Major Horace Turvington had clear orders: Take the de la Bréjaude plantation from the brigands. The manor house had been burned down during that fateful night in August 1791, when the slaves of the Northern Plains had risen in union. However, the Marquis de la Bréjaude was an important ally and it would show good will if his remaining property could be secured.
For this scenario, we used a simplified version of the blind mechanics that probably has more in common with the scouting phase in Chain of Command than with the blinds rules for Sharp Practice. It did achieve what we wanted: the sometimes a bit tedious deployment was abbreviated without taking away tactical choices and the game started right into the action.
My British regulars managed to move unto the hill and get into line formation, while my Chasseurs moved straight towards the buildings. K. had her Maroons behind the barn and the rest also heading towards the buildings in the centre, which represented the objective of the scenario. My regulars fired a volley at the militia hanging around in the middle, but then danger loomed large as K. was bringing her Maroons into position to charge the vulnerable right flank of my line. However, now an astonishing series of events started that would show what a joy a game of Sharp Practice can be if everything goes according to plan!
Without any doubt, Major Turvington was the man of the day. First, he ordered one group of Chasseurs to secure the right flank. They immediately complied and rushed over, just in time to repulse the charge of the first group of Maroons. Maroons are pretty good in melee, but the advantage of the high ground enabled the Chasseurs to initially stand their ground.
When the second Maroon group attacked, the Chasseurs lost their nerve and fled. Fortunately, my regulars had realised the threat, disbanded the line and poured a volley into the Maroons, which took to their heels. The Maroon threat was thereby neutralised – a couple of volleys more and they were falling back for good.
Meanwhile, at the left flank, Lieutenant Winkworth had led his Chasseurs further in direction of the houses. However, the whippersnapper let himself into a musketry duel with a group of militia and got stuck. Even worse, after a couple of volleys it was evident that the militia was getting the better of him!
Also, the turn limit was running out and there were more French in the zone that formed the objective than British. No reason to despair for the Major, however: First, he rode over to the Chasseurs and rallied them with a stirring speech.
Then he shouted to his Sergeant: “Now’s your time, McAllister!” – and the first group of regulars marched right into the space between the buildings, while the second group charged at the already shaken French regulars and drove them away.
Technically, the game was a draw – I had as many units in the objective zone as K. But what a game it was! We both agreed that this was the most exciting and dramatic game we have played for a long time. And for me it did feel like a victory. Sure, I had a good share of luck, but I don’t think I’ve ever played a game of Sharp Practice (or any other rules, for that matter) where I was keeping up with the flow of events in such a way. Command and control worked perfectly and the final charge down the hill even felt historically accurate, considering the British penchant for deciding things with the bayonet.
I’m looking forward to playing the next game, although I’m sure my streak of luck won’t last (to say nothing of my streak of tactical acumen…). Meanwhile, a toast to Major Turvington!