Monday 30 September 2013

The retreat continues... Another 1812 game report

As most of you know already a friend of mine and member of our THS wargaming club is working on a Napoleonic skirmish ruleset covering Napoleon's retreat from Russia in 1812. Besides the pleasure to add some research I have the honourable job of a guinea for his rules and scenarios. If you have missed it you might want to have a glimpse at the previous AAR here.

Anyway on Saturday we met with four players and Bernhard as gamemaster to play the scenario "Cabin in the woods" which was set on 19th Novemver 1812. It was our mission to reconnoitre a small, cosy hamlet in the woods and secure it as bivouac for the following Grande Armée. Sounds rather easy, doesn't it?

But after we took a look at the hamlet we got suspicious because of the French body lying around...
The hamlet... Looks rahter cosy apart from the unlucky Frenchmen here and there...
Anyway we had to proceed since tempreture was dropping below -15 °C and at nighfall any kind of shelter would be vital. So we discussed our tactics...
Some veterans of the Old Guard discussing the best way to advance. The drummer doesn't look too excited...
... and started our advance.
The Old Guard takes the lead. With their grumpy drummer still slightly sulking...
As expected we didn't reach the hamlet as unchallanged as the scenario introdution promised. Our gamemaster added some of Westfalia's sledge cannons (available here) to his collection and was keen on usung them. The Russians hiding in the northern forest dragged one with them. But they didn't anticipate our courage and speed. The two squads which guarded our right flank reconnoitred the cannon, ruhed forward and overwhelmed the surprised crew before they were able to fire the gun.
Outnumbered cossaks without any opportunity.
In the next turn we manned the gun, turned it against some Russian jägers which followed the gun and wiped them out with their own shrapnel shot. Quickly we reloaded the gun and took it with us. An unexpected but very pleasant beginning...
Our stragglers have a new toy...
Meanwhile some melee arose on our left flank. Fortunately this was the area which our veterans from the Old Guard overviewed. Quickly they chased the attacking cossacks away and cleared the way to the hamlet.
Three guardsmen finishing off the last cossack.
Our troops were strapped for ammunition so we headed directly towards the caisson in the middle of the village. Unfortunately it was empty and we had to search the surrounding sheds to find some ammo. Finally with success fortunately.
My group of veterans entering the hamlet and heading for the caisson.
Afterwards we noticed some figures creeping ddep in the forest around us. First we though that might be the wolves we cast out the village but we realized that there were more Russians approaching. Willy-nilly we had to prepare ourselves to defend the hamlet which should house our following comrades this night.
Finally we used the caisson as barricade. Undangerous since it was empty anyway...
Thankfully we had the captures sledge cannon and further three charges for it. Foresightedly we brought it into position at the Western end of the hamlet were most of the enemies were coming from.
Our brave guncrew...
But suddenly some more cossaks attacked the village from the rear. They set up another sledge cannon with surprising speed and fired a shot of the hut in which five or six of our soldiers were seeking some warmth. But incredibly they missed!

Afterwards things developed very quickly. Against the darkening sky we meant to spot the first succeeding troops. With our last efforts we made an excursion and attacked the gun crew who was trying to load the gun nervously. Especially the veterans of the Old Guard proved their priceless value. They drove into the enemy lines like a group of reapers and slaughtered the attackers on either flank.
The figures were glued to the base but the two Frenchmen had killed the crew as well as some attending Russians.
After an intensive round of shooting and melee more than a dozen of enemies lay slain. Only a few lucky cossacks stumpled away and vanished in the dark of the woods and the setting sun.

Finally we heard our comrades from the retreating Grande Armée arriving. Mercifully we already occupied some of the shed to house us this night because some of the poor fellows who arrived now had to spend the night crowded around campfires but exposed to the bitter cold outside...
"There... I see Egles advancing!"
Anyway after all it was a very entertaining game with an extremely nice group of people. Our gamemaster lead the game experencedly but we were able to surprise him here and there. Overall it was a splendid success for a beaten and tattered army...

Hopefully we'll find the time to play another game soon. If you're interested in the setting and the narrative set of rules then be a little patient. With some luck it might be published next year...


  1. Nice AAR and cool terrain, Monty!
    I'm beginning to freeze as i read this.

    1. The terrain is excellent and our gamemaster had it built especially for this kind of winter games. With the great Perry miniatures (and my humble Victrix conversions...) on it, it somes to live very nice.

  2. The rules need a bit fine tuning but all the games were exciting and great fun. On this excellent table it was an unbeatable evening with a group of brilliant fellows.

  3. Very good aar. These rules sound promising.

  4. Very exciting AAR. Napoleonics never really appealed to me but your battelrep was highly entertaining with some very nice pictures.

  5. Great looking and sounding game Stefan, made me feel cold just reading it!

  6. Superb report and gorgeous looking miniatures. I have some myself that I'm supposed to be paining for a present for a friend - really must get on with them.

  7. A great period and made very tempting with your report and superb pictures.

  8. Great pictures Monty, highly original game

  9. Wonderful AAR - great figures, table and theme!

  10. Excellent game report. Great looking figures.

  11. Excellent eye candy all around here. And a tip of the hat to the fellow who has come up with this skirmish game. Very clever!

  12. Well planned, well executed and fab to look at. I caught a cold just following it.

  13. Another engrossing read, brilliant terrain and wonderful figures. Those sledge cannon are rippers. Thanks Monty!

  14. Very nice game, brrrr! I'm shivering just looking at it!

  15. Fantastic, the pictures are great and the atmosphere wonderful!