A Franco-Prussian War Battle

This Principles of War game was played at the home of Tom at the end of  January 2023. I am grateful to Tom for providing the following account: -

In today’s game the French 12th Corps are facing the reinforced Bavarian 1st Corps. Both forces deploy with a refused right flank. The French aim to push through the centre with their 1st and 2nd Divisions (11 battalions), supported by the concentrated Corps artillery and the Cavalry Division moving round the German right flank. The French 3rd Division are positioned to protect the right flank of their main attack. The Bavarians deploy their dummy blind on their far right and 3rd Bavarian Division on the hill on the right. The C-in-C and the Corps troops hold the centre and form the link between the 3rd Division holding the right and the 1st and 2nd Divisions moving to attack the French right.

When the battle starts the Bavarian 3rd Division send their attached cavalry regiment forward to recon the French position. The French move forward and  rapidly discover the German blind and the Bavarian 3rd Division as they move forward. French poor command control causes delay as their two divisions try to move through the gap between the village and the church complex. This also causes delays to the Cavalry divisions' flank attack. The 3rd Division moves forward and takes up a defensive position in front of a wooded area in the centre of the battlefield.

The German C-in-C and Corps units move forward and deploy on the other side of the woods with the artillery deployed to fire down the road at the French 3rd Division. The Bavarian 2nd Division moves round the woods and deploys to attack the side of the French 3rd Corps, with the 1st Division moving round the flank in a wider arc. The German commander's initial orders had the flanking attacks stopping short of the French flank. At this point, the C-in-C has to change orders for the flanking divisions to get them to move forward.

The French 1st and 2nd  corps move forward and the C-in-C deployed the five batteries of the Corps Artillery to fire on the Bavarian 3rd Corps to cover the advance. The Cavalry Corps finally reaches the flank of the Bavarians and starts to move round to their rear. The German C-in-C finally manages to change orders for the Corps Cavalry and directs them to support the isolated 3rd Corps.

On the French right their 3rd Division is forced back by two divisions of Bavarians, the last remaining regiment taking refuge in the church complex. The two French Corps in the centre slowly push the Bavarian 3rd Division back and command control willing break through the German centre. The French Cavalry see an opportunity to charge a Bavarian infantry unit shaken by the grand battery. The Bavarian infantry put up a ragged fire and manage to cause one hit. The cavalry fail their morale test on a ‘20’ and rout from the field. The French cuirassiers charge the Bavarian hussars, who manage to hold them but end up shaken. In the next round of melee there is a drawn result but the cuirassiers fail their morale test and retire shaken.

At the End of game the French have suffered 30% loss’s and the Bavarians 22%, The French right has crumbled but they are threatening to break through the German centre. Overall a fun game, the change of ground and unit scale made for a very different feel to the game converting a 6’ by  4’ table effectively into a 15’ by 10’ area giving much more room for preliminary moves and flanks etc.