Today's big Napoleonic game was based around a scenario in the Black Powder Rulebook - A Russian and Prussian Army making a fighting withdrawl towards a bridge held by a small force of French (actually Neopolitans) and pursued by a French allied force also consisting of Italians and Polish. Myself and Ian played the French with Simon and Lawrence in the role of the quarry. The rules we used were Barry Hilton's rather excellent Republic to Empire.
At first glance the French would have seemed to be at a considerable advantage, but it quickly became apparent we were going to have our problems. One thing being the large Russian battery placed across the centre of the table and a regiment of cavalry hovering each side. Another was the huge amount of Russian Jaegers facing Ian ready to pot shot at us as we filed out of the streets of the nearby town to form up for any attack.
True to expectations the buzz of cannonballs and crack of musketry rolled across our front as the first French regiments appeared on open ground. Luckily the huge Russian battery only managed two hits on our Westphalian's due to some bad dice rolling, and the Russian Jaeger's were also not racking up enough hits to stall the attack. On the far side near the bridge our Neopolitans were watching from behind their barricades as the Russians started to make for the escape route.
On the French left their Cavalry division were collecting behind a hill ready to launch themselves at a Prussian battery and an attached Infantry brigade. The hope for us was that the Cavalry would stampede enough of the enemy to create a bottleneck at the bridge behind, then we could bring up the guns and infantry to fire into the mass. In practice this was only half successful with the Polish Lancers charging and decimating the Prussian gunners just after they'd fired their cannons at a French regiment nearer the town but a hussar regiment pulling up sharp as the Prussian infantry managed to form square. The latter managed to hold on as a Prussian cavalry regiment then bounced into the French horses sending them reeling away. The Polish were also charged by Russian dragoons but standing their ground a large melee flared up with both both sides suffering heavy casualties. Another success was scored by the cavalry however when the French Chasseur a Cheval regiment ran down the Russian artillery crews in the centre when their fire was distracted by Italians advancing on their left. Further on this side of the field Ian was rolling forward and charging successfully against Russian units (including those pesky Jaegers). On the reverse near the bridge the Neopolitans had cut down as many of the Russians and Prussians as they could, but were finally succumbing to superior numbers. The first enemy units were getting across the bridge but a Russian morale test on the enemy left caused many units to start breaking. So in conclusion, a handful of Russians made their escape but not enough to give them a victory.
The view from the barricades
Coming through the town with the Russians waiting outside
Italian Brigade with Cavalry in front