Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Final Battle Report

Don't panic, Mr. Mainwaring! Don't panic! It's just the final battle report for 2017! 

Well, this was supposed to have been posted before the end of last year, but you know how things go... So Happy New Year to you all and I hope 2018 features more wargaming than you can handle!

This game featured Garry and I as the Franco-Allied side vs. Tim and newcomer Paul C. as the 1812 Russians. Garry had all French, while I continued with my heterogeneous Neapolitan/Italian/French force. While Tim and Garry faced off, I opposed Paul. All the Russian figures belonged to Paul, having bought the lot from Tim, who seems to be divesting himself of his older Minifig collection.

I started off with my Neapolitans in the centre, lead by the Guard Velites and Voltiguers, while my Franco-Italians held the right flank. My Italian dragoons and Neapolitan chevau-leger were positioned in the centre of my force, while my remaining Italian chasseurs held the right flank.

For Paul and I, it was a race to see who could set up a battery on the closest ridge. I managed to do it first as Paul has a typical Russian's lust for firepower and elected to use 12 lb artillery batteries which take a lot more effort to move and unlimber. My 6 lb Italian foot battery was set up ready to fire with cavalry support, while his battery was still limbered on the reverse slope of his ridge with cavalry support. I'd also snuck my dragoons up to threaten any movement over the crest of his ridge; whether he moved his supporting cavalry or the limbered battery first, he would risk triggering an opportunity charge from my dragoons (not a fair trick to pull on a newby, I know, but he'll learn from it I'm sure!). That certainly put sand in his gears early on, but allowed me room to breathe, because if he'd managed to unlimber his battery it would have dominated the battlefield and limited my options for the rest of the game. 

While my cavalry lurked in the centre, holding things up, my infantry advanced on either flank. My Franco-Italians went to the right to deal with another 12 lb battery and its infantry and cavalry support, while on the left my Neapolitan Guard units advanced on the centre in order to threaten the flank of any advance by Tim's main force (he later said that he assumed I'd be focussing on Paul's threat in front, and my lateral movement threw his plans out the window!). The main action in my battle therefore was out on the right flank. Paul had occupied a wood with a skirmished jaeger battalion in an attempt to protect the flank of his other big battery of guns. My best troops, a French brigade of light infantry, moved through the woods, pushing aside the jaegers, and charged the supporting infantry column as it moved into the woods. After the enemy infantry was repulsed, it was the turn of the cavalry who failed to react to the infantry threat, and stood to receive a volley in the flank. The resulting morale test saw them break and run! Huzzah!

Still, the artillery was a problem. It was able to unlimber and then blast away at the nearest column in the woods. While it was taking heavy damage from close range fire, it protected the rest of the brigade moving up. It was of a high enough morale rating that it survived repeated morale tests caused by heavy casualties.

Back in the centre, Paul came to the conclusion that my cavalry had to be dealt with, or he might as well pack up and go home. To that end, he sent his hussars at my guns. The nearest Neapolitan infantry battalion formed square (a miracle in itself!), so the gunners fled to the square, allowing the supporting Neapolitan chevau-leger to counter charge. The outcome was never in doubt, but I had hoped that they'd put up a better fight than they actually did! The Russian hussars manhandled the chevau-leger roughly, causing them to break to the rear. In the resulting test for control the hussars went battle-mad and had to take the breakthrough move, which landed them deep in my territory, right in front of my square and with infantry ready to pour fire into both flanks!

Still, when you're on to a good thing, it's time to keep the pressure up! Paul launched his cuirassiers at my dragoons. With the breaking chevau-leger close by, affecting my pre-melee check, I knew that it would be a tough assignment, but again my dice let me down; the dragoons were forced to retreat with casualties. While not a total disaster, it still let Paul free his guns and changed the complexion fo the game up to this point.

Out on the left flank, Tim pivoted to pay attention to my Guard brigade and let his artillery rip. My new Guard Voltiguer battalion copped the brunt, so I had attached the general to it to keep it steady. Of course, the danger of doing that is that it increases the chances of the general becoming a casualty. So, what happened? The general became a casualty, of course! Luckily, Murat was away talking to Garry's commander at the time, discussing general strategy, and not attached to this unit. Two deaths in two games for Joachim would have been a touch galling! Anyway, the Neapolitans shook off the general's death and awaited the replacement commander with stoicism.

After dealing with the Italian dragoons, the Russian cuirassiers were vulnerable to my approaching infantry closed columns which were now appearing after skirting the burned out village and woods on the right. Paul had also spotted this and was moving infantry up in support. Neither of us were able to get enough troops up in time to land a knock-out blow, but that allowed him time and space to finally unlimber his 12 lb battery in the centre. There were only a couple of battalions out in the open in closed column to act as a block against the cuirassiers, so they copped a pasting before moving back.

Paul sensed the tide had changed and began an advance in the centre closest to Tim's formation, with some of his reserve units, heading towards my Guards brigade. If Tim and Paul co-ordinated their advance, I thought I could be in trouble. To mitigate the artillery fire from Tim's guns and to maximise the firepower directed at a potential Russian charge, I put the Voltiguers and one Velite battalion into line, while the second Velite battalion joined in ganging up on the still isolated Russian hussars. The hussars then copped fire from both flanks as well as from the front, which proved too much for them, causing them to bolt for the rear.

By this stage, it was obvious that Garry was gearing up for an attack on Tim's main formation after putting pressure on Tim's right flank. I felt that my left flank was safe as a result, so put my Guards back into column in preparation to meet Paul's advance, or go onto the offensive myself. I still hoped to get rid of the cuirassiers in the centre and then into the flank or rear of the 12 lb battery. That was turning out to be harder than anticipated, as my battalions were losing cohesiveness in transiting the woods and deploying into a narrow space, as well as being confronted by enemy infantry once they arrived in place, making it difficult to shed disorders.

His other 12 lb battery still dominated the right flank, too. It was weakly supported by a single infantry battalion in square. I was sending my Italian chasseurs up to threaten the battery under the cover of an infantry battalion which had fanned out in line in order to protect the cavalry column and to lessen the effect of the gruelling fire.

This is where the game ended fairly much, as Garry launched the anticipated general attack on Tim, who then flubbed his counter-charge by halting at 2" with 2 disorders; instead of charging through the guns, Tim's troops stopped in the middle, causing even more confusion. However, Garry's roll also wasn't the greatest which meant he failed to push home the advantage. He had purposely left a gap in his line into which he now threw his dragoons, which finished the job his infantry started. With Tim cracked open like a nut, the French were declared the winners.

My Franco/Italian/Neapolitan force ready for duty!

Paul's big guns.

More big guns and supporting infantry.

My guns get to unlimber while Paul's are trapped by my dragoons limbered on the reverse slope!
Tim's troops advance behind the village at the top of the picture.

On my right, the Italian chasseurs spot the enemy!

My Neapolitan infantry pivot to confront Tim's advance. Time for another plan, Tim!

Paul's battery stuck on the reverse slope, while his infantry advance on the flank.

Paul's combined arms foray around my right flank

Paul occupies the village as Tim's troops march on its far side. His infantry and reserve hang back while his artillery is stalled.

Paul advances his cuirassiers and throws out a vedette in response to my dragoons' aggressive first move.

Out on my right flank, the light infantry clears the skirmishers from the woods and moves up on the Russians' flank

Combat in the woods. My light infantry prevailed, leaving the cavalry and artillery exposed to flank fire.

An Italian infantry battalion occupies the burned village, while the remaining French light infantry moves past.

My dragoons prepare for the Russian response, as well as throwing out their own vedette.

King Joachim in consultation with the commander of the Left Flank (Garry)

Garry's forces clearing the Russians out of the woods (blurry action photo!)

Tim's main force pivots slightly, bringing his guns to bear on the Neapolitan Guards brigade.

The guns fire, taking two figures from the Voltiguer column....

...and killing the general with the second shot!

Back on the right flank, the guns unlimbered and hammered the nearest column, but it survived, allowing a shot on the cavalry which spectacularly failed the morale test and fled, outpacing the already retreating infantry!

The Russian hussars charge the Neapolitan chevau leger...

...with predictable results!

The artillery crew manage to flee to the nearest square, while cavalry go battle-mad, forcing to take the breakthrough, landing them in the middle of a hornets' nest!

Cuirassiers then charge the dragoons, who counter-charge....

...only to be forced to retreat with losses

Italian chasseurs advance up the right flank under cover of French infantry line, forcing supporting Russian infantry in the distance into square. 

French light infantry advance in closed column to threaten cuirassiers' flank. Russian infantry move up in support.

Russian guns in the centre finally unlimber, causing grief to the nearest infantry columns.

Paul's infantry advances beyond the occupied village in the centre of the battlefield.


The Neapolitan Guard deploys in line in response, while the Russian hussars get flanked.

Out on the right, things are getting messy!

The Italian chasseurs approach trying to get into the flank of the guns and supports before falling off the edge of the world! The covering infantry line stoically cops casualties.

Garry gears up to attack Tim's main force.

Time to put Paul's hussars to flight.

Fire from directly in front and from both flanks...

...sees them break for the rear! Huzzah!

Garry puts a charge in at the top of the picture,  penetrating deep into Tim's defensive line.

My Neapolitans, led by the Guard, form up for their own attempt at glory!

"Per Napoli, ragazzi!"

But Garry steals my thunder... charging Tim's main infantry force...

...which halts a 2". Garry's attack also fails to push home....

...but his dragoons puts an end to it, by charging home through the gap left for the purpose in the infantry formation.
Game Over!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The French are Van(a)-quished, or King Joachim Bites the Dust!


Finally got back to the club for another game, although there was a considerable lowering of the mood when it became know that the fridge behind the bar was broken.

Warm beer!!!!

After that shock was processed, we got down to the business at hand; a game between the Forces of Reaction (Paul and Vana) vs. the Forces of Liberté (Bill and me).  We decided to randomise our entry points, but rather than gradually feeding our forces onto the table, we chose to just dump them all on at once! That proved to be a little awkward as Vana and Bill appeared on the same side of the board at 90° to each other and were into it from the word go. Paul and I spent most of the game getting into position and then waiting for the other two to finish their turns before being able to do anything else.

Impression of Paul and me, while Bill and Vana went at it:
Waiting, waiting, waiting....

While Paul and I faced each other across the table in a more traditional formation, Bill was heading for Vana's flank. Vana split his Austrian force into two, with the majority facing Bill's French, while a brigade and a bit maintained a link with Paul 

Neapolitan - Franco/Italian forces

Paul's Russians

Bill's polyglot French

Part of Vana's Austrian force

Paul forms a defensive line on the village

His heavy cavalry guard the flank

Bill and Vana come to blows early on

Vana's anchored line on the ridge; the link between Paul and the rest of his troops, and my objective!

As Paul had established a strong defensive line anchored on a village and backed up by a 12-lber battery on a hill to the rear, I decided my best chance was to attack Vana's linking brigade. It consisted only of infantry, so was a perfect candidate for a triple threat combined arms attack of cavalry, artillery and infantry; cavalry to scare the infantry into square, artillery to whittle away and weaken the square, and infantry to apply the coup de grâce once the square was too feeble to resist. That was the plan, anyway! With my 3 battalions of Neapolitan guard infantry, I reckoned it was a done deal; I just had to hope that the Neapolitan line infantry were up to the job of following through in the aftermath. It was taking a hell of a long time to bring them up in support, as troops rated Conscript and Landwehr (which Neapolitan line infantry are!) take double the functions to do simple maneuvers. 

The Neapolitan lancers lead the move towards the Austrians...

...followed by the Neapolitan infantry and artillery.

My right flank consisted of the Franco-Italian part of my forces which took up a defensive posture against a possible Russian cavalry attack. However, with my own defensive line, plus reserves, it wasn't likely that there'd be much action on that flank any time soon.

French anchored line supported by Italian dragoons

Russian hussars

Paul's Russian defensive line with heavy artillery on the hill behind.

The Russian-occupied village, anchoring the whole line

While Bill and Vana's clash continues in the background, the Austrian anchored line holds the ridge.

Vana's Austrian infantry attack Bill's square of dismounted dragoons.

Vana's cavalry awaiting the result.

After my artillery battery made it to the top of the ridge, it unlimbered but was almost immediately under threat before it could come into play; Vana had brought up another infantry battalion in square up onto the flank of the battery. Now I had to divert one of the Guard battalions to deal with it, diverting it from the planned attack on the anchored line. Ordinarily, a battalion in square attacked by another in column doesn't really stand much of a chance, but Vana likes to pay for quality over quantity and I found out that this unit was no exception to the rule! Even though his troops were rated Elite, my Veteran rated column should have been able to at least dislodge the square from the ridge, providing my artillery with the opportunity to relocate unmolested. Of course, that would be if my dice hadn't completely betrayed me and his came up trumps. In the first of several tin-arsed rolls, Vana rolled the magic 6 on a d6, while I rolled a one. Coupled with a successful defensive fire roll, my attack on his square was repulsed!  Senza precedenti! 

Because that attack failed, I couldn't then launch the attack on the nearest part of the anchored line with the remaining two Guard battalions, as the defeated battalion would add negatives to any pre-melee rolls.

Neapolitan cavalry, Guard Infantry and artillery approach the ridge

The cavalry and artillery pin the line, while the infantry gets in place.

The artillery fires at close range while the Velites and Voltiguers get ready.
But why is the other battalion of Velites reading off to the left of the picture?

To deal with this fly in the ointment!
A cheeky Austrian square come to upset the applecart.

This'll fix their wagon!


Oh, bugger!


Meanwhile, during all the to-ing and fro-ing to get my attack in place, Paul had placed his cavalry in a position to threaten my intended path of attack. Their flank was exposed to the woods however, so I sent one of my plodding Neapolitan line battalions through the woods to place themselves on the cavalry's flank. Up to now cavalry have had no opportunity to react to a threat like this; they have just had to stand and take the inevitable flank shot. Now, we tested a new rule which acts in the same way as rolling for an opportunity charge; the cavalry roll 2d10 and if the result is equal or greater than the number of inches from when the threat is detected, then the cavalry can elect to make a defensive maneuver, i.e. back away, turn to face etc. It seems much more logical and less weighted in the infantry's favour. So, Paul rolled and his cavalry managed to evade the threat, backing up out of musketry range. However, I left the infantry on the edge of the woods to discourage any attempts at disrupting my eventual attack.

Paul's cavalry column pokes its nose out beyond the woods.

A neapolitan line battalion moves through the woods into the cavalry's flank.
Engage reverse gear! Beep, beep, beep!

Italian dragoons then move to discourage any further moves by Russian infantry and cavalry to support their Austria allies.

Italian Chasseurs then scoot from reserve on one flank to the other, behind the dragoons, to support the Neapolitans

Meanwhile, the French anchored line on the right flank blocks in the Russian hussars while absorbing punishment from the 12-lber battery on the hill in the top left corner of the picture..

Eventually I managed to force back the pesky square which then enabled me to attack the anchored line. With the artillery still focussed on the nearest column anchoring the line, I managed to bring up my remaining Velite battalion into its flank. I was going to fire into the flank and force the morale test. If the enemy failed and fell back, all well and good, but I also had the Guard Voltiguers lined up to charge if it they didn't. In the end the flank fire was enough, so I charged the Voltiguers at the noe un-anchored line. With enemy in their flank and a friendly unit falling back, I thought it was a safe bet that my charge would be successful. In yet another display of the Dice God favouring Vana while abandoning me, Vana not only inflicted damage on my charging unit, but stopped them in their tracks, while standing firm and refusing to budge! I unleashed my Italian dragoons on the line instead, pretty sure that an unanchored line would fold at the sight of a column of heavy cavalry bearing down on them. Of course, they did the unlikely by hitting charging cavalry and destroying 50% of the front line, which, coupled with an appalling pre-melee die roll, meant not only did the attack fail, but the dragoons were sent reeling in disarray! All the while the Austrian line just stood there nonchalantly blowing the smoke from their musket barrels!

Success and failure:
One Austrian battalion is forced to retire from the ridge, but the other in line repels the Voltiguer charge....

...and then coolly dispatches a cavalry charge from the dragoons.



Paul then tried a similar trick with me, sending his dragoons at my Voltiguers, but I emulated Vana and sent his hussars packing! Swings and roundabouts...

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Russkis!

His dragoons had gone on a big detour around my flank, but I held my lancers in place to keep the pesky square from getting any ideas. Still, I probably could have at least altered their angle, because eventually I had dragoons charging the lancers' flank. I tried to evade, but to no avail (being Neapolitan cavalry, what did I expect?) and had the lancers unceremoniously swept from the field. 


By that time it was all over bar the shouting, though; My Velites swept down the flank of the unanchored line, clearing the ridge of Austrian infantry. Better late than never...


Meanwhile, Vana encouraged me to go for the big 5:30 death-or-glory charge against Paul's line on the right. paul had moved his big guns into the front line and seemed to be preparing an advance. I still had an untouched reserve, which, when added to the battalions in the front line, gave me a fighting chance of breaking through, even with fire from 12-lbers and infantry to greet them on their approach. With Murat attached to give leadership bonus, what could go wrong? Well, Paul rolling 0 on a d10 for defensive fire, that's what! Murat was killed and the attack faltered! The resulting morale check saw the attackers break and run; Game Over, Man!

The attack assembles...

...and goes in!


Thanks for all your kind words from the last blog-post. Our family really appreciates it; she was a bad-tempered mog, but she is missed by all, including the dog.

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