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Subject: Flank attack overpower? rss

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Jean-Denis Gill
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First I appologize for my bad english. I will try to make it clear.

A win a game with a good strategy (with my point of view).

I lure a french corps in zone 66 with a cavalery retreat. I start my turn with corps and independant in zone 56, 67, 75 and 86. I did 3 feint attack from 56, 67 and 75. The treath was enought to force my opponent to name all is units to defend. I finaly use a road attack with cavalry from 86, passing by 76, to push im from 66 (with no unit able to defend he was force to retreat). With two wide approch with defense unit in I did a lot a casuality to im with only one cavalry.

My friend argue that was to unrealistic to only one cavaraley corps to take out 6 corps in three different approch plus the reserve. (add to this 2 artillery).

How can we explain this situation?
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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I'd tell him it wasn't one cavalry that eliminated his units, it was the combination of all your units, which had him surrounded in an indefensible position. You attacked from four directions, not one.
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Reinhard Mueller
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teuehikan wrote:

How can we explain this situation?


Tell him, this is how the rules of the game work and if he doesn't like them he is free to design his own wargame on Austerlitz.
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Wulf Corbett
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I'd point out that he decided to position all his troops with their backs to the enemy and they got what they deserved...
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To visualize the situation, I think it's easiest to think of all your moves in a single turn happening more or less simultaneously. You do it a step at a time, because otherwise it would be far too difficult for the players. The narrative might go something like this:

He has a number of units pursuing your cavalry, when suddenly your other units attack him from three directions. His units turn and deploy to deal with these threats, but as they become engaged the cavalry charges and takes them from the rear. His units panic and either break and run or throw down their arms and surrender.
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Chris Guzy
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Sounds like a hex and counter kind of guy.

Just tell him you rolled well on your attack. He blew his morale roll and you then you rolled really high on pursuit. shake
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Chris Montgomery
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The "unrealistic" aspect of this scenario is a French corps pursuing cavalry on foot and positioning itself between three different enemy elements. I don't even have to have the map in front of me to know that the French player made a severe tactical blunder by positioning his corps badly, and now he wants to blame it on the rules.

Unfortunately, the French made a decision that was in bad judgment - he put himself in a position that would allow him to get attacked from four - FOUR! - sides!

How is it unrealistic that he was routed?

In any case, he could have surmised the potential that he would have been attacked from all these directions. It is part of learning the game, and he made a mistake, but he should not be accusing the rules system of being "unrealistic."

It would be unrealistic if his corps had survived.

Cheers.

Chris
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Justus Pendleton
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I think your friend should start by clarifying what he thinks is unrealistic about it.

History is full of examples of a small force flanking a larger force, resulting in overwhelming victory.

In the example you give you have a corp that has allowed themselves to be almost entirely surrounded. By this stage the troops know that their commander is incompetent, inept, and likely to get them all killed. Morale couldn't get any worse.

The enemy approaches from three fronts, forcing this inept commander to deploy three defensive fronts. The troops of the time are accustomed to line and column warfare so this bizarre "bubble" with a hollow center makes them feel even less confident in their commander. When a genius like Napoleon innovates you trust in it. When an idiot who gets you surrounded "innovates" you become terrified.

Then, just as they prepare to fight -- and almost certainly die -- the enemy in their front they begin to hear rumors that a massive group of cavalry has massed at their rear and is about to charge and kill them all.

It is one thing to die for an idiot commander with your face to the enemy, fighting another man on foot. It is another to die for that same idiot commander with a cavalry sabre in your back.

The least brave soldiers already made up the 2nd and 3rd ranks. They are the first to see the dust cloud. They are conscripts from all over France; four months ago they were peasants. A man from Brittany stands next to a man from Picardy. He's known him four months. He can't quite remember the fellow's name. Something in that barely pronounceable Picardy accent. He doesn't want to die next to him. He didn't want to be a soldier in the first place.

The third rank is the first to break and run. The more hardened troops aren't afraid of mere rumors but now their backs are exposed. Who knows what caused those men in the third rank to run? Maybe it wasn't just a rumor about that cavalry.

The inept commander is no better at rallying his troops than he is at tactics and manoeuvre.
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Mark Christopher
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I rather enjoy one of your NT comments, Justus, regarding this very thing:

"In too many other wargames it doesn't feel like being flanked is that bad. Sure, not ideal but not the end of the world.

In NT having units roll across your flank is a terrible feeling."
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Joel J
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I think it's precisely the terrible power of maneuver that makes NT so awesome. I love tales of the brilliant general/commander outwitting the superior force. NT gives you the chance to really set some brilliant traps. A lot wargames feel like I'm just trying to make the best of the situation that the cards or dice dictate as opposed to really setting the flow of the battle myself.
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As the others have said, your friend has no right to complain. He advanced into a clear trap and the trap was sprung. The battle you describe sounds like Cannae, in which a large Roman army was annihilated by a smaller Cartheginian army in precisely the same way - a retreat in the centre followed by an encirclement attack from both flanks. In such situations armies cease to behave as coordinated bodies of men and become a mob of individiuals running for their lives.

You did well. Ask your friend to read up on Cannae before he complains again.

[EDIT]

I checked the map and it looks like the cavalry unit that caused the French retreat actually broke through an undefended village in the centre of the French position. However, the principle remains the same. A breakthrough in the centre that could not be defended against caused the French to rout, at which point they took disproportunately high losses.

One point to remember is that cavalry attacking using road movement can only feint-attack (presumably because they are strung out along the road rather than in an attack formation). Thus, in one way, your friend is right - the cavalry unit was too weak to cause all those casualties. However, as others have said, that's not what happened. The sudden arrival of enemy cavalry at an undefended position in the line threatened the flanks and rear of the engaged French units, causing them to panic and rout.
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Mark Buetow
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NappyPlayer wrote:


One point to remember is that cavalry attacking using road movement can only feint-attack (presumably because they are strung out along the road rather than in an attack formation).


Just to be clear: A cavalry attack by road MUST be a feint if a defender is declared; otherwise it is a normal attack/move.
 
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Wulf Corbett
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Malacandra wrote:
Just to be clear: A cavalry attack by road MUST be a feint if a defender is declared; otherwise it is a normal attack/move.
Yes, so, in this example, it's not as though he could have ignored them just because they were feints.
 
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Marc Bosch
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markus_kt wrote:
I rather enjoy one of your NT comments, Justus, regarding this very thing:

"In too many other wargames it doesn't feel like being flanked is that bad. Sure, not ideal but not the end of the world.

In NT having units roll across your flank is a terrible feeling."


You clearly support your statement with your own avatar... (which is great by the way)

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Jean-Denis Gill
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Thanks guys for your answers.

I hope he will understand the situation with this new explanation.

Thanks again.
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Mark Christopher
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mboschbo wrote:
markus_kt wrote:
I rather enjoy one of your NT comments, Justus, regarding this very thing:

"In too many other wargames it doesn't feel like being flanked is that bad. Sure, not ideal but not the end of the world.

In NT having units roll across your flank is a terrible feeling."


You clearly support your statement with your own avatar... (which is great by the way)



Thanks! It always gives a feeling of triumph when you're able to flank someone in Bowen's games.
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Mark Buetow
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markus_kt wrote:




Thanks! It always gives a feeling of triumph when you're able to flank someone in Bowen's games. [/q]

New Game: Christopher's Triumph! laugh
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Mark Christopher
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In the wonderful game, Bonaparte at Marengo, this is how to get nasty Frenchies out of a village.
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Malacandra wrote:


New Game: Christopher's Triumph! laugh


I'm easy. I can lose the game, but so long as I just get one cav around a flank in one locale, I'll be happy. laugh
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