Sunday, 9 February 2014

Here come the Russians! Russians assault the French.

My friend and fellow gamer Chris came down for a game. He's been out of the loop for a little while (since the Leipzig game) but he has been working on his Russian army. So we decided to give them a go. Also, it was highly appropriate as it was the 200th anniversary of the battle of Champaubert the next day. 

We played 1750 pts each.

As usual we diced for scenario and got number 1 'Assault on a prepared position.' We then diced to see who was attacker and given that honour always seems to fall on my shoulders I was pleasantly surprised when Chris rolled higher and took the roll of attacker. It's been quite a while since I was defending. The scenario title implies the defender has field works but actually they don't. But with equal points this is (as always) a very tough scenario for the attacker.

Especially when, as I did, the defender rolls up a village on the random terrain generator ;-)

The terrain was as below in the picture, a village (placed by me), a hill (placed by Chris), a wood (placed by me) and impassable terrain, in this case a lake (placed by Chris).

The forces involved  were as follows,

My French Infantry division was made up of 
Infantry brigade - 4 battalions (1 line, 3 conscript, all Understrength).
Infantry brigade - 3 battalions (1 line, 2 conscript, all Understrength).
1 Heavy artillery battery
Light cavalry brigade - 2 Lancer, 1 Chasseur

In reserve I had,
Infantry brigade - 3 battalions (3 conscript, all Understrength).
Heavy cavalry brigade - 2 Dragoon regiments.
1 Horse artillery battery.

Reserves start off table and have to be rolled for.

As for the Russians Chris also had an Infantry division. (The eagle eyed will spot some Prussians as stand ins).

Infantry brigade - 3 battalions
Infantry brigade - 3 battalions
Infantry brigade - 3 battalions
Jäger brigade - 3 battalions
Heavy artillery battery
Light foot artillery battery
Artillery general
Cossack regiment

In reserve he had

Heavy cavalry brigade - 3 Cuirassier regiments

Prior to deployment we placed an objective each in the defenders half of the table. The aim of the scenario is for the attacker to capture both objectives or force the defender to retire by gaining more Victory points than the defender has forces on table.

I placed my objective just behind the village and Chris placed his over on my right flank, forcing me to spread my defence.

As defender I deployed first. I placed my larger infantry brigade to hold the village.

I left a large gap in the centre for my cavalry to operate in but aware the Russians had a grand battery I hid the cavalry behind the woods.

The rest of my forces I deployed to cover the objective on the right. This I felt was more exposed and the more likely area Chris would attack.

But as you can see from the pictures above, Chris placed his entire on table force against the village leaving the objective on the French right unopposed. At this point I was in aware of the what the Russians held in reserve and being unfamiliar with the Russians I expected a large reserve to arrive to contest the objective on the right.

Chris deployed his Grand battery opposite the village and my infantry held its breath.

Turn 1

As expected the Russian infantry advanced with Cossacks covering their left flank and BOOM! The grand battery opened up and inflicted heavy losses on the French to their front.

The Russian infantry advanced further in their support move but luckily no reserves arrive.

In the French turn the infantry that were outside the village tried move away from the fire of the grand battery (annoyingly the photo greyed out at the bottom so you can't see them.)

I swung my heavy battery to try and bring it into the battle 

and moved my cavalry to oppose the Cossacks. 

I too failed to get any reserves.

Turn 2

The Russian advance progressed and the grand battery continued to do thier worst on the Poor French infantry. The Russians charged the infantry at the front of the village

and destroyed them!

The Russians assaulted the building with 3 battalions but two failed to charge home and the other retired from melee.

The village is looking vulnerable already but again Russian reserves failed to show.

In the French turn the Heavy artillery were able to bring the Cossacks under the guns and do some damage.

The French Lancers charged the Cossacks 

but, naturally enough the Cossacks evaded contact

Then I got a real stroke of luck. A brigade of Italian conscripts arrive :-). 

I brought them on in support of the village.

Turn 3

In maneuvering my cavalry I had brought them out from the cover of the woods. The Russian grand battery spotted the opportunity and swung it's heavy battery around to pound the cavalry and

BLIMEY! It got 16 hits with one round of firing ( despite defective gunpowder) and annihilated the poor cavalry.....OUCH!

The other battery set a building in the village on fire!

And the Russian infantry continued to assault the village but the French stubbornly held on.

Worryingly for the French the Russians rolled on some reserves and the Russian Heavy cavalry brigade arrived, but it was alone, and Chris opted to bring it on behind his advancing infantry!

I'd expected any reserves to tackle the objective on the French right but the objective remains uncontested! The fact the Russian Cuirassiers arrived alone also indicated the Russians had no more reserves. For me this constituted a huge mistake by the Russians.

The remaining French cavalry moved to the right and made sure they took cover from the Russian guns.

The infantry in the Building successfully put out the fire

and the Italians moved to support the village and cover the objective.

With no effort against my right flank there was now no way the Russians would take both objectives.
Also, even if the Russians took the village and destroyed both brigades and took the objective they would not have enough points to win the game.

So when I then rolled on my remaining reserves I could guarantee the win by bringing them on to make double sure the right flank objective give was secure. And that's what I did :-)

Chris agreed he couldn't win now and conceded the game. Even if the he took the village It would take too long to get his resources over to the other flank to win.


This game came down to the Russians deciding to throw everything they had at the village and not contesting the other objective. It's difficult for me to say what Chris was exactly thinking. I suspect he hoped to take the village very quickly and felt he would have time to switch his whole army to the other flank to win.

For my part once it was clear that Chris was totally committed against the village I felt I would probably win. That's because the total amount of points to be gained from taking the village was 3 (the objective plus the two infantry brigades.) Therefore as long as I didn't get drawn in to the battle around the village and throw in more forces (potential victory points) to hold that objective, time would run out for the Russians. That's why I brought my reserves on my right flank and not to help hold the village.

You may feel it was a bit gamey of me to play the battle this way. And ultimately, your right. I could have made more of a fight for the village but, to be frank, I needed a win for my own morale fibre as I've not had much luck with my own attacks lately ;-)

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....


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 :-(


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 :-)