Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Black Powder - Nicht Wagram!

Preparations for our Wagram mega-game in November continue apace, and with a major practice game at the end of April I am still fine tuning the Austrian stats and special rules. However, as well as being guilty of not providing an orbat and stats that guarantee both teams victory, I don't also want to be accused of having unfairly practiced the scenario beforehand! So this small play test was definitely not set anywhere near the Marchfeld. In fact, it was set around the fictional villages of Nicht-Wagram and Nicht-Baumersdorf...

My main concern was to confirm, after the success of our recent Marengo game, that with the use of the 'Superbly Drilled' rule, the Austrians are not too hamstrung to put up a successful defence of the heights above the Russbach stream. I also wanted to test the difference between Jaegers and Landwehr skirmishers, and their French counterparts. Finally, I wanted to see if Freshly Raised worked well to differentiate Landwehr units, and indeed some of Oudinot's French Conscripts. (Yes French team - you don't get a guaranteed win either!)

There were four objectives, both Nicht-Baumersdorf and Nicht-Wagram being split into 2 blocks, each containing a garrison of a large Austrian infantry battalion. Additionally, if the French broke through onto the heights that would also count as a French victory. They had 8 moves in which to do it!

However all Austrian regular units were large, both foot and horse.

Given the variety of French objectives, the Kaiserliks were spread fairly thin, but they chose to defend everything in their initial deployment, hoping that their cavalry would prove to be fairly mobile once the French main effort was identified. 

Whilst the Austrian deployment was fairly conservative, a Jaeger unit was pushed far forward on the Austrian left, and a Landwehr skirmish unit from the Vienna Volunteers pushed forward into a copse on the right.

It was these outposts that attracted the initial French attention, both the Jaeger 'Grey Devils'

and the Vienna Volunteers initially acquitting themselves well, causing havoc with the French march columns, and forcing them to deploy. The Vienna Volunteers were not given the skirmisher attribute, but still caused a French disorder, and shrugged off the Freshly Raised test with nary a scare!

Nonetheless, despite having to screen both flanks, the French military machine swung into action, with the guns serving notice that Nicht-Baumersdorf and its garrison would be earning their guilden that day!

Additionally, over by Nicht-Wagram, another French division had formed up for a major assault and was coming on strong - or was it just to screen a concentric assault on the west side of Nicht-Baumersdorf?

No matter, the Blankenstein Hussars were dispatched to reinforce that sector and give the French Columns pause for thought...

No - the leading battalions were peeling off and setting up for an assault of Nicht-Baumersdorf...

Meanwhile out on the Austrian left flank the Vienna Volunteers, without the benefit of the skirmisher attribute were beginning to suffer, and were soon to break, allowing the French to attempt to envelop the Austrian right... 

Whilst the Jaegers were not having it all their own way, they were able to hold out to the end, tying down half a French brigade!

Eventually the first series of French assaults were properly organised and went in - the 2 Freshly Raised French Battalions passed with flying colours and supported the assault on the eastern half of N-B...

Whilst another division concentrated on the Western half...

The Blankenstein Hussars moved up to force some of the French supports into square...having been moved up in good time, they were able to do this on initiative.

And both initial assaults were repulsed with few casualties to the Austrian garrisons.

Keeping up the momentum, the 5th Austrian Dragoon Regiment, Prinz Eugen, obeyed a 'follow me' order to charge their French counter-parts of the 22eme Dragoons, who promptly countercharged...

After a brisk clash, the 22eme were sent packing in disorder!

The fighting 5th then took the opportunity for a sweeping advance against the other French Dragoon regiment in the vicinity, the 13th...

But this time both regiments had to fall back in disorder from a drawn combat which saw them both shaken...

By now the 2 French infantry divisions had reorganised from their initial repulse and were ready to try to take the both halves of the village again...

And were able to evict the Austrian garrison from the eastern half of Nicht-Baumersdorf!

But the assault on the western half, less comprehensively supported out on the left flank, was beaten back again, although with heavy losses to the garrison...

Once again the French were marshalled back into position for a third assault...

This time attempting to clear the left flanks properly first so the assault could be properly supported... to the desperate expedient of bringing up a regiment of Dragoons to support the attack - all other units had been disordered by Austrian volleying and gunnery and so could not be moved up in time....

This was the last French move of the game - if they were able to claim both halves of Nicht-Baumersdorf it would be a draw...

But no, the Kaiserliks beat them off once again, for an Austrian victory!


  1. Top notch close ups and mass effect Sparker, what a beautiful and intense report!

  2. Beautiful looking game Sparker and always a pleasure to see so many wonderfully painted figures on the table.

  3. Beautiful scenario, great game!!!
    So, you played it solo?

    1. Hi Alex, yes mate, played solo to help me work out a few things...

  4. Great looking troops and table. Nice to see how uses of the special rules can adjust unit capability.

    1. Thanks mate! Yes theres tremendous potential with Black Powder if you apply the toolkit approach to tailor your battle or campaign with a careful mix of stats and special rules.

  5. Superb pictorial account, I can't get over how well it's presented for a solo game. My only criticism is you're too greedy to keep a game like that to yourself!

    1. Thanks Caesar! Yes so many scenarios so few Sundays!