Sunday 21 October 2018

Big Battle Outside Zurich.......again!

This I hope will be the final dry run of the game I am planning to put on at Battleground in Stockton on 24 November. I say that as I need to concentrate on preparing all the supporting bumph as well as putting the final touches to the buildings, sundry items of terrain and various vignettes. Point to note here is that I have booked an 18’ x 6’ table for the game while I only have 14’x 6’ at home so there will be more space for the troops to deploy and for me to fill with things. Lots of things.

Saturday saw “Carry-on'ers” from far and wide  (ok, Newcastle, Sunderland, Durham and Stockton) arrive at the Burrow to play the game with just about the full complement of forces for the battle on the table. A couple of French units aren’t finished yet so the Lombard Legion were standing in for them this time. After the success of the previous game I decided to try out Honours of War (Amended for FRW) again, this time to see how a multi-player game worked using them. It didn't, but here's how it went anyway.

Sides were chosen randomly, which saw Dave, Shaun and Jim take the French attackers, while John, Paul and Conrad were the Russians. If I’d thought, it would have been better to have split Shaun and Jim as neither were familiar with the rules. Too late now. I will put the orders of battle at the end of this post. Conrad was the Russian commander, General Leutnant Alexander Rimsky-Korsakov holding the centre of the Russian position. John was General Major Essen on the Russian left, while Paul was General Leutnant Sacken, posted across the river on the right. Shaun played the role of Masséna (controlling Klein and Schwartz), Jim was Mortier and Dave was Lorge.

The Russians looking happy while the French (right) move their leading units onto the table
The Russian right under Sacken. Eight battalions of infantry and a battery of guns.
Paul decided to push his troops forward in anticipation of the French arrival.
Russian hussars advancing in the centre to slow the French advance. Jim threw a small unit of dragoons forward but  in the melee both units took four hits and were forced to withdraw.
The mauled French dragoons after their encounter. More French troops are arriving.

Not a digestive biscuit but a reminder that no sooner had Gazan's brigade arrived on the table than he was felled by a cannonball and killed. This stopped the French in their tracks for a whole turn on this flank. 
The French assault in the centre.

On the left the Russians are holding on in the face of pressure from Shaun's cavalry.

Jim's troops charge the Russian centre, held by their grenadiers. 
The French assault was a failure, and was thrown back with significant losses.
Dave finally got moving again on the the French left. The late General Gazan's brigade  lumbered towers Paul,. One of the Russian battalions formed square due to the proximity of French hussars. Dave then charged another unit of Russians who formed square. Fire from the already formed square and the battery on the hill destroyed the unsupported French, who routed back through their infantry. Paul was in command of the Russian cavalry brigade but it failed to move for several turns. With the entrance of more French he pulled his line back onto the Zurichberg. 
My cows are uninterested in the battle raging around them.
The broken and fleeing French Hussars on the left.

The French centre is wilting. Jim's brigade (Brunet) is about to collapse.
The Representative from the Directory looks on as his men assemble and try out the portable guillotine. 
Shaun's cavalry were unable to advance against the fire of Russian artillery under Essen in the far distance  and the gunboat flotilla on the lake.

Too late the French horse artillery is able to start pounding the Russians both in and behind the wood.
The Russian centre after repulsing the French assault.
The Swiss navy! My model sloop standing in for the 19 small gunboats commanded by a Colonel Williams in Austrian service. 
The Russian left under John effectively kept the French right from advancing. 
The French right pinned by superior numbers. Poor Jim had struggled to get it into position due to poor command rolls.
With the battle over, the Russians were issued with extra rations!
Well, with the French centre collapsing and little headway being made on either flank I think it is fair to say that this was a Russian victory. If we'd had time it is highly likely that Dave's flank would have pushed Paul's Russians back into Zurich due to superior numbers, if they could be brought into the fight.

Lessons from the game are several.
1. HoW didn't work this time, mainly as several players had never used the rules, but also because in a multi-player game it was all too slow;
2. The French attack in the centre should have gone in to the right of the central wood (Jim/Mortier), followed by Klein and his grenadiers and superior battalions. This would have drawn in Essen's brigade and given Drouet on the French right something to fight.
3. The cavalry and their supporting horse artillery should have been used to pin the Russian grenadiers, and the two heavy batteries were deployed too far back to be effective;
4. Brunet should have taken the wood immediately to deny it to the pesky Russian Jager;
5. The French didn't make best use of their skirmishers and they didn't really soften up the Russians before launching their attack (in the wrong place imho)
6. The Russian skirmishers were too strong;
7. The gunboat flotilla was too strong.
8. Dave/Gazan should not have tried 'head' that cannon ball!
9. Throw better dice;
10. Go back to Black Powder 2 or General d'Armee for Stockton.

Thanks to everyone for happily being the subjects of my experiment with the rules. Hopefully it wasn't too bad a day out.  Thanks also to Conrad for the cupcakes and Jim for the Victoria sponge.

I had better clear the table as I have a Poles v Swedes Thirty Years War game on Wednesday.

As promised at the top of this blog, here are the orders of battle for the game:

French Army: General Andre Massena DASHING
Division Mortier (South) (Lt General) DEPENDABLE


Line inf x 2
Chasseurs a Cheval x 2 sqdn (small)
Light Artillery x 1 coy (light)

Bde Brunet DEPENDABLELine inf x 6
Dragoons x 2 sqdns (small)
Artillery x 2 coy (Heavy)

Division Klein DEPENDABLE
Line inf x 2
Grenadiers x 2

Hussars x 2 sqdn (small)
Dragoons x 2 rgt
Chasseurs a Cheval x 1 rgt
Horse Artillery x 2 coy (light)

Division Lorge (North) Arrives T3 (maybe), one bde at a time (Lt General) DEPENDABLE
Line inf x 6
Dragoons x 1 rgt
Hussars x 1 rgt
Artillery x 1 coy (light)

Bde Quetard (left) DEPENDABLE T3 +1Line inf x 2
Light inf x 2

Bde Bontemps (extreme left) DEPENDABLE T3 + 2
Light inf x 3
Helevetic Legion x 1 btn
Artillery x 2 (Medium)

Russian Army: GL Rimsky-Korsakov DITHERING

Division of GL Gorchakov [South] DEPENDABLE

Musketeers x 2
Grenadiers x 4 (1 in Zurich)
Jager x 2 (4 small)
Hussars x 2 (independent units)
Cossacks x 2 (independent units)
Artillery x 1 (medium) (large unit)

Bde GM Essen [South) DEPENDABLE
Musketeers x 2
Fusiliers x 2
Dragoons x 1
Artillery 1(heavy) (large unit)

Division of GL Sacken [North on Zurichbeerg] DEPENDABLE
Musketeers x 8
Artillery x 1 (Heavy) (Large unit)

GL Gudovich [North] DEPENDABLE T4
Cuirassiers x 2(1)
Dragoons x 2

GM Durusov (North) T8** DITHERING
Musketeers x 2
Cossacks x 2 **

Colonel Wilson’s Flotilla DITHERING

Gunboat Lindt - representing 19 small gunboats, counting as a standard sized medium battery


  1. Well it looks marvellous, and sounds like a fun game. i hope there were Toblerones and Lindt bars to go around.

    Nothing lost if you learn something, and it sounds like there were several learning moments. I am interested in your idea of using HoW for this period, but I think you're making the right call for the convention game. BP is a better known system and works well (if frustratingly) for multi player games and with large forces like you're fielding. I'd try HoW with club games using smaller forces.

    PS Gazan can count himself in good company with the Duke of Berwick

  2. Great looking game. Hope the day goes well.

  3. Black Powder, need you look any further? Nice looking game though as always.

  4. Lovely game again Colin, with extra choccy goodness thrown in!

  5. Great looking game Colin, I will seek it out at Battleground as I am running a small tank participation game🙂

  6. A splendid looking game Colin... and a nice piece of product placement.

    All the best. Aly