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Jon Snow
United States
New York City
New York
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Soult's Center Attack French 9, Allies 4

Having had a live opponent for the first two scenarios, I now pressed on solitaire. Moving from the Allied flank offensive to Napoleon's main assault, the poor Allies once again have no Mother Russia roll and a weak hand of only four cards. There are now more Austrians than Russians, but four of them are marginal Militia units. Being halfway from both the main flank heights, the Allies do hold Pratzen in the Center as well as a minimal occupation of the Heights. The Allies do have one advantage; the Kamensky force on the French base line behind their enemy's right flank!

But that dratted Out of Supply card, (that famously showed up in my first two Waterloo games to exile the British unit initially holding Hougomont at start) now slyly shows up yet again in the initial French hand yo banish the Russian grenadiers from the Heights. And this is only the first of many disasters to befall the unlucky Allies! Om their Left an Austrian line unit will be repulsed in its counterattack. But the Kamensky force will disrupt the French. In the Center the French will take the village. On the Right disaster! The French will suddenly play La Grande Manouvre to occupy the Stare Vinohrady ridge with Lights and artillery, and a number of right sector cards will force the Austrians into suicidal assaults against the strong position. Only desperate attacks by the Russian Heavy Cavalry knocking out the French battery and Austrian Light Cavalry forcing the blue troops into square will slow the French. Napoleon's boys brought up their reserves and reestablish their line on the ridge. Their own Light Cavalry drove off the Austrian horsemen as well.

Casualties had been heavy, and the advantage of inflicting double the losses the Allies had in the first half of the game had gradually been nullified. Now the French followed up a Bayonet Charge with Give them the Cold Steel at advantageous places all along the field! One hapless full strength Austrian Militia disintegrated before it could even battle back. The accumulation of regular Victory Banners had been slow, with the special terrain VPs making up a significant portion of those earned. But now the French eliminated three unit to win the game. Their total included two specials—Pratzen Village and the Stare Vinohrady--where the Allies now had none.

The Fates were not kind to the Allies at the historical Battle Austerlitz, considered one of Napoleon's master strokes. So its not surprising that they are having a bad time of it. Whether they well be able to do any better in the following actions remains to be seen.

Lannes vs Bagration French 11, Allies 8

Over on the Allied strategic right, the third historical Austerlitz area to be covered by these scenarios, each side has a huge army deployed and now 11 banners are required for victory. Both sides include a large cavalry force of heavies and lights, and even horse artillery. These cavalry forces make up about half of each side, and the horsemen are out in front, ahead of the infantry and artillery! The terrain is also more open for its employment. The all Russian Allied force had a normal hand of 5 command cards; the French had six.

Although the Russians went first and were more pushed up against their own board edge than the French were theirs, they opted to slowly maneuver on their flanks, hoping to get their Gallic enemy to advance first in the center, and then hit first after the French came within range. Instead, the affair opened with a French infantry assault on the Russian held ridge on the Russian right. Although supported by the clever use of tactics cards, the attackers failed for several turns. When the French finally took the position, the Russians pushed them back off of it! Both sides had the supplemented actions of tactic cards fail due to poor die results. Finally the action switched to the Center, where this trend mostly continued. But then the Slavic horsemen took out a French battery. And although combat remained confined to one or two units at a time rather than the massive cavalry charges that were literally not in the cards, the French took cavalry casualties three times that of the Russians!

It appeared that the Allies might have be able to win their first game in this series. After three consecutive Elan cards had been played (two plus a Counterattack) the Russians held 8 Tactics cards; a record for any CCN game I'd played so far (the French had 4)! The Russians now substantially outnumbered the French, and the score stood at 7 to 4 in favor of the Allies.

But Napoleon's troops were not finished yet. On the Allied Left, where there had been no action until now, they had brought up a Foot and Horse battery, where the Czar's units only had one Horse artillery for fire support. The blue troops, using Superb Infantry Training, moved up two Light Infantry and managed to take out 3 of 4 blocks of the Russian Guard Light Infantry holding Blasowitz, one of the two VP villages. The Russians then hit the two French batteries with a Heavy and a Light cavalry. The French repulsed the charge, using Artillery Canister, but losing one block from each battery. This was typical of the dramatic but not decisive actions in this battle.

In order to follow up their cavalry victory in the Center, the Allies has massed a Grand Battery of two Horse and one Foot batteries, where the French now had no artillery. There was a small cavalry fight—unusual between two woods hexes where they rarely engage—and then both sides re-positioned. The French brought up their large infantry reserve; the Russians re-centered their Grand Battery.

Suddenly three French infantry (all at full strength) Bayonet Charged the Russian gun line in the Center, with a fourth rousting a Russian Heavy cavalry still in the woods to the side! The defending cavalry loses two blocks in the woods, and could not battle back with its remaining single block. From right to left, the first Horse gun lost two block and only retreats its foe. The Foot also lost two, and put two on its attacker. The second Horse unit is wiped out! On the Russian turn the French are repelled ,with one green infantry counter attacking, and both sides falling back (French: Leader Orders a Fall Back, Russian: Artillery Reposition).

Fighting raged across all three sectors, as remnant units were picked off. But the French did well over the next few turns, finally tying and passing their opponents with a score of French 10 (including both villages) to Russians 8. The Russians made a Cavalry Charge with their considerable mounted assets; this last moment being the very first time the card came up, but it was not decisive.

Finally, playing Elan, the French were able to set up three powerful attacks to earn their final Banner. To shorten things up, they went with their most devastating assault first. This was a combined arms blow the likes of which I'd never seen before in over 100 CCN battles--against a Russian Heavy Cavalry with two blocks and a leader. The French deployed the Guard Cavalry backed up by Horse Artillery at point blank range. That's 10 dice and GAME OVER!

This is a great scenario; for me the best so far. Its massive, reasonably balanced, has all kinds of units, and anything can happen on all three sectors. That's a recipe for a perfect game. Many other specifics can make other excellent battles differing in their particulars, which is one reason why I love this system.
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David Groves
United Kingdom
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Nice battle reports, Jon. So far have resisted playing the six standard scenarios but after reading Lanes V Bagration I think I might just break out CCN later this week.

Dave
 
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Jon Snow
United States
New York City
New York
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Two more to go.

You can just come over to NYC. But better make it before January...
 
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Guillaume Gleize
France
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I already played those 6 new Austerlitz scenarios via Vassal against opponents or in solo: Interesting and fun! But I'm curious to see their balance on the ccn.net website after more reports.

 
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