Victory Results:
 51 %
Record a victory for BOTTOM ARMY  49 %
Total plays 49 - Last reported by Jamon79 on 2024-02-22 15:28:37

Crossing the Berezina - 27/28 November 1812

Historical Background
Mother Nature continued to side with the Russians. As the French army retreated west, it was faced with the daunting task of crossing the unfrozen and unbridged River Berezina. On the west bank blocking the crossing was a force of 30,000 Russians under Admiral Chichagov. Wittgenstein with another 30,000 soldiers approached from the north on the east side of the river. Napoleon ordered Oudinot on the 26th to draw off the enemy to give his engineers time to bridge the river. The Russians took the bait and moved their main force south. Now the French engineers went to work, and two bridges were constructed in a matter of hours. General Eble, chief of engineers, was able to perform this miracle because he had disobeyd Napoleon’s direct order to destroy all engineering equipment. The Grande Armee began crossing, largely undisturbed. By the morning of the 28th,Wittgenstein’s Russians were advancing in earnest against Victor’s rearguard Corps on the east side of the river. When one of his divisions under General Partouneaux took the wrong road, the Russians surrounded and destroyed it. With the loss of the division, Victor was having serious trouble holding off the Russian onslaught. Napoleon ordered the Baden brigade to cross back to assist Victor, but the Russian kept advancing. The Russian’s finally retired for the day, when attacked by a gallant cavalry charge supported by the French artillery on the west bank. On the west bank, Admiral Chichagov was doing his best to break through the French perimeter to seize the crossing sites. Marshal Oudinot was severely wounded and his corps was pushed back. Marshal Ney quickly assumed command and ordered the French Cuirassiers to charge. The Russian fell back and did not attempt any further attacks on the west side of the river. Throughout the night the rest of the French army crossed the river. General Eble had urged the throngs of stragglers and camp followers to cross in the gaps between the French formations, but many did not do so. Reluctantly he issued the necessary orders to fire the bridges to prevent Russian pursuit. Thousands died as they stampeded vainly to cross, and thousands more perished as the Cossacks fell upon them.
The stage is set. The battle lines are drawn and you are in command. Can you change history?


Set-Up Order

Forest 6
Hill 4
River 2
RiverBend 6
RiverBridge 1
Town 2


Battle Notes

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

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

French Army
• Commander: Napoleon
• 6 Command Cards
• 6 Tactician Cards

Line Infantry Light Infantry Old Guard Infantry Light Cavalry Cuirassier Cavalry Foot Artillery Leader
7 2 1 1 1 2 4


7 Banners

Special Rules
• The River Berezina is impassable.

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

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Pevans replied the topic:
2 months 1 week ago
I wanted to play this scenario again as I think the Russians should be able to win (it was 7:2 to the French both times Evert and I played before).
I play the Russians first, which means my first job is the Mother Russia roll. I bolstered Line and Light infantry and the artillery on the left and added two Cossacks on the right.
I quickly occupied the hills on the left and engaged the French, eventually eliminating the infantry with General Partouneaux (who escaped) but losing my own infantry unit in the process. This makes the score 1:1.
I continued to attack on the left, but my infantry was beaten back by the French artillery (a "Bombard" card from Evert), losing the Grenadiers. That's 1:2. I threw in the Heavy cavalry, but they were repelled too and then Gen Wlastov fell to a lucky shot: 1:3.
Evert was shifting troops left to bolster his battered soldiers there while I moved up my cavalry on the right. The French artillery on the left finally fell to the Russian muskets (2:3). My cavalry attacked on the right, but the French artillery in the centre removed the Russian infantry lurking in the woods to make the score 2:4.
Russian infantry advanced from behind the cavalry on the right, eliminating a French Light infantry to occupy the woods (3:4) while fighting continued on the left. A spirited French attack (Evert played "Elan") broke through on the left, destroying what was left of the Russian Heavy cavalry and two infantry to win the battle 3:7.
Well, at least that's one banner better than I did last time as the Russians. Now I'm torn: I'd like to see the Russians win this one, but it's Evert's turn as the Russians.
He had exactly the same Mother Russia roll, bolstering the Line and Light infantry and artillery on the left as I did, but adding his Cossacks on the left. The battle started similarly, with Evert attacking on the left, but losing a Light infantry to Gen Partouneaux's troops to give me an early lead 1:0.
While the Cossacks made a nuisance of themselves on the left, Evert pushed Light infantry forward on the right, eliminating a French Line infantry, Gen Oudinot escaping: 1:1. The French on the right of the river moved forward and attacked with a "Bayonet Charge" that included the Old Guard to remove Evert's two Light infantry: 3:1.
The Old Guard then pinned Russian Light cavalry against the edge of the battlefield and eliminated them (with help from the muskets of nearby Line infantry): 4:1. And the Russians had nothing left on the right.
An "Elan" card saw the Russian forces on the left take out three Line infantry and occupy the hills while the Heavy cavalry moved right to eliminate the French Cuirassiers: 4:5. Ouch!
However, Evert pushed too far on the left and the remaining French Light infantry finished off a Russian Line infantry and Gen Wlastov. That's 6:5.
Fighting moved to the centre as I tried to roll up the remaining Russians west (right) of the river only for Russian infantry to blow away my artillery: 6:6 and this is going down to the wire.
The final casualty was my Light infantry on the left, trying to hide in the woods from Russian Grenadiers and Heavy cavalry. 6:7 and the Russians can win this one! At my expense, though.
Aggregate score is 9:14 giving Evert the overall win. This means we've now played 46 games of Russian scenarios with me winning 27 to Evert's 19. But it's much closer when you look at the aggregate scores for each scenario: 20 of them, with three played twice, gives me 10 wins to Evert's 9 with four draws. Nip and tuck.
I’ve also published this report in my BGG blog – with pictures! See
Pevans replied the topic:
8 months 3 days ago
Our re-match is Evert's turn to be Russian, so he started with the Mother Russia roll. He didn't do quite as well as me, gaining extra blocks for two Line infantry plus an additional Cossack unit. He bolstered the infantry under Wlastov on the left and the one just to the right of the river in the centre. The Cossacks went into the woods in front of the latter. (I'm using right and left as in the set-up picture rather than according to each army's point of view).

Evert started with a "Bayonet Charge": he attacked General Partouneaux in the centre with Light and Line infantry while two Light infantry hit the French Line infantry under Marshal Oudinot on the right. This did not work out well. In the centre, Partouneaux's unit was reduced to a single block, but both attackers lost a block. On the right, Oudinot's unit lost two blocks, but eliminated one Russian Light infantry and removed two blocks from the other. Yep, the dice were rolling well for me and the score's 1:0.

My response was an "Elan", but the dice were not so generous this time: I did remove the second Light infantry on the right to make the score 2:0.

The Russians attacked again and, this time, killed a full-strength French Line infantry centre-left. On the right, Oudinot's infantry formed square in the face of the Russian Light cavalry. That's 2:1.

Fighting centre-left continued for a while until Partouneaux's men fell, the General escaping, for 2:2.

As the French infantry fell back centre left, my artillery finished off a battered Light infantry (3:2) and I got the French Cuirassiers into action on the right, battering the Russian Light cavalry.

The Russian Heavy cavalry was the next target of the Cuirassiers and they, too, took a thumping, General Chichagov falling in the melee. A bit of luck for me takes the score to 4:2.

Evert surrounded the French Cuirassiers with his horsemen - Light and Heavy cavalry and the Horse artillery - only for both cavalry units to fall to the Frenchmen's battle backs. That's 6:2 and it's not looking good for the Russians.

I played a "Rally" card that restored the Cuirassiers to full strength so that they could demolish the Russian Horse artillery and that was that.

This game was over in 14 turns which took 80 minutes and the scoreline was identical to the previous game. Which means it's a tie 9:9 overall. Two heavy defeats for the Russians are odd, given the stats say this is an even scenario (49% French wins before our games). One we'd both like to play again and I see there's an EPIC Berezina scenario, which might be fun.
Pevans replied the topic:
8 months 5 days ago
This is the next scenario for Evert and me as we work through the Russian expansion. I play the Russians first, which means I started with the Mother Russia roll. I got extra blocks for two Light and one Line infantry plus an additional Cossack unit and used them all to boost my units on the right of the river (I'm using right and left as in the set-up picture rather than according to each army's point of view). Of course, I had no cards for that flank in my starting hand. So my first move was to throw troops forward to the hills centre left and take out Partouneaux's troops - the General escaping to join other troops. This makes the score 1:0 to me.

Partouneaux came back with his fresh infantry and the French Light cavalry, supported by the artillery, and destroyed the Russian Grenadiers on the hill, forced a battered Line infantry into square and damaged the Russian Heavy cavalry. An "Elan" card and some good dice for Evert make the score 1:1.

More French pushed forward on the left to support Partouneaux, eliminating the unit in square and another Russian infantry (Gen Wlastov retreating to the militia) to make it 1:3.

Continuing to advance left and centre, the French finished off the Heavy cavalry and took out a Light infantry: 1:5.

The Russian troops on the left pushed back at the advancing French, but Partouneaux and the cavalry removed another Russian Line infantry: 1:6.

However, the Russians finally had some success, their muskets (thanks to a "Fire and Hold") taking out the Line infantry under Partouneaux - the General trotting back to the safety of the artillery - 2:6.

The French Light cavalry was still active on the left, forcing a Light infantry into square so that they could be gunned down by their French counterparts: 2:7.

That was a brisk battle (16 turns in 70 minutes) and quite a trouncing, with all the action on the left of the river. It was also the first win for Evert for a while. I didn't have the cards to use my strengthened troops on the right and Evert was able to just keep pressing the attack on the left and centre.
gusi replied the topic:
3 years 6 months ago
Russian 7-4

Fun scenario, took about 2 hrs

French crossed the river and moved all their units to their left flank. Then assaulted the Russians on their right. It was quite a close game.
Gregg replied the topic:
7 years 2 months ago
I haven't played this one yet, just getting my Russian expansion just this week. However, I did think it was odd that the bridge over the Berezina was not an objective given how critical it was. It also seems that the bridge should either be an objective hex or there should be a special victory condition for the French to cross the river or exit the map since that is what they were trying to do.
Combi replied the topic:
9 years 2 months ago
Russian win 7 - 4
Mark-McG replied the topic:
9 years 10 months ago
for balance in this scenario, make the Bridge a Temporary 2 Victory Banner Objective hex for both sides.