Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

May this joyful day find you enjoying friends, family and fun.  The future awaits!


Friday, December 20, 2013

Flaming Empire of War Along the Mohawk Action - Pt. II

As action rejoined anew, the French continued their pressure across the front.  On the right Mermet's Division was embroiled with Russians in line backed by the Guards, while Marchand's Division moved to get closed with the other Russians.  The only reserve, Loison's division of somewhat questionable troops advanced to block the Austrian advance on the French right.  Massena's corps on the French left continued to follow their orders to advance upon, turn the flank, and destroy the Austrians.

As we resume play, forcing back some battalions via a firefight

Loison's Division advances to secure the right flank
Though there were a lot of small Dragoon regiments on this flank, they could do little against the closed columns adopted by the Austrians.

Lotsa Austrians, call up the reserves!

Turning to face the new Austrian threat

Finally coming to grips with the Russians

Forced back by firefights battalions mingle causing disorder
 All day long a series of firefights rocked things back and forth with no one gaining a permanent edge.  But the critical thing was that the Russian battalions could not absorb the same casualties as the larger French battalions.  Soon holes would open up.

A cuirassier division is committed

Loison's Division deploys to receive an Austrian corps that never gets there

They bend, but will they break?
 At the end of one hourly round the Russian heavy batteries on the ridge had limbered and moved to flank Mermet's Division.  This forced Napoleon to commit his last reserve on table, cuirassiers to scatter the gunners and give Mermet time to finish the job.

Despite rolling a -3 modifier on the tactical initiative dice-off the Austrians gallantly rolled a -2 and with the extra French pluses they held the first move two of three hours.  Citoyan Marchand was reminded that Russian horse artillery batteries are elite when one of his veteran battalions charged home and was routed off for his pains.

Arrival of French heavies force some Austrians in square

'ey youse guys, sumptin' about a bridge ta build?  No?
I like my battlefield clutter and have an assortment of wagons, caissons and ambulances painted up.

The 6eme Legere pushes deep into Russian lines

Having run off guns, the heavies now face the Russian Guards

Russian remnants forced back to the table edge

French continue to press, a mixed up fight ensues

The big picture looking from the Russian lines south
 As we completed an hourly round it was time to do ME (maneuver element) determination.  We discovered that one huge Russian division was now down to six of twenty-one elements, thirteen of which had been lost the preceding hour.  Needless to say, they routed.  The division next to it, facing Mermet, promptly rolled a "13" giving us:

Final position of Dohkorov's Corps <grin>
Sorry Paul.  So the Archduke Charles called for a total withdrawal from the field and the game ended.  The Russian guards were untouched and going to reclaim their guns, but with the gaping hole in the center there was little they could do.  In hindsight, had this been a campaign game, fine.  But since it was "for fun" and learning we didn't end up with a very balanced game.  Too many additions and subtractions of troops before and during the game sessions.  We will try to exert a bit more control in the pre-game planning next time.  Our next Empire game will be in January and will sample the weather of the Iberian Peninsula.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Flaming Empire of War Along the Mohawk Action

and several butcher's aprons.  Sorry.

The groups latest foray was/is an Empire game.  What started life as a simple little corps on corps action grew to a snarling multi-corps per side battle, until finally reaching full maturity as a raging out-of-control Empire determining action involving the Empereur himself.

In a mix of 1809 and 1812 formations we have a French-Allied under Massena, a French (peninsula) corps under Ney, a heavy cavalry reserve under Bessieres, and of course the Corsican Ogre himself.  The Allies have the Austrian 1st Korps under Bellegarde, another unnamed Korps, a Russian corps under Dokturov, and Russian guard infantry and cavalry division, Austrian and Russian cavalry divisions, and all under the Archduke Charles.

We set up the night before so we could get "at it" the next day.  They say no plan survives first contact, well our plan went out before we started.  One player who was to march on Russian reinforcements had a family emergency come up.  The Russians still got a bold reinforcement because our resident painting machine added eight battalions, and a re-shuffling of players meant a new French battle plan.  But we kept the troops where they were.

Both sides had a 15" deployment limit on the 22 x 6' (narrowing to 4') table.  We wanted flanks in this one.  The Empereur's forces stepped off as one the first hour, advancing across their front and moving off table reserves into view.  Surprisingly (to us) the Allies stood fast.  While that mean we had to cover more ground it also conceded some terrain to us.

The Russian guard cavalry and cuirassiers moved forward to halt and destroy the French advance.  Some bombardment took place but without any surprising results.

Confidently dicing to see who had the first initiative, it went to Charles!  Trumpets sounded and Austrian and Russian cavaliers surged forward.  On the French right, with divisional commanders attached at the regimental level battalions calmly formed square.  Two charges were stopped in the face of a square but the Guard Hussars crashed home and were routed.  Near to them Russian cuirassiers and the Chevalier Guards maneuvered to crush the dragoons opposing them.  Out-classed dragoons moved to face them.

On the French left a swirling give and take made it unclear who had the advantage.

As the initiative shifted to the French the squares moved up to flank and torment the Russian cavalry.  Guns unlimbered, protected by the squares and opened fire.  Other battalions formerly in attack columns shifted to closed columns and confidently advanced.  The dragoons re-arranged their lines and awaited the onslaught.  On the left charge and counter charge worked slightly in favor of the Austrians, but the French and French Allied infantry were moving forward.

The Russian guard light cavalry moved out of the cauldron.  The cuirassiers charged and beat the dragoons, but the latter were able to reform in good order to the rear (translation: a "bounce" result on the melee table).  Things were stable or advantageous to the French here.  Later a French closed column was able to move up on the flank of the leading regiment and pour in a scary, if seemingly ineffective volley.  But startled by the unexpected fire, first one than another cuirassier peeled away and rode for the rear.  (Translation: a fluky dice roll for being fired on in flank)  All the French breathed a bit easier there.

On the left things were much closer with both sides losing battalions in bitter fights while others had great holes rent in their formations by artillery.  The cavalry scrum continued with the advantage now slightly shifting to the French since, when an Austrian unit fled, it left a big hole.

Despite the hail of fire and leading from the front, no senior officers were felled and even Marchand's division having a third impulse did little to change things.

As the Austrian corps that just arrived first hour began to advance (replacing the absent 2nd Army of the West), Ney was forced to move Loison's division out of reserve to await them.  While the Austrians managed to get engaged they had to sort themselves out at first since they were faced only by French cavalry.

Frustrated by the French square that blocked their advance, another Russian cuirassier regiment charged the solidly formed square.  They gamely charged home, and then decided to go home.  Riding back in the direction of Moscow.  (Translation: the solidly formed square had an auto victory and rolled well enough to rout them.)

On the left the Franco-Bavarian division became fully embroiled, made worse by the fact that Austrian infantry rolled out like a swinging door to threaten the strategic flank.  Deep in the French rear a division of cuirassiers took note, and began to cinch up their saddles, expecting the call soon.

Both Mermet's and Marchand's division became engaged across the front with two Russian line divisions.  Mermet went for close firefights and won more than he lost, barely.  Marchand risked assaults since the Russians there were still in narrow columns and had some success.  A Russian counter-attack scattered a French legere battalion, but things seemed generally favorable.  The Russian guard light cavalry had disengaged so only the Chevalier Guards faced down nine smaller French dragoon and light regiments.

Somewhere in here we ran out of time.  With the issue very much in doubt we will continue in two weeks.  So look for the next installment at that time.  The battles has over 1000 miniatures (not counting artillery and leaders) on each side at a 60:1 figure ratio so as the movie title says, "there will be blood."