Friday, October 2, 2015

Thursday Napoleonics - Still Loosing the "Good" Fight

With school holidays for Andrews children, we've squeezed in as many games as possible.  This is the second game in one week and with that we went up to 2100 points for out game rather than the 1600.

My list:

Prussian Brigade


General Staff 1  Command Element 100 100

Brigade Commander 1  Prussian Staff 50 50


Prussian Brigade

Commander 1  Prussian Staff 50 50

Foot Battery 12  Trained Gunners 5 60

4  Light Medium Guns 25 100

Musketeer Battalion #1 10  Veteran Line Infantry 6 60

2  Skirmish 7 14

Musketeer Battalion #2 10  Veteran Line Infantry 6 60

2  Skirmish 7 14

Musketeer Battalion #3 10  Veteran Line Infantry 6 60

2  Skirmish 7 14

Musketeer Battalion #4 10  Trained Line Infantry 4 40

2  Skirmish 5 10

Musketeer Battalion #5 10  Trained Line Infantry 4 40

2  Skirmish 5 10

Musketeer Battalion #6 10  Trained Line Infantry 4 40

2  Skirmish 5 10


Half Brigade

Commander 1  Prussian Staff 50 50

Line Lancers 3  Raw lancers 8 24 1 3
Landwere Battalion 12  Raw  3 36

Landwere Battalion 12  Raw  3 36

Landwere Battalion 12  Raw  3 36


British Brigade

Commander 1  British Staff 50 50

Foot Battery 12  Trained Gunners 5 60

4  Light Medium Guns 25 100

Musketeer Battalion #7 10  Veteran Line Infantry 6 60

2  Skirmish 7 14

Musketeer Battalion #8 10  Veteran Line Infantry 6 60

2  Skirmish 7 14

Musketeer Battalion #9 10  Veteran Line Infantry 6 60

2  Skirmish 7 14

Musketeer Battalion #10 10  Trained Line Infantry 4 40

2  Skirmish 5 10

Musketeer Battalion #11 10  Trained Line Infantry 4 40

2  Skirmish 5 10

Musketeer Battalion #12 10  Trained Line Infantry 4 40

2  Skirmish 5 10


PrussianCavalry Brigade

Commander 1  Prussian staff 50 50

Hussars 12  Veteran Hussars 12 144 2 24
Dragoons 12  Veteran heavy cavalry 12 144


British Cavalry Brigade

Commander 1  British staff 50 50

Hussars 9  Veteran lancers 12 108 2 18
Dragoons 9  Veteran heavy cavalry 12 108


Points Spent

Scouting Value

I've had fairly happy thoughts for the start of the battle.  My troops were where I wanted them to be, maybe not brilliant, but not dire.  Again LUCK was the deciding factor with my defeat.  There were in my opinion three crucial points where I should have made the die rolls required.  3+ rolls are not impossible, failing to get one 4+ close combat on three die. What is more than distressing is the ease in which my opponent inevitably make his die rolls, and where he doesn't is generally in such a position that the outcome isn't the collapse of his army.

Rommel is crediting with observing the difference between a risk and a gamble is if you take a risk and it doesn’t work, you can still continue, but if a gamble fails you can’t. Seems to transfer to gaming pretty well, and probably behind my opponent’s suggestion bad dice rolls don’t equate to the collapse of my army. While I am happy to take risks, they don’t always come off but I do always have a Plan B. Sometimes Plan B doesn’t come off either and I have to go to Plan C, or even D – then it is time to resort to gambling.

Honestly all I seem to do these days is whinge about my games.  I enjoy them, but honestly I'd just like my luck to change from "you're dead tomorrow" to "congratulations, you've lived another day".

The photos are again hit and miss, I don't know why.  Hopefully Andrew will again supply his commentary for the game from his very french perspective.

French List:
Old Guard Battery – 4 heavy (12pdr) guns
Young Guard Battery – 4 light medium (6pdr) guns

Guard Cavalry
Empress Dragoons – 9 veteran heavy cavalry
Polish Lancers – 9 veteran lancers
Garde d’Honneur – 6 veteran light cavalry

Old Guard Infantry
Chasseurs – 12 elite line
Grenadiers – 12 elite line
Fusilier-Chasseurs – 12 veteran line
Fusilier-Grenadiers – 12 veteran line

Young Guard Infantry
Flanquer-Chasseurs – 12 veteran light
Three Battalions of Tirailleurs – 12 trained line each
Three Battalions of Voltigeurs – 12 trained line each

Line Cavalry
Cuirassiers – 9 trained cuirassiers
Dragoon – 9 trained heavy cavalry

Line Infantry
Naval Infantry Battalion – 16 raw line
Four National Guard Battalions – 16 raw line each

A while ago I was reading about Napoleon’s 1814 campaign and I came across a passage claiming most Divisions were so understrength they were Brigades with Brigades the size of Battalions. I had always been philosophically averse to fielding elite formations as they were usually reserved for a knock-out attack once an opponent was decisively committed against line troops. Having a game with just elite units seemed a bit counter-intuitive. However, during 1814 the Imperial Guard was essentially the field army so for the few months before the first abdication there was something of an excuse. The troop quality was down as conscripts and recalled veterans diluted even the guard (equals lower points costs for downgraded troops). Coupled with my ‘magpie-like’ desire to collect as many different figure types as I can, this offered a perfect opportunity to run an Imperial Guard based force.

1: My left flank.  I split my artillery to cover the saddle pass.
Most of the terrain was on the flank sectors. To give my guns a field of fire they were deployed in the centre. The Line Infantry and Line Cavalry took shelter behind the wooded ridge. When I saw the two good quality Regiments (6 battalions) and the battery opposite it was unlikely I would be venturing forth.

2: My brave British facing off against some rather horrible Guard artillery.
Two batteries in the centre with the Old Guard Infantry in depth.

3: Right flank. Landwehre and Prussian cavalry ready.
On my left were the Young Guard Infantry and the Guard Cavalry making the most of the cover offered by some hilly ground. They were opposed by two Regiments of cavalry sheltering behind a low ridge and some Landwehr behind a steeper broken ridge.

4: Landwehre defending. Cavalry preparing.
The Landwehr push forward, see my cavalry as they crest the ridge and deploy to square.

5: Lets not much about and get plastered by the Guard artillery.
Meanwhile in the centre, a large (six battalion) British Brigade wastes no time advancing against my guns. The wooded ridge means two battalions have to fall back – then there were four. First salvo of artillery fire causes a few hits on one battalion – then there were three and a half.

6: Sit and wait see.
Not too sure what he is waiting for here. My troops are so bad a well briefed corporal’s guard could hold them off. I’ll make a few formation changes to see if I can confuse him.

7: french left advancing.
Thought it best to try and bottle the Landwehr up as they try to come over the hill while I push forward with the rest of the Young Guard to see if I can distract all those British in the centre.

8: french artillery proved deadly.
Another good salvo and one of the British Battalions gets a temporary halt out of a reaction test. Then there were two and a half. Although the stragglers are coming on in depth. If I survive the first onslaught the depth battalions could cause some grief. While they continue through the maelstrom I push some supporting battalions up to help bolster the batteries.

9: french cavalry dancing in expectation of my flank arrival.
I cunningly glean my underhanded opponent has a flank march on my left planned. Actually he just told me, so perhaps I am not as cunning as I would like to think. Time to reshuffle.

10: My left flank secured. 
There are an awful lot of infantry in this village. Think I’ll keep my Line infantry behind the hill and change formation a bit more. That’ll fool him.

11. french making a dash across the open.  My cavalry waiting.
My left rolls on. Hoping to push a few squares forward to block his cavalry while I get to grips with his centre with the others.

12: french lights annoy Landwehre.  french still awaiting the flankers.
Hopefully his flank march will be delayed so I can get my cavalry at his centre. Could be all over before he arrives. Learning he has a cautious general means he has a one in three change of arrival. Those odds could work to keep him off for one or two turns, then my Guard Lancers should slow him down.

13: Failure #1.  Failed to engage guns, held, then lost close combat.
The British infantry get within charge range. Throw the kitchen at them from guns and as many infantry as I can squeeze in the gaps. One battalion fails to charge, but one closes the gap only to fail to charge home at the last second.

14: Hold the pass.  Artillery on the move to support.
My formation changing and confusing measuring fail to convince him my Line infantry are coming out from behind the ridge. His left flank starts coming forward – and there are a fair few of them too.

15: Hussars crest hill and threaten, dragoons on the move.
First mistake. Left my Garde d’Honneur too far forward so the scumbag Landwehr cavalry get to charge in without giving me a chance to counter. The Hussars decide to come over the low ridge with nothing in front but infantry.

16: Only luck in the game, 1st throw for arrival and even with a cautious general they arrived 4th bound.
His flank marchers arrive first go. I can expect my Lancers to take care of one of the two Regiment but I will need to recall the Empress Dragoon to deal with the other. With luck the better quality of my Garde d’Honneur will tell, if the survive contact.

17: Not looking good at all.
They still come on in the centre. Infantry support now taking shape but we are outnumbered. Fortunately my Old Guard Battery is mixing it with the British infantry fairly well. Never under estimate the combat advantage of a big hairy hat!

18: Major cavalry engagement to begin.
Artillery fire causes my square to stall. I was hoping to have it directly between the open flank of my infantry and his advancing Hussars by now. In the distance my Lancers go in against his Dragoons. They have an advantage as first combat but once a melee is formed the lances are an impediment.

19: Posturing on my behalf.
Better see if I can clog up the saddle in the ridge before the Prussian infantry get across. Just like Thermopylae, except I don’t have any decent infantry. I guess that makes it nothing like Thermopylae.

20: Engaging the french seamen, a little messy in the end.
Ignore the remarks about messy seamen. His British take on my Naval Infantry who are covering the flank of the Old Guard Battery. Time to score the big hits as they charge forward. Not one! Or more correctly, three ones, but zero hits.

21: french response to seeing cavalry, go to square.
Bit nervous about these Hussars. Wish he would commit them so I know where the hole I will have to plug will be. Off in the distance my Lancers fail to capitalise on the first contact advantage. Descends into melee so the advantage switches to his Dragoons.

22: Adopt line and hope to shoot our way out of trouble.
Stopped his infantry on my left where he deploys into line. Swapping musketry with my Young Guard with a battery on your flank is perhaps a little courageous. They are making inroads on my right. Old Guard Battery still going great guns (no pun intended). Next game maybe I will just push them into melee!

22a: Sadly that didn't happen as can be seen from french shooting.
Think I have the first wave sorted – simple case of more fire brought to bear. There is a second wave coming on and a nasty Hussar Regiment about to descend on my flank. Less happy about that!

23: Raw landwhere won their cavalry engagement! Other cavalry engagements continue.  Failure #2 the cavalry failed to carry the close combat, which they should have.
My Garde d’Honneur flee the table pursued by the shabbiest unit on the table. My recalled Empress Dragoons face off against the British Hussars from the flank march. Thought the comments about the Dragoons failing to push home their advantage is a bit harsh. They arrived first go on a one in three chance and survived my Lancers first contact where I had the same degree of advantage he now enjoys. Apparently it is less of a problem when my throws fail to capitalise on a combat advantage. If we were going on what should have happened, the Dragoons should have routed off the table pursued by my Lancers.

24: Bloody mess.
Bloody mess alright. Confusion is the only way we will delay the inevitable here!

25: Failure #3: Another failed engagement of the guns.
Manage to repulse another charge. Go the men in big hairy hats. Start to push up the Old Guard Battalions and position my two Line Cavalry regiments to help stave off the advancing hordes. Maybe I will be saved by nightfall (or a power cut).

26: My Hussars engage the french line, or more precisely chase them off.
The Hussars ignore the fire of my square as they charge past (east to do when you don’t score a hit) towards the open flank of one of my firing lines. My turn to do a Prince of Orange.

27: Landwehre engage the lights and chase them off.
Landwehr press on but my Flanquer-Chasseurs should be more than a match. The Lancers start to crack in the distance as the Dragoons combat advantage starts to tell. My Empress Dragoons make short work of the Hussars – the balance of the universe is restored.

28: Last turn photo.  Not good for the Prussians.
Bad light stops play. More correctly, my bedtime stops play. Can’t stay up too late on a school night! Not too sure what’s not good for the Prussians. They still have the numbers although they are a little strung out. If you are going to smash someone with columns, you really need lots of columns to hit at once.

29: Lots of engagements, not potentially good outcomes.
The Hussars account for one of my units and have a good change to take care of another before I can get my Cuirassiers into them.

30: sigh......
Only hope is to reorganise before the Prussian depth brigades arrive. Still touch and go and I’m happy to call it a draw so we can slink off undefeated.

The Old Guard never took a casualty so I am claiming a moral advantage. Bit of a weird game where the extra troops (another 500 points this time) were channelled by the terrain into a meat grinder in the centre. Not the most elegant game, but fun nonetheless.

Next game scheduled for Monday next week, which I have been informed is a public holiday. 

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