Our first game was Vitebsk, a rear guard action where the Russians held against the French pursuit.
Our second game was Smolensk. Once the French reached the city of Smolensk, Napoleon assembled the army to stage an assault. Barclay de Tolly maintained control of the Russian army despite a near-coup by Constantine (the Tsar’s brother) over a disagreement about withdrawing towards Moscow or standing and fighting at the city.
The scenario begins at approximately 2pm with Napoleon ordering three corps forward against the city. In our game, the French committed the Polish V Corps against the suburbs immediately, eventually putting in Davout’s lead division and finally Ney’s. The French cavalry took a beating on the right flank but the Russians ended the day no better off. After a handful of hours the French had cleared the two southern suburbs, Ney’s lead division had just begun to push into the Kranse Suburb when Davout and the Guard Artillery broke through the ajoining suburb to strike the city.
The Polish corps was consumed by fatigue at this point and withdrew causing the east side of the battlefield to go quiet. With four more uncommitted French divisions and all their artillery now inposition the Russians were hard pressed but still holding the city gates.