Saturday, 28 June 2014

1813: A fictitious post-armistice game

It has been quiet on the Napoleonics front since our bicentennial game of La Rothiere. Plans are afoot for more games from the 1814 campaign later in the year, but not until some key units have been painted.

Therefore, I was pleased that the end of May found me in Albany for a work trip, so I arranged with our friends from the SWAGS to stay on and have a wargaming weekend with them. Mitch planned the game, a fictitious battle in the autumn of 1813, with the French, two corps of primarily low-ish quality infantry and the potential for heavy cavalry support, defending a village and stream against a combined Russo-Prussian force. The Prussians were predominantly landwehr, while the Russians had some 'serious' quality including a brigade of grenadiers and heavy cavalry.

The French began the game deployed while the Russians and Prussians arrived piecemeal.  We set up on the Friday night, playing out the first five 'approach' turns. Saturday was the big one with turns 6–17 completed. We then finished off the game with two further turns on Sunday morning. As you can see from the photos below, it built nicely and provided a fabulous visual spectacle; as well as a most enjoyable contest and great fun and camaraderie with the SWAGS fellas.

Table set-up, the French, nearest camera, had two corps (which we nominated Bertrand's and Mortier's) of two infantry divisions, each with a small cavalry brigade.

One French division of Bertrand's corps was placed in and around the village, defending the only bridge crossing over the stream (which, along with the gué to the south-west, was the only crossing point for artillery).

A Russian light cavalry brigade lead the allied advance, reconnoitring the French positions. Figures expertly painted by John, regular Cossacks heavily disguised as those of the Imperial Guard.

As the allied infantry arrived, the Russians deployed their horse artillery to bombard the French in the village. This was soon joined by Prussian artillery and Russian foot guns. The French divisional and corps guns on the ridge replied on behalf of the defenders.

Russian jägers were sent forward to harass the right flank of the defenders, as still more Russian and Prussian troops arrived.

Close-up John's Russian hussars (Elisavetgrad regiment) and horse artillery. "Noice".

Overview of the table at the end of the approach moves on Friday night. All set for action on day two's play.

More of John's Russian cavalry, this time the Emperor's (left) and Empress' (right) cuirassiers.

(Saturday) Bombardment of the French in the village intensified, hoping to reduce the defensive capacity of the buildings and the resistance of the defenders.

von Zieten's Prussians advanced around the south-southwest to outflank the French position.

Below: overview from the French and allied lines.

Looking from the south-west-ish.

Above and below: at the other end of the battlefield, Docturov's Russian grenadiers and cavalry approach the French defenders on the western ridge line.

The next couple of turns were crucial as the allies attacked along the entire front.

Above and below, the final, intensive bombardment of the French position in the village.

Russian grenadiers continued their advance on the French left flank.

 More bombardment in the centre.

 While Mortier's and Zieten's cavalry stand-off in the south.

Above and below, view from the 'south' and 'north' respectively.

  The assault finally goes in against the village, lead by the grenadiers,

who make easy work of it.

 The Prussians in turn fire all available guns, setting the buildings on fire...
and easily drive the defenders back over the bridge.

The hand of god smites the French, placing fire markers on the buildings. 

In the 'north', the French 7th hussars attacked the lead battalion of Russian grenadiers, only to be driven back, with little loss, by a determined volley.

The 3rd hussars prepared for a flank charge and perhaps to halt the advance of the Russian grenadiers.

Thus, with the game very much in the balance, Saturday's play came to an end.

Having waited all night, the first move on Sunday morning was, of course, the charge of the 3rd hussars.
With numerous negative modifiers to both sides, the better Russian quality, and die roll, saw the hussars 'bounce'.

The fighting intensified... as darkness approached (in game time).

In the centre, the Russian jägers drove the French beyond the bridge.

On the French left, the Cossacks charged, but French conscripts formed square and they were repulsed.

Sensing the moment, the Empress' cuirassiers went for 'gold', overrunning Bertrand's corps guns...

and breaking through to drive off a unit of conscript infantry.

Then it was the turn of the Emperor's regiment, who were met bravely by the 7th hussars...

the latter pushed back, but unbroken.

The glorious charge by the Empress' cuirassiers had left them exposed,...

the infantry rallied, moved up on their flank and delivered a volley that sent them back to their lines.

Thus, as the veil of night fell, the French re-established their defensive line, ready to slip away during the night, their job done... just!

The Emperor's cuirassiers champed at the bit for more action,...

but the French 11th and 12th cuirassiers were fresh and ready to face them down.

Huge thanks to Mitch, John and Neil for the game, to John and Vanessa for letting me stay at their place and to Mitch and Gwen for their marvellous hospitality at the 'venue'. I do hope that we can host some or all of you in the not too distant. I also look forward to our (new) tradition of an ANF visit to Albany later in the year!


  1. Wonderful-looking game. Table is rather grand as well.


    1. Thanks FMB. The Serpentine fellas have a grand set-up at Mitch's place.

  2. Wouaouh!! Most impressive report, some pics are really excellent, love your Elisavetgrad regiment especially!

    1. Thanks Phil. John's lovely brush-work on those excellent Zvezda hussar figures.

  3. Good freinds, fine figures (especially love John's Hussars!), a beautiful table, and a close fought game - how much better does it get for a waregamer, eh?

    1. Hmm, does a waregamer turn into Napoleon during the full moon? :-)

    2. Love it Peter! I was also wondering if he has fiends too?! :) Jokes about typos aside, I could not agree more with your sentiment.

  4. Very impressive looking game James! Great report!

    1. Thanks Rodger. I was so fortunate to be able to merely 'turn up' and take part in such a fabulous game.

  5. Excellent set of photos, James. Some mighty fine looking figures to.

    1. Thank you Mark. The fellas have a fine collection between them. This is but a scratching of the surface...!

  6. A great looking game James!

    1. Cheers Ian. I think that the photos do it justice.

  7. Cor! Very Noice! And all figures in GOS!

    1. Brilliant Ben. I presume that God's own scale is a ranking above TOTS?!

  8. Great stuff glad to see the napoleonics get a run out :)

  9. Great report, glad someone out there cam get Russian heavies to perform! We struggle with this.
    Looking forward to more such reports,
    warpaintjj, Jeremy