Sunday, January 24, 2021

Polotsk 1812 - using SHAKO II

 

Nearing the end of 2020, as the lock-down continued with restrictions to house-holds only, I and another tabletop player were itching to get in some Napoleonic battle, any will do.

So I found one that featured some of the Bavarian forces I had built up, Polotsk in 1812.


a map of the action

We used a map from one of the .pdf scenarios found online:


Inevitably, we modified the map to work for our space and other constraints.


Once the map was laid out, we deployed the troops:

First, the French and Bavarian allied forces:



Then the Russians:


On to the battle...

Shako II turns always open with artillery, thus giving the guns their first best chance to mess up a unit before a charge or closing fire.


Bavarians boil out from the town

with columns pushing out along the Polotsk stream

both sides cannon opened up

both managed to get at least a couple of hits

it was the Irish (standing in for more Bavarians)
that took the worst damage

overview Russian left

overview Russian right

 

Only a little bit of maneuvering opened the battle, it was on turn 2 that movement really got going.

pressure from the Russian right

while on the left the Bavarians pushed along the
stream and put pressure on the Russians there

in the center right the Russians moved foward

on the far right Pavlov Grenadiers arrived in columns
to push on the hill

more Bavarian movement on the stream

Russian gun line killed off the Irish at the starting salvo

Oudinot in the town

Wittgenstein in command of the Russians

turn 4 saw more French and Bavarian units break

while Russian ones faced fire and managed to hold
their own along the stream

a fierce series of melees broke out along the stream

the central French allied division was under pressure from
the start, now facing elimination if morale collapses

on the Hill the Pavlov Grenadiers were thrown back from the first charge



Pavlov Grenadiers then formed a massive column
to ready for another charge up the hill

Cossacks held in wait for opportunity to
break into or through French lines

the Russian right was constantly pushing forward

while on the left maneuvers were made to
make an effort against the surging Bavarians

the Russian grenadiers charged the hill again
again they were repulsed, though now artillery
had moved to the flank

French Chasseurs a Cheval charged, then were thrown back

a Russian battery was positioned to have an
enfilade shot at the Bavarians across the stream

Russian right breaks the top of the hill

Russian left just managed to hold on, losing some ground ...

the center columns began a murderous exchange of fire

French Chasseur a cheval had to retreat, took more casualties from
artillery fire ...

one bright spot, the Bavarians Jaeger battalion managed to screen
the Russian artillery enough to prevent damage

while not fully defeated yet, the French/Bavarian
force needed to break a Russian Division or
accept a retreat

the best chance of that damage was on the Russian left,
where many Bavarians had now massed up

the hill was also not left uncontested

a Bavarian column crashed through the woods and
over-ran a foot battery

the stream was still contested by Russians

French artillery were still able to get off shots at Russian guns

the French Chasseur a cheval made ready for one
last charge ...

the Russian grenadier division was now triumphant
on the hill top

even the Cossacks had been damaged in combat
there were almost no units that did not suffer at least
one casualty

the supreme moment had arrived and all
Russian units on the right flank
were sent into combat on the hilltop

on the Russian left, the line had finally collapsed
though the loss of the Division was not enough to
break the Russian resolve

in the center, the Russian Division was switched to
the defensive and ready to fall-back

a supporting division was shoring up the center

while the Grenadiers were triumphant,
having now fully over-run the top of the hill

Russian Cuirass and horse artillery were now bearing down
on the main bridge crossing the river behind Polotsk town

the French center was bowed back on itself, now pushed
fully off the hilltop

Chasseur a cheval are sent in for one final thrust



the Chasseur a cheval managed to break a Russian
battalion, which sent the Division into recoil mode
yet not broken and it did not flee the field

this last roll of the horse die taken, and failed, Oudinot
would have to withdraw across the Polotsk stream ...


A terrific game day and I thank Chris T for taking on the role of the Russians in this great contest!

A final video of the field at the end of the battle.



2020 was a rough year in many ways, yet it was my best year for hosting games on-line and in-person ever!

I look forward to more to come in 2021.