Thursday, September 4, 2014

Jeff, Beau, Lloyd...and All Those Other Damned Bridges!*

"Eh, Jean-Pierre! Make sure there's plenty of room when we come back, OK?"

The last club meeting at Croydon saw a mega 4-per-side game organised by Andrew S. The plan was similar to my last game with randomised entry on to the table, but the object was different: This time it was to try and seize bridgeheads across a river and deny them to the enemy, while pushing our own forces across. There were 5 bridges in total and both sides had a pontoon bridge as well.

I should have known better than to join in a bridge-crossing scenario after my spectacular failure to cross the Schevardino, but the randomised entry seemed a good idea to let players have a chance to get across the river before the opposition could get on the board. Good ideas don't always translate into reality, even though I had the opportunity to get at least the head of my column over the bridge before John R. got his first troops on the board, I couldn't get enough of them over before his numbers told. 

"Just like a (pejorative term for Italian) to bring a knife to a gunfight"
I didn't help myself by bringing light cavalry and 6 lb artillery batteries instead of heavy cavalry and batteries of 12 lb artillery, so I felt like the guy on the other end of Sean Connery's sawn-off (though that's where the analogy ends as there was no back up in the alleyway with a tommy gun).

Still, most people had the same problem as I did and if they could get across the bridge, they couldn't establish a firm bridgehead. It ended much as it started with both forces on their respective sides of the river, if slightly more bruised than they started!

Pete E. and John W.  at the far end. Most of the French seem to have entered the board, while Pete carries the flag for the Allied side

My forces were an early entrant on to the board, but had to organise themselves before crossing the bridge.

My mighty chasseurs cross the river into enemy territory!

The rest of the division prepares to cross

At the other end of the table, John W.'s Saxons have crossed!

Pete's and John's cavalry clash!

The Saxons are forced back to the bridge!

Things are going more smoothly on the Saxons' other bridge, but with Andrew S. entering the board it may not be so smooth for long.

Both my chasseur regiments plus the horse guns have crossed, and are targeted by Jim's artillery

The view down the table from my end.  From l to r, Pete (sitting), Garry, John W. & Tim.
The white dice indicate the furthest I can advance. inside that are is John R.'s deployment are, which I can't enter.

The traffic jam on the other side of my bridge


Bugger! John's on the table, just before I can establish my bridgehead. Tim and Van are too busy to share my anxiety!

Shuffling the deck chairs left one of the chasseur regiments in column, which wasn't my best option!

Hurry, hurry, hurry!

The leading battalion got pummeled by the Russian artillery, but survived the morale check.

John's forces advanced, ready to envlope my flank.

I couldn't just wait to be outflanked, but my retrograde movement sparked an opportunity charge by John's dragoons

One smashed cavalry regiment breaking to the rear!

The other was forced to retreat, but their line to the bridge was cut off, causing them to pull up at the river bank with their backs to the enemy!

The leading infantry regiment try to reorganise themselves after the first cavalry regiment broke through them over the bridge. Now they are disordered, with two friendly units routing and enemy in the flank. What could go wrong?

Well, the lead battalion could lose another casualty to artillery fire, then fail their morale check and break back over the bridge.

The horse guns did their best to blunt the Russian advance.

But nothing could stop the dragoons cleaning up the remaining chasseurs who were pushed into the river or surrendered. 

The Russian infantry charged, first taking out the guns...

...and carrying on into the infantry...

...who all bug out over the bridge!

The rest of the French forces wonder what to do now, while John's victorious Russians stop at the other end of the bridge. Note John's attempt at subterfuge: he's playing Russians while wearing an Austrian t-shirt! Clever, eh?

My foot batteries started to attract attention from Russian artillery... I limbered them and moved them to the left to concentrate on the bulk of John's forces.

Tim organises his forces for an attack.

As does Van.

"No pushing at the back, there!"

Tim's attack was successful, but he couldn't break the Austrians and Andrew had too many reinforcements to be able to capitalise on his success.

Meanwhile, Van succesfully got an infantry battalion over and in square in time to meet Jim's hussars

After pushing back the hussars, Van forced more infantry over the bridge, covered by his 12 lb battery

John W. prepared to receive an Austrian attack on the right, but Pete wasn't quite ready.

Saxons in square

On his left, though, Andrew was ready to cross!

In between the two bridges, John had deployed his pontoon bridge, which Pete was well and truly prepared for!

Tim tried again.

Pete moved across the bridge

As did Andrew.

John awaited the results of the Austrian attacks before launching his own crossing.

Back on my flank, John charged over the bridge, successfully scattering my gun crew...

...but then left himself open to a dose of flank fire from one of my columns...

...sending him back over the bridge

After attempting to charge his retreating column and receiving artillery fire on the way in, this battalion decided that discetion is the better side of valour!

John turned around to have another go at crossing

We met in an inconclusive encounter, leaving the Russians in control of the bridge, but neither side with any prospect of successfully crossing.

Van proabably spent the most time of anyone on the opposite side of the bridge, but even he couldn't establish a permanet footing as he eventually got Russian curry dished out on both flanks, forcing him back ove rthe bridge.

Looking down the table from Tim's position close to the end. In the centre, some ofAndrew's troops are across the bridge, but if memory serves me, that was a temporary situation. I think every one ended back on their respective sides of the river licking wounds!

*Post title courtesy of John R.'s witty banter!


  1. Great looking game. Which rules used ?

  2. My bad I see you have your own set ! interesting read

  3. Bridges are not always easy to cross, are they? Great report, love your Saxon army!

  4. Looks great, man that was hard going all round getting a force across a the bridges.


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