One week ago, Jared hosted a Napoleonic game using the new Battle Command rules by Brent Oman. Thomas fell prey to a last minute minor illness, so it was left to Jared, Nick and I. Nick, playing in his first "Field of Battle" style game, chose to command the French, and I thus commanded the Russians trying to cut off Davout's rear guard. Wikipedia has a good summary of the battle, which was fought on November 3, 1812, as the French were retreating towards Smolensk.
The initial set up; Davout's men, forming the Rear Guard of the retreating Grande Armee, seen in the squarish deployment in the foreground, are in danger of being cut off from the main body. They need to reach Vyazma, the village at the upper right, where Eugene's troops are posted. The troops on the tray are the Russian immediate pursuers, a swarm of cossacks, followed by some infantry and artillery. By the terms of the scenario, the French gain one Morale point for each of Davout's units that make it to the halfway point, and a second for each unit that makes it to Vyazma. The pieces of paper indicate various locations where additional Russian forces may enter during the game. Talk about running the gauntlet! Some limited French reinforcements can also be expected arriving at Vyazma.
The French get lucky with their card draws and options rolls, and make haste to reach the relative protection of the nearest village and woods, which can mitigate the threat from all of that Russian cavalry! I use the 4 regiments of horsemen (2 Russian Dragons - yuck, pooey pooey blech!) and one each of Hussars and Uhlans. starting on the field to threaten the left of the French advance. My supporting horse artillery gives good service. We Russians do love our Artillery!
Where are those darned Cossacks, who were supposedly "in hot pursuit"? They are still the box; must have found a stock of Vodka somewhere! Fire from the Horse battery routs one of Davout's regiments with heavy losses (note the 3 rocks), but some of his men have already made it halfway to Vyazma with little other Russian interference. French morale rises a bit!
Some of Eugene's men (left foreground) move out from Vyazma to succor their brothers in Davout's command. They have nearly linked up! "Proklyatiye!"
French Chasseurs scoot out of the way of the Russian artillery. They are pretty well out of position now, however.
French reinforcements in the form of some Poles arrive at Vyazma.
Gde moi tovarishchi? "And where are *my* comrades?"
My Russian Dragoons charge the wandering Chasseurs in the rear; typical performance for Russian Dragoons - they lose both of the first 2 rounds (where they cannot suffer losses, but do become disordered in the process), and then are thrown back!
Russian Cossacks, emerging from their drunken stupor, finally arrive, chasing Davout's men.
The second Russian Dragoon unit, seen routing from heavy losses. They were at the edge of the woods, and the French infantry moved forwards and blasted them with point blank musket fire (note the smoke in the woods), and then withdrew.
Still more French reinforcements arrive in March Columns - some of Eugene's Italians now.
The Russian Hussars and Uhlans are proving more effective than the despicable Dragoons, but one of the cavalry Brigadiers is hit; his troops cannot move until a replacement is named!
At last, a mass of Russian reinforcements have arrived to the left of Davout's line of advance (retreat). The Dirtbag Dragoons are seen at the edge of the table at the lower left...
Meanwhile, the Hussars, Uhlans, and Cossacks have managed to eliminate most of Davout straggling units, the speed of the weary French having slackened!
Eugene and Davout continue to act aggressively; they think they may be able to win this battle! Doing so might slow their pursuers, and enable move of the retreating Grande Armee to escape to the West.
Russian infantry "pursuers" finally make their appearance, having eveidently shared the Vodka with the Cossacks. Wait, Cossacks sharing... ?
A Russian foot battery has gained a position to Eugene's flank; the Viceroy seems unconcerned. He is focused on the chance to defeat the Russian reinforcements that have deployed between the Swamp and the central woods.
Russian reinforcement advance S-L-O-W-L-Y, while the Russian cavalry reform in the center, one of the Colonels having been assigned as acting Brigadier.
The French charge, while the Russian guns fire as they advance!
After the charge is sorted out, one of Davout's units is routed, but the other overruns the Russian battery shrugging off heavy casualties from double cannister fire in the process! The Russian defensive line is looking pretty thin... although help is on the way... sort of!
Eugene's infantry move to the attack; they cannot quite reach the Russian position. The exposed Russian infantry fire at the columns, but evidently their hands were numb and their powder wet, the shooting having little impact upon the determined French!The Russian batter to Eugene's flank fired at the flank of a supporting French foot battery, but evidently was supplied by the same contractor, producing little more than clouds of dense, black smoke. As for the Dastardly Dragoons; they failed to rally, and have "left the building"!
At this point, time ran out for the real life participants. Hopefully this exciting game can be completed at a future outing! Perhaps the Iron Marshal and the Viceroy can yet prevail? On the Russian side, still more troops are believed to be in waiting. Until then, do svidaniya!
That seems like a fun scenario and definitely one worth trying again. Rearguard actions always have a slightly different feel to them.ReplyDelete
Had the French not done well on their movement (and the Russians relatively poorly for theirs), it could be a very painful game for whoever plays Davout!Delete
Great looking gameReplyDelete
Thanks, Neil; all Jared's work in this case!Delete
Great looking table and troops. 15's do give a smaller table a chance for a fluid situaion.ReplyDelete
While I of course prefer my 28's. there's no arguing with that! :-)Delete
Looks like an interesting tussle....is a continuation planned? Has it been left "as is" on Jareds table? Would be interesting to see the battle fought to a conclusion.ReplyDelete
Yes, it has been left set up, and we hope to finish it.Delete
How frustrating to run out of time.ReplyDelete
It was Nick's first time with the rules; we probably would have finished had we had 2 players per side.Delete
Great looking game and surely you expect Russians of the period to be poor shot, better with cold steel!ReplyDelete
No indeed; the Russian line is in fact rated worse for shooting, but is more stoic (higher defense die type).Delete
Interesting scenario and hopefully we will see it completed.ReplyDelete
I hope so, even if I am not one of the players next time!Delete
Looks like a fun time was had by all. I am so envious of your play room and storage area. I wonder what happened to all the empty vodka bottles?ReplyDelete
The empty Vodka bottles were recycled, of course. Good for Molotov Cocktails! :-)Delete
I don't know about Australia, but in the US, basements are pretty standard. This is in Jared's home, which he and his wife purchased less\ than a year ago. My gaming are is in my basement as well, which is larger than this but unfinished, and FAR more cluttered!
Here in the land of Oz, basements are a rarity. Most homes are built on concrete slabs laid on the ground rather than using timber. I have always thought that basements are a good idea (except for floods!), somewhere cool to store your wine and a nice 'play' space.ReplyDelete
In New England, the soil is incredibly rocky. This is a result of the entire area being covered by the glaciers during previous Ice Ages (Long Island, NY, is essentially a terminal moraine from such glaciation). Thus anywhere you dig or plow, you get rocks, rocks, and more rocks; that's why new England is crisscrossed by stone walls every where - they needed a place to put the damn stuff, the heck with wooden fences. Root cellars, and the like were common even in the early 1800's and beyond, and the walls of those would be lined with said rocks! Indeed, there is a house less than 1/2 mile from us that was built in 1812. It was a part of the pre Civil War "underground railroad". It has a cellar, that until a few years ago, still had the false wall for hiding escaped slaves, and a secret tunnel that went under the road and ran about 100 feet into a wooded area, to facilitate the clandestine entry and escape of those concealer!Delete
Thank you for that reply Gonsalvo, I had no idea of the soil type in New England. I thought basements were pretty standard in houses all over the US (from the TV shows and movies). Here in greater Brisbane we live in what used to be sub tropical rainforest with lots of rivers and risk of flooding so we tended to build up not down https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=http%3A%2F%2Fupload.wikimedia.org%2Fwikipedia%2Fcommons%2F1%2F1c%2FQueenslander_House_Brisbane1.jpg&f=1&nofb=1&ipt=15012ba38183f733c9ae4ba9c33a9a774b8f24e8bbdf1fc2e0f7bf3b52df0229&ipo=images my house in a more typical of a modern Australian home like this: https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fstatic.domain.com.au%2Fdomainblog%2Fuploads%2F2014%2F08%2F21141500%2F2_1059jq.jpg&f=1&nofb=1&ipt=07eac4693440ee66bac8010a9765b270ae175089fe7da128423a0cf059c7d2d8&ipo=imagesReplyDelete
It is interesting how many factors influence construction - climate, geography, tradition, etc. Basements don't make sense where frequent flooding can be expected! We often vacation in Cap[e May, NJ, which has a large number of Victorian era houses; they almost all have the main floor about 6 feet above ground level, with large front porches/verandas. The area under the porches was used for storage, garden tools, etc. The raised porches catch the ocean breeze, and keeping the main floor 6 feet up decreases damage from coastal storms and hurricane storm surges. In the US Midwest, where tornadoes are common, cellars were almost a survival necessity!Delete
Sorry, I thought the links would show as hyperlinks.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the images; they were easy enough to follow!Delete
Great report and scenario. It seemed to keep everyone entertained.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Richard. It has been tense and fun to play thus far!Delete