Saturday, 12 May 2012

Lasalle Tournament in Mallorca

      On the 4th of May , I travelled to the sunny Island of Mallorca to take part in a Lasalle Tournament organised by the club Despertaferro. Due to the direct flights being expensive and at the wrong times, I decided to go via Barcelona, which turned out to be half the price but a lot more time.    I played against Javi in a practice game on the Friday night, which was good for remembering the rules, although I was pretty unlucky with the dice and was quite soundly beaten. After repairing my figures at the hotel from their bumpy travel on two planes and buses, I got some well earned sleep, so I would be up early for a long day that I knew would follow.
      Javi was very kind in picking me up from the Hotel and after a while looking for a parking space ( just like Alicante ) we arrive3d at the club. We met up at the local cafe for a coffee and to find out who was fighting who. There was 10 players, five French and five Coalition. We threw dice and as sometimes happens when you try to make things random, I was playing Javi in the first round and on exactly the same table as the night before.

Back at the club we quickly sorted out our troops, for this tournament they used the battle maps from the Lasalle book that were basically equal for both sides. Our table was the "dry hills", we both wanted to attack and Javi had a +1 advantage with his Peninsular French, my Austrian Infantry Division had no modifier, Javi won the dice throw  so as both sides of the table were basically the same, I chose for him to choose his side and set up first. Probably due to him defeating me the night before, he chose the same side.

 This time I had a cunning plan, his support was light cavalry so he had 5 units of cavalry but he had decided to split them to cover both of his flanks. Therefore I placed all my cavalry brigade on my right flank and placed both of my batteries to cover my left flank.

 The plan sort of worked, although my artillery were quiet the threat was enough to keep his cavalry out of their range. My cavalry on the right flank were more aggressive, the idea was to defeat his cavalry and then turn on his infantry in the center. As usual things don't go to plan and in the first combat I lost a unit of valiant Hussar to some lowly Chasseurs. Not for the first time (or the last) my dice throwing abilities would let me down this weekend .

The French Infantry in the centre began to advance and I manouevered my troops into position, the night before I had overstreched myself and had been beaten piecemeal, so  this time I made sure my troops weren´t overstretched. 

As Javi's infantry marched into the centre of the battlefield, my infantry were in position to counter attack him.

Finally my cavalry managed to beat Javi's cavalry and also sent his horse artillery  packing, all they needed to do now is to reorganise and then fall onto the rear of the French Infantry.

We were playing three matches in the tournament and so we had to finish the first match at 12.30pm. My bad dice throwing didn't let me down and two of my infantry units failed to fall back from a charge. Not too bad a problem usually, but I had already lost 6 points and if I lost just one of those infantry units I would have reached my army's breakpoint. The first combat worked out fine but the next was a tense moment  Javi threw 6 dice and made hits with 5 of them, I had eleven dice and managed to scrape 3 hits. Therefore by just one die I had managed to survive being broken in the last turn of the game. The game ended in a draw

Below are a few photos of the other battles taking place, It was decided as many of the games were ending in draws and also the slow pace, that we would only have two games instead of three.

 After a small break in the back yard with refreshments and biscuits provided by the club (Thanks very much guys) . We were ready to start again, this time I was playing against Joan whom I had played against in Barcelona. He was also using a Peninsular French Army the same as Javi. This time it was on a table resembling the "crossroads". We both wanted to attack and I actually won the dice off, perhaps I should have finished then while I was ahead.

I was given the option to choose a side and deploy first, so I chose the side which was closest to the town. It was the first time I had been the attacker with my Austrian, so I had to dust off my two extra large infantry units that had never been used before. I decided to cover my flank with cavalry and put my infantry in two seperate brigades, One behind the other, the first to mask the second, which once past the town would aim in capturing the objective.

Facing my large Army was Joan's severly diminshed French. After Joan had deployed it was time to go across the road to have dinner. Once again thank you to the club for providing a great meal for us all. 

Due to only playing two games instead of three, we now had about 5 hours to finish this game, looking back I think this had the reverse effect on me, instead of attacking quickly to finish him off. I started to lumber forward, keeping a watchful eye on the enemy cavalry on the flank.

Sure enough as my infantry crossed the road ,his cavalry came into view heading straight for my most forward unit.

My cavalry advanced to counter the threat and came under fire from his horse artillery.

His cavalry were repulsed by my infantry square, but the advance started to come to a halt with my second brigade feeling its way to its right. My turns were also becoming to bogged down because Joan had said that I must complete all movements for all units in each command in turn before going on to the next command. This is different than how we play it in Alicante but seems to be how they play in Mallorca. So when in Rome... .

The Cavalry became fully engaged and once again I lost a cavalry unit, unfotunately it was the one next to my infantry's flank, so I had to form them in square. Joan threw his next curveball at me, by entrenching one of his infantry units. "you can't" I protested "only Spanish and Russian can build trenches". But looking through the rules , I could not find anything to say they couldn't. It's just that in nearly two years of playing Lasalle, I had never seen a trench on a table. What peeved me off even more was why I hadn't thought of doing that before with my Austrians when defending in other games. Of course all this looking up the rules was eating up more time.

On my right flank it was a little quieter with my artillery trying to keep the area clear

My Austrian infantry were caught in a bottleneck and their advance again was slowed down.

My cavalry and Infantry had finally reach the enemy lines

My remaining cavalry units were holding the French cavalry at bay.

My cavalry charged a French conscript infantry unit that failed to form square and destroyed them. I had broken through the enemy lines and the French objective was in sight.

It was now 7.50pm and we had been playing for five hours, and time had flown by. Due to Dani from Barcelona having to be at the airport at 8.30pm they wanted to finish the remaining games. I thought victory could be mine in the next couple of moves so wanted to carry on. However this turned to be my downfall as the game finished as a draw and with me losing an extra 3 points of infantry.

Paco was the overall winner.

Dani was the the winner of the best French and Allies Army

With two draws, I came sixth overall and third best Coalition Army. This was an excellent Tournament and thank you to everybody in Mallorca for making me feel so welcome. The club itself had a friendly atmosphere and it was obvious that the members were very proud of it when they showed me around. I would have loved to have gone for one one of their barbeque events they have during the year they seem loads of fun.
With the tournament finished Joan kindly took me back to the Airport although there was no need to rush because my flight wasn't until 6 o'clock the next moring, therefore I settled down with my book "Battle Tactics of the American Civil War " by Paddy Griffiths in order to convert Lasalle to ACW.

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