Friday, 15 March 2019

The Battle of d'Artenay-Pas-Vraiment - 1870 A Franco-Prussian batrep

Last weekend the Rejects got together for our first Franco-Prussian game in 2 years. Here's a link to the last game in 2017. The figures are owned by Reject Richard, so he reffed the game, which meant Postie would get a very usual game where he wasn't in charge!!!
It should have been a 10 o'clock start but 2 naughty boys turned up late!!!! Lee (link to Lee's post) and Surj. Lee got stuck the wrong side of the QE2 bridge due to high winds while Surj completely forgot about the game!!!

Anyway 2 hours later than scheduled me and James picked out the French, while Surj, Postie and Lee picked out the Prussians.

The Setup
This is a hypothetical scenario based on the military situation at the time. August and September of 1870 have seen the irresistible onslaught of the Prussian War Machine against an ill-prepared and poorly lead French Army. The Prussians and their allies under the direction on Moltke have swept the Imperial French forces from the North and have commenced the siege of Paris. However, the Teutonic hoard has failed to destroy the armies of Napoleon III, allowing them to retreat in a disordered fashion to Orleans to try and regroup. 

In order to counter the threat of a French counter-attack to lift the siege of Paris, Moltke has ordered a probe in strength towards Orleans with the intention of pushing Napoleon away south and perhaps capturing Orleans in order to stop its use as a base and rallying point for the French. 

Both sides were given a briefing, each of which contained detailed objectives and advice

French Briefing
James and myself were given the following orders...
This was going to be difficult, for every turn after turn 5 that we held Villechat and Assas we would earn points. For every turn after 7 , we would earn points for all the other buildings.
So all we had to do was hold on!!!

The Initial set up
The Order of Battle
French Army
18th Line (8)* (in Assas), 18th Line (8) (in Villerchat), 96th Line (16) (in Autroche), 45th Line (16) (in Artenay), and 50th Line (16) (in the Station)
*Number of figures in the unit

Deployed by towns with Divisions
2 x 4pdr & 1 x Mitrailleuse

Deployed across Orleans road and railway south of Artenay.
48th Line (16), 36th line (16), 74th Line (16), 78th Line (16), 1st Zouaves (16), 1st Turcos (16), 2nd Turcos (16), and 3rd Turcos (16)

Arriving at Point F in turn of players choosing
8th Cuirassier (12), 9th Cuirassier (12), 3rd Dragoons (12), and 10th dragoons (12)

Arriving Turn 3 at Point E at Umpires Discretion (Never deployed)
1st Grenadiers (Line) (16), 2nd Grenadiers (Line) (16), 3rd Grenadiers (Line) (16), 1st Voltigeurs (16), and 1x 12 Pdr

Prussian/Bavarian Army
Bavarians deployed in deep column between Dambon and Railway line, north of La Boule D’or farm. 
Lieb Regiment (20), 1st regiment (20), 3rd Line (20), 4th Line (20), 8th Line (20), 10th Line (20), 13th line (20), Jagers (20), and 2 x 4pdr

Prussians deployed on road between point C and Poupry
IR 2 1st Pomeranian Gren (20), IR42 (20), IR15 (20), IR54 (20), IR9 Colberg gren (20), IR21 (20)
IR61 (20), and 2 x 4pdr

Prussians arriving on road at point D,
IR 8 Leib Grenadier (20), IR48 (20), IR12 (20), IR52 (20), IR20 (20), IR35 (20), IR24 (20), IR64 (20), and 2 x 4pdr

Prussians arriving turn three at entry point B north of Assas and Villerhay
7th Magdeberg Cuirassier (12), 6th Brendenberg Cuirassier (12), 16th Altmark Uhlans (12), 3rd Brandenberg Uhlans (12), and 1 x 4pdr Horse Artillery

Prussians arriving at point B from East on road to Artenay
1st Leib Garde Hene-Dormstadt (20), 2nd Grosse Herzog Regt Hene-Darmstadt (20), 3rd Regt Hene-Darmstadt (20), 4th Regt Hene-Darmstadt (20), and 1 x 4 pdr

This was the most important area for us, both towns had troops in, but we didn't have a lot
of  spare troops if things started to go wrong.

Artenay on the left the Railway Station on the right
Top right, the village of Assas

Ready and waiting for Surj's Bavarian troops!

Postie was on our left 

Looking as though he would attack the village of Autroach.

While Lee, sat in the corner, like the bad boy he is!!
An hour late for a game ! Tut Tut!

On a rare day out, Postie starts moving his troops.

I think Surj is going to leave Assas?
That's handy!

My artillery takes a pot shot and misses!

We decided to move around the flank and try to hold up the coming Bavarian onslaught.

I sent the other half on the brigade to the centre.
That poor French line unit looks a little exposed in the centre!

Like on my flank, James moves out, to try and delay the attack on Autroach.

OOO Reinforcements!!
Richard hinted we may get some cavalry, but we weren't expecting
this much.

And very nice they look too!

Richard uses the excellent set of rules for the Franco-Prussain period, "They died for Glory"
The French can fire their muskets 18 inches, the Prussian only 12.
So that really helps out if you're defending. 

Booo Hisss
Postie, Surj and Lee
The enemy

There's a lot of troops heading our way!!

The thin Blue line.......

Prussian reinforcments.
Lee finally arrives!

With infantry right on my bloody flank!!!

Not to mention the Cavalry to the front of my columns

Into skirmish formation I go

While James moves back, out of their range but still in ours!!

Oh crap!
My artillery on the Orleans road is destroyed.
I need to plug that gap fast before they exploit the situation.

Our Cavalry square up!

Lee changes into skirmish and fires at my horse. Because hes caught me in column 
they are automatic hits!!  So that's 2 stand of of 2 units!

They're getting closer

Through musketry I force some of the Bavarian's to go prone.

James does the same to Posties columns

Lee charges in and I countercharge.
I did get a bit shirty here! Surj was bending the rules and got away with it.
All 4 of Lee's units were able to charge, when they shouldn't have!!
I had hoped to get Lee in the flank with their daft move, but didn't gain the bonus.

James continues the firing with artillery, a Mitrailleuse and infantry.

What's going on here then?
Surj changes all his units into skirmish? You can't attack towns in skirmish?


and after the melee!
For a change, Lee's cavalry runs bloody riot!!!
Knocking back one of mine while I knock back 1 of his.

I pulled back my flank attack and plugged the road.

Posties artillery on the extreme left is playing havoc with James' infantry.
One units fails its morale and runs back.

Lee smashes my remaining Cavalry!!
Its usually the other way round!!!!

As my Cavalry run away, Lee's infantry splits up , some head for 
Villechat the rest edge closer to the Station.

What the hell's wrong with Lee!
winning with the horse and charging buildings too!
Again it works for him as he takes Villechat.
This is turn 6 so we've already earned points from both towns.

James takes a calculated risk and charges his skirmishers against Posties.
It works perfectly.
Its a draw to melee will continue next turn. This blocks Posties attack for another turn.

An ariel view of the main field
We're slightly outnumbered, but still holding on.

Postie charges the building

But bounces back off after James' excellent musket fire!

I form a line against the railtrack. It gives me a little defence as its slightly raised.

Another Cavalry charge

Which Lee wins again!!
At this point I checked the bottom of his shoes, incase he's trod in somthing!

The Prussians march on, but are stopped on the road as fire from the Station and railway track force
Lee to go prone.

Surj's constant fire on the town finally pays off. My unit is in serious trouble.
So I move it out and replace it with the one guarding the road.

Naughty Lee gets a chimney stuck up his nose!

That looks a little better. Our line is plugged, while the Prusso-Bavarian line are pushed back.
Even though There are more troops hurrying down the road in the centre .

And there the game ended on turn 6. Which was a shame it was just gonna get juicy!
Due to the fact that the French had managed to hold on to Assas for 2 turn and Villachat for 1 turn past turn 5 the victory went to us the French.

The game was still very wide open and could still have gone either way over the coming turns. The Prussians were just about to unleash their numerical superiority on us, with the infantry reinforcement to the front and flank. 
I'm not sure why Surj held his attack on the town for so long, just trying to use musket fire to where us down instead of charging, at least Postie gave it a go and charged. Surj didn't? After all that's what the game was about, take the towns as quick as possible for the Prussians, hold on for as long as possible for the French.
At the end of the game we managed to still hold 4 of the 5 Prussian targets at the end of turn 6, which shouldn't have happened, If the game would have started earlier on then it could well have been a Prussian victory? 
Me and James will take the slim victory for what it is, we stuck to our plan and we just tried to slow them down where ever we could, which worked well.

Great game, great rules, well done Richard!