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."


  1. Nice report, this table is really impressive!

  2. Excellent recap Michael glad I'm part of the battle.