Saturday, August 1, 2015

I almost went to Plancenoit

Yesterday I took Stephan N through the Plancenoit scenario; he played the French while I took the Prussians, determined to try something different.

The game starts with the 14:00 turn. There are 16 turns in total.

The Prussians are spotted at 13:30 and at 14:00 Napoleon sends Lobau to deal with them.

The first Prussian formation to arrive goes north of the Paris Wood.  

A new figure in use as von Losthin, 15th Brigade commander.

And another new command stand in play for the first time, just coming into focus.

Representing von Bulow.  Thanks Carlo for these figures - it was great to get them into action.

14:30 and a second Prussian brigade is going south of the big wood.

15:00 Prussian artillery arrives and the Prussian infantry starts to deploy.  The French have arrived in a blocking position.

Having Blucher and von Bulow available to attach to units helps keep them in command.

15:30 turn and fighting has commenced.

An early charge by the French 1e and 2e Lanciers gets shot to pieces, but delays the force going south of the wood.

Near Fischermont the shooting has been fierce with numerous units becoming disordered, something that was a continuing feature of this game.  It is 16:00 and the Prussian cavalry has arrived, it took two turns to get it all on.

16:30 and the Prussians have moved round the wood okay.

Blucher takes a regiment of Silesian Landwher and rushes forward.

17:00 and the last of the Prussians have arrived.  Blucher has been using his cavalry to bash through the French lines, but it was largely checked by the French artillery, although that has now been mostly dealt with - two cavalry charges against guns, both times the cavalry were disordered by fire going in.  They won, but with the winner's loss it meant they had lost a quarter of their strength - ouch.

17:30 and things are getting congested.  The French are conducting a fighting withdrawal.  Blucher lead a successful attack in the centre while the Landwer regiment von Bulow lead in an attack against the French blocking the southern route was totally wiped out.

18:00 and von Bulow clears the way along the road by the Lasne stream.  Blucher brings up guns ready to sweep the French away.

18:30 and the French counter attacked in the centre.  Blucher had a horse shot out from under him and Prince William received a pesky wound in his sword arm.

19:00 and the Prussian thrust to the north of the Fischermont wood was driven off.  The whole brigade then stalled denying the Prussians valuable infantry for their thrust up the centre.

Blucher goes it alone.  He cleared a path through to Plancenoit, but it cost him the unit he used to do it.  However it did mean the Young Guard, which had just been released when Napoleon saw the Prussians within 1,200 yards of the village, were delayed in reaching Plancenoit.   

19:30 and it is a race to see who gets to Plancenoit.  Losthin was shot through the cheek losing five teeth during an attack by the remaining French cavalry which ran over a Landwher square (there had been a tie result which had caused the Prussians to disperse). 

19:30 - the Prussian rush to Plancenoit is hampered by the woods to the north of the Lasne road.  A column of Prussians is moving south of the Lasne stream.

20:00 and troops are now in Plancenoit.  The losses to the French VI Corps have been significant

Blucher leads a regiment of Landwher against the Young Guard.  It lasted four rounds, but the French prevailed.

20:30 and in the death ride of the French cavalry von Bulow was hit, but remained heroically in the saddle.  We didn't appreciate that Loabau's corps was probably fatigued at this stage, but by the end of the turn it had ceased to exist.  A brigade of the Old Guard was on its way (released when Napoleon saw the Prussians enter Plancenoit)..

Blucher leads a unit of Silesian regulars in a tough fit against the Old Guard which had replaced the Young Guard in fighting for the eastern most sector of Plancenoit.  The Prussians were forced to withdraw after holding the French to a tie result.

21:00 and the French hold Plancenoit.

21:30 and as the sun finally sets, fatigue takes hold of von Bulow's corps.

It was great to get a result.  Took us about eight hours which included a few breaks.


Units in column/limbered should be able to move through gaps in terrain that are at least two inches wide.  This is not a rules issue, more a problem with terrain placement/scenario design.  The terrain map I was using had some ill defined terrain borders.  There were places where a 16 figure unit could pass, but a 20 figure unit with its slightly larger frontage could not without being impeded.  I note that unformed movement allows passage of gaps at least two inches wide (2nd Edition, so maybe that should be the minimum gap between terrain features (that would still cause a 20 figure cavalry unit grief, but in any OOB I design I would be doing my best to have such a formation represented as 16 and 8 figure units).  

The 20PrLWC unit in the Prussian IV Corps is quiet unwieldy.  

We kept generals attached to units with those units when they moved for whatever reason after combat.  The only time we didn't was if the unit was dispersed.  I think in those cases, if the general survives any elimination risk, he should be removed from the table (swept away with the dispersed troops) but then returned in the next friendly command phase.

Also, with attached generals, they could be freely moved around (while still remaining attached of course) to enable position of units.

It strikes me that commanders could actually be removed after the command phase and replaced at the end of the movement phase.  This would avoid a lot of fiddling around and make it more definitive which units it was intended to have in command in the next turn, as well as which units were to benefit from having a commander attached.  There is a rule (maybe more of a convention) that says one unit is moved at a time and once the hand is removed it can not be repositioned - placing generals last would make that rule/convention more workable in my opinion.

I have other views on commander displacement that I will leave to another day (I really need to wait till the new edition is published). 

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