Monday 3 June 2013



Here it is; the much awaited sequel to my IMPACT convention coverage. I'll try an attempt to report the battle JW and yours truly fought on the day. We'd decided early on that we would be doing an 7YW game. JW proposed to do an Imaginations game: meaning we would not be playing actual real life historical armies but ones made up by ourselves, I knew I was going to bring my Austrians whatever army he put in the field. In the end we settled for a compromise: my Imperial Army containing Austrian and Reichsarmee elements was to defend a bridge against JW's unlikely alliance of Hessians, Brits and French...

The objective for me was to blow up the bridge dividing Kronstad Fortress from the idyllic village of Lower Kronstad, extracting my troops would be a bonus but not mandatory. Easy enough I hear you say, well not entirely. To destroy the bridge it would take my sappers a dice-decided amount of turns to prep the bridge with explosives. Knowing my luck I rolled two D6's, guess what? I rolled a 10, so I had to fend off the numerically superior enemy forces for the blooming sappers to do their work.Now the scenario gave me the opportunity to deploy several units in hiding, I decided to make the most of it and try to lure JW in a deep strike on my left and then hit his left flank with my heavy cavalry brigade. Still my hopes were at a low point since I usually loose these kind of scenario's. Unknown to both me and JW invisible forces were at work to ensure I'd win this match. Perhaps my huge amount of lost games have urged the Lady to pity me and let me win.

The forces I had at my disposal were as follows: I had a brigade of Grenadier battalions supported by a Freikorps and some Hussars which I placed in hiding on my left flank in the village of Kleines Schweinstein, when revealed, they would be the lure for JW's advancing troops.
My regular Austrian and Reichsarmée brigades were positioned in prepared earthworks directly in front of Lower Kronstad and the bridge. Entirely on my right wing there was a wooded hill which I used to hide my Heavy cavalry brigade. Last but certainly not least I had two batteries of field-artillery. The first I deployed in the middle of the defences where it had the best field of fire. The other one I hid with the units of my left flank.
Here comes the first of my lucky breaks. I had mailed JW the exact list of units I intended to use, but seeing we always play in a gentlemanly and casual manner he had not actually read it, therefore he did not know about the second battery...mwuhahahahaha!

Above is the picture of the deployed battlefield seen from JW's position. The French contingent is on the right, his Brits are in the middle and the Hessians on the left.
In turn one I decided to remain put with all my forces and tried some ranging shots with my battery. Needless to say nothing much happened. JW started to move his forces down the table towards my positions, yet here comes my second break: he started and kept on rolling the most abominable scores on the dice. This meant his whole French division stayed where they were probably out for croissants or something. The Brits didn't fare much better but at least advanced in my general direction. No offensive action was possible at this point.

So below you can see JW, moving his huge army,

Turn two remained more or less the same: I shot some cannonballs towards the oncoming Alliance and the French refused to do anything sensible while the redcoats advanced a bit. Yet in turn 3 things started to heat up. JW sent an unit of Hussars to scout out the hamlet of Schweinstein and they flushed out my hussars, grenadiers and the Freikorps, see the picture below.

 With my units revealed but still in column I was a bit vulnerable so I charged my hussars into JW's, being cavalry he counter-charged and  we met in the middle. Unfortunately my unit was defeated and routed thoroughly off the field.Their demise had given me time to deploy my grenadiers and they now shot up the hussars who used their sweeping advance move to retreat to safety.

Turn 4 saw me advancing the Reichsarmée brigade to straighten up the line on the right in order to prevent JW from guessing where my cavalry brigade was hiding out. In the end this was not necessary since he totally overlooked the only sensible spot they could have been hid. 

 The Brits in JW's centre had some luck and moved up to 3 moves and almost where able to charge my thin white line, almost being not enough, I replied with massed cannon and musket fire and shot up one unit badly and disordered another forcing them back a full move. JW's French finally decided to come out and play, their oncoming masses scared the heebyjeebies out of me for sure!

The French hussars flushed out my last hidden battery and this led JW to state "Damn, I should have read your armylist!" His artillery was still on the move or refused to deploy due to bad dicerolls so was pretty much ineffective. My grenadiers proved their worth in destroying [!] the French Hussars and then remaining in place to steady my left flank. This left flank and the centre formed a sort of funnel in which the french were trying to poor troops and so they came under musket fire from two sides, supported by the battery of guns. So far the plan was working out.
Turn 5 came and JW engaged my line with two units of British skirmishers which I despatched easily and then his French Cavalry rode up right to my centre which was very thinly held.

 I was almost going to soil myself when he made a big BooBoo and so came up my 3rd lucky break!  On my "disregarded" right flank a lone unit of Hessian Dragoons rode through the woods and discovered my cavalry brigade. Due to travelling through woods they were unable to engage my troops and I ended up charging them with a full 3 moves. Needless to say that just one unit of dragoons is no match for a brigade of one cuirassier and two more dragoon units in support. They clove through the Hessians like a hot knife through butter and sweeping advanced into another brigade of JW's troops: the British infantry lines were taken in the flank! Textbook manoeuvre here I come!

At this time I lost track of what turn we were in since things started to escalate real quick. JW advanced his French even further, but his Cavalry brigade failed to reach my troops with their charge and were annihilated, I don't know another word for it by my guns at close range and the musketry of several infantry battalions. The supporting Infantry got a similar treat and had some units disordered. On the right flank my cavalry supported by the Reichsarmée infantry kept on rolling up JW's left flank and in the end I had disordered or broken so many of his brigades that he had no other option then give in. This being turn 8 or 9 I was really well off the turn I had to blow the damn bridge, but now it ended in me winning the field with minimal losses, I only lost one squadron of hussars and one unit of infantry, whereas half JW's army was in the dead-pile. Therefore the sappers could undo the work they had painstakingly been carrying on while my troops kept off the enemy.

A brilliant battle indeed. I really thought I'd had it when I rolled the 10 for the moment of detonation and again when the French tried to charge my meagre line. Luckily my luck kept and JW's failed him time and again. Almost all the rolls for combat-resolution he did were on a 3 or on a 5 with modifiers which put him back to a 3 meaning his units were destroyed rather then fleeing. 

As far as I'm concerned that's the conclusion of the battle played at the immensely enjoyed IMPACT convention, next year we'll be something different but I am not sure yet what it will be.

Cheers Sander

Listening to: "Overture 1812"  composed by  Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky