Monday, December 17, 2012

Battle for the Bridges - Napoleonic AAR

Scott hosted a Napoleonic game using his beautiful 18mm Napoleonic collection and General de Brigade rules.  The scenario pitted Nordmann's Austrian Advance Guard attempting to hold the bridge and village as Morand's powerful division forced the crossing.  Scott moderated while Kevin commanded the French and I took the Austrians.

Initial positions show the jaeger holding the bridge while Vecsey's division approaches the village.  While the layout was expansive, only the area around the bridges witnessed much activity.
French initially have a battery deployed opposite the bridge while reinforcements pour onto the table.  Austrian grenz take up positions defending the village while the hussars pass through town to cover the lower bridge.

To counter the French threat at the lower bridge, Austrian hussars charge catching the French cavalry flat-footed.

French cavalry are sent reeling back across the bridge while a second French light cavalry regiment fords the stream below the bridge.

Morand sends skirmishers and legere to demonstrate against the jaegers in the wood line while major French efforts are made against the lower bridge.  French objective seems to be focused on an indirect approach on the village.

Nordmann's second brigade reaches the village and in an attempt to change orders, Froelich panics and his column back peddles into the third arriving Austrian brigade.  What a mess!  After a little embarrassment and a couple of turns, Nordmann begins to sort out his reinforcement arrival.  Unfortunately, the village has become a major bottleneck. 

Kevin leans, white knuckled, onto the table as the lone Austrian cavalry on the left is tasked with slowing up the entire French column.  In this delaying action, the Austrian cavalry repulse two French charges at overwhelming odds before being scattered.

Overview of the battle mid-game.  Austrians still have a major bottleneck as two brigades attempt to pass through the village simultaneously.  Skirmishing continues along the stream bank as the jaegers hold back the French.

Battle lines are beginning to form on the Austrian left as the French deploy across the stream and Austrians clear their traffic jam.  Austrian guns are brought up and unlimbered to protect the approaches to the village.  Still brash, Froelich crosses the upper bridge in pursuit of the legere.  Froelich's attack on the lone legere regiment ends in failure and consumes resources that could have been useful on the other side of the stream.

French cavalry charge the grenz but the grenz form square before the charge can hit home.  Unable to recall, the French light horse hit the square and are repulsed.

  Attacks go back and forth as opponents struggle to gain the upper hand.  In a bit of bad luck two full strength Austrian regiments fail morale checks and are dispersed. 

After the bloodletting, most formations are called upon to take brigade morale checks.  One after the other, both sides disengage as morale checks are failed.  In the end, the Austrians hang onto the village but both combatants are exhausted with few assets or willingness to continue.

Scott provided an interesting scenario with a few tactical problems for each side.  The Austrian commander faced one major problem and committed one major mistake.

The problem centered on Froelich's command failure and withdrawing his brigade into oncoming reinforcements.  The ensuing bottleneck in the village was a direct result of a tangle of orders and troops.

The mistake was in sending the headlong Froelich over the upper bridge to target one legere regiment.  Froelich's command would have been better employed on the village side of the stream to help shore up the defenses outside of the village.

Thanks, Scott! 


  1. Very colorful AAR! It looks like a day of headaches for both sides.

    And you get to game with Mr. MacPhee and some of his troops? Lucky!

    1. Gaming headaches, yes but, great comaraderie. I'm firmly in the camp that good scenario design produces tactical problems for both sides. Scott provided a scenario that did just that.

      The French player (Kevin) confirmed that he would try a different approach if we played the scenario again.

  2. He would be luckier if Mr. MacPhee would remember the rules with any precision.

    1. My luck might have improved had I brought my own dice...

  3. The trees are really nice. These Long lines of infantry are awesome.