Friday, July 9, 2010

Archduke Ferdinand tragically killed ...

It's some time in the early nineteenth century, and France and Austria are at war. Archduke Ferdinand is trying to stop the French from gaining a bridgehead across a river in area that looks remarkably similar to the landscape around Aspern-Essling. Translation: we played a smaller version of Aspern-Essling, set in the earlier era when (in Volley and Bayonet terms) the Austrian army is still represented on linear bases). We had planned an ACW battle, but this looked much  more interesting on the night. The battle was fought using Adrian's 15mm armies, and the Volley and Bayonet rules.

The French had to cross a river using two bridges. Upstream a unit of Austrian sappers had prepared demolitions which they had floated down the river to try to blow up the bridges and so halt the French advance. First one bridge blew, but was hurriedly repaired by French sappers, and then the second was blown, but all too late as it transpired.

Early on the French struck out at the thin Austrian centre, as the Austrian commander had thinned his troops in the center to attack the French flanks. He just had to screen off the French advance here long enough to cut through the flank defences and cut the advanced guard off from reinforcements (that was my plan, and it looked good at the start anyway...).

Their right flank was secured in one of the towns.

French cavalry have struggled across the congested bridges and stuck hard at the thin Austrian centre.

The Austrians meanwhile shielded their own left, bringing up their converged Grenadier brigades to strike into the French right.

The thin Austrian centre is seen here under attack.

The Austrian Grenadiers launched into the French right, cracking through two French brigades in quick succession.

Meanwhile, in the centre, the Austrian cavalry had arrived, the plan was that they would help screen the centre while the Grenadiers carved their way through the flank. But.. disaster struck. A Brigade of Austrian Dragoons launched themselves at a Brigade of French Cuirassiers, supporting themselves with their own horse batteries. Archduke Ferdinand was convinced that this was a vital attack, and so put himself at the head of the charge. Oh so sad to see the flower of the Austrian royalty cut down in a vicious unprovoked assault from the French Cuirass....

Finally however the Austrian centre gave way, leaving the two wings isolated while the French surged forward from their bridgehead.

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