Peninsular War, Bridge demolition game.

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    Anthony Miles

    Last Friday night saw me run a 28mm Napoleonic game based in the Iberian Peninsula using Black Power (1st edit) as the rules.
    The game idea came from reading James Roach’s blog last year, specifically these two posts “The Bridge at Hermoso Santo – My first Peninsular War scenario” and “The Bridge at Hermoso Santo report “. He was kind enough to post OOBs and briefings on his blog and answered several of my questions about some aspects of the scenario, so a few months later it was my turn to run it.

    The OOBs were tweaked slightly from his to allow for figures from our collections.


    The scenario was that of a British force holding a vital bridge over an impassable river with orders to destroy said bridge rather than allow it’s capture by the French, but only after receiving a direct order from Wellington. They were also to minimise loses from their command. The problem was the French had arrived close by and the engineer and his demolition team had not yet arrived.

    In game terms this meant the British had to deploy the majority of their force on the wrong side of the bridge, to hold off the French, allowing the engineers time to arrive and rig the bridge for demolition. They then had to withdraw back over the bridge, after receiving the demolition order from Wellington, before attempting to destroy the bridge. The order from Wellington would be received if, at the end of their turn, the British were dealt a Joker from selection of playing cards. To destroy the bridge they had to roll 14 or over using a number of D6 equal to the number of gunpowder charges they had managed to set.


    Things started badly for the British when their cavalry lost a melee with their French counterparts, and had to retreat, allowing them a follow-up charge into infantry in line. Two battalions were destroyed but at least the French horsemen also had to withdraw and reform.


    The other flank went a bit better for the British with initial poor French command rolls and some good shooting from a half battery of Royal Artillery.

    The engineering team also arrived and made a good start preparing the bridge for demolition.

    At the end of turn three the permission to carry out the demolition was received by the British players, this was unknown to the French. There then followed a few turns where the sides jockeyed for position while the engineers tried to get enough charges laid to risk the die roll for demolition.

    When the time came the British started to withdraw their forces with the French pressing them closely. The British lost another battalion and half battery of artillery during this phase while a tiny unit of riflemen from the 5/60th regiment proved to be an exceptional thorn in the side of the Vistula troops on one flank.

    Now came the end game, the British used several “Follow Me” orders to get units across the bridge to safety until only two units remained on the French side. The jubilant French hussars saw the isolated riflemen, unable to move to disorder, and charged only to look on in disbelief as they first lost the melee then failed the break test and were destroyed “merde!”

    <img src=

    With these units unable to move the British decided to attempt to blow the bridge which they succeeded in doing, giving them a satisfying if not costly victory.

    More can be read on this game including links to all the briefing notes, OOBs and maps I used on my blog post at Jabba’s Wargaming


    invisible officer

    Nice report and a good looking tabe

    Charge The Guns

    Great battle report. I remember the original scenario, obviously produces good games. 🙂

    Now you have the option of an interesting mini campaign to rescue the 5/60th. If only Wellington had some Officer who could lead such a mission!


    Thank you for the report and the looks on your awesome table.
    I like especially the picture with the blowing bridge!

    Thomas Henderson

    A very nice looking table and interesting scenario!

    Anthony Miles

    Thank you everyone for your comments.

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