Thursday, October 14, 2021

Wavre with Shako II (and believe it or not a rare WIN !!!!!)

Another game using Shako II rules today at Stephens with the published Wavre scenario.

I of course used my Prussians to defend against Stephens French.

The scenario has rather complicated terrain with bonuses for Prussians defending the river Dyle crossings in the town sectors and lots of marshland all along both banks of the river, and differing levels of possible French victory.

We both realised that our respective mounted units were essentially superfluous as just no place to operate (pretty tough to effectively deploy and use artillery as well).

That said Stephen did get one unit of French Hussars across the bridge near Limal which had to stay in column on a road, but managed to destroy a unit of Landwehr before dying itself.

French need to push across bridge at Limal (which is very weakly defended by a single unit of Infantry and a Skirmish stand) on their left flank whilst attacking the tough Prussian positions at Bierge and Wavre.

The defenders of Bierge managed to thwart 5 separate assaults by staggering back the attacking French columns but on their 6th attempt the volleys failed and French then managed to take the town sector.

By this time a massive French force was bearing down on the flank of my central force at Bierge and after a brave stand they eventually broke. 

However this had taken 10 (of the scheduled 12) turns to achieve and as French had ignored garrison at Limal until too late they had insufficient time to capture this town thereby denying themselves even a marginal victory (taking Bierge and Limal) so Prussians triumphant (yee hah !!!).

A tough task for the French this one but Prussians somewhat lucky at Bierge as had it fallen earlier things may have been very different.

Fun game with Shako today without the head-scratching we had in some recent games, we will of course not play it again for ages and forget what we decided re any issues :-)

Congestion at Wavre on Prussian left

French forming up to assault Bierge in Prussian center

The isolated defenders at Limal on Prussian right, as French prepare to seize the bridge

French Dragoons redeploying (fruitlessly as it transpired)

Prussian guns firing (to little effect) on French side of Wavre

Central Prussian command deploys to meet oncoming French

French Hussars lead the way along the road through marshy area

French piling up along road and marshes to threaten Prussians around Bierge

Prussian light cavalry try to help but realise they cannot (not allowed to enter marsh)

Overview of action at Bierge and Limal 

Wavre scenario map (note each square is 8") with marsh extending 8" either side of river along its length. Town sectors on river contain bridges and have enhanced defences.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Lasalle 2 - Solo game completed

Finished playing through my solo game with Lasalle with it ending in a close draw.

This scenario has no sudden death level of losses so its all about the controlling objectives (one centrally place worth 1 VP and the village on the ridge being worth 2VP) within the 8 turn limit.

As it turned out the French only managed to take the central objective but inflicted sufficient losses on the Russians to gain a VP for 'Carnage' thereby offsetting the Russian retention of the village for a 2 all draw.

Another turn or two would likely have seen Russians wiped out however as Russians had lost all their gun batteries and 6 units of infantry against just 2 Young Guard units.

The elite French force was interesting to use especially the Infantry as the 5+ Resolve level meant they suffered a lower level of losses generally.

Of course the Old Guard seemed to suffer above average and were underwhelming in the game. Author Sam Mustafa is not a believer in Old Guard being super troops (in any of his rules) but they are certainly better than average with extra strength point, said better resolve and good traits (Assault Columns and Resilience). 

Certainly less impressive/potent than they are in say Black Powder where they are essentially juggernauts.

Fun time with Lasalle even solo and yet again the MO 'orders' system shines as a very neat and slick mechanic, as I have said previously regarding the rules they are 'Napoleonic lite' with much abstracted and simplified but they are fun and produce an excellent game despite lacking much flavour/chrome compared to something like Gen D'Armee. If you like Maurice and Blucher by Sam you will like these if not then probably not so much :-)

Planned outing with them in a few days with Le Duc as our first post-plague game.

French right wing pushing towards central objective (red poker chip)

Russian delaying Brigade doing its job in front of the ridge

But under real pressure from Young Guard

Russian canister from their heavy battery decimated Young Guard infantry to their front

Struggle continues around ridge

Old Guard fail to deal with Jager

Young GUard unit shaken due to losses (yellow marker)

Young Guard held at bay temporarily

All four Russians units visible in this pic were duly lost.................

Saturday, October 09, 2021

Lasalle 2 - Solo game

Started a solo game with Lasalle II today as it took my fancy to use my French Guard units which seldom see the tabletop and to make up for missing first meeting of Elimination Club last evening !

So I picked scenario 4 from the rules 'Making The Omelette' which is an attack/defence scenario and I choose the French Imperial Guard to attack (300pts) against Russian defence (220pts).

Set up scenario adding a single wood to Russian defence area and managed to play through first turn so far using all advanced rules.

French field 14 units in 4 Brigades with an Old Guard Brigade (2 Old Guard Inf) and 2 Young Guard Brigades (4 Elite Inf) supported by a Brigade of Guard Cavalry (2 OG Lancers) and two OG Reserve Artillery (2 Heavy OG Batteries) with the CinC having added trait of Artillerist to boost guns (re-rolls failed hits on primary target), an ADC completes their roster.

The Russians have 13 units also in 4 Brigades with two Infantry Brigades (each 3 Vet Inf) one with a Field Battery attached, a Brigade of Jager (3 Jager) and supported by a Light Cavalry Brigade (2 Hussars) with a Heavy Gun Battery and their CinC having Steadfast trait (re-rolls when defending).

Russians set up first but have a nice defensive position along a ridge with woods on one flank.

French set up second but not a lot of real leeway as to axis of attack.

Early days but on French left a Young Guard Brigade has encountered first Russian line with the Old Guard Lancers pushing forward and forcing a Russian foot unit to go into square and to commit their Hussars which were in reserve behind the ridge.

The French have a decided advantage in Skirmishing dice (30 vs 21) but this made no difference on first turn indeed Russians got Initiative although not a big deal at this stage. 

French have basic 7 MO (with ADC) versus Russian 6.

I do like the sheer playability of Lasalle despite its somewhat basic/broadbrush approach to unit types, and you the constant changes of initiative in a turn are keeping me fit going from one side of table to another. And nice to see my Guard units in action.

Initial deployments, with Guard in long line of units

Russian lines of defence with Jager on right around small wood

Views from Russian left 

Old Guard lancers support Young Guard Brigade

Old Guard artillery in center

Second Young Guard Brigade with Old Guard at end of line

The weak Jager Brigade awaits

Russian Hussars in reserve behind ridge

View from behind Russian lines

French begin their assault

French left wing engaging

End of first turn with some permanent hits visible and Russian cavalry committed

Thursday, October 07, 2021

Shako II - Utitsa scenario played

Played Shako II today with Stephen utilising the Utitsa (Borodino area 1812) scenario from the Field of Glory scenario booklet. 

Stephen used Russians in defence so I was attacking with the French.

My Cavalry Brigade (1 Lancer and 1 Chasseur) on my right tried to sweep around behind Utitsa mound but were confronted by an Infantry division but in the end I destroyed a unit of Cossacks before seeing my Lancers destroyed in turn. This led to a morale test for my Brigade which of course I rolled 1 for and the Chasseurs fled the field.

On my left my reserves were contesting matters with the Russian Jager division in the large wood and their own reserve formations, these sort of cancelled each other out although I was reducing the Jager.

A struggle around the mound then ensued between Infantry divisions. I suffered from Russian heavy artillery cannister fire despite eventually destroying both batteries.

A key match up saw 3 French columns manage to contact a single Russian unit in Line but this unit rolled a crushing volley which staggered and forced back my units. I then lost a couple of units in adjacent melees and had to test Divisional morale which of course I failed removing the Division directly attacking the Mound.

We called it at that point as French lacking sufficient strength to take the Mound

We struggled again with some of the rules around attack orders/formation changes which are frankly somewhat contradictory, and wondered how we never seemed to have these problems in past games !? old age in action ??

Table prior to set up from Russian edge

French initial advance

Russian artillery causes Stagger (yellow puff)

Jagers defending wooded area (Russian reserves waiting to arrive in distance)

The Mound defended by stout Grenadiers and heavy Artillery

Up close and personal around the Mound

French reserves arrive on left and engage the Jagers as Russian reserves also arrive

French formation attacking the Mound would soon flee

Thursday, September 30, 2021

A tiny bit of Shako II

Tried a 'pick up' game of Shako II today at Stephens with his Russians against my French circa 1812. We last played these rules in Feburary 2020 (Quatre Bras scenario) but both kind of struggled to deploy our Divisions today. I think this partly down to the 'pick up' style game orders of battle, its generic terrain generation and rather odd table size (64" x 40" in 15mm).

We both placed a Cavalry division in reserve and I had a light cavalry division on a Flank March.

My Flank March arrived on turn 3 but really had no place to go on arrival (likely needed a much better plan). We were also unsure what happens if the flanking units are 'blocked' by enemy units up close to arriving table edge as not really defined other than one can charge into contact from off-table, but what if units have to fall back or recall ? are the destroyed ? do they rally off-table ? we have not encountered this before.

Stephen brought on an off-table reserve of 4 Cavalry with a horse gun which was literally crammed up behind a defending Infantry Division and I had my heavy Cavalry as an on table Reserve from start. 

We realised that the interpenetration (or actually lack of interpenetration) rules meant these mounted units were very unlikely to get used as essentially badly blocked (especially the Russian Division) and requiring a lot of 'work' to move elsewhere. 

The rules allow Mixed Divisions (something not usually seen in the scenarios we have played) which would be a much more flexible use of cavalry (ie in direct support of Infantry Division) but neither of had considered this historically justifiable. However I think the use of the term Division in Shako is a tad more flexible in what it represents.

We sort of gave up on the game (and plunged into waffling session) once we realised we had less than optimal deployments but plan is to re-try next week with Utitsa scenario.

French left with Cavalry in Reserve position. Note clogged deployment of Russians at top left as Cavalry 'stuck' in behind stationary Infantry division. French outflank due to arrive following turn into flank of own Infantry !