Clash at Sippitz Bridge, PART 1
Blood at Sippitz Bridge...
(Rules Note: the colored chips represent objective markers in this battle. The blue ones show French control, while the white represent Russian control.)
The fighting at the bridge was intense. Four Russian brigades - including Hussar, musketeers, and grenadiers - pushed forward at what seemed all cost. All around the bridge, Russian columns entered the river and engaged the French. One dramatic moment was to the French left portion of the bridge defense. The French had moved a brigade of infantry to a strong position atop a small hill overlooking the Russian crossing point. These Russians were slowed by the efforts of a small brigade of Hussars who engaged the enemy cavalry making the crossing. Although doing little damage, it did slow the advance. Those brave lads would then withdraw beyond the hill, well out of sight of the Russian advance. All was well, the time bought allowed the French to take up a strong defended position upon the slopes.
|Intense fighting around Sippitz bridge. The Russian columns cross the river and assault the flanks of the bridge.|
The Russians crossed relentlessly. It was obvious that the French defenders on the bridge itself were not going to just wither away. The assaults on the flanks of the bridge must prevail if the bridge was to be taken.
As the drums beat, and the trumpets sounded, the Russians on the French left forced the crossing and began a desperate assault on the French overlooking the river from the hill. Well positions, the French fought long and hard. On the Right of the bridge, Russian cannon fire pounded the French defenders. The combined fire of cannon and musket were having great effect on the defenders, who began to waver. The Russians were forcing them back!
On the hill itself, the Russians met with little success. The grenadiers, supported by cavalry could not break the well positioned defenders and they were forced back across the river; the grenadiers were defeated!
|On the left can be seen Russian grenadiers and cavalry assaulting the French flank guards on the hill - an attack that would fail. To the right of the bridge however, the French positions were abandoned.|
As the afternoon worn on, the effectiveness of the Russian guns was apparent. A huge gap to the right of the bridge appeared as the French withdrew from the river defense. Only a lone brigade remained holding the line. The Russians had forced the enemy from the bridge! Only on the French left did the Russians fail to gain ground. The time was ripe for the Russians to move forward with what reserves they had and seize the Sippitz bridge!
(Rules note: The Russian cannon were not used much in fact. Early on I had forgot to move them in range with a nice reserve move! I ended up moving them slowly off the hill and forward quite a few turns. In addition, Russian MO was limited a few times and I never had the chance to fire them when I needed to. However, near the end they DID manage some effective fire on the French brgade directly to the right of the bridge - which proved decisive.)
The fighting died down near the bridge as both sides began to adjust to the circumstances. The Russians advanced another brigade of fresh grenadiers from reserve to take the bridge proper, as the French withdrew. Only on the slopes of the hill on the French left did the Russians find difficulty. The Russians would hold their cavalry here and pin the defenders on the hill - which was of no value at this point, as the Sippitz bridge was the real objective.
|The bridge area has been cleared. The French begin to fall back from the intense fighting, and the Russians following up. Russian grenadiers coming from reserve have moved on to the bridge itself.|
|The smoke begins to clear, as the forces reveal themselves. The Russian grenadiers on the bridge have little opposing them as they move to secure the Sippitz bridge.|
|The fighting at Sippitz bridge has died down. The Russians have committed their last reserve brigade to the securing of the bridge itself; fresh grenadiers move up!|
The French Dragoons Take Action...With the fighting at the bridge slowing down, both sides took stock in their forces. The Russians would begin a push to cross the river once again and drive what remains of the French defense - the French having no remaining reserves in the area. However, not all was lost. Musket fire could be heard on the French right where the Saxons were holding the only route, free of the slowing river waters, to the French supply lines beyond.
The French reserve cavalry were not unaware of the events happening at the Sippitz bridge. In fact, a full brigade of dragoons had been dispatched to cross the river and lend aide to the defenders. Would they arrive in time to support a counter attack on the Russians and re-take the bridge? Would it even be enough to turn the tide?! Such questions would have to wait, fore at the moment the Saxons were about to write their own little piece in this story of battle.
The Stage is Set...Much had transpired in the Saxon sector as the fighting at the Sippitz bridge was going on. Both sides had fought a great cavalry battle on the right of the position. Initially the Russian horse had won and drove the French Hussar before them. Pulling back to regroup, the French through forward their dragoons held (Rules note:previously in reserve. Such was a necessity in order to preserve the Saxon right flank. However, this was not just a defensive movement on the part of the French. Instead, as word of the fighting near the bridge had reached the commanders here, thoughts of a counter-attack prevailed. The Saxons would advance, supported by the attacks of the French dragoons!
Confusion began to fill the ranks of the Russian command. Their attack against the Saxon position began to falter and slow just as the Saxons began to sound the advance. Up until this point, the infantry of both sides had been content enough to sit back and commence a musket/cannon dual - having little major effect; the Saxon guns having wasted much ammo. Smartly, the Saxon gun commanders held the last of their ammunition for the defense of the position - or in this case, the counter-attack!
(Rules Note: The Saxon cannon proved very ineffective up to this point. They fired many times at long range on the advancing infantry columns with little if any success. I decided it would be in their best interest to save at least one or two shots for defense/canister fire. Useful as the Saxons were about to counter-attack.
Prior to the counter attack, I had all the infantry "prepared", which is very useful against a mounted enemy. Of course the Russians had no artillery in this area, so I kept them prepared even against the advancing Russian infantry.)
|As the Russians columns advance, the Saxons break from their prepared positions and begin a counter-assault, supported by the advancing French dragoons.|
|The Saxons take the offensive against the oncoming Russians. The stage is set!|
Thus concludes part two of this battle. The stage is indeed set for the deciding moment of this little battle. Everything depends on what happens on the French right as the Saxons and French dragoons launch a counter-attack on the advancing Russians - who seem to be left out to dry! No artillery support? Where is their reserve? We shall see. Stay tuned for part three :)
As it stands, the Russians have brought the French to about half way to their army break point. However, the Russians have also suffered some loss. Both sides also made use of the retirement rules to remove units on the verge of breaking. Smart moves actually. If the Russians can capture the Saxon objective they will secure a win at the end of the day (30 turns). Otherwise, unless one side withdraws, the battle will be a draw. It IS possible for the French to gain a win as well by capturing all the objectives at the end of the battle as well, but that doesn't seem likely at this point. But, you NEVER really know. Lets see what happens next! :)
Here is the FINAL part
... part 3