Monday, October 28, 2013

Battle of 'Not Bautzen'. The Left flank (part 2)

Following on from the set up (HERE). The left flank of the battle formed a nice self contained battle. It would be great for a convention as the two commanders fight against one another. It also lends itself to writing up in a self contained way.

Grouchy has been detailed to advance on the royalist left flank. The flank is well secured by a small corp anchored on two villages with a forest limiting options for flank attacks. It will be a tough nut to crack.

Commanders get 1d6 pips per turn. If they have a command greater than 6 units they get a bonus equal to the number of units above 6 (so in theory they can move everything in a turn). This bonus degrades as units are lost. For this game attackers were awarded an extra +2 pips per turn that didn't degrade. Moving an element straight forward costs 1 pip, any other direction 2. A group of 2 elements in base to base contact can be moved together.

Two infantry units and a hussar unit move across the river while under fire from the Royalist artillery. As a reminder, it is only artillery that have any ranged attacks. All musketry is considered to occur during base to base contact (Each unit actually represents a huge body of men, more like a division. The artillery bases I believe are in the 20-30 gun range).

The royals counter attack with their one free infantry unit. The cavalry corp located just to the right of this has helpfully sent over 2 units of Cuirassieur to help stabilize this wing. The cavalry hq had the pips to spend as they were holding their units back and cannoning the attacking cavalry to good effect.

Back on the left flank the hussars advance with dispatch against the foot artillery battery.

Combat rolls a weird dice with 0,0,0,1,2,3 and adds current strength (on the little black dice on the base) as well as a unit based power rating (infantry 3, cuirassier 6, guard are 4 maybe? horse artillery 2). There are a handful of modifiers such as flanking, being in a town, being in square (or not) against cav.

If you exceed your opponent you do one point of damage, double and it's two. At the end of the combat both sides with attrition down 1 point (to a minimum of 1). A new rules has been instituted to cause recoiling of the losing units by a half base. Previously once you stuck in a force it stayed in combat until someone voluntarily withdrew or someone was destroyed. Probably more realistic this way. It makes for the attacker needing to spend extra pips almost every turn though.

We see Grouchy has been moving up a second wave of troops to cross the stream. Top right on the hill the foot battery of Grouchy's command has, unfortunately, been limbered too early.

In hindsight it should have sat tight and cannoned the village for most of the game. Towards the end of the battle the infantry holding this village needed to be displaced, which is always an expensive/difficult proposition.

The Royalist player, not wanting to face a 2:1 combat, charged in against only 1 unit. He (I!) misjudged the movement ranges, and the Bonapartists 'close the door' on their own move. He now faces a flank attack coupled with a 2:1. Eek.

To add seasoning the hussars finish their advance on the foot battery.

Another view of the same point of battle. At this point it looks a bit ugly for the Royalist, although he has a cavalry backup, and two garrisoned towns. I felt that this flank would likely be 'lost' although with the town garrisons it would slow things down enough that I wouldn't need to pull off much reserves to stalemate it.

The hussars end up bouncing off the artillery (although damage them via attrition. All units take 1 point of damage, down to a minimum strength of 1, for being involved in a combat that doesn't destroy the enemy). A unit of cuirassieur charges through the rubble of the royalist infantry unit.

Square must be formed during your own turn (it's free to enter, but costs pips to get out of square). This occured a couple times during the game and was recognized as a great tactic. Allow the enemy attack to crush a weak infantry unit with your cavalry right behind it. On your own turn counter charge with the cavalry to possibly eliminate a weakened infantry unit.

The next turn we see the hussars have been blasted out of existence (out of effective fighting capacity in reality) by canister. The cuirassier face a double attack with flanking, while infantry are in position to hit the foot battery.

And the cavalry win the fight! They have been depleted by the fighting down to 1 strength, and are likely to disappear soon, but Grouchy's troops have suffered in the fight. There is realistically insufficient troops on this flank to offer much threat to the Royalist defense now.

 The remnants of the fighting smash themselves to pieces. The Grouchy withdraws his last unit under continued artillery fire. 

His attack has pinned the Royalist Left flank, and drawn off 2 important units of Cuirassier for most of the day. Has it been enough, we'll have to see in the next exciting installment of the battle.
A view of the overall battle. Napoleons troops have surged across the stream, and there is a strong engagement across the entire front. Dust has been spotted to the North and it's known Napoleon should be arriving any time. Will that occur in time?

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