Tuesday 20 February 2024

The Battle of Mohrungen, 25 January 1807

 This week’s game was based on the battle of Mohrungen, between the Russians and a French corps under Bernadotte. I used the scenario laid out in Age Of Eagles as the basis for the game. A description of the real events is at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Mohrungen. The Russians started with an advantage of around 2:1 in infantry and 3:1 in artillery, but French reinforcements  would, when they arrived, balance the numbers (more or less). The Russians had to hold and defeat the French and keep their lines of communication open. The French needed to occupy the areas marked ‘V’ on the map, and while doing so destroy the Russians. The French reinforcements would be arriving at Blue Star 1 on the map, while the main French body started in the south west corner. The Russians could deploy  anywhere north of (and inside) the enclosed farm. The Russian CinC GL Roman Anrep (classed as a 9) was not on the table until T6 before which they were commanded by a very mediocre GM Markov (7). 

The view from the southern table edge. 

The Russians placed jägers in the farm, the mill and the village of Georgenthal, with their main body situated around the hill in the centre and linking the garrisons at each end of the line. Interestingly the chose to keep.their horse artillery battery limbered up well back in reserve, which I thought was a refreshing change from the wall-to-wall cannon tactics often used by Russian players, and definitely playing the period and not the rules. They suspected that some French would appear on their flank, and were correct of course.

Dave and Shaun took the Russians, while Paul, Nigel and John the Red (in charge of the reinforcements), were the French, under overall command of Marshall Bernadotte.

So without further ado, here’s what happened. The French moved first and arrived on the table at the southwestern corner and faced 15 or 16 battalions with eight of their own.

The centre of the Russian deployment zone, literally full of troops, largely held in reserve, but their were three battalions supporting the artillery in the centre..

The main body of the French army advancing on the Russians. They looked splendid, before the Russian cannon opened fire!

To counter the Russian artillery, the French had just this one small battery of 8-pdrs plus another similar-sized horse battery with the cavalry. I’ve still not finished my actual 1807 French artillery so these chaps from the Revolutionary era were standing in.

The French main body was slow to engage the enemy which meant that the Russians were not fully preoccupied when John brought his reinforcements onto the table, as can been above. The Russian reserves were ordered to face this new threat and drive it off.

The Cossacks tried to delay the French but were unable to stop them crossing the stream.

The large mass of Russian infantry seen in the middle ground was about to descend upon the newly-arrived French.

Fierce fighting around the farm.
Paul’s attack on the farm was prolonged and bloody. The first assault was repulsed. The second saw two battalions break and it was only the third assault that finally forced its way into the farmyard enclosure. 

Nigel’s cavalry caught a Russian battalion who were unable to form square., throwing a double 1. Remarkably the disordered infantry held and the cavalry had to pull back. More to do with extreme dice rolling than anything else.

One of the broken French battalions.

The French advanced on the village of Georgenthal.

The village was defended by jäger and supported by a half battery of horse artillery and a musketeer battalion.

Nigel’s cavalry had ridden 108” in two turns thanks to some low scores,and were now in the centre. They had been about to pounce of the Russian flank but Shaun moved his hussars forward to distract the French.

The French were loosing ground on the left wing.

The Russians were thrown out of half of Georgenthal but were facing three battalions of grenadiers with artillsupport.
Johns reinforcements had been halted by stubborn Russian resistance..

The Russian hussars charged across the stream. The one facing the artillery was destroyed and the othe one was defeated by French dragoons. This meant the Russian cavalry, including the Cossacks, were out of the game shattered.

By now we had played 12 out of maximum of 14 turns. It was too close to call.  The Russians had lost all their cavalry and some infantry but still had more than a dozen battalions and two full artillery batteries in play, and were in no way weakened significantly by the fighting to date. The French were well placed to  isolate and destroy the enemy right wing near the mil, and could have occupied the Russian lines of communication off the table, but dislodging the enemy from their central position would be tough. I decided we had a minor Russian victory to celebrate. Hurrah!

I have really gone off Black Powder. We were all very rusty but compared with Valour and Fortitude they seemed quite slow and clunky. I enjoyed the game as did the players, but not the rules, which disappointed me.


  1. Splendid looking game- wonderful photos.

  2. A criticism of Black Powder? Naughty step for you Ashton! Lovely looking table and armies though.

  3. Excellent battle. I was a bit surprised that the French infantry didn’t bypass the Farm area? A big call.
    Dave J.