Sunday, 8 August 2021

The Battle of Scheidewegdorf

With the weather still being unseasonably cool and rather wet (ie torrential rain) it was perfect weather both  for ducks and for myself to get in another game of SotE. After the last game I had re-read the rulebook and everything was much clearer, so I decided to add in some cavalry and artillery just to see how they played compared to HoW and the SYW, which I'm much more au fait with.

I left the terrain pretty much as was, but added in another road and a house, both really for aesthetic reasons, with the latter having no effect on the game as it wasn't to be classed as a BUA. For both sides I once again used the 1809 Wars & Campaigns section as a guide, as well as adding in some Superior troops and Rifles, just to see how they affected the play. The OOB can be seen below:

C-in-C - Inspiring
Brigadier Generals - Capable
3 x Line infantry - Regular
1 x Line - Inferior
1 x Light Infantry - Regular & Independent
1 x Medium Horse Artillery - Superior & Independent
1 x Heavy Cavalry - Regular & Independent

C-in-C - Inept
Brigadier Generals - Capable
3 x Line Infantry - Regular
1 x Line Infantry - Inferior
1 x Light Infantry (Rifles) - Superior & Independent
1 x Medium Foot Artillery - Regular & Independent
1 x Heavy Cavalry - Superior & Independent

The scenario was nothing fancy to keep things simple at this stage, with the crossroads acting as the nominal objective for both sides with them advancing to contact from line of march. Hopefully the annotated photos will suffice to give an idea of how the game played out, so without further ado:

An overview of the table, with the French at the bottom and the Austrians at the top.

The French left wing with the yellow die indicating the Inferior troops and the black Superior. I used horses with the artillery to denote that they are Horse Artillery rather than Foot.

The French right with their Cavalry providing some flank support, with the infantry in depth.

The Austrian right with the Foot Artillery on the road to gain a movement bonus.

The strong Austrian left with their Superior Light Infantry and Heavy Cavalry that would hopefully pack a punch.

The French won the Initiative roll and chose to move first. All units were in command and so pushed forward, but the independent Horse Artillery managed a double move and so moved up to the crossroads and unlimbered.

The Austrians similarly pushed forward, with their Foot Artillery staying limbered to try and close the range for canister before unlimbering. The Light Infantry got a double move and adopted a skirmish formation as they pushed forward.

The French Horse Artillery opened up on the inferior Austrian Line, but managed to miss completely. 

The French once again won the Initiative and chose to move first. Their Line Infantry moved forward with two units forming into Line as to maximise their firepower, whilst two stayed in column for ease of manouevre. The Cavalry stayed close by protecting the flank, which was a wise move as the Austrian Cavalry hove into view on the hill.

The Austrians all pushed forward with the Foot Artillery unlimbering but had their line of fire blocked for canister by their infantry! 

The French left wing causes hits on both Austrian Line Infantry units, but takes none in return.

The French Horse Artillery takes a hit from their Austrian counterparts as their canister finds the Inferior Line Infantry to their front.

The Austrian Light Infantry manage to cause two hits on the French Line infantry to their front. the extra range provided by their rifles is very useful.

With the French winning the initiative again, they chose to move forward and advanced to get with range of the Austrians, who did the same. The French Cavalry wary of the Superior Austrian Cavalry to their front chose to hold position guarding the flank. Shooting broke out right across the front, with both sides having units become Weakened (red die).

Both Austrian Line Infantry units have become weakened, with the one of the extreme right close to routing. The French have a Line Infantry unit Weakened too. In the Rally phase both the Brigadier General and the C-in-C attached themselves to the Weakened unit and managed to rally two hits off. The Austrians tried with the Regular Line Infantry and only managed one hit off, leaving them still Weakened.

The Austrian Left wing has had the better of the firefight, with a French Line Infantry unit Weakened. In the Rally phase the French Brigadier General attached himself and was unable to rally off any hits on the Weakend unit.

The French Cavalry have taken a hit from the Austrian Light Infantry who once again use the extra range afforded by their rifles to great effect.

Again the French won the Initiative roll and made a few small moves here and there, but did manage passage of units on the right wing to replace the Weakened unit in the front line with a fresh one.

For the Austrians, their right wing pulled back slightly due to being under pressure of routing, whilst their left wing pushed forward. The Cavalry charged the Austrian cavalry who failed to counter-charge, but a small mercy was the fact that the Austrian Light Infantry failed to hit them with supporting fire.

The result of the cavalry charge. The French lost badly, taking 6 hits in total and retreated back, but the Austrian Cavalry failed to pursue! A fortunate die roll allowed them to rally off tow hits (6 rolled). Things are not looking good for the French Cavalry. 

The French right wing continued to come off worse with the Austrians and the Brigadier General once again failed to rally off any hits from the Weakened unit.

A whiff of grapeshot was enough to finish the Austrian Inferior Line Infantry, who routed off the table. The French certainly have the upper hand on their Right Wing, but who would break first, given that both sides had a Wing under pressure?

For once the Austrians won the Initiative and chose to move first, with their right Wing retreating, their Left Wing managing passage of units and the Cavalry charging. The French could do little on their Right Wing other than stand and take the fire, whilst over on their Left Wing, they moved forward to keep contact with the Austrian Right Wing. They did move their Inferior Line Infantry into a position to form a reserve in case their cavalry broke, as seemed likely.

The French Cavalry are destroyed, but the Austrians are Weakened in the process. (In fact I got this wrong and the French should have rolled to retreat, taking one hit and then see if the Austrians pursued).

Disaster for the French, as their Right Wing sees a Line Infantry unit rout, weakening and already Weakened unit in the process!

Fire from the French Light Infantry sees the demise of the Austrian Right Wing Line infantry, leaving a huge gap for the French to exploit.

The French won the initiative and chose to move first. Their Left Wing moved as best they could to support their Right, with the Reserve moving forward given that the Austrian Cavalry threatened their LoC. On their Right Wing, the remaining Line infantry unit formed square to try and protect themselves from the cavalry, but naturally putting themselves at risk from musket, rifle and artillery fire. The Austrians had little to move, other than realign their Cavalry and move the Light Infantry forward to shoot at the square.

The Austrian Cavalry poised to exploit and opportunities if French Infantry retreat.

The French Line Infantry in square unsurprisingly break, but the supporting Horse Artillery nearly routs the Austrian Line, who are severely Weakened.

The French Left Wing move forward but are unable to assist their Right Wing to any meaningful extent.

The French Inferior Line form the reserve to protect the LoC.

End of the Game
With both sides bloodied and beaten, I called the game a draw, but the Austrians had the slight edge given that they still had their cavalry in play.

Post Game Thoughts
Well for a second game and with some new units to play with, that went remarkably well, with it already feeling nice and familiar as a game. What more could one ask for? So as always a few post game musings in no particular order:

  • Using the half move or less for units when getting close to the enemy to avoid the Significant Move modifier made a difference when it came to shooting, something which I didn't do in the first game.
  • I really noticed the difference between Superior and Inferior units in terms of staying power as well as shooting and combat modifiers. For the former, the Austrian Light Infantry with rifles were very effective as were their Cavalry. In contrast the Austrian Inferior Line Infantry had little staying power as one would expect. You really have to think how best to husband your resources, especially with a force containing a high percentage of Inferior troops.
  • Rallying did make a difference this game, not only in terms of the die rolls actually working, but also for me to remember where best to position the Generals as the action unfolded.  Passage of Units also helped but not to any great extent, due to some devastating die rolling at critical junctures in the game. As mentioned previously, having a reserve in bigger games will be crucial to aid either sides chances of winning.
  • I forgot to use Skirmish Screens for Line Infantry, something which I really need to learn to remember for future games.
  • I think I need to make some markers to aid game play, as whilst the coloured dice help, they can't cover all aspects of the game. Something to look into and ponder.
  • Both Shooting and Close Combat proved to be rather effective this game, as both sides for the most part rolled well. Also not moving too far as mentioned above helped. 
  • I liked the difference between Horse and Foot Artillery, with the former really giving the feel of a Napoleonic game. Ditto the French Line Infantry forming square due to the presence of the Austrian Cavalry, but at the risk of coming under fire from the Austrian Infantry and Artillery.
  • Having the Old and New Regime restrictions for various armies is a simple but effective mechanism.

Well I think that's probably it for now. For my next game I will be adding in terrain into the equation, to see how that affects things and am not sure whether to go with the starter scenario from the book or for a small historical action. Probably the former to be honest but we will have to wait and see.

To aid my limited knowledge of this period, I have just received a copy of Brent Nosworthy's 'Battle Tactics of Napoleon and his Enemies', which from a quick skim through looks to be excellent reading. A few books to finish first but I hope to be able to start reading it this week. with my wife away for a few days I aim to get another game in soon and who knows, even some FtF gaming as numbers finally continue to fall in our neck of the woods.

So until then stay safe and keep healthy!


  1. Lovely stuff. More please!!
    I must admit, I like your MDF figures and am certainly tempted to give ‘em a try. The only drawback I can see is that although the MDF ones are cheaper than metal figures they still (presumably) take the same amount of time and effort in painting/basing them.
    I’m looking forward to reading about your next battle. I’m note sure I’ll ever spring the £££ for the rules, but it’s always good to pick up a few tips and pointers here and there.

    1. I'm glad you liked it Geoff and the next game is already being planned. The rules may seem expensive, but as pointed out in my previous post, you have everything you need for the period in one book, so no supplements etc to buy, which is a big bonus IMHO.

      As for the time difference between metal and MDF, I couldn't honestly say. These I've kept very basic and use them for generic BP period armies to playtest rules etc due to my glacial painting speed. I actually like their toy soldier look which I forget about once on the table.

  2. Looking good, Steve! Your post had me looking through the "beta" SotE and the "Post of Honour" free rules which seem to have more of an "old school" feel to them than Honours of War, which I enjoyed very much.

    1. Thanks Steve. I love HoW and these are becoming a firm favourite too as they are so easy to pick up but a great and nuanced game. They certainly have a nice 'old school' feel about them, but are not clunky in anyway which some rules from way back when can be.

  3. Thanks Steve, enjoyed your action. The first scenario in the book is a nice affair that explores a lot of the rules. Your own game today reinforces in my mind that the ‘half move’ and ‘rally’ processes are amongst the most important tactical concepts in the game.

    1. Thanks Norm and I've moved to giving the first scenario a run out in the next day or so, all being well. There are some nice little rules in there that don't seem much at first, but really do punch above their weight in terms of giving nice tactical touches for us as the players to consider. I'm certainly looking forward to more games and some FtF games with Keith if I'm lucky.

  4. Looking good Steve, a real bloody affair.
    The rules appear to hold up well.

    1. Thanks Stu. I think the rules work well and certainly give a fun game, which is good IMHO. Oh and this one rather bloody as you say!

  5. Good luck with Nosworthy! Lots to learn but a lot to get through.

    1. Thanks Keith and I'm looking forward to reading the book, rather like I did on some books on the SYW.

  6. Good to see you getting in some games, Steve. Reading through your BatRep, I see much that is familiar to me from HoW. I may have to get a copy and give them a try although I am happy with my current Napoleonic rules. Nosworthy is a good book to have in the collection.

    1. Thanks Jonathan and certainly good to be playing some games again:). The rules have more in common with Post of Honour than HoW, so worth checking the former out on the HoW forum under downloads to give you an idea of the slightly different mechanics. Sticking with rules you like is a good thing but there is so much temptation out there these days!

  7. Looked like another fun game Steve. I am wondering about the fact that gage Austrians seem to have done relatively well in both games....fighting against 1809 French, they seem to be acquitting themselves better than might be the rules force the Austrians to stay in columns most of the time, or impose sanctions if they are in line eac? Our house rules make it very hard to play Austrians (or Russians) by making them unwieldy, hard to activate if not in column and a dense target when not in's a real pain!

    1. It was a fun game and I'm enjoying the learning process of Napoleonic tactics, after years of 18thC ones.

      From my limited reading of Gill and his book on the opening moves of the 1809 campaign, the Austrian infantry did more often than not hold their own against the French in a straight fight. The problem comes with their C&C which was not the best to say the least, certainly at higher levels than say Brigadier Generals. So in these rules, the infantry have a sort of parity as a guide, but the Austrian Generals command penalties make it harder for them to move compared to the French.

      In this game the die rolls favoured the Austrians and towards the end it could easily have been them that broke first. Note I'm also exploring the rules so adding in 'super' units like the Superior Austrian Light Infantry with Rifles, that did have an impact on the game.

      I hope as I become better acquainted with the period and the rules, things will become more clear as to whether you or others might like them. I'm certainly enjoying them!

    2. That wasn't a criticism of the rules or your tactics's nice to see the Austrians going into a fight on an almost level playing field...when I get my 28mm Austrians on our table, they are playing uphill on a 45 degree slope in a stiff headwind!

    3. Don't worry Keith, I didn't take it as a criticism of the rules nor of what passes for tactics on my part;). I like playing the Austrians from the 18thC onwards, but it is a challenge for sure, but one that I'm happy to take on!

  8. Thanks for the report; In enjoyed the action!

    1. You're welcome and I'm glad you enjoyed it:)