Monday, 13 February 2017

3 700 km east to Austerlitz

Prior to Julian's recent, excellent post about our game of "Glorious First of June", it had been three months since our last post on this blog. The blogging may have been quiet over Dec–Jan, but there was plenty of action on wargames tables various.

For me, 2017 began with a mega-game of Austerlitz, thanks to the Nunawading Wargames Association.

Getting there was at least half the fun as I took the opportunity to drive the approximately 3700 km west to east across Australia to get there.

I have been fortunate to have played in one of the other of the Nunawading Wargames Association's January games, having joined them for Borodino in 2014. I was unable to make it to Waterloo in 2015 and they had a break in 2016, so it was marvellous to be able to join them for Austerlitz this year.

I won't try to do a full report of this magnificent game. Ben 'Rosbif' will be doing this and has already begun with Part 1 of his account

The table, prepared by Tim was spectacular as ever.

Darren devised a simple, effective and tension-building way to represent the early morning fog.

The French lead corps entered the fog from the west, heading NE and SE.

The scenario used the historical set-up and initial orders, so the allies held in the north while attacking from the south.

Some early action featuring Lannes' and Bagration's cavalry. As with the real thing northern sector was another world away in this game.

In the southern sector, the Russian 2nd column occupied the orchard between Sokolnitz and Sokolnitz castle and made a right mess of the place. No potatoes, so it was alcoholic cider that day...!!

I was most fortunate to be given command of St Hilaire's fine division from Soult's corps (thanks Andrew!).

As the fog lifted we fell on the disorganised and unsuspecting 3rd column that had become confused and lost, losing all formation integrity.

Next in our sights was 4th column. Vandamme's division took the lead in this attack, directed personally by Marshal Soult. 

It was a fast & furious advance that saw us re-occupying the Pratzen Heights—nearly capturing the Czar in the process.
(Okay, nothing of the sort really, I merely managed to snap this photo before they moved him!).

A couple of low shots to indicate the expanse of the table and grandeur of the game.

Having disposed of 3rd column, I prepared to continue on into 2nd...

Trouble is that the allies had other ideas forming a solid defensive line and sending their cavalry into our exposed flank, which was all the more so as I'd decided to career off to the south instead of swinging to the east with Vandamme.

My over-zealousness contributed to our lack of cavalry to exploit our success (or even defend our flank).

A divisional morale test was called for. Still, good troops, relatively light losses, they'd pass on anything but a...

... ten (i.e. '0' on D10).

Off we went.

Which left a bit of a gap!

Thanks to the timely arrival of Davout's (Bourcier's) dragoons there were sufficient French to hold the line until St Hilaire's division had rallied and come back to the front.

The allies were largely content to occupy the southern side of the Pratzen Heights... in some force!

After two and a half-fabulous days of wargaming the game had reached somewhat of a stalemate in the north, both sides having fought one another to a standstill. So it was that the extended battle for the Pratzen would decide the game as a draw of unlikely victory to one or the other side.

St Hilaire's orders were to attack, so that's what we did.

Forming his units in close column he drove for the 'hinge' held by the Austrian advance guard of Keinmayer.

Aided by good dice from me and poor rolling by John we cleared first the artillery, then their supporting infantry.

Causing the Austrian 'division' to retreat.

The game was called at this stage: a minor French victory. The allied players had done far, far better than their historical counter-parts and we French had done nowhere near as well.

Thanks so much again to all of the Nunawading Wargames Association Napoleonics players for allowing me to join their special weekend game. Thanks especially to Tim and Jill for their marvellous hospitality.

Next year it's Austerlitz again, but this time with freedom to the players to devise their own plans.

The New Year for us began with the Glorious First June. As I noted above, Julian has already put together a fine post about that game.

In coming posts I'll report on the games that we played in November and December last year. Here's a little taster.

Action at Pretzsch, 29 October 1759

An action that we played out twice, once using Age of Reason rules and the second with our adapted version of Zimmermann's rules. Both played out equally well, providing two excellent games and similar results.

Second Sicilian War

Carthaginian hegemony was not challenged by the result of our game!

Battle of Laüs

Based on the great victory of the Lucanians over the Greeks . Mark and I played it twice, changing sides, but neither of us was able to emulate the Lucanian's historical success.

Battle of Mt Vesuvius

First battle of the Third Servile War. Gaius Claudius Glaber's Rome Guard were once again swept aside by the 'Spartacans'.

Caesar's 1st invasion of Britain redux

That's two attempts and two failures for our version of Caesar!

Battle of Sahay 24 May, 1742

Another game from Charles S. Grant's fabulous historical scenarios for the War of Austrian War. A memorable French victory it was too. :)

Guest Blogger Starts Blogging! 

Our guest blogger Phil from York, UK has begun his own blog!
His first report is of his game of the Battle of Austerlitz, recognising a most unusual anniversary!


  1. An amazing spectacle! Well done. All the best, WM

  2. Le Beau Soliel shines again!


  3. What a wonderful post James. You really are a very dedicated wargamer mate to travel a continent...legend!

  4. Napoleon only had to travel 2,400 km to Borodino.

  5. Thanks Matt and David.

    They do a fabulous job of these big games (for a mob of Vics...!). I encourage you all to check out Ben's blog for more piccies and info. about the game (if you have not already done so).

    Carlo, it was great to be able to combine a wonderful drive over and back, a fabulous wargame and visits to family.

    Witty as ever Mark!

  6. Glad you were able to participate in this spectacular game, James! Driving 3700 Km (= 2,300 miles); that's a heck of a long way, even in US terms.... New York to Los Angeles is only a little further - 2800 miles!

  7. For contrast, Paris to Moscow is a mere 1500 miles!

  8. The 15th Austerlitz pic is absolutely EPIC! It sounded like incredible fun.