Victorian Napoleonic Championships, Tyler's Report

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Tyler
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Posts: 35
Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 3:50 pm

Victorian Napoleonic Championships, Tyler's Report

Post by Tyler » Mon Jul 21, 2014 5:23 am

This weekend past, the 19th and 20th July, saw Australia's first ever Field of Glory Napoleonic tournament. Organised and umpired by the unflappable Richard Gordon, with historically inspired scenarios on each table. Players brought 650 point and 800 point lists, and depending on the scenario and their position as attacker or defender, used one or the other. This combined with terrain set up, objectives and reserve rules created a series of games just different enough from "standard" to give some new challenges and mix things up. All of the scenarios were fun, interesting, and as balanced as is possible with the variety of forces and players coming.

We got a total, I believe, of 24 players, with a couple of them only playing on one day. 7 players had travelled up from New Zealand for the event, where FOGN is quite popular at their club. I was told to expect them to be very competitive players, who have already run several tournaments of their own down in Hobbitland. That certainly turned out to be the case. The standard of play from them was very high, along with the standards of their painting and sportsmanship. Great guys to have along, and I hope to see them again here in Australia and over in NZ.

My first game was against Brett, one of the New Zealanders, who ran Austrians. He would go on to come first in the tournament, with four wins across four rounds. The scenario was based on the battle of Friedland, 1807. As the attacker, I had 650 points. Brett defended with 800 points, but with half of that off table and arriving from reserve on his long table edge. Further complicating things, there was a river down the middle of the table, and I had to deploy at least one division on each side. The objectives were for me to capture one of the towns on his side, with one on either side of the river, or for him to capture the town on my base edge. As always, you could also win by breaking your opponent.

While Brett’s unreformed Austrian infantry had a disadvantage against my reformed Prussians, the saved points had gone into some excellent cavalry. I felt that, with fewer points but everything on table, I needed to capture one of the towns or do some real damage very early in the game. As such, I weighted my forces to the left bank of the river. On the right bank, I deployed a stalling force. I threw all of my cavalry, artillery and my best infantry forward for a strong attack in the early turns on the left bank. Unfortunately, while I did waver a few units, I didn’t break any. (One more hit! In either combat!) Brett’s reinforcements arrived as soon as possible and in the right spot (he had to write down which roads each unit was arriving along, and chose wisely) and his Austrian cavalry was quickly counter-attacking to push me back.

At this stage, I had a decision to make. I could either attack again with what I had, and possibly win but more likely lose...or I could fall back, make a defensive line, and try for a draw by playing out the next hour and a half. However, Brett was a very good player in a strong position, and playing for a timeout is not my style. I attacked again, and while I did some more damage, my army broke in the process.

Second game was I believe against another New Zealander, Alastair. This game was based on a typical encounter on the retreat from Moscow. It was essentially the Fighting Withdrawl scenario from Flames of War, except without the defender having an ambush, but with any of the objectives available to be removed. Both sides used their 800 point forces. I was defending, which meant I would be losing units from turn three onwards, but that I just needed to hold out on the objectives.

I deployed with my infantry spread across the three objectives, artillery units towards the flanks. I put my cavalry division behind the rest of my army, ready to ride to either side as a counterattack force. Alastair put up a good fight, concentrating his attack on my right flank, but using a light infantry brigade and a line infantry brigade near my left flank to keep me from abandoning my leftmost objective. However, he wasn’t able to break through my right flank quickly enough to capture the rightmost objective. He did knock a couple of units down to wavering, but I recovered one and used the withdrawal rules to get the other out before it was destroyed. I counterattacked with my cavalry on the right, which I believe destroyed one of Alastair’s cavalry units, and more importantly kept him back long enough for the game to end. A win to me.

My first opponent on day two was another New Zealander, Mike Haycock, with a really interesting Ottoman army. These chaps were the Janissaries and such who fought the Russians in the Balkans. Very colourful, and quite different from western European armies. Largely characterised by Good cavalry and poor infantry. We were playing the Eylau scenario, in which both sides have 800 points, only start with one division on, and the rest arrive from reserves. The objective was to capture and hold the two towns near one another in the centre of the board (actually one large town, but split into two for game purposes). Other terrain was some forests and hills around the outside, with my right flank a bit more open than the left.

Despite my hangover, this was a very enjoyable game. I had play-tested this scenario once, winning against Arnaud. Against Mike, I pushed forward a large unit of Landwher infantry to take the leftmost village. I let him take the rightmost village with one of his best infantry units, after I saw him set up with them aimed at the village. I then ran both my artillery and my horse artillery forward to blast the village at medium range. After a couple turns of that, his good infantry ran from the village and I took it with a veteran unit of musketeers. Now I just needed to hold them both.

Meanwhile, our reserves were arriving, mine a little before his. I swung my cavalry around the open area on the right and into the skirmishers and crap infantry in his rear. I was all set to cause havoc there, until some of his very good Ottoman cavalry arrived. In my mentally scattered state, I forgot to move my Hussars. I did set my Dragoons up to fight his cav, but my Hussars unfortunately were left in a terrible position. Mike quickly destroyed them, then ganged up on the Dragoon units, even as more brigades of Ottoman cavalry came on from reserve.

Meanwhile, on the left flank a large unit of conscript Ottoman cavalry destroyed my small unit of Landwher conscript cavalry, and then poured into my Landwher infantry. In the battle of the shit troops, Mike was also winning. Thus my failures on the flanks were undermining my victory in the centre. All I could do was try to hold the towns. Mike attacked the leftmost town, the one held by Landwher infantry, with a large unit of Janissary infantry. As that combat stalled in the outskirts of the town, I pushed forward two brigades of Musketeers through artillery and skirmisher fire, down the left side of the contested town. Those units broke a unit of Mike’s skirmishers, and then one of them crashed into the fight over the left half of Eylau and drove off the Janissaries. That was essential, as it helped me hold Eylau, but unfortunately it left a very tired unit of Musketeers alone, too far forward, and with plenty of pissed off Ottoman units looking at them. Very soon they were broken, which was enough to break my Corps and earn Mike the win.

The final round, and the only one in which I played a Melbourne local, was against Steve Green with his 1809 Saxons. Steve and I had played against each other a couple of times, with him beating me once and I beating him once. He is, like everyone I’ve seen playing FOGN, a pleasure to roll some dice with. And his Saxon really do have fantastic hats.

In this scenario, Steve was defending Asspern Essling. Here’s the map:
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So, I had 800 points, and deployed on the north edge. Steve had 650, but deployed on the south side. The road is raised, and counts as a defended obstacle. This means that Steve’s whole front was very tough to assault. The villages, meanwhile, were basically fortresses. Steve put good infantry in each, artillery and infantry along his front, and had a couple units of cavalry in reserve who would arrive from reserve and cross the bridge. I had two divisions on table, and a third in reserve that would enter along the road.

This is a tough one for the attacker. I had to either capture both towns, or break him. I decided to concentrate on attacking Essling with both artillery units and my large veteran grenadier infantry, and have my cavalry push through the rough terrain behind Essling to attack his rear. Once I had broken through there, numbers and pressure from two sides would let me roll him up and break his morale. Unfortunately my artillery and grenadiers rolled quite a bit worse with their shooting than they should have (we did the math on that one, and I got unlucky; it happens to everyone sometimes). Steve handled his defence quite well, using artillery fire and his commanders to keep me from putting more pressure on than I already was. Meanwhile, my cavalry in his rear, in rough ground, bounced off a guard infantry square. That was about as expected. If the infantry in the village had broken and been driven out, then the guard probably would have fallen, but without that the cavalry had a tough time of it.

With my attack bouncing off several times, Steve was able to bring his own cavalry on table, across the bridge, through the marsh, and around to attack my right flank, above Aspern on the map. I used my Landwher cavalry to counter them. Actually not an unfair fight, on paper; the Saxon cavalry isn’t great. However, his artillery from the road helped him to disorder the brigades on that flank before his cav charged in. Nice combined arms gameplay from him. He broke several units on the flank, and then smashed into my centre brigades from behind. Game over, and a well-deserved win for Steve.

With that, the tournament was done. At the end of the day, there were two New Zealanders who had not lost a game all weekend, and a bunch of New Zealanders and Melbournites on three wins. The countback system determined that Brett Preston-Thomas’ opponents had been marginally better than Kendall Blue’s, and so Brett (Austrian) took first, Kendall (Prussian, mixed nationality Allied Corps) second, and Kit Goldsbury (British) in third place.

Thanks again to Richard Gordon for organising a great tournament, which brought plenty of new players to the League of Ancients and to FOGN. He’s one of the people that really contributes a lot to the gaming scene, and we’re all grateful for a fun weekend.

Tyler
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Posts: 35
Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 3:50 pm

Re: Victorian Napoleonic Championships, Tyler's Report

Post by Tyler » Mon Jul 21, 2014 5:28 am

Some pics from the weekend:
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Tyler
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Posts: 35
Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 3:50 pm

Re: Victorian Napoleonic Championships, Tyler's Report

Post by Tyler » Mon Jul 21, 2014 5:28 am

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deadtorius
General - Elite King Tiger
General - Elite King Tiger
Posts: 4173
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 12:41 am

Re: Victorian Napoleonic Championships, Tyler's Report

Post by deadtorius » Mon Jul 21, 2014 4:45 pm

Thank you for putting up those reports, great stuff.

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