Monday, 1 February 2021

The Battle of the River Elbow, 1794

Covid once again dictated that I would have to continue playtesting Shadow of the Eagles solo, using my SYW collection. For this particular game I went back to a battle I had enjoyed back in 2012, which in turn was based on a vintage game from back in 1979. The original post tells the story.

Anyway, here in 2021 I kept the same set up and number of units, but re-designated them for a playtest in the Revolutionary period. My Austrian figures would be playing themselves, just projected about 35 years into the future. My Prussians, however, faced the ignominy of representing Revolutionary French forces. Well, at least they had blue coats. The respective OOBs were:

France (attacking)
Infantry Brigade
3 infantry battalions, 1 foot battery
This was one of the new-fangled demi-brigades of 2 conscript units (rated inferior) and one regular unit.

Infantry brigade
4 infantry battalions, 1 foot battery
A slightly different make up. A combined grenadier battalion and a regular battalion led forward 2 more conscript battalions.

Cavalry Brigade
1 hussar regiment
1 dragoon regiment
1 horse battery
The dragoons were inferior

Independent cuirassier regiment
Badly deployed out on its own on the left flank. Only regular class.

Independent chasseur battalion
Deployed as skirmishers at Pampitz.

Austria (defending)
Hungarian Infantry Brigade
2 infantry battalions, 1 grenadier battalion, 1 foot battery
The heart of the Austrian force.

German Infantry Brigade
2 infantry battalions
One of the battalions is of inferior conscripts.

Light Infantry Brigade
2 battalions of skirmishing Grenzers
1 light foot battery

Cavalry Brigade
2 dragoon regiments
Both solid regular formations.

The only terrain detail worth mentioning is the state of the River Elbow. West of the bridge it was classed as impassable, then from the bridge to the centre of the table it was passable by infantry and cavalry. The final section running out of the marsh was a mere stream, easily crossable with a slight delay. 

And so without further ado, we turn to the photos to tell the story of the battle.

The initial set-up.
This must be a Revolutionary battle because the French infantry are all in columns.

The view from the Austrian centre.
The foot battery covers a genuine antique Bellona bridge.

The French cavalry have an 'inept' brigadier. They creak around to their right 
intending a flanking movement, providing their commander's nerve holds.

French left flank. The two conscript units (marked with yellow discs) are being sent forward
as cannon fodder, with the regulars behind. At least they have some artillery support.

The Grenzers await the French at Hermsdorf...

...and before they know it, some French hussars arrive and have the effrontery to try a charge!
The hussars overrun the light battery but are eventually seen off by musketry before they can get
in amongst the Grenzers with their sabres.

The French centre has crossed the Elbow and a firefight commences with the Hungarians.
The grenadiers rout the battalion opposite them.

By the bridge, a French conscript battalion breaks down under artillery fire
and retreats in skirmish order through their regular comrades.

Things aren't going too badly for the French. Note that on the right wing their
cavalry are almost back at Pampitz following a very stout defence of Hermsdorf by the Grenzers.

The French centre is commanded by an 'inspiring' brigadier. Obtaining a double move, he sends his
conscript battalion charging up the hill to take the Austrian battery. 'En avant!'

A little later in the game. The French battalion on the hill were smartly driven away from the abandoned Austrian guns by charging dragoons. In the centre, both sides have lost a further battalion. In the foreground the French cavalry push forward again, countered now by the second Austrian dragoon regiment. The French cavalry are carrying significant numbers of hits.

The Austrian dragoons have carried all before them and are approaching Pampitz.
The main fight is now on the western flank, where the French are dragging forward one of their batteries.

End game. The continuing firefight has ruined the 2 remaining French conscript battalions who have broken down into skirmish order, with orange hit dice indicating they are 'weakened'. They will be of no further use. At this point I decided the French could make no more progress and told them they had lost.

Overall an enjoyable and valuable playtest. The plan at the moment is that when the money starts rolling in from the published rules, some 15mm real Napoleonic armies will be obtained. Probably second-hand already painted units from Hinds. Yes, I'm afraid my painting days are over. A bit of re-basing and fixing-up will be quite enough work. I'm thinking 1812, French+Allies vs. the Russians. I guess we'll see.

For now, stay safe everyone. 'Til next time1


Steve J. said...

A lovely looking game and with a nice little scenario too. Good to see you giving the Revolutionary Wars a run out, as I plan to game this period when the Pendraken Miniatures new range is released.

Amtmann B. said...

It's always nice to read a new report. Many thanks for your work. I love your style of table.

Jim Walkley said...

I too love your style of table and, as always, your reports make me want to play. I am still pondering your comment about playing towns as woods. The idea sounds convincing but then so did the method in Honours of War. Best wishes and stay well. Jim

Paul Liddle said...

What an attractive looking game, your bases blend so in well. Great stuff.

Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke said...

A fun scenario!

Best Regards,


Dindin said...

Lovely game!
By coincidence we chose to play the very same scenario!
(Posted at HoW forum)

Keith Flint said...

Thank you Dindin. Your post was my inspiration for resurrecting the scenario.

Dindin said...

I thank you for the initial inspiration! I mean I also posted a solo game!
It is a scenario that could be played for any Horse and Musket period and you already did this transition to the Revolutionary Wars! Excellent! I'll keep it under my belt! Cheers!

DeanM said...

Wonderful gaming with beautifully painted figures!

Neil said...

Great looking game and collection. I feel your frustration with the Covid and have done a few solo games myself - though I am fortunate that my oldest is still at home. On the other hand, like you, I'm trying some new stuff especially in the solo gaming realm. Again, great game and Battle Report.

lewisgunner said...

Lovely game Keith. It has the feel of those French in Italy battles which swayed between the combatants and were influenced by indivdual units and brigades pushing forward and then being pushed back until one side or the other had no more to give.


James Fisher said...

A delightful looking game (I had to search for an adjective that had not been used already!). Beautiful figures on a splendid table.
Regards, James

Brian Cameron said...

A fine looking game. It was nice to see the mechanism of a unit breaking down into skirmish formation as appeared to happen (though not then necessarily falling back). I'm slightly puzzled by the lack of skirmisers ahead of the French attack. My impression is that this was a frequent part of the 'softening up' process along wqiht artillery bombardment.