Friday, 25 September 2015

Game 35 : Brienne 1814

This is a smallish battle fought in 1814. Napoelon thinks he has trapped Blucher in Brienne but the latter has been forewarned. However, the Allies need to hold the field to extricate all their supply trains and chosen lines of communication. The Allies have the edge in numbers, especially in artillery, but the French have the Guard Cavalry and Young Guard infantry present.
The actual battle is fought where the Allies would like to retire to the south (left of the pics from French lines). Both armies are heavy on the northern side and its a race to cut off the southern route or keep it open.

This was the French advance in the centre against Brienne with a line corps. Light infantry are screening the advance. The Allies have a large number of guns in the centre. Neither side had cavalry in this sector. The result would be the wrecking of the 2 French light infantry battalions, but not before the gun line of 6 Russian batteries had been driven off with heavy casualties. 

This is taken further north from the previous pic and already shows a contact between allied cavalry and French Guard Cavalry. The French had both Guard formations in the north to execute a right hook and a general attack in echelon. The plans are always grandiose!! The Allies had a simpler approach. Survive!! until they could securely open the southern roads.

A closer view of the cavalry contact. It was a one sided affair, Russian Dragoons against French Horse Grenadiers of the Guard!

From this angle the remainder of the French Guard Cavalry can be seen in support (they had the Lancers and Chasseurs) whilst the allies have more Dragoons and Hussars in support. 

The French Young Guard are attacking the northern village. Securing this would open the Allied left flank. But it would be no easy task. The Russian infantry would be difficult to eject and they would take many Guardsmen with them as payment. Furthermore, as there was no Cavalry on this flank either, Russian artillery would wreak some havoc on the French Young Guard.

This view is from the Russian right flank. The escape road can be seen running across the pic. As you look into the distance you can see the whole French advance against the centre and Russian left flank.

This is from Brienne, still in Russian hands, looking northeast. The previous cavalry combat can still be seen.

This is a closer view of the cavalry combat from the Allied lines. The Allied cavalry would take a hammering and break, and then rally quite quickly and try and prepare to re-engage.

The Allies would now try and stop the Young Guard by advancing an infantry corps of their own. The cavalry threat has passed in the sense that the French Guard Cavalry is still advancing and engaging Allied cavalry. The Russian artillery can be seen deployed to the north of the village and these guns were the ones that wrought some havoc on the French Young Guard.

This was on the French left and there was a clash between the cavalry of both sides. The French had a Dragoon Division and the Allies had a mixed Dragoon/Hussar Division. The clash would involve all the regiments from both sides. The French would kill more, but the morale of the Allied cavalry would hold.

Another pic of the combat on the French left flank. The prize would be the domination of the road leading south, so the prize was hotly contested. 

Back to the north. Eventually the French cavalry were able to provide a threat to the Allied infantry as the cavalry was too badly beaten at this time. Therefore, the Allies ordered a withdrawal. Here you see the French Guard advancing past the northern village and preparing to attempt the rolling up of the Allied left. The cavalry are now deployed in single line as there is more space for this deployment. The cavalry is now swinging to the right and north westwards to drive away any remaining Allied forces and allow the infantry to advance unmolested. 

The game is now up!! The Allies have now had to abandon Brienne (out of shot to the right), both to save their guns and avoid being trapped by the Flank attack. It was so bad that the Allies abandoned the southern road and chose a road to the southwest over a main river (forgot its name!). This pic is the furthest rear of the Allied lines at the river and its single bridge over (and then off table). The Allies in the background are a rear guard and its looked like they may not get away.

The merry men. Two new guys made an appearance, David who is second from the left and Peter who is far right. They heard about this setting from Neil Kenneally over a bottle of wine at the Lion's mound at Waterloo, as you do of course!!!
Next game is Saalfeld, the smallest battle to date. It involves the advance guards of the French and Prussians and was a "skirmish" preluding the battles of Jena and Auerstadt.