Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Franco-Prussian War Batrep - The Battle of Les Collines qui Bouge, August 1870

Reject Richard umpired a 15mm Franco-Prussian game last weekend. Its the first Franco-Prussian game I've played for years, in pre-blog days they were a staple game in the shed, but they've been sitting on the backburner for years, so it was great to get them out again.
That's not to say that they're not gamed with, Richard plays regular games with his nipper James, who came along to the game and actually challenged myself and Ian!!!
I heard many a tale of woe from Richard over the past few years of how James is a
 Generalissimo dice god, so we accepted the Challenge with trepidation!!!

Now Richard is a clever ol' chap and designed a pre-game deployment system, that was
for want of  better words "Bloody Good!"
Above is the table as we first saw it, placing a commander (representing brigade of troops) in any area of our side of the table, Ian and myself were the Prussians, while Lil Generalissimo James was the French.
Each side must place their commands, including any blinds.  Each side must then choose ten cards which are then shuffles and dealt to produce a hand of three.  From this the players can move, remove, add terrain, delay troops and advance.  This continues until the last card is added to the defending player’s hand.  This all represents initial manoeuvring and deployment to “kind of” simulate something more campaign-like.
The players then have a quiz to determine who controls the weather the night before.  Wet means that the Prussian artillery is disadvantaged for the first four turns – soft ground equals unreliable percussion fuses.

And here's the table after the Pregame deployment.
Note the hill in the centre of the French lines has gone and been replaced by walling (not too sure what's worse?) And a town has moved from the centre French side to our deployment zone. The other main change was a bigger wood on the French centre right.

Generalissimo James' plan was easy.....defend!

We decided to attack both flanks and try and pin the centre, forcing James to reinforce the flanks
then maybe attack the centre.

The troops
Prussian Army
1 cavalry division consisting of 1 cuirassier, 1 uhlan and 1 dragoon
4 brigades of 4 units and one artillery piece each
1 reserve brigade consisting of 4 Bavarian units and an artillery battery
1 corps artillery reserve of 2 4pdr batteries
400 infantry figures

French Army
1 cavalry division consisting of 2 cuirassier and 1 hussar
3 brigades of 4 units and one artillery piece each (1 had a mitrailleuse)
1 reserve brigade consisting of 4 guard units and a 12 pounder battery (never arrived)
192 infantry figures

The French right.

The French centre and left

Prussian Cavalry on our extreme left flank.

Its a long way around that flank?

We pushed forward in the first move and were hit by small arms fire immediately.
The French had hidden troops in all the villages, James' dice rolling was ridiculous!!
My Leib Guard unit was down a 1/4 already and they hadn't even seen the French yet!

The same happend to Ian on the left, although not so damning, French sniper fire from
 the farmhouse stopped him in his tracks. Also the French started to bring their Cavalry forward?

Ian redeployed his line to counter the Farmhouse and the Cavalry.

I moved around the wood, it would have been more direct to go through but a lot slower.

Generalissimo James photobombing!

Prussian Dragoons, lead from the front.

Followed by the heavier Lancers and Cuirassiers.

James bought his Cavalry forward again.

While I moved up to take the farmhouse and unsettle the French right flank.

Ian moved up his second line, his front line fired at the horse and.......

some died, and some ran away!

All's looking good for the Prussians.......but I've still got to attack Zouves, in a wood 
behind a wall.....Hmm?

I was stuck in the centre, my artillery couldn't hit a barn door, while James' could!
So I had to just sit and wait and take it.

Ian pushed forward, following the French Horse.

Ah! Re-inforcements!
The Bavarians!

James moved troops onto the back hill to defend against my Cavalry, which weakend his lines.

So I pushed forward in the centre.

And on the left flank. I decided to aim my attack at the unit at the edge of the wood,
Hence the two coloumns.

Ian pushed forward again, while James formed a defensive line with his Mitrailleuse
in the centre.

Ian's artillery pounded James' lines

I pushed forward in the centre, taking heavy casualties.

James regained control of his last Cavalry unit and charged Ian's infantry.
It was close, but the Prussians won the fight and sent the French fleeing back.

Getting closer!!


My Dragoons were blown away by musket fire, so to were
half of my Cuirassier unit!

One Prussian line unit fails its morale and flees back.

Going for the artistic shot here, shame about the plastic box!

Combined artillery......poor French!

Got him!
James' Zouves flee, leaving a large gap in the French lines.

Getting messy down the right flank.

James had to move another unit from the centre to his right.

To try and counter me on the flank.

Some disastrous morale throws from Ian.
Thins out his lines....here we go again!!

The Cavalry were doing their job. Both units charged...

Only the Lancers made it in..

I also just managed to charge the French line at the wall, although I hit the flank,
I had no bonus's as we were in the woods.

James' lines stared to thin out.

So did both our centres
We both must be close to leaving the field soon....surly?

Ian pushed forward, pushing back 1 French line unit.

I went into skirmish line, a much safer formation!?!

I lost both melees, my dice let me down again, while James' didn't
Jammy little Generlissimo!!

A very weak looking centre for both sides.

Our artillery started to tell in the end.

At the end of the turn, the French had just reached their casualty marker so after a very brave fight retreated from the field with honour! 
That made two very relived Prussians, we would never live it down, getting our butt kicked by
a 9 year old. Poor Richard has this problem daily!
Hopefully Generalissimo James carries on wargaming and one day will
become a full blown Reject!

Losses by end of game
French 53 infantry figures, all three cavalry regiments
Prussians 87 infantry figures, half of all cavalry figures
Recalculated points score was Prussian 10 French 8

P.S I should have mentioned we were using the most excellent "They Died for Glory" Rules!


  1. Good report, good for James and he very nearly beat you two tits!

    1. He very nearly did! We were both worried up until the last 10 minutes!

  2. Great looking game Ray, reminds me to dig out my own FPW collection

    1. You don't see enough FPW games for some strange reason?

  3. Wha t a great looking game Ray, splendid!

    1. Cheers Phil, glad you enjoyed the report.

  4. Just escaped a smack down by a young pup!
    Someone gets to control the weather? Nice. Looks like you rained on James' parade.

  5. Great stuff! And good for James! My own boy frequently thrashes me...not sure whether it's his good tactics or my poor ones!

    1. James certainly gave us a run for our money!

  6. Nice report.

    Hope to see you on Sunday.

  7. Hi Ray!
    My first post on your blog :)

    Pauvres Français! always beaten...
    For correction in title, in french "les collines qui bougent" :)

    1. Cheers Jason, I'll have a chat with Richard about the title!

    2. You are quite correct, but Ray was rushing me to email some details. I got it in the neck from my French wife as well!!!

  8. A near run thing: always the best result. Excellent report. I'm impressed that you managed to capture the action so well--when I try to do that while playing, I wind up getting distracted and forgetting about the camera for large swatches.

    1. Can't remember having such a close battle for quite a while Ed. And it is a chore trying to remember to take the pics!

  9. That is a great one, Ray! Much tension and decision making at every turn. Two players difficult to beat? First time players and kids! Thanks for upholding the honor of "our" generation!

  10. Great looking table and figures. Now you've got me itching to start a new period of gaming. (Darn you!)

  11. excellent report and table. thanks.

  12. Excellent battle, Ray! Interesting sight.

  13. Great looking game and excellent report!

  14. Well done Ray! If I've learned anything in wargaming it's not to play against kids. The dice gods seem to favor them heavily. "If you can roll all 1's with these 12 dice your units will take no casualties.... 1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,etc..."

    1. He did seem to have his, my and Ian's luck all time!

  15. Great report Ray. Looks awesome!

  16. "Les collines qui bougent" or "la colline qui bouge" you must make your choice sir. ;)
    Great game indeed

  17. Great pictures and report Ray! Thanks for sharing!


  18. A fine looking game. Glad you pulled through.