Sunday, 12 January 2020

Maloyaroslavets 1812

This scenario was by way of an experiment.  I had come across the Age of Eagles rules website and spotted some downloadable scenarios (link).  It looked like an easy way to set up a Shako scenario so I gave it a try; the 'clincher' was that the game was set up for a 6 x 4 table.  The OOB provided was of course aimed at the Age of Eagles rules which have the  brigade as the manoeuvre unit and I carried this across wholesale to use in the 'big battles' version of Shako.

A view of the set up; the leading French division, (at the bottom of the picture), is just across the river ready to occupy Maloyaroslavets.  At the top of the photo are the Russians, ready to advance and eliminate the French bridgehead.  All French reinforcements arrive along the road leading to the bridge, the Russians either along the roads entering along the top of the board, or, from the right.

The French light cavalry charge home
The scenario gave the first round initiative to the French and they used this to occupy Maroyaroslavets with one brigade while the other blocked access between the village and the church.  This of course left a gaping gap on the French right, covered only by the French artillery.  Hopefully the first wave of reinforcements would arrive in time to hold off the Russians.  The first to arrive were Ornano's light cavalry division (2 brigades), followed by Broussier's infantry and the corps artillery.  Having crossed the bridge and moved to the right of the village they faced three brigades of Russian infantry. One brigade of cavalry charged, but the other had to deploy to cover the flank as a mass of cossacks and light cavalry had appeared.

The cavalry are hit in the flank by the cossacks

The Russian light cavalry attack
The French cavalry were victorious in their charge, but before they could rally the cossacks were on them, driving them further to the left and away from the bridge.  A further setback to the French cause followed, as the remaining light cavalry brigade was driven back by the Russian light cavalry, ending up back across the river.

By the time Broussier's infantry managed to cross the river they found their right threatened by Russian infantry.  Only the fire from the French artillery stalled the Russian advance.  On the French left two Russian brigades bore down on the single French brigade covering the area.  A third moved further to the left and captured the church before Broussier's infantry could get there.  The French infantry did their best, but outnumbered they eventually had to give ground and were chases back across the river where it took some time for them to rally.

The infantry struggle on the French left
The brigade holding Maloyaroslavets was now isolated and the Russians opened a sustained artillery barrage on the village.  When the defenders had been sufficiently 'softened up' the Russian infantry surged forward and drove the French out of the village and back over the river.

From now on the French made successive attempts to attack across the bridge and try and recapture the village.  Although they had some successes, each attack was eventually pushed back, even the Italian Guard. 

It was clear that the Russians had prevailed and Steve and I shook hands and discussed the battle over coffee.  A couple of things were clear, the move distances from Shako were too great for the table we had.  The initial set up had 6 Russian brigades, with two batteries against 2 French brigades with one battery.  Even though French reinforcements arrived fairly quickly, they couldn't support the outnumbered French before the Russians arrived.  We felt that a crucial factor was that the move distances in Shako are guaranteed, whereas in Age of Eagles they depend on a die roll.  In addition, Shako has no separate musketry segment; the only way to 'stagger' a brigade or inflict casualties on it outside melee is with artillery.   The cossacks were particularly effective, moving fast and able to pass through woods they were a potent threat.  Plenty to ponder before the next trial I think.


  1. Wonderful to see this critical battle staged by another game player.

    Read about our 'stab' at this battle here:

  2. Thanks for your comment MurdocK. I read your report with interest. The rules you use do inject a little more uncertainty into movement. On reflection I could have done a bit more to reflect the difficult terrain over which the battle was fought.