Sunday 19 July 2020

French Revolutionary Wars: Breakout from Courtrai Part 2

We picked up where we left off last week today, continuing to play the Austrian attempted breakout from the encircled city of Courtrai. At close of play last week everything was still up for grabs and the outcome was uncertain. After today's game that situation has changed considerably, as is described in the narrative to follow. The battle recommenced at 11am campaign time, 14 September 1793. To get a refresher of where we were up to click ici

This week I was joined in the Burrow by Steve, who had offered to come over to help me move the figures as I've been struggling with the facilitation of recent Skype games. I was finding moving all the figures and whizzing (albeit a slow whizz) round the table too painful and exhausting. Steve's presence made a massive difference and the end of the day left me much better physically and (says I) mentally. Conrad, Paul and Dave were the Austrians while Steve, Shaun and Richard were the French.

Dave's reconstituted grenadier brigade found themselves blocked in and unable to join the fight due to retreating Austrian infantry and the baggage train.
The Austrian heavy cavalry, poised to attack. I think the Austrians were very cautious in utilising this brigade effectively.
The Austrians under Paul had been driven out of the field covering the road to Inglemunster. The brigade in question survived two Faltering tests before being forced to retreat, loosing their guns in the process. This brigade was also now classed as demoralised as half of its units had been destroyed.
Richard's elite legere battalions can be seen among the ruins facing Austrian artillery and cavalry. In the background the army reserve brigade of grenadiers was halted, unable to advance due to lack of space and the danger posed by the enemy horsemen. The cuirassiers charged the French line, hitting a company of horse artillery (that did no damage other than receiving a fatigue casualty on themselves) and overrunning it. The cavalry then charged on, hitting a battalion of French as they tried to form square, breaking them. The cuirassiers carried on with their move and hit yet another battalion of French in column who were also ridden down!. What a charge!
The uhlans supporting the victorious cuirassiers declared an opportunity charge when the dragoons  tried to charge the flank of the now blown cuirassiers.  I realise now that I/we got the rules wrong and certainly out of sync but what to do? 
The uhlans defeated the French dragoons easily (they were already carrying 11 hits!) and then dispersed the supporting dragoon regiment. There was now a massive hole in the French line, filled with lots of Austrian cavalry! Two entire brigades of French had been swept away. Luckily for the French both enemy cavalry regiments were out of command.
Steve kept the pressure on the Austrians covering the road, steadily pushing them back despite taking heavy losses.
Dave's grenadiers were still gridlocked and barely able to move forward
MacDonald's brigade and the Polish Legion ready to overwhelm the Austrians covering the road to Inglemuntser. The baggage train was also in danger of capture!
The routing French dragoons bested by the uhlans.
The Austrian grenadiers finally forced their way into a gap. The two brigades originally tasked with covering the road were either crushed and demoralised or crippled but still hanging on...just, although their artillery had been lost.
A French have now driven the Austrians back further and have crossed onto the road.
In the nick of time French reinforcements arrived and charged the blown Austrian cuirassiers. The Austrian regiment  was already carrying eight hits when it was charged and was overwhelmed in the melee.
It was now 4pm in real time and it was clear that we still had no clear result. The French centre was still in danger due to the masses of Austrian cavalry now present. A brigade of Austrian dragoons had also joined the battle, so the French success against the cuirassiers was likely only to be a brief one before more Austrian cavalry tried to overwhelm them. Of course the Austrian heavy cavalry brigade had to pass a faltering test first with the loss of that highly successful cuirassier regiment.

We may well go into extra time and continue the fight next week. I know the absent French CinC (Houchard/John who's been working) is in favour of continuing the battle. I'll be sending updated casualty returns to all the players, together with a few tactical photos so they can get a better understanding of the status of their troops before any final decision is made.

Great game, and it really helped having Steve there to be chief figure mover and measurer extraordinaire. I certainly felt the benefit of his support and I'm dead chuffed to know that everyone who is able to take their turn helping out has offered their support. Makes it all even more worthwhile.


  1. More inspirational gaming goodness from the Burrow! I really don't know where your energy and enthusiasm come from. But wherever, keep it up!

    1. Thanks David. The energy and enthusiasm comes from a couple of pills taken twice daily 😉