Monday, 10 July 2017

Battle of Friedland 1807

I had the pleasure of sorting out the French and Russian troops for the Battle of Friedland. Sorting and labeling French and Russian 15mm troops for the battle can often take as long as the game itself but it gives me a chance to play with my toys and speeds up the game set up and play on game day.

A view of the table from the first time we played in January 2015

The battle takes place in East Prussia June 14 1807. After the indecisive battle of Eylau earlier in the year, the French pursued the elusive Russian army until it turned at bay at the confluence of the Muhlenfluss and Alle rivers. Both armies started out with a screening force that was gradually reinforced throughout the day. Napoleon got there “firstest with the mostest” and concluded a brilliant campaign with a victory resulting in the Treaty of Tilsit.

Our battle was refought using the Commit the Garde rules. These are meant for large scale battles 1”=125 yards and a stand =4-500 men. It is played on hexes and tends to be very decisive.

Brent and I commanded the French and Martin commanded the Russians. The rivers divided the battle field which meant that the cavalry would battle in North and a French Grenadier Division faced Russian infantry and cavalry.

The cavalry battle in the north was ferocious resulting in many casualties. The French held the field and pressed toward the bridge to Friedland and bottling up reinforcements in difficult terrain.

The French Grenadiers in the south competed for defensive terrain with the Russians and were punished by effective combined arms attacks from the Russians.

Both sides struggled to get reinforcements on the board but eventually, the French were able to bring in a decisive number of troops to reinforce a depleted initial force. The Russians saw the desperation of the situation and summoned the Guard Grenadiers to try and turn the tide but it was too little too late.

This is the second time we have played the scenario and the Russian player learned from the last battle to deploy his cavalry Corp in the open to avoid getting penned in and destroyed piecemeal. This let the Russians put up a good fight but the French had better quality troopers and were able to get more actions than their poorer led counterparts.

The battle technically ended early on when the Russians failed an army moral roll. We all agreed to play on as we did not want a single die roll to determine the game and end a planned afternoon of gaming.

Deployment view from the Russian rear

French on the left. Swirling cavalry fight in the North

Same spot a few turns later. Depleted units and French gained ground

This line of hills were the key to the South and hotly contested

Saxon Cuirassier and French Hussars prepare to capture Russian pontoon bridges

End game with the French crossing the river into the Russian rear from the North

Endgame in the South. French reinforcements arrive to maintain the pressure

Not sure what is coming next. Hopefully, I will find some motivation to pick up a brush and finish my 1/1200 74 gunner and try out my rigging plan using paint brush bristles instead of thread. An idea stolen from another blog.


  1. It is a very interesting battlefield, with plenty of difficult terrain, no doubt resulting in a lot of very local nuanced and important situations. I like those sort of games.

    We quite often play on a bit longer after 'sudden death' type victory conditions, just to see whether the victory becomes ever more confirmed or whether the losers did actually have a fighting chance. I have played so many well designed scenarios that take the game down to the wire, that last minute swings of fortune are quite possible.

    1. I agree. The battlefield was "busy" and this made for lots of short term objectives to fight over. A complaint about these rules has been the sudden death die roll that can end a game early. One fix has been disallowing these rolls until the battle is half over.

  2. Alas that I missed it, sounds like a good afternoon. ,(And looks like my ex-Russians missed me!)

    1. The Russians would have benefited from your wily generalship.

  3. Looks good. Again, sorry I couldn't make it. I agree with what you said about these rules being decisive. Something about lining up thousands of guys at point blank range with muskets seems to turn out badly for one or both sides.