Wednesday 28 June 2017

The Battle of Klyastitsy 30th July1812

The messenger was dispatched and from every corner of Kent (and one part of Essex) we came. The Rejects gathered in the Shed of War on Sunday for a game with a difference. We brought the kids with us! Four trainee wargamers joined regular Rejects Lee, Ray and Richard to play a Napoleonic battle between the French and the Russians in 1812. The game went very well and by the end of the day I think us old Grognards were about ready to hang up our spurs (and put away the dice) permanently as the young apprentices outperformed us in every respect. 

The Setup
The Battle of Klyastitsy (also called the Battle of Yakubovo) was a series of engagements that took place as the French advanced on St Petersburg. The game starts as both armies head towards each other. The Russians appear to outnumber the French but they are facing superior quality troops and commanders determined to break through. A couple of units of mounted Cossack's are hidden in the woods on the french flank but they will probably be more of an annoyance to the french than a real threat. It all depends of the timing of their appearance...

Order of Battle
6th Corp c/o Marchal St Cyr (Overall commander James)
   1st Combined Infantry Division c/o Gen Wrede  Heavy Gun Battery (James)
       1st Btn - 2nd Infantry(2), 6th Infantry (2), 2nd Lt Inf (1), Bavarian Line, Medium Gun Battery
       2nd Btn - 3rd Infantry (2), 7th Infantry (2), 4th Lt Inf (1), Bavarian Line, Medium Gun Battery
   2nd Combined Infantry Division c/o Gen Merle (Richard)
       3rd Btn - 4th Swiss (Elite) (3), 3rd Provisional Croatian Rgt (2), Lt Gun Battery
       4th Btn - 56th Line (4), Medium Gun Battery
   3rd Combined Cavalry Division c/o Gen Corbineau (Holly)
       5th Btn - 23rd & 24th Chasseurs a cheval
       6th Btn - 7th & 20th Chasseurs a chaval, 8th Cheau-legers (Lancers) 

Russians (1st Army of the West)
1st Corp c/o Lt Gen Wittgenstein (Overall commander Emily)
    5th Infantry Division c/o Maj-Gen Berg (Lee)
        1st Btn - Sieski Rgt (2), Kalvgski Rgt (2), Hvy Gun Battery
        2nd Btn - Permski Rgt (2), Mogilevki Rgt (2), Lt Gun Battery
        3rd Btn - 23rd Infantry, 24th Jagers, Lt Gun Battery
    14th Infantry Division c/o Maj-Gen Sazanoff (Ray/Holly)
        4th Btn - Tulski Rgt (2), Navaginski Rgt (2), Hvy Gun Battery
        5th Btn - Tanginski Rgt (2), Estlanski Rgt (2), Lt Gun Battery
        6th Btn - 25th Jagers (2), 26th Jagers (2), Lt Gun Battery
    1st Cavalry Division c/o Maj-Gen Kazoffskoi (Emily)
        7th Btn - Riga Dragoons, Yamburg Dragoons, Grodno Hussars
        8th Btn - Don Cossacks, 10th Canton of Bachkirs Cossacks, Ural Cossacks (Militia)
        Opolcheme Militia Battalion being raised in the town.

The Action
Initial setup. This is taken from the Russian side of the table. Closest to the camera is the 14th Division. 

In the Russian centre is the 5th Division under my command. 

Another view of the 14th Division looking towards the French 1st Infantry Division

The French advance started immediately. A bold and determined attack on this flank lasted the whole game. 

My Division in the centre is very strong...but that doesn't stop the French advancing to attack. The three red units across the table are Elite Swiss infantry and they are heading right for my line! In anticipation I get all my artillery on the hill ready to deal as much damage as possible before the melee starts. 

Rays troops hold the hill on the left flank and move their artillery forward ready to repel the French advance. 

Two of the young apprentices hold the flank. Their cavalry divisions would soon meet in a huge and decisive melee. 

The French 1st Infantry Division bears down on  the Russian line.

Attack columns march forward to the sound of drumbeats.

Part of Rays 14th Infantry Division ready to face the French advance

Overview showing the fast advance of the French towards the Russian left flank

In the centre my Guns start to open fire on the Swiss and French infantry

Meanwhile Emily (aka the Young Padawan) advances her Dragoons and Hussars into melee with the French Chasseurs and Lancers. 

If the cavalry melee goes to the French then my division in the centre will be dangerously exposed. 

Meanwhile on the other flank the French 1st Division hits the Russian 14th Division. 

The Cossack's emerge from the forest and line themselves up to support the cavalry melee. No one expects them to achieve much, they are just militia cavalry after all. 

Emily's dice throwing produces sound victories fro the Russians and suddenly the French position doesn't look so good.

On the other flank French columns smash into Russian infantry lines. 

My division in the centre has yet to see action but they know they need to hold if we are to capitalise on the cavalry successes on the right flank. 

Amazingly a french column charges one of my guns. Even more amazingly, despite opening with canister shot, the melee hits home. 

A second round of cavalry melee sees the Russians press home their earlier attack this time supported by the Cossack's. 

On the left flank more French columns hit home and start to force back the Russian line. Casualties mount on both sides and there are several Battalion morale checks.  
I pull my line back slightly and hope we win the initiative nest turn so I can advance and fire first. In the whole game the Russians only won the initiative twice.

The Cossack's charge! Emily's dice skills win again and she sweeps the French back. 

With follow through charges the Russian cavalry have effectively swept the whole flank clear of French cavalry. 

Another view showing the open flank. Three Russian cavalry units remain undamaged and with a little redeployment should be able to roll up the French line. However they need to reorganise and this will take a couple of turns...can the French attack on the other flank break the Russians before this happens? 

The left flank has seen a lot of tough fighting. Both the French and Russian regiments have taken serious casualties and its only a matter of time before one side breaks under the strain. 

In the centre my troops patiently hold their ground waiting for the right moment to engage the advancing Swiss and French infantry. 
Both sides now face multiple tests of moral and one French battalion fails. Five regiments flee back a full move and this effectively ends their attack. With the other flank controlled by the Russians the French sensible decide enough is enough and concede defeat.  

Wow. Those kids sure can throw dice! On the French side young James was a sight to behold. His dice throwing was almost supernatural! And on the Russian side my Padawan Emily did amazing things with her Cossack's. Nobody has seen Cossack cavalry perform as well as this in any previous game.

The Russian plan was simply to hold fast and defend, bringing our guns up and into action as fast as possible. We hoped the Cossack's would tip the balance on the right flank but we never expected the result we got. The French sensibly planned on an all out frontal assault and to be fair is came close to paying dividends. The kids all played very well and all seemed to enjoy the game. Their dice rolling skills were simply uncanny and it made us old farts consider just give up wargaming and taking up fishing or something.


  1. Nice one Lee and I am glad the young ones (NO NOT RAY , Ray is Younger than me and Postie but he is still not a Young one. Not for the last 35 years at least) did well with the dice. I am sure it is something they will remember in years to come.

  2. Nice report Lee and good to see you lot getting the kids involved. It was definitely a wise move having Emily as CinC - she obviously hasn't inherited your dice luck :)

  3. What a nice way to spend a day - nice pics, thanks for putting it all together.

  4. Thought I commented already? Obviously not???
    Great report Lee, hopefully I'll have mine up next century???

  5. Great game and report
    We have just played the same scenario but oob seems different
    Just curious

    David Grech


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