Saturday, August 13, 2011

La Battaile de la Moscowa

Gary played in a board game at a miniatures convention.... At Enfilade, the author of a rules upgrade for the venerable La Battaile series of tactical level Napoleonic board games, presented his newly published, gussied up version of La Battaile de la Moscowa. Gary played, it is gorgeous, and the rules worked very well, playing a massive board game to a conclusion in a single day of gaming. So, Gary went out and bought one (and he is at Dragonflight this weekend, playing with the author again). Completely independently, Stacy has also purchased a copy, so there was no other choice and we have dived in. Gary and I spent a weekend of gaming days just punching and clipping the counters, laying out the maps and deploying the troops. Yep. It's big.

Picture for you.

All pictures are posted at full resolution (2816 x 2112 pixels), so you can click on the picture above and make it bigger than your computer screen, then scroll about to see what's where. Generally, the French are to the upper right on both sides of the river. The Russians are to the left and down, all on the left side of the river except an outpost in the town of Borodino, about the middle of the map. The game runs in twenty minute, interactive turns and each counter is a battalion or regiment of infantry, regiment of cavalry or battery of guns. Interactive turns means it is not Igo/Ugo, instead at the beginning of each turn, players designate maneuver units (usually divisions but it is possible to move entire Corps if everything is just right, and you never, ever have enough MU to move everybody), throw chits in a cup for the maneuver units and some administrative actions, then draw chits and execute them. Who goes first or last, which always matters, is randomized over the field for more realistic command problems.

The first hour consumed our first game night. In random events at the start of each turn, the French Guard artillery and the Russian Artillery reserve were released, both unlikely, both having profound results on the game. Also having profound results on the history of our little cardboard world, in the first turn General and Aide de Camp to Napoleon Armand Caulaincourt became an incidental casualty of artillery fire. This will result in there being even more confusion about What Really Happened, since in our world Armand wrote one of the few eyewitness (and probably the single best) accounts of the battle from a command perspective.

The general plan of action in the cardboard world was the French I Corps, under Gary's command and the French III Corps under Stacy's orders launched the traditional advance on the Russian left, with Davout's I Corps moving at and to the left of the fleches (earthworks) in the Russian left center and Ney's III Corps moving on the Russian VIII Corps' Grenadier division in an advanced position. Eugene's IV Corps massed an assault on the Borodino toehold.

In the 6:40 AM turn, French maneuvers turned the ends of Russian positions. Stacy had two divisional assaults, one with Ney and one with Eugene on Borodino, both shown here. Off the picture to the left is Davout's I Corps extending around the Russian leftmost flank and assaulting the very end.

Closeup of Eugene's assault on Borodino. Notice the three little Russian Jager battalions about to get plowed under by French human waves from three sides.... "Not good. Very not good."

At the same time, Michel Ney's III Corps assaults the Grenadier Division wrapping around the Russian right. The Grenadier's are outnumbered about 2 to 1 and flanked. Not quite as bad as Borodino, but not too likely.

Here we see the right division of Davout's I Corps extending around the Russian extreme left which is anchored on a hill top in the heavy scrub brush.

The results of the Borodino assault were pretty much as you would expect. Two of the Russian jager battalions were punched out, routed and decimated and streaming to the rear in confusion. One lucky (?) battalion managed to disorder part of the assault on it's position and held the village with casualties. Next turn....

The Grenadier's and Ney's lead division had an inconclusive melee. Each side has one stack disordered, everybody took casualties, a few more French than Russian. The position held for now.

But this, is just ridiculous. Davout's assault on the far left, about 3 to 1 odds has been knocked back with substantial casualties in disarray. Even flanked and outnumbered, the Russian battalions waiting uphill in the brush have gobsmacked everyone. 'cause


Over here is the VIII Corps' Converged Grenadier Division. Bad dudes in the front line.... ;o)

All of this happened back on July 1, so this post is a bit late. I will update the game story as it unfolds and have two more game time hours to catch up....

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