Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Rush or Retreat - General d'Armee AAR

For this month's SJGA meetup, I decided to play in Ted's General d'Armee game.

The scenario was based on the action at Gilly, during the Hundred Days War. The fight was a delaying actions by the Prussians against the approaching French army. 

In the scenario, the river that splits the table halves the movement of infantry units (or they take a casualty to move at full speed), and cannot be crossed by cavalry or artillery. It can be crossed either at the bridge at the center, or the ford that the French players (including me) placed on the left side, indicated by the pebbles.

The Prussian commanders were able to place two marshes, which would be impossible for any units to cross over. These were placed as to quarter the river, which would cause a lot of trouble in the upcoming battle.

The Prussians had the whole of their table half to deploy on. One infantry brigade held the bridge, ready to halt the French attack. Two more infantry brigades waited on the banks of the river. The Prussian cavalry sat back on a nearby hill, ready to charge down and reinforce any breaks in the line.

The French had three infantry brigades deployed on the table, with a cavalry brigade in reserve.

Napoleon himself was directing the battle in the shade of a nearby windmill, which (supposedly) gave the French a tactical advantage with an automatic Aide de Camp each turn, which could be used to augment the French forces in a variety of ways.

I was commanding the French right for the battle, and I decided to make use of my veteran French troops by keeping them in column and aggressively moving them to the river. There was a bit of forest on the Prussian left flank that I was hoping to get into.

Meanwhile, the largest French brigade was moving to assault the Prussian garrison defending the bridge.

The French attack initially went well, forcing the Prussians out of their defensive position. The French quickly took up the defenses and waited for the inevitable counter attack.

I was using a lot of the Aide de Camps we were rolling up (although it wasn't much, as our luck was abysmal during the game) to give my brigade more movement - 4d6 extra centimeters worth. This helped keep of the momentum, giving the Prussians two battles to worry about.

The fight on the French left wasn't doing much, due to slow movement of battalions in line and poor activation rolls. The Prussian artillery was spoiled for choice when it came to targets. This part of the battle wouldn't add up to much in the overall results.

The French Brigade under my command was doing well. Apart from the snafus coming from the higher ups, the battalions were handling the assault with ease, with few casualties. I was worried, however, when Ted brought his cavalry brigade down from the hill. My columns were going to be in for a fight when the Prussian horse arrived.

In the center, both sides had to take a moment to recover. The French had been thrown back in disarray when a battalion was utterly destroyed by a Prussian attack. But the Prussians weren't able to capitalize on the French retreat, which left the town unoccupied. 

As the tenth and final turn came up, it seemed like the French were on the verge of defeat, as they had been unable to cause two Sauve Qui Peut results against the Prussian brigades. I was looking over the scenario and realized that the French could win by either causing two Sauve Qui Peut results, or by causing three Retreats! With this realization, the French were able to claim a victory, with the Prussian force pulling back.

Ted did a great job of introducing the rules to three players who had no previous experience with General d'Armee. He's planning to run it at Cold Wars in March, and I may take part if there are any open spots.

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