At the front La Roche-sur-Yon, August 1870.
The Vendee has erupted taking advantage of the Prussian invasion in the East. It is August 1870 and the descendants of Catholic counter revolutionaries of 1793 seize their chance for revenge on the Imperial regime of Napoleon III and the 2nd Empire.
Henri de La Rochejacquelein at the Battle of Cholet in 1793 by Paul-Emile Boutigny, (19th century), Musee d'art et d'histoire de Cholet, Cholet, France
Henri's descendant General Comte d'Fodeau has raised an army under the banner of the Sacre Coeur
The massacre of 150 to 200 Vendean Republicans by Vendean Royalists in Machecoul was the starting event of the 1793 War in the Vendee.
The descendants of those Royalists now sit in the regime of the 2nd Empire.
The beleaguered garrison of the St Etienne guarding the arsenal at La Roche-sur-Yon has been under siege by the Vendean Army of the Catholic League of the Sacre Coeur.
They are mainly agricultural workers armed with old fashioned flintlock and percussion cap muskets not much of a match for the new 1866 Chassepots rifled breech loaders. The garrison have sent word to Nantes and the Imperial Army have dispatched a small force of Imperial Grenadier Guards; a crack unit under General Baillieu.
The Catholic League of the Sacre Coeur under General Comte d'Fodeau have 78 men and 2 Officers. Their antiquated firearms can fire one shot per move. They can either move or fire in a single game move.
Imperial Army of the 2nd Empire under General Baillieu have a small garrison of an Officer and 10 Line infantry and 12 Garde Mobile.
A relief force of 20 Imperial Grenadier Guards and 2 Officers will arrive on the table baseline during a game move 1 to 8 as determined by a die roll on a 1D8 at the beginning of the game.
The Vendean Army must overcome and capture the garrison before the Grenadiers arrive.
Both the garrison and the relief force are equipped with 1866 Chassepot breech loading rifles they can fire two rounds per move whilst stationary, move or split their game move into half a move and firing one round.
The Siege of La Roche-sur-Yon
The initial dispositions are shown in the photo below.
The garrison of the St Etienne redoubt.
The Catholic League prepare for a mass all out assault of the garrison on the 5 day of the siege.
Firing line behind the barricade giving supporting cover fire.
Game move One
General Baillieu threw a 2 on the 1D8 much to his and the garrisons relief. This means that the reinforcements will arrive on the table at the start of game move two.
General Fodeau won the roll for initiative after 3 identical rolls and elected to fire first. The first column of rebel troops moved forward to the assault. They scored two fatalities due to a richocet from friendly fire as a cannon shell rebounded from the Arsenal door! Supporting fired proved very effective with; right wing, 13 fired, 5 hits scored two wounded 3 dead.
The left wing fired; 10 fired, 4 hit, 3 dead and 1 wounded.
General Baillieu advanced his garrison troops to the forward wall to repel the expected attack as the casualties mounted. The professionally trained soldiers shot poorly due to nerves killing only two but including the officer leading the assault.
Game move Two
General Fodeau won the intiative again after 3 identical rolls again! Beyond coincidence!
Electing to fire first again the single shot flintlocks kept up their devastating fire; Right wing 13 shots, ; hits, 3 dead,1 wounded.
Left wing; 10 shots, 5 hits plus one fatality due to cannon fire.
General Baillieu was thankful that reinforcements started arriving as the fort was being decimated and the cannon in jeopardy from capture. Nerves getting the better of the surviving soldiers the rifle fire going awry. The cannon taking out 2 men from the second column.
Game move Three
General Fodeau won the initiative yet again after 2 tied rolls - an example of quantum entanglement! The Vendeans elected to fire first again!
Right wing 9 firing; 3 hits. Left wing 9 shots; 7 hits!
Pumped up with success the first column poured over the redoubt.
Moving first and fearing that the cannon would be over run the surviving garrison troops charged into the attacking column to gain the initiative in the melee.
Supporting fire gained 6 hits from 10 shots! Plus cannon fire took out 1 extra.
A successful melee took out 4 Vendeans for the loss of 1 regular.
General Fodeau rolled 1D6 x 7 points. Scoring 3. 3x7=21
General Baillieu rolled 1D6 x 5 points.
Scoring a 6 General Baillieu won the morale roll against the odds scoring 6x5=30!
The Vendeans shaken were halted.
Thus General Baillieu saved the cannon and prevented it being overrun and turned on the Imperial Garde Grenadier reinforcements.
Game move Five
General Fodeau won the initiative again after two rolls of the dice. For the first time the final roll difference wasn't just by one! So chose to move first in order to press hole the attack and bring the second column wave in to the fray. This time leading it personally clutching the sacred banner of the Sacre Coeur.
Luckily for General Baillieu four men survived which was enough to retreat the cannon one move (12 inches) and make it safe from the next attack.
In support the advancing line of Garde Grenadiers were ready to open fire with a double round from their Chassespots as the Vendeans poured over the parapet into the redoubt.
The deadly fire at close range from the well trained regular troops scythed down the attackers without mercy.
The Garde left wing scored 4 hits from 11 first shot and 4 hits from 11 second shot.
The right wing of the Garde scored 2 hits from 8 shots first round then an impressive 6 hits from 8 shots as they got their eye in.
The Vendeans lost 13 men killed under the hail of deadly fire.
Returning fire General Fodeau scorer 3 dead and 3 wounded from 6 hits.
Game move Six
General Baillieu won the initiative for the first time and elected to fire first.
He then declined to move thereby allowing his troops to fire 2 well aimed shots each.
General Fodeau was left with no option but to charge home and brave the salvoes. Whilst the third wave surged forward to support the faltering attack.
General Baillieu opened fire; left wing of the Garde 12 shots including the officer discharging his revolver at close range scoring 6 hits. Right wing 6 hits from 11 including an extra 1 from the cannon fire.
The effect was catastrophic killing all but two Vendeans that entered the redoubt. They too perished in the melee.
Above: The bodies removed for clarity the redoubt stands empty as all were killed!
Game move Seven
General Fodeau again won back the initiative and elected to fire first in order to avenge the slaughter of the second column.
Taking aim the rebels of the third wave delivered a deadly fire. 18 shots scored 10 hits killing 9 of the Garde outright! The cannon misfired with a round jamming in the barrel.
The Imperial French replied with 4 dead for 4 hits and an extra 1 from cannon fire. The cover given by the redoubt wall working in favour of the attackers.
Game move Eight
General Baillieu gained the initiative in the final move of the game.
He elected to advance and fire in order to secure the objective and a valuable 20 points.
The rapid fire breechloaders dispensed a deadly fire as the Vendeans charged.
8 shots, 6 hits giving 6 dead and 6 shots, 5 hits giving 5 dead sealed the comprehensive victory! The melee wiped out the survivors as the rebellion became history.
Aftermath total victory to the Imperial Army.
In the distance right the remaining Vendean gun crew can be seen preparing to haul away their field piece in order to avoid capture.
And with that the Imperial forces having crushed the Vendee rebellion returned via trains to the Prussian front to continue attempting to stem the on coming tide of pointy helmeted Germans!
Vendean Army of the Catholic League of the Sacre Coeur 78 men 3 Officers.
Imperial Forces of the Second Empire. 44 men 3 Officers 1 NCO.