Angus arranged a big 10mm Franco-Prussian battle for today at Dean Bowling Club. I arrived around 9 to find the table already set up and Angus and Campbell discussing the finer points of coffee….
We were joined by German Michael, MDF Michael, Bart, Jack, Peter, Donald, Bill, Neil Bruce and Gerry. The start time was supposed to be 9:30, but anybody with experience of wargamers will testify that trying to get large numbers of them to do anything on time is like herding cats…..
Terrain set up.
The battle was a refight of Mars-la-Tour, which was a victory for the Prussians. Angus was umpire and decided we would start with a historical scenario whereby the French were unaware the Prussians had flanked them and cut off their line of march to Verdun and were still at breakfast when the first Prussian units arrived. The Prussians, for their part, thought they were attacking the French rearguard, not the vanguard.
I had command of the Prussian 5th Cavalry Division and had the ‘honour’ of kicking things off. I did this with an artillery barrage which scared the life out of the breakfasting French. I followed this up with a cavalry charge which pushed the French back.
Prussian cavalry about to attack
I then split my division, with half pursuing Bart’s cavalry and artillery and almost completely wiping them out. The rest of my division, and artillery, advanced into contact with Jack’s division, inflicting some damage to his guns and cavalry. Meanwhile Campbell’s division and the Corps artillery had come on to my left and were advancing towards Vionville and Peter and Donald (the Prussian CinC)had arrived and were advancing on Flavigny, where Neil’s French infantry waited.
Prussian cavalry advance on Vionville
Chasing the French away
While attacking more sleeping Frenchmen…
As I was getting ‘flushed with success’ I also made a frontal charge on some French artillery. The French guns got some closing fire which could have ended the charge before it began. Anything but a 1 and my cavalry would be very unhappy! Guess what Neil rolled… That’s right, a 1. My cavalry destroyed 1 gun, captured another and followed up into the infantry behind, capturing their standard and sending them reeling back too!
Charging the French guns
This proved to be the high point for my division. The 2 brigades that had chased Bart to the edge of the table were recalled to deal with the threat of newly arriving French guns. Unfortunately, those guns caused 1 brigade to rout before they made contact. The rest of my division wasn’t faring much better. The French were finally awake and on the move, and sheer weight of numbers, coupled with Neil remembering how to roll more than 1, meant my division was slowly eroded, to the point of ceasing to be an effective fighting force. I wasn’t too disappointed, however, as they had accomplished what they set out to do: occupy the French long enough for the Prussians to come on and get into a decent position.
Unfortunately, this is where I had to leave. I turned command of (what was left) of my division over to Campbell and departed, safe in the knowledge that the Prussians were in a strong position and should win the day. Which makes me ask: What the Hell went wrong? Reading the report on the FaceBook page, I saw that time had run out (no surprise there, see previous comment re: herding cats) and the French had mounted a come back and the game was called a draw.
All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable game and thanks to Angus for arranging it.
More in-depth reports and better photos can be found at:
and the FaceBook page
Thanks for reading….