Monday, February 13, 2006

My First Napoleonics Game

*SNIFF* I've finally painted enough figures to put on my first Napoleonics game with my own gear. I'm so proud. I do believe that, finally, this officially makes me a Historical Gamer. Now I just have to finish the initiation ritual of criticising somebody's else's uniform painting!

The game is Austrians vs. French, a fictional engagement in 1809. I'm fairly close to having enough figure for Eckmühl, and this engagement isn't too dissimilar. I chose to use Scenario 1 from Programmed Wargames Scenarios by C.S. Grant using Command Piquet, with the programmed French defending a ridge against the oncoming Austrians. This was my first CmdPK game and my first time to use any scenarios from PWS, so I didn't try anything too fancy.
Things went bad for the French from the start. The Austrians, despite being rated much worse, rolled a Superior CinC for the day, matching the French, with Poor wings. The French had a Skilled General on their quiet left, and a Superior General on their hot right.
The Austrian plan was to envelop the outcropping of the ridge (yes, that is supposed to be one solid ridge line) on the left, not being aware of the wood, concentrating fire there to break the French right. The French rolled a defense spread equally across the entire ridgeline. However, their light troops were on the flanks, putting the Crack Légère in the elevated woods right where they were needed most. The French had one battalion in reserve, placed in the middle of their deployment. They were only one cavalry unit weaker than the Austrians. All French commanders were rolled as Cautious, with the goal of simply holding any part of the ridge in concentration, so they passively stayed put and prepared to receive the Austrians.

View from the Austrian side.

The artillery opened up first, with the elevated French proving much more successful, pounding two central Austrian battalions. The Austrians responded, discomforting one French battalion between the two batteries slightly, but failing to phase the Légère at all. I was beginning to think the French might have the upper hand.

The French right getting flanked.
Austrian grenadiers charge a battery.
Austrian cavalry threatens the right.

The Austrians swung two battalions in column around the French right flank, and their worst unit caught a break and forced the French right back. Their campatriot pushed the French back further, within an inch of routing them. The French guns blasted back the central Austrian battalion, leaving a gap the Grenadiers surged through. They reached the guns, forcing them to limber and fall back, but fired their first volley point blank into the battery, devasting the crew beyond hope of bringing the guns back into service.
The Austrian battery on the right prolonged their guns into point blank range and routed the battalion between the French batteries with cannister. This left the Légère surrounded, almost cut off and totally without any support. The French reserve went Out of Command as the routers fled past it, and couldn't find the impetus to move.

French battalions driven back, battery gone.
Austrians pushing three battalions through the French right.
The Légère trapped.
Uhlans apply pressure on the left.

The Légère formed column to try and maneuver out of their predicament, but the Austrian battalion, their worst 2nd rate battalion, wheeled through the woods and delivered their first fire into the Légère rear, routing it outright. The French CinC and Superior right flank commander tried desperately to rally anybody to try and hold something of the ridge, but couldn't. Three French battalions routed off the table, one battery gone, and the French pulled the rest of their troops off in no doubt some disorder.
This game did point out that I had forgotten to paint up any CinC stands, and that I really need some more cavalry. One unit of French Dragoons serving as Chausseurs really doesn't cut it. I've got Austrian and French CiCs and a unit of Old Glory French Hussars (quite nice figures!) on the table to be painted. Also, I need some buildings! I had a bunch of 2mm buildings I intended to use for 6mm AWI terrain, but boy, it just does not work for 15mm. I'll probably get some of those nice Timecast 6mm or 10mm buildings.

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