This scenario is based on the Battle of Vyazma 3rd November 1812 played using Black Powder Rules.

The Setup
The game was fought down a 12ft by 6ft table. The French army deployed with 2 brigades on the table and a further 5 brigades moving onto the table. The Russians deployed with an infantry brigade and 2 cavalry brigades on the table with a further 6 brigades moving to the table. The order of battle is approximate - the names of the actual units had to be changed to agree with those we had available. A basic map showing the main features and the initial deployment is below.

Troop Ratings and Rule Changes
To try to balance the game towards a historical result I gave the French infantry the Reliable in Attack Column useful rule and gave the Russian infantry the Steady useful rule. In addition I gave the Russian infantry a useful rule of Poor Shots which gave them a -1 when shooting. I feel this gives a better result than reducing the shooting dice of the Russians which we did at the Polotsk game. GdeB has the same Poor Shooting rule. I allowed formed infantry and cossacks to move thru the woods but with their movement reduced to 50%. Only the outskirts of Vyazma counted as a built up area. The Russian hamlets were surrounded by enclosures and their boundary fences provided cover.
All the units were BP standard sized units. The commanders were all given a rating of 7 except for Marshal Davout who was an 8.
The game was played with the standard movement and ranges in the BP rules and using the amended turn sequence from & Blenheim.

Link to Flickr photoset of the game

Historical Background

The French departed Moscow on October 18, and after having a southern route to Smolensk denied them as a result of the Battle of Maloyaroslavets (October 24), they were compelled to backtrack and retreat along the same road used in their earlier advance on Moscow. Because the territory alongside this road had been ravaged by earlier campaigning, the retreat imposed on the Grande Armée extreme conditions of privation and attrition. Lack of foodstuffs soon led to demoralization and disorder in the French ranks.

By November 3 the retreating Grande Armée was stretched out in a column 60 miles long. The front of the column, Junot's VIII Corps, was at Dorogobuzh, with Davout's I Corps, serving as the army's rearguard, located at Fedorovskoyejust east of Vyazma. The French retreat at this point was harassed by Cossack attacks at every juncture, Davout's rearguard in particular being beleaguered by Russian attacks.

The Russians organized themselves into three groups while pursuing the French. First, following Davout closely were 5,000 Cossacks commanded by Ataman Platov. This group was supported by General Paskevich's 26th Division, with 4,000 troops. Marching slightly to the south was General Miloradovich with the II and IV Infantry Corps, some 14,000 troops in all, and the II and III Cavalry Corps, which amounted to 3,500 soldiers. Miloradovich coordinated the activity of all of these troops, including those of Platov and Paskevich. The main Russian army led by Kutuzov, some 70,000 troops in all, marched further to the south.

On the evening of November 2, while conducting reconnaissance south of the Smolensk-Moscow road, Miloradovich, together with his cavalry commanders General Korff and General Sievers, noticed a gap between Davout's troops, situated to the east at Fedorovskoye, and the troops of Eugene and Poniatowski, located to the west just outside of Vyazma. Recognizing an opportunity to isolate and destroy Davout's corps, the aggressive Miloradovich decided to attack early the next morning. This game is based on that action starting at 8:00AM..

French Briefing
Marshal Davout Duke of Auerstaedt, Prince of Eckmühl
The Russian forces have setup a roadblock on the Fedorovskoye to Vyazma road. Your objective is to break thru to join the French troops at Vyazma remembering always that the dangerous Cossacks and other Russian troops are operating to your flanks and rear. Your scouts reported that at 7:30AM the Russians blocking your way appeared to consist of 2 cavalry brigades and an infantry brigade.
At the start of the game at 8:00AM you have 2 brigades on the table. Each turn you can attempt to bring on a further 2 brigades. You should work out your order of march. You will not be able to vary this arrival sequence during the game. The game is played down a 6 ft by 12 ft table. Your initial troops are within 1ft of the Fedorovskoie edge. The Russians are deployed approximately 6 to 8 ft from your entry side near Maximovka. The troops of Eugene and Poniatowski are camped near Vyazma and may move to your support. Your order of battle is attached below.

The order of march selected by our Davout player was:
Vanguard - 2nd and 3rd Infantry Brigades (Friant and Gerard)
Followed in turn by
Light cavalry brigade
4th Infantry brigade (Desaix)
Heavy cavalry brigade
1st Infantry brigade (Morand)
5th Infantry brigade (Compans)

Russian Briefing
General Mikhael Andreevich Miloradovich
The troops of the II and IV Cavalry Corps have setup a roadblock on the Fedorovskoye to Vyazma road.

Only the II and IV Cav Corps are available at 8:am on the field. The Troops of the II and IV Corps are approaching from the south but may not be here until 10:00AM. Platov’s command will cooperate at once and can appear from the North and/or the East.
Your objective is to destroy Davout’s Corp or at the very least prevent them joining with the other French troops in Vyazma.
You play the part of the CinC for this action Mikhail Andreyevich Miloradovich. At the start of the game at 8:00AM on the table you have the 3 brigades of the II & IV Cav Corps of Korff and Sievers.

The troops approaching from the south - II & IV Corps of Wurtemburg and Ostermann Tolstoy - may appear 1 brigade at a time from 10:00am at C3 or C4.

The Cossacks and infantry under the command of Platov are to the north of you - from turn 3 you can attempt to bring a Regiment of Cossacks onto the field each turn from that direction. After 2 regiments of Cossacks have arrived you can them attempt to bring the 23rd infantry brigade onto the table. These units can arrive at A3 to A5. The last regiment of Cossacks cannot be tested to arrive until the turn after the last French troops enter the table from the east. This unit can enter from A3 to A6.

A messenger form Kutuzov has arrived to report that he is sending the Cuirassier Brigade of Uvarov to support you. You do not know when they will arrive.....

The game is played down a 12 ft by 6 ft table. Your initial Russian troops are deployed approximately 5 to 7 ft from the French entry side in the area of Maximovka i.e. squares A3-4, B3-4, C3-4.


1st Inf Brigade MORAND
4 Infantry Battalions ea 24 figures SWISS
1 Ft gun

2nd Inf Brigade FRIANT
3 Infantry Battalions ea 24 figures 3 FRENCH
1 Ft gun

3rd Inf Brigade GERARD
3 Infantry Battalions ea 24 figures 2 FRENCH + NEUCHATEL
1 Ft gun

4th Inf Brigade DESAIX
3 Infantry Battalions ea 24 figures 2 FRENCH + JO NAPOL
1 Ft gun

5th Inf Brigade COMPANS
3 Infantry Battalions ea 24 figures FRENCH + 2 IRISH
1 Ft gun

Lt Cav Brigade
Hussar regiment of 12 figures
Bav Chevaleuger regiment of 12 figures
1 HA gun

Hvy Cav Brigade
Dragoon regiment of 12 figures
Cuirassier regiment of 12 figures
1 HA gun


II & IV Cav Corps Korff and Sievers
Hussar Brigade
2 Hussar Regts ea 12 figures Grodno and Elisavetsgrad Hussars
HA gun

Dragoon Brigade
2 Dragoon Regts ea 12 figures Moscow and Pskov Dragoons
HA gun

27th Infantry Brigade
4 Infantry Battalions ea 24 figures
2 Ft guns

II & IV Corps Wurtemburg/Ostermann Tolstoy
4th Infantry Brigade
4 Infantry Battalions ea 24 figures
2 Ft guns

11th Infantry Brigade
4 Infantry Battalions ea 24 figures
2 Ft gun

17th Infantry Brigade
4 Infantry Battalions ea 24 figures
2 Ft guns

Platov’s Command
1st Cossack brigade
3 Cossack Regts ea 12 figures
HA gun

23rd Infantry Brigade
4 Infantry Battalions ea 24 figures
2 Ft guns

From main Army
Uvarov's Cuirassier Brigade
2 Cuirassier Regts ea 12 figures His and Her Majesty’s Regiments
HA gun