Stoic Austrians March to defeat......again

  • After our early game me and Dave were joined by Pete and Craig for a larger Napoleonic Rebels and Patriots battle, 36 points using Craig's stunning Austrians, which now include heavy cavalry, and my French Brigade of brave foreign troops.

    Craig and Dave formed the dynamic Germanic duo.....what could go wrong with the club's worst dice rollers on the same side?🤔 I was joined by Pete. The rules are fairly flexible and we decided to split each army into two wings with an officer leading each. I took command of the French right flank, the General the Comte D'El Monte "Prince le Rio Sagres" led a large line unit, and a light infantry unit, supported by french hussars (light cavalry), Pete took the left flank with two light infantry units, medium gun (this turned out to be a tactical masterstroke) and another large unit of line. The gun covered the centre whilst the light infantry screened the line troops in each flank, the hussars got ready for a grand sweeping flank move.

    Craig and Dave deployed a solid wall of Austrian line troops across the battlefield, supported by a light gun, (a tactical mistake giving it to Dave!), supported by Austrian cuirassiers (shock cavalry) and a unit of skirmishers.

    The game started with both sides moving up each flank towards cover, Pete's light infantry engaged Craig's skirmishers in the woods, the skirmishers were able to tie up the more expensive light infantry for several turns effectively keeping them out of the game. Things soon turned to normal though with all of us failing several attempts at moving forwards, the Austrians in particular had to hold back or risk leaving units exposed, in a fluke we all rolled double ones in turn......naturally Pete then followed this with two double sixes. He was able to get his line troops screened by the excellent Garde De Paris light infantry into firing range if the Austrians. I was able to also move my light infantry into range of Daves Austrians whilst the Comte D'El Monte provided a tactical overview from the rear with his line troops. The hussars obviously didn't think sweeping around the flank, through some woods, was dashing enough so fell back and then hovered about for several turns.

    Both sides managed to get off several rounds of shooting, the tactical brilliance of allowing Pete to command the French medium gun really shone through as it consistently inflicted casualties from long range.

    The Austrians took a lot of casualties and decided to try a bold charge with the cavalry along a road towards Pete.....a few casualties and a failed activation later and they once again fell back!!! Much to Dave's dismay Craig wasn't willing iling to hurl them straight across the battlefield at the French gun!!! This did lead to some discontent in the Austrian command.

    Dave and Craig showed an admirable ability to keep their units from breaking following moral rolls, and the several units ended up pushing yhe French back, my light infantry were routed after being fired at by three units for two turns. The hussars bravely screened the Comte D'El Monte, who performed an exemplary rearwards advance to consolidate on the gun.

    Just as it was looking like the Austrians could finally out shoot the French the accumulated casualties began to tell and the Austrians crumpled and the 75% casualty break point was reached.

    A very enjoyable game after so long, I hindsight we did get some of the rules wrong but hopefully we should be able to get a campaign going soon......after all Craig has a 100% Austrian defeat record to maintain!!!

  • A really good game to get back into action with now the club is open again. As noted above it involved Craig's splendily turned out parade ground Austrians (beautifully painted figures) against a numerically inferoir but generally better morale French force fielded by Bryan. The French were also well painted but in the style that they'd been hard on campaign and sleeping under hedgerows (battered, oil skin covered shakos, ill matching greatcoats and festooned with cooking equipment).
    The initial set up was Austrians holding a solid centre and French trying the old 'refused centre' tactic. The command traits were rolled for and the only one of the four that was any use in the game was Dave's commander who rolled 'Fortuna Belli' re-roll one whole set of dice (any player) once per game. It should have been a blessing - but it wasn't of course (more of which later).

    The Austrians were somewhat hampered by partial activations during the game so that different units came under French fire at different points of the game and incurring significant casualties. They were however passing morale tests with ease keeping even severly depleted units on the field. Eventually the Austrians got units close enough to fire on the French and repeated vollies started whittling down the lesser French numbers.

    In the end as the French teetered at just under break point and the Austrians rallied for a final co-ordinated attack the casualties began to tell and units started to rout (actually be totally destroyed rather than rout).

    It really did come down to a French double 6 at the end which allowed an 'independant fire' order- one unit of off table marksman put one 12 dice set of long range shots into an enemy unit. The result broke another Austrian line unit and pushed them over 75%. It really was that close a game.

    An interesting observation. Three of the commanders were wounded whilst bravely leading forward units and removed hors de combat. If you had to guess which of the 4 survived unscathed I'm sure you'd have no problem picking the Comte Del Monte. The Austrians somewhat unkindly suggested that it's hard to be wounded when you never actually get within shooting range of the enemy. Doubtless the Comte will be claiming full victory honours for the battle.

    Now to that troublesome Fortuna Belli skill. As the French battery wrecked havoc on the Austrian line (eg 11 hits from 12 dice) on inquiring if this was the point Dave wanted to use the skill to force a French re-roll he pondered and said not yet. As Craig's commander was wounded and removed from play after much pondering Dave decided it still wasn't a critical point to use the re-roll. As a failed activation roll left an already depleted unit to receive the attentions of the French battery it still wasn't a critical point. It should be noted that most of these misfortunes befell Craig's units. It was clear his co-commander was from a different part of the Empire and he wasn't about to award the benefits of this skill to Craig's commander.

    Again there's probably no guessing as to when the critical point was reached- Dave's commander being laid low by the French battery. At this point the re-roll was invoked. Of course it failed and the hapless Austrian count was still removed from play.

    It was a really good game with some lovely miniatures, great to be back gaming!