Thursday, November 6, 2014

Borodino - 7 September 1812 (Utitza) - Part One

General Poniatowski - looking very dishy I must say. 

I'd love to say that I haven't been updating the blog because I've been flat out playing games and having way too much fun - but in actual fact, it's mainly because I've been flat out in work and attending college. The course has been demanding, but I'm enjoying it. Unfortunately it doesn't really leave time for anything else and between getting to work and to class, any spare time I have have has been spent with Mrs. Kinch. 

But I've had this sitting in my drafts section and I've finally managed to put some sort of shape on it. 

An unexpected reinforcement for the French

Prior to my dissappearing down a rabbit hole of legal studies, I managed to get a game in.  What I lacked was an opponent, but this deficiency was put right by the sudden arrival of a tall, wild eyed figure at my door. Lashed by rain and with his more delicate extremeties frostbitten - he was kept warm only by the burning flame of duty to the blood and soil. 

And it was  thus that I met my new old enemy, Lochlainn McHiberinia-McEireanneach an impecunious republican exile constantly surrounded by Celtic mist (which proved a swine to get out of the curtains - Mrs. Kinch still isn't speaking to me).  I hustled him into the wargames room before he caught his death and thrust a medicinal brandy into his hand. 

Pausing only briefly to sing a heart rending lament for the soft drizzle of home - he informed me that he had returned in secret to the Auld Sod. He had slunk off a French frigate at midnight in order to raise bloody riot and revolution and coincidentally wreak terrible vengeance on all filthy Kinchs. 

We agreed that a game of Command & Colours Napoleonics seemed the best way to raise the green flag and begin the rebellion. 

I happened to have one of the Borodino scenarios set up - so we played that. 

The field of battle

"The village of Utitza was at the southern end of the Russian left flank positions at Borodino. The Utitza woods, however, were very dense—well suited for Tutchkov’s Russian Jaegers that were deployed there in some numbers. All total, Tutchkov had some 23,000 troops, but many were untrained Opolchenye (militia). Poniatowski had about 10,000 trained Polish soldiers, very eager to fight.

The first attempt by the Poles, did capture Utiza, but Tuchkov’s Grenadier Division and the 3rd infantry division advanced and ejected the Polish forces in short order. General Junot then joined the attack and again captured Utiza, but as the Russians departed, the village was set on fire and no longer could be defended. After this, the Russians and Poles continued to skirmish for the rest of the day without much progress.

The stage is set. The battle lines are drawn and you are in command. Can you change history?"

Skirmishing in the woods

The initial few moves of the game were quite tentative. I had the edge in Light Infantry and hoped to drag the French into a fight on the right in order to whittle down their numbers and press my advantage. 

The 1ieme Suisse annihilate the 17th Jaegers

Unfortunately,  McHiberinia-McEireanneach counter attacked swiftly and managed to put paid to my jaegers. 

But run slap bang into the Parnau Grenadiers

I repaid him in his own coin. It's interesting how the battle ebbed and flowed, which is something of a recurring theme of CNN games.  It's very rare that there is general engagement all along the line.  It's much more usual to find that there will be a serious of hot spots that move across the table and often, as a general you will find yourself trying to use weaker cards to focus an opponents attention somewhere, while you build a knockout blow somewhere else. 

The Russian line moves forward dressing from the right

As the French had proven quite adept at pulling weakened units out of the line and I didn't have the cavalry to go hunting them down it was proving frustratingly difficult to break any particular part of the French line.  McHiberinia-McEireanneach was quite cautious and I knew that if I maintained the defensive, he would simply pick a point and steamroller me. This obliged me to attempt to keep him off balance and prevent him from withdrawing shaken troops and replacing them with fresh ones. 

With that in mind, I pushed forward in the centre in order to prevent him bringing his cavalry on the left into play, which I didn't have the resources to counter. Holding the village of Utitza allowed me to make the battle about the built up area and not get drawn into a fight in the open, where the French horse soldiers would inevitably prevail. 

Lochlainn McHiberinia-McEireanneach

Warmed somewhat by his medicinal brandy -  McHiberinia-McEireanneach was in good spirits, until a chance remark reminded him that he was in mourning, whereupon he immediately retreated to the ktichen, Covering his head with a black cloth he began to sing a mournful dirge bewailing the recent death of his favourite potato (which he had hand raised since he were a lad, yer honour).

It was going to be a long night. 


  1. Conrad Kinch,

    It is good to know that despite all the other pressures, you are still managing to have an occasional wargame ... and mighty fine it looks as well!

    Good luck with your studies.

    All the best,


    1. This actually preceded my studies. I have yet to square the two sadly.

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you - the Celtic mist was wrecking havok with the wall paper.

  3. Nice feline. Good luck with your studies! And fun gaming! As always, an enjoyable and amusing read.

  4. Hi CK,

    Welcome back to the fold old chap - your absence has been keenly felt by the discerning reader. This is shaping up rather nicely and looks absolutely top hole - I really like the hexed playing surface you use.

    I trust the unexpected reinforcement provided the purrfect companion to comfort your opponent in his hour of need following the passing of his favourite potato.

    Looking forward to the rest of the report and I hope the studies are on course on the course so to speak.

    All the best,


  5. Nice pics and great lines of troops!