Thursday, June 13, 2013

Russian Quagmire

I've been a little lax in updating the blog of late, sorry about that, so I'll do something about that with a battle report of the game at the club two Fridays ago!

It was going to be a larger game with 3 French players (myself, Darren W and John R.) against 2 Russians (Pete E. and Garry) with 3000 points of forces total. John was going to take command of the French forces in a Corps Command role with the plan being that I'd hold Pete, while Darren attacked Garry. John was to command the cavalry forces. With Jenko and Robin late arrivals, they took the light and heavy cavalry, respectively, and John graciously took an observer role after issuing early orders.

So the plan was for me to support Darren's attack by holding Pete, while Jenko and Robin acted opportunistically on the flanks. Somebody didn't tell the Russians this as Darren's advance was stopped in it's tracks by a cheeky charge by Cossacks against his infantry line. We worked out that if Darren had stood and fired, the damage done would probably have made the Cossacks turn tail and flee before making contact as their morale rating is fairly rubbish. Instead, Darren tried to do what all infantry do in the face of charging cavalry; form square. 

"All well and good. What's the problem?" I hear you ask. 

The problem was that Darren failed to form square and was hit by the Cossacks in a disorganised, unformed state! The Cossacks ploughed through the first battalion and into those following behind. After the Cossacks were eventually seen off (not before scattering a whole brigade!), poor Darren didn't have time to gather his wits or pause for breath, because Garry followed up with an infantry brigade to keep the pressure on!

On my flank, Jenko had skirmished a regiment of hussars to move forward the maximum distance, while threatening Pete's cavalry from within the woods. Meanwhile he brought up his other 2 regiments and artillery to protect my flank. I made a steady advance between the central village and the woods and hill where Jenko lurked. Pete's 12lbers made me think twice about a frontal assault, but when he advanced in support of Garry's advance I thought I had an opportunity for some offensive action.

I organised my right hand brigade for a charge in the next turn, thinking that I was outside Pete's charge arc and that my artillery would be enough of a disincentive if I wasn't. I was wrong on both counts! He had a valid charge line that took him across the face of my artillery and weathered the supporting fire, crashing into the brigade and scattering all four battalions. I had plenty in reserve, though could see them off in the next turn, but my chance for glory had been snuffed out!

In a death-or-glory, 11pm charge, Pete threw the rest of his division at my infantry, which met his charge mid way in an inconclusive contest. Jenko had finally overcome Pete's cavalry, so his infantry had to either attack or assume defensive formations against cavalry, then accept the consequences as I moved my infantry up.

In the end, there were too many players and too many troops on the table to get a conclusive end to the game, especially as Garry and Darren's combat took up so much of the game. Garry is a deuced clever tactician, but does take his time in coming to his decisions! It was a clear victory for the Russians on that flank, while the game was still in the balance on my side of the table, though Jenko's clever use of his cavalry had given us the ascendancy in a very slow game.

It was another instructive game, though, and food for thought as we prepare for Borodino.

My brave boys start off in chequer-board fashion

Darren masses his infantry close to the central woods, while Robin masses his heavy cavalry on the right flank

Garry's Russians

Jenko's light cavalry

Robin's heavies

Joseph Napoleon Regiment on début!

My division advance over the hill

Jenko cunningly skirmishes one of his regiments 

Pete's Slavic hordes

Garry's pesky Cossacks on début

Another of his new units; Lithunian lancers

Jenko pushes his skirmished hussars into the woods to threaten Pete's flank

My view directly ahead at Pete's Russians

Darren goes boldly forth

Then things turn to cr@p! The Cossacks charge and his infantry get caught flat footed.

One battalion is road kill, bow for the rest!

I took some pretty pictures of his troops while waiting for the combat to be resolved (and so I didn't have to watch the anguish in Darren's face!)

Insert incidental music here: Dum-de-dum, do-do-doo!

Garry follows up with the infantry!
The view from Pete's angle: Cossacks and infantry carving up  Darren's command

Meanwhile Pete's hordes wait contentedly

My troops start copping casualties from the 12lber batteries ahead.

Jenko threatens from the wood, pinning Pete's cavalry's attention.


Joseph Napoleon battalion in closed column

I start massing my battalions ready for some action to take the pressure off Darren

Meanwhile, Darren attempts to rally his battered command.

His troops are facing the right way, but with so many disorders, can he hold?

Jenko and Pete come to blows. Pete's quality cavalry overcome Jenko's also-rans.
It's not a crushing defeat, though. My infantry still have their flanks covered, and Jenko has more cavalry in reserve.

Pete advances two battalions in support of Garry's advance. My time has come?

If my charge could succeed, I'd be in Garry's flank, forcing him to ease off on Darren.

Garry charges on into Darren's disordered battalions, sending them running  (see bottom right)

Robin's cuirrassiers advance through the woods to put the brakes on Garry's advance.

Pete charges my brigade as it was setting up for its own charge.
Here we go John: What I should have done is advance the Italians in front of the guns to protect the open flank!


Crash! One down, two to go!

They halt, having done their damage, thwarted my plans and  stopped the threat.

But now they're isolated and at my mercy!

Jenko's hussars have succeeded in seeing off Pete's hussars, threatening his infantry

I now have the box seat: his isolated brigade remains vulnerable and now his main body is threatened by Jenko's cavalry

Pete charges and I meet him in an inconclusive counter-charge to end the game.


  1. Very nice report and pictures, love the Russian flags blowing in the wind!

  2. Beautiful! I can't wait to see how Borodino goes down.

  3. It is a very impressive view! However, it looks like a too formal encounter, i.e. two armies face to face. Is your group using things like reinforcements, flank arrivals and random events? It adds additional spice.

  4. and those Cossacks are only 8 pts each,good value for money I say
    cheers jim


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