My usual ‘go to’ scenario for any era, is to have one side escort a wagon of booze, while the other side is tasked to take it for themselves. It is thus that in the midst of the Russian 1812 campaign, a French cavalry commander has demanded that his precious supply of cognac (being French of course!) given a very large escort, to be moved across the table to be safely delivered. The Russians want it also and casualties be damned!
|My cuirassiers moving over the narrow bridge|
Again, a playtest for our Napoleonic all-cavalry version of “Lion Rampant” rules, the French column had my newly-painted Chasseur-a-Cheval followed by a strong contingent of cuirassiers in the lead. The wagon followed, with Peter commanding the rear guard of two companies of Dragoons and a company of the 3rd Hussars painted by Will.
|The French move through the Russian town with my newly 'recruited' 6th CaC in the lead blocking the way!|
The cognac wagon had not quite reached the bridge so the French column was strung out with the lead elements still within the confines of the town and the rearguard still in the open areas from the bridge. The race was on whether the French could move out from this poor tactical position before Will’s Cossack horde could attack the exposed rear guard, and Kevin’s and Jim’s Heavies and masses of lancers could cross the table to take the French lead elements before they left the town. The activiations, the essential key to the Lion Rampant rules, were to mark the crucial points of the battle.
|But finally the two companies of the French Chasseurs move toward the Russian dragoons|
|The cuirassiers move out of the town allowing the following cognac wagon to move along with the rear escort of dragoons in the distance.|
Now, as any wargamer knows, the newly painted unit never does particularly well in its first tabletop encounter. ‘Urban Myth’ or not, I have had this happen so many times not to believe in its truth. In this case my very fresh 6th CaC missed its first two activations! As the lead unit within the town, it caused a bottleneck, forcing the cuirassiers to slowly move out to meet the Russians through the narrow streets. Of course this meant the wagon was delayed and more time must be spent fighting off the Russians…..once they got there. But in good JimF fashion, his activation rolls were horrible and his Russian Guard Lancers and compatriots moving in group formation were halted for several turns and thus not in position to block the French within the town.
|a nice birds eye view of the battle with Will's Cossacks in the distance left, the French within the town and the Russians moving in from the right. Off camera, further from the right, are Jim's Russian Guard Lancers.|
The battle thus broke down into two isolated actions with Will’s Cossacks dancing around looking for opportunities for attack over the creek or across the narrow bridge while Peter looked to defend these points effectively. But few casualties resulted.
|Action later in the game of Cossacks trying to force a crossing of the creek to harass the French rearguard.|
This could not be said of the battle to the south of the town as cuirassier and, yes, finally my CaC attacked the effective Russian lancers and cuirassier units. At one point late in the battle, Peter looked over to my portion of the table and asked, “Where are all your units? Just a little while ago the table was full of cuirassiers!” Yes, there was heavy fighting but with the French down to mere fragments of companies of horsemen left, Jim did not roll high enough to move his Guard Uhlans into position to attack the wagon and Peter, rolling for the important cognac wagon, managed to get it to safety! As the Duke of Elchingen exclaimed, “It was a near run thing!”
Fun game. Much good discussion about the rules with “less is more” coming to lead the agreements.