Saturday, 23 March 2019

Dappol Grapple Part 2

The Silesian rifleman lining the hedgerows grimly selected their targets as the French mass advanced across the open fields.

Meanwhile, the 7th Lancers clattered forward unopposed. Murat, however, felt strangely uneasy. The fate of all Europe seemed to hang in the balance.

Murat: The eyes of the Emperor are upon us boys, so don't cock it up!

The Death Ride von Dörnberg

Dörnberg knew that unless he acted the French cavalry would be pouring onto his open flank within moments. It was time to do or die.

Dörnberg: Time for a bit of Warsaw Coleslaw lads! Charge!

With a cry of "Hurrah!", the Estorffs charged straight towards the Poles. Lowering their lances, the Poles immediately spurred their horses into a countercharge. Within an instant the two regiments were upon each other.

rumble, rumble, rumble...………….ting!
Murat: Go get 'em boys. Those damn Prussians 've got my Polish crown in a vault in Berlin, you know!
Meanwhile, pausing only to straighten his line, Soult marched his men straight towards the cottages. The Silesian  riflemen behind the hedgerows began picking off the voltigeurs, but could do nothing to halt the advance.

Soult: We must be dressed to impress!
 The French army opened its arms, preparing to embrace....

Napoleon: Let's let them feel the love then, shall we?

...only to receive a sharp rebuke from the defiant Germans as Murat's men were decimated by Dörnberg's Dandified Desperados.

Murat: Nooooooooooooooo!!!!

As their captain was cut down by the furious Teutonic onslaught, the shaken lancers fell back and then broke. The pursuing Estorffs then charged straight in to the Guard Dragoons who had been forming up in the rear.
Ornano: We've been Pole-vaulted!

The leading French battalion formed square, bringing the entire flanking column to a shuddering halt. Dörnberg's desperate gamble seemed to have paid off handsomely.

That far-off afternoon suddenly seem to flicker in and out of view. The atmosphere was electric.

Napoleon: Eugene!!!! Do something!

As the sound and pictures crackled and fizzed, JC and I thought we could hear the Emperor furiously shouting something. It took a couple of sharps thumps on the time machine to restore reception. As the picture resharpened, we could see that Ornano's men had made short work of the Estorffs and were chasing their shattered remnants far into the German rear. Dörnberg, alas, was dead.

Meanwhile, the inexorable French pincer movement was also beginning to have an effect.

Held up by the hedgerows to their rear, the Silesian riflemen were mercilessly shot down as they tried to retreat.

Castella de Berlans and the Swiss, however, had been made to pay dearly for their advance against the Silesians on the far left.

Swiss: We're getting more holes than our cheese!
Moments later, Alten and the Bremen Battalion, disordered by the hail of shot tearing through the cottage, were engulfed by flames as the thatch was set alight by a French cannon ball.

Alten: Now that is the flaming limit.

The Lützowers also started to take losses from the storm of French shot. Another French cannon ball tore through the walls, killing von Arentschildt. Lützow's men cried out: "Vhere are ze Prussians!"
Lützow: : It's Hanover for him!
With the fire taking hold in the ancient and tinder-dry timbers of the cottage, Alten's men were swiftly forced to evacuate. The French infantry surged forward, determined to follow up their advantage,

Napoleon: Ah, there's like coming home to a real fire!
Forced back into the narrow lane between the buildings, the Bremen Battalion started falling fast in the hail of French museketry. Alten could do little except continue the retreat.

Alten: It's getting a bit too hot for us, boys!

The only hope was for night and the Prussians. The prayers of the Lützowers seem to have been heard, however, for as the shadows lengthened in that late afternoon, the Prussian army burst onto the field.
Prussians: Dat Dat Daaaa!

Ornano had no option but to launch his blown dragoons into the Prussian masses.
Onano: Have we got to do everything round here!

It was now a race against time. The clockwork on our time machine was running out.
Napoleon: Drat! Those cursed Rosbeefs are going to get away!

Blucher reviewed the situation and realised that there was little he could do other than conduct an orderly retreat. All was far from lost. The French had been severely mauled and could be stopped another day.
Blucher: Ve're late Clausewitz! Zat ist ze last time I let you do ze navigating!

The French struggled to reorganise in the gathering darkness, but could not prevent the escape. In the confusion Ney was hit by a stray shot coming from the churchyard.....

French: Time to start frying the onions, lads.
...and Davout was felled by a Russo-German cannon ball as it raked through his beloved 67th.

It was a costly victory.

…..And so it ended. Wellington Lad II declared a narrow French tactical victory, which just about salvaged the family honour. JC, however, claimed the moral victory, and I was forced to agree. The insane charge of the Estorffs had mucked up my plans completely! JC was chuckling all the way back down the hallway as he headed back to his car.

Those were the days.



  1. A great and colorful looking game but, but...Davout? Ouch, so costly!

    1. It was brutal, Phil. Six generals were killed!

  2. Very entertaining report and great photos! I don't know who wrote the rules but they seem to treat general officers rather harshly, tee hee...

    1. Who indeed?
      It's certainly becoming a bit if a habit for Murat. I think that's the second or third time he's been offed now.

  3. What beautiful and entertaining game... it’s always a pleasure to see your toys on the table ... doing their thing... ;-)
    The structure of the rules appears to encourage the painting of a large number of general staff... no bad thing.

    All the best. Aly.

    1. Thank you, Aly. It was my good friend Stryker, the author of the rules, who came up with the glorious daft idea of putting a marshal at the front of every battalion. As, you say, it guarantees a lot of gold braid on the battlefield, and with starring roles no less!

  4. A great game that unfortunately came up against what I assume was a real-world time limit? As others have said it was bad news for anyone wearing gold braid - I'm glad I'm not a Colonel or a General in one of your armies...
    Thinking about it, throwing a 1 on a D6 every time casualties are taken shows a marked preference in favour of he on the pale horse. Bonaparte would never have survived long enough to make Emperor against those odds (Arcole?).
    I think rolling 2 x D6 and needing to score less than or equal to the number of casualties taken in the turn plus the cumulative total of bases* lost might be a bit nearer the mark? Therefore 1 casualty on a full strength unit cannot kill a general.
    [* not sure whether to round fractions up or down for lost bases?]

    As ever my iPad posts failed - this was the third attempt but this time from my trusty PC - now fingers crossed, I'll try and prove I'm not a robot.

    1. These are all really good points, Rob. Not marking officer casualties, but just incorporating them into the general algorithm would be a lot for efficient and realistic, but not nearly as much fun! My theory Ian made up this rule so that he'd have to paint up Marcus's vast range of personality figures as he went along. There're so many of them that you can paint a 12-battalion strong army for each side and still not run out! For very slow painters like me, it has the added benefit that I get to see some gold braid quite frequently instead of having to wait four years for a brigade to get finished!

  5. A rollicking good game!

    Best Regards,


    1. Cheers Stokes. Although it doesn't look like it, it was quite a marathon. We were at it for about six hours, and with the help of an umpire too, and we still really only completed the preliminaries. This was all the fault of the Emperor who was trying to find out if pure firepower could get those pesky Germans out of the buildings. It can, but you need a massive numerical superiority and it takes ages!

  6. Now that´s what wargames should look like! I love the look of it all. The "Building on fire " marker..I´ll pinch that idea :-)

    1. Wellington Girl made it for me, Paul! We nicked the design from Charles Grant, of course.
      There are no rules for putting fires out or calculating how long it takes for something to burn to the ground, so I may have to put my thinking cap on about those.

  7. Whew, safer to be in the infantry than on a horse, that's for sure! I haven't read through the Muskets and Marshals rules that thoroughly yet, but love the nuances of the fire and tight village spaces you are getting with such a "simple" set of rules.

    1. A lot was decided by our long-suffering umpire, Wellington Lad II, who usually plumped for what was least desired by me - which is to say, the fair and correct thing!

  8. Wonderful game and report. I realize that I am going to have to paint up a lot of my glitterati generals so I can have one per unit.

    I also noticed that you do the same as me and use bluetack to keep your Merit trees from toppling over.

    1. *Laughter* I was wondering when someone would spot that, Mark.
      I like to regard my generals as painting incentives - if I can get half way through a unit, then I'm allowed to paint one. I'm a bit behind at the moment, mind.

    2. Mine are mounted on extra large washers painted green - the washers I used have a small hole that the tree covers up so it doesn't look like a washer. It makes a nice round heavy base and stops them toppling.

    3. That sound like a much more elegant solution, Rob

  9. What a fabulous looking game and a top read!
    I'm most impressed with your man on the spot who recorded the commanders' quotes.
    Brilliantly constructed tale, plenty of laughs and lovely photos. What more could we ask for?

  10. Washers for tree roots, eh, Rob, I use the same technique for the village's fleet of racing ducks.......With an umpire suitably biased against the home team and a fire raising daughter, it is clear that the future of wargaming is secure in the WM family. Which reassures me as I have no idea when my own lads will re emerge from their moving transports.