Thursday, June 17, 2010

Almost the Berezina, Part Une

JM Seman, Jim Naughton and I played a game of DBN very loosely based on the crossing of the Berezina River. The OOB's were taken from Nafziger's Napoleon's Invasion Of Russia' just because I think it would be a great situation to wargame. I didn't have time to try to work out balance or VC; I just tried to put together forces of a similar point value. JM, not fully indoctrinated into the DBx life (yet), eschewed the typical 'felt' terrain and set up a very nice playing area using a map from Nafziger's book. JM, pictured here, took the French, while Jim and I divvied up the Russkies.

Looking from the Russian left. JM split his meager cavalry forces on each flank, while the bulk of the Russian cavalry set up on the Russian right where there was more maneuver room. Note the Guard artillery battery on the far side of the river. A seemingly good idea, but the battle soon took the forces out of range.
From behind the Russian lines. Before you comment, yes, we used some proxies for the troops! You may notice Polish Horse artillery standing in for Russian in this pic.

Ouviller's Polish Brigade and Kleingel's Saxons.

The Russians attempt to take the fight to the French. Control of the heights in the center would be crucial. If the Russians could unlimber their artillery atop the hill, the bridges would be in jeopardy! (If we had bridges and situational VC.)

Almost the Berezina, Part Dueauxeaux

The Russian Hussars get lucky and the Hessian Chevaulegers are no more. The Russian infantry column is almost out of the woods. (Those woods are stinking with cossacks!)

Charge!!!!! The Russian Cuirassiers charge into Damas' Brigade of Berg infantry and some lowly Baden Hussars. However, even with the limited charge distance, the Berg infantry rolls well and forms square, ready to repulse the charge. In the foreground, swarms of cossacks wait to overwhelm the survivors.

The charge is repulsed with losses. The Russians have recoiled and taken at least one hit each. The Berg infantry has done their job.

So, here's a look at the final positions. Unfortunately time ran out (the store closed) before either side could claim satisfaction. In the foreground, Hochberger's Baden regiments, along with the Baden Jager battalion square off against the Russian Hussars. The Russians on this end were plagued with low CAP rolls and a stingy, greedy CinC who wouldn't give us any and left us to die. (Historically, the Russian commanders did not get along. Jim's CinC'c CAP die rolls were not great either.) In the middle, the Saxons continue their advance and the fight rages over the heights on the far end.

It's potentially a great situation for a well balanced scenario. Each side had about 7000 infantry with the Russians having a 4-1 advantage in cavalry and a 2-1 advantage in artillery, but most of the French forces were elite. With Jim's expertise in Napoleonic OOB's and combat mechanics and JM's acumen in balancing a situation, I think we may be able to put together something publishable. We'll see.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

DBR: Scots Covenanters vs. Low Country Spanish Part I

Jim Naughton and I sat down to play a 5oo point DBR game pitting my Scots Covenanters versus his Low Country Spanish. I won the terrain and put out a few hills on my side and a woods. Then Jim placed an even higher hill right in the center of the table and blocking the lines of sight from the other hills, so I was forced to set up on the tall center hill which meant I was already half way across the table. Not knowing what he had, and he getting to set up second, I was unsure how to proceed. What I finally decided was to put my small artillery command in the center flanked by the two halves of my main pike and shotte line. In this way, I could protect them and extend my line even further to the ends of the table. My attack wing would sweep up the end of his line and if he sent a counter attack that direction I had an ambush of some Highlander warbands in the woods. It was a great plan except that it was an illegal set-up. I could not place one command within the confines of another to start. I could have put the artillery on the hill and the main line behind it, then marched half to each side, but I was feeling bad for delaying the start
so I just moved the artillery to the flank and decided it would be a quick game as I essentially sacrificed one command out of three. (I was too tired to think straight, not that that excuses me much anyway. I had put together the army at about 2:30am when I couldn't sleep and did a piss poor job of it. I knew it but was too tired to care much.) The first pic is of Jim's army deployed for battle.

A shot of the bristling pike and shot line of the Scots! The figs are Museum Miniatures and I got most of them during their $.20 sale last summer. I should have bought more!
My attack wing, or so I thought. My second line of lancers and dragoons and half the shot will have to be redeployed to save my left flank.

As described, my artillery hangs in the open as the Spanish head for them like sprinters at some Renaissance Olympics.

DBR: Scots Covenanters vs. Low Country Spanish Part II

Great Gadzooks! Highlanders with guns! For an army with 47 different words for 'drinking till you puke', is this really a good idea?

The cavalry to the rescue! Scots lancers and dragoons March Move to prevent a total rout of the Scots left. The Forlorn Hope can be seen dirtying their knickers as the Spanish column advances. At least their general has decided to fall on hos sword with them and moves out in the hopes his dead body will slow down Spanish horses.

Highlander pike flanked on both sides by lowlander shot.

Poor buggers. The shot assigned to help protect the artillery become unwittingly (unwillingly?) a Forlorn Hope and try to act as a speed bump for the Spanish cavalry. They did manage to hold on long enough, but made the ultimate sacrifice!

The Spanish line was broken somewhat by Scottish shot as they approached the hill. Eventually though, they would cause a headache on the extreme left of the Scots line as they had to repeatedly peel off shot to deal with the enemy. It could have compromised the entire Scottish position but luckily they held on long enough for the reinforcements to arrive.

DBR: Scots Covenanters vs. Low Country Spanish Part III

The main Spanish battle line approach the Scots. A better shot of my set-up fuck up. The few shot and the command general of the artillery have peeled off the artillery park to act as a speed bump while the reinforcing lancers and dragoons get into position.
The second line of shot have also formed column to march to the idiot general's aid.

The highlander warbands emerge from their ambush in the woods. Woefully out of position, they try to haul ass and also support the crumbling left flank.

On the Scottish right, the pistols form up double rank for the support it provides even though it may not help them against the Spanish lancers. The Spanish light horse are breaking up and fleeing due to withering and relentless Scot shot.

The Scottish lancers and dragoons deploy in line to repel the inevitable cavalry charge after the artillery park gets overrun.

A look through the Scottish pike at the approaching Spanish.

DBR: Scots Covenanters vs. Low Country Spanish Part IV

Another overview of the battle. On the Scottish right, the cavalry battle rages as my Pistols got really lucky against Jim's lancers and now need just one more element to break his command. I learned long ago, that it is OK to be lucky! The artillery park is miraculously still holding on. On the left of the hill you can see where an entire file of 4 pikes have had to retreat to avoid dying of the peeled off shot have to recoil into their flank. It further complicates where my reinforcing shot can get to. A classic example of starting to peel away the flanks of a pike and shot line and further proof of the shitty starting positions of my artillery. (But we knew that.) As it turned out, the situation stabilized and it didn't really end up hurting me too much.

The Scottish left as the battle reaches it's climactic moments. The Spanish cavalry has now formed for the charge as the Scottish artillery is finally gone. A terrible waste of points they were, because I squandered them, yet, this was by far the best luck I have ever had with artillery as they punched several holes in the Spanish lines.

The Scots Pistols on their right engage the Spanish general of that command by running through the lines and getting an element in his rear (how the Spanish like it), and another in the front (how the Scots like it). If they can kill him, the Spanish command will break and the game will be even. The fight on the hill rages and PIPS are spent to realign the shot and further disrupt the Spanish line. On the far left, 1 PIP is spent to back up the last Scottish lancer so he doesn't die when the shot inevitably recoils. Really high PIP scores helped me be mobile almost the entire game.

The final positions. The Scots are still firmly entrenched on the center hill and the Scottish attempt to whack the Spanish general on the right has failed, dooming the Blue Bonnets to a narrow defeat. Had they been able to finish off the Spanish general it would have been a draw. I feel the left was going to be OK, especially with the Shot and Highlander Warbands coming to the rescue, and the hill was going to be a tough nut to crack. From this point on it was going to be a fight of attrition.
All in all, I really liked the army and how it worked. Next time, I won't organize it at 2:30am when I can't sleep and spread out the cavalry and artillery as it should be. I am looking forward to trying it again.