On the 16th December 2011 a group of gamers braved the harsh British weather to come along to the first re-enactment of Austerlitz at the new WHC. Well, I thought it would be quite fitting as Austerlitz was fought in December on a cold winters day, we should fight it in December, on a cold winters day.

The Map of Austerlitz used at the Centre.

The Map of Austerlitz used at the Centre.

I’ve had to squeeze this in, so apologies if the edges are a little short.

As it turned out the weather was positively balmy! That aside, the protagonists arrived and chose their side, decided their strategies and and deployed for action. Four players a side and over six thousand figures and we were ready to play out one of the most pivotal battles of the Napoleonic war.

The view of the Battle to the North.

The view of the Battle to the North early in the game.

Those of you who know your history will know that Austerlitz began early in the morning of 2nd december 1805. So the first thing I had to do was outline how the misty conditions were going to work on the battlefield. Visibility was set with three levels, the first reducing visibility to 18″ and also reducing movement, no doubling etc. The next two levels improved on this until everything became normal. The Pratzen was clearing on a 4,5,6. the areas North of the Pratzen on a 5,6, everywhere else on a 6. This was rolled each turn after movement and the visibility would improve by one level on the result of the one die roll.

Cossacks move on to the central plain.

Cossacks move on to the central plain. North of the Goldbach revealing the troops of Soult.

So, the battle started with all figures on the customary tiles and the layout looked to be a broad distribution of the allied forces. This can be somewhat deceptive though as the ratio of troops to tile can be two or one battalion, or indeed whole regiments of cavalry or two squadrons. There seemed to be quite a few French tiles across the front so all looked equal. Well you may also realise that this isn’t the truth of the matter as the French are outnumbered by the Allies initially with Davout force marching his divisions to the battle, this would increase the French forces but only slightly. The class of the average French troop is better though, so hopefully this and the planning would ensure a repeat of the famous French victory.

The Austrians move down to support Miloradovitch

The Austrians move down to support Miloradovitch.

The first few turns saw the Allies moving forward on the Pratzen, guns were deployed and Miloradovich sent some of his Russians forward toward the village of Telnitz and also occupied the woodland east of the Goldbach and the village of Sokolnitz.

In the French Centre the advance past Puntowitz and the foot of the Pratzen began, Oudinot’s combined Grenadiers steadily rolling forward into the mist. The French over on the right, or the Northern part of the battlefield pushed on toward the village of Bosenitz. From their position south of the Santon, Bernadotte advanced in support of Murat and the French reserve cavalry. Visibility was still down to 18″, so everything was still on tiles.

The advance toward the Pratzen

The advance toward the Pratzen, Soult's troops catch a glimpse of the troops on the Pratzen.

The first troops to become visible were the Russians and French around Telnitz. Advance screens of Soult’s light cavalry saw Miloradovitch’s infantry hastening to Telnitz, while skirmishers from both sides engaged in long range sniping in and around the woodland east of Sokolnitz.

The woodland to the east of the Goldbash and Sokolnitz.

The woodland to the east of the Goldbash and Sokolnitz.

Over on the Northern side of the battlefield lead elements of Lannes Corps and the Russians engaged in fire-fights and melee! The Russians were occupying Bosenitz by now and the cavalry melee’s were violently brief.

The Russians of Miloradovich on the move

The Russians of Miloradovich on the move

These are one of the new Front Rank Figures battalions we have received from Reinforcements by Post.

More of the Front Rank Battalion.

The mist on the Pratzen had raised a level, however elsewhere it remained at 18″ so most of the artillery fire was at a minimum. The photo’s are taken later in the game however, so there are more figures on the table.

More tomorrow.