One of the strengths of Volley & Bayonet is the ability of refighting historical battles. Further, the rules for me capture both the feeling of a major battle yet retaining sufficient detail that I know I’m fighting a Napoleonic battle. In fact picking up a description of these famous battles and I’m struck by the fact the the authors dialogue could equally be describing last week’s Volley & Bayonet game.
Over the years I’ve refought a reasonable number of battles using the rules. But one I haven’t played is Borodino. The other week I was contacted by email regarding the availability of the Borodino Scenario which, like several others, has been off-line while I reformat them. While reformatting is a slow process at the best of time, the email encouraged me to push this scenario further up the queue. After a several hours work I’m pleased to report Geoffrey Wootten’s epic Borodino Scenario is again on-line. It includes a few minor updates to align it with the latest edition of the rules, but is otherwise unchanged.
In many ways Borodino needs no introduction, yet perhaps it does. For me David Chandler places it into context in his “The Campaigns of Napoleon”. Napoleon had at his disposal around 124,000 infantry, 24,000 cavalry and 587 cannon. The Russians 72,000 infantry, possibly 10,000 militia, 24,000 cavalry including Cossacks, and 640 cannon. During the course of the battle Chandler notes the French alone would fire 90,000 artillery rounds and perhaps two million infantry cartridges during the day. The result would be almost 30% of those engaged would become casualties.
Now, if you are thinking of refighting Borodino you will be wondering how many figures will be required. Well a quick review of Geoffrey’s scenario suggests you will need the 43 stands of French and allied infantry, 32 stands of French and allied foot artillery, around 10 stands of horse artillery and a respectable 26 stands of cavalry. The Russians on the other hand will require 45 stands of infantry, 5 stands of militia, some 49 stands of artillery and 20 stands of cavalry. Not a small number, yet certainly achievable. That said I’m woefully short of Russians with a paltry 17 stands of foot artillery based.
Enough of an introduction. You can find Geoffrey’s fine scenario here, or under the Napoleonic Scenario Section of this site.
For those interested I have just completed updating the Franco-Prussian War Scenario section of this site. This includes moving the previous scenarios into a PDF format.
In the process I have taken the time to update the exhaustion values and morale values for the orders of battle. In particular in the second edition of the rules artillery counts for both division exhaustion and losses. This I hope will aid those using the scenarios with the second edition of the rules.
The scenarios are Wissembourg, Spicheren, Froeschwiller, Borny-Colombey and Mars-La-Tour. Each of course provide some interesting challenges! The scenarios can of course be found here.
So, pick up your Chassepot rifle, limber up the mitrailleuse battery, and join Maréchal Bazaine defending the borders of France.
Gaines Mill is for me a fascinating battle and one that I have been hoping to play for sometime. It has been made even more interesting by my recent visit to the battlefield.
It of course is set against the Peninsula Campaign and the Union advance on Richmond. With Lee taking the field the Confederate forces undertook a series of troop movements and battles that unhinged the Union forces arrayed in front of the Rebel capital. Gaines Mill, fought on the 27th of June found Lee launching the largest Confederate attack of the war, with some 57,000 men in six divisions. In the early afternoon, A.P. Hill ran into strong Union forces deployed along Boatswain’s Creek. This swampy stream, slopes and hasty defences provided a major obstacle.
The resulting attacks resulted an intense battle, the largest of the Seven Days and the only clear-cut Confederate tactical victory of the Peninsula Campaign. While McClellan had already planned to shift his supply base to the James River, his defeat unnerved him and he abandoned his advance on Richmond. This scenario was created by Andy Nicoll and Jim Nevling and can be found here.
For those interested my visit to the battlefield is documented here. For additional reading I would highly recommend Stephen Sears “To the Gates of Richmond” which describes the battle well and places it in the context of the Peninsula Campaign.
There are a few excellent Volley & Bayonet blogs on the Internet, one is the Seven Years War blog run by Fabrizio Davì called the Torgau Project. Here Fabrizio documents his research and army building, in 6mm. Recently Fabrizio has posted a four part series on the scenario and mini campaign for the Battle of Korbitz which is now packaged up as a full scenario and published here. To set the scene I will hand over to Fabrizio.
At the beginning of September 1759, a Prussian relief corps under Maj.Gen. Wunsch was sent to counter the Austro-Imperial invasion of Saxony: despite arriving too late to prevent the Dresden surrender, it recaptured however most of northern Saxony. With the help of a corps commanded by Lt.Gen Finck, Wunsch recaptured Leipzig: the two reunited corps marched then on Meissen. To counter them the GFML prince Friedrich von Pflaz-Zweibrücken, commander-in-chief of the Reichsarmee, left 16 battalions to garrison Dresden and marched with his army, reinforced by the Austrian corp of Hadik to attack them. The whole operation was supervised by Field Marshal Serbelloni.
The plan was to fix the Prussian left wing in front of Meissen with the Reichsarmee whereas Hadik was to flank the Prussian position with his corps. The Wunsch wing contained the Reichsarmee ineffective attack: in the meantime Hadik attacked the Finck wing. The approach march of Hadik wing was delayed by the very poor terrain conditions and Hadik asked repeatedly to call off the attack. However Serbelloni ordered to proceed and Hadik troops arrived piecemeal on the battle scene.
To continue with the background and see the full scenario click here or visit the Scenario Section of this site.