|"Hold the line! Dammit! HOLD THE LINE!"|
April 1809, Portugal
The final battle began on a fine morning with the 30th Northumberland prepared behind their lines, with the stolen French cannon offering steady support. Two lines of infantry faced off at the bridge, the French attempting to take it and the English steadfastly refusing to yield.
Volley after volley was fired into the enemy and yet the French still advanced and fired. The cannon boomed across the distance, killing many, and yet the French still advanced and fired.
Lt. Hardrick stood ready with the 13th Light Dragoons to attack. Cornet Wyle ready to give the French a proper drubbing. Sgt. Finkauf looking to improve his station with a feat of excellence. Corporal Limekiller salivating at the thought of stealing a French lieutenant's horse, parading it around before returning it, painted with the Union Jack. Private Greenleaf, nursing the one remaining bottle of cognac of his ruined treasure, hoping to simply survive. Private Crossley seeking death or glory by taking the French Eagle in battle. All stood prepared to do their duty to King and Country!
Soon the withering fire of the 30th Northumberland took it's toll on the advancing French infantry and, with the cannon's steady boom, routed the other force. The 13th Light Dragoon's sprang into action, charging across the bridge to harry the retreating forces and come face to face with the French cavalry.
The battle continued on, this time cavalry vs. cavalry. Sabres flashed in the sun, heroic charges and valiant last stands were made and the French, sans their Eagle and the French lieutenant's horse, were forced to retreat. Though wounded in battle, Lt. Hardrick and his men managed to win the day and gain a new reputation with the French, a reputation built upon their defeat at the hands of the 13th Light Dragoons.
After the battle, the main column arrived and secured the bridge. Promotions all around: Lt. Hardrick was promoted to Captain, Cornet Wyle received his Lieutenancy. Sgt. Finkauf gained a Cornet rank, while Corporal Limekiller became the new Sergeant. And the privates, Greenleaf and Crossley, were awarded with corporal badges.
Bex stole the French horse from Limekiller but he managed to get it back and fulfill his personal mission, gaining a reputation with the French lieutenant - a character that will come back for REVENGE!
(This was the first session we used the extended skirmish rules and they worked quite well. The skirmish was divided into infantry attack and cavalry attack and I had the players take the roles of the 30th Northumberland of Foot officers and men, using their PC's as the template, to fight out the infantry attack. Then we switched to cavalry and they played their own PCs for that. The fight went back and forth, and it looked like the cannon gave them a distinct advantage but it was hard fought, nonetheless.
As for the promotions, they were very lucky with their draws and everyone managed to win a battlefield promotion.
This was also the end of the Duty & Honour sessions and only the future can say whether we will return to the exploits of the 13th Light Dragoons! Hurrah!)