I had another go at my Alto Peru campaign for Liberated Hordes this morning. As before I randomly generated the armies and commanders, and away we went. Both armies had about a 50/50 mix of militia and regular infantry, but the Royalists had two elements each of cavalry and artillery to the Patriot's one. The Royalist commander was poor, but inspirational, whilst the Patriots had an average commander.
In the first battle the Royalists defended, and set up a dense terrain, anchoring their line on a town and a rocky hill. Their militia defended the hill, whilst the cavalry were in reserve. They were lucky enough to get a couple of random events, one of which upgraded one of their militia infantry to regular for this battle, and the other of which forced the Patriots to deploy in three dispersed groups.
The Patriots advanced in three groups along three parallel valleys. This wasn't a major hindrance, because the Royalist deployment was somewhat defensive anyway, so they were unlikely to be hindered whilst they advanced and deployed.
As it was, the Royalists did adopt an offensive posture on their left, throwing their militia infantry forward, supported by the cavalry reserve. The aim of this move was to hit the Patriot militia on that flank, and turn the Patriot right, whilst the main infantry line held the Patriots in place.
Unfortunately the attack fell apart in the face of deadly Patriot musketry.
On the other flank the artillery of both sides fought a duel across some fields. Despite their numbers, the Royalists lost an element of artillery to the better quality Patriot gunners.
But the other Royalist guns silenced their opposite number not long afterwards.
The Patriots advanced their right, and turned the Royalist left, taking the rocky hill.
Patriot cavalry worked around the other flank.
With both flanks in danger, the Royalist commander decided to preserve as many elements as possible for the next game, and withdrew enough from the table to lose the battle - elements which leave the table automatically return for the next game, whereas combat losses may not always return, being replaced by militia and not always by troops of the same type.
The Patriot victory was decisive, and they used it to take an uncontrolled political token.
After replacements the armies remained much as they were before, except that the Patriots now had no artillery. Neither general was replaced.
In the second game the Royalists defended again. With a huge advantage in artillery, they Royalist commander decided to go for a river-line defence, hoping to pound the Patriots as they advanced. The Patriots were unlucky in their choice of side, and the Royalists got the exact position they wanted. Their inspirational general meant that despite their previous defeat, the Royalist morale was high.
The Patriots advanced heir main infantry block towards the Royalist centre, aiming to punch through at one concentrated point. Their cavalry moved up in support, with the aim of distracting the Royalist commander's attention.
The Royalists committed their cavalry in opposition. but the Royalists' poor commander trait kicked in, and their advance stalled as they crossed the river, leaving them at a disadvantage versus their Patriot counterparts, who were able to move up before the Royalists were fully across.
In the centre the Patriots attempted to force the river.
The Patriot cavalry charged ...
... and routed the Royalists.
Some Patriot infantry managed to drive deep into the Royalist centre ...
... but without support they were cut down.
The patriot cavalry were across the river now, and the Royalist left was rolled up, as the artillery on the hill was charged.
The Patriot infantry now just resorted to musketry, aiming to keep the Royalist centre pinned whilst the cavalry did the main work.
As the Royalist left collapsed some Patriot troops crossed without opposition.
An element of Royalists tried to hold the cavalry charge, led by their general, but they were cut down to a man, the general with them. The Royalist army collapsed at this point.
The end of the battle. They key to the Royalist defeat was their command failure just as their counter-attack was crossing the river, followed by a couple of turns of poor PIPs.
The Patriots seized another political token, and having won another decisive victory (despite their own losses), were well positioned to make proclamation, declaring the area independent of Spain. They succeeded, to win the campaign.
Both battles were relatively even affairs on paper, and each hinged on a single key moment; the first when the Royalists infantry was driven off by Patriot musketry and the second when their cavalry counter-attack froze. Such is the nature of warfare.