Monday, 23 February 2009

A Frivolous Action! Part 2

The opening two turns saw both armies advancing at a reckless pace. It seemed that neither General was prepared to hold back and take a defensive position. Soubise was displaying signs of unusual energy (it is possible that some carousing on the previous night had got his blood up) and was enthusiastically talking about 'not letting the enemy take the initiative'. Kornberg was living up to his fiery nature with a headlong advance, with little regard for tactical niceties.

Turn 2 complete: Kornberg's grenadiers wonder if he's trying to get them killed

Turn 2 complete: View from Soubise's left flank

By turn three the range had rapidly closed and a musketry duel could not be long delayed. Kornberg halted the leading grenadiers, while the remaining companies were ordered to seek cover behind the stone wall on their left. His fusiliers, nervous at the sight of the Gensdarmes massing opposite formed a four rank line on the grenadier's flank (note 1). His jaeger, continued their lone advance along the edge of the woods on the extreme right.

Soubise had played his hand well and viewed his position with satisfaction. His jaeger continued pushing around the enemy's left flank, and with plenty of bad terrain to provide safe cover, were happily positioned for an good day's bickering. His gun (note 2) now unlimbered, having an good position from which to play on the grenadiers. His infantry halted and presented their muskets ready to fire, while the Gensdarmes covered their flank, occupying what little space remained before the second stone wall.

At the end of the turn both sides engaged in long range musketry. Kornberg ordered the leading two companies of grenadiers to fire: four enemy musketeers falling. Soubise replied with the leading companies of both his regiments: the grenadiers losing five men and an officer, the fusiliers (to whom only a small proportion of shot was directed) losing a single man.

At this juncture, Kornberg was confronted with the possibility that there was more to generalship than shouting 'Forwards' and waving one's sword around. His army was badly positioned and a good drubbing seemed likely to be the result. As to whether he managed to do anything about this, well, I shall relate this as soon as I may.

Note 1) Neither general had played the Grant rules before, and both were rather fixated by the breakthrough mechanism by which cavalry can punish infantry drawn up in less than four ranks.

Note 2) As both forces were little more than advanced guards we ruled that only light guns were present. We decided to use Charge! rules for firing cannon (I find templates both slow and hard to use) and used 6" range increments (ie 36" max range). This meant that the guns were little more than a minor irritant, something that I much prefer.


abdul666 said...

Enjoyable and inspiring!

Following my (limited but unsatisfactory) experience with templates I'm a firm partisan of using the 'Charge!' artillery mechanisms with the (far better imho) 'The War game' rules.

Bluebear Jeff said...

I also feel that artillery takes far too much prominence in many rule systems. All too often they have one figure equal to 20 to 50 men; and one gun to represent every 2 to 5 guns . . . so the numbers and relative importance gets skewed.

-- Jeff

tidders said...

I've also found that artillery dominates things if you get the balance wrong (ratios of guns to the troops).

-- Allan