Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Somewhere on the North German Plain, 1813.

This Saturday past saw me at the club's Croydon venue, maybe for the last time in a while as my study has started in earnest again (sob!). Forgot the camera again, so you'll have to put up with phone camera images again, sorry (they're not too bad, except you can't expand them).

A 3-a-side game was held under the auspices of Andrew B. All the figures on display are his, except for a few that Tim brought along to bolster the Prusso-Russian side. It was a very homogenous table with all figures by Front Rank, including Prussians and Russians on one side and French, Wurttembergers, and Italians on the other.

The doughty Franco-Allied forces.
The Prusso-Russian hordes
As a practice match for next year's big battle (of which yours truly will be commanding the Franco-Allied side. EEEK!),  I got my first taste of command, but really played with the cavalry and artillery reserve. As poor old Jim copped a flogging from Andrew, I spent most of my time trying to assist him with my guns and cavalry, to no avail!

Jim's French conscript rabble.
My cavalry and artillery reserve command.

Steve, on a return to the club from a long break, did quite well in the centre, seizing and holding the central BUA and positioning his cavalry very well in a threatening posture to the flanks of his position, which frustrated Tim's Prussians' attempts to get in my flank early on.

Paul's Italians in the foreground and Steve's Wurttembergers in the centre.

Paul had a hard task with his Italians facing the might of John W.'s Russian massed battery and supporting infantry (with a force of 1100 points, John only had 400 points of infantry!). I had the early idea of sending my cavalry over to help him on that flank, but never got the opportunity.

John's tons o' guns!
Go on; make my day!
On the left flank, Jim started off in a hurry, launching his French conscript army at Andrew's Prussians, but thanks to a pre-melee morale failure, ended up just short of Andrew's line. D'oh!

Charge, you cowardly dogs!

Andrew brought his cavalry brigade around on his flank to try and get into Jim's infantry's flank. Spotting the threat I decided to move the entire cavalry reserve to counter his move.

Andrew's cavalry on the move
My cavalry  move to counter Andrew.

This encouraged Tim to try an attack on my deployed artillery on the ridgeline with his Totenkopf  Leib-Garde Hussars, but a timely opportunity charge by Steve's Wurttemberg cavalry stopped them in their tracks. Not surprisingly, I decided that some of the cavalry would serve the cause by returning to support the artillery.

Steve's Wurttemberg cavalry seize the opportunity to charge the approaching Prussian hussars...
...and claim the field after sending the Prussians packing. The Wurttemberg cavalry were then successfully recalled, taking them out of harm's way.

A minor artillery duel ensued during which my 12lber batteries knocked out one of Andrew's gun, as expected, but his return fire knocked out one of mine, which was not expected. At this stage I will declare that the dice gods were on Andrew's side: whenever he needed a 1, he rolled it. Not making excuses, just sayin'...

Jim and Andrew engaged in a stoush of conscripts vs. landwehr during which neither could really seize the upper hand. Tim tried a charge on Steve's BUAs, managing to evict him from one, but failing to get the required score for a breakthrough, which he was hoping for, which would have split the village in two.

I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blooow your house in!

Paul shuffled his command backwards out of range of the Russian guns, and started a long flanking movement around the Russian-held village, while still leaving some troops in contact distance with Steve's command.

Heigh-ho, heigh-ho it's off to war we go!

Back on the left flank, Andrew put one of his small cavalry units and a half-battery of horse artillery on Jim's flank in preparation of doing damage the next turn. Jim countered by charging the half battery and causing it to retreat, then formed up to fire on the now isolated cavalry. This was another occasion where Andrew pulled a 1 out of his backside when Jim fired on the cavalry's rear. He missed and Andrew sailed through his morale check, leaving him still poised on Jim's flank.

I dropped the ball at this stage, by not having any cavalry ready to exploit his attack. If I'd left moving them till after his success, I might have been able to slice my way through his infantry, or at least forced him to hunker down in square, and chased off the small Prussian cavalry unit.
Andrew's pesky little cavalry and horse guns...
...get 'what for' from Jim!
And now for the cavalry!
Tim moved his Leib-Garde Hussars forward in line into the dead ground in front of the artillery in a ballsy move, copping a casualty on the way in, but protected by the terrain, and the fact I'd neglected to put out a cavalry vedette, he managed to get right up close to my guns.

Tim's hussars advance under fire...
...and stop under cover of the dead ground, while my hussars sit in ignorance on the reverse slope.
Curse that dead ground!
This left me in a quandary as Tim had a vedette and could see my movements. Putting my own vedette out meant I could then see him, but he was outside my charge arc. If I tried to maneuver to improve my angle, I'd have either triggered an opportunity charge, or exposed my flank to his infantry. In the end I stayed where I was which didn't help at all!

My cavalry on the left had been mesmerised by the rest of Andrew's cavalry force, to Jim's detriment. Andrew and I fought an inconclusive battle, while my horse guns knocked 2 figures off his landwehr cavalry column, forcing them to flee.

The inconclusive results of our charge.
Panoramic view of the battlefield from the French/Allied left.

Now that the tiny landwehr cavalry force had survived Jim's attempts at shooing them away, they reaped a reward much larger than their puny size. They launched a charge on Jim's infantry's flank which went through them like a dose of Bali Belly. The battalions that survived the cavalry attack were then 'escorted' off the field by Andrew's landwehr infantry when they charged.

Andrew's cavalry, in the centre of the picture, begin their fateful 'Death Ride'...
...and end it just shy of one last French battalion...
...while the rest of the brigade scream  'Run awaaaaaay!'
Tim now felt the time was right for a brigade charge on my guns with his infantry. He neglected to see that I still had one battery of 6lbers that had a clear field of fire and suffered a casualty as he came in. The hussars behind the guns counter-charged (thanks to the clear-eyed vedette posted on the hill crest), and met the horde before they reached the guns. The resulting clash was a stand-off, as his infantry were in closed-column, but it was enough to stop him...for now!

In the aftermath of that charge, Tim sent in a single battalion through the gap between his hussars and infantry, using the dead ground again to his advantage, but he suffered in his approach on the way as the 12lbers knocked him about forcing him to back into the dead ground.

The head of Tim's column gets a taste of 12lber goodness!
By this stage Andrew's rampaging infantry had reached the second brigade in the rear and sent that fleeing as well. The time was now ripe for Tim's hussars to charge from their cover in the dead ground. With all the fleeing infantry my gunners didn't stand a chance so they fled for the nearest square. Unfortunately, the square didn't stand a chance for exactly the same reason!

The Death's Head Hussars crush the square, while a hapless limbered horse battery do their impression of a speed-hump.

By this stage it was all-over, red-rover on the left flank (despite a little bit of petty vengeance on my part; gotta get it where you can!), but Steve and Paul were still in the game. But with a gaping flank, in reality they would have had to have withdrawn to keep their own flank secure. The game wrapped up with a convincing Prussian win on the French flank giving them the victory, though Steve did fulfil his objective by taking and holding the central village.

Steve's successful Wurrtemberg command rock solid in the centre
Wurttemberg infantry face off against Tim's Prussians
Paul's Italians, out of breath after their long flank march, meet John's Russians
More of John's Russians rushin' here, rushin' there....(an oldie, but a goodie!)


  1. A great report, and photos are good (even if you forgot your camera!).
    Table was very nice, with a lot of units and nationalities, it's a pleasure!
    Well done Prussians!

  2. Excellent looking table. Great phone photos and a very good read.

  3. For phone photographs I think you've done a pretty damn dood job; a super read as always and best of luck with the study!

  4. Very nice battle-report. The photos are great too.
    Extra-props for having a prussian victory.

  5. A great AAR and very interesting game!
    Best regards


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