As the smoke from musket and cannon starts to part, Napoleon has another view of the field before him. To the north, the French are held at the bridge by the Russians. The walled church is firmly in Russian hands. French cavalry are moving north from the central road, north of the walled town to engage Russian cavalry moving north. The French forces have been repelled from the town. To the south, Russian guns fire both north and south causing havoc and the Russian cavalry move south to close off the road.
The fate of the battle hangs in the balance…
With the sounds of trumpets on both sides, the cavalry north of the town both charge into a huge scrum of swords, horses and plumes. To the south, the Russian cavalry charge into the head of the French heavy cavalry on the south road, trying to pin them in place.
The French artillery fires into the Russian artillery, trying to damage crewmen and guns to lessen any damage, however the Russians fire into the advancing infantry along the central road in return.
The bridge continues as before. Skirmisher fire and some long range artillery fire continue to inflict small numbers of casualties and still, the French are unable to advance over the bridge.
The huge scrum of cavalry north of the town ends locked in combat. Sabres glinting in the sun as both sides hack and slash at each other. Both forces reengage, piling more cavalry into the mob.
In the south, a battery of French horse guns fire canister into the charging Russian cavalry and manages to see them off.
This gives the French cavalry a bit of breathing space, but they are charged by the next rank of Russian cavalry almost immediately. The French horse guns try to hold them back again, but fail. The French cavalry manage to fight off the Russians, but casualties are inflicted on both sides.
The Russians bring another battery south and set up to start targeting the single deployed French horse gun. The second horse gun was not so lucky. Once again being caught by the pesky Cossacks and needing to fight for their lives again.
This time, the crew managed to fight off the Cossacks, but again, both sides loosing men in the process.
Back at the Russian occupied town, the French continue to advance up the road and finally push back in. The Russians again fall back into the town, but then turn to meet the French in the built up areas. Once again, the combat is brutal. Fighting is now conducted over the bodies of comrades, the shouts and odd musket shot drowning out the screams and cries of the already wounded. The French, yet again are pushed back out of the town. Not deterred, more French form up and move to file back into the town.
The French Infantry continue to march forward, one goal in mind. Drums pounding, banners flying, the chorus of “Viva la France!” shouted by the troops to put the fear of God into the enemy.
However, unknown to the infantry, just to the north, the Russian cavalry manage to start pushing back the French cavalry. Casualties start mounting up and eventually, the French can’t take much more and start to pull back. Unfortunately, one Russian cavalry squadron sees its chance and charges after the retreating French cavalry in search of glory, fame or possibly the chance to find something shiny on the French dead. With this, the rest of the French cavalry start to rout from the field. Now there is nothing between the Russian cavalry and the main road the French can use to get to the field.
With this manoeuvre, Napoleon mutters a few choice words under his breath and calls a general retreat. The French have been seen off.
With this defeat, Napoleon falls back towards the French border. As the Russians advance behind them, Napoleon gains the foothold of higher ground and turns his army around before managing to give the Russian forces a bloody nose and then counterattacks. With this momentum, Napoleon sweeps the Russian forces through Poland, finally reaching the fields at Borodino, where he manages to capture Moscow, but then is forced to retreat from the Russian Empire.
As you may have noticed, I have written the report mainly from the views of the French. As I have tried to make the report seem more historical, this is normally the case that the reports come from one source or another and tend to favour one side over the other. And yes, I was playing as the French!
If you want to read more of this style of reports from my club, feel free to let me know and I will have a chat with the Beasts of War team to see if we can arrange something.
Next week, I will write my final report on this battle, focusing on the tactics, commanders orders and even a word from the Referee.
"Fighting is now conducted over the bodies of comrades, the shouts and odd musket shot drowning out the screams and cries of the already wounded..."