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Les Maréchaux III: Augereau 1814 et Eugene 1814» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Scenario 1-3: Augereau in Lyon rss

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Thierry Michel
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We played the long Augereau scenario, but not to completion.


****

The Austrians had an infantry division in Geneva (Eastern edge of the map), a cavalry division in Mâcon (Western edge of the map), and detachments spread on the map - no leader, and their reinforcements arrived from the North much later. The French started more concentrated, with several understrength divisions in Lyon (South-West corner), but a long way to go to their objective (Geneva). The terrain on the Eastern side was very hilly, favoring defense, and the random events included plenty of bad weather - appropriate for February.

The French began the game by doing nothing (inactivity event), allowing the Austrians to adjust their initial placement without pressure - in particular they deployed their dummies, creating lots of ambiguity on the exact position of their troops. Bad weather followed, with the French columns making their way up the main road through les Dombes (a marshy region). The Austrians were ready to sacrifice a few detachments to slow down the French, and their infantry divison (Bubna) left Geneva to defend the forts on the Alpine road - without a leader or good roads, progress was extremely slow.

Augereau became very motivated (random event) so all French activation were easier from now on, and they made good progress. On the Western side of the map, the Austrian cavalry division loitered around Bourg-en-Bresse but had to give up terrain, slowly backing towards Chalon (where reinforcements were expected). On the Eastern side, the Austrian cavalry detachments were very effective in slowing down the French infantry, tiring them but always escaping confrontation. The infantry detachments were less nimble, and the French trapped and destroyed several.

The Bubna infantry division from Geneva met the French vanguard at Nantua (on the road to Geneva), and was beaten by the smallest of margins, retreating in good order. They left a detachment in the first forted and pull back to reorganize (and blow up a bridge over the Rhône). The French took the fort on the way, and moved towards Geenva from several axes, forcing Bubna to fall back in the city.

At this stage, the first Austrian reinforcement arrived, and started off from Chalon (North West corner) towards Lyon. The French had a much smaller force to oppose it, and they pulled back in good order, until the Austrian took a risk and attacked on the move - winning the battle by a small margin but unleashing a deadly pursuit with their full cavalry division. The Austrian progression was very slow, though, the very size of the corps preventing it to go faster. Trying their luck, the Austrians caught up with the French a second time, but this time they lost and retreated again in good order. A second Austrian corps arrived in reinforcement, with the overall leader, while Augereau has lost heart and gone back to Lyon (a random event the modifies its value). The second Austrian corps progressed unopposed on the other side of the Saône, towards Lyon, dropping its baggage train to go faster.

At this point, we had to stop, but the situation was bleak for the French. They had inflicted slightly more losses than they took, and the Austrians had to pay victory points to reject an event (Napoleon victorious up North, diverting Austrian reinforcements) so they were in the lead, but the loss of Lyon looked inevitable.

****

Once again, the game was very tense, with the fog of war playing a central role in the proceedings. With such small forces, each dummy counter becomes important, and the existence of a cavalry division means that the enemy forces have to be very cautious (it would make short work of a scouting cavalry detachment). We just had three set battles over hours of play, but the game really lies in the maneuvering and bluffing leading up to the battles. It is difficult to get decisive results when the forces are of the same size, so the trick is try to catch the enemy on the wrong foot. In this scenario, each side in turn gets to defend in face of superior forces, so the experience is evenly matched.
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