Today I was scheduled to plazy in Bruce Weigle's Austro-Prussian War battle of Nachod. For those of you that are interested in mid-to-late 1800s, you really need to either play or watch a game put on by Bruce. His game boards are (at least in my opinion) about the most accurate one can find for what the terrain would have looked like back then (and very nicely done, to boot). Of course, 6mm isn't for everyone, but even these little figures were painted very nicely and make for a great visual treat.
But before the game, I made my usual rounds--and saw this neat board being set up--I'm not sure of the specific genre (either steampunk, Weird World War 1, or an alternate timeline), but the toys and the board looked neat.
Now back to the game...
It was the Austrians against the Prussians in 1866--and I was one of the Austrians. The good news--we have good artillery and will get lots of reinforcements. The bad news--our infantry have muskets while the Prussians have an early bolt action rifle (the Dreyse Needle Gun).
The Austrians have to try and capture the hill (being pointed at by the Bruce in this shot). My command is at the bottom of the hill and there are Prussians on top of the hill--including artillery. The other on-table Austrian command is coming on the road behind me, but our commanding officer's strategy is to have that group go around behind me and loop right to hit the Prussian left flank, which meant my job was to keep the Prussians busy while that went in.
First things first--I needed to reorganize my troops and protect my left flank--as Prussian Jagers were in that direction (along with some cavalry, but they were pretty far off)--so I sent my Jagers toward the woods to my left and moved most of my other troops forwrd into the village (for cover), while deploying my artillery to shoot at the Prussians on the hill. Unfortunately, the Prussian artillery on the hill plastered my Jagers, crippling half the battalion but the remainder carried on into the woods to face off against the deadly Prussian Jagers. My artillery alos managed to hurt a Prussian battalion deployed to protect their artillery. (You can see the long column of the other Austrian command lined up on the raod in the bottom left of the picture--but remember--their destination is actually off the right side of the photo.)
Prussian artillery fire managed do disorder one of my regular battalions and enemy cavalry moving up on my flank was being popsitioned to charge that unit, so I had to do some rapid redeploying to try and save that flank. The only bright spot for me was that my Jagers in the woods were giving as good as they were getting trading shots with the more technologically advanced Prussian Jagers. The other Austrian brigade advanced rapidly by road toward the enemy's left flank.
Next turn we hit the first Austrian moment of crisis as the Prussian cavalry attacked my left flank. Unfortunately for me, one of the battalions I had moved to cover its previously disordered sister battalion was hit by artillery fire from the hill and fled! This left only one steady battalion to blunt the charge--but blunt it they did by stopping half the charging force. The other cavary troopers rode down 1/2 the disordered battalion and then tried to convert that charge into the deployed artillery. This resulted in the cavalry being destroyed, as the artillerymen managed to move one gun into arc and fire off cannister. While this was going on, my Jagers still traded blows with the Prussian Jagers in the woods.
The remaining cavalry retreated as another brigade (reinforcements!) along with some Austrian Currasairs arrived and pushed up along my left flank--the critical moment had passed--but more Prussians were coming. Meanwhile, the other Austrian player's brigade had moved into position and were getting ready to attack while his cavalry had gotten into a running fight with more Prussian cavalry.
I had tons of reinforcements coming in now along my left flank, including the Corps artillery--which I deployed to blast the hilltop that was our objective--which forced back the Prussians and cleared the way for my troops at the base of the hill to begin their advance in support of the other player's flank attack. In addition, I dispatched more Jagers (from one of the reinforcing brigades) to help my remaining Jagers that were still fighting the Prussians in the large woods. This additional pressure on the Prussian Jagers eventually destroyed them and the woods were mine--but the horde of Prussians on the hill to the left of the woods made that a hollow victory.
With the objective no longer having valid targets for my grand battery, I tried to get them to shift further left to face the advancing Prussian horde, but to no avail (I can only conclude that that orders were transmitted in German but the officer in charge of the artilleery was Czech). My battalions at the bottom of the hill moved up to attack the Prussians that had moved back from the crest in conjunction with the flanking brigade's attack (which was taking heavy casualties from the rapid-firing Prussian rifles). On my far left, the reinforcing units had trouble deploying (another orders foul-up, and I can only assume that the couriers ran afoul of enemy snipers), but a few battalions had managed to take cover in buildings in town, which slowed the Prussian advance. And we called the game at this point, as a couple of the players had to go.
The Prussians won, as we never took our objective, but I like to think that the austrian grand battery would have eventually listened to orders and restored the situation somewhat on the left flank, letting us at least do better than historically. Of course, that could just be my wounded ego talking.
Anyway, off to bed for some rest--I have a game to run tomorrow!