(Above, its those Gypsies again, with a new caravan! Below, the Schrauben factory, defended by two battalions of French)
Forces were as follows:
France: CinC command 7
Reserve cavalry division: 4 regts Cuirassiers, 1 battery, command 8
Light cavalry: 2 regts Chasseurs a Chevel, 1 regt Chasseurs d'Afrique, 1 battery, command 8
1st bde: 1 btn Zouaves, 1 bts Tirraileurs d'Algerien, 2 btn line, 1 battery, 1 mitrailleuse, command 8
2nd bde: 3 btn line, 1 btn Zouaves, 1 battery, 1 mitraileuse, command 7
3rd bde: 3 btn line, 1 btn Marine infantry, 1 battery, command 8
Reserve artillery: 2 batteries, command 6
Prussia: CinC command 9
Advance guard: 1 btn jager, 4 btn line, 1 battery, command 9
1st bde: 6 btn line, 2 batteries, command 9
2nd bde: 6 btn line, 2 batteries, command 8
1st cav bde: 2 dragoon regt, 1 battery, command 8
2nd cav bde: 1 Hussar regt, 1 Cuirassier regt, 1 battery, command 8
Reserve artillery: 4 batteries, command 8
I used some of the additional rules for commanders, such as hesitant, headstong and impetuous, which when we remembered to apply them added some extra uncertainty to the game. We also used the slightly amended Hail Caesar break test sheet rather than the Black Powder one, which had worked well in previous games.
(Above, the Prussian advance guard enters the battlefield. Below, the French army deployed and ready to give them a bloody nose!)
The Prussians could appear on either of the roads and in turn 1 the advance guard entered on the far right opposite 7 regiments of France's finest cavalry. I put a couple of battalions on the hill to cover my flank and pushed the rest of the brigade, together with the following infantry brigade towards the village in the centre. As they arrived, the artillery deployed together on another hill to bombard (very unsuccessfully) the village.
Meanwhile the other Prussian infantry brigade had arrived in the centre. I immediately (but slowly due to a blunder) formed them up into assault columns and went for the factory. Paul had pushed his 1st brigade across the river and after reforming these were starting to pose a threat to my exposed left flank. Four battalions of French supported by a battery each of artillery and mitrailleuse could do some damage and disrupt my attack.
(Above, the French Reserve Cavalry Division lurking behind the hills while on the other flank the 1st brigade crosses the river).
(Above, the Prussian masses surge forward while below French Marine infantry supported by a line battalion hold the railway cutting in the centre of the French position)
(Above, the Prussian reserve artillery bombards the French while below, the assault on the Schrauben factory in full swing!)
(Prussian cavalry. Above, two regiments of Dragoons and below a regiment each of Cuirassiers and Hussars).
(Above, the French right flank threatening the Prussian assault on the factory while below in the centre the Marine battalion and their supports advance shortly after the French garrison of the village in the centre had been ejected).
We decided to call it a day at that point. The Prussians had captured the factory and the schrauben-laden wagons, and were in the process of ejecting the remaining French from the village in the centre. Paul had plenty of men left to make an ordered fighting withdrawal so we agreed that his army would probably safely extricate itself from the battlefield even if it meant buying the time to do so with further cavalry charges.
It was a great game and yet again Black Powder proved that they can be used very effectively for this period. All it needs is for the troop types to be accurately reflected by using the special rules, some amendments to the firing ranges and an understanding of the period, as well as good humour and no 'gamey' moves! It played very well.
The Prussians were seriously outshot by the French with their chassepot rifles. I gave the chassepot a 36" range and a short range of 12" rather than 6", against 24" and 6" for the needle guns. Prussian artillery however had a much longer range than the French and was far more effective in the game as a result. I also made the Prussian infantry 'reliable' and 'crack', allowing them a better chance of moving and an extra saving throw while they had no casualties. This certainly made a big difference but in the end once the casualties started mounting up any frontal attack was going to grind to a halt. In fact I have a house rule for 1866 and Franco-Prussian games where a unit receiving two unsaved hits will be classed as pinned down, requiring one move to get up and reform.
So the French lived to fight another day, although we must wait to see if their war effort is seriously undermined by a reduction in their Schrauben production.
'Schrauben' by the way is German for screw.