Napoleonic

28/12/2017

Hi folks.

My daughter had a party to attend last Thursday, and I had to take her there. Family comes before the club, so missed last week.

Last club night of 2017 saw the next chapter in the quest for a set of Napoleonic rules that everybody can get along with. Next up was a set called “March Attack” Neither myself or Mr. McBean (making a rare appearance) had heard of them, but we were willing to give them a go. Neil set up the table and brought a hard copy of the rules and the Order of Battles. Sandy was bringing the toys.

The scenario was the Prussian approach to Plancenoit. I know exactly what you’re going to say when you see the pictures…”They’re not Prussians, they’re Austrians!” And you’d be right. It turns out that Sandy doesn’t have any Prussians! So, we refought Plancenoit with French v Austrians (but using Prussian stats) or “Pretendy Prussians” as I began calling them.

Starting deployments….20171228_195049

…the *cough* Prussians….20171228_195054

…and the French…20171228_195121

The turn is split into 2 parts; “Strategic” and “tactical” and each part has various phases. The strategic part is simultaneous, but the tactical phases are “I go, you go” (except firing, which is simultaneous). Movement can also be strategic or tactical. Strategic movement is far greater than tactical, but you can only use tactical movement when you are within 9 inches of an enemy unit. This can make movement quite fast, until the forces close on each other. The final phase of the strategic turn is to roll for initiative, the winner deciding who goes first in the tactical turn.

Sandy and Ali took the Prussians, Neil and I were French. Neil won initiative and we went first, forming a ‘grand battery’ with most of our guns straddling the road along the ridge. On my flank, the infantry moved to extend their line and one unit of cavalry moved round the woods. On the left, the French cavalry showed some dashing elan, and moved forward at great speed. The Prussians responded in a similar fashion, by moving their cavalry forward on both flanks. The Prussians then charged and the French counter charged. Neil thought he was facing substandard Landwher cavalry and expected to brush them aside easily, to reach the advancing infantry. He was half right; they were Landwher, but were on a par with the French cavalry Neil had.I was facing Prussian cavalry equal to mine, but was outnumbered.

The cavalry clash on the left….20171228_204349

…and the Right…20171228_204324

The ensuing melees did not go well for the French, Neil’s underestimation meant some of his units were pushed back, while poor dice rolls did the same for me. There then followed a few rounds of manoeuvre, charge and counter-charge; with the French slowly gaining the upper hand on the left, but numbers telling for the Prussians on the right. The artillery also began playing a part, with the grand battery starting to inflict hits on the Prussian cavalry on the left and the infantry, who were continuing to advance steadily up the middle of the table. On the French right, a unit of Prussian cavalry charged a French gun, head on, and instantly regretted it! Taking casualties on the way in, they were soundly beaten by the gun crew, and almost destroyed in melee. Sandy wisely moved them well back, and they took no further part in the battle.

The Prussians charge a French gun….20171228_205912

…while the infantry continue their advance…20171228_205937

This was the high point for the French right. In the next 2 turns, their cavalry was routed and the gun destroyed! With nothing between the French line and Prussian cavalry, the French formed squares, unfortunately, the Prussians had brought up several heavy artillery pieces. Over on the left, the Prussians had also managed to bring up their artillery, which they used to destroy some French cavalry.

The French gun is charged again…20171228_213600

…and is destroyed…20171228_214603

…while Prussian artillery destroy French cavalry…20171228_220428

…and French infantry form square…20171228_220420

Sandy was looking forward to pounding my French squares with his heavy guns, until Ali pointed out the time! We agreed to call a halt to the proceedings, all rather disappointed that there had been no infantry action. It was mutually agreed that, had the game continued, it would have resulted in a Prussian victory. That there was not time for any infantry action was due to a combination of things: Sandy arriving a bit later than planned, and having to prepare the roster for his Pretendy Prussians. Also there were several (some lengthy) pauses while the rules were checked (and double checked) and ‘compromises’ worked out. To be honest, this is to be expected when using a new rules system for the first time. Ali and I had never heard of these rules before, although Neil and Sandy both claimed to have read them! Sandy did add the rider that he had “read them quickly” Even so, the rules needed to be checked regularly, as new rules often do.

The consensus was that, from what we had seen/done so far, these were a pretty good set of rules, but we would need another attempt, preferably with some infantry combat and a bit of room on the flanks to manoeuvre. With this in mind, we agreed to try them again next week. Sandy volunteered to arrange a scenario, so we’re all set for another “play test” next week. That’s almost poetic; ending one year with a Napoleonic battle and starting the next with another Napoleonic battle. Let’s hope our quest for a decent set of Napoleonic rules id finally over!

Have a Happy New Year, when it comes, and all the best for 2018.

Stay tuned….

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