"And so we come to it, the final battle of our time."
May be not the Pelenor Fields but certainly the meadows of the River Vissen flood plain. This game has taken weeks to evolve and has seen the battlefield ebb and flow until formal battle lines stagnated out of a chaotic beginning. Does battle really create an order from chaos? Is there a purity to the glory of slaughter or is this just a veneer of beauty on the polished face of the ultimate evil of mankind - the state sanctioned murder of millions in the name of some insane cause. You decide as we close in on the 1914 centenary.
(just watched Metallica play Glastonbury live on TV, their video back drop to "One" is as poignant as ever and got me thinking about how the super powers seem to be lining up for a another crack at it in Ukraine not to mention the ongoing nightmare in the middle east.)
Mercifully our games are harmless fun, no one gets hurt beyond the occasional bruised ego or broken plastic bayonet. But enough of this red herring, you want to hear what happened in our finale...
|Stienmetz marches to support Sievers who has managed to get his horse battery out of the way of his dragoons.|
This is good news as they have work to do.
|A Swiss battalion lines up to assault the village once this battery has softened up the Prussian Life Guards defending it.|
Supports continue to arrive.
|A closer shot of the Prussian Life Guards. It seems someone pinched the massive doors so they have used these powder barrels to barricade the gateway, not the usual Teutonic efficiency we have come to expect!|
|All allied units propping up the left flank of the centre have been destroyed or retreated.|
|More Swiss, French and a foot battery move up - yep there's more marching up and down in this report too!|
|1st and 2nd Prussian Foot Guards watch as these Bavarian interlopers continue to occupy their redoubt.|
Lots more Prussians move-up in the distance.
|Is this an opportunity for Sievers, Russian general of dragoons, to prove his worth?|
Saxon heavies welly into Prussian Foot Guards and make a mess of them but expose a tempting flank for the Russian dragoons.
|This battery won't last much longer surely?|
|Stienmetz presses on with his march to the front with his Prussian brigade.|
|This tiny Prussian formation of Landwehr cavalry face down the reformed and reinvigorated French light cavalry brigade.|
Place your bets gentlemen...
|Russians falling back from the central village. They rallied about here but are in poor shape.|
|Stienmetz marches past Strelitz who has deployed for an attack covered by artillery.|
Sievers finally goes into action, place your bets gentlemen.
|The French push on with their attack.|
|Prussian battery from Strelitz brigade prepares to fire. Stienmetz moves up in the background.|
These are Foundry models, painted by Barry Hill, based by me with extras by Chris.
|Prussian foot Guards formed in line watch helplessly as the Wurtemburgers finally overwhelm the battery between the redoubt and town.|
Pretty flag, GMB as usual.
|Looking south west over French forces towards Prussian late comers of Strelitz and Steinmetz and the battered Russians on the left.|
|Similar shot as above - not achieving much here am I?|
Prussian Life Guards still hold out in the village despite being virtually surrounded.
|Siever's horse battery takes pot shots at advancing Frenchies who are closing with the Prussians, Stienmetz had better get his men deployed pronto or face embarrassment.|
However these Frenchmen are in for another surprise as they pass the woods.
|Chris in a "happy place".|
Damn right! His men are driving all before them - living the dream.
|The fire-fight on the eastern table predictably went against the Russian Grenadiers who were promptly beaten up and sent home to explain them selves to the Tsar. |
Not the elite, save the day, formation we had hoped for in any way, shape or form!
|The Prussian Life Guards repulse the attacks on the walled village.|
Every other battalion in this piccie is French and there are a lot of them!
|Prussians prepare to receive rampant French. Russians sort themselves, note the battalion of jaegers preparing to flank charge the lead colume as it clears the woods.|
|Similar shot from a bit lower, down close and personal.|
Sievers personally led the charge into the flank of the Saxon heavies destroying them utterly. Next Sievers played a piece of tactical genius - his lead Regiment was stuck partly facing the redoubt, partly facing the second Saxon regiment, no way he could charge again despite rolling Superb Discipline. What to do? Sievers of all people plucked the solution from his befuddled mind in a rare moment of crystal clarity - like drawing a rabbit from a hat! He declared a charge with only three of the four squadrons, a perfectly legal, although a rarely used optional rule in General de Brigade. Rich who was on the receiving end loved it, Chris and I umed and arrhed!
In they went... Saxon elite Von Zastrow cuirassiers versus Russian line dragoons, gents place your bets.
|Nice close up of Russian horse artillery and Prussian reservists.|
|Prussian infantry from Stienmetz brigade marching to the sound of the guns.|
|Here Swiss and Italians of the French second line have already deployed into attack columes.|
|Good panoramic shot of the centres squaring off.|
|Looking north east over the Prussian positions towards the fateful firefight on the far table.|
|Similar shot showing the second regiment of Russian dragoons hurtling off to support the surprisingly successful first regiment.|
|Overlooking the centre again.|
The Allies had bought themselves an oppurtunity, a slim window of oppurtunity. However this wasn't something to risked in another round of fighting it was a chance to retire with the Guard intact covered by fresh troops. The frontline French troops were pretty battle worn so getting supports through to fight would take time - time enough to let the allies go. Lastly the French had no functional cavalry left in any numbers to carry out an effective pursuit. The Allies took their hard won opportunity and quit the field., no disgrace in that, infact, distinctly historical.
This game took five consecutive weeks to conclude, circa 25 turns of play, loads of toys and quite some emotional investment/commitment. If you have read this from Part 1 you'll know that the forces were randomly generated, as was the deployment. There were no set objectives just a situation into which the players were parachuted as generals - they created their own agendas and objectives - around these the geography changed and the "situation" built, as that happened battlelines formed and reformed. We even "scrolled" the table to keep the action going.
Was it worth the effort?
Fuck yeah! Would we do it again, same answer! We even kept the final orbats/casualty records so we can move the action on a few days or weeks and pick it up again.
What would I change? Most importantly I would be more careful about which random troops were available from the outset, some kind of corps asset cards and army reserves cards could be drawn as late arrivers after most of the line formations have been deployed. The random deployment worked a treat, no change required from my point of view.
For me this was a successful experiment and one to be repeated from time to time. I hope the other Marauders feel the same, I think they enjoyed themselves!!!?
Lastly I hope you guys have enjoyed this 5 part series of posts, judging by the feedback we're getting something right, please keep it coming, it means a lot to us, especially me as I write this stuff.
Very best wishes,