Sunday, March 27, 2022

Empire - Russians vs. Bavarians and French: 1812

 Picking up our favorite game system after a long layoff, we dusted off the Empire rules and at the suggestion of the French, got out all our Russians.  Played on a 9x6' table, we thought there would be more room till we put down over 1600 infantry and around 300 cavalry figures.  The infantry sides were very even in numbers, though the Russians had a clear edge in cavalry and of course hordes of class III guns.

The Russians were arrayed in four small infantry corps with two cavalry corps in support, the Franco-Bavarian army had one corps each with attendant cavalry.  Both sides had troops off table at the start that mostly came on during the first hour.  Both armies were operating under attack orders so were going at each other from the start.

So, we'll let the pictures speak for themselves.  Click on them to enlarge.  Very picture heavy, you have been warned.  Enjoy the spectacle.

View from the Bavarian corner, allied right flank.

And the Russian right flank, a mob of Cossacks in
the foreground.

After the first Grand Tactical.  Woods slowed both
sides so there was no action on the Russian right except
for cavalry.

The Bavarians made good time and engaged immediately.

Inviting targets abound.  Who will get the first impulse?

The Bavarian cavalry charges and the gunners abandon
their guns.

Some infantry is ridden down but others stop in the
face of a square.

Later, Russian hussars charge to stabilize things.

On the Russian right the Cossacks somehow delay
French hussars who are disordered by the light woods.

The long view as Bavarian lines advance.

The center.  Some Bavarian dragoons reached the 
back table edge before being eliminated.

Center view looking towards the Russian right.  Long
lines of cuirassiers wait their turn.

New Russia dragoons charge, but halt disordered.

The preponderance of Russian guns begins to take
their toll of advancing French.

Russians in depth in case of a frontline disaster.

The Russians made effective use of the Jagers for once.

Pushing, pushing, pushing...  No one relenting.

My DUB Cossacks had chances for glory, but frequently
refused to call to charge, and when they did couldn't win.

The center, and parts of Korf's 4th Cavalry Corps.

The Russians systematically prepare a major combined
arms attack on their left-center.

The Russian far left, looking towards the center.

One week later we resumed.  On a miserable die roll Bagration took a minor wound and was unable to inspire the men.  In spite of that, for the first time all game, the Russians got the initiative and put it to good use.

The French are doing everything they can, but every step
forward results in opportunity fire.

The Bavarians are still strong and nervously holding.

Russian cavalry charge, retake some lost guns, and
overrun others before being stopped by a hasty square.

The Bavarian cannons, so bravely served, are now few
and far between.

Meanwhile a crack French division readies itself.

Still, that's a lot of open ground to cross in the face of
so many cannons.

Ineffective cavalry charges are exchanged in the center.

Russian uhlans continue to seek opportunities.

The cavalry has really thinned out the leading Bavarian line.

As always, the village/town restricts and hampers movement.

Stalemate in the right center as the French cuirassiers
win, but are unable to break the Russians,

The aftermath (sorry) of failed attempts to come to grips
with the Russians.

The French light cavalry gets pushy, but if the Cossacks
fail, there are multiple lines awaiting.

And so it ended, early on Day Two.  The heavily mangled Bavarian division routed in it's ME Determination test and the equally shot up French division became Shaken and Disordered.  With so much manpower concentrated in their MEs, compared to the dinky Russian infantry MEs, the game was called.  The best French were not yet committed, but with the Bavarians so mangled it was only a matter of time before their flank was turned.

For me personally, this was the first time in who knows how long that I felt the big number of Russian cannons truly came into play.  Usually they get ripped up before they can even come into action but this game they kept the Russian infantry safe from the bigger (by 50%) French battalions till I chose to commit them.  Satisfying though somehow mitigated by having almost 3 times as many guns, even if they are the lowly Class III pieces.

Both sides had their moments, especially the Bavarian cavalry, and in the end everyone conducted themselves as gentlemen remembering it's just a game.  Merci.

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