To Mark (and anyone else who might be interested),
Mark (RiverWanderer) and I will play our final on Sunday the 28th of April (unless something unexpected comes up, of course).
Time slot #1 (for the first battle): 9:00 - 12:00 GMT (which is 11:00 - 14:00 Central European Summer Time)
Time slot #2 (for the second battle): 17:00 - 20:00 GMT (which is 19:00 - 22:00 Central European Summer Time)
I included the CEST times because I always get a bit confused with summer time and time zones myself - this way there should be no confusion.
Looking forward to meeting Mark on the field of battle!
A little update for the interested: Due to delayed commitments elsewehere, I have been forced to move our 2nd time slot to 18h30 GMT (20h30 CEST). Thankfully, Mark has been flexible enough to allow for this shift.
In summary; Bosenitz proved key and was strongly contested from beginning to end. Blasowitz was relatively quiet, the French maintained a skirmishing threat there but did not attempt to force the town. Cavalry ranged across the field and was at the centre of much of the action but by the end, infantry too was almost all commited. A tense battle narrowing down to the closest of finishes; with at least four "match point" die rolls occurring in the last 3 or 4 turns, and decided by the very last die roll. Thanks to Stanislav for an epic game.
Battle opened around Bosenitz with the French putting up a vigorous defence. The action soon extended to the centre as cavalry on both sides jostled for an edge. Meanwhile, around Blasowitz, cossacks surged forward to screen the town from an evolving attack by French Light Infantry. As the dust settled, the battle was more or less evenly balanced at 5:4 to the French; the two sides stood back and re-grouped.
Now, the Russians manoeuvred under fire from the French artillery. A possible Cavalry Charge in preparation? Russian Guard Light Infantry conducted a successful skirmish to dent the French artillery; a lucky strike that eased pressure on the Russian centre. Shortly after came the expected Russian Cavalry Charge. It was partly successful but, a robust French response restored their lead (7:5), despite Battlefield Smoke protecting the Russians from a nine-dice combined arms.
Infantry on both sides advanced towards the centre. The Russians were soon in trouble; as Line Infantry were swept aside and a Horse Artillery unit was disadvantaged by a French Infantry Combat First. An exchange followed bringing the score to 9:7 to the French. Things were looking bad for the Russians especially with a key artillery unit Short Supplied, but once again, the two armies were stood back from each other across the field.
The French now advanced from Bosenitz, as if getting ready to launch an attack on the weakened Russian right flank. Some good ranged fire and a timely bayonet charge could spell the end for Russian hopes. The Russians though had been considering a Grand Manoeuvre to transform their attack on Bosenitz and now was the time; from the crest of the ridge emerged Russian batteries led by General Kamensky and supported by line infantry. Desperate French action to reduce the threat was betrayed by bad luck. Critically, a French line unit was reduced by battle-back and forced to retreat. Now the Russians could unleash "Fire and Hold" upon the town, just managing to remove the French Light there; +1 banner for the Russians and more importantly, -1 banner for the French, bringing the score to 8-all.
Now the French renewed their attack towards Blasowitz; could they get revenge for Bosenitz and reverse the Russian advantage? The Russians were now in a race to close on victory and pressed home attacks across the field. As the dust settled, two weakened French units had been destroyed. The Russians were now ahead on 10:8 but risks had been taken and the French response re-stabilised their position and brought the score to 10:9. A desperate fight to the finish now ensued. At Bosenitz, the Russians pressed home their advantage, prompting a valiant attempt to re-gain the town by French Light Cavalry. On the French right, their heavy cavalry charged into the woods, at last running down the retreating Russian light cavalry, to bring the banner count to 10:10.
The battle now entered the nerve-wracking final moments. The Russians had to force the French out of Bosenitz or lose the battle. The French had a difficult retire and reform decision to make but did so and the Russians took Bosenitz, putting victory in sight and transferring the same pressure to the French. The French lacked either the strength or orders to force the Russians out of one of the key towns, so took their chances in another cavalry assault on the woods near Blasowitz. They had to score 3 hits on a depleted Russian cavalry unit from a dual attack of 2 and 3 dice apiece. This became 2 hits needed from the final roll of 3 dice. The Russians could only breath a sigh of relief when the last dice roll came up with one hit only.
Thanks once more to Stanislav. Our second game follows shortly.
Our second encounter proved to be a fast-paced affair, dominated by cavalry action.
French defence of Bosenitz provoked Russian cavalry into the sector, triggering a sequence of cavalry battles that quickly resulted in casualties. Several Russian units were worn down but French cavalry became over-extended and were, in turn, punished for their rash judgement; General Treillard was lucky to escape. However, Russian infantry likewise advanced perhaps too far towards Bosenitz and a robust response tightened the French hold on the town. The French were now leading 8:4 as an artillery bombard forced another roving Russian Line unit into a hasty retreat.
After a brief lull punctuated by artillery fire and counter-fire, the Russians mounted a cavalry charge to neutralise a threat from French artillery at Blasowitz. Unfortunately, the French had Canister waiting, which blunted the charge. The brave remnant of a Russian Heavy Cavalry unit pursued the fleeing artillery but were broken by battle-back. Now, the French right advanced on Blasowitz; Grenadier à Cheval leading the way, sweeping Russian Light Cavalry aside and taking the score to 10:4.
In the final moments, Russian Fire and Hold snagged an incautious French Horse Artillery unit and grazed the French Guard Heavy Cavalry which remained adjacent to Blasowitz, screening the main French attack from ranged fire. As the French advance on Blasowitz continued, a lucky volley hit home and the Russian Guard Light were eliminated from the town, taking the final score to 11:4.
Thanks to Stanislav for a second memorable game, one that I think was more difficult for the Russian side, as I was fortunate with my initial hand being well-matched to the early stages.
A big congratulations to Mark for winning the two games - and indeed the entire tournament! A fully deserved win and I felt I learned a lot from you as an opponent. Thanks also for two very well-written reports.
I will remember the first battle in particular as one of the most exciting Napoleonics experiences I've had so far. So much action, drama and tension until the very end. The entire tournament has been an amazing journey. Thanks a lot to the other Mark for organising and to everyone else for participating. Hope to see you all on future battlefields next season!
Seconding Stanislav's sentiments; thanks to you Mark McG for the effort you put into organising these tournaments and thanks also to all players for great games and for welcoming newcomers like myself. I have looked forward to each match and enjoyed learning from others and improving (I hope) my game-play in the process.
Here's to continuing in MT19 and to the next open tournament!