Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Blucher Game AAR

Blucher Game AAR

This is the After Action Report that details the events in the previous post.

Last Sunday (August 23rd) I ran a game of Blucher for my local gaming group, The Historical Gaming Association of London (Ontario), in Canada.

I made two 334 point armies, one French the other, not French A.K.A Austrian.

The French army was 3 fairly homogeneous infantry corps plus 2 cavalry corps and an army reserve of 2 heavy artillery units and a unit of Cuirassiers. Army Morale of 8.

The Austrian force was five corps with a mixture of troop qualities and an army reserve consisting of a pair of foot artillery and 1 heavy artillery. Army Morale of  9.

I Initially had 6 players (the Austrian C-in-C had to leave around 1 PM). One of them had played a game I ran back in June, another had watched a portion of the game I did in June the rest were completely new to the rules.

The Austrian plan was to roll up the French left, pin the French right and attack the French centre.

The Austrian right, comprised of the advanced guard which had 2 mixed infantry units and the Austrian only horse artillery unit plus some other infantry units, advanced, whilst the rest of the army waited. Turn 2 french artillery opens fire and scores 2 hits on Austrian horse artillery, retiring it.

The next 2 turns saw the Austrians advance into skirmish range, the French getting some good shooting results, and a cavalry clash between French I corps' cavalry unit and Advanced Guards' unit of horsemen, with I corps coming off the worse, fortunately for the French, both cavalry Corps were over there and for the rest of the game they and I corps held off the Austrian Advanced guard and IV corps which came up to help. The Austrian IV corps held some of the best units in the Austrian army, 2 Grenadiers and a unit of Kuriassiers.
Austrian Advanced guard and IVth Corps fighting it out with Ist Infantry and Ist Cavalry corps, IInd Cavalry Corps is yet to reveal itself.

About turn 5 the Austrian left surged into motion, grabbing the village, and then pushing beyond it.

Turn 7 or 9 the Austrian centre began moving forward, enduring fire from the 2 French heavy artillery units there, then volleys from the french infantry there.

Just as the French centre got into volley range, about turn 11, the Momentum dice stopped favouring the Austrians (up to this point the French had been rolling about 13 MO a turn). The Austrian Advance Guard and IV corps were mixed up and wanted to keep their attacks going, so used up a lot of momentum, which meant the Centre got few if any and sat at volley range for several turns, usually coming off worse in the firefight. The Austrians by the village got no Momentum. Even this late in the game the French still had 3 units in reserve in the centre (1 cavalry and 2 more infantry units), the Austrians also 2 units in reserve, 2 their 3 remaining artillery units! which had been poorly sited and unable to get any momentum dice, since they were army reserve and too far apart from each other to get a group move.

We got to turn 16 or maybe 17 at which point the Austrians saw defeat coming for them (and with their C-in-C gone they were able to place blame firmly on his shoulders, which kept their martial prowess unsullied) and ended the battle. They had 6 units broken and at least 3 or 4 more with only 1 or 2 Elan left, just in the centre and the centre French units had taken at most only 1 or 2 damage.

Positions near the end of the game from the Austrian side of the battlefield. You can see a multitude of Austrian units sitting with 1 or 2 elan remaining. Their objective was the Intersection near the top of the picture.
With more rules familiarity the Austrian attack would have fared better. They also were lulled into thinking they could do pretty much everything the wanted to do, the duplicitous French kept rolling so many ridiculously high Momentum rolls early on. Some formations set up in bad spots which slowed their movement forward the Artillery was particularly badly sited.

The French side also had a clever command structure, one player played the C-in-C and nothing else, he let the other 2 players run all the units, and he ran them. The Austrians kept thinking "he has more units, he's just biding his time to bring them on".  To clarify I didn't use the multi-player rule, instead I just used the single player a side rules, the C-in-C would say "You activate a group", then "You, activate a group", and so on.

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