Imperial France vs. Russo-Prussian 1813

A trio of napoleonic game reports coming from the warren. First up is Imperial France vs. 1813 era Russian and Prussian armies fought on a typical November southern California day. Our everlasting napoleonic group meets every month, on the third saturday, at Bob’s gaming garage. Contact the WR if interested to join us.

Forces: Imperial France fielded four corps: Three standard infantry and a separate cavalry corps. John (2x Infantry, Lt cav), Rob (3x Infantry), Greg (2x Infantry, Lt cav) and WR (Lt cav, Dragoon, Cuirassier divisions) commanded their respective corps command and divisional structures (12 divisions or light cavalry brigades in total).

Allies had two Russian infantry corps (2x Infantry and cavalry division) plus a reserve Russian cuirassier division.  Prussians joined in with their single corps of three infantry brigades and attached cavalry. Russo-Prussians fielded 12 divisions or brigades on the battlefield. Rolled weather was agreeable with clouds and light winds from the weather chart.

Note: Our napoleonic game miniature ratio is 100:1 with adjustment for historical scenarios. So the typical command or divisional sized force is 60-80 miniatures for an infantry division, 15-30 miniatures for a cavalry division plus respective attached artillery bases. Tabletop units are infantry battalion, commonly of 5-9 miniatures, cavalry regiment of 4 to 10 miniatures, or battery of artillery. The actual unit size can be adjusted for the historical field strength or TOE so there are really no “standard” sized units.

Relaxing before the start of the scenario. Initial deployments done with wooden blocks for each team side. France on right, Russo-Prussians on left.

Relaxing before the start of the scenario. Initial deployments done with wooden blocks for each team side. France on right, Russo-Prussians on left.

Initial deployments had the French (l to r): Greg’s corps, WR, then Rob and John anchored the right end of the French formations. Russo-Prussian deployment had Daniel on their right flank, Bob and Tim with additional Russians in center and rear area reserves, then Dave and Andy holding down their left flank with the Prussians. Fairly open battlefield with two low hills and a central town on the road network. Isolated woods, farms and a pond completed the terrain.

Opening movements by both sides quickly placed miniatures on the tabletop along the central zone while both sides held their flank divisions seeking some small advantages of position. Cunning French planning was to seize or assault the central town and push the Russo-Prussians from both hills. Mass the French cavalry divisions to control the left hill while pushing the central massed French infantry beyond the town and force the Allied center to retire, supported by French artillery placed upon the captured forward hill slope positions. On both flanks seek to pull allied divisions (commands) from their center reserves thus weakening the central position for the final grand assault in the center. The game action pretty much followed the French plan of attack. As for the Russo-Prussian plan… WR wasn’t “invited” to their commander conference meeting.

Central tabletop command have advanced into miniature deployment range. Russian light cavalry see the advancing French infantry heading towards the town.

Central tabletop commands have advanced into miniature deployment range. Russian light cavalry see the advancing French infantry heading towards the town as a French light cavalry brigade crests onto the hill.

Another view showing the French right flank. Those two un-deployed wooden blocks are advancing infantry divisions.

Another view showing the French right flank. Those two un-deployed wooden blocks are advancing infantry divisions maybe.

Rob must be doing something right to cause five Russo-Prussian players to do something with their forces.

General view of the gaming table. Farside is (l to r); Daniel, Bob, Tim, Dave and Andy. Nearside is Rob and John.

General view of the gaming table. Far side is (l to r); Daniel, Bob, Tim, Dave and Andy. Near side is Rob and John. Greg and WR not in picture.

Brain trust in action... Russian Bob and Tim figure out the situation in the town. Dave and Andy have the Prussians under control.

Brain trust in action… Russian Bob and Tim figure out the situation in the town. Dave and Andy have the Prussians under control. All hands on the table group photo-op.

Back on the tabletop action. Rob and his French infantry divisions are contesting the town with the Russians. French positional 12lb batteries fire from the upper hill slope while divisional French artillery positions itself to secure the opposite town flank.

French and Russian columns start the town building to building battles as French artillery supports on the outskirts.

French and Russian columns start the town building to building battles as French artillery supports on the outskirts.

On the French right flank distance warfare seems to be the status for the day. WR thinks there may have been no shock combats all day on this flank between the Prussians (Dave and Andy) and the French under command of John. Looking pretty with columns, linear and square formations while skirmishers deploy out front.

On French right flank John engages the Prussians under Dave and Andy.

On French right flank John engages the Prussians under Dave and Andy.

Greg’s leading French infantry division deploys and approaches the hill below the farm. Daniel marches his Russian line and skirmishing jagers forward to control the hill as WR’s cunning plan draws him forward with retiring light cavalry (chasseurs a’ cheval and hussars). I see no squares Daniel…. see the pretty French cavalry approaching? French reserve 12lb batteries set up to engage the Russian infantry.

Greg's French division advances towards the Russian held farm on their right flank. Daniel's Russians positioned on hilltop.

Greg’s French division advances towards the Russian held farm on their right flank. Daniel’s Russians positioned on hilltop.

Apart from some artillery bombardments, the only action on the Prussian left flank is the leading Prussian cavalry brigade elects to retire behind their formed up Prussian infantry and artillery. French infantry divisions slowly mass up and collect on the hill.

Prussian cavalry retires behind their advancing linear infantry and deploying artillery batteries.

Prussian cavalry retires behind their advancing linear infantry and deploying artillery batteries.

Pow! Suddenly the retiring French light cavalry of WR turns about and charge up the hill seeking to catch the Russian infantry out of square formation. Tough charge morale checks soon to follow for Daniel and his Russian infantry. If he passes, the Russian infantry can successfully form square and repeal the charging French light cavalry. If disordered or  routing, the infantry will be ridden down unless some of the distant Russian cavalry reserve is committed. His face-saving move was to deploy his jager skirmishers well in front of his close order linear line infantry. Dice please….. Greg’s French infantry division marches forward to seize the hill if the French light cavalry charge is successful.

WR appears with the first of his French cavalry divisions. Daniel's infantry see masses of French light cavalry ride forth up the hill slope. Not a square to be seen...

WR appears with the first of his French cavalry divisions. Daniel’s infantry see masses of French light cavalry ride forth up the hill slope. Not a square to be seen…

Grand view of the battle which also shows the arriving French flanking infantry divisions causing some discomfort on the Russian right flank.

General table length view of the action. Greg appears in the French commander ranks at right. 20x6 foot gaming table.

General table length view of the action. Greg appears in the French commander ranks at right. 20×6 foot gaming table.

While the dice are rolled for the French light cavalry charge…. Dave is bombarding the French with his Prussian artillery. Class B firing rating, 8 cannon battery of 6lbs, at long-range, engaging enemy massed column behind skirmishers…. that is calculated % to hit. Roll made, that battalion has a miniature lost….. pointing. Frenchman Rob is still trying to read Russian Tim’s shirt message…. some form of code.

Note: Artillery firing process on Youtube:  Part I and Part II

Which unit Dave? Some French battalion I expect is being fired upon by Prussian artillery.

Which unit Dave? Some French battalion I expect is being fired upon by Prussian artillery.

Russian Daniel is lucky… some battalions rout, others go into morale disorder, but a critical couple pass their morale and form square to blunt the charging French light cavalry. Some Russian dragoon regiments arrive in rear to give future support against WR’s cavalry. Once the charges are completed, the exposed Russian squares are pummeled by the French artillery batteries. Action taken, counter action, then counter to the counter action, the game goes on.

Some Russian battalions are morale disordered from the French charge but others passed their morale charge check and promptly formed square. After the French cavalry charged and retired from the square assault the French artillery opens fire.

Some Russian battalions are morale disordered from the French charge but others passed their morale charge check and promptly formed square. After the French cavalry charged and retired from the square assault the French artillery opens fire.

Not giving Daniel time to breathe, The French army masses below the Russian held hill farm as another French dragoon division arrives to support the French light cavalry. WR’s masterly of cavalry is teaching his son the hard lessons of massed cavalry tactics. Russian Bob sends Russian cavalry division to cover the far Russian right flank position. Greg’s two French infantry divisions and their attached light cavalry brigade face off their Russian opponents.

View from Russian right flank (farm) as more French divisions of Infantry and Dragoons appear ready to assault the Russian right flank. Russian Dragoons have arrived from their center reserve.

View from Russian right flank (farm) as more French divisions of Infantry and Dragoons appear ready to assault the Russian right flank. Russian Dragoons have arrived from their center reserve.

Here we go again… the regrouped French light cavalry is joined by massed French dragoon cavalry. Behind them marked by the wooden block, still unknown to the Russians, is a large French cuirassier division. Daniel’s Russians have recovered their morale from the 1st charge but haven’t had time to form proper squares to receive again the renewed French cavalry surge.

Note: The wooden block with a black arrow indication states that the wooden block it points at is deployed in both the wooden block’s actual square grid position and the square grid of the arrow too. Thus the unknown cuirassier division is deployed in two squares on the tabletop. Each tabletop square is a one foot square marked on the tabletop boards. See my wooden block movement system and Youtube video tutorials for more details: Block System

Back on the hilltop Daniel tries to hold his front positions as the Arriving French Dragoons ride up the hill with their light cavalry brethren. The wooden block behind them is a Cuirassier division.

Back on the hilltop Daniel tries to hold his front positions as the Arriving French Dragoons ride up the hill with their light cavalry brethren. The wooden block behind them is a Cuirassier division.

Prussian cavalry starts to move towards their open flank to apply some pressure and counter roaming French light cavalry. A possible Prussian brigade await in reserve as a wooden block.

The Prussian cavalry, seeing French cavalry ride out on flank, reposition themselves by  riding to the flank. Massing French columns in distance.

The Prussian cavalry, seeing French cavalry ride out on flank, reposition themselves by riding to the flank. Massing French columns in distance.

French massed cavalry charges done, the dust clears and shows vacant space typical after series of charge, countercharge cavalry actions. But not for long as WR plans his next  move.

After the charge, cavalry typically leave a vacant space. Daniel's front line Russian infantry have been crushed and shattered.

After the charge, cavalry typically leave a vacant space. Daniel’s front line Russian infantry have been crushed and shattered.

While the French cavalry regrouped and forms up again. the French infantry under Greg assault the Russian held farm.

French columns assault the Russian farm walls. Russian defense held but their hilltop position is weakened.

French columns assault the Russian farm walls. Russian defense held but their hilltop position is weakened.

Having finally cleared the town of Russian infantry holdouts, Rob’s French take up positions on the far side and deploy massed French divisional artillery. The Russian front lines are in some disarray.

In the town center table the French have cleared the town and start to deploy artillery and infantry to threaten the Russian central position.

In the town center table the French have cleared the town and start to deploy artillery and infantry to threaten the Russian central position.

No respite for the Russians. WR sending in the big boots. More French cavalry ride up the hill slope and prepare to engage the tattered Russian formations. When in a sword fight, use cuirassiers….a WR thought for the day.

WR's cavalry mass rides forward. Cuirassiers and Dragoons charge up the hill and crash into the weaken Russian cavalry defense. WR takes the hill!

WR’s cavalry mass rides forward. Cuirassiers and Dragoons charge up the hill and crash into the weaken Russian cavalry defense. WR takes the hill!

As the French cavalry ride forward, the Russians deploy some artillery to counter the French pinning assaults on their far right. But the main action will be in the battlefield center, not on this flank.

French artillery bombard the Russian center. French cavalry seize the hill position. Only the Russian right flank holds as the French infantry reforms for another attempt.

French artillery bombard the Russian center. French cavalry seize the hill position. Only the Russian right flank holds as the French infantry reforms for another attempt.

After firing some artillery bombardment, the Russian dragoons charge forward to be met by solid French squares backed by French chasseurs a cheval regiments. Not today Ivan mutters WR… as a Russian hussar regiment flounders against formed French square and artillery battery firing canister (at base of hill slope in picture).

Russian right flank cavalry charge out to meet French squares. A counterattack but doesn't stop the French grinding advance in the battle center.

Russian right flank cavalry charge out to meet French squares. A counterattack but doesn’t stop the French grinding advance in the battle center.

The French cavalry have taken the hill position and wheel into position joining Rob’s advancing central infantry mass to win the battle in the center.

French are in position to press their advantage in the center. Artillery and Infantry depolyed, cavalry ready to charge home while the Russians try to reform a defensive front.

French are in position to press their advantage in the center. Artillery and Infantry deployed, cavalry ready to charge home while the Russians try to reform a defensive front.

Late in arriving to the threat, the Prussians attempt to push back the French deploying from the town. Meanwhile the Russian front line is in tatters as reserves attempt to advance forward. French artillery rakes the exposed Russian infantry.

Russian masses are milling about under French artillery fire. Their reserve are entangled with disordered Russian infantry.

Russian masses are milling about under French artillery fire. Their reserve are entangled with disordered Russian infantry.

French start to push against the Prussian right trying to support the Russian center.

French start to push against the Prussian right trying to support the Russian center.

Timing is everything…. French approach the Russians. Lines of French cavalry regiments and infantry columns supported by divisional artillery batteries. Knowing what is coming their way, the Russians elect to retire quickly on the next turn and give ground. Their reserve cuirassier division acts as the rear guard as infantry marches to the rear. Prussians, seeing the Russian retirement, promptly follow suit and march away as nightfall approaches. French tactical win it seems.

Game ending as the Russo-Prussian alliance see the up coming Grand French advance and call the game. Massed French charging cavalry and combined arms infantry and artillery will push the center Allies off the tabletop.

Game ending as the Russo-Prussian alliance see the up coming Grand French advance and call the game. Massed French charging cavalry and combined arms infantry and artillery will push the center Allies off the tabletop.

A grand game with all the group so thank you to all the players. Seems the French pre-game plan worked for once. Aggressive well handled cavalry can quickly influence the game outcome and when linked with a combined arms (Infantry, cavalry and artillery) combination, the effect is pronounced.

Miniatures and terrain mostly from the collection of Bob with his Prussians and vintage French. Ty’s Russians and Rob’s French (in center) completed the tabletop forces. A galley of the photos below:

Next of the trio of napoleonic gaming reports covers the large holiday game (12 players) featuring French, Northern Italians, Kingdom of Holland, and Duchy of Warsaw vs. the British, Portuguese, Austrians and Russians.

Cheers from the warren.

WR

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11 thoughts on “Imperial France vs. Russo-Prussian 1813

  1. Sounds like a fantastic game, love the great looking table (with the ‘hill of the death’) and the fantastic figures (especially your lines of cavalry)…waiting for the next one!

    • Phil. Thank you for visiting the warren again. The next blog post…the “December holiday” game was bigger with 12 players. Loading up the photos today then start the text write up after ballroom dancing tonight.

      M the furry one.

  2. Nice battle report and a fine performance by General W. “beau sabre” R.! From the numbers, I’m estimating a little over 750 figures a side. 20 x 6 feet is the same size as the table in my basement,. although I don’t think I have yet used the full length for a game.

    Peter

    • Thanks for read my written scroll again Peter. Never give WR cavalry… he uses them for effect.
      Sounds about right your guess of 750 miniatures per side. Wish I had the space for a 20×6 table so this rabbit is jealous of both of you. Would like Bob to add to his terrain collection to fill in some vacant spaces but that will come in time.
      Have two more napoleonic reports to write up before this month’s game with my large Ottoman army taking the field/ table…. sharp swords and not an european hat among them. May wear a fez to encourage the army and “terror” my opponents. If so, I expect someone will take a picture.

      M

      • I actually have a Fez myself, given to me by one of my patients who is Morrocan. Clearly, I need Ottoman troops to go with it, too! 🙂

      • Careful Peter… once you play with Ottomans the european stuff seems so “european”. One thing about Ottomans miniatures is every weird color in your paint drawer works perfectly well for them. Bright light green, passion pink, powdered sky blue, hey just every shade of white or brown too. Plus every gamer needs his harem model (under the tent) on the table. For a joke I even have an Ottoman commander ride on a flying carpet for giggles and laughs.

        M the fez rabbit

  3. Hi I am with HMGS and used to play Nap. I really want to get back into it and would love to attend one of your games. Thanks

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