Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Battle of Beaugency Dec 8-10 1870

This game was played on January 5 2017. German units are in italics.

The Corlears Hook Fencibles continued our Franco-Prussian War campaign last night, playing the 1870 battle of Beaugency using the Bloody Big Battles rules. Bill commanded his Prussians, as usual, aided by Ken and Jay. Jay last played a wargame some 30 years ago. Last night he dipped his toes into the water again. I led the French, aided by Rick.

The Beaugency scenario calls for the Germans to push through the French positions and threaten the French government in Tours.
My plan was to reinforce our right, shoot the Bavarians apart with massed artillery in the center and attack on the left until the Prussian X Corps showed.

Fog shrouded the snow-covered field on the first turn, reducing visibility to 3 inches. On the French left and the center, German infantry surged out of the fog and assaulted. The attack on the left was disrupted by fire on the way in and was narrowly beaten back when the Prussian attack became confused (low dice). The Bavarian attack in the center was badly shot up by the Chassepot fire of French depot troops.

Bavarian artillery moved into the town of Cravant. They were limbered, with only Prussian cavalry for support. Chasseurs tackled the Prussian cavalry while Cuirassiers charged into the town. The Bavarian guns beat a hasty retreat.
They redeployed and got their revenge.
But this left the Bavarian right flank wide open. The German attack came on again.

On my right, a Prussian attack was driven back and revealed limbered Krupp guns at close range behind the attack. One of the many bullets fired found a caisson.
On our left, French rifle fire cut down enemy infantry while their Krupp guns laid low ours.
Several Bavarian attacks were cut up and French infantry moved to flank their right.

The woods in front of Messas kept the Prussians from launching a unified assault.

Near sunset the Bavarian guns limbered up to fall back. No support was on hand and the French cavalry moved forward again.

The night turn saw many veteran Prussian units recover losses from the day. The veteran French cavalry did likewise. Artillery battalions on both sides replaced damaged equipment. The raw French infantry didn’t see any fugitives return to the ranks. They were lucky to rally some disrupted units.
As the sun rose on the second day, the French cavalry realized that the guns that evaded at nightfall were all deployed. There were 7 battalions of Prussian guns in an arc – 168 guns. Both French cavalry units discretely fell back behind the infantry.
On our right, the morning light was met with the sound of shooting.

Losses mounted immediately. Even with all of the troops returned to the ranks overnight, German losses were extreme. French losses shot up as 7 artillery battalions concentrated on a French unit that tried to exploit the gap in the German center.  A die roll failed to produce any X Corps reinforcements early. It was getting late. Bill decided to concede the game rather than continue with this battle next week. There were still 3 turns of the second day, another night turn and 4 day turns left.

German losses were some 19 infantry stands (1 ran away), 2 cavalry (1 ran away) and 1 artillery stand lost – about 50% of their on-table infantry and cavalry. French losses were 11 infantry stands. We recovered both lost cavalry stands overnight. Turns out they weren’t as dead as they looked. The Government of National Defense in Tours is safe, for the time being. The French have notched up a second win, against 5 Prussian wins and 3 ties. The French go into the next game with a free re-roll. Due to an oversight on my part, the next game will be a battle that happened earlier in the campaign. After that we’ll return to our normal chronological order.

The heavy German defeat can be attributed to two things.
One: over–aggressive tactics led to crippling losses.

Two: hot French dice. When questioned about this, Rick simply said we’d made a pact with the devil. And I never even rubbed my dice hand on Durga (Indian war goddess that Bill gave me a couple years back). Our hot dice were aided by some seriously cold dice runs the Germans had. I don’t think they won a single assault. Jay gallantly offered that Bill had poor subordinates. He seemed to pick up the rules and will be back in February.

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