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Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Battle Of St Arnaud. 1814.

ABOVE: The French line as seen from the French left flank. The enclosed field on the French left flank were hottly contested. The OBJECTIVE was the high ground with the windmill on it.

I had three mates over for a large LASALLE game today.
I wanted to do something different to the usual "My Division with one support option V your Division with one support option", so came up with the following Scenario.
France 1814.
An Infantry Division is tasked with holding the high ground near the village of St Arnaud. The French Divisional Commander (Arnaud), has been informed that a Young Guard division is hurrying to his aid. Behind them he can expect an additional cavalry Brigade (BDE), but of what composition he knows not. he also has a Divisional Battery of 4 guns and a horse artillery Battery that has been sent ahead to help.

Just as well he has the support coming up because before him is arrayed two enemy Divisions! One is a Russian Guard division and the other is a Prussian Division. Obviously someone in the Allied high command has also twigged as to the significant importance this high ground has, and an additional enemy BDE is approaching. Looks like Prussian Cavalry.

Lil' Scott Commanded the Russian Guard. 6 Battalions of Russians Guards Valiant, Exp Sk 0 plus 2 Bavarian converged Grenadier Battalions also Valiant Exp Sk 0, (ok, so I was short two more Russian battalions, so we pressed into service two Bavarian battalions.). he also had two heavy Batteries. One of 5 guns and one of 4 guns.

Stan as usual commanded his Prussians, 2 regular Battalions, 3 Reserve Battalions and 3 Landwehr battalions plus Landwehr Cavalry and a Foot battery of 4 guns.

I won't go into a lot of detail but essentially the battle opened with general advance along the entire front by both the Russian Guard and the Prussians. The French were spread rather thin, but had anchored both of their flanks. The left flank anchored on some stone walled farm land, whilst the right flank was rather solid with a small village garrisoned and a battalion behind that in square just in case the menacing Prussian cavalry attempted a sweep around.
BELOW: The Battlefield as seen from the French left. Note "The Hook". That's the bend in the road.

BELOW: Veteran infantry in reserve.
BELOW: The Brave General de Brigade, General Mort. His tactical bonus helped repel the first assault by the Russian Guard, but it cost him his life!
BELOW: French Conscripts on the left flank defending the enclosed fields. They did very well holing the Russian Guards back for a considerable time.
BELOW: Opening Shots! First rounds for the day belch from French Guns. Nearest to the viewer are the four guns of the divisional artillery. Top right is the Horse artillery that was send ahead from the cavalry BDE.
BELOW: The Tin Blue Line facing the Prussian Black and Russian Green allies!

The Allies soon received their reinforcements which consisted of a Prussian Cavalry BDE. Fortunately the French the Young Guard division arrived at the same time. Now it's two divisions V two divisions and a Cavalry BDE.

BELOW: The arrival of the French Young Guard Division was greeted by huge cheers from the French Infantry Division. The YG GD DIV consisted of three French Yg Battalions on three Italian Royal Guard Battalions.

BELOW: Russian Guards attacking the French left flank. The French defenders made good use of the numerous walls and fence lines to make life very difficult for the attackers.

BELOW: Bavarians and Wurtemburgers closes to the camera. These lads doubled as Prussian Reserve Battalions for todays battle. They were roughly handelled by the Verteran French Leger battalion they attempted to drived back.
BELOW: Russians advance through "The Hook", (the distictive bend in the road running across the battlefield)
BELOW: Russian Guards advance into the teeth of French Artillery! Brave Chaps!!!

BELOW: Allied infantry pour into the center of the French line. In the top right of the photo you can see the Village with the garrison within.
The Prussian Cavalry Bde arrived behind the Prussian Division, and proceeded to attempt to turn the French right by swinging around the garrisoned village. they were inspired by the sole Landwehr lancer regiment that had scooted around and ran down the hastily redeployed French Horse Artillery.

I think we all expected the Allies to blow right through the French division holding the line, but they held on quite well.

Just as the Prussians were celebrating the success of the daring Landwehr Cavalry the French Cavalry BDE arrived. A collective groan came up from the allied command when it was revealed it was OLD GUARD, (Lancers and Grenadiers a Cheval).

The Old Guard Cavalry soon restored the situation on the French right flank. The Lancers slaughtered the 'raiding' Landwehr cavalry while the Mounted Grenadiers put paid to half of the Prussian Cavalry Bde attenpting to turn the French Right. 

BELOW: French Young Guard moving across to the threatened center.
BELOW: Corporal LeLeve defends his cow!
BELOW: Russian Guards drive back French conscripts (L) and Italian Royal Guard(R) as the try to clear out the farmland on the French left flank.

Eventually the Prussians and Russians over-ran the French Infantry Division, and even managed to rout the OLD GUARD Grenadiers a Cheval but the Russian Guard Division was spent in the process. As the French first line finally broke, so did the Russian Guard. The battle ended with the Prussians settling down to eat their evening bratwurst in front of the high ground as the Russians and Bavarians streamed to the rear. The French Guards, (both Young, Old and Italian) happy to hold onto the high ground).

What would have been a draw actually saw the victory going to the French, as the Loss of a Russian Guard Division was seen as a bigger blow to allied plans than the destruction of a Brigade of French conscripts.

BELOW: French Young Guard attack and rout Russian Guard on the left while the Italian Royal Guard do battle with more Rusian Guards 
BELOW: The French make a last ditch stand on the slopes of the contested high ground.
BELOW: OLD GUARD LANCERS! Not to be messed with,..

It was a very enjoyable game. I wanted something different and I think the fellas found the scenario entertaining.
Most figures were AB Miniatures, with some FANTASSIN Russians and Bavarians, and OLD GLORY Russians.

Please feel free to leave a comment. Cheers.


Sgt Steiner said...


Impressive looking and nice to see a non 'standard' game

Anonymous said...

Non Standard game all the way!. Great action, great looking armies and I hope great fellow gamers.

Sent the Russian Guard packing back to Moscow... a bonus...and warms a Frenchie's heart.

M aka WR

paulalba said...

Excellent battle report and lovely figures,
Nice to see an 1814 battle with the Bavarians joining in with their new allies.

Galpy said...

great report and man those figures look awesome in such numbers

Trailape said...

Thanks Galpy. We hope to have an even larger battle in a few weeks time. Cheers

David Cooke said...

Enjoyable battle report! They were a nice looking set of figures and table. Next time can we get a another look at the Italians?