David McKenna
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Withdraw to day 2: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/420487

Turn 11: August 18, Morning (French morale 3, Russian morale 3)

(random event = “According to plan”. Reshuffle cards (again!))
No units in Smolensk move, as I, II and III cavalry corps all move to attack the Russian II corps west of Lubino, with the Imperial Guard toiling along behind. IV cavalry corps heads round the south of the wood near the pontoon bridge and VIII corps arrives in play along the road to the east of their LOC.

Russian Reserve cavalry counter-charge, and commit reserves against (-1 Russian morale) I corps, forcing them to withdraw back across the bridge (may retreat into and through friendly unit if no other path open). This is a hazardous retreat, and the I corps breaks! (-1 French morale, +1 Russian morale). The Russians recapture their objective hex.

French I, II and III cavalry corps all combine to attack Russian II corps, forcing that unit to withdraw east. As this is still in a EZOC, this is considered a hazardous retreat , which they make safely. I cavalry corps ‘takes ground’.

(random event = “Campaign exhaustion” This time, the Russian lose the morale point)
III corps moves to the woods to the south-west of Lubino as VIII corps crosses over the ‘undiscovered ford’ (French now aware of its existence), with Barclay’s cavalry corps in support to their south. Reserve cavalry clears a path (moves north-west) for the Russian Reserve Artillery to enter their objective hex, and both Bagration’s cavalry corps and V corps move south.

French III cavalry corps withdraws, and I cavalry corps counter-charges Cossack cavalry, forcing them to withdraw into Lubino.

Cossacks and II corps both combine to attack the I cavalry corps and force them to withdraw north-west. Cossack cavalry ‘take ground’. In Smolensk, VIII corps and Barclay’s cavalry combine to attack the V corps in the eastern-most redoubt. Although they roll a ‘withdraw’ result, they are able to ignore this as are in a redoubt. Finally, Reserve Artillery attacks (cross–river) the III corps, but remains engaged.

Situation at end of turn 11


Turn 12: August 18, Mid-day (French morale 2, Russian morale 2)

(random event = “Poniatowski Leads”. French V corps (currently in Smolensk) receives +1 to both movement and combat strength this player turn)
VIII corps moves to area of rough ground to the east of Smolensk (surrounding Barclay’s cavalry corps with Zones of Control) as II cavalry corps moves to the north of the woods outside Lubino. Meanwhile, III cavalry corps moves onto the patch of rough ground to the south-west of that town, and IV cavalry corps heads up the slope to the very south. Imperial Guard crosses the Kolodnia River over the bridge towards Valutino Gora.

Cossack cavalry withdraws into Lubino (Cossacks may withdraw from cavalry)

III cavalry corps attacks, and commits reserves against (-1 French morale) Russian III corps, forcing them to withdraw to the north-east. They then capture that wood. VIII corps attacks Barclay’s cavalry, also forcing them to withdraw north-east. This is a hazardous retreat as they are surrounded by Zones of Control, and Barclay’s cavalry break! (+1 French morale, -1 Russian). VIII corps decide to ‘take ground’. V corps attacks Russian VIII corps (did not need to, as attacks out of redoubts are optional, but have the +1 ‘Poniatowski leads’ bonus) and force the VIII corps to withdraw north-east. Finally, III corps decides to attack Artillery Reserve across the bridge (again, an optional attack since EZOCs do not cross bridges) and rout the Artillery 2 hexes (a roll of 3+ would have ended the game) north-east, through Bagration’s cavalry corps, before ‘taking ground’.

(random event = “de Tolly: ‘Withdraw’”)
After nearly 2 ½ days of constant fighting, Barclay de Tolly decides to withdraw his army from the field of battle.

Cossack cavalry abandon Lubino to head to the LOC outside that town as the (routed) Artillery reserve continue along the road towards Valutino Gora. The only other Russian unit to move is the VIII corps, who head south to engage their French equivalent.

III cavalry corps ‘penetrates’ to the south of Russian III corps.

Cossack cavalry withdraw from the field of battle (+1 Russian morale), then III corps attacks the III cavalry corps and force them to withdraw south. In Smolensk, all of Reserve cavalry, Bagration’s cavalry corps and V corps combine to attack French III corps, forcing them to rout back into the redoubt. This is a cross-bridge hazardous retreat; III corps makes it safely and Reserve cavalry recaptures objective hex.

Situation at end of turn 12


Turn 13: August 18, Afternoon (French morale 2, Russian morale 2)

(random event = “Miscommunication”. All French units have their movement allowance reduced by 1)
II cavalry corps move into Lubino, adjacent to Russian III corps, and III cavalry corps moves to south of same unit (surrounding it with Zones of Control). I cavalry corps moves south, to the west of Lubino and adjacent to Russian II corps. IV cavalry corps continues to sweep around woods below Lubino as Imperial Guard capture Valutino Gora (although could move further, decided not to). Finally, the last French unit to arrive on the field of battle – the IV corps – enters play through the road to the south east of Smolensk.

II and III cavalry corps both attacks the (surrounded) Russian III corps but both attackers are forced to withdraw, north and south respectively. I cavalry corps attacks Russian II corps, and is also forced to withdraw south-west. Near Smolensk, VIII corps attacks their Russian counterparts but are routed 3 hexes (-1 French morale for routing more than movement) south, with the Russian VIII corps ‘taking ground’. V corps and (routed) III corps both combine to attack the Russian Reserve cavalry over the bridge (routed units can attack, but at ½ strength, rounded up) but all sides remain engaged.

(random event = “enemy lethargy and confusion”. Routed marker placed on newly arrived French IV corps)
II corps moves into Lubino as III corps move to north-east of same town. Bagration’s cavalry corps crosses at the no-longer-undiscovered ford, with Reserve cavalry making way (north--east) for V corps top move into the Russian objective hex. Finally, Reserve Artillery moves south of Valutino Gora.

II cavalry corps disengages north.

Artillery Reserve attacks Imperial Guard in Valutino Gora and forces them to withdraw north-east, before capturing the town. Bagration’s cavalry and VIII corps both attack V corps, who are able to ignore the ‘withdraw’ result rolled. V corps opts not to attack over the bridge (too risky)

Situation at end of turn 13


Turn 14: August 18, Evening (French morale 1, Russian morale 2)

(random event = “Imperial Indecision”. May not spend morale point to force-march, commit the reserves or commit the Imperial Guard this turn)
With things not going entirely his way, Napoleon succumbs to a bout of indecision. Luckily (for the French player) this isn’t going to really have any effect this turn, as they only have the 1 morale point anyway and so wouldn’t have been able to do any of the above anyway!
VIII corps moves north-east to engage their Russian counterparts near Smolensk as I, II, III and IV cavalry corps all converge on Lubino. No other French unit moves.

Bagration’s cavalry corps counter0-charges V corps, who again are able to ignore the ‘withdraw’ result rolled.

I, II and IV cavalry corps all attack Russian II corps within Lubino, but are all forced to withdraw to the south. III cavalry corps attacks III corps to the north-east of that town, and is also forced to withdraw (north). VIII corps attacks their Russian counter-parts, but are routed 5 hexes (-1 French morale), ending the game with a Russian decisive victory!

Situation at end of game


Final thoughts

So, based on these games, General Barclay de Tolly did a lot better at Smolensk than General Kutuzov would later do at Borodino! The game itself seemed slower building than Borodino, with it taking almost two and a half full days before all units were in play. I imagine this is due more to the situation of Smolensk being more of a meeting engagement than of the set-piece (defensive) posture later adopted by the Russians at Borodino.

The city of Smolensk itself proved to be a focal point, with the battle for control of that city lasting the entire length of the game (and was ablaze for nearly that entire period). Both sides made extensive use of the roads near and around that city to deploy their troops. Later in the game, Lubino also saw plenty of action as the French cavalry tried, and tried again, to capture the town in order to cut the Russian path to the lower of their LOCs. A stalwart defence by the Russians, however, meant they were never able to do so and with the Cossack cavalry able to make good their withdrawal from the scene of battle during the third day of battle, the French were put under immense pressure in the last few turns to stop the rest of the Russians doing the same …
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Re: Smolensk 20 solo replay: Day 3 - the defence of Lubino
Nice post!
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David McKenna
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Morale over course of game

 
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