Title

Title
Tally Ho!

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Key Points Napoleonic Campaign - Battle 4

The Scenario

British light dragoons
The fourth battle of the campaign saw the French renewing their assault against the crossroads being contested by the Prussians. Both sides aim was simple - capture and hold this vital junction to secure their supply lines for future operations.

The French forces were at their strongest here deploying both the Guards and their additional cavalry brigade. The Prussians were supported by a British cavalry brigade.  

The Setup

The outnumbered Prussians adopted a slightly half-and-half deployment somewhat between attack and defence. About two thirds of the infantry were in the centre ready to attack the crossroads and about one third in line defending the left flank. The cavalry was all massed on the right.

Prussians ready to move against the crossroads

Allied cavalry massed to attack?

The French plan was more aggressive, with a large mass of infantry (including all the A class troops) forming the centre. A single brigade and most of the guns guarded the right flank and cavalry brigade the left. The plan was to buy time on the flanks and assault in the centre  - a classic plan from Marshall L'Boss.
The outnumbered French horse

The assault units of the French army

More assault units including some cavalry mixed-in 

The flank guards 

The Battle

The action began with both sides pushing forward in the centre to establish control of the crossroads and the nearby farm house. The Prussians demonstrated on the left flank against the weaker French but surprisingly did not attack the outnumbered French cavalry.

French move into the farm in strength

Dutch allies move cautiously forward

The massed French move on the crossroads

Wider shot of the French with Marshall L'Boss directing operations

Prussian reserves waiting behind the farm
 
The initial manoeuvring was fairly even until the French unleashed a unit of Dragoons in the centre of their lines against the Prussians advancing on the crossroads. Although the charge was halted by heavy fire it did buy time for the French to steal a march and advance over the crossroads first.   


The Dragoons attack 

The Guards move forward

Seeing they were outnumbered in the centre the Allies finally advanced with their cavalry in an attempt to force an advantage on their right flank. They outnumbered the French horse 5-3 on this flank.

Allied cavalry advances, but too late?

In the centre the French assault on the Prussian lines began with A class Swiss and Guard units leading the way.  Outnumbered 2-1 the weaker Prussians were gradually pushed-back away from the crossroads.

The main attack begins from the French
 
A different angle of the French pushing the Prussians back 
On the Prussian left they found themselves under assault from French infantry and cavalry, with one line battalion swept-away by the gallant Chasseurs and a second routed by combined musket / artillery fire.

French advance on their right
The last hope for the Allies was their cavalry on their right where they had a 5-3 advantage. This rapidly became 4-3 as the Prussian hussars were halted by French artillery fire and then 3-3 when a unit of British hussars proved reluctant to charge. 

The cavalry melee
 
With numbers now even, the heavier French cavalry made fairly short work of the Allies and the last hope was snuffed-out. 
 
Cuirassiers beat-up the British light dragoons
 So the battle ended with the French in firm control of the crossroads and both Allied flanks in trouble. A good win for the French and their first on the attack.   

The Old Guard claim the crossroads for the emperor
 
British RHA open-up
 

Campaign situation

Two French victories had resorted the balance in the campaign with both sides once again holding equal territory.



Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Key Points Napoleonic Campaign - battle 3


The Scenario

Our third battle of the mini-campaign sees the British on the attack following their victory in the first game. In this scenario they are trying to secure a vital town and the supply-dump contained inside.

We found the previous games a little slow and skirmishers too powerful, so we reverted to set we've played before - Muskets and Marshalls developed by Ian over at the Hinton Hunt Blog. The rules can be found here http://hintonhunt.blogspot.co.uk/p/muskets-marshals.html. This had a major affect on the armies as mapping from Rank and File to M&M suddenly all the British are A class, meaning about half the Allied army was of high quality.

For this scenario the town was divided into 6 zones (buildings) each capable of holding a single battalion plus attached gun. The attackers needed to capture 4 to win the game.

The Set-up

The French deployment was simple and compact. Half the force occupied the 6 areas of the town supported by 2 batteries, with the A class Leger in the front line. A brigade guarded each of the town's flanks, with cavalry and skirmishers out wide to delay the enemy advance.

The Allies deployed with the A class British poised to attack the town head-on and the Hanoverians / Dutch-Belgium's looking to apply pressure on the flanks. The Dutch-Belgium cavalry lined-up opposite the French horse.   

Hanoverians
 
Dutch-Belgiums
 
The British forming the main assault 

Horse lurking out wide

Town and woods well defended

The Game

The battle opened with a general advance on the Allied side, with the fast-moving cavalry quickly getting in position for an assault. The first cavalry clash occurring in the second turn.

Dutch-Belgium cavalry advance

The Rifles home in on the Swiss

Battle is joined
In the centre a solid wall of redcoats ground forward taking lively fire from the French guns. The Allies gained the initiative and charged their Carbineers into some stationary Chasseurs. However the attack was unsupported and so the French Dragoons were free to join the fray. The outnumbered Belgium's were pushed back in Disorder.   

Coming on in the same old way

Belgium Carbineers get mauled
On the French left the Dutch-Belgium units quickly got into range while a cavalry fight raged on their flanks. Both sides settled into a firefight that would last the remainder of the battle. On the French right the Hanoverians pushed cautiously forward against the French skirmishers occupying a field, but never really threatened the flank.    


So the main action was in the centre as the British assaulted the town. The Allies advanced behind screening units and with some long-range artillery support. When the crucial moment came they launched a column attack against each of the three front building zones. Two of the A class British columns successfully charged-in but the third met a devastating musket / canister fusillade and halted short of the target.
   



The two assaulting columns were thrown back by the defending Leger with minimal  losses and so the first assault had failed. With losses mounting the Allies parlayed to be able to recover their wounded and withdraw from the field, and so the battle was done. 


When assaulting cover in M&M you need at least two-to-one odds to stand a chance of success, especially against high quality troops. So whilst the British were well marshalled perhaps they should have focused on attacking less of the town and in greater local strength. 

Campaign Situation   

As the attack failed the French were the winners and have the option to either defend again or pursue the British back to the fortifications battle-field. Next-time the second battle at the crossroads...

  

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Key Points Napoleonic Campaign - Battle 2

The Setup

In the second battle of the campaign both sides were fighting for control of a strategically vital crossroads. In this battle the French fielded all their reinforcements so a Guards infantry brigade and cavalry brigade in addition to their infantry Division. The Prussians were supported by a British cavalry brigade.

The battlefield was fairly open with a few scattered hills and woods but was dominated by the crossroads and small Inn with a hedged enclosure. Both sides adopted roughly the same plan by massing their cavalry on their own left. The French position was slightly stronger as their right flank was covered by the Guard.

French Cavalry
 
French infantry opposite the crossroads
British and Prussian cavalry

Prussian infantry heading for the farm 

French Guards on the right
 

The Battle

The Prussians stole an early march by doubling in the first move and closing-in on both the Inn and the crossroads. In an interesting move two of the British cavalry regiments turn-in towards the centre of the field and moved swiftly towards the French. This had the effect of pinning the French infantry and delaying their advance.

Prussians seize the Inn
 
French forced into squares
After several turns of artillery fire the French were able to force the British cavalry back and so begin a cautious advance towards the crossroads.    

French begin their advance

Reverse view
On the French left their cavalry brigades began a steady advance with support from a battery of horse artillery. The Dutch troops guarding that flank quickly formed three squares to guard the advancing Prussians flank. In a classic Napoleonic manoeuvre the French artillery shook a square , before a Hussar regiment charged home routing them. They in-turn were forced back by British Hussars.       

 
French and British Hussars face-off
Back in the centre the French launched an unsuccessful assault on the Inn, but a second attack supported by the Swiss was eventually able to secure the Inn and surrounding enclosure, forcing back the defending Prussians.

The Inn falls 

This signalled a more generally advance by the French as the light began to fail and night approached. In the centre they pushed forward towards the crossroads and began a firefight with the Prussian infantry stationed there. On the right the Guard advanced and was able to force back the Prussian cavalry and British horse artillery, whilst on the left the French cavalry assaulted the Dutch.

French infantry advance

The Guards see-off Prussian Hussars 

Swiss and Irish put pressure on the centre
This largely met with success - the Guards seeing off most of the Prussian cavalry and the Dutch mostly scattered. In the centre though the Prussians clung-on and the crossroads remained contested.

The Dutch are scattered 


Crossroads contested
In the end an interesting game to fight with things swinging backwards and forwards. The Prussians started much the better with French attack somewhat stalled by the presence of the British cavalry in the centre. Things then turned towards the French as their artillery saw-off the enemy cavalry and their advance began. The Prussians staged a late rally with some spirited counter-attacks, before the French secured control and dominated both flanks. In the end though the French ran out of time and so a draw was declared.    

Campaign Situation

With the battle drawn the campaign situation remained as before with the British advancing on the French-held town and the crossroads still contested