Battle of Heilsberg refight in 54mm. 7 players, 3 French - 4 Russians. 2 and a half hours game
Russians from left to right: Steven, Alex, Luc and Patrick , French from left to right: Thomas, Ronny and me (Dirk)
Table about 4m on 1.5m
Russians: 29 infantry units, most with 8 figures, 8 batteries, 3 heavy cavalry units, 2 medium, two light , all of 4 figures each.
French: 24 infantry units of 8 figures, 4 batteries, 2 heavy cavalry units, 4 medium all of figures.
The Russians had a strong defensive position, with much artillery and numerical superiority.
To have the game somewhat levelled, all French units were veteran, except one unit of Guard fusiliers as elite. On the Russian side, only the grenadier units were veteran, and the on the extreme left were the Guard hussars with elite status.
Redoubt n° 2, in the centre, was somewhat isolated in front of the main Russian battle line.
The game started with a French turn. My two batteries strong grand battery targeted the opposing 3 batteries Russian grand battery, taking down a heavy 2 figures, reducing the firepower. My light units advanced in skirmish, targeting the Russian infantry and immediately inflicting a loss. Ronny immediately stormed the redoubt, and was able to enter it with losses.
On the left , Thomas feared the second Russian grand battery opposing his cavalry and chose to take the offensive. The Russian cuirassiers were out of range of his dragoons and also his cuirassiers were not able to reach the grand battery. The effects in the Russian turn were heavy. The Russians charged his dragoons, chasing them back to base. The grand battery took down one of his cuirassier units. From the beginning, Thomas was in trouble.
To counter the threat the skirmishers, Steven went into the offensive with his infantry. His leading battalion came under heavy fire from my third battery and my light troops reformed into battle columns. I tried to exploit the weakened status of the leading battalion, and charged.
The breakthrough I hoped for didn’t happen.
The following turns I was able to push Steven back and even entered his redoubt n°1. But Steven had still enough reserves to drive my leading troops back.
In the centre after a few turns, Ro
nny was finally able to clear the redoubt of Russian jägers, and directed part of his troops against the grant battery I had further weakened with my batteries. The Russian gunners, after a last volley, limbered in haste and confusion pushing units of Alex of table. Fierce fighting followed. But Ronny lacked troops to follow up the success of his leading troops, as he had to start redirecting his reserves towards the left flank, where the depleted command of Thomas was in to state to resist to waves of the fresh right flank Russians .
The French heavy cavalry was wiped out by the Russian cuirassiers in the previous turns while the latter hadn’t suffered that much.
The battle was lost, with not enough troops to continue offensive actions but still strong enough to give the Russians a bloody nose, the only thing The French side could do was to start an orderly retreat.
Conclusion: The result came close to the real thing, a tactical French defeat, but not a result that changed the balance of power
For the game, a French victory was only possible with lucky dicing, brilliant manoeuvring. But our tactical preparation was to short and I must confess I was not well inspired, also missing luck on crucial moments. Thomas had a weak command from the start. A more careful start would have been better. Ronny did put up a good fight and was close to pushing Alex of table, but maybe did spend too much time arround the redoubt. Steven stood firm against my superior force. Alex was a bit too careful endangering his command. Thomas was no match for veterans Luc and Patrick. An on their part sooner started all-out offensive could have made it a telling Russian victory.
A great game and a fun afternoon.
Rule used: "About Bonaparte" from Caliver books: Link