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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Billiardsburg: A MAURICE AAR

ABOVE: The Objective. The Saxon band played so badly that the 'Old Fritz' ordered that every member of the band be shot and their instruments destroyed!
Hi All
It's been a while since I posted an After Action Report (AAR), so I traveled 70 mins south today to Melbourne and joined the excellent LEAGUE OF ANCIENTS wargame club.
I made arrangements to have a game of MAURICE with Victorian wargaming stalwart Michael B. I decided to trot out my 28mm Prussians for their first every battle. Michael always has beautiful armies, and he didn't disappoint and brought out his magnificent EUREKA MINIATURES Saxons. My Army is predominately FRONT RANK, but there is a smattering of EUREKA MINIATURES cavalry and PERRY infantry.

My army Order Of Battle (ORBAT) was as follows:

As I was the attacker, I selected an additional unit of TRAINED INFANTRY.

National Advantages:
BELOW: My Massed Prussian Cavalry. Hussars and Dragoons.

Michael's Saxon Army's ORBAT was:
National Advantages:
La Bayonet

BELOW: Saxon Cannon and Musketeers on the hill.
Now on to the AAR:

King Fredrick sat bolt upright in his bed.
Mien Gott!!! Vat is zat infernal racket? Vill ve get no peace”?

“Majesty, it appears ze Saxons have deployed a new vepon. Zey intend to drive us all mad vit zee constant vailing of zee band on zee hill. Ve vill get no rest tonight”.

The Old Fritz looked towards the west at the high ground outside the town of Billiardsburg where his army was garrisoned for the night.

“Tomorrow I vill be shoving drums and horns vere der sun vont shine”

Opposing Plans:
Michael plan seemed to to me to be one that consisted on simply sitting on the objective, (a Large hill where the offending Band merrily played something resembling the screams of a cat and dog both being castrated simultaneously by a near blind butcher with a blunt butter knife).
Just to deter me he massed his guns (all four of them) and a Regiment of Infantry on the hill. He split his cavalry across the left and right flanks. Three regiments were positing on his left flank, and one was placed on his right. The bulk of his infantry, including his sole ‘Elite’ Grenadiers were deployed in two lines to his right of the objective. On his left of the hill was another regiment of musketeers and the three Regiments of Horse.

I deployed as follows from my left to right:
The sole Irregular infantry, the Hessian Jagers were positioned with the large wood directly to their front. Next I massed five regiments of foot in two lines of three regiments up front and two in support. In the lead I had my three ‘Elite’ Regiments, (Grenadiers and Fusiliers) with two trained regiments (Musketeers) in support. Next in line and to the right of the town were another two regiments of Musketeers and then all my Horse Regiments, consisting of two Hussar Regiments and one Dragoon Regiment. Finally I deployed my two guns.
My plan was to advance with my five infantry regiments supported by the Jagers and attempt to blow a hole in the Saxon line by superior firepower. I was relying on a combination of superior ‘Espirit de Corps’ (my elites V his trained) and ‘Lethal Volleys’ to win the day for me. 

BELOW: The deployment. As you can see I've kept my Cavalry and Infantry on my right flank back out of Artillery range.

 The Action!
The battle opened with an advance by my Irregulars, the Jagers moving off towards the woods and the main infantry force stepping of towards the waiting Saxons.
Michael for his part commenced a massed bombardments and an advance of his massed horse Regiments on his left. Clearly he planed to distract me from the real business at hand which for me meant getting my main infantry force to volley range as soon as possible.
His plan worked.
I countered by advancing the two infantry regiments of musketeers to my right to confront the leading two regiments of Saxon Horse.
Michael's gunners now had these two unfortunate regiments in range, and soon roundshot was smashing into one of the regiments, killing one of the much beloved colonels Prinz Augusta Von Manstien, (read: Michael played the ‘Death Of A Hero’ card). My army moral dropped by two points.
BELOW: I move my two right flank Infantry Regiments (Musketeers) forward to respond to the threat of Saxon Horse. In the distance my Main Force wait's outside musket range. The Saxon horse would soon need buckets to catch all the lead.
 BELOW: My Main Force Infantry pause whilst issues are decided on their right flank.
Fortunately for me however I was able to rally off most of the disruption the infantry had sustained due to the enemy artillery fire. At that point someone within the Saxon Cavalry had a rush of blood (read: I played the ‘Heat Of Battle’ card) and one of his regiments of Horse charged into my steady infantry. Within two or three rounds of battle the threat to my right had be nullified, with two of Michael's cavalry regiments teetering on being destroyed. I considered now that the situation on my right was in hand, and decided to turn my attention back to the main effort.
Michael had distracted me for long enough.
I now set about launching my main force infantry onto the offensive again and advanced to volley range. After about three or four rounds of musketry I threw forward my infantry with the bayonet.
Soon two out of the three regiments in Micheal’s first line were routed, with only his ‘Elite’ Grenadiers still holding their ground.

 ABOVE: The fire fight erupts between the two main Infantry forces whilst the cavalry attack on my right peters out,...
BELOW: Saxon Cuirassiers consider their fate.
It was at this point Michael ordered his army to retire.
With my Grenadiers and Fusiliers battered but still full of fight I halted as the Saxon army withdrew.
Later that night the Prussians stacked what Saxon drums, horns and euphoniums they could find and burnt them. Tonight they would sleep soundly.
BELOW: Where there were six Saxon infantry Regiments there are now only four.
 BELOW: The situation as Michael orders a withdrawal. 
Another fun game of MAURICE.
Game length was a very manageable 2 hours.
Michael and I discussed the value of ‘Lethal Volleys’ (LV) and we agreed that at 12 points it was a bit to inexpensive. We thought 18 points might have been closer to its true value.
That said, after reading the discussion on the HONOUR FORUM (see topic: Lethal Volleys too lethal?) and pondering the result of the game I’m now not so sure. Without LV, I doubt I’d have stood much chance of a win at all. I either have to take the objective, or rout the enemy. Given I’d have to clobber my way up a hill through 4 artillery and then a Regiment of infantry I suspect I’d go down in a heap. Trying to win in a straight up firefight without LV against Michael’s Saxon line while relying purely on my better moral would have been quite risky I think. LV at 12 points basically sees me giving up 2 regiments or either Horse or Infantry, which to my way of thinking is about right. Also, LV is only useful if you actually HIT the enemy. There were a couple of rounds there where my volleys (shooting) were pathetic. Fortunately for me Michael’s was just as bad.
So I guess the great LV debate will continue. Maybe a compromise worth considering is LV can only be used with ‘ELITE’ infantry. It’s something to think about.
For what it’s worth, my ‘Clerics’ card (costing 9 point) was a waste, as I only used it twice. Given I use 99 of my 100 points, if I had ditched ‘Clerics’ I could have grabbed another Regiment of ‘Trained’ infantry and one Regiment of ‘Conscripts’.
ABOVE:The Prussian Musketeers that performed so well in the face of the Saxon Horse. BELOW: Prussian Fusiliers cast a weary eye over the Saxon Grenadiers
 BELOW:The very well dress Saxon 'Ranchow' Regiment in the Saxon 2nd Line.
 As usual, comments are welcomed.
Oh, and a plug here for MAVERICK MODELS FLAGS. My Prussians are carrying the material flags available from MAVERICK MODELS. As usual, excellent service from Stuart.
I really like these flags. I particularly like the way they can be easily folded and twisted to look like they are flapping about in the breeze.
Highly recommended.


Sparker said...

Thanks Mate, an entertaining and interesting AAR - some lovely troops on display, and the cotton wool really adds to the 'trading volleys' look. Those guns look particularly smart - but then they would, wouldn't they!

paulalba said...

Really nice collections,
That's a really smart figure set in the last pic with the horse nudging his masters face with his nose.

fireymonkeyboy said...

Yeah, the two NAs that seem to attract the most discussion are LV and Rally to the Colours. I'm not convinced either are overpowered, yet, but I do think they have a disproportionate impact, and are in a category by themselves.

Phil said...

Great looking pictures, your figures are really impressive, grenadiers are my favourite...great AAR!

Anonymous said...

Another enjoyable Maurice report and an interesting debate on the LV issue.


Brent said...

Wonderful report. Thanks for sharing your game. I like the figures -- very nice.

Caesar said...

Another entertaining account with some great discussion on NAs. A handy thing about Lethal Volleys is it's like a "passive" ability in that you leave your infantry trading volleys and grinding down theirs, while you carry out orders elsewhere (or rally). I haven't used Rally to the Colours yet - must give it a try. Great report with lovely pictures and running commentary Trailape, thanks.

Monty said...

Wonderful AAR and armies! I'm adding your blog to the ones I follow.

In our 2nd campaign game, almost every player has chosen either LV or Rally to the Colors as a NA. They kind of offset each other. And like you, I've discarded Cleric. It sounds good but never pays out for me on the tabletop.

zel said...

nice report. I continue to believe LV is overpowered... you get in both turns even when doin nothing. We now play no 12 pt powers and it makes for a better games. Leave LV for scenarios or newbies. Or alternatively agree to both take it to speed up the games.