Commanders, a wargame digest

Commanders, a wargame digest


Jours de Gloire (Days of Glory)

Battles of the Napoleonic era

The origins of this system go back to Triumph and Glory by Richard Berg, published by GMT in 2000. Now developed by Frédéric Bey, the series has since been regularly showcased and updated across a number of publications over the years with around 45 battles covered to date.

Many of these titles have been long out of print, but are being brought back as new editions in the format of duel rules (French / English) and die cut counters.

Quatre Bras 1815 - an introduction

As my re-introduction to the system, I have chosen a mid sized battle, Quatre Bras and have played this three times, including once as a face-to-face game.

There is a blog write up that covers the action, while blending in some of the system mechanics, so while a lengthy post, hopefully, it does reveal what Jours de Gloire is all about. LINK

Marengo 1800

The new reprint that brings four games into one place. Marengo is a favourite, so that went onto the table first.

Victor (French) has his corp defending around Marengo and he awaits the rest of the French army that is making towards him. But, the Austrians are launching their attack and will arrive at marengo this morning with overwhelming numbers.

Can Victor hold the Austrians back?  The Austrians need to quickly break through the French position and advance eastwards.

In my game, things unravelled disastrously for one side ….. but which one? 

I have put some replay and observational notes up on the blog. LINK

Counter-attack at Essling

I am moving to the final couple of turns in the game. Aspern has fallen to the Austrians and Essling is under pressure.

The long bridge over the Danube is damaged, so Napoleon has been unable to get his reinforcements and artillery ammunition is running low.

A couple of French cavalry units are already routing across the small (lower) bridge. The French pray for darkness to descend!

The photo shows the French counter-attack at Essling, to clear Frelich out of the village, but note Valory is disordered (flipped to white stripe) so can’t join in the attack - it is all left to 3rd Léger, but it is not enough and they also become disordered and Frelich holds on …. It is difficult to see how the French can hold on here for much longer.

Napoleon had just put Bessiérs (blue counters with red bands) into command, his last reserve, but what can they do! 

Night falls (last turn). The French have indeed held a small part of Essling (The Granary), but elsewhere, their battered troops are retreating towards the small bridge on the Danube at Lobau Island.

Counting up the victory points, the Austrians have 20 and the French just 6. One only needs an advantage of 7 points to win, so this is a massive Austrian success.

It is difficult to see how the French can win the opening day and maybe they shouldn’t! ….. but I shall try again soon to see if I can improve the French performance. 

Wavre 1815

Wavre comes in a two game package with its sister battle - Ligny.

The scenario assume that Blücher has already crossed the River Dyle at Wavre with three of his corps and marched on towards the Waterloo battlefield to assist Wellington.

This leaves us with Thielmann’s Corps, acting as rearguard at Wavre and the assault against them by the French under Grouchy.

Much of the Prussian landwehr have low quality ratings and this is keenly felt when they flip on becoming disordered, making re-ordering more difficult and rout more likely!

However, to reach the Prussians, the French must attack across bridges, which attracts a -3 combat modifier and they also face quite a bit of Prussian artillery, as the Prussian cavalry formations seem to have sent their guns off to defend Wavre.

A difficulty for the French is that they have reinforcements that will a) take a while to reach Wavre of b) will divert towards the crossing near Limale and accordingly be out of command for much of the game unless Grouchy moves to support them.

The Prussians have a lot of small formations and so the order of activation together with all of the above, makes for quite a dynamic game. For some pictures and a write-up of the game, click here;

The Guard advances - good small game

A recent issue if Vae Victis (161) covered the last couple of hours of the action concerning Napoleon’s Guard at Waterloo.

The map is framed by the farms Hougoumont, La belle Alliance and La Haye Sainte and so is looking at the central section of the Anglo-Allied positions.

The game is compact, and only last for 5 turns, so makes for an easy game for most tables and tight limitations that gamers may have on playing time.

There is a post up on the blog covering a play through. LINK

Aspern - Essling

On the table, the short 1st day scenario for the new Aspern - Essling game in the Jours de Gloire series.

I have just started the turn one moves. A couple of chit draws later and more Austrian reinforcements enter the map, but the equivalent of two Corps appear at the top of the map, just above the French position.

This is a five turn scenario and at this point I’ not sure how the French (left) are going to able to withstand first contact and then sustained contact, without being crushed or forced back across the Danube.

This historical account suggests that the French gave a good performance, but looking at their Cohesion Ratings, they do not seem to have any advantage over the Austrians in that regard.

We shall see!

The ‘long bridge’ (one of the bridges supplying the French over the Danube) is about to collapse.

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