Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Battlereport: French vs Prussian & Russian

A game at the local wargames club on Sunday, with myself, Ion, Stephen, and Paul.

Paul organised the game and as he said, we "fought a scenario from the Charles Grant Scenario book (a similar scenario to Plancenoit). A French Corp guarding a flank finds itself confronted with a mass of Prussians and Russians coming straight at them. The French, must hold on until the Guard arrive."

Forces were approximately follows and all regular unless otherwise specified. French and Prussian Generals rated as Strategists (5 or less on D6 to activate), and Russians as Competent (4 or less on D6 to activate).
* = Reserves, arriving from turn 1 for Attacker and turn 3 for Defender.

French Defenders - Lobau (25)
3 Line, 1 Light, 1 Artillery, 1 Skirmisher
3 Line, 1 Light, 1 Artillery, 1 Skirmisher
2 Veteran Cuirassier
*4 Veteran Line, 2 Elite Light (Young and Middle Guard)
*2 Dragoons
*2 Elite Light Cavalry, 1 Elite Horse Artillery (Old Guard)

Russian Attackers (19)
3 Line, 1 Grenadier, 1 Artillery, 1 Skirmisher
3 Line, 1 Light, 1 Artillery,  1 Skirmisher
1 Veteran Cuirassier, 1 Veteran Dragoon
*4 Line, 1 Artillery

Prussian Attackers (16)
2 Line, 2 Recruit Line, 1 Artillery, 1 Skirmisher
2 Line, 2 Recruit Line, 1 Artillery, 1 Skirmisher
2 Light Cavalry
*2 Veteran Dragoons

The Game

Here is the start of the battle, with Allied forces steaming ahead towards the enemy positions, with Ion's Russians being characteristically aggressive...

Rules were 321 Fast Play Napoleonic Rules again, with some 5.1 amendments tweaking a few things (will release this shortly after more testing - just trying to decide on cossack rule amendments at the moment!). Here's a shot of French dispositions at start of the game. 

From the venerable Charles Grant, scenario 16 modifed to involve more troops. I believe this is currently out of production(?), but his Programmed Wargames Scenarios book has been re-released and is available from Cavalier Books. I must get a copy once my finances are improved.

French await the onslaught. Stephen was commanding the left flank and myself the right. 

Russians storm towards the ridge, dismissing prepratory bombardment as unnecessary...

Their charge is thrown back with the heavy losses, excepting for Pavlov Grenadiers who overrun the artillery battery smashing through the line, and then forming square to fend off counterattacking Cuirassiers! Prussian Landwehr storms the hamlet in front of the ridge, routing the defenders.

But Guard infantry arrive to reinforce the line on the left, rushing down the road in march column, while two battalions are diverted to the right flank.

The Middle Guard relieve the position on the ridge just before it is overrrun, and rout two Prussian attacks, and throw back a third.

However, on the extreme left the other Fresh Middle Guard attack column is ignominiously thrown back by a highly disordered Landwher unit (which had already suffered 3/4 disorder hits)! 
Note: Odds of this interaction for any Landwehr hero hoping to rely on this in the future - about 2% chance of throwing back the Middle Guard and 95% chance of Landwehre just routing instantly! ;)

Russian Cuirassiers catch a French battalion in line and rout it.

And the Russians take the ridge and valiantly try to hold it as reinforcements arrive.  French and Russian Cavalry exhaust each other. The Pavlov Grenadier square refuses to break despite steady volleys from the Young Guard in their direction...

But turn seven the Russian attack is finally shattered, and the Prussians have also suffered signficant casualties.  12/34 units lost to the Prussians/Russians is 1/3 of their force lost, while the French have lost 6/25 units.

Middle Guard still holding the ridge on the left.


A brutal battle where musketry and artillery was largely dispensed with by the attackers in favour of the bayonet and elan, though at high cost!
Good to be back at the club playing Napoleonics again after some time. A lot of talk and a meal and drinks made for a pleasant day out.  Many thanks to Paul for organising, and to Ion and Stephen for partaking :)

Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Battlereport 2K: French vs British

A larger battle played today. Matt was keen for 2000 points so we set up a 12x6 table and went at it. A brief report here, wherein hastily raised reserves perform heroically, Guard artillery dawdles, and both armies go right to the breaking point.

The French Army was Line Infantry, Reserve Cavalry and Guard Reserve Artillery. A good quality force, but bit light on infantry, with tonnes of points in the Reserve Cavalry and Artillery. The British Army included Guards and Household Cavalry, and economised on artillery quality.

Brigades with * have Strategist Generals and the rest are Competent except for one Cautious British Light Dragoon General. Both Army Commanders were Strategists. 

French Army (40 units)
3 Regular Line, 1 Veteran Light, 1 Veteran Skirmisher, 1 Regular Foot Artillery
3 Regular Line, 1 Veteran Light, 1 Veteran Skirmisher, 1 Regular Foot Artillery
3 Regular Line, 1 Veteran Light, 1 Veteran Skirmisher, 1 Regular Foot Artillery
3 Regular Line, 1 Veteran Light, 1 Veteran Skirmisher, 1 Regular Foot Artillery
2 Veteran Light
*2 Veteran Cuirassers, 1 Veteran Horse Artillery
*2 Veteran Carabiniers, 1 Veteran Horse Artillery
2 Regular Dragoons
2 Regular Dragoons
2 Elite Heavy Artillery, 2 Elite Horse Artillery (Guard) 

British Army (42 units)
2 Elite Large Line, 1 Regular Foot Artillery (Guard) 
1 Large Veteran Light Rifles, 1 Veteran Large Light, 1 Regular Horse Artillery
*2 Veteran Line, 1 Regular Light, 3 Regular British Line, 1 Regular Skirmisher, 1 Heavy Artillery
*2 Veteran Line, 1 Regular Light, 3 Regular British Line, 1 Regular Skirmisher, 1 Heavy Artillery
*1 Veteran Line, 1 Veteran Light, 4 Regular British Line, 1 Regular Foot Artillery
*3 Veteran Dragoon, 1 Regular Horse Artillery
2 Veteran Dragoon, 1 Regular Horse artillery
2 Veteran Light Cavalry, 1 Regular Horse Artillery
2 Regular Light Cavalry (Cautious General)

Rules were 321 Fast Play Napoleonic Rules again. The game took about 5 hours, plus an hour for setup and pack up. 

The Game

An encounter battle (which is all we seem to roll!), which means a third of each force has to be in reserve. The battlefield has a series of ridges, and a two section strongpoint on the British side (the large monastery upper right), which I expect them to make full use of and so I will ignore it as best I can. I am attacking, and have my dragoons, an Infantry Brigade and Reserve Artillery off table.  British have two Infantry and three Cavalry Brigades in reserve.

My right flank.

My left flank.

My plan from the start was to hold on the right, and make a general attack elsewhere with my strong skirmish screen and artillery, and then commit most of my Reserve Cavalry plus the Reserve Artillery either on the far left or centre, once British dispositions and effects of initial attacks were apparent.

My Dragoons arrive on the far left.

And more Dragoons on the right to prevent this flank being overwhelmed, and to give them the option of joining the attack in the centre.

My skirmishers and artillery manage some very effective fire against the enemy artillery, taking out some exposed batteries early on.

I commit Cuirassiers in the centre.

And push strongly on the far left, which is where I have decided the Reserve Artillery will arrive turn 4. Unfortunately the Reserve Artillery fails its arrival roll, delaying the attack...

In the centre the Cuirassiers charge. Here they meet a newly raised unit of veteran Dragoons, which routs one Cuirassier unit and forces the other back!

When I say newly raised, Matt said it arrived in the mail yesterday at 10am, was assembled by 12, mostly painted by the time he went to work at 5, finished in a couple of hours after he came back from work after midnight... can you match such dedication?

On my right, yet more British Dragoons force back my own Dragoons...

And swing into the rear and rout a French column behind the forest, where it had retired to rally safely. Work done the Dragoons retire blown.

On the left, my Reserve Guard Artillery has arrived, but then it fails another command roll, delaying its advance yet another turn.  A last minute decision to save points on their General was not a good move!

I attack here anyway, my Dragoons force back enemy Dragoons, but are then driven back in turn by Light Cavalry.

The pursuing  British Light Cavalry are then hit and forced back by Carabiniers, who pursue and rout the Scots Greys.

A British heavy cavalry charge catches an attack column out of square to the immediate left of the ridge, but the column manages to fight them off and lives...

A tree, which is about as much use to me right now as this stalled Reserve Guard Artillery.  Over one sixth of my points doing nothing. No I'm not bitter.

Under way finally, and horse artillery mounts the crest to blast the British Guards who have been trapped in square by my cavalry. Carabiniers in foreground retiring after taking fire.

On the right, skirmish screens are largely expended and lines engaged.  I am a little worried about a lack of reserves here (as in zero of consequence)... but the enemy artillery has been almost completely silenced at least, and most of the enemy cavalry is as exhausted as my own.

Just a single blown cuirassier unit as backup in the centre...

My artillery finally goes into action, a total of six batteries on this left flank ready to blast the enemy to dust.

The British attack my right, but a first cavalry and infantry charge are repelled. My line is taking  heavy losses from musketry though.

On the left, the British Guard square is absolutely wrecked by cannister, but refuses to break.  British Cavalry catches a French infantry line and routs them. A French Line and Battery near the centre are lost to musketry volleys and skirmish fire respectively.

And on the right, turn eight and disaster strikes. My shakey line collapses completely. The remains of three infantry Brigades break entirely bar a single infantry battalion!

On the left the British are also about the break under the hammer of the Guard Artillery, but too late - the French Army morale has broken and the day is lost!


Well what a turn around. At the start of the British turn eight, they had lost 11 units, and the French 5. By the end of the turn the French had lost another 11(!) units in a single round, for a total of 16 units lost (over a third of their total). With all my expensive toys I knew I would be short of infantry reserves and so it proved. Unfortunately the two turn delay with the Guard Reserve Artillery cost me heavily here - serves me right for trying to economise on command assets in favour of bigger guns! The Guard Reserve Artillery should of course have excellent command, so will remember that next time I use them!