Thursday, 10 December 2015

15mm Napoleonic game

Last weekend we were lucky enough to be hosted by Rob in Ealing in west London for a game in his custom built "war room". Myself and Alan were given the French, Phil and Brian took control of the Prussians while Rob and Noel had the British.

Phil has an impressive 10,000 strong collection of 15mm Napoleonics and another 10,000 unpainted.

The French were given the middle of the table and the Allies were to attack from either side. A classic ham sandwich. The French decided to defend their left flank against the British, using the 3 reserve foot batteries to help, and attack the Prussians with 2/3rds of their force, including all the heavy cavalry, on the right flank. The Old Guard infantry and Guard cavalry would sit in the middle as a reserve but the Young Guard would be detached to assist in the assault on the Prussians.

Using a version of the Shako rules it was not made particularly clear by the umpire (who was wearing the additional hat of the British!!) how the initiative rule would be implemented. The French won the initiative and allowed the Allies to move first, the French playing last. But this state of affairs was to be repeated every move and so the Allies gained +1 in every melee for the whole game. Hmm….had we known!

The French attack the Prussians: (A French dragoon division of 8 regts held up well against the Prussian cavalry but were to end up being wiped out until French heavy cavalry was diverted to assist from the northern flank)

The French infantry assault in the centre initially did well but foundered in the wood. The French division in the foreground lost one unit and failed a subsequent morale test which sent the whole division packing. Fresh units never fired a shot! This was where the French should be winning….

The French Guard cavalry, HA and 4 battalions of Old Guard with two foot batteries sat patiently in the middle waiting to see where and when they might be best employed.

The British attack on the french left was speared headed by average troops which was perhaps their undoing. The French deployed a strong defensive position using the wood, hills and village to maximum effect. Breaking this down would never be an easy task.

Four French foot batteries occupied the middle ground, persuading the British to focus their attacks on the flanks.

Close up of the French Guard reserve:

The French left flank vs the Brits:

The French right flank vs the Prussians:

In the end the French finally broke the Prussians but this was only achieved late into the game. This allowed most of the French heavy cavalry and one division of infantry to move back across the table to assist the effort against the British. Only the cavalry would actually get their in time to make a difference. 

The French Guard cavalry were deployed to assist the southern flank against the British. The Old Guard infantry and two foot batteries were sent north against the British also, just as a French infantry division was about to crumble. 

The British attack in the south made heavy weather of driving the French light infantry out of the wood and one British division of average troops were routed in a similar fashion to the unfortunate French infantry division against the Prussians. One down and the rest fled. Just as the British were making gains in the north, they came up against the French Old Guard infantry and artillery which managed to send another British division back to the rear. 

Overall a French victory. Had the British led with their best troops it might well have been a different story. Equally, had the French known about the initiative effects clearly, the same could be said.

Great fun and Rob's gaming room is an excellent venue. 

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