Franco-Prussian War Game 1

The map battle reports for the FPW Campaign will be posted at Cor Blog Me.

The first of 4 games played between me (French) and Martin (Prussian), this one was the "river" map. The larger aim for the French is to either reduce the Prussian forces, or to delay them, such that the Prussian forces approaching along this route would arrive late, or diminished, for the final battle (the fourth game). A more detailed description of the campaign can be read here.

The top of the map is East, and the bottom of the map, from which French forces must retreat and Prussian forces give chase, is West, towards Paris. Game mechanics allowed for competitive placement of terrain, and I chose as many pieces of difficult terrain as possible - three hills overlooking the river, and swamps to obstruct movement. Martin got to place the two bridges though, and they were placed in the only remaining avenues of movement, on the northen-most and southern-most edges of the board.

I set up the Divisional Commander in the village, with the reserve (a regiment of Zouaves, hidden) so he could move them to whichever bridge the Prussian main attack developed on.

On the right side of the table, the southern bridge was held by 2 regiments of the division, with the bulk of the divisional artillery.

As it turns out, the main Prussian attack came across this bridge.

With a 2 to 1 advantage, and a preponderance of artillery, the Prussians quickly forced the crossing, and established a bridgehead.

The French reserve was committed from the village towards the Southern bridge ...

... where the most bitter fighting of the game occurred. Seeing that I had committed my reserves, Martin, ever the crafty Prussian, launched his secondary attack on the Northern bridge, which I more or less decided was a lost cause. In the end, the regiment at that sector beat a hasty retreat after sustaining losses, and inflicting some damage. Not nearly enough though.

In the end, I made the maximum time limit to delay the Prussian forces, and barely kept the routes of retreat open for the French forces to live and fight another day. A final charge by a lone unit of Prussian Hussars (seen above, charging in from left) just missed shutting the door on the retreat. Had they made contact, it would have been the only time in the game forces from the northern and southern half of the battlefield interacted - a sign of how badly the terrain divided the battle.

The French lost one entire regiment (the 45th, which I knew from the start was a forlorn hope), and most of their Divisional artillery (ouch). The Prussians lost fewer units, but received casualties throughout, and these two Divisions will arrive late for the final game.

The next two games are going to be tougher: this was the only map with the opportunity to channel the Prussians into clear lanes of advance covered by fire, but even so, the longer range of the Prussian cannon meant they had the advantage in firing.

The Railroad and Open map are going to see Prussian superiority in artillery tell, I suspect.


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