Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Battle of Beaumont Aug 30 1870 part 1

The following was played on June 9 2016.

Thursday evening the Corlears Hook Fencibles played a game of the August 30 1870 battle of Beaumont, using the Bloody Big Battle rules. This is part of our ongoing Franco-Prussian War campaign. We fight the historical battles and do not have any strategic game. The French will lose the war but if I do significantly better than the French actually did (a low bar) I’ll be pleased.

The table is so busy with terrain that I could not find a place for my little tripod, hence the shots made from the balloon tethered over the French rear.

 Bill commanded his Prussians aided by Ken while I led my French, seconded by Rick. The scenario calls for MacMahon’s Army of Chalons to escape from the Prussians to the dubious safety of Sedan. The gloomy strategic situation weighed on me but once playing I was pleased to find that the game is quite an interesting scenario. The French need to get 10 infantry brigades and 6 artillery battalions over the Meuse (lower left of photo) to count a victory.

The Bavarians cut the direct road for 7 Corps and shelled the rearguard, sending the troops prone.

5th Corps began forming a column on the road smartly – too smartly, it turns out – while the garrison of Beaumont covered their escape with rifle fire.

Bill aggressively deployed his guns within rifle range and a fierce fire fight broke out.

Rick said his 7 Corps rearguard was not intentional. The unit was pinned by artillery fire and became the rearguard by accident. The unit was to distinguish itself.

Bill launched a massive coordinated attack on Beaumont. None of the defensive fires stopped the attack. But Bill rolled a 1 and I a 5, that sufficed for the gallant garrison of Beaumont to drive off all the attackers, though they suffered losses from the pre-assault firing.

I discovered later that the French 5 Corps should have started the game disrupted. Karmic revenge ensued. The lead artillery battalion crossing the Meuse had a wheel fall off. (One lousy movement roll.) It blocked the bridge for two hours. (Another lousy movement roll the next turn.)

A 5 Corps brigade fell back as ordered as the firefight around Beaumont heated up.

Prussian V Corps arrived and engaged the French 7 Corps rearguard.

On the fourth turn a mass of Germans went forward and stormed Beaumont, tossing the survivors out of the town. They fought tough to the end, causing a lot of German casualties. I plan to add finials to their flag staff and writing Beaumont under the flag stand.

Over on the French right, the last moments were coming for that rearguard. In honor of that we have a soft focus.

Back at Beaumont

A full division of Germans surged forward.

Soft focus again, a sad sight.

North of Beaumont:

Situation at end of turn 6 (of scheduled 10):

We played 6 turns in exactly 3 hours. The last turn was a tad slower as Ken had to bail before the turn started. German losses so far have been 5 infantry stands, to the French 11 infantry stands (2 ran away) and 1 artillery. Simple math shows that the French need 10 infantry brigades escaping over the Meuse. 3 have been routed. That means all the surviving French infantry brigades save one need to escape for victory, all save two for a tie. There are 4 turns left in the game. The French have a free reroll left over from our victory at Gravelotte. It’s very much in the balance.

Upon discovering the mistake (French 5 Corps should have started the game disrupted), an offer was made to the German team to start the game over from the beginning. In either case, I’ll be out of town next week and the end of this game or the replay won’t be up for two weeks.

Again, I’m surprised to find that a game set in such a dire strategic situation turned out to be so much fun. I hope that the same holds true for Sedan, the next one on our list.

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