown to the French, Blunt has been reinforced by a 6-pdr under the command of Lieutenant Arthur Thunderman. 

With Sous-Lieutenant Hugo de Nigot captured, Victor Bouffon, newly promoted from the ranks steps in to fill the vacancy. Although only half the company are fit for service, the rest reorganising under Lieutenant Connard, the voltigeur company have sent some men to reinforce Pépin under the command of the capable Lieutenant Jacques de Riere.

The sun is burning hot as the French march along the dusty road that leads past the Viñedo Tripa de Pudrición and Pépin’s men are flagging from want of water. But the captain drives them on ferociously, telling them that they can drink their fill at the Rio del Cocina Laga. 

At the vineyard, Blunt and his small band lie in wait.

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First Shots

Serjeant ‘Kid’ Fiddler starts the shooting while Lieutenant Thunderman gets his gun into position in the shade of a handy peach tree.

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First Casualties

A ripple of rifle shots and Sergent Corniaud falls stunned as the ball that blew the brains from a man further forward dents his shako.

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A Voltigeur’s View
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Grasshoppers

Second Lieutenant Valentine Moon brings his riflemen into action.

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Waiting

Captain Blunt has taken possession of the vineyard from the Spanish owner – ‘I’m awfully sorry, but I’m afraid we’re going to have to occupy your property’ – he gets a frosty response.

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Skirmish Screen

The voltigeurs begin firing.

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Tirez!

With the voltigeurs now covering the flank, the main body of the French near the road junction.

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Wounded!
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Pépin Deploys

Under heavy fire, Pépin deploys.

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Brandy?

A Spanish pedlar arrives and is eager to sell the thirsty Frenchmen brandy from the bottles carried by his mule.

Encouraged by the prospect of alcohol, Sous-Lieutenant Bouffon leads the rear of the column up.

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Poor Sergent Serin!

 

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Fire!

Thunderman’s cannon continues to play on Pépin’s ragged line while the rifles take a steady toll.

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Bouffon Avance!

Pépin may have received a mauling but Sous-Lieutenant Bouffon drives his men forward regardless, weathering canister shot and getting them into line. The brandy doubtless helps with this.

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Leur Donner un Autre!

Sous-Lieutenant Bouffon unleashes a rather ragged volley that kills a gunner, and then another far more devastaing one.

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Fiddler Wounded! (Old Nosey is Fine)

Fiddler sees three of his men fall and a ball passes through his calf. His Caledonian expletives keep his remaining men in the fight. Lieutenant Thunderman’s men are reduced to a single gunner who runs screaming from the fight while Thunderman gamely drags the gun to safety.

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Le 69ème Recul!

But Bouffon’s small success has come too late, Pépin’s men are on the verge of total collapse. Ordering the retreat, the bloody but defiant Pépin shakes his hat in rage as he is foiled again.

The Butcher’s Bill

British:

  • Recovering from Wounds – Sergeant Fiddler, 3 Riflemen
  • Dead – 3 Gunners

French:

  • Dead – 3 Voltigeurs, 3 Fusiliers
  • Wounded – Capitaine Pépin, Lieutenant de Riere, Sergent Serin et Sergent Corniaud, 2 Voltigeurs, 12 Fusiliers

The Fuexu Affray

Captain the Honourable John Thomas Blunt and his handful of gallant Riflemen from the 95th Regiment of Foot have arrived in the Spanish village of Fuexu just in time! Blunt’s faithful hound, The General (known to the men as Old Nosey), has detected an advancing French force.

Beyond Fuexu is the key bridge over the Rio del Cocina Laga, which in French hands will unhinge Wellington’s left flank. Outnumbered more than four to one, Captain Blunt must halt the French in their tracks.

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Fuexu

The picture above shows the key tactical features of the battlefield. The French, entering on the road lined by tall cypress trees, are attempting to exit by the road to the right of the church, which leads to the aforementioned bridge over the Rio de Cocina Laga. Blunt has established his headquarters in the church, where his men have made a second breakfast of some wine and some rather thin wheaty biscuits they found lying around in the apse. Old Nosey is on the road near the vinery buildings where Moon and a dozen riflemen are ensconsed.

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Old Nosey On Guard

Major Manque, a French officer of daring repute, has just completed an assignation with a mysterious Spanish lady known only as La Ubrera. Increasingly uneasy with what La Ubrera has imparted to him, and noticing the unexpected arrival of Blunt’s riflemen, he lurks near the village outskirts.

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Major Manque Outside La Casa de la Ubrera

A French staff officer has ridden a little way ahead of the column and sees the road is clear (apart from some rather scruffy looking mongrel gnawing on chicken bones). He orders the advance!

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Staff Officer Surveying the Ground

French voltigeurs eagerly scamper forwards. A dozen head into olive groves to the left of the road, six under a sergeant into the vines to the right. After a while, a steady chomping of fruit can be heard.

Captain Blunt is an aristocratic gentleman to his (currently rather muddy) boots. But he knows a good ruse de guerre when his serjeant suggests one, and he has had half his men lie down on the muddy hillside (his own pelisse is ruined anyway, so it doesn’t matter). A whispered exchange:

Captain Blunt (urgent): Tooting, your bugle!

Rifleman Tooting (indignant): I’m not, sir!. (hurt): I wouldn’t ’til you give the command, sir.

Captain Blunt (with a heavy sigh): Sound, Skirmishers May Engage, Tooting.

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Blunt Springs an Ambuscade!

And to the merry notes of Tooting’s bugle, a dozen rifle shots ring out as one, startling the Voltigeurs in the vines and bringing to an end their spirited debate on the merits of Prieto Pecudo over Tinto de Toro.

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More Shocked Than Hurt

‘Kid’ Fiddler urges the men to reload speedily, and they do, knowing that the last man to fire will be the serjeant’s next sparring partner. Their next shots are more ragged in timing but deadlier in effect.

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Independent Fire Commences
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This Time, More Hurt Than Shocked

Two Voltigeurs will pick grapes no more beneath a Spanish sun.

The first half of the French main body arrives under the popular Sous-Lieutenant Hugo de Nigot (whose uncle of course fought in the Saindoux Campaign of 1757 in the Americas). They swing down the road in the shade of the cypresses singing (perhaps somewhat prematurely) La Victoire est a Nous.

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Enter the Conscripts

 A mournful howl from Old Nosey brings Second Lieutenant Moon and his men tumbling from out of the Vinery, their jackets bulging, the contents chinking gently. They cover the road and, encouraged by the increasingly vociferous dog, begin to shoot into the densely packed French ranks.

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Out, Lads. Fight Them in the Open!
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Shocking Stuff, Unexpected Rifle Fire

Meanwhile, Blunt’s men continue to fire from the hill at the Voltigeurs. Two more of the French lights fall and their sergeant decides that he’s had quite enough of this particular game of soldiers and orders them to fall back.

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Third Time Pays for All
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Se Livrer à la Pédérastie avec Cela Pour un Jeu de Soldats

The balance of the French company has now arrived under Capitaine Pépin. Rather than get drawn into a bottleneck at the road junction, the good captain takes his men east, across country, aiming to turn the English flank. He urges the voltigeurs out of the olive grove and, replete, they make their way towards the house where Major Manque is still adjusting his dress.

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The French Press Forwards

Sergent Grondement (by astonishing coincidence, his great-uncle also fought in the Saindoux Campaign of 1757) challenges Major Manque.

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Vous Y! Qu’est-ce Que Tu Fais? Oh, Désolé, Monsieur . . .

And Sous-Lieutenant de Nigot leads his men bravely into the rifle fire.

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En Avant!

The column deploys and opens fire, wounding two of Moon’s men.

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Tirez!

The popular de Nigot is wounded, disheartening his men. But the brave sous-lieutenant takes his sword in his teeth to avoid crying out with pain and waves his men on.

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Shooting French in a Barrel

Blunt realises that Grondement’s voltigeurs are getting near to his flank and, trusting that Moon will sensibly retire whilst firing before the French column, takes his men to deal with the threat.

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Take That, Froggie!

But young Moon’s blood is up and he sees the column is in some disorder. He gives the order to fix swords.

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Fix Swords!

And charges! Ten men against forty-three!

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Rout

The sight of the rifles charging out of the smoke is too much for most of the young French conscripts. The front ranks hold their ground until Sous-Lieutenant de Nigot is brought down – a snarling Old Nosey dashes between the Frenchman’s legs and Rifleman Knox smashes his rifle butt into the stumbling officer’s face, sending him to the ground. The column breaks, half a dozen French cut down as they turn to flee, and a mad sauve qui peut ensues.

With half his force in incontinent retreat, and seeing the consternation on the faces of the rest, Capitaine Pépin decides discretion may be the better part of valour.

As a final blow, a shot from Rifleman Penfold, the company marksman, wounds Major Manque.

The French are repulsed and Wellington’s flank secured. Blunt’s men drink his health three times three from their looted bottles of wine.

The Butcher’s Bill

British:

  • Recovering from Wounds – 4 Riflemen

French:

  • Dead – 3 Voltigeurs, 4 Fusiliers
  • Wounded – Major Manque, 1 Voltigeur, 4 Fusiliers
  • Captured Wounded – Sous-Lieutenant de Nigot, 1 Voltigeur, 3 Fusiliers
  • Captured – 3 Fusiliers
  • Missing – 1 Voltiguer, 5 Fusiliers