Our game was - unusually for me - one of the published scenarios from Commands & Colors: Napoleonics. This was No.312 - Eggmühl - Day 2 - French Left, which I think must be from Expansion 3 (the Austrian bit). One reason I am always hesitant about using other people's scenarios is because they are usually designed to give both sides a chance of winning, which is OK from a social aspect but sometimes dubious historically, and often (I have found) they give you a grinding match while one side waits for a lucky dice roll or a show-stopping card to give them an edge. I'm sure that GMT Games and their countless fans will not worry at all about my views, I hasten to add.
Anyway, we used the scenario, and it looked interesting, and in fact it gave us a nice game. A feature of the day was that we also used some experimental house tweaks to the rule system. I don't wish to say too much about these at present, since they are still under development, but they seemed promising.
Neither am I going to discuss the real (i.e. historical) battle, since it is well-known, and the portion of it we were playing, though it makes a decent standalone game, is a bit odd in isolation. I will, however, mention briefly the small matter of spelling. If you know better, or can give a better-informed view, please do pitch in here. The locals call the place Eggmühl - I have a locally-produced tourist souvenir of the battle, and there it is - Egg - as in Scrambled Egg. Not Eck, as in Prince of Eckmühl, or as in Bloomin' 'Eck. I assume that the proper German name must be Eckmühl - "the corner mill" (bend in the river Grosse Laabe?), and that the local Bavarian dialect says Egg. The French have always called it Eckmühl, of course, but their track record with German place names is not good anyway. [Ratisbonne? What's that?]
As usual, I'll attempt to fill in a narrative around the photos. In passing, I managed to get hold of some brighter bulbs for the over-table lighting (1200 lumen halogens, two of them, which are supposed to give the same light as old-money 150w jobs, but much less heat), so the photos may be a little brighter than in previous efforts.
As a spoiler, I have to tell you that the French lost [damn]. It wasn't a complete whitewash, but the field is very busy with villages and woods, and the Austrian line infantry, slow-moving and potentially brittle though they are, have 5-blocks-worth of musketry per battalion, and that is a very serious prospect all round. And, of course, Goya commanded his defence rather better than did Rosenberg in 1809. Our rules of the day stipulated 10 Victory Banners for the win, but the situation was sometimes quite difficult to follow, since there were temporary VBs available for possession of the villages, and the exact timing of when these counted was sufficiently complicated for me still to be unable to understand it this morning. I think the final score was about 10-7 to the Kaiserlichs, but I'll take advice on that. French did well enough, but couldn't keep up any kind of momentum in the face of the Austrian musketry.
By the way, if my account of the day shows a little French bias, I hope you will indulge me - the defeat is too recent and too painful. Like all military history, it may take some years for a truthful impartiality to creep into the narrative.
|View straight down the middle of the table at the same stage - note that the Bavarians |
have some distance to advance across open farmland to attack the village and woods
in the centre.
|On the French left, Friant made a big push through the woods and towards Obersanding. |
Heavy going. The dude on the right hand edge, on his own, is Davout, currently Duc
d'Auerstadt and, sadly, destined to remain so.
|The problem - too many Hungarians in the Plastic Forest. You're sure of a |
|Erm - and suddenly the French had a lot less troops advancing on the left...|
|...and St Hilaire's division in the centre didn't fancy their chances much...|
|...and the Bavarians, though they are fleetingly back in Unterlaichling here, with some |
French légère boys on their left, were running out of men and out of steam.
|Theme for the day - the French needed a bigger superiority in numbers to win the day. |
Here they just don't have enough fresh troops left, and we are getting near the end.