Things were left pretty open ended last week, with no firm plans for this week. Sandy suggested another Sudan game, but I wasn’t too keen (I don’t think Neil was either). It turns out that wasn’t a problem, as Sandy had to cancel due to work commitments (how dare he have a life outside of wargames!) Neil and I then arranged another Seven Years War game instead. I brought along my French again (I’m really starting to like these guys) and Neil brought his Austrians (he plays Prussians so often, I honestly didn’t even know he had Austrians!) I arrived first and set up the terrain, using the random battlefield generator in the rule book. Neil arrived and declared himself happy with the table. We decided I would defend and we deployed our troops and began.
Nothing much happened in the first couple of turns. The Austrians advanced and the Grenzers occupied the big building at the T-junction on my right. The French cavalry edged forward on both flanks, with the Garde turning left when they reached the road. The plan was to get them out into the open ground between the road and the woods. They took fire from the Grenzers in the woods and were charged in the flank by Austrian hussars! Fortunately, the hussars were also charged by the dragoons following the Garde. The Austrians were soundly beaten in the ensuing melee and routed. I had hoped they would rout off the table, but Neil managed to rally them. However it mattered not, as they took no further part in the battle.
Grenzers occupy the house….
…while the cavalry clash on the right….
….and the Austrians rout….
Over on my left flank, the Austrian cavalry was hanging back while the infantry moved forward. To counter this, the French cavalry moved forward through the village and to the left of it. Unfortunately, while manoeuvring through the village, A unit of dragoons was charged in the rear by Austrian cavalry. They managed to turn and face the charge, but lost the melee and retreated, broken. The infantry were closing in on the village, where the French had garrisoned the buildings, and the various battalions exchanged fire to little effect, but the French guns were starting to cause a few casualties.
Cavalry clash in the village….
The infantry swap musket fire….
In the centre, the Austrians were advancing in line up to the East-West road and in column up the North-South road. The French brigade deployed behind the woods realised that there was a big gap in the line and advanced through the woods. They arrived just in time to form line and plug the gap. Unfortunately, one of the battalions was militia, and unlikely to last long. The Austrians also approached the ridge the French were defending.
Austrian columns advance along the road….
….French infantry plug the gap…
Back to the right flank, and the French cavalry were reluctant to expose their flank to further fire from the grenzers, so the right wing brigade moved forward to deal with the annoying Austrian skirmishers, This was the cream of the French army. One battalion of the elite Garde Francaise and two battalions of grenadiers. They would have no problem dealing with light troops! Or so you would think…. It didn’t help that the Garde refused to charge, so stood there contemplating life, while a heavy Austrian gun was inflicting casualties on them! The grenadiers charged, but failed to win ant melees, resulting in a ‘continuing melee’ each time. (by the end of the game, I had become obsessed with killing “those bloody grenzers”) The Austrians advanced up the ridge and engaged in short range volleys with the French. The cavalry clashes on the left continued with the French dragoons suffering substantial losses, but the French cuirassieurs breaking a couple of Austrian squadrons.
The Garde Francaise refuse to charge….
…but the grenadiers do….
…another gap in the line is plugged….
….the Austrians advance up the ridge…..
….the cavalry clashes on the left continue….
….with mixed results…
The battle was still in the balance when an Austrian cavalry squadron got loose in the French rear. It was also around this time that the Austrian ‘big battalions’ started to tell. The French were inflicting injuries, but not enough to force morale tests. With the writing on the wall, the one remaining French Gardesman charged an Austrian gun, and got shredded in the process!
Austrian cavalry loose in the French rear….
….and a mad Gardesman charges an Austrian gun….
…and the grenadiers fail to wipe out “those bloody grenzers”…leaving one stand…
So a bad day for the French. A combination of poor deployment and Austrian big battalions (and some poor decision making) contributed to a convincing Austrian victory. I didn’t use my Garde cavalry to their full capability (or at all, really). I was too worried about taking fire in the flank to move them, but in reality, had I moved them, they would have taken one more hit and the been loose in the Austrian rear. I also tend to load up one flank with my best troops. While this can sometimes provide a “hammer blow” to an enemy’s flank, it can sometimes be a liability, as these elite troops could be better used elsewhere.
Club is on Tuesday next week, due to the election, so I won’t be going. That means there will be no news until the week after, when Neil and I have made tentative arrangement for a WWII North Africa game.