Monday 4 July 2011

They Died for Glory

On Saturday Posties Rejects gathered in Faversham for a bit of Franco-Prussian action. The battle being fought was The Battle of Faux-Illy on the 1st September 1870. This was a fictional re-fight of the Battle of Sedan in which the French found themselves surrounded by the Prussians and fighting for their lives.

The French Imperial Army have been marching to and fro with the aim of relieving the siege at Metz but have now been completely surrounded by the Prussians. Its late afternoon and all the french need to do is hold back the Prussians until nightfall. If they can hold open a corridor (including the heights at Faux-Illy) they can escape during the night. The French players had a tough fight on their hands, battling on two fronts simultaneously against overwhelming numbers. However the caliber of the troops in their forces were much higher than those of the attacking Prussians.

The Prussian infantry have advanced faster than their artillery and now surround the French, occupying high ground on both the Eastern and Western flanks. For the Prussians it came down to a decision whether to launch an assault immediately or wait for the Artillery to arrive. As night will arrive soon time is of the essence but there is a lot of ground for the infantry to cover before battle is joined. If they can occupy the heights at Faux-Illy they will have the french at their mercy.

The real Battle of Sedan resulted in the capture of Emperor Napoleon III and large numbers of his troops and practically decided the war in favor of Prussia and its allies. Defeat at the Battle of Beaumont presented an opportunity of the Prussians to end the war decisively. The Meuse Army and the Prussian Third Army - commanded by Field-Marshal Helmuth von Moltke and accompanied by Prussian King Wilhelm I and Prussian Chancellor Otto von Bismarck - cornered MacMahon's army at Sedan in a massive encirclement battle. The French lost over 17,000 men killed and wounded with 21,000 captured.

Our fictional recreation of this battle again saw the use (and failure to use) Prussian artillery as vital to the outcome. It arrived from the second turn onwards but only if the relevant general/player could answer a question from an Osprey quiz book! This was a rather fun way to decide on reinforcements and created quite a lot of laughter in the process.
Richard with the rules "They Died for Glory"

Both forces of Prussian infantry decided to press into the assault bringing the artillery into action as and when it arrived. However Myself and Dave on the Northern edge of the table decided to keep our artillery limbered and rush it forwards. One of our victory conditions was to get artillery onto the heights of Faux Illy and at the beginning of the battle this looked like a realistic possibility. However the French defence in the north proved stubborn and the heights were never truly threatened. The result was that two batteries of Prussian artillery (one on the East and one on the West of the French) remained limbered and unfired throughout the battle. Had they been deployed their use may have proved crucial in breaking the deadlock and enabled the Prussian infantry to capture the heights. 

Meanwhile on the southern side of the Battlefield the Prussian advance was slow but relentless throughout the game. In particular the South Eastern Prussians under the command of Mark turned the French flank and were within a gnats whisker of meeting up with the South Western Prussians under Fran (the Angry Lurker). Time was against us however. Night was rapidly drawing the game to a close and - back in the real world - we needed to wrap up the game to return to our respective partners before our dinners were 'fed to the dog'.

These rules were very enjoyable to play and for a newbie like me were easy to understand and learn. I certainly found them easier to grasp than Fire and Fury which we played for an ACW battle last year. At the end of the game I think everyone agreed this was a good game and a good set of rules to fight it with. Richard put on an excellent game and I think everyone agreed his umpiring skills were top class.


  1. Nice pictures, good report, I should know I woz there.

  2. Cool pictures and good report!


  3. Very nice photos and report.

  4. Thanks for the great pictures and AAR

  5. Some great photos Lee, I'm gutted I couldn't make it!!

  6. Nice pictures and report Lee


  7. Nice pictures and cool post!

  8. Good report, too bad the Emperor got away, but we don't want the dogs getting the good dinner.


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