The french, under attack by a massive coalition force, start falling back East to a second line of defence. Gazan acts as a rear guard (part 1), while D'Erlon contests a river crossing in the North and sets up the fallback defense. Joseph Bonaparte parties and ignores what's happening. Rielle, cognizant of the multiple crossings threatening the main line of supply (and retreat!) retrogrades to try and hold these crossings (currently unthreatened) and screen the baggage train with the King.
In our picture to the right we can see the main line of supply to the bottom right. An alternative line extends down left (which penalizes the French should they withdraw along it). At the crossroads is the baggage train, Josephs troops, and the party house.
Due North/Right of the Royal party is the first crossing and village that Rielle is concerned about (a second line exists down the main supply right [off picture bottom right]). Rielle can be seen as the first mass of troops roughly in the centre.
Rielle is a bit challenged with his available command points and large command, so about half surge East (to the right) to get the crossing asap. Of note, his one artillery piece starts advancing towards the crook of the river to cover the village and bridge. This will prove crucial later. The troops Rielle is too busy to move end up standing around for a long period of the battle and, indeed, will become useful later.
The Russians, under command of Grahamski, show up as expected. They're a bit fast on the hoof than the french so the village of Samara Majer will fall to them. On the left we see D'Erlon assembling the fall back line of defense just east of the hill. This will help protect them from artillery preparation by the coalition. D'Erlon leaves a solid line of 4 brigades with artillery support (near the village mid left) that contests the advance by Von Picton. This acts to cover Gazans flank and fallback for quite some time.
The Russians and French continue to march towards each other. The artillery piece is in place, but still limbered (small blue wheel on the base). Amusingly, ever time we play the rules have been tweaked a bit. Artillery seems to be the bug bear that we swing back and forth trying to find the right balance.
This time we've split the difference between "moving foot artillery can't fire" and "pay extra command points to unlimber foot artillery the same turn it moves". If you fire artillery that is still 'limbered' (and each base represents multiple batteries so the base is more of a locus of command/control/supply/guns) you are substantially more likely to lose guns to attrition.
The crush of battle is joined. The artillery will extract a fairly murderous toll on the Russians, but their brigades are seriously overstrength compared to the French. The big issue here can be seen sneaking around the top of the village....a Russian artillery base that will command the heights and threaten the main line of supply/retreat. The French will have to drive off that cannon to successfully extract the baggage train this way.
Rielle begins to form a screening line to prevent a Russian advance from Durana from threatening the baggage train. Not a moment too soon as it turns out.
Joseph only activates when one of the French corp has suffered a serious moral failure and fallen back. Whatever can be happening with the rest of the battlefield?
Will the terribly slow moving baggage train be able to escape the closing jaws of the coalition forces? STAY TUNED NAPS-FRIENDS!!