Monday, August 7, 2017

FEU FIGHTERS: BORODINO 6AM

       The first couple turns of the full battle scenario of my new favorite game, La Bataille de la Moscowa, are in the books. Well, almost. I still have the 6:20 AM Fire and Assault Phases yet to play. The Assault Phase should only take a minute or two. The Fire Phase will consist of hot Russian cannonballs slicing through Frenchmen like ninepins. Maybe that's why I put it off until later. Gulp!
     Let's have a look at the early action.

Follow the bouncing balls.
     Speaking of ninepins, here's the bowling alley. The red lines are the trajectory of Russian cannon fire from the "Bagration Fleches." This is where I made my first mistake of the day. As the French player, I forgot to bring my artillery forward on the first turn (circled in blue). This leaves the 5th division at the mercy of the Russian guns. And effective they were, too. Several disruptions, 3 increments KIA and half-a-battery of limbered artillery all shot to hell.
     The idea here was to screen my advance with my light cavalry (the blue wavy line -- the screen on the French right has been dismantled). The problem is the cannonballs go right through them, causing all sorts of havoc to my infantry columns in the rear.
     On turn 2, I started to bring the guns up and spread out my infantry, putting all my battalions in line. This will help a little.
     I want to at least get in a few shots at the Russians before launching my assault. But standing still under that fire is going to be hard.
     The 61st Bde of the 5th engages the Russian jaegers in the brush. An assault will push them back. The idea here to get through the skirmish line and attack the earthworks from the flank.
     (The little blue arrow at the top of the picture shows a confab taking place between Napoleon and two of his marshals, Davout and Ney. Davout wants to hit the Fleches with his entire 1st Corps. I think Napoleon will go for that idea.)


     At the same time, Ney's 3rd Corps struggles through the rugged terrain toward the Great Redoubt. A steep bank of a dry streambed is defended by a screen of Jaegers. The Corps artillery has one path through the woods (shown in green) and then only a single path beyond the streambed. I'd like to set the guns up at the edge of the woods and blast away for a while, but it's pretty slow going through the brush.

The Marshals meet with Napoleon's vest in an open field. Getting the okay to unleash the I and III Corps. 
I pilfered some "General Order" counters from BAR.

     17 Bde/1st Div/I Corps crosses a swampy stream towards a steep bank guarded by Russian Jaegers. That's called "doing it the hard way." With Ney coming through the woods on the right, these guys look to make Raevesky's Redoubt not so great. 30 Bde crosses the bridge and launches an assault into the village.
     At the same time, IV Corps makes for the flank. The town is held only by some light infantry. The French catch them lounging ingloriously in the town's saunas. (Russian historians will cover this up for years afterward.)
    Russian VI Corps wants to push its Jaegers into the bend of the river at the top of the screen and into the village on its far bank. Cossacks approach from the top-left, off the screen.
     Also on the Russian side, Barclay and Bagration station themselves with various Corps leaders, awaiting their chance to "activate" for a counterattack as Kutusov can't be bothered. Other ADCs and Artillery leaders move to where they might do the most good. This is probably the most challenging part of the game, both mentally and physically. (It's hard to tell one leader from another -- this is the hunt-and-peck of wargaming. Slightly annoying, but awesome!)
     Until next time, don't take any wooden nickels!

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