Sunday, March 20, 2016

Battle of Ainsworth Gorge, 1799

Last Sunday Barry and I got together for Game 1 of our "Lannes" campaign series. As you might recall, we generated some rather unusual and rough terrain. which I set out  as seen below, making good use of my GeoHex collection.

View from the South; the bridge is outside of the actual [playing area, Barry chose the orientation for the battle, i.e., North South.

View from East to West. I, Francois Faucon, chose which side of the table to take, and I took the Southern side. We each could set on up to 12 " on to the 6 foot by 6 foot playing area. 

Blow up of the Warplan 5/5 district the battle takes place in. 

Using the system in Field of Battle, 2nd edition, we tossed and Barry had to deploy a command group first. This was fortunate as one of my three command groups would be delayed in arriving at the battlefield. It turned out to be one of my two infantry commands. 

Boris Badenov (Barry) set up 1 large infantry command to East of the Gorge, and I countered by deploying my strong Cavalry command opposite it. Barry then deployed his cavalry to the West of the Gorge, and I deployed my Infantry to the West as well. Barry then concluded the set on by deploying his second Infantry command to the West as well - rather crowded there!

 Finally, I secretly rolled for when my errant Infantry command would arrive, and got a "5", about average for the dice I rolled. Finally, it transpired that the French would start with 15 Morale Points to the Russian 13. 

Another view of the French set on, seen from the East.

The Russian set on, also seen from the East. We started the game and turned everything but MOVE cards the first turn until the last few cards in each of our Sequence decks. 

In the event, I was the first one to turn a MOVE card, and rolled up  a Triple Magic Move for my cavalry, and a Double move for my Infantry.  The infantry moved atop the rocky hill overlooking the Gorge from the West, setting up a thin defensive line with no reserves to speak of. I made good use of the special rule applying to skirmishers in Class II terrain; my OOB had three units of Light Infantry, which were very useful with all of the difficult terrain on the table. 

My cavalry command of three units of Chasseurs a Cheval galloped forward the full 36 inches to intimidate the opposing Russian infantry. 

View of the West side of the Gorge from the Russian perspective. 

The Russians get a single Move forward, with a newly painted regiment of Dragoons in the lead, encouraged by their Heroic general, Boramirov. 

A double magic move by the Russians on the East side lead to them advancing cautiously whilst maneuvering to guard their flank from the pesky French chasseurs. 

Overview of the Battlefield at this early stage. My off table command has used 2 Cards out of the 5 needed, but they flubbed their MOVE roll for one of them with a "1", so it is still 4 more MOVE cards before they appear. It may be a long day for the Sons of Liberty!

Close up of the Eastern Russian infantry, led by the epileptic General, Trembalalotsky.

Being newly painted troops almost to a man, they get another moment in the sun!

The thin, fuzzy, Blue Line...

A timely Magic Move allows Simeon Souris, a rather timid fellow, to make some adjustment of the French lines, and unlimber his foot battery. With an ARTILLERY FIREPOWER card turned next, the battery tests the range to the dragoons, producing some smoke and forcing the Russian Dragoons back with losses. 

The Russian Infantry under Brigadier M. Smartov advances West of the Gorge, whilst the Dragoons lick their wounds. 

General de Brigade Blaize Bassier, having accomplished his objective by slowing down and distracting the the Russian Infantry East of the Gorge, decides to pull his troopers back to shield them from possible cannon fire should the Russian battery chose to unlimber. Scouts tell him that the remaining French Infantry Brigade is now expected fairly soon. 

The reports are true!  Renee Renard and his infantry brigade enters the action. General Renard rolls up a Triple Magic Move on a MOVE ONE COMMAND . Unfortunately, he is a Fabian General, and many of the units in his command flub their tests and thus are unable to make use of more than one Move segment! Still, their arrival (previously designated to be on the East side of the Gorge) lifts French spirits. An issue of Brandy lifts them more. 

West of the Gorge, the Russian Brigade advances on the French defensive line. The very rough, rocky hill (Class III terrain) has slowed down their advance considerably, which has been a big help to the French thus far, with their late arriving command group gaining the time to make an appearance. 

Russians on the advance East and West of the Gorge.

Renard's Brigade has advanced and deployed, with the Light troops in the lead.  The Artillery of Souris' brigade takes another shot at the advancing Russians of M. Smartov. 

East of the Gorge, it looks to be crunch time as the Russians close to engagement range. General de Division Faucon is seen off in the distance, struggling to keep his scattered forces In Command. 

Falcon's eye view of the Russian attack. 

The French Artillery firing double canister at point blank  rips great holes in the Jagers, who stream to the rear in rout. The lead Russian regiment exchanges fire  a supporting Line Infantry regiment. 

The Russian infantry is forced back with losses, and that makes an opening for the Russian Dragoons to charge the now unloaded French guns. In so doing, however, they pass in musket range of the skirmishing Light regiment near the Gorge and take fire, which halts their charge. . The Russian artillery battery, having unlimbered outside of musket range, pounds the nearest French infantry regiment. The Frenchmen hold but suffer heavy losses. 

East of the Gorge, both opposing infantry Brigades deploy for action. A lucky, long range shot by the French battery hits the Russian battery, shaking it. 

West of the Gorge, the Russians press the attack. 

The Russians succeed in over running the French battery, Seeing this, General de Brigade Souris orders his outnumbered men to fall back,  If he can avoid more losses here, there may be time to win the battle on the East side of the Gorge. 

In the Russian ranks, there is a buzz of dismay as a stray musket ball fells the brave brigadier Boramirov! (being Heroic, he rolls for survival with a D8 instead of a D12, although he adds an UP 1 in melee for any unit he is attached to). 

East of the Gorge, Brigadier Bassier judges the moment right for a charge on the Russian infantry. The lead unit is peppered with musket fire and chickens out on its charge, but the second regiment of Chassuers charges home!

Surovov says "The musket is a fickle friend, but the bayonet is a sturdy fellow!"

French sabers prove superior, though, and the Russians are forced back with heavy losses. Meanwhile, the French Legere skirmishers make the first of many unsuccessful attempts to discomfort the opposing Russians. 

In a Blaze of Glory, the French cavalry dispatch the survivors of the charge, and then threaten a now isolated Russian Jager battalion. 

We see their flank, mon General!  Mon General? Oh no, he's hit! Fortunately, General Bssier's aide de camp is swift to Assert Command over the Cavalry. 

Displaying their legendary cool. the Russian Jagers force back the hapless French Legere by firepower, and then form square, thumbing their noses at the frustrated French horsemen. 

West of the Gorge, Souris' Brigade has continued to pull back to stay out of an uneven combat and guard the approaches to the bridge. 

The French continue to pick on the isolated Russian Jagers, while the Russians maneuver to guard the flank of the Brigade. 

West of the Gorge, the Russians renew their advance, with the dragoons looking for an opening to charge. 

Overview of the battle, as  nearly surrounded Jagers are hit, bringing the Russian Army to Zero Army Morale Points.  Barry turns an Army Morale Card shortly thereafter.

The Russian (green) D10 score needs to beat the (red) French D12 roll. As seen above.... it does not. 
The Russians grudgingly disengage, and the battle of Ainsworth Gorge is over. General de Division Faucon considers himself quite fortunate to have achieved this most marginal of victories. Morale point losses were exactly equal for the battle (13 each), and only the fact that the luck of the draw gave the French 2 make MP's than the Russians, and the timely Russian ARMY MORALE card prevented a French loss. 

    We had a lot of fun playing out this first battle of our "Lannes" campaign. The unusual terrain and the small forces involved made the action tense, if a bit slow to develop. It will be interesting to see the results of the post battle process upon the units and Generals of both sides... but that will have to wait for another time.

Unit #Unit NameDDCDRouts CausedFinal UI lossRouted, etc?End Game Result
11/Alexapol LineD4D10
23/Alexapol LineD4D101
31/Ingermannland LineD4D8
41/20th JagerD6D84Yes
56# Battery #1D6D101
61/Smolensk LineD6D8
73/Smolensk LineD4D8
81/Simbriski LineD4D8
93/Simbriski LineD4D84Yes
101/21st JagerD4D812
116# Battery #2D4D10
12Siberia DragoonsD6D8

GeneralNameLDSpecialHit?OutcomeYearEnd Game Result
C-in-CBoris BadenovD10N/A
AM. SmartovD12N/A

Unit #Unit NameDDCDRouts CausedFinal UI lossRouted, etc?End Game Result
1Vendémiaire LineD6D104Yes
2Brumaire LineD4D80
3Angoulême ChasseurD6D100
4Ardennes LightD4D81
5Bordeaux ChasseurD6D83Yes
6Chaumont ChasseurD6D1010
7Vertu 6# Ft ArtilleryD4D812Yes
8Génie 6# FAD6D100
9Bouches-du-Rhône LightD6D81
10Frimaire National GdeD4D80
11Nivôse LineD4D102
12Côte-d'Or LightD6D80

GeneralNameLDSpecialHit?OutcomeYearEnd Game Result
C-in-CFrancois FauconD10-Hawk
ASimeon SourisD12PoltroonMouse
BBlaize BassierD8-YesBear
C Rene RenardD10FabianFox


  1. Looks like you both had fun. Nice to see the units out in action when freshly painted. I still prefer the smaller actions.

  2. We had a great timer with it; a real nail biter! Definitely a "small action" for us!

  3. Excellent BatRep, Peter! When I first saw your sketch map, I figured terrain would play a large role in this engagement. The gorge and hills did not seem to impact play much at all. The French got the upper hand in this one. Can they string together a series of victories after having tasted the sweet drink of victory first?

    1. I'd say the terrain played a big role! The Gorge meant that there were effectively two separate battles. While it was possible to cross the raging stream it would have been very difficult, and no one attempted it. The Russian battery on the West side of the gorge did start maneuvering into place to fire across the gorge, but never got that far. The rocky, barren hills effectively cut the movement of the Russians (and to a lesser degree, the French) in half, allowing time for the tardy French infantry command to arrive. The hills had little impact defensively as they were so large that both sides were on them in most circumstances. I could have made them worse than a Class III, I suppose, by making units on them go Out of Command which would disadvantage them in combat, and and also slow movement by another half down to 1/4 speed. That would have made for a very slow, rather dull game, though!

  4. Great report Peter and well fought out to the end. Certainly was two battles in effect and quite a interesting stoush.

    1. Thanks Carlo - it was a different action, but all the more interesting for it!

  5. Nice bat rep I really like the Russian flags they stand out nicely on my phone
    Best Iain

    1. Thanks, Iain. Those are Barry's Russians, with their ? GMB flags.

  6. What a close one! That built really, really well didn't it?
    Amazing how the names of the generals seemed to suit their situation on the battlefield or disposition as a general! (Ha, Ha).
    Great to see that Barry is not only blogging like mad (two for the year) but is in action again too!!

    1. Thanks, James. It was close and a lot of fun. Barry has been painting too. It should be noted that for the first time in many games, Barry had Russian Dragoons on the table and they performed at a level well above trash, LOL!

    2. They prefer to think they performed at a level above "Cossack". I think it's because they're the worst painted of my Dragoon units, they had something to prove.

    3. "Pretty boys make good Frenchmen's toys, but
      Rough and Ragged Russians are ready to do some crushin!"

      - excerpted from 'The Redoubtable Raevsky', by the Rostov Rappa, c. 1813.

  7. That looked like a lot of fun. A great AAR Peter!

    1. Thanks, Lawrence - it was. The set up would have been very apt for Spain/Portugal, too! :-)

  8. Warren reporter likes the scenario setup Peter. May I suggest some more "loose flat bottom" rocks on the hills to create/enhance the rough terrain. You could mount on heavy large fender washers and scatter about with small lichen pieces. May have to try this map to tabletop format out. You still have the Warplan files available?

    Michael aka WR

    1. Good ideas, Michael. The rocks are there mostly because the district is described as a "Bleak, barren district with rocky hills", and my table (20 feet long if I ever use the while thing, which I haven't yet in 25+ years) has a 1" step off at the junction of the 2 ping pong tables that form the support for it. It's not very noticeable with the felt covering, but with the Geohex on the table, the step off is hard to miss. Thus the rocks were more an attempt to hide the step off than any brilliant terrain creating effort! :-) Rocks were acquired via the usual method in New England - dig a hole anywhere and you will get tons of rocks courtesy of the Glaciers covering the area millennia ago. As a result of the action of ice and water, one thing such rocks almost never ARE, is FLAT, LOL!I have all of the Warplan Map cards (63 5 inch x 5 inch cards) plus the atlas scanned in and would gladly forward them along to the Warren if you like. They really are quite marvelous, either used as intended for campaigns, or for generating terrain that isn't your usual "Two hills and a village"

  9. Beautful armies and terrain, very nice report Peter!

    1. Thanks, Phil. Pictures are a little blurrier than I'd like, but I wanted to show the big picture about the action.

  10. Enjoyable battle report! The campaign is already showing flavour/atmosphere.

    1. Thanks, David. We are having a good time with it!