Leipzig has been sitting idle on my shelf for over a year; my interest in Napoleonics having been reignited while reading Napoleon the Great (Andrew Roberts), I decided to set up the Hanau day of battle scenario and push some counters- see if I liked the system or not.
On the face of it, this game and the folders and posts etc I've read from other games in the library series, I was looking forward to having a crack - it ticked all my boxes so to speak.
Caveat: I've grown up in the English tradition (general ignorance?)of the Napoleonic Wars, that is, they were won and lost with Trafalgar, in Spain and at Waterloo. The more I read about them, the deeper my interest develops, and the more (in my generalised opinion) I have begun to understand the greater significance of Austria and (what seems to me) Napoleon's most implacable enemy - Russia. I mean it's pretty hard to overlook the destruction of the Grande Armee.
I have finished the Coalition's third game turn, and am really enjoyed the situation that is developing before me; so on fathers day, while my older kids are off hunting Pokemon I'm gonna put my impressions on paper.
This is a solo game session, I live in the country so most of my FtF gaming is limited to vassal (which is a fantastic resource so no complaints).
That means I ditched bothering with finding a way use vedettes and hidden forces solitaire, and being a day of battle scenario their application seemed limited to me.
I also left card play out for another day, and didn't sweat anything I missed or got/get wrong; I am really just looking to see if the game has the feel of a Napoleonic battle - from what I have read of them.
With that in mind I set forth.
My game play is likely full of errors - but hey
I wanted to post a picture to reference, but that didn't work out.
Having played a few turns I'm not convinced Hanau is a great battle to start with, I mean one battle is as good as the next and Hanau is small, but with the French army depleted and in retreat and strung out over the road, the first problem to sort out was which formations have trains.
Rightly or wrongly, armed with the errata, I decided that if a formation has it's non divisional artillery then it has it's train. So from the outset some of the French formations were out of supply, in this I might have missed something but was happy to truck on.
I also decided not to worry about pre-game march orders, this was a mistake for the French because it was a a real PITA causing a command and control problem for them, with some officers at the rear of the column failing their initiative and others within Napoleon's command range moving to engage the enemy - Napoleon is needed everywhere, but most importantly he is needed near the point of contact with the army engaging Wrede and the Austrians.
The Coalition are pretty strong with full brigades, compared to the French. Their job seems simple enough - stop the French retreat. The infantry are formed up in front of Hanau at the edge of the woods the French are marching through.
The Coalition right is anchored by a river, with the infantry in their battle lines and the cavalry in the open ground on the left.
With the Coalition I have tried to push a couple of brigades of grunts up the right flank and get in behind the French forward positions, while holding the line in the centre. This is slow going being all initiative movement but am keen to see if it pans out.
Coalition cavalry have also seized a couple of bridges in the plains to the left of the woods.
The French need to break through Wrede's men, so feeling a bit like Napoleon I threw MacDonald and Victor straight into the Coalition line, where they have been dancing backwards and forwards without breaking the Coalition line.
I sent Nansouty and the Guard cavalry on a march through the open flank of the woods to engage the Coalition cavalry and cut off the cav brigade and horse artillery that moved to seize the bridge. While the Bavarian cavalry are truely cut off, the Guard cavalry got pushed back in their first engagement, and then caught in the open they got a bloody nose when they were hammered by Coalition gunners.
The CRT rewards preparation, but I figured fighting in the woods straight away a sk result could open an early hole in the line. Instead I found that combat is so far mostly advancing and retreating. So MacDonald and Victor fell back, opening up the French left in the woods next to the river.
Trying to take advantage of this Wrede piled in with a 2:1 attack (21 factors to 10) on MacDonald, and made a real hash of things being forced back to his lines.
CONCLUSION THUS FAR:
This game is cool, I like what I have seen so far, the battle could go either way, but if the Coalition sit on their bayonets and let Napoleon consolidate they are finished.
When the French consolidate I'll give repulse a work out
I think I'm definitely getting the ebb and flow of a Napoleonic battle with marching, manoeuvring and sticking bayonets into each other.
Will I buy some more games in this series? Yep for sure, Napoleon in Russia is next on my hit list.
Here's to more afternoons of the kids collecting Pokemon and you smashing through those cocky Bavarians.
Hanau is indeed an odd fish. Managing that constant stream of French road columns is more an exercise in traffic management than what you'd think of as a traditional period fight. I'd try Lieberwolkwitz next... a more stand up affair, and not too large.
If you're interested, our group posted a few videos of our Hanau games here:
Plus a bunch more Library videos. Should give you a decent primer on how the games play.
Glad to have you onboard!
PS: oh, and here's a file to print out to cover up that map key in the corner of the map... we found that it became an artificial choke point. This opens things up a bit.
- Last edited Mon Sep 5, 2016 2:18 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Mon Sep 5, 2016 2:16 am
Hi Chris thanks for the patch, that opens up the flank a bit.
I have seen some of your vids over at Consimworld, they are good - nice gaming group you guys have.
I played through another turn this morning and Wrede got his dumb ass captured trying to press an attack. I think there was a lesson there about putting leaders in the line when you don't have any to spare...
Also had a bit of luck with Victor and a couple of his brigades, but the rest of the French line fell back leaving him out on a bit of a limb.
I think I'll work through a couple more turns, stake the Guard or throw Boney in and see what happens, and then set up Lieberwolkwitz.
Do you know if the series gets a work out on vassal? Seems that the SOP would work nicely for email log files.
Andreas E. Gebhardt
... Do you know if the series gets a work out on vassal? Seems that the SOP would work nicely for email log files....
yes, indeed there is a Vassal module which created and you may download it from Andy Loakes' "Limey Yank Games" vassal archive at:
PS: If you have more questions please feel free to contact me. I was born about 100 Mi North of Hanau and lived a while in the Hanau vacinity. So I assisted Kevin Zucker for the map research to have it as precise as possible.
In 2013 I showed and accompanied him around on a trip from Leipzig to Hanau to give some impressions about what a journey it was in late October to march a battered Army remnants of the Leipzig battle(s) through the Thuringian/Hessian mountains to the gates of Mainz...
Have fun with the game (my favourite)