Monday, November 5, 2018

Battle of Saltanovka - Part I of II

Last saturday we played a game of Black Powder at our club, the first of the scenarios of the Clash of Eagles supplement - the battle of Saltanovka.

The supplement illustrates this battle with these words: 

" Bagration's intention to join the First Western Army by crossing the Dnieper River at Mogilev has been thwarted by the French under Davout. Bagration decides to throw Raevsky's VII Corps at Davout's positions, if the French are weak then Raevsky will easily succeed through weight of numbers. If the French prove stronger than thought, then Raevsky can fight a delaying action giving Bagration time to cross the Dnieper elsewhere."

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We had to do some adjustments on each army's forces, as I don't have all elements included on the army lists given - napoleonic history freaks may cringe reading this report, as a lot of units are not what they where in the real battle!

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Above, our table at setup, with the french infantry positioned on the northern banks of the Saltanovka river, holding the namesake village to their left (right side of the table) and the village of Fatova, to their right (left side of the table).

The rest of the french forces (a brigade of infantry and a divison of cavalry) was to enter the game on later turns. The russians start the game with everything off the table.

I was in charge of the French, while my friend Leon took command of the Russian forces. Our game began with Kolubakin's forces pushing onto the table straight towards the river, attempting to ford it and hold some ground in the northern banks, thus allowing cavalry to cross the bridge safely.

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Above, russian hussars and cossacks rush for the bridge while the Russian infantry fights a bloodly clash with the French over the banks of the Saltanovka.


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For a moment, it seems the Russian Cavalry will succeed at grasping a bridgehead.


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But a French battalion is dispatched to form square at the foot of the bridge and hold the enemy cavalry at all costs.

On the Russian left flank, facing the village of Fatova, Paskevitch's divison marches to sight of the enemy, but then halt their advance at several hundred yards of the river. There is a single French infantry brigade positioned to oppose them if they attempt to push through the bridge. 

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On the second game turn, the Young Guard arrives and is directed to support the efforts at Saltanovka, where the river is turning red with French and Russian blood, as the armies wear each other down in bitter struggle.

The French cavalry arrives on turn 3, and is also dispatched to that village, since the Russians so far have not made an advance on Fatova.

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Masses of French Cuirassiers and Dragoons ride ponderously towards the enemy. With such a mass of horses poised to strike, it'd now be foolish for the Russian Infantry to cross to the northern banks here.

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The battle on the Saltanovka village, once the Young Guard and French Cavalry arrive. 

The French infantry facing the Russian regiments on the banks of the river are ordered to fall back, so to entice the enemy to advance and cross the river, making themselves a target for the French Cavalry - but the Russian commander sees the danger and holds his ranks!

Raevsky decides it's time to exploit the much weaker French right flank, at Fatova.

Stay tunned for part II of this Battle Report!

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