As with our last colonial period game I set the table out to play 'long ways' to allow for movement and ranges. Looking back I actually had too much terrain to allow for the ranges to have effect.
Jack and Bob commanded the French and I managed the Prussians and allies. There are a lot of pictures in this report sorry, I couldn't resist trying to show the figures!
I set it up with a unit of French Chassuers (skirmishers) one side of a fordable stream behind hedges to slow the Prussian advance. They also has the help of a couple of cavalrymen they picked up on the way. Along the stream itself was a brigade made up of 2 newly raised regiments of French Infantry in their Crimean War uniform and a regiment of zouaves. At the back edge of the table was the main French army and their artillery.
The French positions
The Prussians had a regiment of Silesian rifles out front skirmishing, with Prussian infantry in the centre left and on the left flank. The Wurtemberg infantry made up the centre right with the Bavarians on the right flank. The extreme right was covered by a light cavalry brigade of Prussian Hussars.
The Prussians took the initiative and I moved forward my skirmishers who were soon engaged in an exchange with their French opposite numbers.
The Prussian infantry and the allies only managed to edge forward. Their advance being slowed by the various hedges and fields
.I had in mind when I set the table up that the French front line would hold and wait for the main force to join them. Jack on the other hand, ordered Bob to withdraw from the river and join up with the advancing main body.
Not all the main body of the French army got the order to advance! Indeed a number of units and officers seemed to be more interested in the young ladies who had come along!
Some French units did manage to advance
The rifles moved forwards on the French Skirmishers. At this point Bob asked Jack what he was going to do about the Chasseurs? To which Jack replied "are they ours?". The decision was made that it was a bit late and they would just stay where they were!
The Prussian allies meanwhile were flanking the Chasseurs supported by the cavalry brigade and in the centre the Prussian brigade was starting to make some progress..
Jack likes his cavalry and brought forward the Chasseurs d'Afrique.
I charged forward with my light cavalry. The ensuing melee ended in a draw, thanks to Bob and Jack having more supports and both side withdrew.
I brought forward my guns,
The French advance quickens and their Marines find water and feel at home!
the French guns are ready to deploy.
My advance didn't seem to be going too well.
but my guns were now on the high ground!
Jack's newly raised troops suffered numerous hits and failed a Break Test, fleeing from the line.
driving them from the field.
It worked, with the Guard breaking.
The Prussian allies on the right flank pushed forward to the stream.
The French mitrailleuse jammed, but Jack managed to get it going next turn causing serious damage 4 casualties and no saves. It then jammed again the following turn thank goodness. The damage was done, combined with concentrated rifle fire the Bavarian and Wurtembergers suffered and were forced to flee.
My Prussians were in a bit of a state. The right flank had collapsed and the central Prussian regiments were being flung back by overwhelming rifle fire. I decided to organise an orderly retreat, only to roll a double 6, get a Blunder test and advance the entire brigade.
It was a mess!
The guns and cavalry covered my retreat, leaving the French in command of the table.
Jack looking pleased at the outcome!
With hindsight I think we both could have left our artillery where it was and fired over our advancing troops, but you get a bit blinkered into line of sight firing hence we both set off for the high ground!
The eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed French and Prussian limber teams. The horses are S range as are the riders which are conversions. Head swaps in the case of the French or simple paint jobs in the case of the Prussians. The Prussians have borrowed the British limber for the game (they now have their own nice blue one!). These are very simple conversions and I will have a separate item on how I made them.
This was the first time I have had my Franco Prussian forces on the table and I used some French units from my Crimean War Army without realising the imbalance of the forces. The French had a large numerical superiority over the Prussians and their allies, even allowing for the French Crimean infantry being classed as 'newly raised' to down grade them a bit and make the French army more fragile (didn't work!) I have some Bavarians on the work bench which will go a little way to balancing things up.
It was a good game and the rules despite what everyone says worked well enough to give us an enjoyable game that moved along at a pace.