Tally Ho!

Tuesday 30 May 2023

Leipzig, 17th October - Probstheida

This battle on the southern route of advance was the one where the Coalition had made its big push for the the day. They had a 20% points advantage but this translated into at 50% more units as the French had deployed lots of Guards units to bolster the line and the Coalition had quite a bit of Inferior infatry.  

It was also the first outing for my deeper table (5' vs 4'). My new mats have yet to arrive, hence one end being a bit bare.

The French deployed with the Germans on the right holding the village of Probsthedia. Centrally were some Guards and on their left more Guards plus the cavalry line-up to take the hill that held an objective. Their plan was to focus their cannon against anyone attacking the village. Their line was fairly long with a frontage of about 10'    

Germans refusing the right flank

Guards in the centre

Guards and cavalry on the left 

The more numerous coalition forces were able to fill the table from edge-to-edge. The Russians were massed across from the Germans and the village. Both infantry commanders were inept, which teamed with most infantry being Interior Training, could slow the attack.  Austrians held the centre with their Grenadiers making a rare outing.     

Massed Russians

Austrians and a few Swedes in the centre

The Prussians took the flank opposite the hill and the French Guards. They were able to deploy cavalry and infantry outside the French line and so threaten the flanks. They had 2-1 on numbers but 60% of the infantry were Inferior Landwehr units.     
Prussians read to attack the hill

More Prussians in a flanking position 

The battle began with both the French and Prussians advancing on the hill situated on the French left. The presence of Prussian cavalry and guns forced some of the Guards to turn to the flank to stop and attack from there. The Prussians threw all their best units up the hill, beating back the French horse and forcing the Old Guard to give ground. The routing French heavy cavalry caused some confusion in the ranks as they inflicted hits on many of the tightly packed units behind the hill.       

The Russian attack was much slower as the Inept Generals failed to issue many orders and the infantry milled about  under long range skirmish fire. They were able to charge with their cuirassiers but they bounded-off a unit of Germans.  

Pressure slowly built on the Germans but they remained in good order and were holding off the slowly advancing Russians. 

Russian attack

For the Guard on the other flank things were going much worse. The Austrian horse routed the French Hussars and the Old Guard broke under attack from two sides, exposing a unit of  Young Guard who themselves routed. Things were now bleak on the French left with Prussian troops pouring around the exposed flank.    

At the end of the evening the Germans on the French right were standing firm but had yet to face the full Russian attack as they toiled-up under dodgy brigadiers. The French centre had made cautious progress and was exchanging long-range fire with the Austrians. The French left had largely collapsed with the remaining Young Guards charged in the flank by pursuing Austrian cuirassier.     

We concluded that the French would have lost within a few turns as they were close to their 10 unit breakpoint- they were 6-0 down at that point with the Young Guards hit in the flank likely to make it 7-0. We could have fought on next week but that prospect offered little enjoyment for the French so they opted to withdraw.    

The post-match analysis offered a number of theories for the French defeat. Personally I felt the French had a decent plan of concentrating their units and attacking with the Guard while the Germans held the village. The issue could have been that they did nt really focus that much with the Guards holding about 7' of frontage with only 3 brigades and the early routing of the cavalry causing hits on key units.   

Sunday 28 May 2023

Borodino a la Asquith

This week I needed to dismantle the table at the end of the game to add another foot of depth, so we were unable to play a regular campaign game. Instead went for a scenario from the SOTE book, inspired by Stuart Asquith's article some years ago. Stuart played at the club for a while but sadly we never had the chance to play this game with him and get his personal take. 

Russian forces were deployed exactly as the scenario specified, and we were lucky to have enough figures to use Russians for the whole force, We rated all the line Inferior / Superior and the Jagers as Regular. For the French forces we added 4 x Superior units to boost them a little.

The Fleches

Russians holding a village

The French massed 2/3rds of their  infantry against the thinly held woods to the south of the Felches, hoping to burst through the centre of the Russian position. More infantry faced the Grand Redoubt while Leger and horse looked to attack to the north of Borodino 

French ready to attack Borodino

The Germans attacked strongly towards the woods and the waiting Jagers, who were supported by flanking  fire from the Fleches. They used the Leger to demonstrate against the Redoubt while their horse pushed forward near Borodino.

With the units deployed close at the start we were quickly in the action. The French blasted some Russians holding a village between the Redoubt and the Fleches but were themselves pushed back by a counter attack.  The cavalry came to blows but became bogged down as they hacked away at each other in the stream. 

The key action though was in the woods to the south. The Germans charged but were mostly halted by accurate fire from the woods and Fleches. The Russians then moved reinforcements into the woods to stabilise the position.  

So a good win for the Russians with them holding all the objectives at the end of the game. On the end we ascribed the win to the Russians Superior morale - it makes them tough to kill and likely to reaerate wounds.   

Saturday 20 May 2023

Leipzig, 17th October 1813 - Leipzig outskirts

The first of the three games for this campaign turn took place on the northern front with the French holding a line on the outskirts of town along a river bank. Sides were roughly equal but the French fields a couple of guards brigades on this occasion.

There are less pictures than normal as I was on the second table trying out some WWII aerial rules for a future game.

The French deployed over the river looking to attack the Coalition forces in a game where things were pretty even. The allies deployed left to right as Austrians, Prussians, Swedes and Russians.     

On this occasion the allies sat back the French attacked, which was a reversal of most previous battles. 

A more aggressive approach and some decent dice seemed to do the trick with the French winning their first battle of the campaign. 

Sunday 14 May 2023

Leipzig Campaign - 17th October

On the first campaign day (16th October) the Coalition forces were able to make advances on all three fronts, pushing the Grand Armee back towards Leipzig. 

Staff work was a little tardy in both sides Headquarters and so the supreme commanders each issued their own orders with the French reinforcing the south and the Coalition the south and centre. This gives three battles for the turn ahead. 

The campaign rules make provision for either side failing to issue strategic orders on the deposition of the reserves each turn and so this was invoked on this occasion. 

"If either side’s high command fails to issue orders for the turn, then allocate the reinforcements randomly using a D8: 1-2 south, 3-4 centre, 5-6 north, 7-8 counterattack a random front. If you lost no battles and are therefore ineligible to counterattack, roll again."

Tuesday 9 May 2023

Battle of Helsingborg - 1710

For our bank holiday game over the Coronation weekend we once again returned to the18th Century and for the first time V3 of Beneath the Lilly Banners. We opted for a Great North War battle with British sub'ing for the Danes.  

To quote a well known site - The Battle of Helsingborg was the last major engagement of the Great Northern War to take place on Swedish soil, and resulted in a decisive victory of a Swedish force of 14,000 men under the command of Magnus Stenbock against a Danish force of equal strength under the command of Jørgen Rantzau, ensuring that Denmark's final effort to regain the Scanian territories that it had lost to Sweden in 1658 failed. The battle was fought on March 10, 1710, in the province of Scania, just outside the city of Helsingborg, and directly on the Ringstorp heights just north-east of the city.

The battle field was pretty simple with a major hill anchoring the Danish left and the higher quality Swedish force needing to navigate some frozen ponds and streams to attack the Danes. The deployment was traditional with both sides having large cavalry wings and two ranks of infantry in the centre.  

The Swedish attack opened with a cavalry advance against the Danish left where a large hill was occupied by heavy artillery. The larger Swedish force enjoyed success and was able to push the Danes back towards the hill.  Eventually they would go on to capture the hill and one of the guns. 

Swedish advance on the Danish left

On the Danish right the Swedish advance was slower as they tried to manoeuvre into position before attacking. Things were more even here with the Danes still able to mount a defence for the full game.     

In the centre the Swedish foot toiled forwards through the frozen ponds. Once in range they exchanged a few volleys before charging into the Danes and routing them after a short struggle.  

Swedes storm the centre

The final few moves

Danes still holding their right

So the game completed after about 4 hours play with the Swedes claiming victory here as they did historically. V3 of BLB seems much better IMHO as the various mechanics are simpler and more consistent.