Sunday, 9 February 2014

Defending France. French attack Prussians

Once more Steve and I took to the field of battle. Given that at this time 200 years ago the allies were closing in on Napoleon we decided to do a broadly themed defence of France game. In other words  we used French v Prussian armies.

We diced for the scenario and got a 3 "Rearguard Action".

We then rolled to see who would attack and (as usual) it was the French attacking.

In this scenario we play length ways down the table. Only 4 pieces of terrain were rolled, two hills and a field plus some marsh ( which I tucked away in a corner).

As an assault scenario the attacker has to either capture both objectives (the small square terrain pieces seen in the pic below) or force the enemy to retreat (gain more Victory points than the enemy has forces on table). Failure to achieve either of these aims results in a defender victory.

The Prussians had to deploy first and could only start with half their forces on table. 

Steve started with two prussian infantry brigades of 3 battalions each (1 Fusileer and 2 musketeers), 1 Heavy artillery battery and 1 regiment of Uhlans. He deployed as high up the table as allowed with an infantry brigade on both flanks and the artillery in the center. The cavalry regiment sat behind the line waiting.

The attackers start the scenario with all their forces on table excluding reserves. My list was a bit of a gamble because I only had 1 reserve but luckily that worked out well for this scenario.

I deployed a small infantry brigade of 3 battalions on the left. Their orders were to advance but ultimately hold and refuse the flank.

In the center I deployed a grand battery made up of 1 Foot battery and a Heavy battery. On the right I had a large 5 battalion Infantry brigade and on the far right I deployed my Light cavalry brigade (2 Lancers and 1 Hussar regiment).

The plan was for the cavalry to advance down the flank and work their way around the rear of the Prussians. The infantry were to also advance and the work their way into the centre.

In this scenario the defenders do not start to roll for reserves until turn 3 so the first 3 turns are crucial for the attacker. Essentially the attackers need to be well on the way to victory before the defenders reserves arrive.

Turn 1

The French advance as planned and the artillery start to inflict casualties.

And to my great surprise the French reserves arrive nice and early :-) Things are looking good.

The Dragoons move up to support the small brigade on the left. With the battle fought width ways down the table space is at a premium. 

On the Prussian first turn Steve decides that discretion is the better part of valour and falls back on the his right flank,

and in the center!

A lone square holds the Prussian left flank and the Uhlans move across to support.

Turn 2

So with the arrival of th French Dragoons plan A goes out the window! The infantry on the French left advance to catch up with the retreating Prussians and the Dragoons move up to support.

In the center the Grand battery continues to bombard the enemy.

On the far right the French infantry assault the square but annoyingly the Prussian square successfully falls back!! With the Prussian Uhlans so close the unsuccessful French infantry battalion retires and the French cavalry move to cover the Infantry.

In the Prussian turn the Uhlans advance and in what appears a desperate move they charge the Lancers. With no room to evade the Lancers face up to the Uhlans.

But annoyingly for the French the Uhlans inflict 2 hits. The Lancers stand and fight back but only get 1 hit so the Lancers are forced to fall back but with all that conscript infantry behind the unit is forced to disperse!!!

The Uhlans now breakthrough on to the infantry and....

Typical!!! 

With Lanced armed cavalry 6's count as double hits so that's a total of 6 hits..... Utter annihilation of the infantry battalion  :-(

In their reorganisation move the glorious Uhlans fall back covered by the lone reformed infantry square.

Turn 3

With the thrust down the far right blunted by the heroics of the Prussian Uhlans the French try to reorganise but the lack of space creates congestion. The cavalry are in effect pinned by the now very annoying square. 
The Uhlans were still a big threat so the artillery turns to bring them in to their sights and inflict a loss on the Uhlans

The Prussian heroes.

The Prussian commanders very pleased with their efforts so far.

The French infantry on the left fail to assault the Prussian infantry and in turn fall victim to Prussian heavy canister resulting in another lost battalion :-(

The Prussians, seeing which way things seem to be going assault the French and despite taking casualties charge in and make it to contact and..,,, 

throw back the French battalion!

The Prussians stabilise their already right flank 

and pull back the Uhlans out of harms way

In the reserve and support phase the Uhlans rally back a base 

and recieve some reserves! a full cavalry brigade of 2 Dragoon and 1 Uhlan regiment. (Sorry, no photo)

Turn 4

The game is slipping away from the French and time is running out.

On the left the Dragoons manoeuvre to charge the denuded Prussian infantry battalion and the infantry (just in picture on the far left) prepare to assault.

But.... The cavalry fail their élan test to charge home and get in the way of the second regiment preventing a second charge.

The infantry are more successful 

But the failure of the cavalry ends the French hope of victory.

With only two French turns left and a lot of ground still to cover, 

plus the arrival of Prussian reserves, I admit defeat and concede the game :-(

Conclusion

Another poorly planned attack bites the dust. 
With the battle fought width ways the fighting was on a relatively narrow front. I put too many units down the right hand side. This was partly due to the space taken up by the grand battery which, on reflection I should have put at least one battery in compressed frontage. 
I should have put the larger infantry brigade on the left and the smaller brigade on the right, reducing the congestion and allowing a more effective attack on the left. I was looking to effectively use combined arms on the right but just couldn't seem to pull it off, primarily due to Steve's excellent use of his Uhlans and infantry square.

Hind sight is a wonderful thing :-)

































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