15/12/2015 at 15:50 #35665BanditParticipant
This past weekend was the quarterly mini-con ReCon in MPLS and TWC sponsored a game using an 1812 scenario we’ll be releasing in the future for the Battle of Loubino.
Following the Russian evacuation of Smolensk, Napoleon sent Murat and Ney east to attempt to pin the two retreating Russian armies in the open. Bagration largely let Barclay de Tolly hang out unsupported and once Murat’s cavalry tracked him down, Ney pushed forward with his own III Corps and some attached divisions from Davout’s I Corps (Gudin & Morand). Ney struck the Russians around Valoutino-Gora and there was a running fight moving east towards Loubino where a substantial action took place. This is the basis for our scenario.
Historically, Ney bombarded the Russian lines for some time, then attacked with his infantry, Murat flung his cavalry forward (I & II Reserve Cavalry Corps) but the marshy ground made it difficult for them and the approaches were rather narrow. Russian cavalry also tied up many of Murat’s troopers. Gudin’s division began to make headway against the Russians after several hours but then Gudin was killed by a cannonball. Junot’s entire Westphalian Corps was present but declined to engage, rumor is that Junot was drunk and suffering from depression. Murat and Ney both pleaded and screamed at him to little avail. He eventually sent forward a handful of battalions and squadrons but kept the overwhelming majority of his corps out of the action. Morand’s division was marching from the northern approach and eventually arrived but was too late, the Russians had secured their escape.
Our game played out similarly. The French (being wargamers) skipped the initial bombardment and just assaulted forward. This would prove costly as it meant their infantry would be fighting on even or worse terms against the Russians who brought up close artillery support. It took about three-four hours for the French to build enough pressure to cave in the Russian infantry in the center at which point the French infantry were just as exhausted as their Russian foes.
On the southern flank Murat’s cavalry attempted to outflank the Russian infantry but was bled off by the two Russian cavalry corps, inferior in number but of greater quality they managed to fight out to a draw, neutralizing the French threat.
The Russians had smartly held three divisions of infantry in reserve. One of those, the 1st Grenadier Division, observed its adjacent line divisions folding and ran itself but the others remained steady.
The game was called as the French had nothing further to put forward against the Russian reserves and so the battle game to a historical conclusion. A bit mauled but the Russians held their route of escape, a successful rear guard action.
More photos are posted on The Wargaming Company Gallery.
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