Friday 6 December 2019

First battle in the Hut

Tony, Goya and Nigel humoured me on Wednesday by coming over to play an inaugural game in the Hinton Hut. The scenario was non-historical and featured a Prusso-Russo-Austrian army fighting against the French. The troops were pre-deployed to provide four equal commands and we diced to see who got what. Tony became Napoleon on the French right aided by Goya as Bessieres on his left, I got Blucher on the allied left whilst Nigel as Gneisienau took the right.

As usual with my Muskets & Marshals games there were several objectives worth VPs and the game ran for 8 turns. At the end of play the objective VPs were totalled, and an additional VP was awarded for each enemy unit destroyed or routing. On this occasion all the figures used were from my own collection as I was keen to give them a run out in their new surroundings.

The allied right under Nigel (aka The Archduke) in his element
with both Austrians and Russians under his command.
My position on the allied left, the die decreed that I got to
command the Prussians which seemed only right really.
With the game underway Nigel's front line is starting to take
casualties from artillery and skirmisher fire.
My own troops were more fortunate as the first few French
cannon shots seemed to bounce off them. 
On the other side of the field the French were preparing to
attack along the central road with three line battalions supported
by the Guard.
The first clash of the game was between my Silesian Hussars
and Tony's lancers. As you can see, my Hussars have not yet
shaken off their 'new unit' status.
Rather uncharacteristically the French immediately started a
general advance which rather back-footed Nigel and I. This is
the view from behind the French left.
We were heartened however when Nigel's Hussars won an
initial round of melee against the Guard lancers.
But on came the infantry regardless.
It was clear by now that Napoleon really meant business and
in response we ordered our front rank units into line to
maximise fire-power.
The French steamroller edges forward although men (and
Colonels) were starting to fall.
Meanwhile the 10th legere were having a quiet time safe
within the walls of a farm. The farm was not an objective
however the square counter on the road was worth 10VPs
to us - if we could get there!
Getting there was looking increasingly unlikely although we
did have the odd spot of success such as my cuirassiers seeing
off Tony's lancers.
By now Goya's artillery and skirmishers were taking a toll
on Nigel's front line.
And Tony was pushing on unrelentingly in the centre.
On our extreme right the Austrian Hussars suffered the
indignity of being put to flight by DK cuirassier/dragoons.
But in the centre things were getting really serious as the
French columns went in with the bayonet.
And although our muskets took a deadly toll...
...our front line was soon broken.
At the same time Goya was adding pressure from the
French left - here the 105th ligne can be seen supporting the
combined grenadier battalion.
Finally the emperor deemed it time to commit the Guard.
While Ney personally led the 85th ligne against my new
Russian unit (this caused a slight conflict of interest for Nigel
as he had painted the 85th for me a couple of years ago).
With the front line gone the French now pushed into our
reserves including the Prussian Guard.
Our spirits sank however as the Guard were disordered by a
charge from the 9th legere...
...and even the personal intervention of Blucher (+1 to morale)
could do nothing to stop the rot.
Things were a little better on Nigel's front but not enough to
make much difference to the final result.
The final VP tally was 22 to the French and, er, zero to us!

It was a great game even though Nigel and I were well and truly trounced. Perhaps in retrospect I should have put a bit more thought into balancing the troop types on each side, although of course we did have the Landwehr so really there was no excuse to lose!

My thanks to the visiting generals and particularly to Tony and Nigel who battled rush hour traffic to make the 10.00am start.