Monday, May 25, 2009

Theatre of War: Turn 2

Another update to our Napoleonic campaign. As can be seen from the strategic map, most of the action took place around Oberdorf. After losing the battle at the end of turn 1 near Oberdorf, the losing French battlegroup retreated back to Oberdorf, carefully transporting the wounded Emperor. The Allies advanced upon Oberdorf with the hope of taking the French Base of Operations at that place, despite the fact that the only available Allied battlegroup was only Strength Point 1 (of a possible 4). The resulting battle was a tense affair that started well for the Allies but rapidly degenerated into what could only be characterized as a disastrous rout.

the situation at the end of turn 2

Again, the French were able to bring some of the guard to the battle (which makes sense, since it is the army's Base of Operations and Napoleon was in the town recovering from his wounds). This time, however, it would be the French who fielded no artillery.

The Allies, on the other hand, were able to finally bring forward their lost guns and fielded a battery of British 6 pders and for added surprise, a Royal Horse Artillery rocket battery. This is one of those units that is really more flash than substance. Rarely in games have I seen a rocket battery make any significant contribution. The rockets are very cool nonetheless and I always look froward to having them in a scenario. I've run several versions of The Battle of Baldensburg from the War of 1812 where rockets are really in their element. Throwing these chaotic and unpredictable weapons at American militia never fails to produce a positive result. In the battle of Oberdrof, however, they were not facing unsteady farmers and shopkeepers in fancy uniforms.The opening moves of the Battle of Oberdorf again saw the Imperial Guard cavalry trying to make an end run and outflank the Allied army (is there no creativity in the French army?). The British cavalry attempted to counter this move but the abysmal nature of the Allied command structure prevented this from happening in anything but a lethargic manner. The Allied commander was not the best of the lot in an army of sub-par leaders. Not only was he naturally below average on any given day, on this day in particular he was rated as Abysmal (the lowest rating possible) and his card deck was also the worst. On the flip side, the French commander was rated as Superior with an excellent deck (both the highest possible ratings). It was the Allied commander's hope to come out of the encounter with a Marginal loss given the odds against him (that would be me, by the way...wishful thinking as it turned out).

first phase of the battle

While the guard cavalry was off on its merry jaunt, the bulk of the French army moved to secure the small town on the Allied left flank. The Allied commander had placed his weakest troops in the town, hoping the natural cover of the buildings would help to redress the imbalance in troop quality. At first, this was a successful move as the Wurttemburgers and the Old Guard infantry attempted multiple times to break into the town. Through canny re-positioning of units and the naturally strong position, the Austrian infantry in the town was able to hold out for quite a period.

second phase of the battle

Unfortunately, this stiff resistance eventually came to an end as the Austrian infantry was unceremoniously bundled out of the town. Coupled with the French guard cavalry's successful foray against the Allied right flank the fate of the Allied army was sealed. Having lost the town and with the guard cavalry bearing down quickly upon them, the troops holding the center of the Allied line soon found the position untenable and without further ado ran screaming from the field like little girls. So much for the hoped-for marginal defeat. Once all the calculations were finished, the Allies had lost 39 National Will Points (a substantial part of their whole) in this Crushing Defeat and received a "30% downgrade" modifier. To add insult to injury, the last die roll of the game saw the Allied battlegroup commander disappear in whiff of grapeshot. Probably for the best after his dismal performance!

third & final devastating phase of the battle

With any luck (and forethought), I may be able to post some pictures of the next game. That would, of course, require Vidal and I to bring a camera and put down our wine glasses long enough to frame the shots!

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