Heretical Gaming is my blog about my gaming life, featuring small skirmishes and big battles from many historical periods (and some in the mythic past or the far future too). The focus is on battle reports using a wide variety of rules, with the occasional rules review, book review and odd musing about the gaming and history. Most of the battles use 6mm-sized figures and vehicles, but occasionally 15mm and 28mm figures appear too.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Polemos General de Division AAR: The Battle of Hagelberg

I decided to play a quick game this morning, partly to get myself back "in the mood", partly to get my new Napoleonic Prussian army on the table.  I used the Battle of Hagelberg scenario from the Polemos Napoleonic Companion.

Order of Battle:

The Imperial French Army

C-in-C: Gen Girard (Capable)

1st Brigade: 3 x infantry bases (Trained SK1)
2nd Brigade: 3 x infantry bases (Trained SK1)
3rd Brigade: 3 x infantry bases (Trained SK1)
4th Brigade: 3 x infantry bases (Trained SK1)
Cavalry Brigade: 1 x light cavalry base (Raw), 1 x cuirassier base (Raw)
Artillery: 2 bases of 8lb foot arty

The Prussian Army

C-in-C: Gen-Maj von Hirschfeld

Cavalry Brigade: 3 x light cavalry bases (Raw)
Advance Guard: 1 x infantry base (Raw SK2), 2 x infantry bases (Raw SK1), 3 x infantry bases (Raw SK0) 
1st Brigade: 5 x infantry bases (Raw SK0)
2nd Brigade: 1 x infantry base (Trained SK1), 2 x infantry bases (Raw SK0)
3rd Brigade: 4 x infantry bases (Raw SK0)
Cossacks: 5 x irregular cavalry bases (Trained), 2 x 6lb horse artillery bases

The Battle:

The battlefield from the bottom: the French are in all-round defence around the town of Hagelberg and the steep hill above it.  The Prussian advance guard and cavalry are just arriving (top), as are the cossacks (bottom-right)

View along the length of the battlefield: the dominating central hill may be clearly seen

View along the length of the battlefield from the opposite side

A closer shot of the French on the hill opposing the Prussian advance

The Prussians attempt a quick direct attack before Girard has got all of his troops into position.  French canister fire sees off these attacks with heavy Prussian casualties.

The remainder of the Prussian Army follows up (top), whilst the cossacks approach from the east (right)

The Prussian infantry can make little progress in the face of the intense French artillery fire.  The Prussians prepare to throw more infantry brigades into the fray.  However, Girard's troops are mostly in solid defensive lines now.
Cossack cavalry approach, but the cavalry cannot attack successfully up the slope of the steep hill
The French artillery continues to defeat all Prussian attempts to attack up the road - some of the Prussian infantry rout in the face of such intense, effective fire.
Shades of Bussaco?  The French left-hand brigade defeats the Prussians in front of it with a ferocious volley then charge.  The next Prussian brigade was under strong pressure too, but the Prussian regular infantry battalion in the van returns the compliment and routs a French battalion (note the gap in the French line on the hill).  This then caused the whole French brigade to fail its morale test...

A closer view.  The French infantry unit bottom-centre is the one routed by the Prussian fire.  Note the red shaken markers, in particular the French infantry climbing the slopes.  The disorder caused by the hill makes steep slopes extremely difficult obstacles in Polemos.

Further French attacks cause additional Prussian losses.  Girard has quickly deployed his reserved to shore up the line and protect his artillery.  The Prussians have made a further desultory attack, which has failed.

Although the Prussian army morale remained intact, I called off the action at this point, feeling the Prussians simply had no chance of getting up that hill!
Game Notes:
A solid French victory over the Prussians.  The game was okay, but I didn't think that the Prussians really had that much chance.  The basic reason for this is the calibration of the modifiers in Polemos General de Division.  So...

The average roll of a D6 is 3.5.
Being "raw" is -2.
Being "shaken" is -2 per level (max. of 2)
Being "uphill" is +2
Advantage in skirmishing level is +1 or +2
Advantage to defending infantry is +1 for each secure flank

Thus raw Prussian infantry (Landwehr and Reserve infantry) is in for a thin time attacking trained French infantry uphill.  The French, on an opposed D6 roll, are likely to be at least +5 up...The Prussians don't have any artillery capable of bombarding the French either.  So all in all, a pretty difficult task!  The only way to marginally reduce the French advantage is to attack with a line of infantry with a line of cavalry behind.  However, doing this is very hungry for tempo points, hard to coordinate and has to be "advertised" so heavily that it is pretty unlikely to work either.
Interestingly, the modifiers in the companion set "Marechal d'Empire" are much flatter: a "+2" in GdD is likely to be a "+1" in MdE.  This reduces greatly the number of "sure thing" attacks.  In addition, the +1 modifier for attacking in MdE enocurages boldness, whereas taking those risks in GdD is likely to get a force wiped out quite quickly.
I'd be interested in knowing people's views about the modifiers in GdD: are they too extreme?  How much of an advantage do people think that things like experience levels and being uphill should matter?

The game took 70 minutes, played on a home-made mat on a 5'x3' table.  Figures were mainly from Baccus 6mm, with a base from Commission Figurines (the Prussian regular infantry).  Buildings from Total Battle Miniatures. Rules used were Polemos General de Division:

And I must make some unobtrusive shaken markers!!