Paul is coming up this week for our monthly game so I thought that following on from last week's very challenging Seven Years War game with John the Red we could try another of Charles Grant's tabletop teasers, this time number 21: Bridgehead Breakout. I've got so absorbed in my 19th C collections over recent months that I forgot how much I've neglected my favourite period and oldest collection. Perhaps getting them on the table a few times will motivate me to finish the few odds and ends I have left to do. The trouble is none of them are vital to a game as I have more than enough, as readers will be well aware. Anyway, here we go.
The terrain is more or less as described in the original scenario but I made changes to the orders of battle to make the most of what troops I had available and the niceties or is that unforgiving nature of Black Powder, which we shall be using, together with relevant additions from my 'house rules' and Last Argument of Kings (LAoK). There do seem to be quite a lot of troops but the regiments are big and the rules can be quite unforgiving so I'm not unduly worried about cluttering the battlefield.
The Russians (defending): objective to drive the Prussian back over the river.
Three brigades of infantry each of three battalions plus a light gun to represent regimental pieces. (one brigade is exclusively Grenadiers, one is all line infantry and the third is made up of two line battalions and one dismounted Dragoon regiment, the latter because I rather like them);
One brigade of heavy cavalry (two regiments of Cuirassiers and one of Horse Grenadiers);
One regiment of Hussars and half a regiment of Cossacks;
One unit of Pandour light infantry;
Three heavy guns including one howitzer.
The command levels of the CinC and the brigadiers will be decided randomly at the start of the game based on the guidance suggested in LAoK.
The Prussians (attacking): objective to expand the bridgehead to the hill line to the east.
In the bridgehead itself is one brigade of three infantry battalions (one Grenadier and two line).
One regiment of Hussars
One unit of light infantry.
Two light guns.
Across the river waiting to cross are two more brigades of infantry, one of four battalions (one Grenadier battalion, a Guard battalion and two line battalions) and the other of three battalions (two Fusilier battalions and a Friekorps battalion);
One heavy cavalry brigade of two Cuirassier and one Dragoon regiments;
One regiment of Hussars;
Two medium guns.
Prussian command ratings will also be decided randomly as above.
Unit sizes are my usual 36 for infantry, 12 for light infantry (small units), 24 for the Russian heavy cavalry, 30 for the Prussian Cuirassiers and 12 for the Cossacks (a small unit). My Prussian Hussars are 36 figures strong at full strength but I will field both with 24 figures.
The river is 12" wide and is impassable except over the bridges, which must be crossed in march column which would slow the Prussian crossing. The means that if a unit in column is on the west bank it will take 1 'move' to cross and another to deploy at the other end of the crossing if infantry. No interpenetration will be allowed on the bridge, otherwise normal rules apply.
Would the Russians attack before the numerically superior Prussians were all across the river, or would they wait for the Prussian attack and hope to hold it off until nightfall? The Russians are very tough and good in defence but can't match the firepower of the better Prussian battalions (i.e. all except the Fusiliers and Freikorps). Prussian Cuirassiers are superior to their poorly-mounted Russian counterparts. All I have to do now is set up the table and do the army rosta for each side before Thursday.