Thursday, August 29, 2013

Tennyson got it right!

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them

Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.

As dramatically illustrated in Tennyson's Charge of the Light Brigade, attacking an entrenched Russian battery is not a thing to be toyed with lightly!

As I am going to be commanding Eugene's IV Corps in our upcoming Borodino game, and it was IV Corps which was tasked with taking the Raevsky Redoubt before the Heavy Cavalry Reserve eventually secured it, Tim and I thought it might be high time for me to come to grips with the rule mechanics of attacking entrenched 12lb artillery, and then holding the position once taken!

We were originally just going to have a one-on-one game where we'd play out various scenarios, but were persuaded by Andrew S. to join in a big 3-a-side game to test his smoke rules after someone (who shall remain nameless!) asked how we were going to deal with the obscuring effect of gunsmoke which really played a big part in the actual battle. In the end, though, Andrew considered the rules too complicated and abandoned the test, allowing us to just in effect play 3 separate games on the one table, including our originally planned master-class.

1000 points of French: 4 infantry regiments (regular), 1 6lb foot battery and 1 regt. of chasseurs

The enemy! "There are your guns, sir!" 2 x 12lb batteries and 2 regts of infantry in the redoubt.

Tim also had infantry and cavalry backup...

...including 2 regts of pesky cossacks, one of which is shown here.

My front battalions advance in chequerboard formation

While the rear regiments advance parrallel

After my first move...

...and the Russians' first fire...

...I decided to try and screen my advance with skirmishers, but unsupported, they were easily dispatched by Tim's cossacks!

I realised I needed to protect the flanks form cavalry interference by advancing my furthest battalions out of the arc of fire to plug the gap

Meanwhile the infantry were beginning to suffer under the attention of the batteries

If you look carefully, you can see Tim trying to get his mug into shot in the background !

I then tried advancing the flanks under cover of 2 whole battalions in skirmish order attacking the batteries. That way the batteries must focus on the skirmishers, giving time for the columns to get into position. It's still pretty hard on the skirmishers though! Ah, well; omelettes and broken eggs!

The skirmishers do their thing, while the two wings form up.

Take that, Jean-Pierre!

The movement trays got their first outing and proved themselves a useful addition.

My cavalry tired themselves out in a series of inconclusive charges which, while they stopped Tim's advance, left them blown and disordered when the time came to support the charge on the redoubt

Nearly ready!

My blown cavalry on the flank.

Tim's cossacks lurked waiting for my charge. I didn't see them when I launched the original charge, so the cossacks successfully threw a spanner in the works. We rewound so that I could advance a closed column to block his cavalry.

My charge goes in! It was unsuccessful as I didn't have a wide enough frontage to absorb the losses from the artillery fire and Tim just happened to kill the general!

We rewound again and I tried it with 2 more battalions. Success!

I started to bring the reserves up to support the successful attack...

...but on the other side I forgot to block the cavalry again (I must do something about my cavalry blindness!). They charged my infantry support who were fixated on the Russian infantry. After the cavalry cleared theway, the Russian infantry then just charged down the line of my French, clearing out the redoubt!

Lots of French going back the way they came!


  1. It looks like a naval battle! Seriously, a great AAR

  2. Cavalry blindness eh? A costly affliction and no mistake. A fabulous report sir, 'Ah, well; omelettes and broken eggs!' had me in stitches!


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