Battle of Craonne - 25mm

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Here's the account of the Liphook Historical Wargames Society refight of Craonne at the end of Jun. I was Napoleon :-(. The rules were the Liphook in-house rules, very old school in style and the game was played over 3 tables with about 7 commanders on each side. The game lasted from about 9am to 4pm real time one Sunday.

10 min per turn. 1mm = 1 yard. Units represented to company/squadron level but moved as battalions/regiments. Single figure casualty removal (usually by card marking) and 5 states of disorder (I think).

The battle started after the French had taken Hertebise Farm. The main differences from the historical battle plan were that Carpentier and Rebeval made their main push through the woods either side of the neck to try and outflank the guns - so lots of skirmishing with the Russian Jaegers, but a push across the neck was still needed in the end, and De Morvan's Young Guard Division was seconded to Nansouty so as to give him a combined arms force to hopefully secure any advantage he gained on the Russian flank, and also with the option of exploiting W to the table edge.

T1 (1100) 6 Russian batteries are deployed right at the head of the neck. Cossacks line the ridge on their L above the Lette. Rebeval and Charpentiers Divisions from Victors Corps push forward in skirmish order through the woods, which are already infested with Russian Jaegers. Victors other troops hold back on the neck. Ney pushes forward towards Ailles.

T2 (1110) Skirimishers push forward. Ney reaches the small bridge just past La Maison Blaume.

T3 (1120) Skirmishers almost in contact. Ney splits forces sending the Spanish Brigade towards Ailles and the rest towards the ridge - but mindful of the Cossacks

T4 (1130) Nansouty's cavalry starts to emerge from the woods on the S spur. Guard artillery moves onto the neck. Skirmisher firefights start in the woods both N and S of the neck.

T6 (1150) Exelman's cavalry move N on the spur, towards the Russian 2nd line guns. Some Russian cav being sent S. Guard infantry begins to move onto the neck but already getting very congested. Victors Young Guard is slowly pushing the Jaegers back, but with more success in the S.

T8 (1210) Young Guard in the S wood almost pushed through to edge, but Guard in N wood being pushed back.

T9 (1220) The Cossacks above Ailles finally decide to charge Ney's advancing infantry but bounce back.

T10 (1230) Young Guard now at edge of both woods, in S try and exit but bounced by defending Russians. Most of Nansouty's cavalry now on the plateau. De Morvan's Division which had been seconded from Mortiers Corps to bolster Nansouty's cavalry only force starts to emerge from the woods.

T11 (1240) Nansouty charges the Russian Pavlograd Hussars which have been monitoring him. In the N wood the Russian 14th Jaegers have pushed through the Young Guard line, but 15th Jaeger are being pushed back out of the woods.

T12 (1250) The Pavlograd Hussars rout the 1st Provisional Hussars but spent on followup surrounded by De Morvan's infantry. 3rd Tirallieurs finally exit the S wood on the flank of one of the Russian guns at the head of the neck.

T13 (1300) Nansouty's cavalry advances in skirmish order against the 2nd line Russian guns, but 2nd Provisional Hussars routed by Don Cossacks. Charpentier assaults the Russian battery from the edge of the S wood. Ney's lead troops almost cresting the plateau, whilst his Spanish Brigade invests Ailles.

T15 (1320) Nansouty's Grenadiers a Cheval chase off the Cossacks. Nansouty's guns decimate the Pensa IR which had formed square at the far S end of the spur.

T16 (1330) Charpentier's infantry exploits L and C beyond the Russian battery. Grouchy's cavalry finally has space to start moving across the neck. Vorontzov moves some infantry against Ney's forces cresting the plateau. The Pavlograd Hussars are finally chased off by the 1st Guard Lancers - but annoyingly for little loss (these Hussars were an annoyance to the French for the whole game), but they rout into the 10th Tirallieurs who are just following up a Russian battalion they have routed.

T17 (1340) There is an evolving cavalry melee between the Nansouty and Vorontzov cavalry on the spur.

T19 (1400) On the middle table the Polish Lancers melee with the Don Cossacks. In the centre the Russian guns(mostly spent) and infantry are pulling back to the 2nd line, with a few infantry battalions in square against the advancing Guard cavalry. Ney is making a 2nd assault up the slope.

T20 (1410) 2nd Provisional Hussars charge the Russian 2nd line battery SE of La Bovelle, but take 4 casualties and are Broken.

T21 (1420) Guard Chasseurs a Cheval charge the 8/9th Don Cossacks. 26th & 27th Chasseurs a Cheval charge the Vlapov (?) Don Cossacks. The French forces a now well S of La Bovelle and beginning to wrap around it.

T22 (1430) At the W end of the neck 1st Fusilier Grenadiers charge a Russian square of the combined grenadier companies of 15th Div and routs them. De Morvan's Division is pressing the Russian 2nd line gun SE of La Bovelle, which is now spent.

T23 (1440) A 2nd Russian square beyond the neck routs due to close range artillery fire and friends routing. Cossacks charge one of the Guard batteries on the neck. Ney and Rebeval pushing up onto the plateau again, which is now defended by a line of Tulsa IR.

T25 (1500) Russian centre now in full retreat to La Bovelle. The gap SW of La Bovelle which Nansouty and De Morvan had been hoping to exploit is rapidly being filled by Olsuflov's IX Corps with cavalry and artillery. French orders adjusted to try and exploit further S towards Paissy and Vanstcesse.

T26 (1510) De Morvan's Division now on the 2nd table, which is now the focus of action in all three sectors.

T27 (1520) Nansouty and De Morvan move WSW towards the stream crossing W of Paissy. Ney has cleared all but one building of Ailles from the Russians, with some others on fire, but exploitation W is stalling due to the lack of cavalry - the ridge W from Ailles now lined with cavalry and guns - the Russians having no infantry W of La Bovelle, it all being bottled up in the village.

T28 (1530) The Russian Beckendorff Hussars (them again) are enfolding the front of La Bovelle with Russian guns. The Russian 3rd line guns W of La Bovelle are frustrating any flanking move by Nansouty.

T29 (1540) Nansouty's cavalry is beaten back from the stream crossing by flanking fire from Paissy (although not quite sure how they managed to shoot up that slope :-) ), and the guns on the other side of the stream. Ney is still fighting over Ailles.

T30 (1550) Russian gun line at La Bovelle is keeping the French Guard from closing, and the Hussars are keeping them in square.

T31 (1600) Nansouty has another push on the L flank. Empress Dragoons charge the Russian guns in front of La Bovelle but are beaten back.

T32 (1610) Guard Horse artillery on L flank starts bombarding Caissy. Beckendorff Hussars finally pulled back into La Bovelle and their guns are more or less spent so a direct assault by Mortiers forces is likely to commence next go.

At this point the game was halted and a Russian victory declared. The French had not been able to successfully flank La Bovelle, and the Russians had put up a stout defence which had slowed the central advance.

There is a full set of photos taken with a proper camera here on Flickr.

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This page contains a single entry by David published on August 7, 2014 7:19 PM.

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