Organising the game
The game was fought at my house on a 12ft by 6ft table. I provided the scenario and the figures. There were 5 players and I umpired. Hugh Wilson, and Donald Adamson were the French players. Dave Paterson, Mark Taylor and Scott Duncan were the Russian players. I have added a Tarutino 1812 page which gives more complete information on the game set-up, terrain map, rules used, the player briefings and order of battle. Most of the infantry are by Rava, the cavalry and Russian artillery by Foundry, French artillery by Sash and Sabre and there are also some Frontrank, Steve Barber and Frontrank figures.
|Jaegers emerge from the forest....|
Link to Flickr photoset of the game with further descriptions
I based the OB on the troops I had available taking into account to some extent the proportions at the actual battle with the Russians having 2 more brigades and more artillery. The French army deployed with 3 infantry and 3 cavalry brigades on the table with the heavy cavalry brigade in reserve of table.
The Russians deployed in 3 columns to march onto the table with the Jaeger brigade and the Hussar brigade on the right, an infantry brigade, grenadier brigade with the Dragoon brigade in the centre and their other infantry brigade, mixed cavalry brigade and Cosssack brigade on the left flank. They also had a Cuirassier brigade held back as a reserve to be committed by the umpire.
The French plan was to hold defensively effectively on their initial deployment. The Russian plan was to break the French centre and outflank with their more numerous cavalry on their left.
|Russian attack in the centre - held by the Foreign brigade|
How the game played
On the Russian left their advance was held up the dense terrain and they took most of the game to advance beyond the stream. The initial infantry to cross the steam were forced into square by the Bavarian light cavalry brigade. Eventually after repeated command failures the Cossacks crossed the stream and charged the Bavarians who drove them back of the table shaken.
In the centre the Russian line and grenadier brigades were held in check throughout the game by the foreign brigade. Each side losing a battalion. The exciting action here was by the cavalry. The Russian dragoons drove back the French hussars and were then in turn broken by the French dragoons who in their moment of victory broke and fled the field. The French called their reserve cavalry brigade of lancers and cuirassiers onto the field and the umpire allowed the Russian cuirassier brigade to deploy. The lancers charged the leading cuirassiers under initiative who counter charged and but were then hit in the flank by the French Hussars who had recovered from their earlier defeat. The brave hussars were left masters of the field as under attack from 2 sides the Cuirassiers broke and the Lancers retired disordered.
On the Russian right the jaeger brigade engaged and after a long struggle broke 3 of 4 battalions of the French left flank infantry. They were helped in this by the Hussar brigade who holding the French chasseurs at bay with 1 regiment got the other behind the French line. The highlight for the French was when one of their battalions held of a charging Russian column in front whilst charged in the rear by the hussars. Then charged again in flank and rear by the Russians they eventually broke.
|Russian cuirssiers in a bad place....|
It was agreed at the end of the game that it was tactically a draw with the Russians losing 4 infantry/cavalry units to the French loss of 5. However the French armies direct line of retreat to Moscow had been cut by the Russian success on their right where they had cut the highway.
|French heroes break to 2nd Russian attack|
One lesson if we play this scenario again. I reduced the French command rating to 6 in the first 3 turns to simulate the confusion caused by the unexpected appearance of the Russian army. This did not have enough effect so I think next time I would reduce it to 5.
I am thinking of giving the Russian infantry a version of the Valiant useful rule rather than Steady. There is no risk of failure in the first break test with Steady which I think makes it to powerful a useful rule with units surviving in quite impossible situations. Extreme example - infantry charged in flank and rear by cavalry and standing in 1st round and then turning around! Some uncertainty is required.
The standard version of Valiant allows a unit to reroll its first failed break test - that is also a very powerful advantage. I think in future I will use a version of Valiant but amended so that the unit can only reroll the first break test it makes rather than reroll its first failed break test. A good name for this would be Stoic seems appropriate for Russians.