Two games: 7-6 and 7-1 for the French. Russian cannot stop the French advance on the right flank. And with artillery in place the French can also manage to take the village. The lack of cavalry from the Russian side means that French cavalry is a powerful asset that can seriously hamper the mobility of Russian army by forcing squares.
Well Giulio, the stats have it only at 57% for the French, so some folks are winning with the Russians. In fact, looking back at my personal stats, I've played this scenario three times, winning all three, and twice with the Russians. I know I got lucky once with the Russians, thanks to a French Bayonet Charge rolling blanks, but the French LC's shouldn't be allowed to dominate, if the Russian is playing smart. The woods really protect the Russians on one flank, and getting the FA forward to the hill on the other can help protect the infantry there.
Yes Tony, I agree with you, the scenario is interesting and winnable by both sides. In our match that ended 7-6 for the French, the victory could have gone easily to the Russians. I see two mistakes the French player can do: attack the LT in the wood and assault the village early in the game. If the French avoids these mistakes, and focus instead on a steady advance on the right flank, while at the same time forming a grand battery in the center, I think it's difficult he's going to lose by a large margin. And the French cavs are a constant threat for any Russian unit manoeuvering in the open.
Played today against Gileform in the Russian tournament. French victory 7-6. French had mediocre cards and very bad rolls but were arranged in a compact formation and in the end by the simple superiority of their troops, they snatched a victory. The village was in the Russian hands for the whole game.
Played this a couple of times with a victory to each side. The Russians find it hard to hold a French right hook especially with the strength of the French cavalry, so have to win the battle elsewhere. It was very nearly a second Russian victory, they had an impressive array of right hand cards and attacked through the forest. The French left was shattered and the Russians then deployed back to the centre using a Grand Manoeuvre. Smart work, I thought, but the French countered it with a Force March in the middle. It was still under control until over the next couple of turns I rolled 23 consecutive shooting dice without a single infantry hit and only 1 flag. An Attack Centre from the French finished me off 7-5. Good scenario.
This scenario is Evert’s and my most recent game. I play the Russians first, which means my first job is the Mother Russia roll. This allowed me to add an extra block to the two Line infantry and Foot artillery centre-right under General Tutchkov.
I joked that Evert should play a "Grande Manoeuvre" card, as he's done before at the start of a game. He laughed. And played "Grande Manoeuvre"! This put French Line into the empty half of Utitza while General Kamienicki took the hills centre-right with another Line and a Foot artillery. This gave the French a position in the centre of the battlefield and deprived the Russians of their victory banner for holding Utitza.
A fusillade from the Russian troops behind Utitza forced both French Line back. But the French Line promptly eliminated the Russians in the town and took control. This pushed the score to 0:1 to Evert, rising to 0:2 when the banner for holding the town kicked in.
Light infantry moved forward to bolster Gen Kamienicki's position and musket fire finished off a damaged Russian Light infantry to make it 0:3.
I hit back with a "Force March" in the centre, storming Utitza with the Grenadiers under General Stroganov while Gen Tutchkov led Line infantry onto the hills to confront Kamienicki. This eliminated the French Line in the town and the banner for it swapped (eventually), making the score 2:2.
Evert moved Kamienicki back, but Tutchkov's troops pursued him and finished off the infantry he was leading - though the man himself escaped. Gen Stroganov's Grenadiers opened fire from the town along with Line infantry under Gen Baggovout. (That was a "Leadership" card from me to make it 4:2.)
Kamienicki came back into the fray with fresh Line infantry and repaid Tutchkov by finishing off his men (4:3), Tutchkov likewise finding a fresh Line unit to join. Stroganov's Grenadiers also took a beating for leaving the shelter of the buildings and were next to fall to Kamienicki's troops. (4:4).
With French Light infantry exposed on the hills, I played a "Bombard" card and removed them with the sole Russian artillery unit (5:4).
Then I sent in the Cossacks to harass the French on the hill. Kamienicki's men took a thumping again but held their ground. Evert responded with a "Cavalry Charge", one Light cavalry taking on the Cossacks while the other forced Militia (left of centre) into square (depriving me of a useful "Fire and Hold").
Time for "Give Them the Cold Steel" from me, but this had little effect apart from Kamienicki's men going into square. Evert's reaction removed the Cossacks (but no banners for them).
I had another "Force March" which let me stage a full attack in the centre again. The Russian infantry finished off Kamienicki's square while the militia took over in the town. However, a Russian Line fell to the French battle back, so the score's 6:5 (one more needed).
The French advanced on the left, the cavalry putting a Russian Line into square. The infantry gunned down a Russian Light infantry in the woods (6:6) and then eliminated the square: 6:7.
Some lucky dice at the end there gave Evert a narrow win, in what was a good fight. My turn for the French next.
Time for the return match between Evert and me. As it's his turn to take the Russians, Evert begins the game with the Mother Russia roll. Evert gained an extra block for the Foot artillery, the Line infantry next to it, the Light infantry in front of it and the Light infantry in the town.
Did this dismay the French troops? Not at all! However, I was only able to advance slowly, while Evert had his traditional "Grande Manoeuvre" card. With this and others, he brought a lot of Russian troops forward to make a solid line with Utitza in its centre. Now it was looking a bit daunting - I really didn't fancy attacking that line piecemeal.
General Zayonchek led an attack onto the hills the right, aiming at the end of the Russian line. Unfortunately, that end was the artillery, and Gen Zayonchek's men were battered and retreated off the hills. Further fire from the Russian centre left the French infantry on the right heavily damaged and I used my own "Grande Manoeuvre" to retreat them all, leaving just the Light Cavalry to anchor the flank.
Both armies moved troops forward on the left and the Cossacks approached the battered units on the right. I sent the Light cavalry forward and hit the Russian Light infantry that had moved onto the hills. The infantry took heavy losses before forming square to save their skins. The battle had been going for some time now without any units being eliminated.
Then I used an "Elan" to attack on the right of centre. Concerted gunfire from French Light infantry and both Foot artillery destroyed the Russian Line under Gen Tutchkov in the gap between the hills and the town, the General falling with his men. A bit of luck and the score is 2:1 (the Russians have one for holding Utitza). And my Light cavalry swung round the square to hit a Russian Line and put them into square as well. (I hoped Evert’s reduced hand would give me a good advantage.)
The Cossacks finally pounced on the right, but lost one unit without making any impression on the remnants of the French infantry there - though I did put one of them into square.
The battle then blew open when Evert played a "Force March" in the centre. Russian troops pushed back the French left of centre while others moved into musket range of the French cavalry at the rear. However, only the Russians took casualties (to the French battle backs): General Baggovout perished with his Line infantry, much to Evert's dismay. And the score is 4:1.
A second "Force March" let Evert re-group around Utitza while one Grenadier unit chased a battered French Line off the battlefield and the muskets began shooting at the French cavalry: 4:2.
The Cossacks were next to strike, finishing off a French Line: 4:3.
I finally got the French left moving and Gen Junot took out a Russian Light lurking in the woods: 5:3. And then a Grenadier unit: 6:3.
The other Grenadiers continued behind the French lines and removed Gen Kamienicki's battered Line infantry, the General fleeing the field: 6:4.
However, this left the Grenadiers under a lot of French gun muzzles and they went down to finish the battle in a French victory: 7:4.
After a more usual slow start (despite yet another "Grande Manoeuvre" from Evert), this turned out to be a more decisive French win (the aggregate score is 13:11 to me). Being able to preserve some heavily damaged units helped, as did reducing Evert's hand size to three for nearly half the battle.