Antoine Fortune de Brack assures me that when scouting a village it is essential to seize the post office and the mayor.
So it was with these twin goals in mind that I led my troop of dragoons (TV miniseries strength) onto the table. We were approaching from a wooded rise, and could expect some company although whether from British light forces or Spanish guerillas remained yet to be seen.
I split the troop into two sections, each approaching from one side of the village.
On my left, I wisely sent a scout out ahead of the section. He located the post office almost immediately.
On my right...lets just say I was addled. Rather than sending out a scout first, I sent the section to the top of a rise overlooking what turned out to be the church. This, before sending a dragoon to scout ahead.
The church was held by four veteran guerillas.
Four shots rang out as one.
Down went three of my men, and the fourth rode off in panic.
With fully 40% of my force lost in the opening salvo, I didn't think I had sufficient men in hand to storm the church.
... so I withdrew.
Not a sterling performance by any standard and I am unlikely to find a Marshal's baton on my backpack any time soon!