David McKenna
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Introduction

Following my recent disastrous (for the Russians) solo replay of Borodino 20 (here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/418779), I thought it might be interesting to see if the same army, under the command of General Barclay de Tolly rather than General Kutuzov, could do any better at Smolensk. Let’s find out …

Situation at start of game


Turn 1: August 16, Morning (French morale 8, Russian morale 7)

(no random event)
III corps to the southwest of Smolensk advances along road towards it, as Reserve cavalry corps heads north.

(random event = “Generals Argue”. Not likely to have any effect just yet!)
Both the 1 militia and VII corps fall back into their redoubt hexes, as the VI corps moves down the road from the north of the map and II corps arrives along same road.

Situation at end of turn 1


Turn 2: August 16, Mid-day (French morale 8, Russian morale 7)

(random event = “March to the Sound of the Guns”. Imperial Guards arrival advanced by one turn)
The French continue to close in on Smolensk, with the III corps and Reserve cavalry moving to the south-west and south of 1 militia, respectively. Meanwhile, the I corps also arrives in play along the road to the south of Smolensk.

Both the Reserve cavalry and III corps then combine to attack the Russian VII corps, who commit their reserves (-1 Russian morale) and force both attackers to withdraw (south-east and south-west, respectively).

(random event = “Smolensk Ablaze”)
Presumably in a fit of pique, the withdrawing French troops set fire to the city of Smolensk! Units must stop upon entering, and roads no longer provide a movement benefit.

Neither the 1 militia nor VII corps decide to move; VI and II corps continue to move down the road towards Smolensk. IV corps arrives on same road but, due to march confusion, is unable to move any further.

Situation at end of turn 2


Turn 3: August 16, Afternoon (French morale 8, Russian morale 6)

(random event = “According to Plan”. Reshuffle cards)
The French decide to change the angle of their attack. III corps moves north into the patch of rough ground outside Smolensk, as Reserve cavalry cuts across country to that vacated hex. I corps also moves (slightly) north-west. Imperial Guard arrives near (and moves into) the woods to the west of Prudicheo as II cavalry corps arrives along right-most road of their reinforcement location and V corps does the same along the road to the south of Smolensk.

(random event = “Rally a Command”. None to rally, so cards are reshuffled)
Again, neither the 1 militia nor VII corps opt to move as VI, II and IV corps all advance along the north road leading to Smolensk. Barclay’s cavalry corps arrives along the same road, and soon catches up to the IV corps. Bagration’s cavalry arrives along the road leading through Stabna.

Situation at end of turn 3


Turn 4: August 16, Evening (French morale 8, Russian morale 6)

(random event = “Miscommunication”. All French units have their move allowance reduced by 1)
The French finally move in for the kill, with all of the III corps, Reserve cavalry and I corps moving 1 hex north-east, adjacent to the Russian VII corps. The II cavalry corps moves to the patch of rough ground to the south-east of the city, as the V corps moves into the newly vacated hex (but is unable to move any further due to miscommunication). Finally, the Imperial Guard moves on to the road to the north-west of Prudicheo (again, unable to move further) and the Reserve Artillery enters play through the French LOC to the south of the city.

I corps, II corps and Reserve Cavalry all combine to attack the Russian VII corps, who decline to commit their reserves (no point: going to be overwhelmed anyway!). Surprisingly, the VII corps only withdraws, which they may ignore as are in a redoubt hex (retreat 1 fewer)!

(random event = “Cossack screen”. No effect as not using Fog of War)
Russian forces continue to arrive at the scene of battle, as both the II and VI corps arrive in the north and north-west of Smolensk, respectively (neither able to move any further as Smolensk is on fire). IV corps continues down road towards the city, shadowed by Barclay’s cavalry corps. Bagration’s cavalry corps also continues down road through Stabna, and the III corps arrives along same road but is unable to move due to march confusion. Finally, the Reserve Artillery also arrives along the other road, but also suffers from march confusion.

French Reserve cavalry counter-charge the VII corps, who commit their reserves (-1 Russian morale) again but are never-the-less forced to withdraw into the town hex to their south-east. This is a hazardous retreat, but only in one EZOC as they do not extend between adjacent town hexes: the VII corps breaks anyway (+1 French morale, -1 Russian). Reserve cavalry captures the redoubt.

The VI corps and 1 militia both combine to attack the Reserve cavalry, who commit their reserves (-1 French morale) but are still forced to withdraw, with the VI corps crossing the river into the vacant redoubt.

Situation at end of turn 4


Turn 5: August 16, Night (French morale 8, Russian morale 4)

(random event = “Les Grognards”. Die roll = French gain a morale point)
The French use the cover of night to redeploy their attack. Reserve cavalry corps drops back 1 hex, allowing I corps to take their place with the Reserve Artillery taking that of the I corps (south of Smolensk). V corps also moves north as II cavalry corps follows the road to the north-east of the city, south of the Dnieper. Finally, the Imperial Guard moves into Prudicheo before the French regain a morale point from rest (French morale +1).

(random event = “Campaign exhaustion”. French immediately lose a morale point)
II corps moves into the objective hex north of the Dnieper, as Bagration’s cavalry corps arrives in the north-east of the city. IV corps, Barclay’s cavalry and Reserve Artillery all continue to advance down the road that leads to the north of the city, as the III corps heads down towards Stabna. Finally, the V corps arrives along the same road as IV, Barclay and Reserve Artillery but suffers from march confusion (again!). Russians then regain a morale point from rest (Russian morale +1), but the VII corps is eliminated for good.

Situation at end of turn 5


Advance to day 2: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/3642359
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Re: Smolensk 20 solo replay: Day 1 - who dropped that match?
Nice session. Thanks!
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