Balanced ESR game

After trying a few ESR scenarios we thought we would have an evenly balanced game.

An action set in 1813. 3 Russian corps versus 2 French corps. Wittgenstein was army commander and a corps commander. Ney was commanding the French with Saint Cyr and Bertrand commanding. The French had a distinct qualitative edge at the formation commander level, things were more equal at the higher level.

The 3 russian corps had two infantry divisions each and an artillery reserve, one had a light cavalry division attached. One of the corps was a grenadier corps which had a cuirassier division attached.

The 4 Infantry divisions were generally meant to be 4 jaeger and 8 line, however only one division managed this, the others were generally 2 battalions short. One of the divisions was an advance guard consisting of 4 jaeger, 4 line and 4 hussar units. All divisions had at least one battery. 2 of the divisions were conscript (CR 4).
The grenadiers consisted of 12 battalions each.
Cuirassier division was 8 units.

2 french corps consisted of 3 infantry divisions, artillery reserve and cavalry brigade each. One of the corps had an attached heavy cavalry division.

Infantry divisions were 3 light, 9 line, 2 foot batteries. 2 of the divisions consisted of conscripts (CR 4 (s1)).
Heavy cavalry division was 6 units.

The battlefield:

Terrain was set on a table five and a half miles deep by 4 miles wide. The northern end of the table took the form of a valley with a river flowing through it. The river turned to the west at the bottom the valley, the remainder of the table to the south was a large plain. A small town was positioned on the curve of the river, the main north/south rood passing through it. A number of smaller villages were present surrounded by fields. Centre of the valley was covered in dense terrain in the form of marshes and heavy woodland. Movement by artillery being only possible by bridge through the town or across the fordable part of the river (south west of the town). This effectively cut the northern part of the battlefield in half.

The battle was to be a meeting engagement with the Russians approaching from the northern end of the table and French from the south. Start time was 11:00 am. Weather was good. Date late September – the game was to finish because of failing light by 18:00 (21 turns).

Both sides entered the table ployed. Objectives were assigned and orders issued for the first turn.
Orders and objectives:

Sacken corps
Advance and take the village A south of the river
Wittgensteins corps
Advance to river line North of the Town
Reserve corps
Advance to the western hill north of the river

St.Cyrs corps to take central town with bridge.
Bertrands corps to attack Russian corps (Sacken) to its front.

The battle begins.

View to the south showing Sackens divisions moving on to the eastern hill. In the distance can be seen Bertrand’s corps moving through village B.

Sackens divisions starting to deploy north of village A. Saint Cyr looks to be deploying faster.

The western side of the battlefield. Wittgensteins troops can be see approaching the river line. Saint Cyr’s corps can be seen on the south side of the river.

Battle is joined for village A. The French are occupying the village.

Wittgensteins corps still deploying. Saint Cyr’s in the distance taking its time…. The grenadier corps can be seen in the foreground deploying on the hill.

Battle is joined across the front, mainly skirmish and artillery fire at this point – in fact for the western side of the battlefield this was maintained for most of the day!

The fighting around village A hots up. The Russians had been pounding the French with artillery and skirmish fire combined with charges. This had caused a lot of fatigue on the French, at this point Sacken threw in the Russian Uhlans (top of picture) who caused the French Division to retreat!

Sackens’s eastern most Division in the middle of its losing battle with a French division.

The battle late afternoon – Cossacks making a nuisance of themselves.

Sacken’s eastern most division breaks, and falls back up the slope. The attached light cavalry also retreating. The division holding village A would soon be following.

The reserve corps watches the battle and waits to be committed! However by this point its clear the two front corps are being worn down by sheer weigh of numbers and better firepower. The smaller Russian battalions are also suffering when it comes to combat.

Wittgensteins boys gradually losing the firefight with saint Cyr. Not long after this they would start to retreat. However it was now 18:00 and the light was failing.

The French defended the river line and eventually crossed. Occupied the town with the bridge. Beat Sacken’s isolated Russian corps. They did achieve their objectives. Wittgenstein held river line as long as possible, Sacken’s corps was beaten by superior numbers, one division being broken other forced to retreat. However attached light cavalry and Cossacks did force the retreat of a French division. Russians could not support the corps over the river because of the dense terrain. Neither side committed their heavy cavalry. Russians had a complete reserve untouched and fresh for resumed hostilities the following day or to cover a retreat.
Russians suffered from commanders with low values and smaller battalions. Artillery was generally equal when number of guns was taken into account. Cavalry was largely ineffectual other than a well-timed charge by Russian Uhlans and negating skirmish scores.

All in all 7 hours of game time for 5 hours actual time.


General De Brigade – Imperial Sunset – scenario 1

Background – we have been playing GDB since the late 9o’s, we started with version 1 if I recall. Its a really enjoyable system that always gets our competitive edge out! We play late period – 1812 onwards using collections that were originally put together for an Empire V spring 1813 campaign (great campaign absolutely gruelling gaming system – ended every game with a splitting headache).  We recently picked up the latest scenario book (number 6) “Imperial Sunset”.

We decided to fight every scenario in the book in sequence and record the results for posterity. That and we had a blog we had acquired 3 years ago and not done much with! So, here we go…

Fought over 3 Friday night sessions (the first session involved a lot of setting up) – for most of the game it looked like being very difficult for the Prussians to hit their victory conditions – and as usual for a GDB game looks can be very deceiving….

The scenario is titled: The Battle of Lutzen: The Prussian Charge.  It represents the opening of the battle of Lutzen, where Blucher’s Prussians launched repeated attacks on the villages of Gross-Gorschen, Klein Gorschen. Rahna and Kaja. These villages are held by Souham’s Division of Ney’s  3rd corps.

To win the Prussians had to capture Kaja and hold 2 other villages, the French had to hold Kaja and control or be contesting one other village.

Map and initial plans:

Colin was playing the Prussians using his own figures.  Mike and Myself (Shaun) were playing the French.

This map tries to illustrate starting locations for the brigades and the Prussian attacks.  If you can understand it you are a better man then me…

prussian charge

We set the game length at 24 turns.


The initial table setup, The troops nearest are the Prussian brigades of Starkenfeld and Carnall. The nearest town is Klein-Gorschen.


The defenders of Klein-Gorschen – Chemineux’s brigade.

The Prussians opened the battle by pounding the French brigade of Chasseraux in Gross-Gorschen with a large 12 gun Russian Battery.  Anhalt engages Gross-Gorschen and Carnall moves to assault Klein-Gorschen.


A view of the Russian Battery pounding Gross-Gorschen, to the right is Jagows brigade and to the left Anhalts brigade.


A view of Rahna, defended by ADC number 1.  In front can be seen some of the defenders of Gross-Gorschen.

The French 12pdr’s on the high ground begin to fire on Anhalts advancing brigade, however on the second shot roll a double 1!  This is a low on ammo result in GDB.  Not a good start for the French artillery arm and soon proved to be contagious…

To cause problems for the French in Gross-Gorschen Mutius Neumark Dragoons are ordered to the rear of the town.  The supporting the troops in Rahna scores a double 6 on the opposing Prussian battery – doubling the casualties and forcing it to withdraw.

By turn 5 the Prussians under Carnall have reached Klein-Gorschen and launch the first of many assaults.  The Silesian Grenadier and Fusilier battalions charge home and are fought to a draw by the 1/24th Provisional line.


A view of the first fight for Klein-Gorschen.

The next turn the artillery supporting Carnall scores a double 6 on the opposing French battery – doubling the casualties and causing it to retire.  Taking heart from this the Prussian Fusiliers and Grenadiers rout the 1/24th provisional line.  The Prussians storm into Klein-Gorschen.  However the Chemineau throws in the 1st and 2nd of the 21st throwing the disorganised Prussians back out.

The French Brigade under Anthing is ordered to support the left flank of Rahna.  This is the first stage in the French plan to form a line between Rahna and Klein-Gorschen.  Laboissiere is also convinced to support the left flank of Anthing thereby extending the line further.


Ney convincing Laboissiere to support Anthing.

Jagow during this time has been continuing the bombardment of Gross-Gorchen with his Russian battery, and now orders the assault.  The first West Prussian regiment charges the severely mauled 1/10th provisional Legere,who although inflicting a number of casualties on the charging Prussians break and rout.   This causes Chasseraux to take a brigade morale test, which he promptly fails and the remains of the brigade retire 30cm’s.

In support of the assault on Gross-Gorschen the Neumark Dragoons under Mutius are sent to the rear of Gross-Gorschen to threaten the French supports.   They discover a French battery and charge it, however they are repulsed with casualties. and retire back to their own lines.


Neumark Dragoons suffering two casualties while attempting to charge a French battery.

Turn 10 starts with the 1st and 2nd battalions of the Silesian regiment in Carnall’s brigade charge Klein-Gorschen.  This is important as they are Colins newly painted Blue moon figures.  We on the French side are confident as  new figures never perform well.  True to form they are forced back after a round of melee.


1st and 2nd battalions of the Silesian regiment lose the melee with the 2nd of the 21st provisional line regiment.

Elsewhere the Russian battery so effective at pounding the French in Gross-Gorschen are moved to support the centre.  However they are hit by a French battery who score another double 6!  Back they go…  The centre begins to form up:


Laboissiers cavalry in the foreground supporting Anthing’s brigade on the right.  In the distance Starkenfeld’s and Mutius Prussian cavalry can be see supporting Horns Brigade on their left flank.

Yet another attack by Carnall’s brigade is made on Klein-Gorschen, this time by the Silesian grenadiers.  But they are halted by musket fire before they can close with the enemy.

This is the midpoint of the battle (turn 12).  At this point the French have lost Gross-Gorschen but have held off repeated attacks on Klein-Gorschen.  An order to Jurgass to commit his cuirassiers fails.  Colin attempts a brigade initiative roll – disaster he rolls 3!  This causes Jurgass to enact a less aggressive order than the one he is on.  As he is on “hold” he decides to retreat off the table.  Much amusement at this on the French side of the table.

A cavalry melee between the cavalry in the centre now ensues which results in the Prussian Uhlan’s routing  (caused by the 2nd French hussars) and the Silesian hussars repulsing the Baden light dragoons.  This causes a brigade morale check which results in Starkenfelds brigade withdrawing 30 cm’s.  The 1st and 2nd battalions of the Silesian regiment attack Klein-Gorschen again resulting in a draw.  The fighting is now in the streets and room to room.


The French hanging on in Klein-Gorschen for grim death!

At this point Ney decides to move Chasseraux defeated light infantry brigade back to Kaja.  Then releases the ADC holding the 4 battalions of the 22nd line to form up in support of Anthing.  Goris is ordered to support the right flank of Chemineau.  He does this and adds his brigade to the firefight.  However he is mortally wounded, causing his brigade to falter.

The Silesians are pushed back again from Klein-Gorschen.  However the writing is on the wall for the brave defenders as they approach 50% losses.  Once this occurs they must leave the table.


The fight around Klein-Gorschen.

At turn 17 Blucher (Colin) decides to unleash Natzmers and Albenslebens grenadiers and Guards.  An assault straight through to Kaja.  This is the turning point for the game.  Carnalls tired Silesians make a final push for Klein-Gorschen, the defenders being at 50% falter and therefore fail morale and flee!  The rest of Chemineau’s brigade break and retire 30 cm’s.  The Silesians have Klein-Gorschen at last.


Mike having just lost Klein-Gorschen decides the contents of the X-wing scum and villainy pack are much more interesting then the game at this point.


Prussian Guards commence their attack.


Prussian guard approaching the French main line.

The French in the centre are now put under pressure.  The  1st of the 29th Legere are routed but Anthings brigade holds.

Blucher tries to change Jagow’s orders to assault Rahna, but fails.   His men are enjoying the Bier Keller’s of Gross-Gorschen too much!

With things starting to turn decisively against the French, Laboissiere  leads the remaining Baden dragoons in a charge against the Neumark Dragoons who retreat rather than engage.  Laboissiere continues his charge into the recently deployed Russian battery and runs off the gunners.  This is the last French success.  By this point all of the French artillery is low on ammo:


The last French battery gets a low on ammo result!

The West Prussians under Anhalt have so far had a quiet battle.  Exchanging musket shots with the French 14th and 19th provisional line in Rahna.  However they finally pluck up their courage and charge Rahna.  They are forced to falter by the fire coming from the village.

The Prussian guards reach the main French line and immediately assault the battalions of the 22nd line and Goris’s brigade.  They are initially repulsed.  However they gather up their men and storm forward again winning several combats and forcing the French forces back.


Prussian guard assaulting the 22nd line.

This is the last turn, in a last charge the 1st West Prussians charge Rahna and force the French out!  Ney in desperation joins the front rank of 3rd of the 22nd line and leads them in a charge against the Prussian Lieb infantry.  They win and force back them back.  However disaster, Colin has thrown a double for his melee dice.  This means a role on the risk to general table – the result being in the melee Ney gets confused, ends  in the Prussian lines and is captured!  Disaster right at the last – or is it.  At least he won’t be around to screw up Bautzen.


Ney gets captured right at the last.

Result = Prussian just miss out on victory as they fail to capture Kaja.  Another 2 moves and they would have done it.  The French do not win either as they must be still contesting one other village as well as holding Kaja.


As usual Colin played the Prussians with aggression (funny he never seems to do this when playing any other nation…) – good use of combined arms (inf and Art). Just left the final thrust by the Guard’s too late by a couple of turns. However made up for it by capturing Ney! Captured Great gorschen fairly easily after pounding the garrison to pulp with Russian Artillery. Long tough fight for Klein Gorschen but he took it. Captured Rahna in last couple of turns. His only low point was Cuirassier brigade failing brigade initiative and deciding being somewhere else was a better idea.

We (Mike and Shaun) did not have as good a game.  All of the French artillery ended up with a low ammo status.

The French cavalry performed ok – by that we mean better then the Prussian.

The only bright spot was the holding of Klein-Gorschen from turn 5 to turn 17 under more or less continuous attack.  However it meant nothing as regards the final result.  The defences of Gross-Gorschen and Rahna were by comparison woeful.

On to game 2 – Lutzen: La Garde au Feu!