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Eagles of the Empire: Napoleon in the Desert» Forums » Strategy

Subject: ABOUKIR SCENARIO - SOME IDLE THOUGHTS rss

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Paul Brown
United Kingdom
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Hello All,

Here are some thoughts on strategies for the Aboukir scenario in this sim. Based on a few
solo plays learning the ropes of this remarkable system originally put out by Brien Miller.

Napoleon in the Desert gets a pasting in the forums but I am finding it and the two scenarios I have played OK so far. These ideas are just to try and point out some play options that occur to me. WARNING -
I've yet to fully explore both the system and this title soooo no apologies for any guffaws
from the expert players who can probably discount some (or all) of these idea (BGG wargamers
can be unforgiving critics).

Anyway here are the unit start positions:

(acknowledgements to Jiminy)

The young energetic Napoleon is about to launch a frontal assault with three infantry divsions and some Hussars lead by Murat on an army of entrenched Turkish
infantry deployed across a narrow isthmus. He is so confident he’s not minded to wait for his
final infantry division lead by Gen Kleber to appear. He wins by smashing up the Turkish Army
and capturing Aboukir fort at the tip of the isthmus. The Turks lead by indolent Mustafa
Ali win by...stopping him....well ideally also inflicting unacceptable French losses….they are aided by an enthusiastic sub-commander Mehment Ali (5 extra dice) and 3 naval units who lob artillery barrages (up to 9 dice) into the French ranks every now and then.

FRENCH STRATEGIES

1. BOMBARDMENT - Set up an artillery line 3 hexes from the Turks (i.e. out of range of their single artillery unit); peg away for a few turns such that by the time Kleber's Division joins the army the Turks will have suffered some debilitating step lossesThen the assault can take place to sweep them from the trenches.

2. SHOCK AND AWE - Advance immediately "a l'outrance" on a broad front; attach the artillery to the infantry divisions; push all the supporting troops (Regiment, Band, Cavalry) into the front line and assault across the width of the isthmus. Somebody will penetrate and enable you to put the mincer on the static Turks.

3. FLANK SWEEP - Choose the flank opposite the naval units (to avoid their pesky bombardments); attach Bonaparte, supporting infantry regiments and the band with the chosen assault division and crash through the trench line on a narrow front. Murat and the hussars can then exploit behind the main Turkish line while Bonaparte turns inwards with the assaulting Division

4. MASSE DE RUPTURE - Straight up the middle with the strongest Division supported by attaching 2 artillery uniits, Bonaparte (those extra 5 dice are sooo useful), the infantry regiments (for extra strength), the Band (for extra morale) and the Hussars (for a combined arms bonus). Shatter the Turkish centre and, depending upon what you find behind it, go straight on for the Fort to cut out any chance of a general Turkish retreat or flail left and right to mash up the remaining defenders.

Phew, all sounds quite simple. As always there is the opposition who will be trying some counterplay of their own:

TURKISH STRATEGIES

1. PREVARICATE
– deploy with the naval units split on both sides of the isthmus and with Mustafa, Mehmet et al behind the front in their starting area waiting to see what the French will do. React accordingly. Hmm… this sounds like a non-starter strategy; probably better called the ‘Take some Turkish tea in your tent’ approach to battle management. It would depend on getting some activations at the right point in time to react successfully

2. FORWARD CRUST (or DEFEND THE TRENCHES!) – mass the naval units on one flank to give covering fire to that side; distribute the Leaers and the artillery unit amongst the entrenched infantry on the opposite flank. That’s the indolent Mustafa Ali (adds 1 extra dice); the energetic Mehmet Ali (adds up to 5 dice); and a 2sp artillery battery. Putting the leaders and the artillery in amongst the Turkish Divisions should give the French pause for thought when assaulting the trench line….well maybe for a short period but the idea is to inflict some extra casualties on them before they breach it.

3. RUN FOR THE FORT – deploy all the Naval units in the Med i.e. to cover the fort; set up the leadership and supporting troops in the starting area and move them and two infantry Divsions back towards the fort as soon as possible. The idea here is to get 2 Divisions and as much of the command group with the good leader (Mehmet) into the fort as quickly as possible. With naval units able to pepper the French and with the French assault dice reduced by 75% the garrison may be able to hold out until nightfall, inflict extra casualties on the French in the process and grab a Draw.


4. THE LUCKY SHOT GAMBIT – whenever and wherever you see Bonaparte in the front line…have a go. If you see a chance to assault an area with Bonaparte in it it may be worth sacrificing a unit even (oh if only there was a Bostanci commando unit…). Anway if you inflict a hit then the French have to roll for leader casualty. If double six comes up Bonapart dies; the Turks automatically win an instant decisive victory and, I guess, the whole course of European and, probably, World history is changed. (Before everyone falls about laughing…this 1 in 36 roll came up in one of my session replays…so don’t rule it out.) The Turkish player should relentlessly insist on these casualty rolls if only to see the French player sweat at least once every turn. Of course the Frenchy could hold Bonaparte back and claim he is managing the battle, directing reserves etc etc…hmm…I’d insist on some victory points being allocated to the Turks if Bonaparte is involved in less than a certain number of assaults, say 6.

Well there you have it. I’ll try some of these out and see if there is a clear winner. The key to the EOTE system and especially to this battle is COMMAND! The French run rings round the Turks in the command department; couple that with elite high morale infantry divisions supported by long range artillery and they are expected to kick Turkish butt all the way back to Aboukir fort.. As such the victory conditions are quite onerous for the French to counterbalance those advantages; they have to hit hard and fast and minmise their own casulatires to get a Decisive Win else it can easily end in a Draw. This means the result of the scenario I think hinges on how well (or badly) the Turkish commander uses his precious activations. They are so few that he can agonise over selecting amongst his few options viz a naval bombardment; launching a speculative assault with Mehmet’s extra dice; shifting his troops around to keep the defence line intact or making a retrograde move towards the fort.
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