Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Russian Campaign at Michael's - Part 14

(Click here or click on the Campaign 09: Russia menu item to see all the parts with the latest at the top. A Campaign using Empire Campaign System and Empire V rules and Adler 6mm Napoleonic figures of the French invading Russia in 1812.)

The battle with the Russian Grenaiders continues.

Eugene decides to deploy his Italians close together this time in order to deny the enemy the chance of catching a portion of his force unsupported and outgunned. He orders his small division on the extreme left flank with his guns deployed forward to bombard the enemy flank. On the left of this he orders the remnants of a light cavalry brigade plus a full light cavalry brigade to protect the left of the army.

Behind this lead division, a full division of Italians marches with it's brigades one behind the other up onto the ridgeline on the left flank with it's orders to attack the small village and then the enemy hill to the left of the main village.

Eugene's remaining infantry division (the guards) is ordered just to the left of the main road to threaten the main village but to stay out of range of it's defenders.

I am given command of the cavalry wing on the extreme left. I have 1 brigade of 1 regiment of Italian light cavalry and 1 brigade of 2 regiments of Italian light cavalry. This 2nd brigade includes a battery of 4 horse guns. My orders are to support the infantry on my right as they advance. My concern is the enemy horse opposing me. I have met with them before and they are well trained and experienced Guard light cavalry. But they have no guns with them this time.

Eugene's deployment of his divisions and brigades to the left of the main road

The left flank made up of a small and a full infantry division and 3 regiments of cavalry

Russian Grenadiers defend the small farming village on the left flank

The Italian Guards and Elites position themselves to threaten the main village but stay out of harms way. For now.

The rear units of the Italian Guards division

Italian Guard cavalry

After an hour of positioning and bombarding enemy cavalry, Eugene decides to deploy his reserve - a French light cavalry division - to the extreme left to support the Italian cavalry in case they come to grips with the Russian Guard cavalry on that flank.

French light cavalry deploy behind the left flank with orders to get up and into the fray

After a long period of bombardment, the Russian generals pull their Guard cavalry on their right flank, our left, back behind the ridgeline for protection.

The Russian cavalry retire to behind the ridgeline and protection

Italian guns also manage to force the enemy garrisoning the farm village on the left to withdraw, leaving it undefended. Leading Italian formations, enter the village triumphantly.

The farm village on the left is won

As our troops storm the farm village, our infantry on the left surge forward only to be threatened by the same enemy cavalry that retired earlier, forcing them into squares.

It's now my time to shine. I order my cavalry regiments forward. I place them on the flank in line with the infantry but spaced enough appart so as not to be charged all at once by the enemy cavalry. Hopefully that will give me options should the enemy horse charge.

The enemy Guard cavalry on our left confidently trot forward as if to remind our infantry of their forbidding presence

My 3 regiments of cavalry position themselves on the left flank as the French light cavalry division arrives behind my position

At this time, the Russians defending the main village withdraw leaving a very small force to defend it.

The main village left lightly defended

My cavalry regiments eyeing off the enemy Guard cavalry on our left

As the enemy infantry leave the main village, the other Guard cavalry formation moves forward onto our right flank.

Enemy Guard cavalry on a ridgeline on our opposite right flank

The enemy horse on my flank charges forward. The point I was dreading. They crash into my middle regiment and send it fleeing the field. As they advanced to follow up on their success, they got in amongst the remnants of the defeated regiment and totally destroyed it.

This now left it blown and facing the wrong way while in between 2 of my fresh units and a battery of horse artillery.

Enemy horse crash their way through my line only to find themselves out on their own in enemy territory.

The Russian Guard light cavalry as it reorganises itself

This left me with a dilemma. Do I move all my cavalry to capitalise on the enemy horse as it reorganises itself or do I look for other opportunities. I considered moving both remaining regiments to face the enemy horse flank so if they move, I could opportunity charge them. This would only ever mean that one of these regiments could charge. And they are Guard cavalry afterall.

My other option was to use my top most regiment to attack the flank of the remaining Russian Guard regiment as it faced and threatened my infantry. My unit was in a perfect position. The enemy had attempted to protect the flank of their horse unit by deployed right next to it and firing on me. But could a battery or 12 horse guns prevent me from closing?

I decided to jump to it. I charged forward at the guns. They fired as fast as they could and managed to kill a number of my leading troopers but we got in amongst them and smashed them to pieces. 4 guns and crew were destroyed, 4 were captured and the remaining 4 left on the field as their crews ran for their lives.

I continued forward with my impact and aimed for the flank of the Russian Guard cavalry. Before I contacted them, they failed to receive the charge and fled the field. Wow! A Russian Guard light cavalry unit runs for the lives just because they were threatened by a charge on their flank by Italian light cavalry. There is something to right home about. No doubt the French light cavalry coming up will claim the victory though!

My men were not finished yet and we continued forth to a 2nd enemy artillery battery, also facing the wrong way. They failed to stand also and fled for their lives.

Hoorah! We milled around catching our breaths as we contemplated how the Emperor would reward us for breaking 2 batteries of guns and a regiment of Russian Guard cavalry. Our infantry nearby cheared us and brought over water and biscuits as we reoganised. I was proud of the men.

My valiant Italian light cavalry regiment in perfect formation as they charge the Russians threatening our left flank

The end of the charge. The event of the day!

I moved my cavalry back to the flank and watched as our infantry, rejoicing with us at our charge, moved forward to the rear of the enemy positions.

Russian Grenadiers reposition off the hill to the left of the main village to stop our infantry after my troopers destroyed the Russian flank

As my 2 remaining cavalry units and artillery consolidated our left flank, I positioned them to threaten the remaining enemy Guard cavalry that was now recovering on our extreme left. I managed to deploy my horse guns on it's flank and was causing serious damage to their formation. Eventually they decided the odds were not as favourable to them as they had hoped and broke formation and ran for their lives. My troopers cheered them as they left the battle, knowing we would most likely be meeting them again soon.

A courier from Eugene arrived ordered me to hold up my advance as the enemy was now withdrawing from the contact. With still a lot of enemy guns and cavalry intact, we decided not to pursue.

The situation at the end of the battle

... to be continued ...

(Click here or click on the Campaign 09: Russia menu item to see all the parts with the latest at the top. A Campaign using Empire Campaign System and Empire V rules and Adler 6mm Napoleonic figures of the French invading Russia in 1812.)

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