The game began on Thursday evening (3/1), after a barbecue dinner, around 18:00; or perhaps it was more like 19:00? Anyway, that night we played about ten turns (I think), finishing around 22:00 or so—each turn representing about 15 minutes of real time. The turns that night were reported in part two of this series of posts.
On Friday (4/1) we re-commenced play at 09:00, with a brief break for morning tea, about an hour for lunch, a rolling afternoon tea and further time out for dinner. We ceased play around 22:00 (see part three).
Saturday's play, the subject of this post, began a little more leisurely at 09:30.
There is a central table that is 24’ x 4’ around which are ‘layers’ of 8’ x 2’ tables. These latter are on casters so can be wheeled in and out as need for game play, over-view of the battle—and photos.
Soult and d'Hautpoul continued from where they left off, driving north-west in the general direction of the Pratzen heights (away to the top right of the photo, well out of camera shot).
On Bernadotte's left, Murat's heavy cavalry continued to face-off with Liechtenstein's troopers.
With the Russian 12 pdr battery temporarily withdrawn, my 8e ligne attacked the isolated Russian infantry (those guns represent battalion guns).
Back in the centre, that d@mned 12 pdr battery had deployed again, so I sent infantry of 1st division to outflank it, some Cossacks had other ideas...
Next it was the turn of the Guard infantry (once again, the guns represent battalion guns).
The Russian Guard Hussars, 'charging' while blown, cleared away the next French gun,
Suddenly, it seemed that everyone was activated, with charges across the table.
In the north, Bagration's light cavalry took on light and heavy cavalry from Murat's reserve.
With Rivaud's 1st division infantry of I Corps pulled back from the 12 pdrs, Nansouty sent in the supporting cuirassiers.
The stalling of the French attack in the centre did not matter as Legrand and Davout had achieved wonders in the south. First one and then the other of Docturov's brigades retreated, followed later by Langeron's.
At this point (Saturday night) the game was called as a French victory.
Let's do a quick recce. of the table.
Interestingly, the plans of both sides had failed. The allies intended to use Buxhowden's wing (Langeron and Docturov) as the hammers against the anvil of Kollowrath with the Guard and cavalry joining in the assault. The French had intended to break the allied centre and then swing right (or left) as befitted the situation. While the French attack on the centre achieved some success, it was blunted by some dour defence, hesitant attack (especially by Bernadotte) and the Russian Guard's counter-attack. So it was that the brilliant success of Davout and Legrand (in particular), and Lannes' holding action which became a local victory along with the successful attack on the Pratzen heights that decided the day.
While not the utter rout of history, the French victory was significant and may well have lead to the treaty desired by Napoleon. It would have tested the theory of historians such as Alistair Horne who have assessed that Napoleon's compete victory at Austerlitz contributed to the on-going wars and his eventual downfall. One can only ponder such alternative histories.
It was a fabulous game. A huge, public thank you to the wargaming hosts with the most, Tim and Jill and to all of the NWA Napoleonic group for allowing me once again to join them for their special, annual mega-game. Thank you all.
After the packing up on Sunday, I did some more visiting of rellies in Vic. and SA that afternoon/evening, Monday and Tuesday. I left Adelaide to hit the road in earnest on Tuesday afternoon, reaching WA early afternoon on Wednesday.
I had my biggest drive that day (1 254 km), stopping at a marvellous camp spot west of Caiguna.
Part two of this series of posts stimulated a bit of discussion about summer temperatures in different environments across the world. We had one of our common, hot summer days yesterday (max. over 41ºC), with a cool change to 37ºC today ahead of mid to low 30s for the rest of the week, and associated cool nights of around 15ºC (my personal preferred summer pattern). It's a much drier environment than Drouin, especially in summer, but there is plenty of beauty.
Here's one amazing example, that we have not previously seen. This normally orange-flowered Bougainvillea has, on one branch, both orange and purple flowers. It's wonderful to see the ranges and changes in the landscape and vegetation as one drives across Australia, but there are always wonders in one's own front yard. Isn't nature wonderful?!