Monday, March 22, 2021

Battle Report: Blucher- Prussians vs French


I know nothing about the Napoleonic Wars.  If it wasn't in a Sharpe book then I really know nothing about it!  However, as a Wargamer it is the 600 pound gorilla in the room.  I have always had some interest in the big battles, the tactics, the pageantry and the big hats!  However, that has easily been countered by the historical details, the many rule sets, basing, and the lack of a Nappie mentor.  

Therefore, to help me get a feel for the world of Nappies, I bought the Blucher and 100 Days game late in 2018, and played in early 2019.  I really liked the ability to use cards instead of models, and it gave me a high level introduction to the period without getting bogged down in the minutiae of it.  Plus, the rule set itself was very user friendly and gave a good balanced game.  Therefore, I broke it out again for some more gaming this year as a palette cleanser and to do something completely different.

Prussian forces are maneuvering to try and enter France and bring the war "home" to their enemies.  However, French commanders have been alerted and have moved 3 Corps to intercept them.  The two forces meet and a battle is fought near the border.   


Since I know nothing about the period, I decided to go completely "ahistorical" for our outing today.  I took the cards from the 100 Days box for the Prussians and the French.  I shuffled them, and I drew 18 cards for each army, 6 into each Corp.  


1st Corp

  1. Foot artillery 
  2. Landwehr Cavalry
  3. 4th Silesian Landwehr
  4. Infantry regiment #11
  5. 2nd Elbe Landwehr
  6. Foot artillery
2nd Corp

  1. Infantry Regiment #15
  2. Horse Artillery
  3. Infantry Regiment #9
  4. 2nd Silesian Landwehr
  5. 1st Pommern Landwehr
  6. Heavy Artillery
 3rd Corp

  1. Heavy Artillery
  2. Infantry Regiment #29
  3. Infantry Regiment #27
  4. 1st Silesian Landwehr
  5. Infantry Regiment #14
  6. 3rd Kurmark Landwehr           

An infantry heavy force with a decent amount of artillery support.  A mixed bag of units for sure.  The Third Corp seems like the Prussian heavy hitter.....


1st Corp

  1. 1/12 Rome
  2. 2/11 Logarde
  3. 2/Grenadiers
  4. 2/7 Piat
  5. 2/9 Jamin
  6. Heavy artillery
2nd Corp
  1. 1/10 Grengoult
  2. 2/10 Dupeyroux
  3. Maurin Light Cavalry
  4. 1/1 Quiot
  5. 1/4 Pegot
  6. 2/2/ Aulard
3rd Corp
  1. 4 Soult Light Cavalry
  2. 1/19 Bellair
  3. 1/14 Hulot
  4. 2/8 Corsin
  5. 1/ Chassuers- Old Guard
  6. Heavy Artillery

The French came with plenty of line infantry as well!  However, it looks like the French have the cavalry advantage, even if it is only one unit.  

I am not using any personality cards for this game. 


Both armies have 2 Objectives placed on the field.  This will just be a straight up battle with both forces trying to break each other OR secure their objectives behind their enemy lines.  


The board is a 6 foot by 4 foot board.  The French and the Prussians both have some heights on their side of the board.  The French are on the West, and the Prussians are on the East.  There is a small pond and swampy region on the northern side of the center line of the board.  Other than that, there was very little terrain of interest.    

One interesting thing in Blucher is that both sides set-up using blinds!  You place the cards face down, and they are not revealed unless they shoot, or move into view.  Therefore, when we look at the board we see 18 cards per side with their national flag on the back.  

The Prussians have the 3rd Corp deployed on their right, then the 2nd and the 1st is on their left.  The French have the 2nd on their right, then the 1st in the center, and 3rd Corp on their left.  

The Battle

The French are on the offensive so will begin turn 1, as both armies are ready to engage in the morning.  Each turn the one player takes all actions, but is limited by their Momentum, as tracked by the opponent who secretly rolls the momentum dice.  Since the game has 30 turns using an I-GO-U-GO system, I will not detail out each turn.  That will get boring! Instead, I will just try to share the flow of the battle as it evolves and key moments.  

Prussian Right early in the battle

By mid-morning, the Prussian left and the French right had moved to engagement range.  However, most of the rest of both armies seemed stalled.  They both seemed to be deploying in echelon into the fight.  The Prussian 1st Corp and the French 2nd Corp seemed eager for a fight.  Meanwhile the Corps in the center were a bit more sluggish, with the other Corps still having units as blinds and still at the base line.  The Prussian Horse Artillery of the 1st Corp start the battle by shelling the French 2/10 Dupeyroux regiment at the forefront of the French advance.  

Prussian Left and French Right engage at mid-morning

Scattered firing breaks out as the various Infantry units on the south side of the battlefield begin to find the range.  Skirmishers are deployed and attack.  As Morning wanes into Mid-day, the Prussian Infantry Regiment #15 makes contact with the French 1/10 Grengoult and are bloodily repulsed.  The Prussian Heavy and Foot artillery also manages to fire on the French center Corps Heavy artillery and cause some damage.  However, the strong French battle line is able to deliver effective firepower on the leading Prussian units.  
Prussian Left

Skirmishing and volley fire breaks out across the front, with the main action still concentrated on the South side of the battlefield (Prussian left and French right).  Both the Prussian and French forces are grinding it out with short range firepower punctuated with hand-to-hand assaults.  Meanwhile, to the North the French artillery has taken a beating but has forced the 2nd Elbe landwehr to withdraw from the battle.  Just as French line infantry have begun to engage on that flank with skirmishers.  

Prussian Right

At the mid-day point, the first French unit is broken by firepower on the French right.  The 1/4 Pegot regiment on the hillside is forced to fall back.  Meanwhile, one of the French Heavy batteries is also withdrawn, their ammo spent.  Despite the loss, the French forces are on the attack, and are in good position!  The Prussians had to withdraw their Heavy battery and Foot artillery in the Center, and a Landwehr regiment on the Prussian left.

Prussian Left, will the Prussians be able to turn the flank?
French troops manage to smash through Prussian Infantry Regiments #15, #9, and #27 at the main point of attack on the French right.  This leaves only Landwehr to hold the line, while the French have a reserve of Line Infantry moving up!  In desperation, Prussian Heavy and Foot artillery come out of reserve to fill the gap in the Center.  Prussian counter-attacks on their Right flank are repulsed, while on the left at the foot of the heights they push back the French.  

The French repulse the Prussian attack on the Prussian Left!

The Prussian counter-attack on the French right is short lived as the reserve Line Infantry units destroy the Prussian Infantry Regiment #14 in combat.  The last French Heavy Artillery battery withdraws from the field as the French line infantry push their assault. On the French Left a light cavalry unit moves up from reserves to threaten the far flank.  Prussian Landwehr Cavalry comes out of reserve and counter-attacks the French light Cavalry on the Prussian right, but to no avail.  The newly arrived Prussian artillery punishes the 2/9 Jamin in the Center.  The battle for the heights on the Prussian left is easily pushed back by the light cavalry on higher ground.  However, the Prussians do manage to break another French Line Infantry unit!  
The Prussian Right is also crumbling under the French attack

As dinner time approaches, the French seem to have broken through on the Prussian right, only the de-moralized Infantry Regiment #11 still stands to stop them, after the Grenadiers obliterate the 4th Silesian landwehr, and Soult's cavalry finishes off Sydow's Landwehr cavalry. The Prussians have lost 7 units, with a break point of 9.  The French have only lost 3.  

The 1st Silesian was badly injured by the French cavalry and withdraws, as does the Infantry regiment #11.  An assault on the Prussian left is easily dealt with by the French Line infantry there.  However, the Prussian cannons in the Center do manage to rout another French unit.

The Prussian Right crumbles

As evening settles in, the battle is all but over.  The French push manages to sweep up the Prussian foot artillery, taking them to 8 units broken.  Despite the French's best efforts, they can not completely break the Prussian army.  Seeing all hope lost, the remnants of the Prussian force withdraw with their tails between their legs, thoroughly beaten.  Meanwhile, the French still had the Old Guard Chasseurs in reserve.    
French victory as the remaining Prussians withdraw

The French force the Prussians back across the border and into their own territory.  The Empire was safe again, and the drumming they gave the Prussians would hopefully keep them away for the weeks to come. 

As the Prussian player, I knew I had an uphill battle.  Landwehr were no match against the Grenadiers and Line Infantry of the French.  I had hoped to turn the Prussian left flank, and things looked promising when I broke the French line infantry on the edge, however, I just couldn't sweep the French light cavalry off the top of the heights, and my opponent was able to shore it up with more Line units.  

I knew my Right and center would be vulnerable, so I tried to delay there as long as I could.  It actually lasted longer than I expected, but when the French broke through my line Infantry on the South Side of the battle, I knew it was pretty much all over but the crying.

Final tally:

Withdrew- 2
Broken- 4

Withdrew- 5
Broken- 8

Ouch!  The way we "picked" armies led to a somewhat lopsided game.  However, that is war!  You do not always get to fight with the units you want, but the units you have!  Overall, I found it a fun challenge and Blucher always plays differently than most games I play.  The short ranges and movement make it especially interesting since you are coordinating armies.  I look forward to trying it again soon!          



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