Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Following what was finally adjudged to be a resounding Russian victory in our last game we spent most of the evening of the 16th clearing away troops and preparing the table for our next game.  This is another of Eric's creations and it pits a large French force against a smaller Austrian command holding a defensive line.  The French have the task of breaking through as quickly as possible and the Austrians are obviously just as keen to stop them.

French light cavalry prepare to launch themselves against their Austrian counterparts cheered on by Wurtemburg infantry.

The terrain is particularly "busy" in this game making it, in most areas unsuitable for mass cavalry actions.  Almost inevitably the cavalry from both sides has gravitated to the most open area available which is roughly in the centre of the battlefield.  This has resulted in what is about to become a large cavalry meleee between both light cavalry arms.  Unfortunately for the French I am commanding their light cavalry and I have a well deserved reputation for being unable to throw sixes in cavalry combat.

The Austrian light cavalry, whose infantry support have adopted a more pragmatic approach and formed square.

Elsewhere things seem to going quite well for the French.  On the left the Austrian line is in danger of being overwhelmed by two infantry divisions, one of Italians the other of Poles.  The Italian infantry has been able to get into position largely unmolested and is now ready to assault the opposing Austrian infantry who have already had one of their battalions rout from the combined fire of artillery and muskets.  In support of them the Poles are pushing forward and are also in a position to launch a limited assault.

The French centre is held by a Wurtemburg division comanded by Justin who having lost an initial cavalry skirmish with Austrian Uhlans is now pushing forward in support of the right wing.

On the right French and Swiss infantry having been held up for some time are now forcing the thin line of Austrian defenders backwards.  The Austrian commander has been forced into sacrifing infantry in square to buy enough time to create a new defensive line.  The Austrian line is now in danger of being turned, though a lack of cavalry French cavalry in the area should make it possible for the Austrian infantry and artillery to withdraw in good order.

One of the latest additions to the garages' roster of troops, a four gun battery of Guard twelve pounders from Front Rank Miniatures.

So things are well poised for our next evenings gaming, the first thing to occur will be the cavalry melee in the centre along with the simultaneous infantry assaults on the left.  The problem for the French will be maintaining any momentum gained and for the Austrians how much of their precious reserves they can afford to shift across in order to slow the French down.

Another new arrival, the first battalion of the grenadiers of the old guard.  Once again Front Rank Miniatures with flag as always by GMB.

One piece of good news is that Neil Sheardown who has painted many of the figures at the garage has decided to begin carrying out a limited number of painting commissions once again.  He is currently painting another battalion of Guard infantry, this time the first battalion of Chausseurs.  These will eventually be followed by the Guard cavalry commencing with the Grenadiers a'cheval which will be forty man strong.

Finally I had a request in the last post for some information regarding how we had made the terrain boards.  I'm pretty sure that there is a post detailing how they were made somewhere back in the archive though I haven't looked for it yet.  If not then I'll try to get a post done in the near future.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Grinding to a halt

Having battled their way across four bridges and forcing the Russian defenders very firmly on to the back foot, the French are now in almost all parts of the battlefield in full retreat or back at their original starting point.  It's surprising just how drastic the turn around has been.  On the French left Eric has had a game he'll more than likely quickly want to forget.  Very little has gone right for him and once the Russians were able to reinforce the troops opposing him his chances of recrossing the river were always very slim.  To his credit this didn't stop him trying and he devised some novel tactics to gain a foothold, though these were sadly all in vain.

The left hand table which is now cleared of French troops, and the Russians are once again in control of the redoubt.

In the centre left position Nick's troops have been expelled from the redoubt which they had captured at such cost and any further attempts to recross the river will have to be made in the face of Russian cuirassier.  Needless to say Nick appears to be showing no intention of attempting a further crossing and is instead concentrating his artillery on the far bank possibly hoping that the Russians will attempt a counter attack.

Poles and Swiss stream away from the fighting in the centre right sector having been soundly beaten by the Russian Imperial Guard.

As the picture above shows, it's in the centre right of the French line where the change of fortune is most startling.  These troops started day two of the battle in possession of a large, established bridgehead and were in an excellent position to thrust into the Russian centre.  However six battalions of Russian Guard were relocated to the area and these were enough to turn the tables.  After several costly melees almost the entire force of two, nine battalion infantry divisions is either in retreat or rout.

The French far right, heavy cavalry await the appearance of Russian infantry from the woods.

On the extreme right of the French line the Russians have retaken possession of the woods they originally held on day one and have routed six of the nine defending battalions from the table.  However the French have ample heavy cavalry posted here to forestall much development of this advantage by the Russians. 

Westphalian infantry, Elite miniatures painted by Neil Sheardown, part of the German Division.

It appears that the only formation which has so far escaped untouched on the French side is the Young Guard which is presently bogged down in cover sheltering from the attentions of the Russian Guard twelve pounder battery.  It's unlikely that these will be able to have much effect on the game at this late stage and if this were a campaign game I'm sure that their commander would be getting them out of harms way as soon as possible.

I think that despite all of the initial indications this one will be chalked up as a win for the Russians, while it is true that they have suffered more casualties than the French they still hold almost all of the ground that they did when the game started and it will be the French who will have to retire from the field .  Tomorrow night may see one or two moves in order to tidy up the victory conditions and then the toys will go away for a short time before re-emerging for their next rumble.  Whether this will be a campaign game or another one off remains to be seen.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

The Russians Bite Back

Thursday nights' continuation of our river crossing scenario looked on the whole to be a matter of the French consolidating their bridgeheads and driving the Russians further back into an increasingly constrained defensive arc.  Events however were to turn in favour of the Russians who fought tenaciously and forced the French back across the river at two of the four crossing points.
Some of the triumphant but exhausted defenders of the Russian right wing.  Only three of the original six battalions from this division remain.

The evening started badly for Erics' French command when his small force which had made it across the river were assaulted by Russian infantry and he was unable to roll anything above a four in firing and combat.  His luck doggedly refused to improve and as the night wore on his position became more and more tenuous.  Eventually his entire command was forced to retire back across the river and ended the first day pretty much where he had started.

The redoubt now clear of guns remains in Russian control despite Nicks' efforts to capture it.
On Erics' immediate right Nick having forced the defending battery to rout began streaming his infantry across the bridge in an attempt to take the high ground and establish a bridgehead.  Following some initial success Nick was eventually forced back and though he finished the day with troops on the enemy side of the bridge it was decided that these should withdraw overnight. 
A mixture of Germans Swiss and Young Guard push into the suburbs of the Russian position.

Happily from the French perspective the evening wasn't a total disaster.  On the right they were able to not only force their way across but also reorganise and push back the Russian defenders.  This was of course done with the benefit of a flank attack which gave Mark the Russian commander no option other than to retire in the best order he could.  The French were also able to gain control of the string of woods which face the left flank of the Russian position which is now at right angles to the right flank.

Lancers of the Duchy of Warsaw about to ride down another Russian defender. 

So a game which was firmly in French control has now swung some way back towards the Russians though just how much so remains to be seen.  The French have suffered remarkably few casualties crossing the river and now have the Russians couped up into a small area.  They will need to maintain pressure on the two lost crossings if only in order to tie down Russian forces and will have to think carefully about where they are going to put in their main attack.  For the Russians there is the decision of where to deploy the Guard with its' six gun twelve pounder battery and whether and where to attempt a counter attack.  The Russians have received substantial reinforcements but have the problem of not enough space to deploy them, they will also need to rotate their fresh divisions into the line to relieve some of the more battered ones.

Two of the six Russian Guard battalions which have recently arrived at the garage.  These are Front Rank Figures and were painted by "Reinforcements by Post".

The second day will see a slight realignment of the lines and limited redeployment before it gets under way.  It looks very much like being an infantry heavy fight as despite the fact that each side is fielding a heavy cavalry division as well as a host of light cavalry the area for manoeuvre is severely limited.  The French will be hoping to break the Russian line at some point though they will be wary of taking heavy casualties as in this game victory points are being awarded for each destroyed enemy unit.  At the moment they have a significant lead.  The Russians will of course be trying to hold their line while inflicting heavy losses and very likely attempting a localised counter-attack probably headed by their Imperial Guard division.