Richard and I undertook another 800 point Napoleon’s Battles game. This time it was an X meeting engagement with Richard’s Russians coming in from one corner of the table and his Austrians from the other. To meet them I had two corps coming in from each corner on my side of the table. The rationale was that the surrounding terrain was rough and that the centre of the table represented a strategic road junction that would allow the armies to link up.
We set the battle in April 1809, sunrise was at 5:30 and we figured the armies would be well on the way by 9:30 and set that as the start time. The French decided to come on straight away in march column while the Russians and Austrians decided to take two turns to deploy and come on ready to fight. This was probably the most critical decision of the game.
In the above picture the French I Corps cavalry is racing ahead while the II Corps has reached the centre and is about to start the challenge of deploying. The two best corps commanders where on this flank and would need all the skill to keep things moving. Luckily they passed all their command tests.
On the French right the III Corps has already deployed into column while the Guard Light Cavalry, represented by my hodge podge collection of red lancer figures, is coming on as the lead element of the Guard Corps.
The Austrians can be seen approaching on the French right. They looked menacing, but were plagued with command problems that slowed them down.
The French on the left can see where they must go (I love the officer in the front pointing the way). The Russians appear in the distance and seem far away. They were in fact the larger force, but were hemmed in by the terrain for a while.
On the French left the time has now reached 13:00 and deployment has just about completed. Phew! The French cavalry has massed both here and in the centre ...
Ready to attack the Russians.
After two hours of fighting the Russians had been halted, but not before they threw in their Guard cavalry. The Russian artillery had not been very effective and the French got an early advantage when they knocked out a number of the Russian batteries.
The Austrians had also been held with some valiant fighting by a brigade of Old Guard which had been flung forward in order to preserve the integrity of the French central position (which had allowed the French army commander to take control of all four of his corps and deploy troops to either side as the situation called for it). The above picture also shows the damage the Russian Guard Cavalry had done, but it was now a spent force and about to be blown away. The French Carabineers lead by a newly painted general were about to charge the Austrians who had been pinned by the Old Guard. However it was at this stage that we ended the game with Austrian and Russian 15:00 turn. Just about all my troops had been engaged, with the exception of the reserve horse artillery which I had been unusually tardy in bringing up – I should have force marched them.
When I had selected this army I found I was one corps commander short. With just over a week to go I was able to select the figures from my lead mountain, clean them up and paint them, using my trusty Funcken book as a guide.
And very pleased I am too with the Old Glory Marshal Ney figure and ADC.
The Napoleon’s Battles rules played well, although we did have to look up a few tricky things with the mass of cavalry react, recall and pursuit moves that occurred.
I also tried colour coding the labels and while successful, next time I will use darker shades to denote corps and divisions and also better space out the letters used to denote the formations as I, II and III all blur when viewed peering down at the table from a few feet.
It was a pleasure to be able run this army using the figures I have collected over the last twenty years as well as the joy of the recent addition. It represented just about all the French I have, with only a few stands spare and a couple of foreign brigades not used (although my Hessians were).