The table here is huge & this is a big battle. I'm going to break this down into four posts for ease. This first one is basically all about me - my part in Austerlitz if you like! Then I'll look at the other sectors of the game & try to outline what was going on. This may be difficult as one gets naturally drawn into your own bubble & develop tunnel vision! But there will be pretty pictures...
Further posts will be about the models themselves so will feature pretty regiments & vignettes. Lastly a few shots of the cast of characters assembled might appear...
This post will concentrate on my game & that of players opposite, behind & to each side of me as their fates interwove with mine. Here we go...
I should just say at this point a massive thank you to everyone who made this event work so smoothly. As guests we had only to show up & play! The prep everyone else had done was incredible. The tabletop battlefield is a work of art complete with all the relevant features, except maybe the snow ;) All the paperworky stuff was done including rosters, casualty trackers for every unit on the table and even personalised decks of command cards for all of us to keep! Brilliant stuff!
So, my roles in this frosty drama was those of Generals Doctorov & Langeron. This placed me left of centre up on the Pratzen Heights revving up to assault & capture the Pheasantry & village of Sokolnitz on the Goldbach Stream. Opposing me was Soult's vast command. The scenario dictated that much of the Allied army would be put on assault orders for the first five game turns to replicate the trap Napoleon had set for them. Assaulting suited me, infact I remained on Assault orders all weekend - just banging my dumb head against a brick wall!
|Looking over my initial positions on the Pratzen Heights.|
|This is the right most brigade in Doctorov's formation.|
|Doctorov was deployed up front on the Pratzen Heights with Longeron behind on the rear table.|
|I wasn't allowed any cavalry but then storming walled gardens & villages is best done with the bayonet!|
|This the scene to my rear right on he back table. Here the Austrians of Kollowrat mass on the reverse slopes, next over is Constantine with the Guards & in the distance Rich playing Bagration who had all the shiny toys to burn!|
|Kollowrat again. Veteran gamers will recognize the "bit of rough" from old Miniature Wargames magazines.|
|Docturov's three brigades ready to attack.|
|Austrian heavy cavalry sit in deep reserve behind my positions|
|The Austrian light cavalry of the Advance Guard.|
All the lakes were frozen over.
|The Frenchies defending the Pheasantry - my objective.|
|The Frenchies defending Sokolnitz - also my objective.|
|In my wanderings I came upon this lot... French Imperial Guard wait behind the French centre opposite part of my position.|
|I wasn't without support myself; here Russian heavies await the order to advance.|
2 x 32 Dragoons & 32 Cuirassiers.
|Soult moves out through the snow & ice (use your imagination) towards the Allied left. |
The Austrian Advance Guard opposes them.
|A wider shot showing French & Allied cavalry brigades squaring off.|
The lakes are considered frozen the streams free flowing.
Casualties from artillery are doubled if on ice as men & horses plunge to a freezing watery doom!
|One of my objectives, I tended to refer to it as the Peasantry when the French held it.|
|Two of Doctorov's brigades surge down towards the French lines on the Goldbach stream.|
|Kienmayer races up to support my left flank.|
|Austrian Hussars & Chevau Legere eager to get to grips with the French.|
|It doesn't take long before there is a massive cavalry melee!|
|My attack columns approach the Peasantry...|
|Kienmayer's lights engage the predictable clouds of voltigeurs sent out in true French style.|
|The lead brigade of Langeron gets onto the main table. I'll use these to prop up my left flank if Kienmayer collapses leaving me very exposed & ripe for rolling up!|
|Sensing something similar Dave moves a brigade of Russian dragoons up to support the Austrian light infantry.|
|My Russians suffer in the approach but they're tough to stop...|
|We're in the Pheasantry! The Frenchies are out! I am victorious! Where's my medal?|
Now just to hold onto it for the next two days of game play...
|A nice long shot taken on Saturday morning. Basically looking north to south.|
|Back at the action. It seems I have been ejected from the Peasantry tout suit!|
However I have local superiority & am pushing onto Sokolnitz now.
Note ominous development in front of the grey jumper...
|This wonderful shot shows Napoleon & I think Murat (Simon & Martin) looking desperately concerned. Pray Simon!|
See the paragraph below for what happened...
Napoleon now moved up the Grenadiers a Cheval, shot up my battalion a bit more & charged again. This time they closed with elan & my battalion was no more! Just a red smudge in the footnote of history. Luckily the Guard cavalry withdrew for the time being having shown what they could do.
My infantry attacked again & retook my Pheasantry.
|Keinmayer's cavalry were seen off only after an inordinate amount of time by Soult's superior French forces.|
|Here again Soult took ages to mount an attack against some frankly pretty crap Austrian lights.|
God bless Soult.
|Kollowrat has arrived behind the allied centre. Langeron has deployed to cover the left flank of my lead units.|
|Infact here they are. Soult dithers with Keinmayer which is pleasing, I need time...|
|We're back in again!|
|Those French Guard cavalry I mentioned & now Old Guard foot too.|
Napoleon is up to something nasty in the centre.
|Down on the Goldbach the Russians are doing rather well & can soon assault Sokolnitz.|
|Old Guard foot heading towards a date with destiny on the Pratzen.|
|Setbacks in the Allied centre caused one of the Russian brigades to retire back up onto the heights.|
|The "setbacks" in the Allied centre were infact severe. Here we see it written on the faces of two of the nicest gamers out there, Tony & Ru - also the unluckiest.|
Please never take up gambling Gents, for your own good!
|Finally Soult manages to put together something looking like an attack. I suspect the Austrians here will be a mere speed bump. Those are my lines top left - Langeron's boys setting up a reception committee.|
|Russians cross the Goldbach and attack Sokolnitz.|
|We go in again against the Peasantry...|
|... but are repulsed!|
|This battery was pretty heroic in that it faced down two cavalry charges which held up the French centre until the Old Guard arrived and a horse battery was slipped in to blow chunks out of them. Then it was curtains...|
|Over on the left Soult's hard work is paying off against Keinmayer's infantry who break.|
|Luckily I have these fellows in just the right place at just the right time - sheer tactical genius!|
|Soult moves on...|
|Keinmayer throws forward his Hussars again forcing these Legere into... not a square.|
Here Young Dave's woeful disregard for the aesthetic utterly appalls me & I have to intervene...
|Aaah that's better - and breathe, relax.|
|Young Dave seeks out pictures of the geometric mystery known as "Square".|
Always learning that man & that should be admired.
|My central brigades are forced back into dense formations screening their own guns.|
|This picture pleases me.|
Chris looks rightly happy. On the last turn he retook the Peasantry at bayonet point;
HE WON A MELEE.
That concludes my part of the battle, just a fraction of the whole. The French won, which is good!
It was a great few days play filled with highs & lows, drama & deathn! We had lively evenings in great company. All these shiny toys, great rules and acres of table top don't matter a damn if you're playing with aresholes. We make a point of not doing so & have landed on our feet with these splendid fellows who seem to share our ethos & vision for grand scale Napoleonic games. Roll on next time.
I have loads more pictures of this weekend to post and they will follow.
Hope you enjoyed this, comment & follow if you haven't already.