Thursday, May 31, 2012

Quatre Bras Shako II at Cold Wars 2012

My good friend Steve Umbrell and I drive down to Cold Wars in Lancaster, PA this March along with Scott Montieth.  Steve had signed up to run Quatre Bras  on Saturday evening using Shako II Rules.  Since there weren't that many games scheduled for Thursday evening, we volunteered to run Quatre Bras to help fill out the offerings.
A picture of Picton's Division with the village of Quatre Bras to the right of the shot. 
The Brunswick Division deployed between the village and the woods.  I would command the Brunswickers in the game.  Perponchers Dutch-Belgian Division is off to my right (see below) 
The French deployed at the table edge and made ready to advance against Wellington's minions.
Jerome Bonapartes Division prepares to enter the woods.
The initial turn sees the French Corps light cavalry start on an end run to get around and flank Picton's troops.

The French advance into the woods, engaging the Dutch-Belgan troops with two divisions. They manuvere to outflank the Dutch-Belgan right flank in the woods.
The initial Allied reinforcements rush to stem the French advance on the Allies right flank.  The French get victory points for taking Quatre Bras (the village) and cutting the road in the Allies right rear. This is why the initial reinforcements are deployed to thwart this threat.
My Brunswickers get involved in the fighting in the woods as the French get involved in a brawl in the Bois.
Picton continues to duel with a French division on the Allied left.
The French light cavalry (4 units)  flanking manuvere continues.  Dutch Belgian cavalry(2 units)  are deployed to counter the threat.
Allied reinforcements clobber the French effort on our right flank.  Those who can, break off and shift into the woods to escape the British reinforcements.  The Dutch Belgians have been ground down in the woodland combat, as have their French counterparts.
Our Hanoverian Landwher form square to protect Picton's front ranks and beat off the light cavalry threat with the help of the Dutch Belgian Cavalry.

French heavy cavalry arrive while the French infantry make an effort to secure the cross roads town and victory.  The highlanders, Wellington's best troops are garrisoning the town and the French troops gallant efforts fail on the last turn.  A close run thing, to quote our commander.  The Brunswick and Dutch Belgian troops (infantry) have been put out of action.  The French Light Cavalry and two infantry divisions have incurred heavy losses and can no longer advance. This game came down to the last turn of the game and was still in doubt.  We had a similar result the second time Steve ran the game, with a decision on the last turn. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Battle of Mangano 1800

I participated in the Battle of Mangano, 1800 using Carnage and Glory II Rules at Cold Wars, 2012.  The Austrian won this engagement historically.  I commanded a brigade of French infantry.  The French were charged with advancing across a stream, assaulting the Town of Mangano, and holding off the hordes of Austrians who would be marching to the sound of the guns.
My command is the infantry brigade to the left.  To the right are two Piedmontese cavalry units, a pair of artillery batteries, a Swiss infantry unit (in Red) and a couple of French infantry units. 
The Town of Mangano with Austrians deployed in it and to its rear.

The French will push across the stream and assault the town (off screen to the right).
The Austrians use the terrain to their advantage, forming a line between the woods on their left and the town on their right (off screen on the left in this shot taken from the French side of the stream).
The Austrian line continues with the small battery in the center right of the picture and garrisoned town on the left. 
My troops advance with units in open order (skirmish) covering the march columns behind them as we approach the stream.  The Austrians have chosen not to contest the stream and are deployed back beside the town with their line stretching to the woods on the French right flank.
The Piedmontese horse cover the advance of the artillery and the balance of their brigade. 

The following turn sees the French and Piedmontese begin to cross the stream.  The rule set allows you to use engineering to remove obstacles.  Troops will move up to the hedge rows and perform an engineering action the next turn to remove a section of hedges to allow the follow on troops better access and manuvering room.
The French advance continues. One of the Piedmontese batteries moves forward to support the skirmish line while behind it a unit forms into line. My brigade is mostly deployed in skirmish order covering the advance.  My general is between the two fields on the right of the picture.

The Austrians begin to shuffle to the rear.  The following French brigades whom my open order troops are covering can be seen at the bottoom right of the screen.
The French reserve approach the stream.
The action heats up.  Note the white disordered marker on the Austrian unit facing off against my open order infantry. Since line can interpenetrate open order infantry, the disordered unit is set up for an attack in an upcoming turn.  We decide to deploy the artillery and hit it before we go in.

The artillery causes real damage on the Austrians.  I deploy the front troops from open order into line.  The Austrian artillery has caused one of my units to become shaken (red marker).  But the Austrians have been doing their job of delaying us.  We have chosen not to assault the town immediately and this proves to be a mistake.
The French assault continues, the Austrians have routed to the rear (unit with the red marker) and a fire fight between opposing infantry and Austrian guns occurs on the right of the picture.
Austrian Hussars arrive in the distance as the follow on French units begin to cross the stream.  The Piedmontese horse are now more centrally positioned to support their allies.
A lone Piedmontese battery and troops have been taking pot shots at the town while the action unfolds in the center of the field. 

While my infantry assault the Austrian battery which is suffering from fatigue and has taken casualties from my open order units; the Austrian hussars attack my disordered infantry unit at the front center of the picture.  I attempt to form square with a number of the units to the rear, while the advancing infantry we are sacrificing our unit to cover, have crossed the stream.  The second Hussar unit prepares to attack as well.

The French aadvancing through the woods avoid the second Hussar unit which rides down a French Legere unit and a battery.  The initial Austrian Hussar assault on my troops was victorious as well, but they had to cross a hedge line to hit my unit and are in rough shape. 

The Austrian hordes appear on the far side of the field.  Note the units crossing the bridge and the batteries being deployed wheel to wheel to the left of the picture. 
The Austrian Hussars meet two units of French horse after they ride down our battery.

The Austrian grand battery, ala artillery General Smola. The line at the front of the picture is poised to counterattack the town if we are fortunate enought to toss out its Kaiserlick occupants.
The Piedmontese horse, after seeing off the Austrian Hussars who chose not to stand when charged, continue on their ride and hit the Austrians at the edge of the tree line.  They are supported by the advancing Legere and other French infantry units. 
Three French units assault the town.  My open order infantry continue to cover the advance and have attracted the attention of the Austrian grand battery to the left rear of the town.
The Swiss advance into the town after having won the assault.  Note the Austrian Grenadiers and infantry lined up to return the favor.
The Austrian second and third lines form on the other side of second creek.  The French are at the top of the picture, the town of Mangano to the top right. 
The French advance continues on the right flank, pushing the Austrians back through the second woods.

The Austrian counter attack goes in.

My colleague commanding the Piedmontese horse and batteries had to leave and I took command of his units.  I immediately launched an assault on the infantry unit which was in reach.  The horse on the outside were hosed by the artillery, but the unit which hit the infantry were screened by their breathern.

The charge caused a number of other Austrian units to form square.  This in turn, allowed the French infantry to hit the Austrian square.  Alas, our troops are tiring and the Austrians are fresh and we do not have undisputed control of Mangano. 
The Austrians go back into the town as the game comes to a conclusion.  A fun battle.  The Austrians delayed our advance and we French made a strategic mistake by not concentrating on assaulting the town earlier. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Battle of Neumarket, 1809 at Havoc 2011

I had the good fortune to participate in a game Nigel Marsh game-mastered at Havoc (the Boston area gaming convention) in 2011.  I commanded a Bavarian brigade holding the left of the Franco-Bavarian lines, facing hordes of Austrians in attack mode.  I enjoy using the computer-moderated Carnage and Glory II gaming system. I can focus on running my troops and not worry about rolling dice and my "luck." 
These bad boys are facing my troops and approaching through the open area channelled between two forested areas. In the picture below the Austrian center column advance toward my right flank.

My Bavarian's initial set up.
Here come the Austrians.  The Bavarian Battery fires ranging shots as the infantry deploy into line. 
The Bavarian Guns greet the Austrians as they pinch toward the center of the Franco-Bavarian lines - to the right of the picture - where they can coordinate with the central column.
A firefight errupts along the battle lines.  My mistake occurs when I listen to the gamemaster who declares that the Austrians I am facing are understrength units.  I forget that Austrian units are actually huge and understrength should be followed by, "compared to what." So I move one Bavarian line unit forward to charge the approaching Austrian right flank units in the hopes of crushing it and then rolling up their line.

Two Grenzer units advance on my guns while my line battalion can be seen charging the Austrians behind them.  I see off the Grenzers with cannon fire but my line unit is repulsed and falls back, unhinging my line.  I form a unit into square as an Austrian Dragoon unit has appeared on my flank.
I also withdraw my guns to keep them from being over run by the advancing kaiserlicks (Austrian horde).

My square is too large, its deployment is tacky, infact.  It was attempting to cover the flank and the unit is too small to do so. The Austrian drgoons have successfully pinned my troops and the Kaiserlicks are advancing in column and will soon dispatch my troops to the rear.  At this point the game master calls the game with a victory for the Austrians. 

It was a fun game. Thanks to Nigel for game-mastering and the gang from BattleGroup Boston who put on such a splendid show.