Monday, February 20, 2017

Battle of Gravelotte, part 2

The following was played on April 28, 2016

We picked up the battle again this week, Bill and Rick continuing at the Prussian commanders while Ken joined me with the French. He commanded 2 and 3 Corps, plus army reserve artillery and some reserve cavalry. I commanded the right flank, with 4, 6 Corps and most of the Imperial Guard.

Here’s the situation after the Prussian turn 7. They hold two objectives, needing 4 to tie or possibly win, 5 for a definite win. They have three more turns.

If we can keep them from controlling 4 we have a victory.

On the French part of the 7th turn I moved fresh French units into the east edges of Amanvillers and Roncourt, contesting control of the towns without actually assaulting the Prussians and trying to drive them out.

In the center, Ken had his troops that had repulsed the Prussian break-in fall back into the ravine to seek cover from the Prussian guns massing across the way.

Fierce fighting in Amanvillers piled up casualties, the French hanging tough.

Prussian Guard attacks on St. Privat were halted with Chassepot fire, as were attempts to clear Roncourt. Apologies for the fuzzy focus.

After a first attack on a shot-up French infantry unit failed, the 6th Cavalry Division rallied and came on again. They trampled the French underfoot and exploited into the second line troops, knocking them back in disorder. All players noted the unusually successful cavalry charge. Others had been made, resulting in dead horse markers. This charge ended with the troopers on jaded horses, a short distance in front of a limbered French artillery battalion. It would not end well for the horsemen.

As more Krupp guns joined the grand battery across the way, shells rained in and caissons exploded. Two more French artillery battalions were wrecked.

The Prussian right flank stormed into Rozerieulles from the east and south, after taking out the French artillery on the flank.

On the last Prussian turn, they tried to attack along the line. The troops in Roncourt failed to move (a low movement roll). Bill now used his free re-roll, gained by his victory at Mars la Tour. The Prussian infantry went forward, only to be driven to the ground by Chassepot fire. Roncourt remained contested. The Prussian Guards attacked St. Privat again and were again held off. The attack on the east side of Amanvillers was preceded by an accurate hail of shells and the French were driven from the ruins.

The Prussians in Rozerieulles were too busy looting the town to organize an attack on the quarry to the north.

The game ended with the Germans in control of two objectives, Rozerieulles and Amanvillers, two short of a tie. We saw no reason to play the French half of the last turn, since no counterattacks were needed. The French had their first victory of the campaign.

The butcher’s bill was heavy. The French lost 21,000 infantry (1,500 fled), 1,500 cavalry (same number fled) and 288 guns overrun or knocked out. The Germans lost 39,000 infantry (6,000 fled), 7,500 cavalry (4,500 fled) and some damage among the guns.

We took a little over 2 hours and 45 minutes to play 3 and a half turns. We could have played faster but the grey morning had turned into a fine day. In high spirits, many jokes were enjoyed, even before dinner and the liquid refreshments.  We played slowly but had a fine time. The entire game took 6 hours and 45 minutes to play 10 turns.

There will be a break in the campaign for a bit, since the Cinco de Mayo is on tap next week.

When the campaign resumes we will have the Beaumont races, with a French re-roll.

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