Saturday, June 17, 2017


La Bataille de la Moscowa

Scenario 1: Shevardino, September 5, 1812 - The Opening Act

     I've had a very fruitful week of wargaming here at the HQ.  I've been playing Moscowa every day since the day it arrived last week. I've pretty much learned the La Bataille system at this point, having played through most of the Shevardino scenario, which has included a couple of false starts.
     I made enough mistakes in those playings that I thought it warranted a fresh start. So that's what I'm presenting here, a few turns of my latest Shevardino play-through.
     What I love about this opening scenario is that it's not your typical introductory throw-away or simply a small portion of the main battle that you'll just have to play over again when you start the big show. Instead, this is almost a full-fledged battle of its own, fought historically the night before the Battle of Borodino. The French have some 30,000 men involved here, the Russians maybe a third of that.
      Let's get right to it.

Opening setup.
1: Opening Setup. The dashed red line shows the Russian skirmisher screen, consisting of elements of six Jaeger Regiments. On the right flank, I've put them in a ravine where they will be out of sight of the French. This way, they're sure to get at least a shot on the enemy who won't be able to charge them until they are adjacent.
     The squares show victory locations, the villages of Doronino and Shevardino and the Shevardino redoubt. The blue arrows show where the French will be arriving.

Pic #2. Entre Vous Francois.
2: Entre Vous Francois. The French 5th division of 1 Corps under General de division Jean-Dominique Compans, Comte de l'Empire. Here one regiment deploys to attack Doronino, with two in reserve. A fourth regiment screens their flank. They're waiting on the artillery before launching their assault. The green lines show the Russian cavalry, the 12th and 13th Brigades of the 4th Reserve Cavalry Corps.

Pic #3: First Blood.

  3: First Blood. The French right assaults the village to drive out the Russian skirmishers. Another assault takes place on the left. Red lines show where the French are giving fire. The green show the Russians returning it. The Russian artillery opens up from the redoubt and the little hill in front of it. Yellow shows Russian movement. The French left is "out of command." The Russians take advantage by flanking the position with skirmishers. Compans is busy elsewhere.

Pic #4: Follow the Bouncing Ball.
4: Follow the Bouncing Ball. The Russian artillery makes itself felt. Major General Karl Fedorovich Lowenstern directs fire from the redoubt, scoring a hit on an assaulting French stack. From the forward hillock, a medium range shot strikes its target, then ricochets into the battalion behind it -- another hit!

Pic #5: The Better Part of Valor.
5: The Better Part of Valor. Russian skirmishers "retreat before assault" (yellow dashed lines). The French advance. Doronino is captured, but the advancing battalions in the ravine take fire and are disordered.

Pic #6: No Plan Survives.
6: No Plan Survives. Sensing danger, the disordered French battalion attempts to fall back. In doing so, it takes fire and is routed. Being semi-surrounded by Russian skirmishers, it is forced to rout through its own lines, disordering two stacks on its way. Another falls back successfully (yellow dashed arrow). Major General Ivan Davydovich Panchulidzev ("The I-Man" to his friends) sees his opportunity and orders a charge. (The green rays emanating from the cavalry units define the "charge zone." If you're inside these lines, there's a big target on your chest.)

Pic #7: Chargeski!!
7: Chargeski!! A French good order battalion sees the charge coming and forms square.The I-Man attempts to recall the charge, but the Kharkov Dragoons' blood is up now and cannot be stopped. The other French battalion is in disarray. Knots of men attempt to stand firm against the thundering Chernigov Dragoons but even the bravest of them ultimately turn tail and flee with the rest.

Pic #8: Denied!

8: Denied! One French battalion routs through his own lines, disordering a stack. The Kharkov Dragoons "bounce" off the French square and recoil, exhausted but unscathed (luckily!), while the Chernigov Dragoons regroup behind a line of skirmishers. The entire French left has been put into disarray. A single isolated square remains. Russian skirmishers will now have their way with it. How do you get out of this chicken outfit, anyway?

     Well, that's the game so far. At 20-minute turns, it started at 3pm and goes until 9:40.  It's now 5:00. Two French divisions arrive this turn. Now that Dornino is in French hands, they will do what they can to use it as a springboard for further assaults against the Russian artillery and soon the Shevardino redoubt itself. 
     This is what wargaming is all about, my friends. This is why I do this.
     One parting shot:

     The game is a space hog. Here you see 4 maps on (2)29"x72" tables, a third 29x72 for the organizational displays and charts and a card table for more charts, rulebooks and etc. The Shevardino scenario uses only one of the maps (even though I've set up all four).


  1. Chargeski!!!

    Now I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.

  2. Napoleon, you magnificent bastard! I read your book!