Right, now that is off my chest time to start catching up on some of the stuff I have to report on during my wee ‘sabbatical’.
Back in November I had the honour of visiting Martin’s house to take part in a large General de Brigade game. We would be refighting some of the action from the Battler of Marengo and I was looking forward to it very much as, as you know, I reckon you can’t beat a grand scale Napoleonic dust up. The game was played in Martin’s lovely shed o’war that was a fantastic venue to spend a days gaming, indeed I could have quite happily spent the time looking at his figures and checking out his great library – I’m glad I don’t have a garden as I would definitely be suffering from shed envy!
So, to the battle. I was on the Austrian side along with Ian and Martin and we faced the dastardly French led by Andy, Des and Paul. Unfortunately I can’t remember the details but it was a very tough fight for us Kaiserlicks having to force a crossing over a stream to our front that was short on crossing points and defended with skill by our opponents. Ian did manage to get across over on the left as the French forces here were not very strong although he was hampered by the size of our units that slowed the movement across the stream to a crawl as a hefty jam formed at the crossing site. Once across though a massive cavalry action ensued in the extreme open left flank which the French won resulting in a general withdrawal back towards the stream.
In the middle I was trying to cross the bridge into Marengo village itself (not sure if it was Marengo actually, hopefully one of the chaps could put me straight here?) which I only managed to do late in the day finally getting a few battalions of Grenadiers across which broke the defenders but then got absolutely smashed by a timely counter-attack from some fresh French units causing us to lose control of the bridge again.
Martin on the right flank was also having a terrible time getting across the stream, the French defenders had cleverly retired from the woods along the stream which although it surrendered the far bank to us it caused untold problems to our troops getting across as they took a while to get formed up again after crossing. Although we did make some headway for a while here we couldn’t make enough headway and the French line, although battered held on.
So in the end the French held on, and history was (sort of) repeated but most importantly we had a cracking days wargaming as usual played in the correct spirit among some proper gentlemen. To top it all off Martin was a fantastic host, we had a lovely Chicken Marengo for lunch, very apt and the icing on the cake as it were. Hopefully it won’t be too long before the next visit!