4-game weekend in Melbourne - Jan/Feb 2015

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KeefM
Staff Sergeant - StuG IIIF
Staff Sergeant - StuG IIIF
Posts: 274
Joined: Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:08 am

4-game weekend in Melbourne - Jan/Feb 2015

Post by KeefM » Tue Mar 03, 2015 6:30 pm

Game 1: defending in the Salamanca scenario vs Richard Gordon.

Richard was using a very nicely balanced 3 division French 1809 mix even though, as the attacker, he had only 650pts in this scenario. His flank marching division comprised a superior veteran cuirassier (with a gun) and an average drilled hussar unit; and, what’s more, they did the honourable thing and turned up immediately! The near-instant arrival of his flank march on turn 2 meant that the game shaped up quite differently – instead of sweeping around one end of his line with my Cossack division on the open flank, one Cossack unit faced up to delay the arriving French while the other took the only chance available to dodge through the gap between hussars and infantry to get behind the open flank. Indeed, later in the game I think that Richard ultimately came to regret his early decision not to pursue that Cossack unit with the French hussars when they had the chance.

I had chosen to defend the rear-most hill and the village with my large infantry units (each with guns) leaving the foremost hill vacant – but with the rear-most hill covered by my (supposedly) tough Guards Infantry division. My supporting large artillery battery covered the inside centre between that hill and the village while the smaller battery covered the outside right flank of the hill. French infantry and artillery swarmed forward in the centre and right of the Russian lines and their combined shooting began to mount up cohesion losses, though somewhat offset by charismatic rallying on my part. The large Russian line infantry unit in the village survived repeated concentrated fire while a veteran French infantry unit went wide around the village to join its cuirassier colleagues in bringing pressure to bear on my conscripts and jaegers lurking in supposed safety behind the village. In doing so, Richard needed to commit his own conscript infantry units to the centre.

In a great arm-wrestle of a game, we traded close and medium range infantry fire in the valley between the two hills, while my beleaguered conscripts and jaeger back-pedalled as fast as CMTs would allow (ie not too quickly). Both side’s units suffered from outcome move shooting outcomes arising from 4 or more hits but my guards infantry are nothing if not resilient ! Indeed, at one stage the punch and counter punch of the infantry duel on the right in between the two hills had left a limbered French artillery battery as the sole unit out on the far flank and it was racing towards securing the now vacant rear hill objective – what a coup that would have been!

Generally, French rallying proved not as successful as the Russian efforts and cohesion losses were mounting up (though nothing individually fatal). At that point the lone Cossack unit to the rear of the French army launched a charge against wavering conscripts who promptly failed their cohesion test and routed to 1MU from the front of the Russian large battery (who equally promptly sent them back the way they had come with 4 shooting hits!). The consequent cohesion tests across the French army sent another wavering unit away in rout, and so the cascade went on – some 6 routs in all – and that was the game to the Russians.

Overall this was a very finely balanced game throughout. Richard put pressure across my whole front; which is not a bad effort considering he was using 650pts to my 800pts. The deployment of the defender starting in whole-division columns means that there is a bit of a potential traffic jam for the defender to sort out; and quickly. One or two failed CMTs in the wrong place in the first couple of moves can prove catastrophic for the defending army. The full-court press Richard used also meant that he needed to commit his conscripts to more frontline duty than either he or they would have liked. And, thus, the cheeky Cossack unit getting in behind his army ultimately proved to be in the right place at the right time.

KeefM
Staff Sergeant - StuG IIIF
Staff Sergeant - StuG IIIF
Posts: 274
Joined: Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:08 am

Re: 4-game weekend in Melbourne - Jan/Feb 2015

Post by KeefM » Tue Mar 03, 2015 6:31 pm

Game 2: defending in the Marengo scenario vs Dave Inglis

Dave used a Russian 1805 list which allowed him the use of 4 artillery batteries with 2 per division. This substantial artillery complement included 2 heavy batteries which together generate 8 dice at long range and hitting on just 5s against troops in buildings – a perfect mix given that the scenario calls for the attacker to secure 2 (out of the 4) towns as objectives!

Even so, Dave still had very much the ‘wrong’ end of a bad match up as the defender automatically wins if the attacker doesn’t secure 2 towns in the time allowed and the attacker has only 650pts.
The approach I took was to defend only the twin-town objective at the river and avoided defending the third town on the river. By doing so I was able to concentrate my defence to negate my initial reduction in numbers of units. As the game progressed, and as more of my defending units arrived, Dave had less and less chance at securing any further objective – large line infantry and large guard infantry units (all with guns attached) and rallied charismatically are quite tough to shift :D .

Once the attacker secures the single town, all that is then needed is for the defender to further delay the attackers approach through a combination of advance and withdrawal without committing too many units (or even by simply using artillery batteries side-by-side). And that’s pretty much how it played out.

By the end of the game, we had traded a unit each (Dave having by far the better of the ‘trade’ cos he destroyed one of my large Guards infantry units) but it was a game that was only ever going to end up one-sided in terms of the scenario objectives. In a competition setting, I would definitely have ‘bailed out’ of the contact zone long beforehand (once it was clear that Dave had no chance of securing a 2nd town).
As a result, in the after-match discussion along with Richard, the scenario author, we felt that that the attacker definitely needed a ‘leg up’ in this scenario. Richard was going to rework the scenario to make the attacker more competitive.

KeefM
Staff Sergeant - StuG IIIF
Staff Sergeant - StuG IIIF
Posts: 274
Joined: Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:08 am

Re: 4-game weekend in Melbourne - Jan/Feb 2015

Post by KeefM » Tue Mar 03, 2015 6:33 pm

Game 3: defending in the Borodino scenario vs John Shaw

John fielded an 1812 French army (complete with a cuirassier division) to round out a thoroughly historic match up against my 1812 Russians. With only 650pts at the defenders disposal in this scenario, I opted to deploy only around the large redoubt in the centre though with the potential to occupy the other two smaller redoubts should John have sent his main attack that way. In doing so, I was able to muster a goodly number of units of reasonable quality behind and to the right of the large redoubt though that meant being spread pretty thin from my left of the redoubt with only Cossacks and veteran horse artillery to cover nearly half the table width.

John deployed an infantry division directly opposite the large redoubt with a second, mixed, division into the centre of the table and the third infantry division was on the Borodino side of the river. The cuirassier division was tucked in behind the division facing the redoubt with a view to using them and the Borodino based division to force the gap to my right of the large redoubt.

From the outset John pushed forward quickly across the whole front with his infantry closing to assault range of the large redoubt. The infantry division from Borodino led with a limbered artillery unit that failed its second move CMT. My Cossacks pressed forward on my left to turn the flank of his mixed division there.

An early 2nd turn assault by John’s infantry units on the large redoubt was repulsed by the occupying large line infantry unit (with a gun attachment). My large heavy artillery battery forced a ‘halt’ result on the leading cuirassiers and caused a subsequent interpenetrating traffic jam among the heavy cavalry division to the right of the redoubt.

By the bridge to Borodino, my infantry units closed quickly with his exposed limbered artillery and drove that wavering to the river’s edge. In his subsequent moves John brought his conscript infantry across to cover the artillery only for them to get the same treatment from the Russian infantry there. A final charge by my superior hussar unit finished off the Borodino-based division.

Meanwhile, the only gap for the cuirassier division seemed to be directly through the large Russian heavy artillery battery. Two cuirassier units declared a charge on the guns; the superior veteran unit was reduced to wavering and driven off by artillery fire, whereas its average drilled compatriots survived 4 artillery dice and 5 redoubt dice (the redoubt was to the flank of the chargers), taking only a single hit and then passing their CMT to close. In the ensuing combat, my large heavy battery unit managed to disorder and spend the cuirassiers but took 6 hits from 6 dice and were destroyed. The subsequent pursuit took the now disordered cuirassiers in behind the Russian lines behind the redoubt. But this was as good as it got for the French.

In the centre a combination of shooting from the redoubt, skirmishing jaegers and veteran horse artillery caused some cohesion losses. In an attempt to drive off the jaegers a French hussar unit charged into the middle of the Russian army. Subsequent shooting at short range broke those hussars just as a wavering unit of French conscript infantry on the far left broke from a Cossack charge and swept away 2 more conscript infantry units. The subsequent routs arising from cascades of cohesion tests put paid to the French army.

It would have been interesting to see how things might have panned out if the French army hadn’t folded right then. There was a gaping hole in my line to the right of the large redoubt (where the large heavy battery had been) and a unit of cuirassiers in behind my line. In addition, the other 2 ‘damaged’ cuirassier units will still very much in the game although not in an immediate position to cause much peril. And, with only 650pts on the table, I was already stretched thinly. Close !

KeefM
Staff Sergeant - StuG IIIF
Staff Sergeant - StuG IIIF
Posts: 274
Joined: Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:08 am

Re: 4-game weekend in Melbourne - Jan/Feb 2015

Post by KeefM » Tue Mar 03, 2015 6:34 pm

Game 4: attacking in a ‘normal’ 800 points-a-side game vs Richard Stubbs

Richard was running his early revolutionary period French army – a large army of 15 or 16 units compared to my mere 10 units. Still, having fewer units (primarily through the presence of my Guards Infantry division) would mean that mine were, supposedly/theoretically, tougher and better.

And, as luck would have it, Richard ended up defending in spite of having +4 in the pre-game initiative roll-off vs my +2 (it must be some sort of dice-karma between us: exactly the same thing had happened when he and I played last year when the roles were reversed; me defending with my +6 initiative French army). Accordingly, neither of us had done too much thinking about how to approach the game from the opposite role; the best I could come up with at short notice was to narrow the table width as much as possible to maximise the effect of my 10 units into a smaller space. As a result, I took a river and 3 towns – the combination of which served to narrow the table width down very nicely on my side but left his side of the table wide open (and not so good for my smaller size).

During deployment, having placed a couple of distracting Cossack units into the centre of the table, I concentrated the rest of my much smaller force into my left hand edge with a view of coming out and thumping the lone French division that had started deploying into his far right corner. As deployment progressed, I kept tight into the left hand table edge (terrain permitting) whereas Richard spread his 4 divisions out in tight groups but across the entire table width (including him deploying a division intending to cross the impassable river on my far right via a handily placed road bridge). This spread of divisions was a deployment that had served him well in numerous previous games through being able to squeeze an opponent from multiple directions.

In the end, the presence of both the table edge on one side and the impassable river in the right-centre allowed me to trap/pin both his large compulsory skirmishing (poor conscript) units into combat and destroy them both (1 on each side of the table) via doubled melee combats in a single turn as they had no room to rout away. Those routs combined with a concerted (and reckless) assault on the corner division swept away the few extra units needed to be able to break Richard’s army.

Ultimately, it was the spread out deployment of his divisions that allowed me to concentrate my efforts in a single place and avoid some of his army. Richard’s plan had been to pull me forward out of my corner and then pressure me on the flanks of what was always going to be a narrow frontage once I emerged into the open ground in front of me. And that plan very nearly paid off! In the turn that Richard’s army broke every single infantry unit of mine, barring a single small conscript unit occupying a town at the very rear, was at least disrupted and both guard infantry units and one of my two large infantry units were wavering. So, while the tight spaces and spread out deployment helped me out, it was a very very near run thing.

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