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Subject: Session report: Aboukir scenario rss

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Lance Wilkinson

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Eagles of the Empire: Napoleon in the Desert
Session reports: week ending 7/23/2006

I soloed a couple games of EE:NiD this week. I picked the Aboukir, 25 July 1799 because it's a small scenario which seemed to offer the quick game I was seeking.

I also own Eylau in this series, and Aboukir is quite a small battle by comparison. Napoleonics afficionados will prefer the scale that Eylau offers, and I suppose many gamers will be turned off by NiD's bland maps. (Even AH's Afrika Korps at least contrasted the desert with blue for bodies of water.)

However, the smaller battles, smaller formations (with a corresponding simplification of unit activation), and sparse terrain may lead to some extra appeal for this game to novice wargamers or those seeking a quick scenario.

On to the AAR's:

In this scenario, the French face 4 Ottoman divisions manning a trench line on a peninsula bordered to the north and south by the Mediterranean and Bay of Aboukir, respectively. The Ottomans are supported by 3 warships as well:

Victory conditions are harsh for the French--they essentially need to wipe out the Ottoman forces without losing more than 10 steps (with artillery and cavalry steps counting double). Given that the Ottomans can defend in trenches and a fortress while benefitting from support fire from the warships, this seems like a difficult task for the French.

The French decide to attack the southern flank, partly to avoid the guns of two British warhsips to the north of the peninsula, and partly to take advantage of the terrain which will allow a numerical advantage. They benefit from a lucky reinforcement roll as Kleber and the Dugua division enter the map on turn 1.

The shift south means the entire French line cannot isn't in position at once, but Napoleon is impatient and signals his southern forces to attack. They succeed in pushing driving the Ottomans off their trenches, but suffer heavy losses. More time is lost as a French division must withdraw to the rear to recover:

Meanwhile, the Ottoman delaying action and accurate harassing fire from the warship in the Bay succeed in drawing more French losses. By late afternoon, two Ottoman divisions withdraw into the Aboukir fortress. The French break off the attack, as their forces are too weak to take the fortress without suffering substantial losses:

According to the scenario victory conditions, the Ottomans have achieved a marginal victory.

Game 2:

After the French suffer a defeat even with the benefit of an early entrance by their reinforcements, in the 2nd try of the scenario Napoleon tries a more aggressive tack.

Damn the warships--Napoleon decides to march his three divisions forward in range of the warships. He also commits Murat's hussars and his reserve troops (weaker infantry units serving as bodyguards for the French HQ). The French quickly succeed in driving the Ottomans off the trenches. Some trouble with activation mitigates the effects of the Ottoman naval support.

The early afternoon turns feature a see-saw battle as both commanders trade territory to preserve their divisions' strength. The Ottomans begin to run out of territory. Meanwhile, in contrast to the first try at this scenario, Kleber's reinforcements are nowhere to be seen. Napoleon presses on.

The French get a two somewhat-lucky breaks in successive turns. They first eliminate an Ottoman leader, then eliminate the Ottoman commander. The French are emboldened and proceed to batter the rudderless Ottomans, until only one Ottoman infantry division is left manning the fortress.

All remaining French forces lay siege to the fortress, and on the last turn, they manage to eliminate the last step of Ottoman infantry:

The French have taken their hits, but enough units survive to earn a decisive victory as per the scenario rules.

Alas, there will be no rubber match, as I don't think this scenario is interesting enough to try three times!

[edited to add images]
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