Wednesday 29 August 2018

Another GdA test game. Franco-German Border 1793/94

John the Red came over yesterday afternoon for another game to try out General d'Armee.   There are still things I've been forgetting or getting wrong but the rules are becoming clearer as they're used more. I set up what was labelled 'an encounter between screening forces', with numerically more or less equal sides but with varying degrees of troop quality to liven it up and ensure the game wasn't completely balanced. Both sides had four brigades, generating a total of four ADCs, but I gave the French an extra ADC for having a better commander. Historically I should have  docked both sides ADCs as neither armies were especially well led during this part of the Revolutionary Wars, but it was just a game so who cares? True to his Jacobin principles John took the French while I was happy to command my lovely and unwieldy Austrians (with a couple of Emigre units thrown in the mix for fun). Thirty-two figures battalions in line take up about a foot in frontage and are a pig to manoeuvre!

The Austrian right wing. The troops in the centre can just be seen in the distance.
The French right; a brigade of cavalry of dubious quality.
One of the three Austrian hussar regiments. This one was to bravely charge French infantry crossing the bridge but  unsurprisingly their attack was halted, many saddles were emptied, and they were forced to retire. Rallied, they took their turn later in the game duffing up the French chasseurs a coeval and dragoons.
The French centre before it began its advance.
John had great plans for his 8pdr battery, positioned in the centre to give me grief.  They only ever caused one casualty on a Hungarian battalion, but spent most of the game in 'hesitant' mode so were unable to move or shoot at long range. My artillery was no more effective though! 
The Austrian left wing cavalry advanced to the stream. Two regiments of elite  hussars accompanied by  a  poorer regiment of emigres, the Hussars de Rohan. 
My hussars preceded to make hard work of driving off John's 'recruit' class chasseurs and supporting dragoons. The fighting on this flank continued for the entire game as regiments charged, counter-charged, were forced to retreat or pulled back to reform. It was actually quite exciting despite the fact that even my large elite regiments failed to gain sufficient advantage (due to poor dice scores) to win. By the end of the battle most units were carrying quite a few casualties and a couple were teetering on the brink of extinction.
My central brigade spent most of the battle hesitating and doing nothing spectacular. I should have  deployed my cannon elsewhere to give them a better field of fire but hey ho!
More of the swirling cavalry melee.
On my right I pushed the infantry straight ahead using a 'forwards' order to try and  close with the French before they could gain the advantage of the hedge line and sunken track. It worked well except I left my artillery behind.
French skirmishers trading shots (and winning) with my troops behind the hedge line on my right.
Meanwhile, in the centre, where I hadn't been able to move, John pushed the French into and through the woods, driving the O'Donnell Freikorps (in green) ahead of them. There were no Austrians between these troops and my baseline.
Thankfully, my reserve was due to enter the fray from their position off table.  I managed to get enough ADCs together and avoided hesitant roll so the reserve, two battalions combined grenadiers and an Emigre battalion, the 'Regiment Noble de Conde' arrived just in time to face the onslaught of eight French battalions!
Remarkably/thankfully, the French attack stalled and they failed to move the grenadiers and Emigres, who saw them off with some very ineffective musketry. But see them off they did, not that it made any difference of course as events were unravelling for the Austrians elsewhere on the table. A Hungarian regiment (to the right just out of shot) of two battalions, were driven off, destroyed or captured as they were hit in the flank and the front simultaneously. This resulted in their brigade faltering.
The troops on my right bravely assaulted the French horse artillery. Most of the casualties you can see on the latter were caused on themselves by racking up an impressive number of fatigue casualties during the course of the game. When the Austrians charged the battery John threw a '3' resulting in another fatigue casualty and none on their target. Thankfully the supporting infantry blasted the Austrian attack to a halt before they could get into contact, and I was forced to retreat.
The Austrian commander at the end of the battle, sending off his report back to HQ. "Some significant skirmishing has taken place today, resulting in some heavy losses amongst our regiments. The enemy cavalry has however been neutralised as a fighting entity as it took a severe mauling at the hands of our heroic hussars." Figures painted by Mark Allen.

For a little game it was quite an afternoon and we got through a good ten or so moves in about four hours of actual gaming. I still don't know if we are 100% conversant with the rules but they work and I especially like the charge sequence and mechanics. Being 'unformed' doesn't seem to be much of a problem to troops in combat (well in this game it didn't) and some of the shooting results can produce some extremes in terms of casualties, especially self-inflicted ones!

John's cavalry was out of it, but mine weren't in a much better state. My centre was faltering, and although it survived its first faltering test I doubt it would have been so lucky the next time as the French were piling the pressure on in the centre and had held my attack on the right. A marginal French victory seemed the right outcome for the game.

Good game I think. Thanks to John for coming over. I was knackered but a pleasant way to spend the afternoon.  No more games for a week or so but Border Reiver in Gateshead is on Saturday.


  1. Great looking game as always Colin.

  2. Super looking game, though I think BP gives a better game. Enjoy the weekend game and spend fest!

  3. A most interesting account, thank you, and this time it doesn't look as if you lost my much :-). Next time a win for the Burrow host hopefully. Jolly nice pics as usual.

    1. Thanks Chris. Of course being the good host I might let visitors win. I don’t of course as my usual combination of impetuous advances, rotten dice scores and just poor generalship get the same result. 🧐

  4. Amen to your last comment Colin, seems to be my lot in life too! The dice continue to inflict pain on their masters...

  5. Bonjour. Another interesting game as we get to grips with these relatively new (sic) rules. AdC tasking certainly adds some new dimensions. Colin demonstrated the Forwards move very well, rather worryingly for me, as my refused flank came up early pressure. However i copies the idea, which enabled a rush forwards in the centre with my central brigade. Use of reserves and the importance of Initiative then came into play, as the gap in the Imperial lines was plugged by the use of his reserve. Not sure we have entirely got the melee and support rules sussed yet but plenty of good ideas in these rules. As an alternative to the mainstay of Black Powder. Beautiful set up and figures as always, particularly liked the O Donnell FreiKorps, although that did nt stop me shooting them up to get through those woods. Jean le Rouge