The battle of Utitsa
Last weekend, I was invited By Roger Murrow of Murawski Miniatures to participate in the battle of Borodino (pronounced Baradino). As the battle itself is huge, it was only practical to focus on one section of the conflict. We decided to concentrate on the southern flank, where the Polish led an attack against the village of Utitska.
I took command of the Russians (ably assisted by Matt F and Darren W) while Roger, William DP, and Poit-Jeff-ski (Jeff B) took command of the Poles. The Poles had to break through the Russian lines, take the village and then take the river crossing beyond. The Russians had to prevent that from happening.
The forces were a mix of manufacturers. The Poles were virtually all from the excellent Murawski Miniatures while the Russians came from quite a few sources, including Foundry, Perry, Warlord and Front Rank. Nearly all the miniatures were exceptionally well painted - I say ‘nearly all’ as I brought some as well.
I provided 2 Brigades of Polish and 3 Brigades of Russians, plus some artillery and cavalry. With some 17 Polish infantry Brigades and six Polish Cavalry regiments on the table, I think we broke the ‘world record’ for the most painted Murawski Poles in one place at one time. The Russians had a similarly sized force.
We used the General De Brigade rules - which I was fairly unfamiliar with. I’d played ‘in the Grand Manner’ a few times, which is similar. The rules played fine, although things were a little slow at times, due to our lack of experience with the rules. Roger joked that it would probably help if we played it more often than once a year! While I’m more of a Black Powder fan, I suspect the results would have been the same.
The Polish strategy was simple - go on the left flank to avoid the gun battery and hit the Russians with the entire force. However, the fact that the Poles had so many units on the table caused a traffic jam of units vying for position. The end result was that the Polish forces took a number of turns to get the the point where they could attack properly. Even when they did, the Russians successfully repulsed their charge and the front Poles fell back in disorder. However, the Poles did recover from these early disasters and simply sent in more fresh troops.
Finally the first Russian Brigade broke, sending waves of panic through the lines, the reinforcements retreating with them. This allowed the Poles to sneak into the village on the last turn. The end result was a well deserved minor victory for Poti-Jeff-ski and his allies! All in all, a most interesting and fun game. My thanks to Roger for the invite and to all who played. It was truly a grand game.