Friday, July 19, 2013

Once More Unto the Breach, Dear Friends...(or try around the side if you can't make a breach)

In the latest instalment of pre-Borodino preparation games, I took on Tim last Friday with another 1500 point force. This time I was supposed to be getting practice on assaulting a fixed position, but somebody didn't tell that to my troops! They tried the easier option with a flanking move, but left the troops facing the Russian big guns to be slowly whittled down in a death by 1000 cuts. By the time my flanking force got into position, Tim had managed to counter the manoeuvre and I didn't have enough oomph to push through.

If I'd done what I set out to do and attack his guns frontally with a concentrated force, I probably would have had a success, but I stuck to my tried and true recipe for failure and dispersed my forces across the board! Also, hiding in the woods might provide cover from artillery, but it doesn't help if you're trying to launch a charge...just sayin'!

The setup: my French forces are nearest the camera, while Tim advances in 3 brigades furthest from camera

The Russian Big Guns!

Setting up the battery on my left flank...

...and in the center

My Chasseurs à Cheval were keen for action after the last game's heroics!

My first move was to send the cavalry around the flank and advance infantry through the woods to try to outflank the guns in a pincer move.

In the centre and right, I wanted to hold the central position and prevent Tim from outflanking me.

Italians and Spaniards in reserve behind the centre

Hussars out on the left wing

Chasseurs à Cheval using the terrain to shelter from the artillery on their flank movement

The other Chasseurs à Cheval regiment in echelon formation to try to hind behind the wood-line

The troops moving on the flanks of the wood in the open begin to feel the folly of approaching too close to 12lber batteries without a particular aim in sight!

30% casualties and a failed morale test in one firing from the battery!
Ouch! Run away!

My veteran regiment march over the rough terrain in the centre...

...while my Italians and Spaniards move to the left to take on the threat.

Tim's Cossacks lurk in the woods to stymie any chance of using the hussars offensively. 

The infantry start their long march around the flank

I try massing the infantry in between two artillery batteries in the hope that my forces on either side would distract them from a potential attack, but Tim's infantry massing in between put paid to that.   

My veterans trying to form a diversion on the artillery's flank, but Tim's reserves await an opportunity to interfere 

The Italians and Spanish JN Regt. occupy the woods on the left to block any further advance by Tim's flank force.

The Croats face the advancing reserves in the centre, while one of the Spanish JN battalions attempts to flank the Russians from the other side of the hedge.

Meanwhile, the broken unit reaches the edge of the board and is rallied by the general

The light cavalry shield the advancing infantry around the right flank

The tempting scene: despite the apparent open flank, Tim had a couple of battalions in closed column just out of frame to hold up my advance.

The general attaches himself to a battered unit to steady their nerves.

Tim advances a battalion through the graveyard to neutralise my flanking threat

The wider view from that flank.

Tim got in before I did, launching a charge with what turned out to be a brigade of converged grenadiers!

Fortunately for me it resulted in only a minor loss and my artillery had a nice juicy close range target.

My chasseurs advance past the protective infantry squares...

...while the infantry advance behind the cover of the other chasseur regiment.

In the woods, the infantry backs off after copping a pasting from close range artillery fire.

The center resolves into a stalemate with the lines getting the most artillery attention...

...with the inevitable results!

The flanking infantry move forward behind cavalry cover, but they are copping a pasting from the artillery.

Now the artillery is absorbed with the action to the flank, it's time to advance again so that I can get into the flank of the artillery.

I line up my healthiest battalions on the right flank in preparation for movement against the artillery.

On the left flank, the JN Spaniards have turned to face the threat from the cemetery, while the 2nd battalion has deployed into line.
I had spotted an opportunity that I thought might be a little desperate, but might take the pressure off on the left and force Tim to react: the Spaniards had a direct charge line down the road at the Russian battalion that had left its head on the outside of the cemetery wall.

The charge went in successfully, and forced the Russians back to the other side of the cemetery with disorders and losses. The Croats came up in support onto the flank of the main Russian force on that flank.

My artillery forces back the jaeger line and has battered the converged grenadiers.

After the Russian guns had battered my centre (evidenced by the shrinking battalion sizes), I attempted to form a line to support the advance on the right flank.

The infantry finally get into action on that flank with a two battalion charge on an infantry square.
As the infantry square runs off in the distance, Tim brings up reinforcements to fill the gap.

On the left flank, a Russian battalion occupies the church on the flank of my successful Spaniards, who ignore the flank fire and carry on harassing the Russians on the other side of the hedge.

Tim retires that force behind the cover of the cemetery walls.

Tim's closed column tried to move, so I took the opportunity charge to try the same heroics I managed last game, but got a bloody nose and ended up retreating.

Run away!

I try to apply pressure to the hinge of Tim's line; two battalions face off against the line, while the weaker battalion moves around to position itself on the artillery's flank,

More infantry moves up on the left flank of the woods.

Disaster! The general is killed!

In the ensuing morale check, two nearby units panic and retreat!

That was the signal for the combined grenadiers to charge the Croats...

...who fail their pre-melee and end up flat footed, failing to counter-charge!

The Italians take on the remaining grenadier battalion who were aiming to take out the Spaniards from the rear.

Both the Italians and Croats ended up being forced back, but stopped the grenadiers from causing greater damage.

Back on the right flank, Tim went on the offensive, charging one of my battalions, which met him and ended in a minor victory, forcing me back with losses and disorders.

Gearing up for action in the woods on the right

The far right two battalions engage the Russian line covering the artillery's flank.

The other battalion moves up in the lee of the other two battalions and fires on the flank of the artillery. The gunners ignore the danger and continue to see to their guns!

My last hurrah was a charge on the Russian line. In an epic failure of dice rolling, the charge falls apart!

After the failure of the charge on the line, the infantry attacking the flank charged the square, but with chasseurs running away and enemy on the flank of the charge approach, the charge failed. I had no more chances to break Tim's dogged defense, so I conceded the field to the Russians....This time!


  1. What a great battle! Thank you for sharing that Epicness. :--)

  2. An inspiring batrep Ben, what a great looking game!

  3. What a batrep mate and its a pity that the game went away from you. Lovely pictures as ever

  4. Great report and photos Ben.

    You won't have such room to finesse and attempt to outflank at Borodino...!

  5. A nice AAR . I love the Rssian BIG guns and the church model!

  6. Great battle report and pictures! Thanks for sharing!



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