Monday, June 11, 2007

RUSSIANS WIN FRIEDLAND!

HUZZAH! HUZZAH! HUZZAH!




Victor of the field, Count Bennigsen now faces the difficult choice of continuing to give Bonaparte battle here at Friedland or falling back to the Neimen and meeting up with more Russian arms.

The Russian General Gortchakov pressed hard on first General Grouchy then Marshal Mortier to take Heinrichdorf, then scatter the remnants of the Cavalry Reserve and VIII Corps. This left Marshal Lannes with the difficult choice of either taking Sortlack (possible, but a long-shot) or recovering from an extended position and giving Emperor Bonaparte time to assemble the Imperial Guard and re-position I and VI Corps. With the loss of the access of Heinrichdorf, I Corps would have to round-up the scattered parts of VIII Corps and hold the French Left while the Guard, VI Corps and a recalled Marshal Murat (from the seige of Konigsberg) fell on the Russian Left. Ultimately the Russians would have to choose to continue their stand at Friedland or take the wiser course of falling back to the Neimen, victorious, but bloodied all the same...

Tale of the game:

We started a tad early (as all players were present and keen to get back into action!).


The Trophies were on hand for the conclusion of the action.




By the end of Turn Eight the Russian Right Wing had dispatched another cavalry force and was threatening to break through in force to reach Heinrichdorf.



While on the Russian Left, the advance was stalled then re-formed.

First the Pavlov Grenadier Guards were caught by the French Heavy Cavalry under Nansouty (in personal command). While the guards were chasing away a pesky French 4-pounder batter (that had not scored a hit on these Guardsmen) the thunder of hoofs came from their right, too late to form square they were struck from within their flank lines! Still they were guardsmen and withstood three rounds of melee before collapsing. Undeterred the French Heavies then slammed into two successive formations of Gallitzen's Light Cavalry, without thier General to support either of them they too were scattered towards the rear (though not butchered like the Pavlovs). Again Gallitzen was busy with rallies. Into the gap rode the Cossacks under Platov.

Now the French Heavies were blown and disordered. Rather than face an attack in their flank, they chose to recover. Along the way they were hit multiple times by Russian Cannon of Mazovski's command, still in squares at the center of the field.

Once the Cossacks were denied an easy target they chose to take a more paced advance, thus giving time to Gallitzen to rally the Light Horse and permit more arriving troops time to take up positions. This lack of charge also permitted the French Heavy Horse to rally, and the timely arrival of Polenz with Saxon Heavy Cavalry sealed the fate of the lead formation of Cossacks...

The Cossacks were smashed by a twin charge of Saxon and French Heavy Horse. The Saxons halted while the French continued on ... sending the entire division of Cossacks to flight. Following this charge the Heavies managed to keep control and slammed into a distraught Light Cavalry (that had failed to break a square of French Grenadiers). Upon completing this quick action the Heavy Horse reformed and charged into Russian Guns (scattering the gunners) and finally halted by Gallitzen's light Horse which had just barely enought time to rally.

Behind this heavy charge ran a column of Grenadiers (whom had formed square once the Light Cavalry attacked) and a columns of Legere, which had smashed a Russian Square and was now pressing in on Sortlack town.

The Russians under Markov was thrown into some confusion and during this the Light Cavalry was scattered beyond his command. Platov was overwhelmed by having all of his Cossacks fail at one moment and two thirds of them were seeking their own way over the Alle River...



But the tipping point had come on the Russian Right.



With massed batteries now in position to sweep all before them they proceeded to destroy four more French formations, two cavalry and two Infantry columns were dispatched by cannon and bayonette. Heinrichdorf was now defenceless and the Russian Infantry was sweeping into the town. Along the way General Grouchy had been captured (during an ill-fated cavalry charge into a heavy battery) and three other French commanders were injured in close combat!



My pontoons were finally constructed, but were not to see action as this battle was all but won at the tip of Russian bayonettes!



Here they are all finished and ready for use, watching a remnant of the Right Wing cossacks fleeing from the field.


Here we see more of the carnage on the Russian Right (note the dead in the far right corner)!


A French Grenadier Square, the last link between a dominant Oudinot and a failed Grouchy/Mortier....


Lannes final view of the field of action, having to withdraw is always a hard choice to make.




All said and done this was a fantastic finish to my three-year journey from Austerlitz to Friedland!

(remember that if you click on an image you can see a larger version of it)

Thank you to the players whom took part in this battle, Jeff was declared the Russian winner and Sam was declared the second winner!

In the end all those players whom have taken part in Austerlitz, Kelly Jones (for the hosting back in 2004!) whom was unable to continue with the games and I have the utmost respect for and wish to honor his memory by continuing the play and expanding the hobby wherever I go! Mike,Ian, Scott and the crew from Victoria also from Austerlitz.

David, Jeff, Mike, Alexander and Rebecca for Auerstadt.

David, Mike, Peter and the Dak-Kon crew for Eylau.

and finally Jeff, Peter, Alexander, and Sam for taking part in FRIEDLAND.

anyone I missed just take your own bow now.

Thank you one and all!

2 comments:

Grimsby Mariner said...

Excellent stuff Murdock. Excellent.
I like those pontoons even if you didn't get much use out of them. How many times have we spent on a terrain piece or unit and then placed it on the table proud as punch only for everyone to ignore it?
All the same it looked great fun.

Well done indeed sir!

MurdocK said...

Well...the pontoons were sort of "pushed" up on the painting list so that I could have them here at Friedland. I got them so that I could use them for Aspern-Essling and (potentially) Wagram.

Also, the price was right, part of the bonus of having a set of items in mind when checking on eBay.

Thank you Paul for your kind comments!