New Warren: Westphalia vs. Imperial France 1812

Opening game in the new warren. Recently WR moved into a slightly large warren with an extra room designated the library and gaming room. After spending several weeks organizing the library collection and figuring the square footage requirements of various miniature collections, WR was left with a central room area for a small 5×6 foot folding gaming table setup.

Foreseeing a free late August saturday afternoon*, WR invited members of his napoleonic group to a first call game…. first ones to call or text in filled the 5 open chair slots. WR figured the maximum number of players could be 5 or 6 in the small space and four replied back.

Basic scenario game of even 2200 points, with five commands on each side. French corps with 3 infantry divisions, a light cavalry brigade and reserve heavy cavalry division. Their opponents were WR‘s Westphalian army with three infantry divisions (included the Westphalian guard in the 3rd division), and two cavalry brigades of heavy and light. In summary the French had a bit more cavalry and better artillery while the Westphalian corps had more and slightly better infantry.

The French, under Rob and Daniel, elected to deploy one infantry division up to 18″ depth from their table edge. The two chosen supporting commands were another infantry division and their light cavalry brigade, deployed only 12″ from table edge. Westphalian deployment, under Theron and Andrew, mirrored the French with one infantry division up front and positioned right flank while their light cavalry and another infantry division (left flank) placed in their rear deployment zone.

Deploying the armies. Daniel (l) and Rob (r) deploy the French commands at start.

Deploying the armies. Daniel (l) and Rob (r) deploy the French commands at start.

Westphalian starting deployment completed by Theron (l) and Andrew (r).

Westphalian starting deployment and opening movements completed by Theron (l) and Andrew (r).

Each side saw their opposite’s deployment, WR allows each team a few minutes to discuss basic plans for the forthcoming engagement. Looking over the aerial photo the Westphalian army had slightly more infantry positioned against the French left flank while the French spread evenly across the 6 foot table. WR took the post of game umpire and assisted the players with the new version 2.0 rules (10D morale) system.

Terrain notes: Stream was a 2″ movement cost and no terrain disorder, buildings class II (wood/stone), open fields for looks and various low walls/hedges. Hill was a low-rise and the woods medium or normal woods. Typical Westphalian territory on a clear day.

Overhead view of the two armies after the first turn completed. Westphalian on left, French on right side of photo.

Overhead view of the two armies after the first turn completed. Westphalian on left, French on right side of photo.

Opening movements: The French, with a strong skirmisher formation of legere battalions, advanced forward while formed line battalion columns marched behind. They quickly occupied the central village position. The light cavalry brigade sent two chasseur a’ cheval regiments to the right flank while the remaining two hussar regiments supported their left flank. Divisional and corps artillery evenly across the entire battlefront. Westphalian counter-ploy was to advance to the low hill rise in linear formations, screened by their battalion voltigeurs, and advance their hussars and chevau-legers cavalry to try to chase away the French skirmishers.

Westphalian infantry (division) advances to the base of the hill before them. French mill about the village. Westphalian chevau-legers prepare to chase away the French skirmishers.

Westphalian infantry (division) advances to the base of the hill before them. French mill about the village. Westphalian chevau-legers prepare to chase away the French skirmishers.

French infantry battalions occupy the village as their skirmishers see the Westphalian cavalry approach.

French infantry battalions occupy the village as their skirmishers see the Westphalian cavalry approach.

French Rob and Daniel team, seeing the Westphalian army generally electing to receive the French attack, slowly advanced their infantry atop the low-rise and deployed their supportive artillery. The Westphalian chevau-legers charged briefly to chase the French skirmishers away but within a game turn the Frenchmen were back to their previous location between the armies. Both sides deployed their artillery batteries and engaged in normal range bombardments. The Westphalian team, of Theron and Andrew, soon figured out the French were better with their eight cannon batteries vs. the Westphalian six cannon.

Note: Battery basing width is determined by the number of cannon or howitzers in the battery. One quarter-inch per cannon or howitzer so a 8 cannon battery would be 2″ wide. Six cannon would have a 1.5″ wide battery base.

French slowly advance across the raised ground while Westphalian artillery bombards with little effect.

French slowly advance across the raised ground while Westphalian artillery bombards with little effect.

Both sides, with some minor distance interaction, awaited the arrival of reinforcements. The French had another infantry division and their cuirassier heavy cavalry expected to arrive. The Westphalia team had their 3rd Guard division and small heavy cavalry brigade of kuirassiers.

French battlefield management team in action.... note unison of arm motion.

French battlefield management team in action…. note unison of arm motion.

First to arrive was the Westphalian 3rd guard infantry division. They arrived center road and quickly marched towards the village position.

Reinforcement note: Arrival, for each reserve command, was determined every game turn starting with 2nd turn. Roll 6D, if a natural six was rolled they arrive on road entrance that turn. Starting with the 2nd game hour the chance of arrival was raised to a five or six rolled. The third hour became a 4-6 roll. Turns are 20 minutes in length and therefore three per game hour.

Westfphalian reinforcement. Their third infantry division (guard) arrives and rapidly advances besides the roadway.

Westphalian reinforcement. Their third infantry division (guard) arrives and rapidly advances besides the roadway.

While the protagonists continued their uncommitted shooting, the Westphalian 3rd guard division approached the village. A turn or more and the Westphalian army will outnumber the French village defenders and force the position. Looking over their shoulders, French commanders were glad to see the concurrent arrival of the last French infantry division (-) and more importantly, the cuirassiers, which quickly rode towards the pressured front lines on the right flank.

While the Westphalian guard and supportive line infantry advance to attack the village, the French cavalry division arrives to strengthen their right flank.

While the Westphalian guard and supportive line infantry advance to attack the village, the French cavalry division arrives to strengthen their right flank.

French view of their arriving  heavy cavalry as the Westphalian guard, in distance, nears the village.

French view of their arriving heavy cavalry as the Westphalian guard, in distance, nears the village. The small arriving French infantry division is alongside them.

Now or nothing, team Westphalia surge forward with their central battalions and cavalry regiments. Infantry in columns, supportive artillery including their prized 12lb battery, and flank supporting cavalry, they advance.

Seeing the Westphalian guard cavalry, French battalions form squares near their artillery batteries.

Seeing the Westphalian guard cavalry, French battalions form squares near their artillery batteries.

The French team bring up their heavy cavalry to support the pressured front lines. Forming squares near their artillery they are almost ready when the first Westphalian cavalry charge thunders across the battlefield. A French line battalion, caught in linear formation protecting a french foot battery, is soon ridden down.

Opening movements. Westphalian hussars charge home on a French battalion in linear formation while French cuirassiers trot forward in column of squadrons.

Opening movements. Westphalian hussars charge home on a French battalion in linear formation while French cuirassiers trot forward in column of squadrons.

Finishing off the French line infantry and foot battery, the disordered Westphalian hussars find the supportive heavy cavalry of sterner material. They flee the fight when the French cuirassiers roll forward. Seeing the French cuirassiers preparing to charge the Westphalian infantry columns behind them, the Westphalian guard chevau-legers bravely charge home on the cuirassiers and surprise, defeat both French cuirassier regiments.

The cuirassiers chase away the Westphalian hussars (after losing a french battery). but the brave Westphalian guard chevau-legers charges the combined cuirassier regiments... and wins.

The cuirassiers chase away the Westphalian hussars (after losing a french battery). The brave Westphalian guard chevau-legers charges the combined cuirassier regiments… and wins, saving the Westphalian columns from the mean and nasty French cuirassiers.

Hot and heavy action before the village. As the first cavalry waves retire to regroup, the French commanders Rob and Daniel, having more cavalry available, plan their counterstroke. Four French cavalry regiments ride forward to prepare their charges….

French players plan their unit movements... it's all in the arm and hand motions.

French players plan their unit movements… it’s all in the arm and hand motions.

Three French heavy cavalry regiments and the left flank hussar regiment position themselves to charge home on the advancing Westphalian guard division. Team Westphalia, Andrew and Theron, sense the growing danger to their exposed infantry and artillery.

French positioned for the attack, the Westphalian team sees the looming French cavalry charge.

French positioned for the attack, the Westphalian team sees the looming French cavalry charge.

The reserve Westphalian kuirassier brigade still haven’t arrived…. send the ADC’s to locate. (GM note, they never arrived till the final game turn as the retreating Westphalian army joined them.)

Four French charges are called. The Westphalian guard is under attack by French cavalry.

Four French charges are called. The Westphalian guard is under attack by French cavalry.

Quickly the Westphalian guard infantry form their battalion squares and artillery batteries prep to receive cavalry. Trumpeters sound their trumpets, the French cavalry charge home on the Westphalian unlimbered artillery and exposed infantry battalions. Unsteady battalions not in square become disordered or rout to the rear. Calmly the Westphalian gunners touch their cannon touch holes, sending canister rounds into the charging French cavalrymen. Stopped the French hussar regiment cold, but the following carabinier regiment, with losses, rode over the Westphalian gunners after a second but weaker canister volley.

Note: During the shock (assault and charge) turn phase, each successive firing by the same unit (battery or battalion) is reduced by 1/3 effectiveness, repeatedly per firing event. So by the third firing the effect is reduced by 1/3 and by another 1/3 adjustment. For example if the calculated firepower is 120% then the 2nd firing would be 80% (120% x .667) and the third firing 54% (80% x .667 rounded up).

Westphalian infantry in squares, their artillery is faced by charging French hussars.

Westphalian infantry in squares, their artillery is faced by charging French hussars.

After the French heavy cavalry finished off the Westphalian artillery and recoiled from the solid squares, the left flank French hussars charged the other sector. Overrunning a deployed Westphalian foot battery with loss, they sabre disordered Westphalian line infantrymen, causing several battalions to break and rout away. In the end, the Westphalian center infantry divisions were totally in disarray.

Losing the Westphalian artillery to succssive French charges, the other French hussar regiment charges another Westphalian battery.

Losing the Westphalian artillery to successive French charges, the other French hussar regiment charges another Westphalian battery.

Vacant space where formerly Westphalian line infantry was marching forward in columns. Now broken and fleeing towards their rear leaving the guard battalions near the village.

After the charges... the Westphalian center is broken and scattered with several battalions run down.

After the charges… the Westphalian center is broken and scattered with several battalions run down.

Seeing French advantages, The French commanders plan to send their infantry battalions forward to crush the Westphalian guard battalions in squares. The game is over when the Westphalian commanders nominate rearguard units and retire from the tabletop battlefield, meeting their arriving reserve kuirassiers along the way.

Hand of Rob points forward all Frenchmen.... Westphalian teams calls for a quick exit from the tabletop battlefield.

Hand of Rob points “forward all Frenchmen, we have victory in sight.” Westphalian teams calls for a quick exit from the tabletop battlefield.

Quick and simple scenario game involving basically a corp level command on each side. Played in about four hours with 10-12 turns. True to many of our group games, cavalry is a sudden and potent weapon when handled well but can be quickly lost with inexperienced play. Infantry and artillery always do the slow grinding process to win the battlefield.

Thanks to Andrew, Daniel, Rob and Theron for joining WR in his gaming space. Other future games are planned so contact WR if in the northern Los Angeles area.

Rosters in scenario: French roster FvsW1812 (xls);  Westphalia roster FvsW 1812 (xls)

Rules are found on the blog. Napoleonic rules and game play videos link

(*) Still catching up with some blog posts.

Cheers from the warren.WR

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