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.
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.
Rob must be doing something right to cause five Russo-Prussian players to do something with their forces.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Grand view of the battle which also shows the arriving French flanking infantry divisions causing some discomfort on the Russian right flank.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
While the French cavalry regrouped and forms up again. the French infantry under Greg assault the Russian held farm.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.