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The Orkney Wargames Club meets

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The Roterflügel Ford 1813

The Napoleonic Wars, Shadow of the Eagles, 28mm

This small Napoleonic game was based on a scenario from Grant & Asquith’s Scenarios for All Ages (1996), a book I often turn to for fun gaming ideas. this one, called ‘Breakout’ has a force guarding a ford, pursued by a slightly larger force. However, a light cavalry regiment appeared on one flank, and other columns of troops were spotted approaching from two other directions. the defending force then, had to break out, or risk being trapped.This shows the basic layout. The * marks where the Prussian defenders begin the game – a sizable force of four infantry battalions, a jaeger detachment, a gun battery and three cavalry regiments. When the game starts, the Prussian general realises the predicament he’s in, and gives orders to exit the table at ‘D’. However, there’s a French chasseur-a-cheval regiment at ‘A’ already, and more troops are off-table, approaching ‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘D’. In this one, Sean opted for the Prussians, while I commanded the encircling French. The game was laid out according to the map, with a crossroads inn by the ford, two farms and two small hills, with a few scattered patches of woodland. the game was played out on a 6×4 foot table. this was a tricky one for the defenders, as they had to hold off the attackers approaching from multiple directions, and also make it off the table. Still, Charles S. Grant is good at concocting fiendish scenarios. Sean began by facing off the chasseurs-a-cheval with his own Silesian hussars. In the clash that followed the French horsemen were driven back, and then the Silesians pursued, and swept their opponents from the table. That gave the Prussians a fairly secure flank, but the pressure was mounting now, as the outflanking forces began appearing onto the table. On the east, at point ‘C’, a light infantry battalion and a gun battery appeared, and as the infantrymen advanced, the guns unlimbered on the hill. The Prussians though, opened up with their won battery, sited behind the inn, and began causing casualties on the French gunners. Then, as the last of the Prussian cavalry crossed the ford, the main French body appeared at ‘B’; three infantry battalions, and a brigade of two dragoon regiments. These began firing across the Rotterflügel, and the Prussian infantry fired back. This though, effectively pinned down two battalions, when they really needed to be heading south down the main road to safety. That’s when the final French force arrived – two infantry battalions and gun battery, blocking the Prussian line of retreat at ‘D’. So, the Prussians would have to fight their way to safety. So, Sean deployed two battalions for the assault. While this was  all panning out the situation around the ford was changing rapidly. Everything was constricted by the ford, and a regiment of Russian dragoons blocked its far end, coverede by the infantry. this though, didn’t stop the first regiment of French dragoons from charging across, catching the slow-moving Russian on the hop, so they didn’t counter-charge. In the melee, the Russians were routed, and the French pursued into the next unit.This though, didn’t end well, as the Prussian dragoons were completely fresh, and broke the already worn French horsemen, who legged it back over the ford to safety. Meanwhile, as Sean’s two battalions – fusiliers and landwehr – were forming up to drive the french from their exit road around ‘D’, supported by a hussar regiment, the Prussian guns kept firing at the French guns on the hill near ‘C’, who in turn were firing back, although without much effect. Then Sean launched his attack to the south – only to be stopped short by the French musketry and canister fire. The French here were inexperienced troops, but they gamely held on, and in the end it was the Prussians who fell back to lick their wounds. The French line held – but only just. Over on the ford though, the French light infantry at ‘C’ had advanced into range of the Prussians to the east of the ford, who were now taking fire from two sides. That was when the French cavalry tried their hand again. the remaining dragoon regiment charged across the ford, and hit the Prussian dragoons there. The Prussians rolled badly, and after being pursued they were swept from the field. With that, the French were free to funnel troops over the ford. Their two infantry battalions there were still gamely holding on, and the one on the left was out-shooting its opponents. However, they were now cut off. To be honest, the French lacked the infantry muscle to do much more than hold their side of the river, as all three units had taken casualties. The light infantry on the Prussian right though, were causing real trouble for the defenders, and even pinning down the jaegers defending the inn. The French cavalry charge across the ford though, had well and truly burst the Prussian bubble, especially when they then charged and routed the Silesian hussars. This was the point where the Prussians conceded. By now they didn’t have any real chance of saving their force, as the route south was firmly blocked.  The defenders at the bridge were now cut off too. So, the Prussian commander surrendered. He’d done all he could. Its a hard scenario, right enough, and I think the defender’s only chance is to go for broke at the start, and head towards ‘D’. We might try the scenario again, to see if it can be done. 





6 Responses “The Roterflügel Ford 1813”

  1. 28th April 2024 at 3:25 pm

    Looks like a fun contest. Always a pleasure to see these Grant scenarios continuing to give wargamers interesting battles.

    • 28th April 2024 at 4:54 pm

      Those scenarios AND your excellent rules, Keith!

  2. Joseph
    29th April 2024 at 6:14 am

    I like that scenario, might try that with one of my collections. It sure does sound like a tough one for the defenders. But our group likes things like that rather than always evenly balanced games.

    Nice collections of troops too.

    • 29th April 2024 at 8:38 am

      Thanks Joseph. It’s a good, challenging scenario. If The defenders take that southern farm before The attackers arrive, it might give them an advantage. The Prussians are all plasic, apart from the artillery. They look surprisingly good, but I miss the heft of lead!

  3. Roy Bumpsteed
    20th May 2024 at 7:00 am

    Glad to see you back!

    • 20th May 2024 at 8:33 am

      Yes Roy, games become more irregular at this time of year due to other commitments, and of course waves of pressing writing deadlines. Still, we’ll have a few more entries out this week, I promise!

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