Welcome to Marauder Moments - a chronicle of the Mortimer Street Marauders; the games we play, the rules we use, the figures we play with and the scenery they fight over. Hope you enjoy these pages and maybe call back to catch up with our escapades.

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Austerlitz at the WHC - "My part in the Emperor's downfall"

Back in early December 2018 the Marauders were lucky enough to visit the Wargames Holiday Centre for the third time. This years battle was Austerlitz; the 1805 classic. Rules in use were once again General d'Armee; perfect for large multi player bashes like this spread over more than 2 days.

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...         

Austerlitz 2018

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.
I was given ample tools for my task as you can see below. Each battalion was 32 strong, batteries each of 6 guns, skirmishers 2 to a base.

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

This is the scene on my left. Kienmayer with the Austrian "Advance Guard" is here tasked with holding off Soult & eventually Davout. No mean task for task for Dave. The Advance Guard is a peculiar formation with lots of light infantry mixed with a lot of light cavalry. In some respects this makes it tricky to play but offers a variety of toys to use too.      

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.
Gulp!

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 released the Guard cavalry early in an attempt to disrupt my brilliantly aggressive attack on the centre left & forward position in the centre protecting my attackers flank. He found a gap, snuck in a Guard horse battery and led a charge with the Chasseurs a Cheval  - Balls! As luck would have it my lead battalion of Russian cattle stoically faced down this charge in column and sent the colourfully dressed Frenchies packing. A risky move for me but hey - it worked!

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.     

This is Chris - my opponent on the Goldbach.
Here he looks calm & collected, well groomed & almost suave as if  recalling an amusing anecdote or saucy tale.
In fact Chris would loudly exclaim "Fuck" every time I moved troops any closer to his. I have never met anyone so panic stricken during melee combats! He is an absolute Gent & a pleasure to play wargames with. I hope we meet again.        

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. 

Piss taking aside Young Dave has played a blinder. He has built a strong position, driven off Keinmayer, (in his own time) and is threatening to over whelm my left just in time to save Chris in Sokolnitz. He pins my front and then drives through the woods.   

My central brigades are forced back into dense formations screening their own guns. 

Langeron goes hesitant and basically Soult breaks through. My Russians are hemmed in. It will be like shooting fish in a barrel. On my right Kollowrat had ceded the Pratzen to the Old Guard despite some heroics by Austrian heavy cavalry reserves. Further over tony had a dreadful loss, Rich did well with Bagration but never got the big break through. Chris performed with Constantine but not well enough.   

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.

Best wishes,

Jeremy  







13 comments:

  1. Fantastic looking and sounding business, thanks for the entertaining report!! :)

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    1. Cheers for the feedback, more to come from this game soon I hope.

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  2. Wonderful game! Description of events with humor - I really liked it!

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    1. Great to hear you like it - it's what we do! Got to have humour alongside the stress or it's no fun!

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  3. I’ve been looking forward to these photos for a while JJ. I’ve been living the GdA rules myself and the 1805-07 period is a glorious one. Was this the game that Dave Brown was at as well?

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  4. A great report. What a luxury it is to be able to turn up with everything prepared, including the unit roster sheets which is the part I dislike the most.

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    1. You're right Lawrence. We very rarely do roster sheets, they usu sally evolve on sheets of paper during the game! Bit of a luxury as you say.

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  5. That's hudge !
    Very beautifull table !
    Bravo !

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    1. Vive L'Emperor Zoom13!
      Everything here is huge & loads of fun.
      Gald you approve, pop back for the rest of the game and extra photos.
      JJ

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  6. Honestly you hold off a large portion of the enemy army while three quarters of the French command manoeuvre, then take your time to attack historically remove your oppositions ability to counter, pin him in place and decimate him a masterfully executed flank attack minimising your casualties (not loosing a single battalion of infantry! Although the best brigade commander being shot in the face was a blow...must write letter to family) and you get labelled a DITHERER!
    ......Fair point

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    1. Like I said, and you omit, you played "a blinder". I didn't realise you lost so little, even better. Lastly, BIG thanks for the cards, they're excellent!
      Best wishes for 2019,
      JJ

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  7. Incidentally the “daisy anti cav formation” has been primarily invented to annoy you.....personally I think it works

    Great battle report mate and a great game . I too am looking forward to the next one

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    1. Yes your ploy worked a treat - wound me right up!
      Great to hear you liked the report, it's always a laugh, albeit a painful one paying you old chum - I've yet to win a game at WHC, not that matters. Any idea what's next?

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