2017 Victorian FoGN Napoleonics Tournament Report

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2017 Victorian FoGN Napoleonics Tournament Report

Post by Daemionhunter » Sun Jul 23, 2017 6:30 am

Battle report 4th Victorian Napoleonic Champs 15 & 16 July 2017

I really enjoyed the tournament and would like thank Richard for his organisation of a great event. The venue was excellent. Thanks also to Brett for organising transport and accommodation for the fifth reinforcement.

I travelled over with seven average conscripts from the North Shore Wargames Club. Most of these had attended previous events and were better prepared than me for the wintry conditions we met. Lucky my army was Russian and accordingly acclimatised.

I used an 1813-1814 Russian Guard list (with snow bases) as below.

Competent Charismatic Corps Commander
Skilled Divisional Division Commander
3 small units of Superior Drilled Guard Line Infantry
Small unit of Average Drilled Guard Medium Artillery
Small unit of Average Veteran Guard Heavy Artillery (equipped with laser rangefinders)
Competent Division Commander
2 small units of Superior Drilled Guard Light Infantry (equipped with AK47s when facing Richard’s cavalry)
Small unit of Average Irregular Light Cavalry (fitted with 2 forward and 5 reverse gears)
Competent Charismatic Division Commander
Small unit of Superior Drilled Guard Shock Heavy Cavalry
Small unit of Average Drilled Shock Heavy Cavalry
Small unit of Superior Drilled Guard Light Cavalry

I had 22 ACV and 11 units. Most of my opponents would outnumber me. I would have to be cunning, and I usually am - along with some other adjectives best not quoted on a gentlemanly forum. However, as a small force I could concentrate a critical mass of fighting power at the decisive point. This would have to be achieved without the enemy applying the three f’s to me; find em, fix em and “…” em. I would also hopefully avoid the dreaded Scot’s Greys of Justice Goldsbury who had so cruelly crushed my ambitions at the previous two tournaments I’d attended.

Game One: Steve Green - Saxons 1809

Steve had two batteries, two units of shock cavalry, three units of light cavalry and six or seven units of infantry - 13 or 14 or more units to my 11.

Steve chose Position Defence and I chose Prepared Attack, which I prefer to call bombardment. I’m not sure why Steve chose Position Defence but I chose Prepared Attack because I wanted my guns well advanced to punch a hole in his defence.

The key terrain features in Steve’s side of the board, the only relevant part for the game, are as below. The river was at least rough terrain and perhaps difficult. I was advancing from the bottom of the image. Key deployments and movements are shown.
Saxons 1.png
Saxons 1.png (13.43 KiB) Viewed 1714 times
Excuse my lack of facility with software.

Steve deployed infantry in the town and more behind. More infantry was behind the crest of the hill along with his two batteries and some veteran light cavalry. The Cuirassiers and remaining light cavalry were behind the crest of the hill on my right.

My artillery set up on half way just out of six inches and to the right of the town. My bombardment focused on the infantry between the hill and the town driving a unit back and disordering another. My three line units advanced towards the town with the lights to their right partially screened by the artillery. The Cossacks advanced in extended line to screen the cavalry (who were covering the right of the attack) from artillery.

The Guard cleared the town causing confusion amongst the supporting troops. Meanwhile the artillery inflicted more casualties on the supporting infantry.

The Veteran Light Cavalry on the hill cleared out the Cossacks, were lost to my Cuirassiers, who were in turn lost to his advancing Shock Cavalry. However, I think at this point my Guard Cavalry cleaned his Shock out.

Meanwhile my Guard Lights and one of the Guard Line had got amongst Steve’s infantry on the left of the hill and routed them. This combined with cascading confusion amongst the other infantry broke Steve’s force.

Steve’s deployment of his cavalry well off to the right gave me free rein to get to grips with his infantry on the left.

Game Two: Richard Stubbs - Russians 1799 (Korsakov)

Richard had three Russian and one Austrian divisions. I think his force had around 16 units. I’m not quite sure of the exact make up but they included a lot of infantry, a battery, several units of dragoons with a couple of artillery attachments and one or two units of Austrian Light Cavalry.

I chose Position Defence so I could get a river to narrow the battlefield and perhaps give me a flank to anchor my force on. I’m not sure why Richard chose Flexible Defence, perhaps to hold the Austrians up his sleeve and keep me guessing about where they’d strike.

The terrain and deployment looked as below. I may have missed some features on Richard’s side. The river was at least rough terrain and perhaps difficult. My deployment area was at the bottom of the image and my LoC was at the end of the road on my right.
Russians 1.png
Russians 1.png (20.57 KiB) Viewed 1714 times

Richard deployed an infantry division in the centre of the left quarter. Dragoons centre or centre left. More infantry to the right with Austrians in reserve. Cossacks were in march column on the right hand road.

I then deployed my entire army behind the crest of the hill facing to my right.

In a dramatic first turn Richard’s Cossacks, not limited by the movement restrictions of Flexible Defence, marched 40 inches down the road and captured my LoC. His Austrians came on from the right. I marched towards the area in front of the town and sent my Guard Light Cavalry 20 inches towards the Cossacks.

Turn two and Richard does a general advance. His Austrian cavalry tear forwards to support the Cossacks. I think this turn I destroyed the Cossacks. They evaded down the side of the board, were caught and routed through his supporting cavalry. I think the resulting cavalry scramble on that flank had his troops routing my Guard Lights but leaving the victorious Austrians wavered behind enemy lines.

My Line Infantry manoeuvred to engage his infantry in the following turns and cut off support for his cavalry. My Light Infantry formed up to the left of the town to receive the inevitable Dragoon charge. My artillery had deployed between the two infantry formations to direct supporting fire to either side.

I’ve now forgotten the exact order of events but the key features were as follows. Richard fired off a couple of charges with his Dragoons at my Guard Light Infantry who formed up in square and repulsed them.

On the right the Austrian Cavalry and Infantry and some of the Russian infantry were battered and routed by the Guard Line probably with some support from the Guard Cuirassiers. The casualties eventually built up and I broke Richard’s army. Richard’s Russian infantry division who had deployed from the left were still not in the battle at this point.

Game Three: Richard Gordon - French Cavalry Corps 1812

Richard’s army is as follows:
1st Corps CC1 Ch (Competent) (Charism.)
1st Div DC2 (Skilled)
Shock Heavy Cavalry Small Superior Veteran
Shock Heavy Cavalry Small Superior Veteran Medium Artillery
Shock Heavy Cavalry Small Superior Drilled Officer
Shock Heavy Cavalry Small Superior Drilled
2nd Div DC1 (Competent)
Horse Artillery Small Average Veteran
Light Cavalry Large Average Drilled
Light Cavalry Small Average Drilled
Light Cavalry Small Average Drilled
3rd Div DC1 (Competent)
Light Cavalry (Lancers) Large Average Veteran Medium Artillery
Light Cavalry Small Average Veteran No attachment
Light Cavalry Small Average Drilled No attachment

I gave a lot of thought to this game. A game of cat and mouse manoeuvre wasn’t going to work against a force with far more mobility than me. I probably gave it an unnecessary amount of thought. There were just a few simple things for me to consider and act on:
1. get some terrain to provide me with a flank to anchor on (and actually use it rather than getting over ambitious!)
2. keep a cohesive line of guns and infantry (a lesson Justice Goldsbury has taught me to my cost on several recent occasions)
3. be very cautious about committing the Guard cavalry as they would be outnumbered in any counterattack
4. roll lots of 5s and 6s.

I chose Position Defence to get a river and narrow the battlefield again.
I wasn’t outnumbered but I could easily be outmanoeuvred and needed a narrower field to make the most of my superior firepower.

There was more terrain and roads etc on the board but these are the features that counted and which drove the fighting. The river was difficult terrain. My LoC was in the bottom left at the end of road not shown, I think.
French Cav 1.png
French Cav 1.png (20.51 KiB) Viewed 1714 times

Richard chose Prepared Attack and I picked Position Defence. I deployed first with the Line Infantry in extended line facing the river with the artillery limbered and read to deploy and shell the advancing French. The Guard Lights were in tactical facing right behind the Line and the Cavalry in the left rear corner.

The French deployed the Lancer division between the river and the woods. The Lights were to the right of the woods and the Heavies to the far right.

Richard advanced cautiously on the left and swung hard around the right sweeping over the hill on the first few turns. My force swung around to the right with the Guard Lights anchoring the line on my board edge and guns in the centre of the Line infantry. I moved to face the hill but far enough back to eliminate any chance of Richard’s cavalry getting an uphill advantage. Both units of my Cuirassiers were lined up just behind the gap between my line and river. My Cossacks and Guard lights were deployed centrally facing my board edge ready to pounce on the flanks of any enemy who passed through the line.

On the left I wasn’t prepared to come out with my Cuirassiers as whilst they would win any initial fight would quickly become outnumbered. Similarly I suspect Richard didn’t want to attack as any combat would only lead to losses he might not be able to exploit.

My artillery had sent his limbered Horse Battery scurrying to the rear with 12 pounder balls bouncing around their undercarriage. It had also wavered some light cavalry supporting the flanks of his heavies. It would continue this harassing fire throughout the game disrupting supporting manoeuvres and the cohesion of his line.

The key event of the game came when Richard sent two of his Superior Shock units, one with an artillery attachment, into my Average Drilled Guard Medium battery which was protruding from the line. The CiC was attached to one and the Divisional General to the other, obviously Murat. After careful consideration I abandoned the guns. Richard would undoubtedly have charged home destroyed the guns and pursued into my other units causing havoc.

As a result one unit went into the Guard Heavy Battery and the other into a Guard Line unit. At this point I employed point 4 from my strategy list above. Both units stood firm and delivered a steady volley and a wall of grape. I think I managed to waver both units and kill the CiC (the step to wavering may have come from the subsequent shooting phase).

My Guard Heavy battery had 7 shots (1 from support fire) and a reasonable chance of getting 4 hits but the Guard Line getting 4 hits out of 5 (more supporting fire) was very fortunate. Even if Richard had gotten his charge in I felt I had a good chance to come out better from the combat as he was going to struggle to damage the Guard units and the combination of defensive fire shooting and Superior Guard in combat would have done a lot of damage that my other units could have exploited in my turn. (To be fair I was indeed quite fortunate! However, given the bloody luck that Goldsbury’s shock cavalry, see other battle reports, had against me it was time the dice gods favoured my foot over the enemies horse.)

Richard’s units retired, exposing a flank in case, leaving a delicious target for my infantry in my turn. However, Richard covered their retreat by moving other Cuirassiers through the retirees. I think this is one area of the rules that needs to be fixed. In the movement phase you can’t interpenetrate a unit that has moved. It seems odd that you can interpenetrate a unit that has charged and then done an outcome move, i.e. moved twice. In fact you can charge through a unit then outcome move back to it from defensive fire bouncing off its front and have it move through you in the movement phase for a total of 3 interpenetrations!

On the left I moved forward with my Cuirassiers as Richard retired and little more happened on this flank. In the centre my guns continued to put casualties on his Light Cavalry driving them back.

I now advanced my line with the Guard Lights using their withering skirmish fire to wear down Richards units as he conducted an orderly retreat. As I moved over the hill following his retreat Richard manoeuvred carefully to cover his retiring units ensuring I always had some Cuirassiers in my grill to keep me in check.

As I came down the far side of the hill Richard moved his Veteran Horse battery into 6” of my line. Sensing an opportunity, and a flaw in the rules, I charged the guns. Richard intercepted with a unit of Cuirassiers. Of course under the rules my infantry aren’t impacted (but should be for being contacted by cavalry). I move up some rear and flank support and with 8 dice in hand and a general attached routed the Cuirassiers. This broke Richard’s force.

Part Two and conclusion to follow as I can't add a third attachment!

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Re: 2017 Victorian FoGN Napoleonics Tournament Report

Post by Daemionhunter » Sun Jul 23, 2017 6:33 am

And now for Part Two

Game Four: Mike (Surf) Haycock - Spanish 1793-1795
Mike had a very large unreformed Spanish army. I’m not sure of the complete make up but it summed to 32 ACV with 16 units, 5 more than me. This included a couple of Veterans with artillery attachments, two or three units of Poor Cuirassiers, some Light Infantry and an Irregular Light Infantry unit and lots of other stuff. I was feeling outnumbered again and very wary of my flanks.

We both chose Position Defence. I’m not sure why Mike wanted this, perhaps to:
• try and restrict my terrain choice and placement – particularly to control the choice and placement of a river
• draw me onto him expecting me to play aggressively as I usually do.
Mike won the roll off and was to be the attacker.

The terrain as best I can recall was as below. The river was at least rough terrain and perhaps difficult. There were other features but I don’t remember them being relevant.
Spanish 1.png
Spanish 1.png (24.09 KiB) Viewed 1712 times
Mike deployed a division of infantry to my left. Another infantry division was to my right near the woods the third to my right of his centre. His Heavy and Shock Cavalry was located centrally.

I deployed my Guard Line and artillery behind the crest of the hill on my right with the cavalry and Guard Lights behind the crest of the central hill.

Mike advanced a little on my right and mainly held back on the left. His skirmish infantry advanced on their own on the left towards the central hill. I countered with the Cossacks and we skirted around each other. A unit of his Dragoons then followed the skirmishers and was countered by the threat of my Guard lights. Mike retired while my Cossacks were scurrying to the rear.

On the right Mike advanced two units of infantry into the gap between the woods and the town. They were supported by some cavalry, perhaps it was a small unit of Cuirassiers. He moved some infantry into the town but retired as a unit of Guard Line advanced towards them. In the meantime my artillery had chipped a few disorders of some the central infantry that were holding back but still looking to support the tentative advances on the right. Mike moved forward a bit on the left too as I moved my Guard Lights to the right as well.

At this point I move a unit of Guard Line with an attached General into the town on the right. Mike charged his two units of infantry into the town. I drove both units out wavering, perhaps one was already disordered by artillery fire or got so from subsequent shooting.

I then moved another unit of Guard Line up towards the town in support. This was disordered by some shooting from his troops but bounced a charge from his cavalry between the wood and the town.

At the left centre my artillery continued to deliver long range attrition to his infantry deployed to the left of the right hand side woods. My shooting was pretty good. However, Mike was also getting some good long range shots in from his small medium battery disordering three of my units. We both had laser rangefinders for this game but I had 7 shots to his 3 and was causing more problems.

Mike now moved his cavalry forwards to line up one of my central infantry units and the neighbouring artillery. If he got this charge off it would mean trouble for me. I drew the infantry back and moved both units of shock cavalry forwards. One made a single move through the artillery to within 6” pinning both units in place. The Guard Cuirassiers double moved to within 7”. The Guard Lights moved 20” to provide rear support.

The resulting cavalry fight went my way with pursuits pinning some of his infantry in square. My Cuirassiers stuck to his square and we hit each other with nerf bats for a couple of turns before I broke him when the Guard joined in. I burst through to the back line and along with more casualties on his right Mike’s army broke.

At this point he had finally got his left most division into range and fired once. I withdrew and reformed a line of Guard Lights on the left as the game finished. Mike had at least 5 units on the left that only engaged me right at the end of the game.

A great tournament and a pleasing result supported by a lot of luck when it counted.

The Guard performed very well but were allowed to do so. The weakness of the force is 6” shooting and I only faced Unreformed and a Cavalry force.

I think Guard are fairly pointed and need the re roll of 1s in combat. My results were perhaps helped a little by my opponents’ reluctance to engage my force from multiple directions. Perhaps the aura of the Guard made them hold back a bit. It certainly wasn’t my aura although at the end of a day’s gaming I probably had one!

Guard will win in a one on one. But they were outnumbered and I wonder if I would have done as well if more aggressive play had exposed my outnumbered flanks. This probably couldn’t be done without casualties. However, those casualties would have allowed other units to get at my rear.

On a final note I’d like to thank my sponsor “Dice of War” for all the 5s and the great Russian Eagles (6s) the turned up when needed!

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Re: 2017 Victorian FoGN Napoleonics Tournament Report

Post by marty » Mon Jul 24, 2017 2:32 am

Always enjoy reading your reports.

I'm not sure you strengthen your point about guard being fine by bringing the only all guard army and decisively smashing everyone you played! I accept that you may have been a little fortunate to have fought all unreformed and cavalry armies but still think it may be better (and simpler) for guard not to re-roll at all.
As I came down the far side of the hill Richard moved his Veteran Horse battery into 6” of my line. Sensing an opportunity, and a flaw in the rules, I charged the guns. Richard intercepted with a unit of Cuirassiers. Of course under the rules my infantry aren’t impacted (but should be for being contacted by cavalry).
What is the first "flaw" you refer to? Or do you mean infantry not having to respond to a cavalry intercept? Not sure it is that big a problem as most infantry aren't exactly keen on a fight with mounted in the open anyway.

One impression I am left with is that it may be too easy to narrow the table with a river.


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Re: 2017 Victorian FoGN Napoleonics Tournament Report

Post by Daemionhunter » Mon Jul 24, 2017 3:12 am

Thanks for the feedback Marty.

Guard rerolls
Guard are pretty good without rerolls but I enjoy the added flavour of their impact in combat/melee/close range firefights although not so much when I’m on the receiving end of it.

Infantry intercepted by cavalry
The “flaw” I refer to is that infantry intercepted by cavalry do not test or drop a level or anything for being hit by cavalry in the open. This seems little different, and perhaps riskier, than being charged when halted, although of course all the actions are happening at the same time in our simulation.

Strategic selection of rivers
The nature of the river you get doesn't always guarantee a narrowing of the table.

The best river for me was in game 3 where I could use the difficult river in conjunction with the board edge to give me only 24” of table to defend. The rivers in games 2 and 4 didn’t offer the same opportunity only cramping the table to 48”.

At best a river on its own only narrows the board to 48 inches, if not immediately discarded, and then may count as open ground or only rough. Even if difficult it will still take a unit to guard against outflanking. Of course it can have a psychological effect.

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