Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Enter 'Et Sans Resultat !'

You just got to love that courier when he delivers the goodies!

Going through recent (and not so recent) reviews on the net, I was intrigued by comments and opinions on the 'Et Sans Resultat!' ruleset (ESR in brief) issued by the Wargaming Company of the US and distributed in Europe by Magister Militum of the UK. Aimed at larger unit formation actions in the vein of 'Age of Eagles', this ruleset seemed right up our street so my pal Dave and myself got us each a copy of the Complete Player's Guide plus an 1809 scenario book to see what we can come up with on table. 

The ESR books have arrived today and my first impression is that they are very professionally presented with loads of illustrations and examples - let's hope they work fine and leave little room for interpretation.  Dying to try them out and hope to give further impressions and maybe an AAR shortly. 

In the meantime would love to hear from anyone who has already given them a shot.

Watch this space !

ESR Complete Player's Guide plus 1809 scenario book

Monday, 17 September 2018

Ostrolenka 1807 - A solo effort in 6mm


Having finally set up a decent table in my basement, I decided to try my hand at a solo game.  I used to do a lot of solo gaming in my younger days, mainly because I was under the impression that I was the only nerdy gamer on the island! When I finally discovered the horizon was a bit wider than that, I didn't need to go solo any more.  As anyone who's been to Malta will tell you, distances here are miniscule and although the gaming fraternity is not numerous at all, if you want a game you're only fifteen or twenty minutes away from - not just one - but ALL your opponents. So solo didn't make too much sense any more.  

Now, however, what with all the spanners that life sometimes throws in your works, it's not always possible to meet up. So I thought of setting up a scenario on my table and enjoy a solo game which I could continue at leisure whenever I had some time available. I went for Ostrolenka, an 1807 clash between the French and the Russians a few days after Eylau. The scenario can be found at https://napoleonicscenarios.weebly.com/uploads/2/3/7/7/2377799/ostrolenka_1807.pdf 

It's a relatively small encounter where a Russian force caught a smaller French force unawares at the Polish village of Ostrolenka on the River Narew. The French command, however, soon got wind of the Russian attack and immediately despatched reinforcements to shore up the garrison.  Likewise, the Russians had their own forces converging on the field, giving rise to a short but escalating action. 

All figures are H&R 6mm; rules are Age of Eagles with some house modifications. 

Initial dispositions at 10.30 am, showing the French garrison in and around Ostrolenka with the Russians approaching in the distance.  Note how the town straddles both banks of the River Narew.
Although heavily outnumbered, the French send their light cavalry forward to harass the advancing columns.  On their part, the Russians make for the high ground overlooking the town.
The Russians have reached the foot of the hill and deploy to form a solid front.  Meanwhile to their rear but on the opposite bank, the first French elements approach (upper right)
French dragoons gallop to the rescue !



The first Russian reinforcements arrive on table in Move 3. It is now noon.
Russian dragoons advance on the French lights in a bid to scare them off.
The French light cavalry prudently retire while the Russians occupy the heights in force. On right, the first French cavalry elements approach town. At this point I should mention that the two ponds and the river are frozen over and impassable to cavalry and artillery who can only cross by bridge.
It is soon becoming a race for both sides to rush reinforcements to the front. Oudinot and Suchet's divisions appear behind the town on Move 5 while in the distance more Russian reinforcements pour onto the field. In the centre the lead dragoon elements reach the bridge over the Narew.
The Russian artillery on the hill makes its presence felt as it bombards the approaching French. Meanwhile at upper right, French and Russian artillery trade salvos from across the river while Russian infantry and cavalry reinforcements stream from the rear.
The Russian position on the sand hills overlooking Ostrolenka dishes out a severe artillery bombardment........
......which for the moment the French can only face and absorb defiantly.

It is now 14.30 and despite the intense bombardment, the French have succeeded in getting their cavalry across and put their infantry in a position to assault the Russians on the hill. To the rear, a Russian brigade attempts to cross the Narew to engage the French on the other bank.
As if the artillery wasn't enough of a headache, Oudinot now has to face the threat of Russian hussars too!




Faced with limited options, the French throw caution to the wind and surge up the hill in the face of a muderous hail of canister. The odds are decidedly grim.
A bird's eye view of the french attack and the whole field. Attacking uphill, disordered and having suffered multiple casualties from canister, the French fight the Russians with a -5 deficit......
.....but the dice gods recognise valour when they see it and smile in their favour! (Hint : Green for Russian, blue for French)
Faced with the ferocity of the French infantry, the Russians are forced to withdraw, scrambling to save their precious artillery from the onslaught.
They are quick to react, however, with hussars charging in on the left........
......infantry engaging in the centre.......

.....and heavy dragoons smashing into the French infantry on the right.
The Russians get their own back, routing the first French brigade and rushing headlong into the flank of a second.
In no time at all the hill is bereft of French and all their hard-gotten gains have vanished.
Not one to give up so easily, Savary - the French commander - orders his infantry forward on the left whilst in the centre squares are formed to counter the cavalry threat. Along the bank of the Narew, French cavalry engage the enemy infantry.
French infantry to the assault of the disordered Russian hussars

Massed squares in the centre and cavalry charging in the background.
This second wave of attacks succeed in pushing back both Russian wings. In foreground, French infantry storm back up the hill in a breakthrough charge, having broken the Russian hussars earlier in the move.

Russian infantry at bay
It is now 16.00 and the final move. Having won the initiative, the French press on with their attack and engage the retreating Russian hussars once more.  The Russian cavalry break and retreat again.
Meanwhile, the French dragoons see action at last, outflanking and engaging their Russian counterparts
The defenders are caught in a vice grip, cavalry on one side, infantry on the other. The Russian centre doesn't stand a chance and the entire front line melts away to the rear.
In a final act of desperation, Essen, the Russian commander orders his cossacks forward.  Usually reluctant to engage formed enemy cavalry, the irregulars take up the challenge and hit the dragoons squarely in the flank.
But even the outflanking advantage is not enough and the cossacks are repulsed by the disciplined French cavalry.
The French remain masters of the hill.....
.....while the Russians are forced to retire from the field at day's end.
I feel this is a very difficult scenario for the Russians to win because although they have inital superiority, the French soon build up a formidable force once their reinforcements arrive. It should also be said that the Russians did experience some abysmal dierolls but all in all the balance tips in favour of the French the more time passes. Would love to hear from anyone who managed a Russian victory.........