maandag 11 maart 2013

A skirmish - Russia 1812 (Northern Campaign)

To test further the skirmish and detachment options to the DBA-HX variant, I created a scenario set in Russia. Oudinot’s stretched supply lines required protection from marauding bands of Cossack or probing actions from Wittgenstein. This engagement typifies one such probable action.

French dispositions:
Along the west bank of the Drina River, the French have established a supply depot. The farm house and outer buildings serve to store grain, powder and other needed material. A second hill serves as an artillery position covering the only two fords. These are separated by the “Twin Sisters”, to small copse straddling the Drina. Between the artillery position and the depot is an area allotted for the small garrison and transient troop’s en-route to the army of Oudinot.   

Russian dispositions:
The Russians had a twofold objective; if light resistance were encountered to secure a bridgehead on the right bank. With the help of engineers and supporting troops a defensive position could be established. If heavy resistance prohibited the first objective, then the supply depot must be destroyed.

Russians forces were split into two columns. On the right, the 24th Jaegers, Grodno Hussars and Cossacks would rush the light infantry screen and seize the heights and artillery. The French turning to meet this threat would expose the flank allowing the second column, 23rd Jaegers supported by Cossacks to secure the depot and support the first column.

Photo 1
The 24th Jaegers rushed the French screen (double move) prompting them to bolt up the hill and seek safety among the guns. The French guns and light troops were out positioned as Jaegers to front supported by Hussars and Cossacks working around their rear forced the French to vacate the hill position.

At first alarm, the small garrison of Portuguese and a Dutch line troops tumbled out of their camp, formed line to meet the Russian threat.

The second Russian column were held back and simply demonstrated against the screen of French lights. Turn five offered the moment for Russian second column as the French line were now committed to repulse the first column, the 23rd Jaegers supported by Cossacks fell in force against the French lights.

By this time (turn six), the score was 2 – 1 for the Russians. The French right flank, exposed by the loss of lights needed to pull back to a defensible position. As the French withdrew toward their camp, the 123rd released their light company to cover the exposed right flank.

Photo 2
The Russians, lacking the strength to secure their position proceeded to fulfill the second objective; torching the supply depot. The 23rd Jaegers effectively screened the supply depot that the Cossacks moved quickly to do what they do best. The test ended here as there would be no way the French could hinder the Cossacks destruction.

As small as the game was, seven elements for the French and eight for the Russians, this proved a lively action and no doubt similar engagements were recorded in someone’s diary during the campaign.

Cossack activity worked well, as prohibiting suicidal frontal charges kept them continually looking for exposed flanks which had their effect on French dispositions. The release of the light company from a line battalion was done late, but did effectively cover the exposed line.

On the French side, a better response to the Russian attack is to use the two battalions of the 123rd with their light companies released forward while the Portuguese battalion served as a second line. Seeing the Russian second column’s intent of destroying the depot, the Iberians could easily have bested the Jaegers and Cossacks in turn.   


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