This was refight for a historical scenario, one of series of such that I’m working on and this was a play-test, to make sure I’m on the right lines with it and that they play as good, close games (not all historical battles make good wargames - in fact most don’t really). Here, I had to tweaked some aspects, including forces and timings and deployments (slightly), to try and make a more balanced scenario,
The game was a French attack against an Austrian defended position, along a hedge lined lane. Three French infantry brigades would lead, with strong cavalry reserves in a cuirassier and light cavalry brigade, so 5 brigades in all. The Austrians would have a screening landwehr brigade out front, with a second landwehr brigade deployed behind to the left and a tough grenadier brigade deployed to the right rear, both with artillery close support. They also had a strong reserve of a cuirassier brigade waiting to arrive and counter-attack those advancing French infantry.
A simple set-up then, with French in all out attack and the Austrians defending.
We got the models on the tabletop, or waiting close by to arrive from reserve, and set-to with Turn 1. Drums beating, the French infantry began their advance. Here they come!
The cannons roared, his grand battery of guns behind doing damage to the grenadiers along their hedge, whilst my on table guns returned fire into the French lines. The screening Austrian landwehr, starting the game jittery and ready to run, advanced to use a handy ‘Withering Volleys’ and inflicted heavy damage on the first French battalions, but with no Rally card for Militia, one landwehr unit in the centre broke, the other only remained in place after the brigade commander rushed to join and inspire them. Out front and exposed, it seemed the screen would not last long… which turned out to be wrong.
The French advanced cautiously, with lots of skirmish fire, but two ‘Steady Lads’ cards kept the militia in the fight and volleying away, breaking a first French line, great work from what was only a delaying/harassing force. They then fell back to rally. The French advance had quiet reached halfway yet as turn 2 ended and the Austrians had a slight early lead in VPs gained.
Turn 3, and the French had rather stalled, bogged down with too much skirmish firing at the landwehr, who again withdrew and rallied, but it cost them casualties now, as the Disruption built-up. The landwehr then returned fire with another ‘withering volley’ that cut through the French. The screening job was all but done, time to try and save them if possible with withdraw moves. The screen had slowed the French right down and done a lot of damage too, sometimes even landwehr surprise you.
End of the turn and first reserves arrived, the Austrian cuirassiers. The French infantry had been hurt, so it was time to counter-attack. The cuirassiers used a lot of cards, moving up and through the grenadiers and the hedge and ‘at the quick’, closing in on the French infantry, before a ‘ride them down’ event saw one regiment charge and pummel an infantry battalion (already in disorder from various artillery and skirmish fire). The Frenchmen were butchered and routed, almost to a bloody massacre, even losing their colours (the eagle!) in the melee.
On the French far right, a far quieter area, the brigade got going at last, at the quick, maybe here they would fair better, with only landwehr to face and no charging heavy cavalry to counter-attack.
Back on the French left, and the troubles came in battalions (regiments actually) and the Austrian cuirassiers rallied, reformed and charged again, smashing up a second infantry battalion, who fell back and also rallied, leaving their many dead behind. One aggressive cuirassier regiment had smashed up the left-hand French brigade. But all was not lost, the French reserve cavalry all arrived, and their own cuirassiers and lancers could now retort, as they galloped up to save the infantry.
The French cavalry rushed forwards at top speed and plunged through their own infantry, heedless of them, to get to grips with the Austrian horsemen that were doing too much damage. The blue cuirassiers charged and narrowly pushed back the whites, but it was a close fight. Both would Rally and reform to try again. The lancers met the other cuirassier regiment, in a counter-charge that saw the heavies just get the upper hand and drive them back, again over their own infantry, which was becoming a real mess. Into this swirling melee of men and horses came more cannon and skirmish fire and in the end phase another French infantry battalion broke… they had had enough of being ridden over by both sides.
That was it, the French attack had broken, sound the retreat, they must withdraw before the stolid Austrian defence and their heavy cavalry counter-attack (any similarity between this a famous part of a famous part is purely intentional). A solid Austrian win. In light of the game I made some alterations to the scenario, and in the post-game brew and post-mortum the French decided they had made a few mistakes. Firstly, they should have been more aggressive against the landwehr screen, hit them with charges in turn 1 by moving faster, and not using so much skirmish fire, the cautious advance had been the wrong call - too slow (it also allowed the Austrians to easily claim their Hold the Line objective). The cards had favoured the Austrians, both well-timed ‘withering volleys’ had been horrid, and on turn 6 I used the ‘command confusion’ event and rolled a 6, striping 2 cards from the French, which again was a big factor in not being able to save his trampled infantry battalion. Still, the clash of heavy cavalry had been fun, call it draw there, but the white cuirassiers had broken 2 infantry battalions before then, so damage done.
Work on a series of historical refight scenarios continues apace. We'll test another one soon.
|Deployment, Austrians line the lane and hedge, with landwehr and skirmishers screening|
|French advance begins, in a strange formation (historical though), of lines, one behind the other. A lot of voltiguers out front. |
|More landwehr (Grenzer standing in) on the far left end of the line. |
|Heroics from the 7th Landwehr as their volleys pummel the French lines, and they steadily fallback. The brigade commander arrived to inspire them and keep them fighting. Very steady lads! Heroes of the day. |
|Ride them down! The white cuirassiers charge and break an infantry battalion. |
|Cuirassiers meet lancers and see them off, just. Note, all grey (Lipizzaner) horses, apt! |
|Cuirassiers clash sabre to sabre, and fight each other to a stalemate, but too late to save the French advance. |