A couple weeks ago we played what is likely to be our last game of Black Powder this year. It was a 1000-point battle pitching the french, led by the Emperor himself, against the austrians.
This is the first time I field an all-austrian army, and that was made possible by the constant addition of new units that I've been painting over the last several months. Since then, I finished yet another 2 units - the flamboyant Uhlans and my 10th regiment of line infantry, this time with shakos, instead of the iconic austrian helmet. Those will be featuring here over the next weeks, as well.
Here are some pics of the french deplyment, at the bottom of the pic above and the austrians at the top. There is an entire french brigade missing on that pic, which was deployed to the right of the table, and that I apparently completely forgot to register (!).
The Austrian Army
Napoleon overlooks the enemy at a distance
I was in charge of the french army, and a couple friends, Rodrigo and Muller, shared the command of the austrian side.
The game began with the french taking the initiave, moving their centre up the middle of the field, while the austrians were struggling with the poor command rating of their Generals (they were given Command 8 and, mostly, 7, to represent the well-documented issues with the austrian command & control structure back at the time).
The french cannons started pounding the right flank of the austrian army, which dispatched an entire brigade to cross the narrow gap between two buildings, to better position their musketry fire. Meanwhile, the austrian cavalry, at the far left of their formation, was sent to flank the right side of the french forces.
French guns quickly taken position to punish the austrians moving in march column. The other french battery also puts their guns to work, with constant salvos against the austrian right flank.
The french deploy their fourth brigade in a defensive stance, to hold ground against the approaching austrian horse. Meanwhile, the austrian forces in the middle of the field manage to rearrange into lines, despite being under heavy fire from the french artillery, and start to push forward. A french brigade including a swiss and a italian regiment are sent to hold the field and push the enemy back.
At the french left flank, their line infantry and Old Guard charge home at the austrian lines, gaining some ground and putting the enemy in disarray.
The fighting in the middle of the field remains bloody and indecisive. The french and their allies withstand tremendous punishment from austrian muskets, but march on and put a regiment of grenadiers to run.
A little later, it's time for the grenzers to break formation and run, after an unsuccessful charge against the french columns.
The battle in the austrian right flank lingers on, with the french gaining some ground but failing to strike a fatal blow on the enemy formations.
Even though things might not be looking so well on the middle of the field, on their left flank the austrians were faring much better. Their cavalry artillery supports the advance of their horse, and the french brigade designated to hold the flank finally breaks.
Remnants of a broken line regiment flee for their lives, chased by austrian cuirassiers
On the centre, 2 hungarian regiments come out of the woods, reform into lines and charge the flank of the italians and swiss. The french allies fight heroically, saving the french army from disaster, and put the hungarians to run.
Despite being severely wounded, the stoic men of the french centre brigade hold their ground. They're now at risk of being overrun also by the austrian cavalry, which are breaking through the french right flank. Their stubborness pays off, as this buys the french enough time to finally break the austrian right flank with a charge of the Old Guard on a disordered german line.
This was done with the support of the french cavalry, which made a long march around the field, to strike at the rear of those austrian lines. Once that flank fell, a single austrian regiment was left, exausted and disordered, surrounded by french forces on all sides, but defiant to the end!
With that, the french managed to break 2 of the 4 austrian brigades, and claimed a victory that at a point looked desperate. Had the austrians succeeded at breaking the will of the swiss and italians on the turn before, the game would have ended with a vicotry for them. I believe the swiss did have a name for being resilient fighters back then, and it certainly proved true on this game!
As usual, a toroughly enjoying game, and I'm looking forward to fielding my new austrian army again soon, now with the addition of the 2 units I just painted.
I wish you readers of this blog a Merry Christmas, full of family joy and toy playing!