Sharp Practice: Campaign Game 4

Right before everybody leaves for summer holidays we managed to squeeze in Campaign Game #4 in our Star of Bravery Campaign. This time the Austrians are on a run to cross Laber river and destroy a bridge. Capt. Cruchot’s company is sent to prevent them from doing so.

 

The Scenario

sharp practice skirmish

The French division our campaign’s heroes are part of are sent to secure a bridge to cut off the Austrian retreat across Laber river.

The Austrian player’s (me) goal is to get at least 4 groups across the bridge and/or destroy the bridge. This can be done by each group who crossed the bridge working on dismantling the bridge. Each time a group crossed the bridge and is effectively out of the game is activated they roll a d6. Once they get to a total of 60 the bridge is destroyed.

The French player’s (Cpt.Shandy) goal is to prevent the Austrians from doing so by reducing their force morale to 0.

 

The Game

Both players got one deployment point, equally far away from the bridge, a hill and a thick forest between them. We both start by deploying a unit of skirmishers each: Cpt.Shandy deploys a unit of light infantry skirmishers, I deploy my group of Viennese volunteer Jägers.

sharp practice skirmish

They’re quickly followed up by a group of Stipsicz hussars who scout the road.

skirmish sharp practice

 

They’re followed by Major Eynhuf’s column of Hungarian infantry and group of 3rd rank skirmishers.

skirmish sharp practice

Simultaneously, Capt.Cruchot’s column move down the road, flanked by skirmishers and a squadron of Chasseurs à Cheval. They also seem to be a bit lighter in their step than the Austrians.

skirmish sharp practice

 

The cocky hussars rush towards the French column to thwart their advance and buy the infantry some time to get across the bridge.

skirmish sharp practice

…however, the Chasseurs are keen on proving themselves against the (allegedly) best light cavalry in the world.

sharp practice skirmish

 

They charge the hussars and drive them off!

skirmish sharp practice

Highly inconvenient for my plans. With my cavalry neutralized and pulling back for the forseeable future, I drive the infantry column on. Meanwhile, Cpt.Shandy deploys three groups of the column in line:

sharp practice skirmish
uh oh….

 

The French infantry make ready and ….charge? Yup, without even thinking of firing they lower bayonets and charge my infantry. Two groups are thrown into disarray and detach from the column. They fight stalwartly, knocking out Capt.Cruchot, while Major Eynhuf takes a wound. The other three infantry groups advance to the bridge.

Here’s an overview after this first bloody mêlée at the forking road:

sharp practice skirmish

However, the French light cavalry is back in business and charge the Austrians who are desperately heading for the other side of the river.

skirmish sharp practice

The cavalry is beaten back, but yet again the advance is hindered and another two Austrian group break away, leaving just one group on their way across the bridge. The French line charges again against the Austrians. Once more the Austrians stand for a prolonged fisticuffs, both sides suffer casualties, but the French advantage in numbers, even attacking without their leader who’s still K.O.’d in the back, proves too great and the Austrians are driven back again.

skirmish sharp practice

Major Eynhuff scrapes together a firing line from the men left around him and they open uncontrolled fire, but it’s no match for the French line who return fire at close range.

skirmish sharp practice

Eventually [leader2] brings up another fresh group, whips the line into shape, and they charge by the textbook. Pas de charge. The remaining Austrian infantry collapse and retire.

sharp practice skirmish

In the end the Austrian force morale is reduced to 0, while the French force morale sits at 4. It’s a French Victory!

 

 

Debriefing

A tough scenario, a tough fight. Choices made in this scenario are more of a strategic nature than a tactical one, and it sure would have helped if I’d had a plan. The way it played out, our movement (majorly restricted by the terrain) and deployment was pretty symmetrical, but when it came right down to it, the French always were just a bit faster and a bit punchier. Possibly mirroring the way things often turned out historically.

A small respectable success was achieved by the volunteer Viennese hunters, who almost routed Sgt. Merlot’s skirmishers in the forest and were able to capture the hapless Merlot (again).

skirmish sharp practice
Chasing after the last remaining french skirmisher.

 

Either way, a fun game.

 

Campaign Phase

Once Capt.Cruchot got up again (remember, he got knocked out in the very first round of combat in the game) and was brought up to speed with the situation he made sure to secure the bridge and send a runner to report back to battalion command.

sharp practice skirmish
“I sure did well there.”

 

Cpt.Shandy rolled for honour points gained by Capt.Cruchot and came in at a whopping 9.

Once the bridge was secured follow-up French units came pouring in fast. So much so that a little traffic jam emerged along the way, hindering Cruchot’s company getting to their new (and very special) assignment.

skirmish sharp practice
Artist: Keith Rocco

Capt.Cruchot was to choose between three way of handling the situation: Either just wait until things clear up and rest until then, risking potentially being seen ‘sleeping on the job’ by higher ups, and losing honor. The second option being to scout a way around and make their own way, which may lead to additional delays or even getting lost along the way. The third option, and the one which Cruchot went for in the end, is to order his men to help clear up the traffic jam. Turns out some artillery train wagons down and the guys needed some help hauling them off the road for repairs.

skirmish sharp practice
“So you cut off the Kaiserlicks’ retreat there?” – “Oui, they are no match for the emperor’s light infantry.” – “Vive l’empereur.” – “Vive les Légeres.”

Cruchots men are exhausted from hauling wagons around, so they won’t be allowed to run or use Step Out during the next game, which is a very special assignment. Stay tuned to learn more about that next time!

6 thoughts on “Sharp Practice: Campaign Game 4

  1. Very cool. Interesting campaign options and choices. Where are you getting the ‘exhausted rules from? I have ‘Dawn’s and Departures’ but its been a while since I read it.

    1. It’s all Cpt.Shandy’s doing, I’m just along for the ride really. 😀 He’s really experienced in scenario development, especially with modelling exhaustion in SP2. 😀 We once played an ACW game which featured a cavalry raiding force who were so exhausted they had to tie themselves to their saddles so they could sleep while riding. In that one we had several horrible effects modelling the men’s exhaustion.

      So he may have come up with that himself, I suspect. I haven’t read D&D since release either, I have to admit!

    1. Thanks very much! Do go ahead. I’m sure Cpt.Shandy will publish his Star of Bravery campaign rules in some fashion. It’s a really well thought out thing, that.

  2. This has been a wonderful series of games/posts so far. Beautiful figures and terrain, enjoyable scenarios and entertaining write-ups!
    That ‘race to the bridge’ was reminiscent to me of the Battle of River Coa, except the Austrians really had it tough starting parallel to the pursuing French. You did well to get any troops away and put up a stauch fight with the eventual rearguard.
    Regards, James

    1. Hi James, thanks very much for your comment! Yes, after the game we talked about the whole thing possibly being a bit tough on the Austrians. The idea was to give the Austrians some tough decisions to make: Do I race the Hussars across the bridge early on and start destroying the bridge or do I stand and fight? How many units can I keep on this side of the river to defend the crossing units doing their job?

      Maybe give the Austrians a few ‘extra moves’ in the beginning helps them a little. Or getting better activation cards than I did in that game. 😀 Anyway, thanks for your comment! After a little holiday break we’ll resume the campaign games!

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