Friday, January 18, 2013

Battle of Beckstein - the game

August 1794 and the French avant-garde under General Maladroit catches up with the Austrian rear-guard under Erzherzog Helmut (a distant cousin of the Hapsburgs).

The first thing that the French do is advance, moving their cavalry away from its initial position which was exposed to artillery fire.

On the left the 1/32 battlaion advances into the cornfield, looking for some shelter from artillery fire.

The 2/75 advances on the artillery in Beckstein, as artillery is automatically removed if assaulted under the rules. 

On the French right the main effort is made against the single regiment of IR 4 Hoch und Deutschmeister.

The French (and myself) find out that assaulting artillery head on is not recommended. Short range artillery is quite devastating.

IR 4 begins to be whittled down.

Forming into line in the cornfield the 1/32 prepares to advance on the Austrians.

The French right flank sweeps forward, but tries not to get into the arc of fire of the Austrian artillery.

IR 4 finds safety behind a hedge while the Brechainville regiment comes to the rescue. But how will it find room to deploy out of march column? Meanwhile the 2/75 assaults the Grenzers holding Beckstein.

The Austrians and French move into the assault on the left flank. The Austrian Dragoons wait in behind ready to pounce if possible.

The French win the combat and the Dragoons are hit by a powerful salvo of artillery, losing 4 hits and then failing a morale check to lose yet another element. 

the 2/7 Legere screen the Austrian artillery while further assaults on Beckstein are beaten back.

The Austrians manage to deploy into attack column. Not as effective as line, but better than march column!

The French Hussars manouevre to engage the dragoons - only to be pounded by short range Austrian  artillery fire.

Brechainville is whittled down while the 1/75 suffers the same fate in its attempts to take Beckstein from the valiant Grenzers - who are also suffering now.

The Austrian Dragoons charge in a succession of combats drive the french Hussars back.

IR 42 Erbach is victorious over the 1/32 and the flank belongs to Austria - apart from a two French guns aimed on the area.

IR 4 is fired on by the 1/18 while Brechainville charges the 1/7 Legere. The Leger evade and form an attack column which then deals to the Austrian regiment most roughly.

The 75th Line have one hit left - the Grenzers have two. Can another assault do it? Nope. The French are removed hors de combat.

It's a temporary respite for the gallant Grenz, though, as the 1/18 attack. The Grenzers are overwhelmed and the French take their objective.

As the battle ends the French have won conclusively - 6 victory points to 3. Erzherzog Helmut calls a general retreat, but Maladroit realises that his force is too exhausted to pursue. It has been a costly victory.

The rules used were an adaptation Neil Thomas' Napoleonic Wargaming rules and worked really well. The battle took two hours to reach a conclusion, and I feel gave a pretty good result. Some purists might not like the fact that a number of regiments hung in until the last man, but every single regiment passed its morale test when it lost its penultimate element. What I may do is add a negative 1 modifier to the morale test if the unit is down to one element, but as casualties reflect combat effectiveness, I'm not too concerned if single elements remain on table.
Artillery is very powerful. But then I did try frontal assaults. I am going to reduce its save from shooting to 4-6 rather than 3-6, to weaken it a little. This game may have been better with just one gun a side - maybe 1 gun per 4 battalions would be a good ratio to go by.

The next game in the campaign will depend on what I have managed to paint up in the meantime, but will definitely see the French move further into Frankenberg. I have forces for Prince-Archbishop Klaus' men to paint, and am looking at getting a battlepack of Lancashire Games' Vendeeans to use as Frankenberg Republicans. That could be some fun games to join the narrative.

A thoroughly enjoyable solo game (my first in quite a while)


Battle of Beckstein set-up

A French Revolutionary force is pursuing an Austrian group that has pulled back from the Frech frontier into the realm of Frankenberg. The first town upon crossing the frontier is Beckstein, which just happens to be situated in between a woods and a wooded hill. Perfect for a rear-guard action.
This is the set up for this solo game.

The battlefield as seen from above. Beckstein is in the centre with the wooded hills to the right and just out of shot on the left is another wood.
The Austrians are set up as if I was deploying to defend the town against a real opponent. Two guns with good fields of fire, two battalions in line, some lights in the town buildings and cavalry and infantry in reserve.
The Austrian defensive position.
The French were rolled for randomly. I divided the table into two feet spans either side of the road and then rolled a D4 for which area they turned up in. They ended up surprisingly evenly spread. I allowed myself one redeploy if I thought it was necessary, and as it turned out a French gun ended up deployed behind the crops on the French left, so that was promptly moved.
The French deployment
Other slightly worrying things were the French cavalry ended up square on to an Austrian battery, as did an infantry battalion, but the French automatically receive the first initiative due to being the attackers, so there is time to sort out those deployment issues.
'Ah, mon ami. this will be a lovely open area for us hussars, n'est-ce pas?'
'Err, Pierre, you might want to look in front of you.'
So all set to go tomorrow night. i don't hold out too much hope for the French - they probably need a couple more units to assault a defensive position successfully, but we'll see how they go.
'Ach, Wolfgang. there are not enough of them to give us much trouble at all!'
Finally a close up of the Austrian 1st Kaiser Dragoons. These, the artillery and the Austrian general were all completed this afternoon, as were the blue roofed buildings that the Grenzer are occupying. More on all of these later.

Kaiser Dragoons
Battle tomorrow and hopefully a battle report on Saturday.


Further frolicking in Frankenberg

1794 and the French Republic is on the offensive, penetrating into parts of Germany beyond the Rhine. One French force is pursuing an Austrian army as it backs its way into the principality of Frankenberg. Although the Prince Archbishop Klaus VI is loyal to the Emperor there are grumblings that may support the idea of revolution in his tiny fiefdom. Will the forces of order prevail over the Revolutionary chaos sweeping Western Europe? Will liberty, equality and fraternity come first in the land of the wurst? Further frolicking in Frankenberg fighting French fashions for ferment is about to commence!
'Allons, mes enfants!'