Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friedland 1807

Friedland 1807 fought solo to playtest the Camp Cromwell Big Battle Rules for 6mm Napoleonics.

Bennigsen crossed the River Alle at Friedland with about 60,000 men in an attempt to crush Lannes' 30,000.  The attack started about 9am with Lannes & Mortier holding the right and & Grouchy's cavalry the left. They fought a brilliant holding action while Napoleon marched up with another 50,000 men.  Napoleon arrived about noon and Victor & Ney soon after.  The Russian attack pettered out as Napoleon organised his forces.  About 5pm Ney attacked the Russian left as Victor hit their centre.  The Russians were driven back onto the river only about half of them escaping over the few bridges & fords.

This scenario covered the morning battle.   The pics are taken from behind the French right.  In the first pic the Russian attack has just got under way.  On the right edge, a thin line holds the Forest of Sortlack, then Lannes & Mortier's infantry hold a line of hills to the Muhlen Fluss.  Over the Fluss, Grouchy's cuirassiers stand just out of cannon range of a line of Russian infantry & artillery while his dragoons & hussars fight some cuirasiers, lancers & hussars plus a horde of cossacks.

On the French left, the cuirassiers & their oposition were content to look at each other.  But there was furious cavalry fight on the far flank.  The Russians were decisively beaten, but Grouchy does not  pursue as more Russian infantry and artillery came up & deployed to the right of the first lot and were advancing.

On the French right, the fight in the forest became a stalemate despite superior Russian numbers.   The Russians took a long time to get their attack organised, but their combination of infantry artillery and cavalry gradually wore the French down and eventually broke them.

The French right broke after 14 turns (per side).  At 3 turns per hour that is about 1.40 pm.  The battle reports are a bit vague on when the French reinforcements arrived, but probably not yet.  So Bennigsen has done rather better in the wargame than in real life.   However, his army is in no fit state to fight the fresh French forces when they do arrive.  The Russian left has just one unit left unshaken.  The Russian right is in good shape, and the defeated Cavalry Corps will be rallied and back in action in another couple of hours.  But Grouchy's cavalry can fight a delaying action & the Fluss will prevent the Russian right affecting the main game on the other flank - a factor not lost on Napoleon.

The exercise was valuable in tiding up loose ends in the rules and demonstrated that the time scale isn't too far off the mark.

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