The Napoleonic Wars, Shadow of the Eagles, 28mm
This game was dictated by the fact that I picked up more boxes of cavalry than anything else. So, unsurprisingly we decided to stage a largely cavalry clash, which would take place near the village of Gülden-Gossa, to the south of Leipzig. On 16 October, during the Battle of Leipzig, the famous cavalry battle of Liebertwolkwitz took place a mile or so up the road. Our fight was merely an off-shoot of this greater clash. still, it would be a fun little game, even though we had a modest two brigades of cavalry per side. The Russians, who held the village, fielded a brigade of two regiments of light cavalry (hussars and ulhans), and a heavy brigade with a regiment each of dragoons and cuirassiers. The French had the same, only instead of ulhans they had chasseurs-a-cheval. Both sides had a small brigade of two infantry battalions and a pair of gun batteries. The Russians also had two sotnia of Cossacks. Originally, this was going to be a game played by two people – Sean and I – but Sean turned up with another Sean – this one a lapsed wargamer who was interested in returning to the fold. In our game, the two Seans opted to command the French, so I took the Russians, The game was played out on a 6x 4 foot table, with the village, some copses and a low hill, and not much else on it. This being a cavalry clash, the infantry were pretty much playing a defensive role, while the guns were there to disrupt the enemy cavalry. I didn’t know what “Sean 2” would be like as a player, but I soon found out when he asked how charges worked. Once told, he immediately launched his chasseurs-a-cheval in a headlong charge against the Russian guns. The panicked gunners fired without effect, then fled to the cover of a nearby square. Their job done, the victorious chasseurs trotted back to their starting line. It was a good start for the French. However, while on the French left, Sean 1 was playing it safe, and on the right Sean 2 was bringing the rest of his troops forward, I threw caution to the wind and launched my light cavalry in a charge of their own. This time the Marioupol hussars went in first, and were counter-charged by the French 7th Hussars. In the hard-fought clash both sides pretty much wrecked each other, but it was the Russian hussars who had to break off, as they were just one hit away from collapse. By now though, I’d got the bit between my teeth, and launched a charge with my Polish ulhan regiment. I knew the French hussars were badly battered, and I wanted to finish them off. This time the clash was very one-sided, with the 7th Hussars swept from the field. So, the French had now lost their best light cavalry regiment, while my one was battered, but still just about in the game. The blue-coated Russian Maroupol hussars were really too battered to achieve much, apart from supporting the ulhans. So, I lined up to charge the 22nd chasseurs in the flank,. By then though, I’d recrewed my guns, and my two batteries were now firing away at the French chasseurs. In the end the ulhans didn’t need to charge in as the chasseurs broke under the weight of the Russian fire.This was the time to press home. In the centre I didn’t really know what to do with my Cossacks – they can’t charge the enemy frontally, but I still had my other cavalry brigade. Until now my own heavy cavalry had been facing off their French counterparts on the other side of the field. now I trotted forward, ready to launch them in a charge, supported if possible by the ulhans and the Cossacks. This though, didn’t really go according to plan. The ulhans charge in, and the French 12th Cruirassiers counter-charged them. Over on the Russian right, my dragoons were too far back to join in the attack, so they and the cossacks just milled around on the flank.Further over though, the French dragoons charged the Russian cuirassiers, and I didn’t manage to counter-charge. So, we now had two big simultaneous cavalry fights to deal with, both of which had odds which now favoured the French. In the first one the French 18th Dragoons and the Russian Empress Cuirassiers fought each other to a standstill, and both pulled back to reform. In the centre though, the French cuirassiers chopped the Russian ulhans to pieces. The French divisional commander Bourdesoulle cheered them on, and spurred on, they pursued into the Marioupol hussars in front of them. This time though, the cuirassiers didn’t have it their won way, thanks largely to the Cossacks joining in from the flanks. In then end the cuirassiers broke. This pretty much marked the end of the battle. The remaining French dragoon regiment pulled back, supported by his infantry and guns, and the short but sweet battle in front of Gülden-Gossa came to an end. On points it was a Russian win, but they didn’t really look like winners as their cavalry were completely spent. So, I suppose it was really a draw in favour of the Russians. The most important thing about the game though, was that “Sean 2” enjoyed himself, and he now wants to come back for more! Huzzah!