Dresden, 1813

I’ve had a chance to do more gaming with other people’s figures lately. A refight of the 1813 Battle of Dresden, and trying out two Napoleonic naval games: Trafalgar and the Rod Langton Signal Close Action Fast Play rules.

Dresden was another of Andrew’s Fast Play Grande Armee spectaculars, and it was held in quite the most luxurious wargaming environment I’ve played in at Peter’s house. As you can see from this photo, taken at setup, there wasn’t a lot of empty space on the table.

The Battle of Dresden. French in the foreground.

There were seven of us playing, and I was on the French side. Historically, when the Allies found they were facing Napoleon they vacillated to the extent that there was a three hour lull in the fighting. Napoleon took the initiative and trashed isolated corps in the Allied army while rest stood by.

The Allied players decided not to follow history and engaged us in a battle of attrition. The battlefield was split into four by unfordable rivers with only a few bridges. We had next to no room for manoeuvre so it was pretty difficult for us to deploy troops where they were needed. As a way of clearing a bit of deployment space I moved all the Guard Cavalry up onto my right flank. Their two horse batteries were damaging the Austrians enough that they sacrificed a cavalry brigade trying to charge them. They got one but the other was still there plugging away at another Austrian cavalry brigade which was holding the bridge, and was down to 4 strength points out of 7 when the game ended.

It’s a pity we ran out of time because things were getting interesting. We’d managed to reinforce our left so that seemed to be doing fairly well. The Allies’ superior numbers were beginning to tell in the centre, but as they advanced they were leaving a gap behind them that my Guard Cavalry were standing ready to exploit. They would have had a field day in amongst the remnants of the severely weakened Austrian Corps, or more usefully (but less fun) joined the main battle. But Allied reinforcements were also due to be arriving on the extreme right so the Guards would have had to watch their backs!

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