The Napoleonic Wars, Over the Hills, 28mm
First of all, my apologies. I’ve been snowed under with writing deadlines (two Ospreys in two months), and I didn’t get a chance to update the site. So, after this you’ll get a run of game reports over the next week or so. This one was something of a first for Lindsay, who hadn’t played Napoleonics before, or used these rules. So, I laid on a small introductory game, fought out on a 6×4 foot table. In it, the Russians were pitted against the French and their German allies, in a scrap fought out in Russia.Sean and I split the Russians between us – seven battalions in two infantry brigades, backed up by a brigade of hussars and a battery of horse artillery. We also had a sotnia of Cossacks. Opposing us in what was essentially a straightforward encounter battle was a German brigade (three Saxon battalions, and a Hessian one), a French brigade of three battalions, a cavalry brigade of chasseurs a cheval, and a battery of foot artillery. So, we lined up on either side of the table, and set to. Actually, we didn’t have much of a plan. The general idea was for me to hold off Lindsay’s French brigade on their right flank, while Sean threw everything else at Gyles’ Saxons. They looked like an easy target. We started by pinning them into square with our hussars, then bringing up the Russian horse artillery. Gyles duly countered with his own cavalry, and soon a free-for-all cavalry melee was raging on one half of the table. In the centre, in the little village of Emilovska, both sides sort of kept their distance, and were happy using long-range musketry.Meanwhile, my Russians plodded forward towards Lindsay’s French, whose line was centred around the guns on the hill. They started hurling roundshot at my columns, so I deployed my jaegers into an extended line, hoping they’d soak up more damage that way. Back in the centre, our hussars were hurled back, but rallied a little, then did the same to the French chasseurs-a-cheval. It was a real swirling mess of horseflesh, with both sides hacking at each other, then pulling back, regrouping, and going in again. Our Cossacks even got involved, although only when the chasseurs tried to charge them, and they couldn’t evade in time!Over on the Russian left those guns on the hills kept hurting my infantry. Casualties kept mounting, and now Lindsay had moved her infantry forward, to add their long-range musketry to the battle. I was firing back, but I could have used a battery of guns of my own. In the end my jaegers were so badly shot up that they were forced to retire. So, abandoning any plans to storm the French line, I deployed my Russians in line and held on. Meanwhile, my brigade commander was doing what we could to patch up the fatigue score of the jaegers. Back in the centre the long-range fight for the village continued, but nobody could really move anywhere thanks to all those cavalry. Eventually though, the Russians got the upper hands, and the chasseurs -a-cheval pulled back to lick their wounds. With the Saxons still pinned in square, then Gyles’ attempts to advance were symied. Instead, our guns kept firing at their squares, albeit at long range. That effectively meant the battle had become a stalemate. On the Russian left and French left, neither Lindsay or I could advance, although I was having the worst of the firefight. For her first Napoleonic battle she certainly seemed to know what to do! on the Russian right and French left, the German battalions were getting chewed up a bit, but they still held their ground, while both sides were busy trying to rally off fatigue hits to their cavalry. Sean even tried charging the Saxons when they had temerity to form column, but they hurriedly went into an emergency square, and the stalemate continued. We weren’t completely done though. Next, Sean tried advancing with his Cossacks to pin the Hessians, while storming the village. It sort of worked, as he got a foothold in it, but the rejuvenated chasseurs re-entered the fray, and the Cossacks were driven off. Then, when Lindsay turned her guns on Sean’s Russian infantry, the advance ground to a halt. Those guns on both sides proved the key to the battle, as they did most of the damage. So, the battle petered out. We tallied up our losses – a couple of units on each side – and duly declared the game a hard-fought draw. Perhaps the most surprising thing was the way Sean threw his cavalry into the fray. Gyles likes using cavalry, but Sean is more of a footslogger. This evening he became the beau sabreur of the Russian army! my performance was mediocre at best, but Gyles and Lindsay did well.Gyles was keen to get his Saxons onto the table, and of course the best you can hope for with new units is to survive. They managed that, but not much else. The real star though, was Lindsay. She handled her French like a real pro. She now plans to build up a force of Prussians. Visually the game looked pretty good, and the rules worked well,and were straightforward enough for Lindsay to pick them up right away. So, I have great hopes that our little group will play a lot more Napoleonic games in the coming year.