The eagle eyed will notice that all four Marauders are involved here - a rarity for a big Napoleonic game. Eagle eyes will also note that we have repainted the "man cave" - the previous multi-coloured walls and cave paintings of sheep(?) & horses(?) got too much on the eye. We came in on a non game night cleaned up, wash down walls etc and got rolling and brushing, Chris then went back a few times in the week to redo a few bits - bless him. Tony picked up some extra lighting and the whole place is like a hospital surgery - only cleaner. We only repainted the main gaming room not the scenery store room or kitchen and other parts. We also left the light blue wall and some others which were too crumbly to take paint! We're really pleased and rather smug! If Mrs Marauders had any inkling we'd be bollocked and painting our own homes - not our murky bunker!
Basically Marshall Ney's large formation is camped in a rough square between four villages, Gross Gorschen & Klein Gorschen in front, Rahna & Kaja behind. This area is broken up by woods and ditches. However Ney neglected to post pickets, so when Blucher appeared on the high ground looking down on this scene he went straight over to the attack calling his outlying formations to concentrate. Such a prize was irresistible to the old warhorse, BUT with further French forces nearby he must be quick. So initially the French are disadvantaged and out numbered. As Ney scrambles to occupy the villages and form up he sends an urgent call to his master to come to his aid. Napoleon hastens to the scene with the Guard and summons two other nearby French Corps to march to the sound of the guns.
|The other end of the table. French troops from Marmont's Corps marching to relieve Ney in the centre. Russian Guard cavalry screen the advance of the Russian Guard Corp under Grand Duke Constantine. This looks massive.|
So that's provided us with a situation to resolve. Both sides have objectives and some urgency in getting things going swiftly - that injects tension into the game. Both sides have substantial reserves to deploy in various places at variable and random times which injects chaos and confusion.
Everyone is excited and slightly nervous - just what I hoped for - that's wargaming!
The Allied plan was as follows;
We would descend the ridge and catch Ney in disarray with the Russian Foot Guards and a second Russian Corp both with large batteries attached, the only cavalry assigned to this attack was a Prussian brigade under Jurgass, 3 x 24 (1 hussar, 1 uhlan, 1 dragoon). The Allied left was exposed to attack by Marmont marching in from Starsiedel so was screened by the Russian Guard cavalry and artillery. This central push would receive the majority of our reserves as they arrived; two more infantry corps, one of Cuirassiers, one of Dragoons and a horde of cossacks.
The Allied right was my small corner of Germany to contest. Here both sides had troops on the far side of the river who could intercede if they could just capture the bridge and get over it. In reality this part of the battle around Eisdorf didn't occur but it seemed like a good mini scenario within the bigger picture. I gave both sides substantial infantry and a light cavalry brigade too. The allies had a big foot battery, the French a mobile horse battery. Just over the bridge I also has a Russian infantry Corps whose task was to take Klein Gorschen, the village in front of me held by Ney's men who were rushing to support it from the rear most positions on the French line. The aforementioned Jurgass was to sweep away supports from this village to give me a clear run at it - combined arms at work.
|The same scene - different angle.|
The French plan was to get Ney into good positions and hold the four villages until help arrived. Marmont started on the table at Starsiedel, some way off, other French forces would appear in time...
Week one ended around turn five or six. We had a great time. Chris took Gross Gorschen with the Russian Guard, I took Klein Gorschen and Eisdorf, the village commanding the bridge from over the river. Turn five saw lots of fresh troops arrive and the game really building. The arrival of Napoleon gives the French 2 C-in-C's, a big advantage in General de Brigade terms. We allowed four weeks to play this, possibly 20 odd turns. This allows plenty of time to mount counter attacks and for fresh to march into contact from afar.
Next time I'll bang up more pictures and some notes on the 15mm models and how we organised them; the "eagle eyed" will have noted that they are non traditional in basing and number, more of that later.
Hope you stay with us through this game. it already has an epic feel to it.