Saturday 3 February 2024

The battle of Golymin, 26 December 1806.

As it is the York show on Sunday and there’s Six Nations rugby on today I hosted a smallish game yesterday. Richard and Nigel gamely took the Russians and John and Paul the French in what proved to be a challenging game, set in Poland in 1806. An account of the real battle can be found Here, although I took as my inspiration for the game the venerable Age of Eagles scenario. The Russians were the rearguard for the main Russian army, who had to hold on until nightfall. The numerically superior French, led by Murat, were tasked with destroying the Russians. The French outnumbered the Russians by something approaching 2:1, but a large proportion of the army was cavalry, which in the close terrain would be difficult to manoeuvre effectively and bring numbers to bear.  The French were also without artillery as it was sunk in the mud that passed for roads in this part of Poland in winter. The Russians did have artillery, not in abundance but more than enough. We used Valour and Fortitude again. Paul and John contributed to the French army with some figures of their own as my French are still a work in progress, with some French Revolutionary Wars units standing in for the moment. Game length was to be eight turns or 3:00pm or thereabouts, whichever came latest. Time was not on the side of the French so they’d have to push hard from turn 1 to crush the Russians as quickly as possible. 

The Russians were deployed within the green box, with reinforcements arriving at point C, which was also the road they needed to keep open. Lasalle and the light cavalry division was deployed as shown, with reinforcements arriving  at points A and B. The marshy area was unsuitable for cavalry but the woods, while plentiful, were classed as open, thus permitting cavalry and infantry to enter at a penalty.
The game about to commence. 

The Russians held the central box shown on the map, with jäger dispersed in three woods on the edges of their deployment area. With only French light cavalry on the table on turn 1 Richard pushed his cavalry division forward.

John commanded Lasalle and Klein’s cavalry as they advance towards the Russian positions, jägers in the woods taking a few pot shots and shaking one French regiment.. 

John’s cavalry decided to charge the jäger in the woods. Open woods or not the terrain clearly favoured the Russians who beat off two attacks before being overrun. 

Over at point B Paul brought Aguerau’s corps into action. Again, Russian jäger grimly held on, delaying the French advance for a vital turn.

Russian jäger defeated the first French attempt to evict them from the woods.

Meanwhile, the woods were bypassed as Augerau’s corps advanced towards the village.

The French form up to assault the Russians in and around the village.

The cat always lies down to sleep on the umpire’s rules and notes!

John’s cavalry supported by several infantry battalions begin the make profession the right.

One of my new French units. 24 Chasseurs a cheval.

The Garde de Paris moving up on the right.

More French surging forward, the Tirailleurs Corses included.

Paul launched a furious attack on the village. Richard’s men held on inside the village but the supporting units were driven off.

The Russians had husbanded their cavalry and were waiting for an opportunity to let them loose on the French assault. French cavalry and infantry were by now working their way round the Russian left flank, guarded only by a jäger battalion and a brigade of dragoons.

The French eject the defenders of the village.

Richard ordered a counterattack against the village, retaking it at the point of the bayonet!

Seen from the French rear, their assault on the Russians. 

It was hotting up around the village again.

John’s cavalry on the right are now trickling round the right flank, driving the Russian jäger back through the swampy area.

The Russian counterattack was successful and they recaptured the village.

By now we had completed eight turns and it was 3:30 so night was falling and the battle came to an end. The Russians had suffered heavy losses, with one brigade annihilated holding the village. They had also collected five failed Fortitude test counters. Had they not been carrying these negative points they would have actually achieved a narrow victory as they still held both villages and their line of retreat off the table at point C. As a result a slim victory was awarded to the French, but the Russians would have been able to slip away so they didn’t disgrace themselves.

The French found that having so much cavalry was no great advantage due to the terrain, which was an issue in the real battle. Not having any French artillery was probably an advantage as they were forced to attack without any time wasting while they softened up the enemy.

There were a few issues with interpretation of the rules, mainly around the ability of open order infantry in the woods to hold on and defeat their French cavalry and infantry attackers. Ok, perhaps where the cavalry were concerned but against an assault column? There seems to be no facility for light troops to evade, unless they are just supposed to stand and die if they are caught.  Oh well, we shall make a house rule perhaps. To be honest I’m not sure that these rules are what I am after. They’re quick and give a good game but I’m not totally excited with them. Roll on General d’Armee 2. Hopefully guys enjoyed the game. I did, especially the way the scenario played out.

York tomorrow for Vapnatark. Looking forward to it.


  1. Beautifully presented as always Colin. Yes, I'm also very much looking forward to GdA2. Hoping to put on some test games at t'club.

  2. I'm interested in using V&F for AWI, and WRT the lack of an Evade rule, exchanged emails with the author. His response identified the sequence of play in V&F gives players the option to pull back light troops before they get attacked; the light troops can use 'skirmish fire' to shoot at reduced effect and then pull back out of assault range in order to evade an assault.

  3. Gorgeous game! I've found v&f to be a great framework. Lots of opportunity to bolt on additional rules, but the simple core is not too simple.