Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Game 28 : Borodino 7th September 1812

I suppose we should call this "the big one". Borodino is the largest game done so far and utilised the whole playing area. Over 200 Infantry Battalions, 50 Regiments of Cavalry and 50 Batteries of artillery were fielded in this epic battle. I think we did justice to its size!
I won't be going into huge detail, I think everyone knows the battle and the battlefield. The piccies will show snippets of the game as it progressed. The first battle started on a Sunday and was ended on the Thursday. In the future, this battle will be written up in full and form part of the Companion series for the rules we use, In The Grandest Manner. That's the advertising plug done, so to the terrain and actual battle.

The battlefield started from the Great Redoubt and moved along to the Fleches. The northern edge was the Kolotcha river, the woods at Utitsa were the southern boundary.,
This piccy is from in front of the Great Redoubt. It is a good 30" long and about 12" deep or thereabouts. Entry is via the sides. The squares in front represent the wolf pits and act to unform infantry who cross. The Redoubt will take 2 full Russian gun batteries.

This is a picky of the Fleches. Two are in the front and one is behind on the hill to the right. Its easier to see in upcoming piccies. The Fleches were deemed to be on slopes, hence the hills that appear between them. The whole feature was treated as a higher level. Each Fleche is about 18" long and will accommodate a battalion in line and a full gun battery. Scenario rules were used to define both the Fleches and Redoubt, including capacity, defence factors etc etc.

This is a long shot from the southern end of the battlefield from the French lines. The village of Semonovka can just be made out after the second Fleche.

This is a long shot taken from the northern end of the battlefield

The early battle in progress. In the foreground are 2 of Davout's divisions, the best line in the army, attacking the Great Redoubt. Although eventually successful, these divisions would be spent after taking the Redoubt having suffered 30% losses. Opposite Semonovka, another attack, this time by a division from Ney, is underway.

This is the same time as before nut from the south. Junot's corps is attacking the Fleches, trying to create a gap to exploit between the southern Fleche and the Utitsa woods.

The Great Redoubt has been abandoned by the Russians, Semonovka is a stalemate battle and a ferocious battle still rages around the Fleches. In this picky, French reserves, the Reserve cavalry, Guard Cavalry and French Middle & Young Guard are released to exploit the fall of the Redoubt.

This is taken from the Russian lines from behind the Fleche nearest Semonovka. The village itself is under constant attack from 2 sides but still holding. In the foreground is a corps from the French cavalry reserve being met by Russian cavalry as they try to exploit a gap that opened between the Fleche and Semonovka.

Junot's Westphalian's are still contesting the Fleches and Utitsa woods at the bottom of the picky. The Russian defence has been dogged and now the position is being reinforced by Russian Grenadiers. This fight remained intense for the whole game. 

Russian cavalry behind the Fleches move forward to contest the ground between the Fleches and Semonovka. Even with the table being huge, finding sufficient room to fully deploy formations can be quite a task.

French Middle & Young Guard in the foreground attacking just to the south of the Great Redoubt. They would come up against the Russian Converged Grenadier division. The Russians would fight stoically, suffer horrible casualties and then eventually break. The masses of cavalry now have the space to advance and are preparing to assault the Russian reserves on the far side of the hill, Russian Guard infantry and cavalry.

French reserve cavalry pouring through the gap created between the Fleche and Semonovka. This manoeuvre would also help Ney wrestle control of the Fleche nearest Semonovka as the cavalry dominated the ground immediately behind.

This is towards the end. French Old Guard, the column nearest, have marched across the field unmolested to engage their Russian counterparts. Next to the Guard a relatively fresh division from Davout which had been held in reserve. Above them the Semonovka village is now coming under pressure from 3 sides.

This was the last move we did. French Guard cavalry pouring through past the Great Redoubt to attack Russian Guard cavalry. The French would have the luxury of large amounts of fire support and it would be this that helped swing the combat. But now the Russian shave decided to withdraw and survive to fight another day.
A great game fought in great spirit with copious amounts of alcohol and good food to help.
In addition, my wife Anne gets a huge thank you as she kept us all fed and in drink for the week, picked up guys from the station as need be and made all the evening dining arrangements.
I'll say she is just perfect!

And finally, the rogues gallery. The only newbie was Grant (top row, second from right). I do like Herbert in his cap who must now be praised as he has bought the rules! As to what is next?
A WWII jaunt into France 1940. Another week of wargaming with a quite complex involved scenario. The game after that will be Napoleonic, something new but you will have to watch this space!!


  1. Simply epic! Looking forward to see some epic WWII gaming aswell

  2. Wow! You're right the biggest yet, impressive to say the very least. The Grand Redoubt is truly Grand and the Fleches less so.
    Have fun up there, best wishes, Jeremy

  3. Looks fantastic Gerry - great scope and sweeping scale!

  4. If anyone is passing. feel free to peak in. The next Borodino should be even bigger!