|Nansouty's big bad 6's Guard Horse|
In 1815 after his abdication and exile to the island of Elba, Napoleon returned to France, challenged the King's force meant to stop him, which promptly returned to his command. The Bourbon King then fled .
But what if the ex-Imperial army did not come back to Napoleon, and indeed did try to stop Napoleon and his small army of Guardsmen from moving to Paris? And if Napoleon pulls his "And France is me!!" stunt, would it work or the be the death of him? This what-if scenario pits Frenchman vs Frenchman in this Napoleonic battle.
Not a bad what-if battle..... considering I only have French painted at this time! Hey, if King Louis XVII had any backbone....
So I hauled the figures to, for me is a rare club GameNight and had a few of the usuals want to command. I took some time explaining the rationalization of these rules. For the most part they got it but it is funny how some of the 'traditional wargaming concepts' still come out.
|Bonapartists on the left, Royalist on the right. The nice 'village' model I took some time during the week to terrain was never seriously attacked...sigh.|
However on the other flank, with the much abler Andrew handling his forces more adroitly, the weaker Royalists, managed to wear down the Bonapartist Guard units, blocking others with well placed cavalry, and eventually making hors-de-combat two Guard infantry elements ( their only losses however. The Royalists lost 11 !)
A change in the game occurred as, Jim, the player with Napoleon, really, really, wanted to test my, only for this scenario, "And France is Me!" rule.
Premise: Napoleon held great sway with the ex-imperial troops and so if an Royalist unit is in combat with a Guard unit with which Napoleon is attached may be called to return to the Emperor during the battle.
The “Napoleon” player may then call “And France is me!” He then rolls 1d6 and consults the following chart:
5 or 6 = The Royalist unit collapses in jubilation and cries of “Vive le Empereur!” throwing down their weapons to cheers. The unit is hors-de-combat for the remainder of the game.
4 = the Royalist unit is overawed by the Emperor and takes a -2 combat modifier this turn
3 = Napoleon is unhorsed and his health is unknown. The Guard unit takes a -2 modifier this turn
2 = Napoleon is wounded, the Guard unit angered by this injury to their Emperor receives a +2 combat modifier for the remainder of the close combat with this Royalist unit(s).
1 = Napoleon falls to a bullet and is killed. His dreams and the battle are done.
Thus he managed to roll for this most every turn! He actually never had old Nappy killed but one of the rolls was a 3 -- Napoleon was 'unhorsed and health unknown'. So I stated to all the players around the table that the rumor spread quickly through the army and hearts sank at the Emperor perhaps dead. Thus I decreased all the Guard MP values by half. The Royalists players, now seeing the odds a little more even, regained their own morale and in some instances, even went into the attack! But like I said eventually lost 2-11.
The rules worked fairly well. Many of the changes necessary were for the 'what you could or could not do' variety. The MP values became very important (as they should be). Good troops will kick lesser troops butt most of the time.
Attrition seemed to be very important and the only way for lesser troops to deal with the Guard is to be a 'speed bump' after 'speed bump' until the Guard was 'slowed down'. The players did use the General's "Rally Points" to influence some element's effectiveness but that was kinda the theory, so that worked. As they only have a small number of them, their use should be limited and have only local influence. Again, like history, the timing will be the key.
Obviously, just in real military history, but not necessarily wargames, reserves are very important. Fresh troops, with high MP factors, could certainly turn the tide of a battle, which is why the better commanders would keep them uncommitted for as long as possible. Wargame players, not caring about strategic objectives or fight-another-day ideals, knowing that in 1 hour and 12 minutes the game will end because Fred needs to get up to get to work at 6am... will commit all and at once for the big victory. For wargames defeat is only met with a small ribbing by the others and glib comments so battles are never done to their conclusions or retreats are conducted.
So unlike most wargames however I believe these rules could work into campaign games very well because of the swift and dramatic attrition in battle and will try to get some gamers to participate -- once I get enough miniatures painted that is!
Surprisingly the one issue which they did not comment upon was the use of only one move distance regardless of troop type, horse, infantry or artillery as all moved the same distance. Good news that. No justifications required! I made lengths of wood sticks for the purpose and for ranged fire and they were well used.