US Support Teams take up positions in Chain of Command Wargame

Sunday, May 3, 2015

A Franco-Prussian Wargame


Chassepot and Needlegun is a "old style" miniatures wargame written by Larry Brom in the 1980s. I have always enjoyed the "feel" of the game and have played it for years. The members of Kingston Irregulars, being of a newer generation of wargamers don't quite see the same appeal that I do. Having borrowed Bob Beatties's 15mm figures on extended loan, I finally convinced them to try another outing of the rules. Of course being the only member who knows them and has had more than 1 or 2 games with them, I ended up designing the scenario and umpiring the game -so I still didn't get to play. I might get one more in before returning the figures to Bob at this Historicon!

As most of the club had little or no experience with the rules, I wrote the scenario and placed both armies on the board at start.
The Prussian set on is the red line, the French set on is the blue.
The scenario is entitled "On The Road To Paris". Each side was given a scenario description as follows: (Someday I am going to figure out how to hold the tab positions when I copy from Word for Windows to the Blog!!).
You have been tasked with holding the crossroads at Maison-Boutain. The command knows that your force is very much depleted and the Boche are very strong. We are sending you what help we can - the Garde is en-route. But their march is a long one and you must delay for the life of France! Note that The Guard Mobile and the Algerians are green troops at best (Listed as “other” in the rules)
Your force:                                                                                        # Stands
General Commanding   (Major General)  (Jack Breen)                                            2                           
Commander (Bd. General)   (Steve Myers)                                                                   1
               1st Guards
                              Commander ( Col.)                                                                               1
                              1st  Grenadier Btn                                                                               6                                            
                              2nd  Grenadier  Btn                                                                            6                                            
                1st Chasseurs
                              Commander  ( Col.)                                                                           1
                              1st Btn                                                                                                6
                              2nd Btn                                                                                               6
Bde Commander  (Bd.  General)  (Jack Breen)                                                        1
               1st Inf Rgt
                              Rgt Commander  (Col.)                                                                   1
                              1st Inf Btn                                                                                         6
                              2nd Inf Btn                                                                                        6
                              3rd Inf Btn                                                                                        6
               2nd Inf Rgt
                              Rgt Commander   (Col.)                                                                 1                                           
                              7TH Inf Btn                                                                                      6
                              20th Inf Btn                                                                                     6
                              1st Garde Mobile Btn (other)                                                       6
               1 Btry 4# Guns                                                                                             3
Bde Commander   (Bd.  General)  (Dick Messier)                                                1
               Algerian Rgt                                                                                                                              
                              Rgt Commander   (Col.)                                                               1
                              1st Btn, Algerians  (other)                                                          6
                              2nd Btn,  Algerians    (other)                                                      6
                2nd Rgt
                              Rgt Commander   (Col.)                                                               1
                              1st Btn Zouaves                                                                             6
                              2nd Btn Zouaves (Francs Tireurs used as zouaves)               6
Bde Commander (Bd. General)   (Gene Tower)                                                      1
               1st Rgt
                             Rgt Commander  (Col.)                                                                  1
                             1st Btn Marines                                                                              6
                             2nd Btn Marines                                                                             6
                2nd Rgt
                                Rgt Commander (Col.)                                                               1
                                3rd Btn Marines                                                                         6
               4th  Btn Marines                                                                                         6
               2 Btry Mitrailleuses                                                                                 6   
TOTAL                                                                                                                    131 STANDS

The French are on the run. Enemy forces to your front are very weak, though reports of troop movements to their rear are coming in with every messenger. Push through with all speed take the crossroad and send the French reeling back before they can muster any more strength.
Your force:                                                                                                                # Stands
General Commanding    (Major General) (Dick White)                                         2                           
Commander ( Bd. General)   (Rick Bryant)                                                              1
               1st Guards
                              Commander   (Col.)                                                                          1
                              1st Prussian Gd Grenadier Btn                                                     6                                                                                                          2nd Prussian Gd Grenadier Btn                                                    6
               1st Jaegers
                              Commander   (Col.)                                                                          1
                              Prussian Jaeger Btn                                                                       6                                                                                                       Gd Shutzen Btn (Jaeger)                                                                   6
               6# Krupp Battery                                                                                            3
Bde Commander  (Bd. General)  (Dick White)                                                        1
               Prussian Rgt
                              Rgt Commander  (Col.)                                                                   1
                              1st Btn, 29th Prussians                                                                  6
                              1st Btn, Colburg                                                                               6
                              1st Btn, Hesse Damstadt                                                                 6
                Saxon Rgt
                              Rgt Commander (Col.)                                                                    1                                                                                                          1st Btn,Saxon 4th                                                                            6
                              2nd Btn, Saxon 4th                                                                           6
                               1st Btn Saxons                                                                                 6
                              2nd Btn Saxons                                                                                6
               6# Krupp Battery                                                                                            3
WURTEMBURG BDE                                                                                   
Bde Commander (Bd. General) (Bill Seamens)                                                        1                                                                                             Bavarian Rgt                                                                                                                             
                              Rgt Commander(Col.)                                                                      1
                              1st Btn, 5th Bavarians                                                                     6
                              2nd Btn, 5th Bavarians                                                                    6
                              2nd  Btn, Silesian Jaegers                                                             6
               Wurtemburg Rgt
                              Rgt Commander  (Col.)                                                                   1            
                              1st Btn, 7th Wurtemburgers                                                        6
                              2nd Btn, 7th Wurtemburgers                                                       6
                              3rd Btn, 7th Wurtemburgers                                                        6
                              4th Btn, 7th Wurtemburgers                                                      6
               6# Krupp Battery                                                                                          3
                         TOTAL                                                                                        128 STANDS

NOTE: though the two sides seem to be equal in size, The French have 3 Btns of "other troops" with a lower morale which makes each of them about equal to 1/2 a normal Btn. and the French reserve, The Guard arrives late  - they came in on the 3rd turn. which make the French Number of stands about 99 stands vs Prussian 128 for the first several moves of the game.

The Initial Set-up

A schematic map of the original set-up

The French have the Chassepot, a much longer ranged rifle than is the Prussian Needlegun. In game scale it has a 24" range compared to the 16" of the Prussian weapon. The balance is the longer ranged Prussian 6# guns (54") vs the French 4# (40"). The French do have the Mitrailleuse, (Not a machine gun, but more a Volley gun) with a range of 30".
Despite the rifle and Mitrailleuse range advantage and having the mission of "holding the crossroads", the French gave up that initial advantage and advanced into the Boche. See Below:
Both sides advance, the French giving up their range advantage!
Add this to the fact that the Prussian stands can take more punishment than can the French (4 figures/stand vs 3 figures/stand - but equal number of stands to ea. Btn.)and the French were in for a walloping. The Prussians took casualties as well, an equal number of stands, mostly due to one mistake which brought up a Prussian column close enough to the unit in line in front of it to suffer artillery fire passing through the line.  However the casualties are scattered and the Prussians have a lot more figures until French reserves can be brought up.

The Right Flank of the French shows the first signs of problems and its early times yet!

The French advanced left flank. Note the TWO Btn. in rout hiding behind the village.

The French Right flank. One Btn. of  Zouaves has routed to a position beside the wood, hoping to rally. The French guns at the top of the photo (left) have already lost a gun and the Algerians on the bottom left of the photo have managed to move out of command radius!
Can the French pull this out of the fire? Check part 2 below to see.

Friday, May 1, 2015

A Franco-Prussian Wargame -2


We returned to "the fray" this past Thursday and some very interesting moves occurred. Full Disclosure: there are so many nits in these games that it is easy to loose track of whom did what to whom! I took many photos and tried to piece the action together from them and my observations of the battlefield afterward but Wellington was right.

The map of what I term "The Middle Moves"
At the beginning of the game on the second day, the Wurtemburgers became more aggressive on the Prusian Right. They pushed the Marines out of the orchard in the only melee of the game and advanced toward the left flank of the French. The French had to abandon the town to the right of the orchard and though the Wurtemburgers had not as yet been able to take possession, the French left was in trouble. Of the  3rd Bde (Marines) of 6 Rgts., two were in rout and two were just about 1/2 strength. 
The French left. just before the Marines leave the Orchard. Note the 1/2 strength unit near the field and the routed unit near the Dice in the center-right. The Wurtemburgers  are at the edge of the town.
 On the Prussian Left, the Colburg regiment advanced toward the Algerians only to be routed back to the wood under Chassepot and Mittrailleuse fire. The Zouave and Algerians begin to advance on the Prussian position. In the Center the Guard is advancing with an eye to placing a unit at the crossroads, the Prussian objective. Meanwhile, a runner arrives to advise General Breen that the French Guard is nigh - will they arrive in time( Being diced for they arrive a turn later than wanted but at least at the entry point desired)?

The Final Moves - The French Guard arrives

The Prussians have placed a Guard unit on the cross roads, but half of White's Brigade (the 1st Bde) is in rout or at half strength. The Wurtemburgers advanced triumphally on the Prussian left where a third French Marine Rgt breaks! The Prussian Guard is advancing on the center and the French Guard arrives scattered. Note that the Two Rgt. of the Guard Grenadiers-see small red flags that I attached to the Gds on the map to deliniate them- are on table almost 2ft apart. (Note that in the scaled down measurement we are using for the 15mm figures this is equivalent to 30"!) the Guard Jaegers are together but in the wood. The French did not seem to worry about their collapsing left flank!
This shows the arrival of the French Guard. Note the French one stand Rgt in the wood and the routed units on both sides. BUT the Prussian Guard is on the Cross Road.
At the end of every turn a count of lost stands is made. When the French loose 33 stands (25%) they have shaky morale and have to remove any unit with a morale of 10 and one or more bases missing must retire from the field. Before this is done, routing units reduce their morale by one level and the unit that caused the rout raise their morale by one level. This reduced several French to 10 and kept Prussians above it. When all of this was accomplished, the French had lost 39 stands (almost 30%) to the Prussian 17. The 3rd Bde was destroyed (4 stands in one Rgt of the 24 stands that 6 Rgts started with were still on the table). The Prussians held the cross Roads. It was determined to be a Prussian Victory.  I have to say that it was the Wurtemburgers under Bill Seamens that had the honor of the day.