Monday, October 27, 2014

2014 Autumn Big Napoleonics - Montmirail pt 4 (early afternoon to the end)

I've been informed by Doug that the working title for the rules will be General du Corp (GdC). I've tagged most of my blog posts about this game appropriately, in case you want to look at older writeups.

Back to Montmirail, the French are strongly engaged across the entire front, and looking a bit brittle as the Old Guard have taken a pounding by the Prussian grand battery. Just as the Hanoverians are moving on the right flank where there is not much to stop them, the young guard have shown up.
The villages and towns are worth VP's, and the Prussians still hold the edge here.

End of French turn 5 (I think).
The young guard in the bottom of the pic are advancing aggressively towards the central town to contest it.

Meanwhile Richards command on the left flank are awaiting a clash with the Prussians. The old guard towards the centre are a spent force, and the troops that aren't close to the artillery start falling back (voluntarily) while the closer move up to threaten both the village and remaining artillery units.

On the right Nansouty's cav corp sits tight, positioning the lancers to hit the Hanoverians artillery, while waiting for a section of the young guard to come assist on this flank.

Austrian turn 6.
The hanoverian artillery dissappears with a poor attrition role after damaging the lancers. The infantry not stuck in square continue to advance to take the village. Only a lone light horse unit offers any resistance.

On picture are the young guard marching to the rescue.

Artillery manages to destroy another base of old guard. Bob manages to double up his lines between the forest and the village, but little movement occurs on this side.

French 6. We barely take the photo before the Austrian commander is advancing his troops.

Richard has advanced on the left. The old guard were forced to withdraw a move due to a poor divisional morale check (holding, falling back, and routing are the bad possibilities).

Over on the Right flank Nansouty has little command points to work with, and manages to turn his lancers to threaten the flank of the advancing hanoverians.

The young guard can now be clearly seen advancing in two prongs. One to contest the central town, and the other to face the Hanoverians.

Command ranges will eventually become an issue if this plan is pursued. Also, fighting for the town will is often bloody for the attacker. Eventually we came to the realization that the central Prussian division was getting brittle and might be encouraged to retreat if we could destroy non garrison units.

Austrian 7. A mass of prussians is threatening the diminutive Richard command. Despite the appearance of strength in the bottom right, all those stands are 1 point units that will lose VP if destroyed. It's looking dodgy on this flank.

The artillery from the old guard is sitting just out of range of the prussian grand battery. In fact, the prussians artillery has no targets at this point (and a field of corpses in front of them). The temptation to get them back into action will end up creating difficulties at inopportune times.

French 7. I missed a picture on the right flank. The Hanoverians form a square on their long flank, denying the lancers. The infantry on this side of the village un-square to threaten the lancers. The infantry close to the lower right village finally contact, and take, the village.

In exchange, Nansouty rolls excellent command and surges forward his heavy cav and light cav to hunt the depleted prussian cavalry command hiding in the back. The lancers spin to face the un-square infantry, but can do no more.

The hussars holding back the horde of range advance slightly to threaten as the young guard continue their march to engage.

A better picture of the nonsense developing with Nansouty and the gap between squares.

Obviously I thought this interesting enough to catch multiple angles of the same thing.

I note now that the hussars towards the middle bottom are a strength 2 which means they probably engaged and drove back an infantry unit.

Austrian 8. Bob (on the Prussian far right/ picture left) rolls poorly and can only advance his guns. He is unwilling to engage his infantry piecemeal during a poor command turn.

The centre prussians advance two guns. This brings them into range of the cowering recovering old guard in the bottom (group of 3). However, they are now also in range of the old guard artillery that has achieved little this game.

 French 8/Austrian 9.

The french cannon manages to pick off the deplete cannon of Bobs command. Richard split his infantry to help prevent a flank, althought the 2:1 and 4:1 odds look grim.

The old guard have shuffled over to help secure the village. It's getting late and we need to confirm our hold on some VP's.

The lost cannon is a huge boon to the french as a morale check forces all the prussians on this flank to withdraw a move drastically reducing the pressure on Richards command.

 Nansouty is aggressively chasing the Prussian cav unit. The back is wide open, and functionally the line of retreat for the Prussians is now cut.

With the realization that divisions can evaporate with poor morale checks we are not hunting for breaks and VP.

 The horse artillery which had been doing little now starts sniping at the infantry squares. I forgot they got a bonus to do so. One square disappears opening a gap in the overlapping squares immediately in front of the heavy dragoons.

The centre of the prussian line is suddenly looking ripe for some blood letting. The prussians pivot an infantry unit to force the cav to choose whether to wheel left or right.

French 9.

The cav vs cav fight finally re-engages. This will result in the complete destruction of the Prussian horse. It was a calculated gamble by Ian. If he held he had the opportunity to outflank and double team my heavy cav. With the loss he vaporized.

 The other horse are mostly repositioning and unable to do much.

 Meanwhile the young guard got stuck in vs the Hanoverians and evict them from the village. This would force a divisional morale check, which was botched and started a full collapse on this flank (taking the next two turns).

 The old guard cannons are coming up hot and strike down another advancing prussian artillery unit. Again this would force a morale check, which Ian handily made (he made all his morale checks I believe).

 Richard continues to hold fast, holding this breath that the Prussians collapse before they engage his enthusiastic, but meagre conscripts.

Austrian 10. Bobs command is closing in for the kill at the bottom. At last all this troops are lined up to go in hard.

The centre is almost abandoned as the weight of forces shift left and right.

 This is going to be ugly for the french next allied turn.

 French turn 10. At the end of 5 hours we agree that light is fading fast. Let's look at the final turn developments.

On the left flank, as above, Richard and the old guard hold fast. It'd be bloody but likely the Prussians would carry the village.

 In the centre, Nansouty, lines up some cavalry pain on the infantry. The prussians still hold the centre village, but due to horse artillery losses they face a morale check. Ian fails this one and will have to fall back. We counted this as abandoned centre town so no one benefitted from VP.

Doug failed his Hanoverian divisional morale and withdraws. Nansouty manages to destroy another unit with the lancers.

Doug fails ANOTHER morale check (post final turn) and the Hanoverians rout completely. 

The chase begins for the cav, although fading light will save most of the poor foot troopers.

VP wise we had 1 village owned by the prussians (2vp), 2 by the french (4vp), and 2 unoccupied. 2 prussian commands had routed/disappeared (2vp), while 3 old guard units were destroyed (-3vp).

Final score: Austrian 2vp vs 3vp French. A tightly fought game that was a delight to play. The scenario was well set up and surprising to at least a few of us.

I think the final vp score doesn't quite reflect the huge swing that's about to happen, or the problems with the prussian withdrawal......but time ran out, as it often does. On the other hand if our last player (name escapes me right now) Barry didn't arrive early (with the young guard) things would have turned out far, far different.

As noted in part 2, the effect of cavalry on the squares prompted a big discussion. With ever game the rules are tweaked slightly, so I suspect something may happen with this. On the other hand the obvious issue was overstrength cav units, so perhaps the take home message is really don't make them overstrength.

Again (as always) maximum thanks to Doug for organizing and hosting with his amazing collection of figs.

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