Sunday, June 22, 2014

Battle of Souffel (pt2)

Part 1 located here

Top of the turn (French 5) found the Northern/Left flank in a lull with the river crossing town well held by the French. Both sides artillery had been depleted and fallen back.

The Flank securing command of VanDamme (on the hill) was forming up to march South to assist at the other crossing.

A truly massive formation of prussians had arrived the previous turn and was moving towards the bridge. The French infantry and cavalry command were largely in position and didn't need to move much. Artillery was placed at the edge of the river to bombard the approaching coalition armies.

Prussian 5/French 6. A fresh column of troops shows up marching toward the town crossing. These British troops (standing in for wurtembergers I believe) are crack troops and will strongly contest the town.

Despite the threat, Vandamme's command continues to move South. His artillery has finished moving up to the river to held guard approaches to the town.

At the other crossing the Prussian artillery all move up and start a cannon-cannon battle. French forces retire further from the river as they have inferiority in artillery. The infantry also pull back to husband their strength.

Prussian 6. The column of British continues it's approach of the village. The prussian cannon move forward to continue to blast the defenders. While cannon can't attack units engaged (base to base contact), the French are currently open game.

Facing traffic control issues, the prussians are forced to lead with their artillery moving forward. The massive columns are all converging on the crossing.

French forces has largely finished withdrawing beyond cannon range (except for their own artillery). 

French horse artillery stays forward to keep in range and all artillery fires relatively ineffectively against each other.

Prussian 7. The brits crash in to the village. Against their fresh column you can see (if you look closely) that the French defenders only have 2 infantry units with a single damage point remaining (small black dice).

It looks a bit iffy for the french at this point, although time wise the delaying action is going well. Victory points are based on town control (4 of them) and relative losses.

French 8. The British have evicted the french.
Things have definitely become unhinged on this flank.

On the Southern crossing the prussians are starting to cross.

French infantry moves forward to punish the trapped Prussian artillery.

VanDamme's reinforcements are arriving in theatre from the left hand side of the photo. I'm contemplating how to effect the entire withdrawal of my forces at this point. VanDamme's reserves may be the first troops to march off the table.

Prussian 8. The french infantry sent to take out the cannons end up bouncing off them (artillery get a combat bonus to the front from canister). The cannon proceeds to blast away at them at range, but poor rolls save them from further damage and humiliation.

The heavily depleted command of D'Erlon position themselves to contest the bridgehead. The artillery moves towards the hill to be out of engagement range, but able to cannon emerging troops.

The last infantry formation (Brigade size I believe) stays close to the town. As troops deploy from towns they count as disordered with a combat penalty (they need to reform).

You can see an element of van Dammes command garrisoning the town in the bottom of the photo.

Prussian 8/French 9. The Prussians are across the river. The french dragons position themselves for a charge, while the horse artillery adjust themselves to allow them to continue shooting the bridge traffic.

VanDamme's reserves don't have a lot to do now, as the french are also facing traffic issues. One of the interesting things that arises out of the game is the difficulty of funneling your troops into combat when and where you need them. Bases can interpenetrate with no problem, but they can't overlap after the move is finished. The distance moved is around twice the depth of a base so it can rapidly be challenging to shuffle the troops.

Prussian 9. The first unit deploys on the far side of the river. A horde is backing them up, but they can only move slowly through the town. We are 2/3rd's of the way through the game and the coalition has only taken one of 3 towns. It will be a struggle to get troops to the other town in the North and take it before night falls.

A full map shot to give a better sense of just how depleted the French left flank is. Also notable is the masses of coalition troops ready to move across the river.

Prussian 10? I'm starting to miss turns here.
The french have bounced one infantry unit that was hit in the flank while deploying. They are
now counterattacked by emerging troops.

 The french are strongly defending a killing ground around the bridgehead. The prussians can't move quite far enough to move and turn formations to avoid getting flanked by SOMETHING as soon as they are across.

French 11. The end result of a combined assault/flank empty space where troops used to be.

You can just see at the back of the prussian column there is a leader, artillery, and infantry. As the prussians have lost some earlier combats they bounce back at least a base depth....with no where to go they keep moving back until they can land somewhere. They bridge crossing column is actually fairly heavily depleted despite appearing in great numbers. The french artillery ravages the front units just prior to the infantry and dragoons heading in to finish the job. Classic combined action by artillery-cavalry-infantry. It doesn't happen often but when it does it's great.

 Prussian 11. Doug declares a cease fire. He feels he's too far behind on casualties and doesn't have the time needed to evict the French from the remaining towns.

On the Northern flank we have 3 points of damage remaining in D'erlon's command. They breath a sigh of relief.

The french are in relatively good shape otherwise, although their artillery has taken a drubbing.

I would imagine they would collect their wounded and stragglers and make a clever quick march away in the dark.

Yet another fun game with Doug. I'd be remiss not to link to his site, which has much nicer close up photos of his painted figs. Having been playing some other naps a bit this year, I think having a good scenario design is critical for me to have a good time. Lining up troops to kill each other doesn't really turn my crank.

With a bit of knowledge about battle context it becomes a much richer experience. Holding important landmarks, needing to get troops across rivers (or prevent it), delaying actions to evacuate troops, all these dramatically change your behaviour. I think this is one of the reasons I really liked flames of war over GW's rulesets (where I started with gaming): there were critical objectives to hold, but a variety of battle types were created which adjusted objective placement, winning conditions, and sometimes how objectives disappeared (see fighting withdrawal).

I really dig having some uncertainty about where the enemy might show up as well based on 'reports' of the enemy outside of the table. Thanks again to Doug for hosting the game with his own figs.


  1. I really enjoyed reading your battlereport.Great pictures!!!.Keep on blogging. I will start following your blog now! :) Have a nice weekend.

  2. Thanks for the kind words. It's been a bit of a busy summer, so I've missed posting much, but I hope to get some content up again soon.