Saturday, 26 July 2014

Paper Figures In Action - The Battle of Maipo

With my Royalist and Patriot armies now all edged and finished, I gave them a debut outing this afternoon. I decided on another refight of the 1818 Battle of Maipo, because the figures are pretty much geared up for that, and it always gives an entertaining game. The rules were, of course, my 'Liberated Hordes' HOTT variant.

I played on a 2' x 2' board, set out as follows:

I went for a mostly historical deployment, rather than a free-form one. So although each side only had one general, I grouped the elements into the commands they were in on the day, and deployed those commands together. The armies were 600p apart - the artillery on both sides could shoot from the beginning.

Here's San Martin leading the Patriot army. In Liberated Hordes generals are part of an element, as in HOTT, but can move around from element to element rather than being limited to a particular one. hence they are represented by a small marker. San Martin was a Good general. This meant that once per game he could opt to roll two dice for PIPs, and keep the best score.

On the other side of the valley, General Osorio lurked at the back of his army, attached to the elite Burgos Battalion. Osorio was a Poor Coward. 'Poor' meant that his second PIP roll of '6' would be converted to a '1', whilst 'Coward' meant that he gave no combat modifier to the element he was with, plus if his element recoiled, or an element within one base-width was destroyed he had to roll a dice and on a score of '1' he would quit the field in panic. In Liberated Hordes the loss of a general doesn't cause an army to lose the battle, but obviously the effect it has on your command and control isn't good.

The Patriots started off the battle, sending their elite Horse Grenadiers to attack the flank of the main Royalist body. True to their historical deployment, The Royalists had a quarter of their force on a small hill detached from the main body. The Patriot plan was to screen them with a couple of elements of infantry, and use the Horse Grenadiers to hit the main body, bringing up the bulk of the army in support once the Royalists were in confusion.

The Royalists responded by advancing their left flank off the hill. Musketry drove back one lot of Horse Grenadiers.

The Horse Grenadiers switched their attack onto the Royalist left, but failed to make an impression.

The Royalists swung some of their dragoons in to support the infantry.

However attacking elite cavalry uphill with poor-quality militia is not a good plan, and they quickly routed.

This allowed the Horse Grenadiers to charger the Royalist artillery.

The Royalists responded by bringing up infantry support, whilst the artillery held off the cavalry attacks against all expectations.

The Royalist left pressed forward, with steady volleys driving back the Patriot cavalry and infantry.

With his right threatened, and the Horse Grenadiers making heavy weather of the enemy artillery, San Martin ordered a general advance. The column is the reserve, mostly of Chilean units of a lower quality than the Argentinians who make up the bulk of the army.

The Horse Grenadiers finally swept away the artillery, but an advance onto the flank of the enemy line was prevented by the supporting infantry.

The Royalist left continued to advance through the marshy ground and over the small hill.

The Patriots responded by organising a line.

San Martin pauses to get his line in order, feeding in some reserves and closing up the gaps. Now unable to support the advance of their army, some of the artillery was sent to the right.

The Patriot advance continues. Osorio had rolled a '6' for PIPs by this stage, so a possible '1' was on the cards. Pushing into his army was a good way to exploit the issues this would cause, especially as San Martin still had his Good general bonus in hand as well.

Osorio, the Royalist commander, chose this moment to have a run of bad PIPs (not even caused by his Poor rating), so the advance on the Patriot right stalled.

An overview of the battle.

With their advance in one easy to manage block, there were still spare PIPs on the Patriot side to organise a proper defence on their right. But the Royalists continued to hold.

San Martin's line advanced into musketry range ...

 ... and the first volleys saw the Royalist line disrupted. The Royalist infantry was in fact fairly good - all regulars, with a couple of elites as well. That of the Patriots was a mix of regulars and more brittle militia, so bad rolls could see their line broken up badly; not good if you are the one launching the attack.

Another volley saw the loss of a Royalist element.

Having driven back the Royalist infantry opposing them, the Horse Grenadiers moved over to support their right flank. The Royalists here were in a tricky position now.

The Patriots charge! All along the line they advanced rapidly with fixed bayonets, whilst on the flank their cavalry charged the remaining Royalist element.

The element to which San Martin was attached found itself fighting that to which his opponent was part of.

The cavalry melee on the Patriot left.

Disaster! Argentinian infantry overwhelm an element of elite Royalist infantry. Osorio fails to rally them - in Liberated Hordes an attached general gives you a +1 to a losing combat score (instead of a straight 1 in combat) but as a Coward Osorio doesn't have this advantage. He, and his element, are swept away.

The other element of elite infantry falls to some deadly concentrated musketry.

With their elite core, and their general, gone, it's all over bar the shouting for the Royalists. Another element falls to musketry ...

... and whilst the Horse Grenadiers fail to make an impression on the Royalist left, the Royalist losses are enough for them to lose the battle.

The Royalist losses - one cavalry, one artillery, four infantry and their general. The Patriots lost nothing; the battle was a total whitewash.

The final position.

I thought that the figures looked really nice in action, and look forward to trying some more games with them. The scenario went well too. Historically the Patriots won as well, but in the last couple of refights the Royalists have won, mostly by breaking up the Patriot attack as it went in, the picking on the weaker militia infantry to keep the line disrupted.


  1. A surprisingly attractive set up - colourful and looks good. My one caveat - not a huge one - is the similarity between each side's uniforms. But that's the way history goes I guess...

    1. Yes - there is an unsporting similarity in uniforms sadly.

  2. I agree with the Archduke - an attractive setup. When I see pictures like these, and consider the fact that you went from idea to game in about 5 days, I have to wonder why I feel the need to acquire and paint metal/plastic miniatures for every wargame idea that pops into my head.

    Thanks for the reminder that there are more options out there!

  3. These "flats" are a great way to quickly and cheaply generate an army and even give the massed formation feel. Impressive!

  4. Very nice and impressive report, I don't play with 'Paper', but I really like this pictures, thanks for sharing!


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