On the weekend of 19 – 20 January 2019 the latest campaign game was played. While I write up the official report with pictures of the action, here is an amusing take on the battle from one of the French commanders.
Set up – France’s 22nd Division on French left is deployed along the bank of River Spree, 21st Division holds Bautzen, 29th Division hold the French the right wing
Russians face French left wing, deploying from behind the hills 6ft in from left table edge and extending up to Bautzen. Prussians deploy opposite Bautzen and the French right wing.
Battle commences at 7am.
The allies have cossacks everywhere scouting out the enemy. They have been tracking the movements of Oudinot’s forces and hindering their progress, delaying them enough to give the allies a major advantage.
Turn 1. Russians advance on French left, reaching the left-most bridge. They position their belt-fed automatic artillery batteries on the hill overlooking the French left and start pouring fire into the French infantry. Prussians advance and unlimber hordes of batteries opposite Bauzten and cavalry advances down the right flank. In a revolutionary new tactic, all the Allied cavalry form dense masses to manoeuvre more quickly and to allow more regiments to be packed into the frontline.
France’s 22nd Division extends to the left – a heroic thin “blue” line in the face of vast hordes of Russians! French right wing consolidates along the Spree tributary.
Turn 2: Yorck arrives. Russians sweep across river while Russian artillery start to mow down French battalions holding a thin line along the river. Musket and artillery fire around Bautzen.
Turn 3: Tormasov arrives. Russian Guard Cuirassiers charge into the French left formations. A French battalion panics and fails to form square (snake eyes1), who then suffer eight casualties in a turn, then the Guard cuirassiers make a sweeping advance but halted in hand-to hand-combat with a second battalion. The French General starts to wonder if Terry has played a cunning trick by Terry in making the French use the blue ‘N” dice. French players demand an inquiry into whether Terry has used Dark Magicks to curse the blue dice.
French left wing falls back.
Turn 4: On the French left Russian Guard Cossacks destroy a second French battalion (because really, why bother forming square at all), resulting in a broken brigade (2nd Brigade under Bouquet). More artillery fire around Bautzen. On the French right flank Russian Guard Uhlans charge across the tributary of the Spree and destroying a Bavarian battalion. A sweeping advance fails.
Musket and artillery duels continue along the front.
Turn 5: Oudinot scheduled to arrive. With their superior intelligence (snigger), the Russians anticipate Oudinot’s arrival and position three Russian Guard and Grenadier battalions to await him, supported by the Guard Cuirassiers. In the centre Prussian jaegers stream across the Spree advancing on Bautzen. Tormasov’s cavalry mass on French right wing, with horse artillery emplaced.
The French still think they have a chance until they see the Moscow Opolchenie marching forward from their reserve position. The site of these awesome forces puts the French army into full flight.
The French capitulate. Or the advance of the Moscow Oplochenie after the battle had ended resulted in ironic cheers, but the Russian commander was delighted that his new units had finally been able to move!.
Back in Paris Napoleon is informed of the disaster on the Spree. 50 battalions cut to shreds by allied cavalry. Green French infantry unable to form adequate squares and skewered by Cossack spears. The total absence of French cavalry and artillery is laid bare and the populace is baying for a resumption of hostilities.
In order to appease the rioting crowds and attempt to replenish their infantry, the Allies are forced to sue for an armistice.