The Napoleonic Wars, Over the Hills, 28mm
This small Napoleonic game was set during Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812, somewhere near Polotsk. The premise is that after the battle there on 17 July, the Russians under Wittgenstein were retreating, with their battered troops heading east through the small village of Krupskaya. A mixed bag of French and their German Allies were out to cut the road. In this game, Sean and Gyles played the French and their allies, while I took charge of the Russians. The game was played on a 6×4 foot table.The attackers came from the south, with two infantry brigades, each of three battalions. This small division also had a regiment of French chasseurs-a-cheval attached, and a battery of French guns. In these two brigades, two battalions were Saxon, two were from Baden, one was Hessian, and only one battalion was French. The Russians had two battalions of jaegers and one of musketeers, backed up by a regiment of hussars and a sotnia of Cossacks. They also had two gun batteries – a foot and a horse battery. Another three battalions of broken troops (each with an “attrition rating” of 2 ) were plodding along the road. They though, would break if they were attacked. Actually, apart from the top picture which shows the setup, I forgot to take photos during the first couple of turns. So, the one below shows the game under way, with the Russian cavalry deploying on the left, and the infantry forming a line in front of the village. The Saxons and French deployed on the Allied left, and the rest to the right, backed up by the guns and cavalry. Meanwhile the broken Russian infantry kept plodding along the road towards the eastern (long) table edge, shepherded by their divisional commander.The real crisis came on the Allied left, and Russian right. That was Gyles’ area of the battlefield, and with his new Saxons in their first game he seemed determine to blood them. The first battalion got a bit shot up by the Russian jaegers, but it was French anyway, so Gyles didn’t care. Instead he passed through it with a Saxon column, and charged the Russian guns. Amazingly he pulled this off, as I rolled abysmally for my defensive fire. So, the guns got stormed and overrun. So, first blood went to the Allies. In the centre though, the chasseurs just halted, waiting for something to happen. That gave my horse artillery battery a chance to deploy, and it fired at the French horsemen at long range, causing several hits. Within a couple of turns the cavalry were reduced to an attrition rating of just “1”, and so Gyles pulled them back. I was a bit relieved – but they’d soon be back in the game. Meanwhile the French gun battery spent all its time plodding through the woods on the Allied left flank. That though, gave me a devilish idea. I deployed my Cossacks into skirmish formation – that’s pretty much all they’re good for anyway – and advanced into the wood. The closest Baden unit duly formed square, and shot into the trees, without much effect. Meanwhile the French guns withdrew again, and deployed at the Allied rear, waiting for the Cossacks to appear out of the woods. In fact they never did – I was quite happy using them to due down a pair of Allied units. Back on the Russian right and Allied left, the victorious Saxons formed up again, but seemed content to let the Russian jaegers pull back towards the road. The retreating column had now passed through Krupskaya, so it was out of the way. At that point Gyles launched his two Saxon battalions in a charge – one against each waiting line of Russian jaegers. The result was a mixed bag – one battalion was driven back, with a low attrition rating, while the other stood its ground and rebuffed the assault. However,my battered jaeger unit soon turned and ran, thanks to some nifty shooting from the French infantry. However, with the French cavalry licking its wounds I decided it was time for the Russian hussars to earn their pay. They attacked across the front of the village, forcing the supporting Saxon battalion to roll to form an emergency square. It failed and the hussars steamed into them, causing heavy casualties before pulling back after three rounds of melee. The french though, weren’t going to let them off so lightly. By now the chasseurs had recovered some of their attrition, and so they charged in against the hussars’ flank. The Russians held their ground, largely thanks to some bad allied die rolling, but it was a sticky moment.Eventually, the other Saxon unit – the one which had charged home – was lifted from the table thanks to concentrated fire from the Krupskaya garrison. This was something of a turning point in the game. The garrison came out and formed up, to pose a threat to the remaining Allies, while the horse battery finally saw off the French chasseurs. That’s where we stopped the game – the Russians had lost two units out of seven, while the Allied had lost three out of eight. The remaining Saxon battalion was now in square, pinned by the hussars, and the Russians were closing in. The retreating column had made it off the table. So, we called this game as a clear Russian victory. Now though, Gyles is busy painting up more Saxons, while I want to add another Hessian unit to my toy collection.