Another smallish battle from the excellent Battles for Empire scenario book is the attempted Russian and Prussian relief of Danzig, then under siege by a small French army under Marshall Lefevbre. In an attempt to raise the siege some 8,000 Russians disembarked on the Baltic coast at Weichselmude, held by a small Prussian garrison, and moved towards the French forces on Holm island, west of the city, and blocking the way to Danzig. Most of the besieging army were on the other side of the Vistula so reinforcements would take a few hours to arrive meaning the French would be outnumbered for much of the game. Oh, and did I say the Russians had support from a British sloop of war on the river?
Richard and Nigel were the Russians and Prussians, and Neil and Conrad were the French. The French started the game with two brigades of French, Poles and Saxons, totalling no more than seven battalions, one squadron of cavalry and two batteries of 4-pdrs. I classed the French and Poles as veteran and the Saxons as, well, Saxons. The French also had the support of the Vistula Redoubt (on table), the Holm Island Battery (off table) and the 12-pdr coastal battery (also off table). One brigade was deployed in the woods behind some defensive works while the other remained in reserve to quickly head off any flanking movement by the enemy or provide support to their comrades in the front line. The Russians were limited to bringing onto the table only what would fit in their slightly limiting deployment area. Their plan was to send the Cossacks and two infantry battalions over the dunes to capture the bridge and then to attack the enemy rear. Meanwhile the Russian jäger brigade would advance directly towards the French in the woods, supported by the small attached Prussian brigade, while Nigel and ultimately 10 battalions of Russians marched south to outflank the French in the woods and take control of the objective areas.
|The lonely French brigade in the woods at the start of the battle.
|Richard’s flanking force.
|The French exchange fire with Prussian schutzen.
|This brigade was made up of Polish infantry, a squadron of French Chasseurs a cheval and some 4-pdrs.
|The Chasseurs charged the Russian jäger battalion and as it was caught in line the infantry were routed. The battered Chasseurs withdrew to lick their wounds and sink a few bottles of cheap vodka.
|The Chasseurs had to take four fortitude tests due to the losses in the melee and passed them all!
|Conrad’s Franco/Saxon brigade moved to be in position to head off Nigel’s infantry on the other side of the wood.
|Nigels leading brigade.
|The reinforcements heading off the Russians. Nigel’s second infantry brigade had been sucked into the fighting at the other end of the table so was unable to offer any support.
|The Prussian brigade included a detachment of dragoons who charged the French cavalry and drove them back. The dragoons also retired, job done and threat removed, as being a detachment they were very brittle.
|The French reinforcements attacked Nigel’s brigade while Conrad’s original command pinned them from the front.
|The Cossacks finally made it to the bridge after a string of 1’s for activation, only to find the now recovered French Chasseurs waiting for them.
|The pressure is mounting on the Russians attacking the southern end of the woods as they are now outnumbered and out classed.
|The Garde de Paris. One regiment wore red faced green and the other green faced red. They look superb I reckon.
|An example of Nigel’s unfortunate run of crappy dice rolling.
|Nigel’s entire brigade was wiped out.
|Neil’s brigade escaped being overwhelmed by a great mass of Russians and Prussians and pulled back to Conrad’s position.
|Neil’s retiring survivors of his brigade.
|Neil even managed to save his artillery.
|The last surviving battalion of Nigel’s brigade about to be put in the box.