Saturday 5 November 2022

Franco Prussian War encounter

This week we had a mid-week game and played a FPW game here at the Burrow with rules based on Pickets Charge but with the obvious ACW references removed and replaced as appropriate with language and rules to accommodate and hopefully replicate the weapons and tactics of what I lump together in what is widely known as Bismark’s Wars. Neil had done a lot of great work on this transformation, and the rules worked well. We had all played Gen D’Armee in the past so the game mechanics were not a mystery to us, once the dormant muscle memory had been dragged  once more towards the forefront of our brains.

The French under Neil and myself were holding a ridge line, a ‘position [not very] magnifique’ with two weak divisions of infantry and two of cavalry. The Prussians (Conrad and Nigel) had the best part of a corps (less one brigade) supported by a cavalry division. The Prussians had a significant superiority in artillery which was to be a distinct but not critical advantage as they didn’t deploy their guns to the best effect. 

The French centre

The Prussian General von Clawswitz observing the French light cavalry division.

Looking down the table past the cat.
In order to divert the attention of the Prussian artillery from my infantry my light cavalry bravely exposed themselves on the left wing, attempting to outflank the enemy on there hill to their front. They nearly made it!
The Prussian dragoons wisely keeping out of the way.
Two regular battalions about to occupy the field. The third battalion of this regiment can be seen to the left in skirmish order, just before they bore the brunt of three Prussian artillery batteries and fled. Due to a bizarre stroke of luck I managed a double six so got to throw on the 'serendipity table.'  This resulted in the Prussian commander panicking and he ran to the rear causing his brigade to falter! 

Neil's troops in the centre.
The village was quickly occupied by two battalions of Colonial infantry.

Conrad's infantry in the centre advancing through the vineyards towards the French centre,.

Shortly after the earlier photo was taken the Prussian assault is halted in its tracks and the brigade falters.
The French right, facing a major Prussian thrust.

On the French right the Prussians were pressing forward.

Two battalions of infantry secure in the crops, with support from two battalions of  Colonial infantry in the village.

Von Bredow's brigade of cavalry prepares to advance, thoughtfully masking the Prussian artillery.

Nigel ordered his cuirassiers to charge the French guns. Predictably they were  blown away and fled.

While the cuirassiers were being shot to bits their sister regiment attacked a battalion of Zouaves. Guess what? The hussars were annihilated.

Prussian artillery on their left. Six batteries should have made a big impression on the French lines but they were not well placed and had limited fields of fire.

The final attack mon the Prussian right was repulsed and the now faltering brigade had to withdraw.

By this time it was clear that the Prussians were not going to dislodge the French from their positions, even with their left pushing the French back as two off their brigades were faltering and a further one (the cavalry) had been destroyed. The Prussians were slightly outnumbered but I had assumed their artillery would play a more prominent part, which it did not do.  Never mind, as in the overall narrative, the 'missing' Prussian brigade and their corps reserve artillery would appear on the French right flank and roll the line theory, but that's another game.

The adaptions to Pickets Charge worked really well and to be honest apart from the weapons and troops types/classes there was little to change beyond some of the ACW-related language. I look forward to trying these again, either another Franco-Prussian game or perhaps Austro-Prussian. And as I wrote this I remembered my plans to adapt Gen d'Armée to the Crimean War............

Every time I get these figures out I end up buying a few more or I dig out whatever I have that are unpainted and get all enthused for a week or two. Now, do I need to reorganise the armies? 

Thanks to Conrad, Neil and Nigel for playing, and also to Conrad for the scones  contraband.


  1. A splendid sight there Colin! Always enjoy seeing what you and your chums are up to.

  2. Looking forward to see how you adapt these, I intend to use the rules for my Garibaldi Project so following with interest 👍

  3. Looks wonderful Colin and Von Clawswitz looks a right softy for the troops!

  4. A cracking looking game, not a period I do but one I enjoy seeing and Von Clawswitz is such a lovely looking cat, great post all round!!

  5. fantastic FPW eye candy, droooool. Thanks for sharing Colin.


  6. Cracking game and nice to see the Prussians not getting their own way. As you say though that would simply have been a matter of time.

  7. Fantastic looking game- and I must confess, I do like Von Clawsitz. He has a fellow general at my place, Feline Von Furball, who delights in knocking the stands of figures off the table.

  8. Sounds and looks like an excellent game. I have not tried Picket’s Charge rules yet but I would like to. Maybe I’ll get to that next game you mentioned. See you at Stockton.