The Battle of Klyastitsy 1812

This game was played over two days in late December 2021 at Neil's house in Kidderminster using the Et Sans Résultat! rules.

This game was a recreation of the historical battle fought at the end of July 1812 between Oudinot's Corps (comprising of two infantry divisions, a cavalry division and a light cavalry brigade) and Wittgenstein's Corps (three infantry divisions, a cavalry division, a cavalry brigade and a mixed brigade). Nick and Neil shared command of the Russians while Gordon was in sole control of the French. Gordon also provided all the 10mm figures for the game.

We followed the scenario in the 'Master of the World - 1812 in Russia' campaign guide which covered six hours fighting on day one, three night moves and seven hours of battle on day two. The set-up posed a number of problems for both sides as the table size was only 4' x 3' and as approximately 60 percent of it was covered in dense forest, deployment and manoeuvre would prove to be very difficult. Formations arrived on the table at pre-determined intervals and the task for the Russians was to drive the French from the strongpoint of Yakabovo and occupy the village of Klyastitsy by the end of the game.

The French were able to occupy Yakabovo with substantial numbers of troops before the Russian commanders had organised their formations into an attack. As the Russian advance guard moved forward they were charged by French cavalry and, after a savage tussle, the Russian brigade routed from the field. However, Wittgenstein's infantry had started to arrive and started to make their presence felt as they advanced towards the French positions. The battle now developed into a dogged attritional struggle as the French forces grimly hung on to the strongpoint. Oudinot had a serious setback when Legrand, one of the French divisional commanders, was killed but then enjoyed a great success when a further Russian brigade was forced from the field. When time ran out, French troops were still firmly in control of Yakabovo and the Russians far from their objective.

It was frustrating that we were unable to complete the scenario. Even after twelve hours of real-time game play we had only got through about 75% of the moves required to complete the battle. Et Sans Résultat! is an ingenious and fairly realistic method of reproducing grand tactical Napoleonic warfare on the table-top, the command and control mechanism being particularly effective. However, the rules are detailed and intricate. Each turn sequence has a potential fourteen stages for each player to execute before play can move on to the next phase. Combat resolution can also be complicated and time consuming as this is calculated for each engaged battalion or cavalry regiment. In this particular game (designed to be of intermediate difficulty) the relative inexperience of the players didn't help as there were many interruptions as rules were checked and different interpretations discussed. Nevertheless, the game was challenging and enjoyable and everyone had a good time playing it.