Saturday, January 20, 2018

Battle of Povorot, 1812: LANNES Campaign

A week ago, Barry (as Lt General Borris Badenov) and John and I (as Francois Faucon, General de Division, in search of his Marshal's Baton) got together for the next battle of our LANNES campaign, this time set in Russia in 1812. 

Povorot is a rough Russian equivalent of "Wheeling", the name of the village on the Warplan 5/5 card generating the battlefield. The rocks mark out a 6 x 6 grid, and I allowed another foot on either side to provide some maneuvering (? wheeling) room, especially as our "Corps" have grown to be fairly large now. 

Using the pregame set up system from Field of Battle, 2nd edition, it was determined that Barry would choose either the orientation or which side he would enter from, and I would choose whichever he did not. I would have to deploy an extra command group on my first placement of troops on the table, and one of my 5 command groups would be delayed D4 MOVE cards before it could arrive onto the table. 

The results of the Deployment process. it wound up being my largest command group that was late - 2 Guard foot units, 3 enthusiastic but brittle Line units, and a foot battery, lead by one of my better commanders. John opted to command this force so that he could observe the earlier part of the battle and learn the system, being new to Field of Battle. 

Another view of the completed deployment. Imaginatively, we have both placed a cavalry brigade on each flank, and our infantry in the center. As a result of both the cumulative effects of the preceding battles and the random unit generation process, my Cavalry arm was both stronger and of better quality (2 Dragoons, 2 Chasseurs, and now 3 elite Hussar units vs 3 Dragoons and 2 Uhlan units for Barry). Conversely, he had more and better artillery units, and the quality of his generals was more varied (from a really bad Leadership die of D6 to an amazing D12 + 2).

Better view of the Russian deployment. I was secretly please that he seemed to be having some traffic problems, making it harder for him to take best advantage of his superior Artillery arm. I made out a bit better than Barry did at the rest of the pre game set up, getting 4 more morale points and an Exceptional Sequence deck to Barry's Skilled deck. 

I won the first initiative roll for 5 pips, and allowed Barry to go first, hoping that he would burn some valuable cards without being able to use them. If I recall, he turned 3 Leadership Cards (needed to rally later), one Artillery Firepower card, and maybe an Infantry Firepower card. I was fortunate enough to turn some MOVE cards early on, and then Barry finally got a MOVE as well. 

My right flank Cavalry brigade, with 4 excellent units, used a Triple Magic Move to swing around to threaten the Russian left flank, using an apple orchard to screen them from fire by the lone Russian battery on their left flank. My 2 infantry commands advanced to the edge of the Pine woods, and another triple magic move allowed my Young Guard Battalion to seize the church in Povorot village. The guardsmen made themselves at home as they sought out and happily consumed the sacramental wine supply!

The French Light Brigade under Bernard Bellier, is seen here making threatening moves against the Russian Left. 

On my left, General Simeon Souris had been monkeying around, said officer being rather a dullard (D8), who could not roll up a move of at least 2 segments (which would allow his accompanying Guard Horse battery to Limber - Move - Unlimber so as to close the range to the Russians). Fortunately, the commander of the Russian Dragoon Brigade, Maj General Boromirov, was a notorious hothead, who could not long resist the urge to try conclusions with the French cavalry, who were equal in number to his own... leaving aside the small matter of a supporting fully loaded Guard Horse battery on the French side!

The Russians made fine use of their next MOVE card in the center, bring up their artillery, pouring fire into the besotted guardsmen defiling the holy church, and routing a supporting French battalion with a close range volley directly into their flank. "Sauve qui peut!"  The guardsmen, however, shrugged off all the enemy fire with aplomb, although their return fire was equally ineffective. 

Se the gap between the battery and the infantry along the edge of the woods? We can thank the Russian battery for that!

"How far is it back to Warsaw?"
The two Russian Grenadier units and he rest of the Russian Central command threaten to roll up the French center. Another Russian Move card is turned - and the Brigade Commander rolls "1" - no Move!   No problem, the C-in-C, Boris Badenov re-rolls using his own D12, and rolls.... a second 1! 
The Russian counterattack in the center fizzles. 

Results of the Cavalry clash on the French Left.
"It is squirrel, Boris... but where is Moose?'

Another view. 

Souris' Dragoons reform and counter charge their Russian counterparts as...

(A  drum-roll, please, Maestro!)
Rene Renard (John's command) arrives at the head of the Guard Brigade, heading for Povorot village. Note also the rallying of the three French infantry units routed earlier in the action, and now moving back, albeit cautiously! 

Overview of the situation as the French "Reserve" command arrives.  

Meanwhile, on the French Right, a "triple magic move" by Bellier's Light Cavalry Brigade ...

threatens to sweep away the outnumbered and outclassed Russian Uhlans.
Looks like no 'pine suppositories' today, boys. Just the cold steel version!

Both Uhlan units are completely destroyed!
One Russian Line battalion (rear)  has already formed square in anticipation of this result.

The Russian foot battery turns to bear on the French Cavalry!
However, in so doing it exposes its flank to long range fire from the opposing French battery (smoke in the upper left corner).
Result- the Russian battery was Silenced! 

The Russians are out of Morale points and start to pay them to the French. A Russian Triple magic move is used for a fire, limber, retreat, and unlimber move by their main artillery batteries. 

The sole remaining Russian cavalry unit manages to Rout one French Dragoon unit. 

The Russians still hold Povorot village. The Guard Jagers (in the small house to the right of the church) in particular withstand repeated fire by the French battery and Legere without suffering any apparent ill effects. Must be good Russian Vodka giving them such staying power... or perhaps it was Prince Phillip's Phirming Phials?

The French send the final unit of Russian Dragoons to the showers, courtesy of a flanking volley issued by the Chasseurs of the Old Guard (see line facing to the right in the distance, with absent Russian Dragoon regiment!

Renard's (John) Old Guard Grenadier battalion ejects the Russian defenders from the church at the point of he Bayonet.

The remainder of Renard's infantry surges forward, threatening the position of the (unloaded) Russian artillery. 

Belier's light cavalry charge home into the silenced Russian battery and two Russian battalions in line at the edge of the woods. 

Overview of the battlefield from the French Left.

Sensing victory, the French in the woods at last advance to further pressure the Russians. Many volleys are exchanged!

The French light cavalry charge has destroyed the opposing battery and one infantry battalion, while the other battalion falls back in disorder. Only the lone square is effectively protecting the left flank of the Russian Army. 

Close up of the aftermath of the French charge. 
"Now THAT'S what I call Le maneuvre sur les Derrieres, boys!" quips General Faucon. 

General Badenov has had enough. He orders his Corps to disengage. He has been battered badly this day, but the French have yet to contend with General Winter...

    For his part, General Faucon is content to let the Russians withdraw and preserve as many of his men as possible. It is, after all, a long way from Paris and replacements are hard to come by. Besides, if his Majesty doesn't see fit to reward him with a Marshal's baton, one could at least hope for for a title or two, with a nice annual stipend. Vive l' Empereur!


  1. Very nice battle write-up. I like Field of Battle, but sadly, it did not catch on with my group.

    1. Thanks, Phil. Some won't like the variable moves and sequence, or the non attritional combat of Field of Battle, but we find it keeps it from getting stale.

    2. Well, I would give it another shot.

  2. What a great looking game! Splendid pictures, an epic battle...and now the winter!

    1. Thanks, Phil... and from a master narrator himself! :-)

  3. A bad day for Russian equestrians! Excellent game and report Peter, thanks!

    1. Thanks, Mark. Yes, I think the vast majority of the Morale Points the Russians lost came from beating up on the Russian Mounted arm. As Barry said when rallying his Dragoons, "That's just even more morale points they can lose now!"

  4. Replies
    1. Thank you, Christopher!
      I always enjoy your own write ups.
      Say hello to Hannibal for me! :-)

  5. Replies
    1. Thank you, Gary. Barry trotted out some newly painted Russian batteries for this game; maybe that's why they didn't play as much of a role as usual in the action.

  6. Very fine looking game, Peter! In fact, your within-game photography is superb! Terrain cloth, terrain, and figures all look terrific. The Russians, especially their cavalry took a beating in this engagement.

    1. Thanks, Jon. I was able top make the most of my advantage in Cavalry numbers and quality, and this time Barry wasn't able to do the same with his artillery advantage. John was very effective as the commander of the Guards brigade as well!

  7. Great AAR. I love playing Russians mainly for the artillery, but they definitely appeared to struggle in this encounter.

  8. Barry suffered from a poor card sequence in the first turn, and poor die rolls early. The Double 1's for the movement of the Russian central command, poised as it was to outflank my center, was an especially had blow. Chances of that happening - 1 in 144!

  9. What a wonderful set of photographs and a descriptive and very entertaining read Peter. That's a perfect example of what a Battle Report should be. That title on the post had me stumped for a while though..."Whatever is Peter doing battling Belgian Detectives for?". ;^)

    1. Thanks, Carlo! As for battling Belgian detectives, that would be in the 1814 or 1815 edition, non?