I was lucky enough at the weekend to run a game for the re-fight of Froschwiller from the Franco Prussian War. Taking a suggestion from the 1870 rules we tried out one of the alternative scenarios, whereby the battle is fought the following day, allowing both sides to be strengthened. We also took some liberties with the troops as we were using the figures that we had available i.e. Micks Saxon corps replaced the Bavarian II Corps.
So onto the game. Neal and Mick were to command the Prussians. At the start of the game they had the Saxon Corps and 2 Prussian Corps available to them. The Bavarian I Corps, the Wurtemburg Division and elements of the Bavaria II Corps were marching to the sound of the guns and would arrive during the battle. They set up with the 2 Prussian Corps across the river opposite the town of Worth. The Saxons were to the north and on the flank of the French position.
Dave and Chris were given command of the French. Chris took command of I Corps which held the left flank of their line and was to bear the brunt of the Prussian assaults. Dave took command of the II Corps, holding one division behind the ridge hidden from Prussian observers. The French also had the III Corps in reserve marching to the battlefield, expected at 9.30am. Also the imperial Guard Divisions were also available but would not reach the battlefield until at least 2pm.
The game began with the Prussians slowly crossing the river and discovering that their artillery was unable to ford it. The Saxons to the north began their advance towards I Corps and struggling to get their artillery into position to support their attack. Meanwhile the French were happy to stay in position and fire artillery at range at the advancing hordes.
Once the Saxons got their artillery in position they began to pound the northern edge of I corps position, even at range some excellent dice throwing from Mick was softening up the French infantry. Meanwhile the 2 Prussian Corps continued their advance and I Corps waited. Just then a messenger arrived informing the French that III Corps would not be arriving until 11.00, late!!!!
As the Saxons approached they began their assaults on the French redoubts, As pressure began to tell Chris committed the French cavalry reserve to throw back the Saxon infantry. This would turn out to be a temporary respite. Meanwhile the Prussian infantry was also gearing up its assault on I Corps. Dave quickly dispatched a messenger to his hidden division to advise it to march through the woods to support I Corps.
Eventually the lead elements of III Corps began to arrive. Led by Clerambault's cavalry Division which Chris sent to the centre of his line to act as a reserve, they were soon to see some heavy action. As the Saxons renewed their assault they threw back the French defenders only to be checked again this time by the infantry of III Corps which now arrived to shore up the line. On the French right they became a little concerned. With all the heavy fighting in the Centre and left flank it was now that another column was approaching, this time the Wurtemburgers.
In the Centre the Prussian assault went in, after a couple of hours heavy fighting it seemed that the French I Corps was to be swept away. Then Clerambaults cavalry were committed. First the Chasseurs hit a Prussian column, routing it before following up and being shot to pieces by supporting Prussian infantry units. Next up the French Dragoons charged, destroying a Prussian column and temporarily re-capturing the redoubts before being forced to retire in disorder as they came within range of the Prussian artillery.
Back on the northern flank, the Saxons came again and were rewarded with their persistence as they stormed the redoubts and captured them, throwing back the remainder of I and II Corps towards the town of Froschwiller
To make matters worse for the French it was now that the Bavarian I Corps made its entrance and began its march towards their already battered centre. With the Wurtemburgers also advancing steadily from the South, their position was looking precarious. It was then that Dave's division finally made its appearance, to support the French Centre. However it came under immediate fire from the Prussian artillery who inflicted significant losses and caused disorder amongst them.
With these fresh arrivals the Prussians began to reorganise for their next assault, pulling back out of range they awaited the Bavarians. The Saxons also consolidated their position in readiness for an assault on the Froschwiller. With the French greeted by the news that the Imperial Guard were still over 2 hours away, it was time to call it a day.
Overall a very enjoyable game played in the right spirit with a good bunch of blokes. By victory conditions this was a French victory as they still commanded the 2 roads, keeping open their lines of retreat and the Prussians had not taken Froschwiller. However we all agreed that the French I Corps as a fighting formation was finished and the French would be unable to hold onto their positions and be forced to retreat.