Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Come and Take It: The Battle of Gonzales 28mm Battle Report

Fording the river in force.
 After completing some new buildings and hills, I left the town of 1835 Gonzales set up on the dining room table before going to work.  My wife was disgusted, but the boys were excited to play the next morning.

Approaching the Guadaloupe.
 The original battle took place on 2 October, 1835.  It was a confused affair where Mexican Centralista forces and Texian Rebel Militia bumbled into each other, fording and re-fording the swollen Guadaloupe River.  At stake, an 18th c Spanish six pounder cannon (and the liberal Mexican Constitution of 1824), which for posterity would fire the opening salvos of the Texian Revolution (the cannon, that is.  Funny how these things start with the government disarming the populace).  From the advance, things did not bode well (at least in the 2014, 28mm version of this battle).  My troops came out as green on my roll for both infantry and cavalry.  This would mean a -1 on a few critical rolls and a moral modifier of +1 (the higher the MM, the greater likelihood of troops retreating or failing to respond to commands).  Too many late nights at Senora Portillo's Taqueria, quipped my son.  He rolled veteran troops for his artillery crew and riflemen...1812/Cherokee veterans under Jackson, I suppose.  He would get a +1 on many actions and a -1 MM, a greater likelihood that his troops will respond to commands (can move farther away from command/musician/flag bases) and are more likely to charge if ordered.

A shell-burst in the cottonwoods along the river.
 My cavalry took fire as the infantry moved to the ford, but were shielded by the trees.  Lt Castaneda's coat was torn by iron scrap...the first of three near misses on a wound effect roll.

Fusileros emerge from the cottonwoods to ford the Guadeloupe.
 As my troops emerged from the trees along the ford, they came under rifle fire from Texian militia led by newly-elected Colonel John Henry Moore.    Thankfully, the six pounder, commanded by war of 1812 veteran James Neill, took a turn to reload.

The old Spanish six pounder crewed by Captain James Neill and Texian militia.
 Since the cannon can only fire every other turn, the Texians were limited to directing rifle fire at the advancing fusileros. 

The fusileros draw first blood, but not before a trooper and cornet are checked
by Texian shrapnel.
 Until the next turn, when a shell burst tears a trooper from his horse midstream and wounds the cornet.  You will note the yellow wound counters.  Red wound counters signify a fatal wound, and allow play to continue, until casualties are removed at the end of the turn.

The fusileros advance, firing as Lt Castaneda leads his lancers around the right.

The infantry across, they form a firing line and cover the movement of the cavalry, who pass behind them. The hill and building now mask the fire of the Texian cannon, which begins to withdraw the central plaza of the town.

Colonel  Moore's Texians fall back to the cover of the town.
As the cannon withdraws, Moore's Texians fall back.  All except one fat rifleman were able to make the roll to successfully climb up the roof.

The fusileros charge, but are repulsed.
 Meanwhile on the left, the remainder of the fusileros charged some riflemen hiding in a thicket, but with their Sergeant already killed, they were repulsed. A few final well placed rifle shots would dwindle their numbers.  Loosing 50% and their leader, by the time they entered the town they were forced to retreat, inevitably failing their moral roll, allowing the Texian cannon to pivot to face the flanking lancers.

Texian riflemen finally pick off the Cornet and second trooper.
 On the right, the Mexican Lancers were following Lt. Castaneda in column, while taking flanking fired from the Texians, now on the roof (except the portly fellow who failed his climbing roll during the movement phase...again).  Another trooper and the wounded Cornet were killed-Castaneda suffered another grazing wound.  He wound not prove so lucky again.

The Mexican Lancers charge.
 Though green, the troopers follow Lt Castaneda, dangerously hemmed in by the narrow streets.  Charging in column against a loaded cannon does not normally work well.

...into the mouth of the cannon.
 Unfortunately for Lt Castaneda, the Texians had a higher initiative roll and were able to fire first...and the Lieutenant and three troopers were engulfed in flames and smoke from the cannon's mouth.

With their Lieutenant dead, the remaining troopers retreat across a nearby ford.
 Only three troopers made it across the ford.  Two would be picked off by rifle fire, leaving only one to tell the gruesome tale.  As my son explained, if you go to Senora Portillo's Taqueria on El Camino Real, south of Bexar, there is an old grey Mexican trooper, who will gladly tell the tale for a taquito or two.

The Texians...bloodied, but obnoxiously defiant.
A fun game, and unlike the actual battle (1 casualty) a bloodbath.  So much for history.

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