French scouts reported back that a Russian force was advancing towards the only bridge and ford in the area. A mixed French force was immediately dispatched to take and hold the bridge and ford to enable artillery and supplies to continue their advance.
The French force consisted of:
2 Infantry brigades each of 3 regiments of infantry
1 Infantry brigade of 1 regiment of infantry
1 light cavalry brigade of 3 regiments Chasseurs au cheval
1 heavy cavalry brigade of 2 regiments of Cuirassiers/Carabineers
2 batteries of horse artillery
Against them was a Russian force of:
3 Infantry brigades each of 3 regiments of infantry
1 light cavalry brigade of 5 regiments of Uhlans
1 regiment of Cossacks
1 regiment heavy cavalry Cuirassiers
2 batteries of horse artillery
Determined to take and hold the position.
Bob conducted operations for the Russians whilst I commanded the French.
Some of my French forces
Amongst the obstacles separating the two forces a 'flock of sheep'.
Anyway back to the game itself...for those who have used the Black Powder rules, you will know the frustration of orders not being responded to. Bob won the initiative and suffered badly from a lot of inactivity on his first move but some infantry did manage to get going.
I on the other hand was able to advance my troops and change formation ready for the Russians.
an early round of artillery found it's mark on one of the Russian battalion causing it to stop.
The large mass of Russian cavalry (mostly dreaded lancers!) on my left flank finally got going and headed at speed towards my small heavy cavalry brigade.
Meanwhile in the centre and right an infantry fire fight developed with Russian infantry moving through the woods and fields.
Meanwhile on my left the Russian cavalry struck home. One Cuirassier Regiment saw off its opponent causing them to break and run, but the other regiment suffered badly being all but wiped out.
Faced with a threat of cavalry to the front and flank my infantry regiments formed squares. Sensing victory Bob ordered a regiment of Uhlans and another of Cuirassiers to charge the squares.
Basically the rules are constructed so that a formed square cannot fail to cause casualties on every dice roll (6 at a time). So you need some very good saving throws to to survive.
One square saw off and destroyed two cavalry regiments on the basis of these rules, but was left on the brink of breaking (probably a good reflection of reality). A third cavalry unit would definitely have broken it but the waste was enormous. However, having experimented we put the cavalry back were they started and carried on as if the charge had not happened.
With all the Russian cavalry movement on the left a gap appeared between the Russian right and centre and I sent forward my cavalry to try to take advantage of it, create a threat and stop the Russian having a free for all on the left.
The French cavalry turned to take on their Russian counterparts. This was always going to be something of an unequal struggle with light cavalry pitted against the remaining Uhlans, but in they went.
Bob's cavalry ultimately won, but enough damage was caused to them to prevent them exploiting the gaps caused by his early victory over the French heavy cavalry. It also relieved pressure on the infantry squares who were able to reform under a cavalry screen.
More infantry fire on the right saw one of the French regiments fail a break test and leave the field. With the other two regiments weakening as well. the remainder of the brigade withdrew behind the next line.
Bob looks on delighted at his infantry firing. The local peasant continues to harvest the corn regardless of all the bullets flying around!
The game ended more or less with honours even. Fortunately, apart from the odd failure to move we didn't have a repeat of an entire brigade not moving for the whole of the game which help the enjoyment. It was good to try out the 'Square' rules in the middle of the game. It shows the need for artillery or infantry to be close by, which mirrored the reality of the period and also that if you really were desperate and had enough cavalry you could break a square but at a high price.