Last Friday's game was another in what I foresee as a long line of Franco-Russian battles as we gear up for Borodino early next year. This time I partnered Darren again, but this time against John W. and Pete E. I faced John W. who is, along with Tim and the two Andrews, one of the wiliest players around.
I'll let you into a secret about John, if you promise not to spread it further: (stage whisper) he really likes to win! Now, those of you who know him will be really surprised by this, but I'll let you know how I worked this out.
- As he sets up his troops he makes evil laughing noises of the "Mwa-hah-ha-haaa!" kind.
- He likes to argue the toss over the rules, so you have to be pretty clear on the issue if you think he's wrong, otherwise you're on a hiding to nothing. I can't help thinking I was sold a pup when he declared that Russian hussars get the lancer bonus in the first charge because a certain percentage of hussars were armed with lances. I don't know enough about Russian cavalry to challenge that, but it smelled fishy to me!
- He really likes it when he rolls well, but not so much when the dice don't co-operate (but don't we all!)
Anyway, he's very competitive, but once all is done and dusted and hands are shaken we're all friends again! He gave me a lot of good advice on how to play against Russians next time (especially when they're commanded by him!), so what with the game against Tim and this one, I'm hoping to scratch a win next time!
The main lesson I have taken away is to abandon my Guard units for Friday night games, and to replace them with more line troops to provide a more in-depth reserve. Also, I know intellectually that I shouldn't try to defend all the real estate in front of me, but end up getting spooked into spreading myself too thin and then have my too-thin line broken and rolled up. This game was no exception!
|My Franco-Italian forces|
|I went for light cavalry this time; hussars and chasseurs|
|The heavy mob; Italian Guard grenadiers and chasseurs|
|The general surrounded by his troops. He managed to survive unscathed this time!|
|Darren's forces holding the right flank|
|John's infantry. A sea of flags!|
|John's forces including cavalry and artillery.|
|A shot along the combined Russian front. A sea of billowing flags!|
|John's first move was unexpected; he moved his infantry in front of his guns!|
|His cavalry fan out on the flank...|
|...followed by his jaegers....|
|...which spooked me into a counter move, instead of refusing the flank, which would have been a better option.|
|Not a lance in sight! ;-)|
|My hussars and horse guns face the Russian cavalry threat...|
|...while my infantry heads into the woods in the centre...|
|...supported by the light infantry.|
|The closed column anchoring the mixed order formation on the right cops a hiding from the artillery...|
|...and then is charged by 2 battalions of infantry...|
|...with predictable results! Run away!|
|The Russian hussars charge the guns, but are counter-charged by the french hussars...|
|...with an inconclusive result, both sides forced back to their starting points with losses and disorders.|
|In the woods, I unwisely engaged in a firefight with 2 battalions in line. With more muskets brought to bear, his lines were always going to have the upper hand. My higher morale wasn't enough to prevail, ending in another stalemate|
|The firefight in the woods from another angle; Lotsoflags!|
|After John's successful charge, his 2 battalions are left fairly exposed, even though they threaten the exposed flank of my line.|
|My Croats line up for a charge, with the Corps commander attached|
|The other Italian battalion also lines up in case the Croats fail.|
|Meanwhile the Italian line sweats. "Avanti, avanti!"|
|On my other flank, the guns open up on the Russian infantry ahead, while the Guard wait for an opportune moment to charge.|
|Darren advances on my right|
|John's guns command the walled field. I was avoiding them as I thought they'd be 12lbers, but they turned out to be only 6lbers. Still, there was enough of them in the one battery to make it wise to steer clear!|
|One of John's battalions in the open changes facing , deploys into line and fires on the flank of one of my battalions in the woods, causing them to retreat|
|The infantry in the woods then cop artillery fire after the Russian infantry moves out of the line of fire.|
|The no-longer anchored line is sent packing after failing a pre-melee morale test...|
|...leaving the way open for a charge by the 2nd hussar unit on the other Italian unit. They manage to lazily form square after rolling a 1 on a d10 (they needed 4 or less!)|
|The resulting combat forced both cavalry and square back, and caused a great big hole on my left flank.|
|The Italian horse guns did some sterling work on the approaching Jaeger columns, though...|
|...and stopped the 2nd battalion in its tracks!|
|With a rush of blood to the head, my hussars charged a Russian infantry unit, but were counter-charged by the Russian hussars and sent packing!|
|The rot was setting in on the right as well. A light battalion is forced to retreat.|
|Enough of this! Time for the Guard to justify its existence. CHARGE!|
|The results were a bit of a damp squib, resulting in a Pyhrric victory. I only forced a retire, not a retreat, and ened up masking my guns to no real advantage.|
|At last, some success in the centre! |
I pivoted the repulsed column on its axis, so I faced his line's flank, and poured in a volley, causing them to fail the reulting morale test and head for the hills! HUZZAH!
|Of course, next turn, their exposed flank was charged by Russian reserves and sent packing after failing the resulting morale test, even with the general's bonus.|
|The Croats' charge again resulted in a Pyhrric victory, with no real gain as a result.|
|The Italian gunners have more success, firing into the flank of the Russian hussars, causing 2 casualties and forcing them to flee after they failed the resulting morale test! HUZZAH #2!|
(but of course their flank is nicely exposed to the jaegers)
|I try another charge with my Guard units and a Light battalion, but as there are too many units running in the vicinity, my chances of success are slim|
|The Guard bounces, but the light infantry flee!|
|The chasseurs charged in support of the artillery, but couldn't save them, and now find themselves well and truly contained and in danger of destruction.|
|The remnant of my infantry face off against a fraction of John's Russian infantry. You can see to the upper left how his Hussars are threatening to roll up the line while the infantry pin me to the front.|