Alternative Tucuman – A Liberators HOTT Battle Report

Chris Harrod and I played my Alternative Tucuman Scenario for Liberators HOTT. Chris played the attacking Royalists trying to reach Tucuman along the main road from the north. I had the Argentine Patriots. Another great little game with victory going to Chris.

Deployment

The scenario has the Patriots waiting for the Royalists where the road from the north enters the plain outside Tucuman.

Alternatuve Tucuman Deployment

Alternatuve Tucuman Deployment

The Royalists get very few deployment choices. Chris had to deploy in column on the road. He put his infantry at the front, guns next and baggage train at the rear. The sharp eyed amongst you will notice the baggage train is actually a couple of limbers driven by Carlists in berets! Clearly I need something a little more accurate for the future, but for now rebellious Spaniards from the peninsular will have to be conscripted into the Royalist armies of South America.

The Royalist cavalry were absent from the march column. Where they on a flank march or just at the rear of the column, off table?

Royalist Column marches on

Royalist Column marches on

My deployment was, from right to left, cavalry, infantry, guns, bulk of the cavalry. I was intending to use my cavalry in shock action against, hopefully, disordered Royalists.

Patriots lurking in wait

Patriots lurking in wait

This was another grand plan that didn’t quite work. As you can see from the photos, it was a long way from the Patriot deployment to the Royalists. The big question is, would the Royalists have time to deploy from march column before the Patriots hit them.

View from Patriot Lines

View from Patriot Lines

View from Patriot Lines

View from Patriot Lines

The Battle

As the attacker Chris got to move first. Sure enough he began to deploy from column to line. Actually three lines.

Royalists begin to deploy

Royalists begin to deploy

My cavalry galloped forward in accordance with the grand plan. The infantry and artillery trailed behind slightly.

Patriot cavalry gallops forward

Patriot cavalry gallops forward

It took a few bounds for Chris to unfold his column into a battle formation. And he wasn’t deploying forward, he was trying to form a line to the rear of his initial position.

Royslits continue to unfold

Royalists continue to unfold

It only took a couple of bounds to get my cavalry half way across the time. And look, the Royalists were still congested. Was opportunity knocking?

Patriot cavalry threaten Royalists

Patriot cavalry threaten Royalists

No. Opportunity wasn’t knocking. Chris continued to pull back.

Royalists pull back

Royalists pull back

My cavalry chased the Royalists into the valley between the hills. Fire from the Royalist artillery recoiled one of the units but the advance continued. It was about this time I realised I’d have a traffic jam so I formed my right flank into a column.

Patriots follow Royalists into gap between the hills

Patriots follow Royalists into gap between the hills

I sent my infantry into the gap as well. The column seemed a good idea at the time, but it really didn’t help my congestion problem as I wouldn’t be able to exploit my numerical superiority. Damn that cunning Chris.

Definitely getting congested

Definitely getting congested

I quickly realised that I had too many troops in the valley and sent my infantry up the steep hill to the right/east. Unfortunately, I conducted the manoeuvre in front of the Royalis artillery and the guns took out my lead battalion, the Pardos y Morenos.

Patriot infantry head up hill but too close to the guns

Patriot infantry head up hill but too close to the guns

Then my dreams of a glorious cavalry charge to send the Goths fleeing was dashed. When the two lines matched up, Patriot cavalry versus Royalist Infantry, the Royalists routed a unit of my cavalry with musketry. Right, mutter, not going so well.

Royalist musketry routs Patriot squadron

Royalist musketry routs Patriot squadron

And just to top it off, Chris’s flank march arrived at Entry Point B.

Royalist flank marching cavalry arrive

Royalist flank marching cavalry arrive

At least the flank march had a long detour around the steep hill ahead of them. I had, perhaps, a few bounds to try and crack the Royalist main body.

Flank march has a way to travel

Flank march has a way to travel

So, reinforced by my right flank squadron, the Patriot mounted arm charged!

Patriots charge

Patriots charge

One of the Gaucho units rode down a Royalist battalion. Huzzah!!

Gaucho success

Gaucho success

Unfortunately, there were more Royalists than Patriots in the valley – or at least that is what it seemed like to me. To maximise his firepower he wheeled his right flank forward a smidgeon. I also turned my artillery to face the threat from the flank marching cavalry.

Royalists maximise fire power of the infantry

Royalists maximise fire power of the infantry

Royalist muskets and Patriot artillery drove the respective enemy backwards.

Fire power drives cavalry - of both sides - back

Fire power drives cavalry – of both sides – back

It was getting very confused in the valley with the Patriots surrounded by Royalists but neither side having an obvious advantage.

The fighting between the hills is very confused

The fighting between the hills is very confused

With a bit of nifty single element moves I managed to get my cavalry lined up on the flank of the Royalist infantry and my infantry on the flank of the Royalist cavalry. Once again I could see opportunity knocking. 🙂

Patriots get on the flanks of the Royalists

Patriots get on the flanks of the Royalists

The Gauchos scored another kill. Two Royalist battalions down.

Another Gaucho success

Another Gaucho success

But generally firepower kept the battle at a distance. My battalion and artillery were successfully holding off Chris’s flank march. But in the rest of the table Chris definitely had more fire power. His artillery was very good at bouncing my charging battalion (6th Infantry Regiment). And the Royalist infantry, although mauled, continued to hold off my cavalry.

Battle seesaws

Battle seesaws

Then the end came in a rush. Chris’s artillery, who’d been fighting the 6th Infantry Regiment for some bounds, scored a kill.

Royalist guns destroy Patriot 6th Infantry

Royalist guns destroy Patriot 6th Infantry

And the Royalist infantry ganged up on the Patria Dragoons and sent them from the field.

Royalist infantry destroy Patria Dragoons

Royalist infantry destroy Patria Dragoons

With four stands down I’d lost 50% casualties and Chris took the game.

Observations and Conclusions

I like the Alternative Tucuman Scenario. It is a plausible what-if with a nice bonus that it offers a good game as well.

The actual game was really fun. I decided to play aggressively but Chris fought a very good defensive game so I never quite had the edge that I had expected.

I’m pleased the Gauchos featured. I got a couple of Gaucho units (Salta and Tucuman) painted late last year because they were cool and I had a vague plan of refighting Tucuman. With the figures painted the game quickly became a reality. Actually I had a pretty good Patriot line up, in terms of painted figures. Gauchos, Patria Dragoons and plausible substitutes for the three infantry battalions. The Royalist were very much a make do affair, with a lot of slightly implausible substitutions.

Anyway that probably ends my Tucuman series. At least for the moment.

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