Monday 24 August 2015

The outcome….

Objectives: The hill on the Russian right flank, the village/church (had to take and hold two out the three buildings) and the farm (gain both buildings)

Deployment: FRENCH: It was decided to give the task of taking and holding the hill to the Young Guard brigade. They would have a couple of cavalry brigades to support this action. The Middle Guard would try and attack the village but bearing in mind the village was virtually already in Allied hands, this was going to be a tough call. The centre open ground would be cavalry dominated with one infantry brigade opposite the farm and the weak Westphalian brigade to hold the right flank.

Their idea: Was to take the hill and dominate the centre so be able to take the village in due course. It was not anticipated that taking the farm was a realistic option.

RUSSIAN/AUSTRIAN: The game plan here was to rush the hill with a combination of one Russian line infantry brigade (who were already in the process of crossing the stream as the game began) supported by Cossacks on their right and a Russian line Cuirassier brigade supporting their left. The Russian Guard were located in the village. Massed cavalry in the centre/open ground. One Russian brigade was tasked with defending the one farm building within easy reach.

Their idea: smash and grab the hill and launch a massed cavalry assault in the centre.

 The Astrakhan Cuirassiers (yellow) can be just seen in the process of destroying a French Cuirassier regiment and then careered on into the line lancers behind, who had already become disordered by the this stage. Both the Novgorod and Astrakhan Cuirassiers were to be one of the few Allied cavalry regiments to see action and their early success enabled Russian infantry in taking the hill.
 The Cossacks (supporting the hill attack) refused to cross the stream on move one (failed brigade test) which enabled the French 1st and 2nd Hussars to get in close for an attack.
 Young Guard approaching the hill with skirmishers out in front. The Young Guard became disordered as they exited a wood on the way up the hill which delayed their ability to seize the crest before the Russian infantry. (can be seen in far distance)
 French Middle Guard take up a defensive position behind the wall of the graveyard, adjacent to the village. Skirmishers play cat and mouse in the graveyard.
 The 2nd and 6th (I think) French dragoons were held back in the centre until the final moments of the game. This unit was argued over as to which player actually had command over it. When they did attack they suffered badly from artillery fire though did succeed in halting the delayed Allied cavalry assault in the centre.
 A French brigade moves across the cornfields to take the farmhouse, held by Russian units. Cuirassiers move up in support. This heavy cavalry brigade wanted to charge across the cornfields but only when we looked into the rules more thoroughly we noted that cavalry could not jump walls or a hedge unless there was a wide enough gap or a gate. They pulled back as a result. Two horse artillery batteries can be seen firing at the Russians on the far side of the wall. Casualties were slight however. A French light infantry battalion attempted to storm the farmhouse only to be thrown back and destroyed in the resultant melee. No further attempt was ever made to try and take this building from the Russian jagers defending it.
 The French 9th Cavalry brigade (Polish lancers and Krakus Cossacks) supported by French dragoons decided to launch an attack down the road which caught the Russians by surprise. The Russian foot battery could not turn to fire and was unsupported by infantry. Russian dragoons rushing across from the middle would be unable to save this battery.
 The Austrian Cuirassiers, sheltering behind a ridge line, on the far left Allied flank were effectively pinned down by the Westphalian foot battery guarding the French right. A hedge prevented a quick attack though the presence of two gates should have enabled this unit to retire and re-deploy down the road.
 Russian dragoons moving to the Allied left to prevent a French breakthrough.
 Allied cavalry in the centre (a 2nd Austrian Cuirassier brigade and Russian Guard Hussars and Soum Hussars), taking cover behind the hill. The presence of two French foot batteries effectively quashed the Allied desire to attack full on in the centre. The hills (whilst providing cover) also prevented the allied cavalry moving quickly forward.
 Russian Guard infantry and artillery protect the village and church.

As the sun began to go down (quite literally) the outcome became clearer. The French assault down the road and taking out the Russian battery was successful but these units beat a hasty retreat the moment the Russian Dragoons came into view. The Russian infantry brigade commander was also killed and the loss of his +1 (became zero) and the loss of the battery (-1) in the brigade test began to tell on the Russian ability to hold this sector. The Russian jager battalion holding the farmhouse were finally forced to retire as a result of a failed brigade test. An attempt to re-take it also failed. The weak Westphalian brigade was never truly tested and held that flank all game. The battery never fired a shot.
 In the end the Allies did sally forward in the centre with two brigades of cavalry, sustained losses and retired. The French Cuirassiers and Dragoons began their final assault in the centre, but the Allies were already in full retreat.
 French infantry, having taking the farmhouse, watch Russian infantry in retreat.
 The stand off between the Middle Guard and the Russian Guard lasted all game. Some battalions of Middle Guard saw action, but most did not.
 The final flurry of action saw some Russian units making a dash for the hill, which was already in Young Guard hands supported by the 10th Hussars.

 Russian units making their dash from the village.
 Russian Dragoons in full retreat. None of these three regiments saw any action, but successfully prevented a French breakthrough after the Russian foot battery was destroyed.
 Russian and Austrian cavalry in full retreat. The Loubny Hussars in blue did not see action either and often failed their brigade test to move when requested. Odd as the Loubny Hussars had a fearsome reputation.

The final moments of the battle. The Westphalians can be seen in the foreground with the farmhouse in French hands. The village and church is in the far distance, with the hill just out of view.

 This picture illustrates the problem the Austrian cavalry had on the extreme left. Hedges to the front, guarded by the Westphalian battery and another hedge to its right. This is the kind of unit some would have wished to belong to: at the battle in mind and body…..but….
 Allied units falling back.
 Russian units launching their second and final (and failed) assault on the hill.

Overall a good game, enjoyed by all that attended. There might be a further game this year but looking doubtful.

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