Saturday, February 8, 2020

Saarbrucken beckons ..

The Prussian 3rd Army march towards Saarbrucken had begun with little incident. It was one of those hot August days, the weather of 1870 seemingly no different to any other year. The Bavarian divisions had taken the lead, deploying to the left of th main axis, while a Prussian Corps had kept to the main axis. Behind marched more Prussian infantry, and the army cavalry reserve of two divisions with cuirassier, uhlans and dragoons.

This set the scene for our latest Franco Prussian War game, the first to feature full armies. The scenario was set using the Volley and Bayonet Road To Glory scenario system, the armies comprising 4300 points. The game was played using our 6mm Heroics and Ros armies, and the Volley and Bayonet rules system

The battlefield looking south west from behind the advancing Prussian forces. The Bavarian corp has shifted to the left of the axis of advance, the centre of two Prussian divisions. The third corp and the cavalry reserve have just arrived, bottom right

Seeing the French refusing their right, the Bavarian on the left advance to apply pressure on the French as they withdraw, shifting forces to their right

The advancing French

French in position opposite the Prussian centre and right

The Prussian centre, one division holding the hight ground lower left in the photo, while a second division has pushed forward into the forest. The strong artillery force dominated the centre, bringing fire on the French infanty on the edge of the forest top left. This forced the French infantry to withdraw inside the forest, blinding them, and reducing their fire superiority against the Bavarian Podewil armed infantry.

The Prussian 3rd Corp advances, 

The Prussian right is filled with the Prussian arrivals, one of the Prussian reserve cavalry divisions seen lower right

The other reserve cavalry division (complete with horse artillery support) supports the Prussian centre. hey were to play a decisive role later in the battle

The Bavarians on the extreme left push across a difficult (marshy banked) stream to threaten the French right

French forces refusing their right and shifting the French axis of attack towards th Prussian right

The Bavarian advance

The French left wing attack against the Prussian right builds

With the far left Bavarian division across the river and advancing, the second Bavarian division now begins its advance. The plan was to coordinate the attacks of the two divisions.

The Prussian right deployed in defence, with a strong artillery position supporting both infantry divisions right and left of it.

Close up of a part of the Prussian right

The Prussian centre

The second Bavarian division advances

French infantry launch an attack against the Prussian right. While the main attack is repulsed it drives the Prussians deeper inside the forest

French forces seen in the distance gather ominously against the Prussian centre and right

Prussian centre still holding

French forces continue to redeploy from the right to their left, to add to the Pressure on the Prussian right

Prussian right wing forces have been bounced back in some disarray after the French assault 

Only one Prussian stand remains in position n the right, the French continuing their relentless pressure

The Prussian infantry advance and retake their position on the right

The second Bavarian division advances into the forest on the left (now the extreme right of the French deployment. In the confines of the forest they are not at a disadvantage with their Podewill rifles versus the dreaded French Chassepot

The same flank, showing the 1st Bavarian division re-organising ready to advance directly against the French right. The 2nd Bavarian division can be seen at the extreme right having advanced into that forest.

One of the Prussian cavalry divisions re-deploys further left, anticipating action. They are lead by the Cuirassiers.

The size of the growing French attack against the Prussian right can be appreciated in this photo

A second French assault against the Prussian right

French artillery and a Mitrailleuse battery deploy against the Prussian right

That Bavarian firefight inside the forest, to the left in this shot

The French assault on the right bounces a Prussian infantry brigade back again...

The Prussian right wing division pulls back deeper into the forest

Meanwhile, sick of sitting on the hill taking long range fire that it was unable to return, the Prussian centre right advances against the French Mitrailleuse and artillery

The Prussian centre now advances in support of the Bavarians (at the top of the photo. The extreme left wing Bavarian 1st Division has advanced across the stream and is engaging in a firefight with the defending French right

Close up of the Bavarian pressure on the French right

Infantry from the French centre launch attacks against the Bavarians (centre left) and the supporting Prussians (centre right) of the photo

The Prussian cavalry advance to a better position from which to support the infantry

More French pressure on the extreme Prussian right .. casualties are mounting on the Prussian division

The advanced Prussian infantry division has gone prone to reduce casualties.,. but it's damned hot work

The Prussian centre still holds

The French attacks against the Bavarians and the Prussians in close up

The Bavarians attack the extreme French right (a withdrawn flank)

The Prussian infantry, and a cuirassier brigade, attack the French that had prevously attacked the Bavarian flank. The Bavarians in the forest also assaulted the remaining French infantry in the forest

The French infantry in the forest rout, carrying away other disordered French defending the right flank. The cuirass have routed the French infantry and broken through to their supporting Mitrailleuse battery eliminating that too. The entire French right flank has crumbled

At this stage we'd run out of time, but the French position was now untenable. The right was gone, and the centre was seriously threatened. From the Prussian perspective this was just in the nick of time, as the pressure on their right had almost pushed it to breaking point. Both Prussian infantry divisions were close to exhaustion.

This was as mentioned the first 'full sized' game, and what a cracker. It had drama and tension, as the battle evolve din a way that we'd not seen before. Interestingly the French had suffered 22 casualties (strength point boxes .. each box represents approximately 500 men when composing units, and 250 casualties, for those not familiar with the rules system) while the Prussians had suffered 33, quite a disparity. We continue to learn more about the subtleties of Volley and Bayonet in this sub period, subtleties that make it play significantly differently to the other sub-periods covered by the system. It is these nuances that make the system so appealing.

When is the next game?

Forcing the Uvarova

The vastness and the difficulty of the terrain through the Caucasus meant that by 1915 there were still avenues to be explored if victory wa...