Saturday, December 7, 2013

HistWar Napoleon - Losing the Reins of my Cavalry

The new toy this week is HistWar Napoleon, a 3D tactical Napoleonic war game.

Yes, I know this is not cavalry. But is a cool picture nonetheless. That's the 3rd Line Infantry Regiment marching through a town.
I hit the field today and it was obvious I have lost quite a bit from my command mojo. I want to share some mishaps of mine with the heavy cavalry.

The 3D sand table is one of the best upgrades of this new version. Anybody recalls the 3D symbolic view (is that the name?), with the wooden boxes in Les Grognards? Is all gone now and replaced by this more functional view, which transitions to real/full troops view just by lowering the camera height. Here is the tactical plan for this battle. Each name is a Corps commander. In my left flank, I have two infantry Corps (Lefebvre and Victor) on the offensive and a Cavalry Corps (Grouchy) protecting their flank. de Beauharnais Corps is moving as a reserve.

Grouchy Cavalry Corp's right flank at their battle position is composed of two heavy cavalry formations: the 4th Cuirassier Regiment (foreground) and the  1st Carabiniers Regiment (mid background). The Corps' position is a hill overlooking Victor's Infantry Corps deployment.

The Cavalry Corp's flank protection works fine for the most part. In this image from early at the battle, the 14th Dragoon Regiment moves forward and stalks enemy infantry from a prudent distance. Note how the enemy infantry has adopted a square formation.

And then, all of the sudden my Cuirassiers Regiment moves forward and gets engaged with Swedish Cavalry (heavy cavalry probably).

The engagement doesn't end well for my Cuirassiers, which move through a maze of enemy infantry squares. Retreat!
Heavy cavalry during this period was used very cautiously. It would work best against disorganized enemy formations, but most of the time it would be used to exploit a fleeting opportunity. Remembering that too late, I decide to move both heavy cavalry regiments to the back of the Corp's line.

Bringing the horses back was not easy. The Cuirassiers kept engaging whatever weak enemy formation was in the nearby 800 meters. Not even the trees at this forest patch stopped them from routing this Russian infantry regiment.

In all fairness, the poor Russians suffered 348 losses during the crazy charge and were forced to leave the battlefield. But it was not so cool to put my precious and expensive heavy cavalry in such a forward position. Eventually, ordering my two heavy cavalry regiments far from enemy forces did the trick.
In the big picture of things, my cavalry did its jos. Victor's Corps had a troubleless march to their departure line and marched forward almost unmolested. The enemy was quite busy forming squares and dealing with Grouchy's cavalrymen. In this image, the 9th Line Infantry Regiment has already deployed and awaits the order to press with the attack.
I think that this type of "out of command" feature is great. But again I like this type of games where troops have their own volition as what to do tactically (Scourge of War, Command Ops, etc). In the case of this game, I am sure it already did and it will spook some players out there. The lacking documentation of HistWar surely doesn't help to amend the situation.



Doug Miller said...

It sounds to me like the cavalry did it's job and screened the infantry corps movement effectively.

I find that the more realistic the command an control simulation, the more difficult it is to control cavalry. In a game like this, or the Ancient Warfare titles, not getting my heavies into a situation where I can't extract them without them being decimated is a major achievement!

Chris said...

Agree Doug. They need to be kept behind the line to exploit opportunity if at all possible.

JC what about the game? I have the first one, but it had plenty of issues. How does this version compare?

Shastar said...

Do you find Scourge of War better than HistwarN ?

Ps : Great blog,very nice to read you.

Michael "Reggie" Davis said...

I printed up the PDF Manual. Between reading this a few times and working through the Tutorial Scenarios, I think I've figured out most of the game's features. It does take a bit of patience but the result is very rewarding. This is a fine game and the GUI grows on you with some practice.

Good luck and thanks for sharing your interesting cavalry engagement .