Monday, April 23, 2012

Alpine Battle

Track of movements

We played the latest scenario on Saturday April 21st. For a change of pace, each side noted their deployment on a map before revealing our arrangements to our foes. The fact that the table was so divided made for 3 separate "little" battles. The arrangements made for some interesting match ups as the Austrians poured their infantry into the center while the French had infantry brigades on the left wing and in the center. This deployment scheme left the French left (Girard) facing all of the Austrian light cavalry (Fulda) while all of the French light cavalry (Pages) and the French Dragoons (Etoquigny) were on the right wing facing a lone Austrian Dragoon regiment (Altensteig). I commanded the French brigades of Pages, Etoquigny, and Six while Carl led Girard's troops. Mike had the pleasure(?) of leading all of the Austrian side.

Each side set up within on move of the village so it came down to the first initiative throw to determine attackers and defenders. As the French won the initiative on the first turn, General de Brigade Six led a battalion into Tollo while the rest of the brigade moved to either side of town to prevent the Austrians from flanking the town and hitting it from multiple sides. Turn 2 saw the first Austrian charge into Tollo in an effort to oust the French troops. The Austrian dice were unkind and Salamon's Grenadiers failed to carry through with their charge. Unlucky dice for the Austrians was a recurring theme throughout the day as Mike continued to roll miserably low rolls at key moments.

Soon the Austrians sorted themselves out and charged into the village and threw the French troops out. In quick succession the French charged back in with another battalion led by GdB Six. The French were once more masters of the village after a fierce melee sent the Austrians packing. Quickly, the French line infantry in Tollo took up defensive positions at the edge of town and began trading shots with the Austrians. It was around this time that GdB Six was captured by the Austrians after an unfortunate moment of panic. The Austrians rolled a double six which led to a roll on the Risk to General table. The dice roll on that chart gave the result that GdB Six was startled by a near miss and galloped for safe cover but wound up galloping into the Austrian's hands. That left our old friend Crappet to take over the command of the brigade in the center.

As all of that nonsense was unfolding in Tollo things were moving in fits and starts out on the wings. On the French left wing the Austrian light cavalry launched a set of charges that forced Girard into square and, improbably, took out the French artillery. this left Girard to try and move towards the center with his battalions in square while the Austrian Uhlans waited for another chance to charge them. The loss of the French guns left the left wing stale-mated.

On the French right wing the two French cavalry brigades moved out looking to engage the lone Austrian Dragoon regiment on that wing. As they advanced, the French Dragoons of d'Etoquigny peeled off and moved towards the center in order to prevent Austrian infantry from moving past the village. The light horsemen of Pages continued to advance and launched a charge on the Austrian Dragoons as soon as they reached charge range. In a series of melees spread over a few turns the Chassuers hacked down the Austrian Dragoons and destroyed the unit. Once they had reformed, the Chassuers began to move around the ridge to try and get at the rear of the masses of Austrians in the center of the battlefield. Soon, Pages horsemen encountered the Austrian artillery which immediately began to bombard them at long range. Apparently, this was more than the cavalrymen had bargained for (both regiments failed morale tests BADLY) so they headed back to the scene of their win over the Austrian horsemen to look for trophies.

Meanwhile, the fight for Tollo raged on as the Austrians retook the village and dispersed the battalion of the 23 Line that was holding the village. Time was winding down and the Austrians now held the key to victory. In desperation, Crappet led a battalion of the 22 Legere in a charge that once more seized the village for the French. Now, with only a few turns left to play, the Austrians organized for one more charge. When the last turn arrived, 2 battalions of Austrians under Mansfeld assaulted the town. The dice roll showed they had no stomach for it as both of the columns could not pass the test to close into melee. With that, it was over.

It was a close battle with the French winning, more by luck than skill, as they held the village at the end. The Austrians dished out heaps of casualties when they got to shoot or melee but they could not pass a morale test. This left many Austrian units in disorder throughout the battle and that prevented the more numerous Austrians from simply swamping the French around the village.


James Fisher, FINS said...
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James Fisher, FINS said...

I have only just 'discovered' your blog (thanks to our mutual wargaming e-pen friend Ben 'Rosbif') and what a ripper it is. I have only looked at the first page so far and really like all the detail in your scenarios/reports. I will enjoy browsing at length later. Your maps are great, clear and nicely coloured. What program did you use to draw them?
another James

James said...

Hi James
Thank you for the kind words about my humble blog. My blog has evolved into a record of my club's games and my sporadic efforts at painting miniatures. So read the older posts at your own peril!

On mapping... I use an old drawing program called Freehand by Micromedia. I learned to use an earlier version of it in the late 1990s. I am sure that there are better, and simpler, drawing programs that are available now.

James Fisher, FINS said...

Freehand is a good little program. I use EasyDraw. The key is not the tool, but how it is used. The aesthetic of your maps is great.

You have done some great looking games over the past 5 1/2 years and have some beaut photos of them. Do you always use GdB for the Napoleonics?

James said...

I go for simplicity in mapping. I am still evolving my style but, overall, I am going for a simple map that highlights the important bits of our battles.

I have had the great fortune to wargame with my main opponent for @30 years and have been gaming with my club for @10 -15 years. Good friends make for good games. I am even more fortunate that they also like to put on large, visually appealing, games.

We have been playing General de Brigade for @6 or 7 years. We have always gamed at 1:30 ratio for Napoleonics so we modified GdB from 1:20 scale.