A quiz question to start things off. What do you think the was the cause of these Austrian gunners looking like they've just had a fight in a talcum powder factory? Answer at the bottom of the page.
Well it took a long while to materialise but I've finally received at least one the commanders reports from our final campaign battle. It's short and concentrates on the action on the French right flank, but as I have only a hazy recollection now of what actually happened it might even be accurate.
The right flank…
…The plan according to Marshall Andy was for Steve and myself to assault and take the village on the right flank. Steve and I both had 6 Battalions of mixed ability and size – some 32s and some 36s.
In hindsight the assault on the village would have been easier with both divisions under one command. As it was though I had to rely on Steve doing what I thought he should & would do to support the attack.
Incredulously Steve elected to use his 12lb battery to act as counter battery fire rather than to control ground in front and to the side of the target village. Then he decided to exchange fire with the defenders of the village rather than engaging it in an assault. I am not sure if he was waiting for me to assault it first but I was caught up trying to peel of a few of Noels battalions and avoid his howitzers.
If, as Chris observed in previous comment on the last post featuring this battle, we had combined our guns to soften the target up for several turns and then a few more we may have been successful. As it was this did not happen and in order to avoid my boys getting obliterated going in I elected to try and draw of some defenders by going through the woods. There was some skirmish fire and then my battalions were getting set for the charge. That’s when Noels elite boys started to sting!
I charged and failed, if this had gone in a think I would have won the 1st round of melee and then would have broken through as Noel would not have been able to reinforce and I would have had 2 fresh battalions.
Instead I fled the other way through the woods. Steve was then flanked by Eric in support of Noel and the whole French right flank collapsed. It was a disaster. The French divisions were under strength and unbelievably outclassed by the opposition. Only a combined assault would have worked, and then it would have been in the hands of the Gods. Poor communication between two divisional commanders did not help, and my attempt to flank the Prussian’s through the woods was not in hindsight very wise.
Had the campaign continued Andy’s French would have been in utter rout from a collapsed right flank which would have swept up the whole battlefield.
Well there you have it, in fairness to Nick who wrote the report, he was left with the task as Andy was unable to make it to the garage for several weeks. The upside of this of course was that Andy was spared the horror of seeing his troops soundly thrashed.
On Thursday, though there were only five of us present we started a new game using both tables in their entirety for the first time. Until now the most we'd used had been one complete table and three feet of the second one. This now gave us a whopping 180 square feet to play on. Eric devised a scenario consisting of a Russo- Austrian force somewhat on the back foot and about to be pounced on by a stronger French force. Who in its turn suddenly finds that a Corps of Prussians has turned up on its flank and rear. I'll hopefully get Eric to write up an account of the battle though I haven't mentioned this to him yet. Nevertheless he is quite erudite and a shade more reliable than some of the other buffoons.
It was also on Thursday that Nick arrived proudly sporting his new camera. It is indeed very nice though I think he might want to spend some time learning how to use it. For some reason the pictures have come out very bright, possibly Nick's insistence on using the flash had some bearing on this. That said the photographic composition, artistic interpretation and subject matter are beyond reproach, so all in all a good start for the fledgling lensman.
And finally... the real reason you've bothered to read the rest of this rubbish, (that's assuming you didn't just scroll straight to the bottom). What happened to the poor old Austrians? Well those of you who clucked your tongues and muttered various sage comments on the pitfalls involved with spray varnish would be to a large extent wrong. I say to a large extent because this is in fact a prime example of what happens when you reach for the spray varnish and happen to pick up a tin of grey undercoat instead. These poor chaps along with the other three gun detachments in the battery bear mute testimony to old saying "look before you spray". Oh and before I get any derisory comments I was not the guilty person, however I feel it only fair to let the culprit remain anonymous in order to protect Eric's good name.
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