Monday, April 12, 2021

Battle Report: Blucher- The French Empire Strikes Back!


I always start these games with the following caveat:  I know NOTHING about the Napoleonic Wars.  In fact, about the only thing I know comes from reading Sharpe!  However, every wargamer eventually ends up doing something with them because the era is just too darn compelling not too!  Blucher is my window into this world of wargaming because it abstracts the tactics due to the level of play it is, and it can be used with cards.  Everyone knows I love Paper Templates!  

After the border clash with the Prussians, the French have decided to go on offensive!  They crushed the Prussians so badly, that they did not expect them to get much of an army together in the area.  For the most part, they were right and they marched in Prussian territory looting and living off the land.  However, the Prussians were quickly shuttling troops from elsewhere to resist them, and it was only a handful of weeks before another Prussian force was in the field to oppose the French.  After a series of maneuvers, the two sides met for battle once more.  

Nice and generic intro for this game! 


This time, we agreed to 18 French units in 3 corps, vs. 21 Prussian units also in 3 Corps.  Like last time, we went with randomly assigned forces!  We took the cards from the 100 Days campaign box and shuffled them up.  We then drew the forces out of the deck randomly.  Therefore, we will get some pretty unusual Corps composition with some strange units in them!  You can not always fight with the army you want, but the one you have instead! 


1st Corp:  

  1. Infantry Regiment #22
  2. Infantry Regiment #23
  3. Infantry regiment #24
  4. 6th Kurmarsk Landwehr
  5. 4th Silesian Landwehr
  6. Schwerin Light Cavalry
  7. Foot artillery
2nd Corp: 
  1. Infantry Regiment #18
  2. Infantry regiment #28
  3. Sohr Light Cavalry
  4. Thumen Light Cavalry
  5. 1st Kurmarsk Landwehr
  6. Horse Artillery
  7. Heavy Artillery
3rd Corp:
  1. Infantry Regiment #6
  2. Infantry Regiment #10
  3. Infantry Regiment #29
  4. 2nd Silesian Landwehr
  5. 3rd Silesian Landwehr
  6. 2nd Kurmarsk Landwehr
  7. 5th Westphalian Landwehr
This Prussian force seems to be pretty infantry heavy, with a decent backbone of regular units.  Should be good for breaking through the French lines! 


1st Corp: 
  1. 2/14 Toussaint
  2. Horse Artillery
  3. 2/Grenadiers
  4. 1/11 Dufour
  5. Horse Artillery
  6. 2/12 Schaeffer
2nd Corp: 
  1. 1/Grenadiers
  2. Maurin Light Cavalry
  3. Horse Artillery
  4. 2/2 Aulard
  5. 2/10 Dupeyroux
  6. 2/9 Jamin
3rd Corp:
  1. 1/12 Rome
  2. 1/1 Quiot
  3. 2/8 Corsin
  4. Guard Foot Artillery
  5. Heavy Artillery
  6. 2/13 Desprez
In fine French tradition, they seem to have the advantage in artillery.  Plus, the two grenadier units will give them a stiff backbone to the force!  


Both armies have two objective markers in the enemies back field. 

In addition, they are looking to break the enemy force by reaching their respective break points in lost units.  The Prussians break at 10, and the French at 9 Units.  

Like last time, the French are on the West side of the board, while the Prussians are on the East.  Between them is a valley, and both armies are stationed amongst the hills and heights.  In the center of the valley is a copse of trees.  

The Prussian objective is to the Northwest behind the French left, and to the Southwest beyond the hills.  The French is behind the Prussian center, and one to the Northwest on the bluffs.  

The armies are placed in their "blind" state, so it is hard to tell who is what, and where they are at set-up.  I forgot to take pictures before the game started!  Woops!  

The Game
There are potentially 30 turns to the game, so I will not detail every turn.  Instead, I will try to document the flow of the battle as it progresses from morning, to mid-day, to afternoon, and into the evening.

The French forces moving up looked a bit thin compared to the Prussian forces.  However, the French looked strong in the Center, while the Prussians looked thin there.  French Horse Artillery range ahead of main force.  By mid-day, the French horse artillery has the range and position.  They begin counter-battery fire on the Prussian Heavy Artillery.  The battle has truly begun! 

Closest to camera is the Prussian Right flank

The Prussian guns are no longer silent, but the batteries on the Prussian left target a French infantry regiment instead of the French guns.  On the left the Prussians continue to advance, with their formation taking on an echelon approach across the line.  The French and Prussian guns exchange fire.  

Prussian Center

Early in the mid-day, the French advance hesitates as they redress their lines.  Poor command means very little movement occurs as they re-shuffle.  This gives the Prussian guns more time to pound the center and the French right.  The Prussian Left moves into musketry range.  
Prussian Left

Just before Mid-day, the French Horse Artillery in the Center manage to break a Prussian Horse Artillery unit opposite them, and force them to withdraw.  However, French musketry proves lack luster at the point of the Prussian attack.  The Prussians are mush more effective there, and the Prussian Foot artillery breaks a French Horse Artillery unit.  Meanwhile, Landwehr units moves to put the French attack in the center into a cul-de-sac of pain. 

Prussian Center

As Mid-day approaches the afternoon, Musketry fire erupts across the Prussian Left (French Right) and Center as the infantry exchange a brisk fire.  The Prussian Regiment #24 is repulsed in an assault against the battered 2/10 Dupreyoux.  Meanwhile, a charge on the French far right pushes back the Landwehr there, and the light cavalry on the flanks engage indecisively.  French Grenadiers march from reserve and take the heights near the Prussian Objective on the French right.  The French Left also moves to engage the Landwehr on that flank.  

Prussian Left

The 4th Silesian Landwehr is withdrawn from the Prussian left, leaving a bit of gap to be filled by the 6th Kurmark Landwehr.  The Prussian Foot artillery is also withdrawn as they were low on ammo. The frontline French forces are starting to see some heavy casualties building up.  

Prussian Left

The Prussian attack on the Left is barely being held off by the thin line of French defenders.  The French light cavalry manages to see off the Prussians in vicious close combat.  However, the French attack in the center looks to be stopped, as the Infantry Regiment #28 routs the 1/11 Dafour with a charge and the 2nd Kurmask Landwehr obliterates the 2/12 Schaeffer with overwhelming firepower!  

Prussian Center

In the middle of the Afternoon, Prussian Light Cavalry came from reserve and quickly moved through the gaps in the Prussian Left and Prussian Center.  They moved to threaten the French Heavy Artillery and towards one of the Prussian objectives behind the heights on the left flank.  

Gap between the Prussian Left and Center

Late Afternoon is tough for the Prussians as they lose 3 units.  The French on the Prussian left are holding, and the right is collapsing.  However, the Center is holding, except for a French grenadiers unit pushing through to the French objective!  On the Prussian left the Infantry Regiment #23 finally forces 2/10 Dupreyoux to withdraw from the field.  In addition, Thunen's light cavalry is repulsed by the Heavy Artillery in an assault!  Both sides need only lose two more units to lose the game! 

View across the front, with the Prussian Left in the foreground

It is early evening, and the battle is on the brink.  The Light Cavalry from both forces managed to secure an Objective.  However, the 2/Grenadiers are being bogged down from reaching their objective by 1st Kurmask Landwehr.  The Infantry regiment #22 manages to break through the 2/2 Alulard on the Prussian left, but they are in bad shape.  Both sides are 1 unit away from breaking, and the Prussian Light Cavalry is threatening the final objective.  
Prussian Center and Right

By Mid-evening, the Prussians have had enough!  They withdraw from the field, just outside of their last objective.  The 1/Grenadiers blasted Infantry Regiment #22 off the field with a well-timed close range volley of musketry.  With the Prussian left obliterated, the center weakening, and the Prussian Right also under heavy attack, the troops had enough a decided the fight was over.  

Prussian Left


French narrowly win!  The Prussians were beating down the door to their last objective, and the French were only 1 Unit away from breaking.  Some well timed withdrawals kept them going at the end and denied me the last Unit I needed to win.  

Withdrew- 3 Units
Broken- 9 Units

Withdrew- 7 Units
Broken- 6 Units  

So close!   As the Prussians, I really thought my Light Cavalry blitz through the gap was going to be the game winner.  1 more turn and it would have been!  In retrospect, I should have withdrawn on the Left flank sooner.  You can see by the Withdrawn count that I was very aggressive with my units today, and ultimately that is what cost me the game.  I guess I was confident as I was outnumbering the French and had a higher Break Point.   

Today, we went 26 turns!  Almost the whole game length before we reached a decision.  I am sure we are not playing everything 100% right, but we are having a good time doing it!  Those damn French are a tough nut to crack!  The Grenadiers were amazing and in my mind were decisive units.  My Landwehr did their job for the most part, but let me down on the Prussian left, but did great in the Center. 

Overall, I look forward to playing again.               


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