The Battle of Maida was fought on 4 July 1806 was a battle between the British expeditionary force and a French
force outside the town of Maida in Calabria, Italy John Stuart led 5,236 Anglo-Sicilian troops to victory over about 5,400 Franco-Italian-Polish troops under the command of French general Jean Reynier, inflicting significant losses while incurring relatively few casualties.
A detailed account of the Battle can be read on Wikipedia and most probably the best book on the Battle is The Battle of Maida - 15 minutes of Glory by Richard Hopton.
It’s a great battle to play as both armies are about equal in size, the British have more artillery but the French have cavalry.
I decided to give my 18mm Wofun Peninsular War collection a run out, I haven’t textured the bases yet and I haven’t used their artillery pieces I find them hard to assemble - I’ve broken more than I’d made so resorted to using some Blue Moon pieces I had.
Due to the size of the game I used a scale of 1 base to around 100 men and decided to try Andy Callan's rules for the period.
I did make a few tweaks which I will make available once typed these centred around an element of variable movement, allowing troops to rally from failed panic tests, introducing panic tests for troops suffering a base or more loss to firing and removing the rule where 1st class troops don’t need to take panic tests but giving them a +1 when taking.
The orders of Battle
C-in-C - Major Gen Sir John Stuart
Advance Guard - Col John Kempt
|1||Combined Light Bn||550|
|2 coys||Corsican Rangers (dressed like Rifles - with Red facings)||200|
|1 coy||Sicilian Volunteers|
Additional detached lights
First Brigade - Col Lowry Cole
|1||Combined Grenadier Bn||542|
|1||27th Regt - Inniskilling (Buff facings)||723|
Second Brigade - Col Acland
|1||78th Highland Regt - Ross-shire Buffs (Buff facings - Kilted)||574|
|1||81st Regt - (Buff facings)||766|
Third Brigade - Col Oswald
|1||20th Regt - East Devonshire (Yellow facings) not part of brigade.||550|
|1||58th Regt - Rutlandshire (Black facings)||624|
|5 coys||De Watteville's Swiss (Black facings)||312|
Artillery 10 x4pdrs + 1 light howitzer
C-in-C - Gen de Division Jean Louis Reynier
GdB Compere's Brigade
|2||1er Regt Inf Legere||1500|
|1||42e Regt Inf Ligne||750|
GdB Digonnet's Brigade
|2||23e Regt Inf Legere||1500|
GdB Peyri's Brigade
|1er Regt Inf Suisse|
Le Legion Polaroid-Italien
|4 Sqns||Chasseurs a Cheval||300|
1 Bty Horse Artillery (4 guns - 112 men)
. . . . .
Both armies advanced onto the field of battle in echelon the British leading with the right flank and the French with the left as I was fighting this solo I intended to follow the same deployment and orders .
The stream is easily fordable the banks and ground to the South is broken ground
The 20th Foot arrived some time later having marched to the sound of the guns I will shake for these to arrive as a random event.
Interesting thing with Andy’s rules is that shooting comes first in the bound and other than skirmishers if you shoot you can’t move. It certainly puts a different perspective on the orders you issue and I thought it worked well.
The early bounds saw Kempt move forward with the light battalion and sending the skirmishers to counter the French lights advancing down the flank. Likewise Acland and Cole advanced with Oswald arriving behind to move up in the centre.
From the French perspective Reynier moved forward with the two battalions of the 1st Leger, Compère attaché himself to the 42nd Ligne.
The other Brigades arrived and deployed moving towards the advancing British.
Reynier decided to keep his left battalion in column and deployed the second into line his thinking being that the column could strike the British lights and the second battalion would offer fire support, the 42nd were racing for the ridge where they would then deploy into line, elsewhere troops continued to advance.
Kempt managed to get off an early volley causing casualties to the French column, the 78th Highlanders won the race to the ridge and fired a crippling volley onto the 42nd.
In one volley the 78th scored 5 hits from 6 dice! The following bound the had an almost equally devastating volley and Compère fell.
Reynier attacked with one column of the 1st but Kempt repulsed the attack and the supporting fire from the second battalion proved ineffective .
The French were attacking along the line now, the French were losing the firefights but a glimmer of hope surfaced Peyri’s brigade performed beyond all expectations the Swiss battalion caught Oswalds guns before they deployed and the two battalions of Poles charged the 81st Foot, one battalion of Poles having already taken casualties were repulsed and failed their panic test, however the second battalion threw exceptional dice forcing the 81st back a 1 was thrown and the 81st broke! However the victorious Polish troops had taken heavy casualties and were almost at 50% strength.
The French Chasseurs had charged the 27th forcing them into square and although repulsed the French horse artillery succeeded in causing casualties on the 27th before they could reform into line.
Pressure on both sides mounted, the 23rd Legere broke Cole’s combined grenadier battalion, the second Polish battalion broke under musket fire, the British 20th foot arrived on the British left forcing the Chasseurs to withdraw and then disaster struck the French army, with the 42nd ligne broken the Highlanders began to wheel in order to bring extra fire to bear on the 1st Legere, the supporting guns opened fire with canister and the French Commander Reynier fell, with Kempt’s battalion starting to take heavy casualties from the 1st Legere the supporting fire from the Highlanders brought a much needed respite. Elsewhere the Swiss broke under musket fire from Oswalds brigade. This brought the French to their break point and game over.
Throughout the whole battle the voltigeurs and Allied lights had been exchanging fire whilst the Allies had gained an early upper hand the exchange settled into a lot of shooting but few casualties.
A great game and a battle worthy of a rematch now I have a feel for the rules and my minor tweaks they seemed to work well and provided an enjoyable game.
In closing I know the Wofun pieces aren’t perhaps as good as having 3d minis on the table but as I’ve said before for gaming in a period I haven’t the time to paint armies for they’re an excellent alternative.