Victory Results:
 46 %
Record a victory for BOTTOM ARMY  54 %
Total plays 46 - Last reported by Jamon79 on 2024-01-26 04:24:14

Polotsk - 18 October 1812

Historical Background
As Napoleon advanced eastward into Russia, he set up three supply depots at Polotsk, Minsk and Smolensk to keep his army in supply. Vitebsk was the northernmost depot, and most vulnerable to Russian attacks under a steadily growing force under Wittgenstein. It was imperative that Saint-Cyr hold Wittgenstein on the Dvina line to prevent the Russians from cutting the French Army’s communications. On the 18th, Wittenstein’s 40,000 Russians made no fewer than seven frontal assaults on the 23,000 French troops strategically positioned in front of Polotsk while 9,000 additional Russians under Steingal moved on Polotsk from the rear. The fighting was fierce, yet all of the Russian attacks were beaten back by the end of the day.
That night and the next day the Russians bombarded the French positions. When Steingal’s force arrived, Saint-Cyr knew he had to retreat or be surrounded. He ordered his Bavarian contingent to attack Steingal. They attacked with élan, driving the Russians back in disorder and opening a line of retreat. Saint-Cyr’s force was weakened to the point that Wittgenstein was able to advance, cut the supply line at Vitebsk, and set in motion the logistic catastrophe that destroyed Le Grande Armee.
The stage is set. The battle lines are drawn and you are in command. Can you change history?


Set-Up Order

Forest 5
Hill 1
HillEntrenchments 1
HillEntrenchments4 2
Town 3
Lake 1


Battle Notes

Russian Army
• Commander: Wittgenstein
• 5 Command Cards
• 3 Tactician Cards
• Move First

Line Infantry Light Infantry Grenadier Infantry Guard Grenadier Infantry Militia Infantry Light Cavalry Heavy Cavalry Cuirassier Heavy Cavalry Militia Cossack Cavalry Foot Artillery Leader
5 4 2 2 2 2 1 1 3 3 3

French Army
• Commander: Saint-Cyr
• 5 Command Cards
• 4 Tactician Cards

Line Infantry Light Infantry Light Cavalry Cuirassier Cavalry Heavy Cavalry Foot Artillery Leader
8 4 3 1 1 3 3


8 Banners

Special Rules
• The two hexes of Polotsk are a Temporary Victory Banner worth one banner each for the Russian player at the start of its turn (Temporary Victory Banner Turn Start)

• Pre-Battle Mother Russia Roll rule is in effect. Saber and cavalry rolls have no effect.

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Pevans replied the topic:
7 months 3 weeks ago
Time for me to take the French side and my concerns were how scattered the French troops are if my opponent, Evert, can mount a concerted attack and the threat of all that Russian cavalry - mine is mostly lurking along my back row.

However, Evert's first job is the Mother Russia roll. He added a block to each of the artillery and to the Line infantry on the left edge (I'm using left and right as in the set-up picture, not according to the armies' perspectives).

Evert wasted no time, flinging some cavalry at both flanks of the French force. I put my Light infantry on the left into square, only to see Russian Light infantry advance and blow them away. The horsemen on the other flank were a few Cossacks and were taken out by the French guns. I get no victory banners for Cossacks, so the score is 0:1 to Evert.

Evert pressed the attack on the left, removing another French Light infantry to take the score to 0:2. Then the Russians surged forward in the centre to take the town of Spass with the Guards Grenadiers and artillery, led by General Berg. As has been a regular feature of our recent games, Evert had a "La Grande Manoeuvre". This immediately changed the look of the battlefield.

My response damaged the Guards in Spass and killed Gen Berg, but the Russians took out a French Line in front of the town, pushing back the other French units as still more Russian infantry came forward. (1:3)

I attacked in the centre with great success. Line infantry under Gen Merle eliminated the Russian Guards in Spass and occupied the town. Artillery took out the Line infantry to the left of the town (I got lucky with my dice here). And the Heavy cavalry crushed a battered Light infantry to the left. The score swings to 4:3.

Russian attacks on Spass resulted in the loss of their Militia unit: 5:3. Meanwhile the French Heavy cavalry continued attacking the Russians on the left, falling after they'd removed a Light infantry: 6:4. Evert still had substantial forces on the left and attacked again. I was able to respond, eliminating Russian Grenadiers: 7:4. However, the final action was right of centre where French Light infantry advanced to blow away the battered remnants of the Russian Guards Grenadiers: 8:4.

That was a substantially faster game than our first at this scenario: 16 turns (8 each) against 25 (12 apiece with one more for the Russians) last time. The big difference seems to be that I got the Russian cavalry into the fight early on in the first game, reducing Evert's options by keeping French infantry in square. This time, the Russian cavalry didn't feature. Nor did Evert get much use out of the Russian artillery that I'd used to soften up the French centre. The aggregate score of 16:6 is embarrassingly one-sided.
Pevans replied the topic:
8 months 1 week ago
We may have got the Battle of Borodino out of the way, but Evert and I still have some 1812 scenarios to play. Starting as the Russians, I noticed two things. First was the neatly positioned artillery that was well within range of the forward French troops. And the second was the cavalry: three Cossacks, two Lights, a Heavy and a Cuirassier.

However, my first job is the Mother Russia roll. I got to add a block to two Line infantry and two Lights. I used these on both flanks: the advanced Line on the left and one of the Lights behind, then the Line under General Kachawski on the right with one of the Lights in front of that.

And I got to start - woo hoo! Which I did by softening up the French centre with my artillery. I flung some Cossacks into the mix as well, taking on a French Light infantry in the woods on the right. Since my opponent doesn't get banners for eliminating Cossacks, they're pretty much expendable. And their advantage is that they attack into woods as if the trees weren't there. Evert put his Lights into square after standing up to the Cossacks' initial attack (two dice, two hits - lucky!) and losing half their strength.

The artillery bombardment paid off (more good dice), removing a French Line unit by the central town of Spass and killing General Merle into the bargain. The score's 2:0 to me.

I pushed Russian infantry (two Lights, one Line) forward on the left to take on the French infantry. Evert promptly moved them into the woods and then attacked from there. On the right, he removed those nuisance Cossacks.

An "Assault" gave me the chance to throw more Cossacks and Light cavalry against the French infantry on the right, while moving up my Cuirassiers and Light infantry. Faced with the Light cavalry, Evert formed square, making two squares on this flank (and only three cards in his hand).

The continuing skirmishing on the left bore fruit for Evert, eliminating a Russian Line: 2:1. And then a Light infantry: 2:2.

I had several Centre cards in hand, so attacked there. First, an "Assault" to move artillery and Guards Grenadiers forward and hit a French Line with my Heavy cavalry. The Line went into square (and Evert is down to just two cards in hand and can't form any more squares).

I used this to my advantage, the Heavy cavalry wiping out a damaged French Light infantry while the advanced artillery destroyed the square. That's 4:2, but at least Evert is back up to three cards in hand.

Time to use my "Cavalry Charge". On the left, my Light cavalry bounced off the French troops in the woods. The Heavy cavalry moved right, finishing off another damaged Light infantry and then obliterating the French artillery by sneaking round the back of their fieldworks. My Cuirassiers also got into the fight and destroyed a French line on the right edge. This takes the score to 7:2.

Evert's "Rally" card was completely ineffective and I played a cheeky "Grande Manoeuvre" to occupy Polotsk with one of the Guards Grenadiers (plus back-up). Unable to do anything about this, Evert deployed a "Grande Manoeuvre" of his own, but the game was over when I gained the banner for Polotsk at the start of my next (13th) turn: 8:2.

Well, that was fast and furious at the end as Evert just didn't have the cards to respond to my cavalry - his horsemen are (mostly) still stuck along the back row. He thinks my recent Memoir '44 games (I've been playing tournaments on BGA) have made me more aggressive. If so, it certainly paid off in this game. It will be interesting to see how the return match goes when I'll be on the defensive.
LARS replied the topic:
3 years 2 weeks ago
A long grim struggle that saw the French within one block of victory. Wittgenstein bests St. Cyr 8-7. The Russian artillery was lethal in the early going.
Bayernkini replied the topic:
10 years 11 months ago
More informations here

for those, who want know more about the battle or want use the maps
to setup a "Epic" Polotsk :)