Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A WIN - Napoleonic Monday Game

After a drought of decades I can shout, err sorry, whinge about a win.  I confess that I whinged constantly throughout this game about my exceedingly good luck, the die were on the whole working well for once.

Andrews comments are in italics.

For this game I went with my 1814 ‘Fall of France’ list. Infantry and artillery is good but not spectacular, with about one third Garde but very little cavalry (one regiment of dragoons and one of chasseurs) and what there is of poor quality. Unfortunately the Garde is Garde Nationale: four battalions of raw with one trained battalion of naval infantry. The terrain was uninspiring with built up areas at both flanks. Out-scouted again by numerous Prussian cavalry, so I deploy first giving the Prussians a look at the layout. I went with infantry forward backed up by my cavalry. The Garde Nationale was on my right stiffened by about two thirds of my artillery.

1: My Prussians end of 1st bound.  Advance was the word.
My opponent went with a typically symmetrical deployment. His guns opposite mine with infantry racked up behind a row of hills and some cavalry opposite my Garde Nationale. The built up area started looking a lot more attractive for them.

2: French response, deploy skirmishers.
As his infantry roll forward abandoning the cover of the hills the French start to close the gap, deploying skirmishers.

3: French occupy large stone building.
There are some Prussian cavalry loitering around their right flank (out of shot) so anchoring on the building should discourage them. The French send their poor quality Chasseurs to a blocking position, just in case the Prussians get a sudden urge to chance a gallop past the building garrison.

4: After a stunning counter battery exchange of shells, one French
battery was removed from play.  The Prussian cavalry prepare to
threaten the French columns.
A couple of salvos from the Prussians destroy most of the French artillery backing up the Garde Nationale. And the Prussian cavalry move forward to exploit the sudden gap in the French line. Time to form squares to stabilise the flank.

5. Prussian cavalry seeing the French adopt squares re-position
themselves to threaten other French sections.
The Prussian cavalry ride off to look for better opportunities. Don’t think I need these squares any more – not one of my better calls as it turns out.

6. Cunning Prussian tactics, pretend we are moving away.
A quick reverse march by the Prussian Hussars puts them in charge range of my naval infantry column. They are still far enough away for the infantry to reform square before contact.

7: Prussian dragoons ready themselves for engagement.
Prussian right continue to advance.
Meanwhile on the other flank the Prussians grind forward and deploy into line. Wouldn’t normally present a problem for my French infantry columns, but advancing Prussian cavalry could spoil our advance.

8: Prussians keeping it together and dishing out stalling casualties
to the advancing French, taking away some of their momentum.
The Prussian infantry push forward with close cavalry support cramping my style. No room to manoeuvre is making it difficult to get a tactical advantage.

9: The French in deployment (out of sequence to shots)
The intermission shot! The French uniforms add a little style and elegance to what would otherwise be a shabby Prussian affair. Might be heading for defeat, but at least we are well dressed.

10: Prussian right flank initial deployment.
More Prussians.

11: Prussian left flank initial deployment.
 And still more.

12: The Prussian Hussars prior to hitting the French naval battalion.
The naval battalion is backed up by what’s left of the artillery and two flanking battalions. Just have to hold firm and I should be able to score a few hits on the Prussian Hussars as they are repulsed. They decline, deciding instead to bolt for the base line (must be a harbour or a brothel in that direction, perhaps both). The Garde Nationale commander decides to accompany them.

13: Right flank.  Prussian dragoons prior to engaging French column
a dash between French in square.  Another good round of shooting.
Meanwhile, on the other flank the Prussian line grows as more of their friends arrive. Supporting cavalry ensure any chance of a coordinated French advance quickly evaporate as we form squares to cover flanks. Looking a bit sad for my lead battalion.

14: Engagements actually happen!  Prussians learn to only charge
when the French loose their momentum and become shaken/disordered.
Meanwhile, back where the naval battalion used to be the Prussians decide to go after the residual artillery. They decline to hang around, following their naval colleges to the baseline brothel. The French commit their Dragoons to try and shore up the huge gap which is opening up while the Prussian infantry maintain pressure.

15: The battle starting to break up into smaller knots of engagements.
This is just a mess! The French manage to punch holes in the Prussians lines but elsewhere the superior numbers of muskets brought to bear begin to wear the French away. Just unable to stem the Prussian advance this time around.

16: The view of the dodgy French thinking whether to weather the hail
of cannon rounds.
A gloating shot of the battery that started the problem by cleaning up the opposing French artillery in two rounds.

So I find myself in an up beat mood as I think I played a better game this time.  I was initially concerned with the terrain setup on my side of the table, but in the end it didn't harm me too much.  My luck with die rolling was most unusual, with me making an effective impact on the French artillery, with one battery destroyed by the second round of engagement.  Two 6's for what was hit following a 6 in the previous round.  I managed to neutralize two of the French batteries, which I think helped reduce the casualty count on my battalions.

Not a bad game all up. Thoroughly got what I deserved. No terrain to take advantage of, out-scouted and out-shot from the out-set. Never was allowed to get the going in the face of the Prussian steamroller. I read somewhere if you fight someone often enough you teach them how to beat you. Some lucky dice helped at the start, but this time they were able to convert an advantage into a win by playing a smart game to keep the initiative. Maybe next week I will make life more difficult. Or at least maintain our advantage in the elegant uniform stakes!

So at this stage I seem to be happy with this organisation of my Prussians.  Another game next week, where I will see if it was luck or whether I have perhaps become a better player!  (The earth has shifted orbit at this statement.)

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