1812 Russian: NatCon 2014

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Staff Sergeant - StuG IIIF
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1812 Russian: NatCon 2014

Post by KeefM » Mon Apr 21, 2014 10:06 pm

Russian Infantry Corps, Army of the West 1812

Competent Corps Commander

Mixed Division – Competent
2 large Opelchenie Line PC unreformed
1 small Line AC
1 small Light AD
1 small Medium Artillery AD
2 small HC AD

Infantry Division – Competent
2 large Line AD each with artillery attach
1 small Light AD
1 small Medium Artillery AD

Reserve Cavalry Division – Competent
3 small HC AD
2 small Cossacks LC AI
1 small Hussars LC AD

17 units, 38 ACV.

With a low initiative of just 2 (1 for general, 1 for army) I was always figuring on doing a lot of defending, and hence the large HC contingent of 5 small units of Dragoons. In part the thinking was that a significant presence of HC might just deter over-enthusiastic attackers from crossing the centre-line too quickly and thereby buy me some time to set up the game to my preference. By holding back the Reserve Cavalry Division to be deployed last, I could potentially mass the HC where needed to best blunt any appproaches. The 2 jager and 2 cossack units were intended to move forward and slow up the approach also. All fine in theory, but also roundly and completely ignored by all of my opponents in practice :) ! The reality is that you cannot afford to split the cavalry too much, which in turn means needing to try and keep them centrally deployed along with everything else (which also needs to be centrally deployed).

What I did find most useful was ensuring that the 2 large infantry units and the 2 artillery units were all deployed together with the guns deployed into the centre of my army. Also, deploying within the first 9MU of the rear table edge means that your opponent cannot bring your infantry under musketry attack in the first 2 moves unless you move forward. Combined with centrally placed batteries, this allows some scope to come out to meet the approaching attackers. However, I also found that this also means that games will naturally develop more slowly and thus be harder to close out (for both you and your opponent) in a competition timeframe. The most fustrating thing about repeatedly defending was that the attacker has the option to select a river and constrict the table width quite a bit - unhelpful for an army with 8 units of cavalry :) , but also allowing plenty of safe places to deploy the unreformed opelchenie. However, as I found out, the attackers ability to deploy the river also does mean that in a competition game an attacker can effectively deny battle by sitting on the other side of it.

Having more than 15 units is useful also in deployment. By deploying the mixed Division first, after 3 deployments the opponent can really only see a big block of unreformed and conscript infantry near your base edge, 2 very forward jager units, 2 central and limbered artillery and 2 dragoon units - and still doesn't know where your effective infantry or the majority of the cavalry will yet go. Likewise, having 2 units to deploy after most armies have finished means that you can save up the cossacks to deploy with a potential end-run into space behind the opposing deployment lines. Indeed, my Cossacks often managed to draw off or blunt resources worth many times more than the cossacks cost.

Even so, the greatest strength of this army mix by far is that it is comparatively large. In 4 out of 6 games, I was a -3 defender thereby being effectively 40 ACV with the opponent needing to break 12 ACV while losing less than 10% of their own army. Given a deeper deployment and the contingent ability to meet the approaching hordes with your better troops means that breaking 12 ACV without taking losses is a big ask ! Quantity is a certainly quality of its own. Conversely, the small HC units aren't that tough (and they really HAVE to be put to some effect !) and I invariably had most, if not all, of them spent or routed during a game so I am thinking that a better mix might have been to have used 2 large and 2 small units of dragoons to add a little more resilience to their role as some of the primary combat units in the army - either that or my competence with using HC is sorely lacking (entirely likely !). Time and again the two large reformed line infantry units were the stars of the show, both in shooting and/or in shaping up or saving a game; they are very tough AND pack a lot of shooting. In conjunction with either jager or artillery to their outside they proved really effective game-influencers.

So, apart from not being an overly patient defender, I am enjoying using the mix and have learnt plenty from sitting on the 'wrong side' of the attacker/defender split. There are some refinements for consideration (inc putting both jager untis into the same division and bringing a charismatic general for rallying purposes - having AD as your elite units leaves a little to be desired).

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Re: 1812 Russian: NatCon 2014

Post by deadtorius » Tue Apr 22, 2014 11:15 pm

I believe you can only have 1 unit of jagers per division. I am working on my own Russian army now too.
Perhaps try 1 less cav and try to get some superior cav units in there. They also reduce his by 1 if they are charging, and will reroll in combats. Might be worth it to drop a dragoon unit or cossack. As for charisma, if you can have it take it, well worth the points on a corp commander. Bloody French can have one in almost every division.....

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