Aug 30, 2015

Blücher in the Peninsula

I have built two 200pt armies for Blücher using the 'match stick' method employed at the Raab game. Perfect for later use, easy to store, practically free of charge, and takes very little time to complete. These are shallow defenses against the quality, by the way.
I have used the 'official' army builder included in the book, which is somewhat contrary to what I've done with the Raab scenario. If you look back at the orders of battle, most units have just an élan score and minimal abilities/modifiers. This time, using the army builder, I had to calculate with lots of modifiers, and include them on the unit bases for the sake of clarity. The printed details still need revision (some units are marked in Roman numbers only while others use Arab too; the élan was left off some etc), but this is easy to mend with a new set printed out and glued over. The French army uses a large component of the one fighting at Raab, but as you will see, this time they were not that lucky.

British OOB
I Corps
/1. Guards, élan 7, Firepower, Skirmish, Steady, Shock
/2. Foot, élan 6, Firepower, Skirmish, Steady
/3. Foot, élan 6, Firepower, Skirmish, Steady

II Corps
/1. Light Foot, élan 6, Firepower, Skirmish, Mobile, Steady
/2. Veteran Foot, élan 7, Firepower, Skirmish, Steady
/3. Foot, élan 6, Firepower, Skirmish, Steady

III Corps
/1. KGL Foot, élan 6, Firepower, Skirmish, Steady
/2. Veteran Foot, élan 7, Firepower, Skirmish, Steady
/3. Foot, élan 6, Firepower, Skirmish, Steady, attached artillery

1. Light cavalry, élan 6, Shock, Impetuous
2. Light cavalry, élan 6, Shock, Impetuous
3. Heavy cavalry, élan 7, Shock, Impetuous
Heavy artillery battery

French OOB
I Corps
/1. Ligne, élan 6, Skirmish
/2. Ligne, élan 6, Skirmish
/3. Légère, élan 6, Skirmish
/4. Veteran inf., élan 7, Skirmish
/5. Veteran inf., élan 7, Skirmish
/6. Artillery

II Corps
/1. Ligne, élan 6, Skirmish
/2. Légère, élan 6, Skirmish
/3. Dragons, élan 6, Shock
/4. Dragons, élan 6, Shock
/5. Artillery

III Corps
/1. Ligne, élan 6, Skirmish, attached artillery
/2. Ligne, élan 6, Skirmish
/3. Légère, élan 6, Skirmish
/4. Dragons, élan 6, Shock
/5. Artillery

The two armies are rather different, as the French have infantry with worse quality and larger combined arms corps, while the British have small infantry divisions and cavalry brigades without a common higher command. 
This was a solo game, but the only limitation it had was that I had known beforehand how much momentum does a side have. As the opposing forces were 200pts, per the suggestion in the rules, I used two MO dice instead of 3.

The battlefield had two prominent features: a line of hills right between the two armies, and a river cutting one flank area in half. The British had to advance and do it quickly to reach the ridge ahead, and sent a division without support across the river. The French advanced in strength, leaving artillery on a hill behind to fire above the troops' heads on the ridge crest.

The British soon suffered heavy causalties from artillery fire, but retreated behind the crest and dressed their lines.

On the other side of ther river, French dragoons caught one British foot unit in the flank and caused heavy casualties. The Brits now stood ready, unwilling to advance. The dragoons fell back behind the woods to wait for the infantry.

The British cavalry had been let loose, and overpowered the left end of the French line. One unit was routed and the other has to stop and form squares to halt the cavalry.

The French on  the left flank sent their skirmishers, but were otherwise meek to advance on the British lines.

The British cavalry fell back after weakening the French formations: after ineffective skirmishing, the British main line rolled forward to use their superior close-range firepower.

The French right was reinforced by two Dragoon units which were left behind, trying to negotiate the rough ground. The French commander directed the line-up of the attack formation personally.

Causing great casualties, but being disordered by enem fire, the Dragoons failed the charge and were pushed back.

On the British right, the cavalry charged the veteran French infantry in squares, and had been repulsed. The French cannon began to sound again, but one battery took counter-fire from the British heavy guns on the opposite hill, and had to retire.

Sensing the end of things, the French commander ordered the dragoons to cross the river and retreat on the left: the French advance then assault managed to break one British brigade, but the rest held out and the French infantry became exhausted.

In the center, the British marched into victory. The two battered Dragoon units were retreating, but somebody had to cover that retreat.

The French cannon fired their last few rounds of ammunition, breaking a British cavalry unit.

The infantry on the left succesfully disengaged and pulled back through the bridge. The British took too many casualties to pursue.

The infantry squares of the rearguard were finally broken and many were captured. The artillery was out of ammo and limbered up to leave the field. The French held out well throughout the day, but took way too many losses to continue.

Notes: the larger French army, comprising from more, but weaker units, had little chance to successfully engage the Brits. I still have had some problems with combat resolution, but the game otherwise plays really well. I hope that the match stick armies will soon return. In the meantime, I'm back to painting 1/72 Napoleonics.

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