IntroductionLast Saturday, Steve came round to visit and we spent much of the day gaming. First up, as always, was an outing for our 6mm Napoleonic forces. We did play a different game afterwards; you'll hear about that another time!
For the Black Powder game, a division of my 1809-ish Austrians took on a roughly equal quantity of Steve's Russians. There were only a few differences between the forces: the Austrians had slightly heavier cavalry but the Russians had more cannons. Also, many of my Austrian infantry units were larger than average, but General Gruneberg, my commander-in-chief, was addled with gout and had to be ferried around in a coach. Here's how it went...
This will be a straightforward "last man standing" battle between 2 relatively equal forces. The only twist that we used was hidden deployment: a barrier of tall cardboard was erected down the centre of the table whilst we placed our armies on the board.
|My brave Austrian infantry wait for the signal to advance|
|The Austrian 2nd Brigade advances, whilst everyone else just watches. Note the C-in-C's carriage in front of the village at the top left of the picture.|
The dragoons followed this up by charging a small detachment of Austrian grenadiers, but they had obviously blown their horses. Although General Homburg and his aides had to turn and flee to avoid them, the dragoons couldn't do more than make the grenadiers retire a short way.
Well, this wasn't going at all the way I'd hoped! So far, my complete mismanagement had cost me an entire infantry brigade and half of my heavy cavalry with very little to show for it. At least Steve had the good grace not to gloat. Right, let's see if I can salvage anything from this mess...
|A pause in the action|
So that leaves the untouched 1st Infantry Brigade on the right wing. Could they save the day?
What was left of the Austrian division probably could have conducted some form of fighting retreat, since the Russian cavalry units on one flank were totally destroyed and those on the other flank were heavily damaged (and there were no Cossacks around!). Still, 3.5 out of 4 Austrian brigades were shattered in exchange for 1 Russian cavalry brigade eliminated, so I can hardly pretend that this was anything other than a major defeat. Most of the Russian infantry were fresh and just needed good leadership to move into the fray.
Lesson of the day: watch those flanks! And beware of enfilading fire. Oh, also don't send in uncoordinated attacks by 1 or 2 units at a time. In fact, could I have done any worse?
On the comedy note, the small unit of Austrian Jaegers that belonged to the 1st Brigade blundered on their very first order. They spent the entire game hiding in the woods on the extreme right of the Austrian line, where they were too far away from their brigadier for him to issue them with a successful order. Since my Jaegers had a rather fearsome reputation from some of our previous games, this helped to put things into perspective...