Dave Carey
United Kingdom
Worcester Park
Surrey
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So my gaming buddy Dave and I met up at Draughts boardgame café at Waterloo to fight out another C&C:N game, this time Day 1 at Essling using the Austrian Army (obviously) and Generals, Marshalls, Tacticians expansions. Upon setting up, as the French I was immediately struck by how much larger the Austrian force was than my rather thin looking front line. Worse, I had just one unit positioned on the right wing of the battlefield, where the Austrians had a rather menacing looking concentration under the command of Hohenlohe (the pronunciation of which neither of us was very sure of). During the game the effect of this would be accentuated by the fact that I kept on picking up command cards relating to my right flank!




That Austrian mass on the French right...not reassuring.

As the occupation of the three hexes of the town of Essling in the centre gave the owner two victory flags this was always going to be the focus of the battle. As the Austrians moved their forces into position for an assault I played a Grande Manoeuvre card to move my reserves up into the line to face the coming storm. This soon broke, those beefy Austrian battalions pouring down from the hills to assault the French troops occupying the Granary and the battery supporting them.



They immediately drew first blood, reducing the French units occupying the two hexes of the granary to two blocks and one respectively. At this point I feared that my centre was going to buckle at the very first Austrian push against it.



In order to relieve the pressure on the defenders I ordered a bayonet charge which succeeded beyond my expectations, inflicting heavy casualties on the Austrians and driving the survivors back onto the hills. The situation was stabilised.



In order to get out of range of the Austrian guns my line infantry pursued the retreating Austrians across the front of Essling Granary...which proved to be a mistake as they were now sitting ducks below the Austrian infantry on the hill, their line of retreat blocked by their comrades in the town.



With the situation in the centre now largely quiescent, the two exhausted sides content to glower at each other for now, the focus of the battle shifted inevitably to the Austrian left. The Austrian infantry occupied the woods to the right front of the Long Garden, while the guns came up to form a very ominous-looking grand battery that was now being prepared to fire.



The French battery outside of Essling, weakened and reduced to one block by earlier bombardment from the Austrian artillery in the centre, tried to inflict some damage on the Austrian grand battery, but to no effect. As expected, the Austrian grand battery opened fire on the Long Garden to devastating effect. There was carnage among the French occupiers, and the survivors fled in terror, ceasing to be an effective fighting force. The French no longer had any units to be commanded on the right sector of the battlefield; my flank was wide open.



Now feeling weak in both centre and right, I decided to engage my still uncommitted units on the left. While Marshall Lannes led his infantry in an assault that drove the Austrians off the hills to the left front of Essling, my cavalry and artillery started moving up towards the front line. If the Austrians could form a grand battery to such devastating effect, I could too!



The grand battery was formed, but was masked by a rashly advanced unit of light cavalry. Dreams of glory filling their heads, the Hussars of the French left pushed back a much larger force of Austrian light cavalry and plunged on in pursuit, bit would soon be surrounded and cut down in their turn.



Emboldened by their success against the French hussars, the Austrian cavalry thundered down upon the French grand battery with decisive effect. Although a first strike enabled the French gunners to stop the heavy cavalry dead in their tracks, the lighter cavalry following up were able to decimate one of the artillery units and send the other into headlong retreat into the woods. The last remaining fresh French unit on the left, the cuirassiers, were committed in an attempt to save the situation and enjoyed startling success, driving back the Austrian heavy cavalry with heavy losses and completely driving the Austrian light cavalry from the field. In the centre however, constant fire from Austrian infantry on the hill wiped out the last defenders of the eastern side of the granary. With evening coming on and the sides exactly level at 8 flags each, the battle was now approaching its climax. The next flag would win it.





At this point the Austrian cuirassiers, along with the artillery that had already had such a telling effect upon the game, carried out a combined arms attach, forcing one of my last full strength light infantry units into square and inflicting grievous losses upon them. As if this were not bad enough, the Austrian infantry finally came down from the hill to make a last assault upon the granary which eliminated the last French unit there. Losing this hex brought the French flag tally down to 6 and gave the Austrians the final flag they needed for their victory. Final score: 9-6 to Austria. The French would have to pull back from the Essling side of their Danube bridgehead.



A very tense game that could have gone either way, and a hugely enjoyable evening as always I find with this game.
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Mayor Jim
United States
Fort Wright
Kentucky
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Very nicely done! +1thumbsup ...a few pics would be nice whistle

Joke...
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Wade Broadhead
United States
Pueblo
Colorado
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You made my day. Love this series and the photos are choice! Have you played Tricorne?
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Dave Carey
United Kingdom
Worcester Park
Surrey
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denverarch wrote:
You made my day. Love this series and the photos are choice! Have you played Tricorne?


Thank you, glad you liked it! No I haven't played Tricorne. Would you say it compared well with the Napoleonic range?
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