Thursday, February 27, 2020

Expedition on the Limpopo Trail (2)

The Most Reverend Timothy W. Shoesmith
Bishop of Willoughby-Shawbridge...

My Dear Timmy -
   Greetings from your distant friend, far away in the most benighted region of the Benighted Continent, m'Butuland.  It can not be said that my mission here redounds dazzlingly to the Glory of God; after two years and some months, my congregation might be told off upon the digits of barely half my limbs.  The sin of Pride runs strongly among the
M'Butu, a foe, perhaps worthy of my steel? -or perhaps a lesson to myself in humility.  It is as Providence wills.

The Pride of the
m'Butu was not abated by the encounter a few days ago (as I write) between them and a colonising expedition mounted by Azeitona upriver from their coastal town of Vertiginus.  By the time this epistle reaches you, you will no doubt have learned of the fate of that expedition from other narrators.  I was an eye witness of that horrible encounter, invited - not to say compelled - to join the entourage of King-Chieftain Barra Kuta.  By the Grace of God he did not force an assegai into my hand, but I was rather enjoined to add my prayers to the chants of the shamans to invoke the assistance of what spirits dwelt in the land of the m'Butu.  Having evinced not the slightest interest in my sermons and stories, yet perhaps the King took the view that every little thrown into the scales might be all that was needed to tip the balance in his favour.  So little, of course, does he know the Power of the Almighty.

Placing his few muskets in a blocking position, a short distance beyond a bend in the trail, he detailed his three other bands,
Pili, Wa Tatu and Wa Nne to track through the bush to attack along the length of the column.  The former two became somewhat bunched together, and, instead of attacking the rear of the column tended at first towards the middle.  Meanwhile, Wa Nne had made slow progress.  They did not make contact with the Azeitona until the combat was well established all along the line.

.... (From this point I shall summarise the good Reverend's account in my own words...)

The Azeitona got the first move.  The lead company, rounding the bend where the bush encroached upon the trail, set eyes upon several hundred m'Butu warriors awaiting them across the way. Hastily drawing back slightly down the road, they waited for the rest of the column to close up.  This at once provoked King Barra Kuta to such a pitch of bellicosity, that he waved forward his blocking band. Pausing only to deliver a volley from his muskets - and a surprisingly effective volley it was, too - the whole band waded into a close quarter fight. Along its full length the column lurched to a halt.  In those first moments, the expedition lost perhaps 4SP (strength points) with hardly any compensating damage to the m'Butu.
As they rushed through the bush, the bunched bands of Pili and Wa Tatu shook out into something more resembling a line.  Pausing briefly well back from the forest fringe, the flanking bands planned to close with the column in a quick rush, before the Azeitona soldiers could get off much rifle fire.  One company of Wa Tatu, strayed too close to the forest edge and came under fire, but otherwise the tactic paid off.
Surging out of the bush, three bands of m'Butu laid into the startled Azeitona riflemen, at which the whole column found itself under a close combat of hack, slash, stab, thrust, cut, parry; screams, yells, groans and battle cries. At least twice, King Barra Kuta came close to injury or death; Tenente-Coronel Relaxado, three or more, as the stands they accompanied took hits.
In the early exchanges the m'Butu ignored their losses to keep up the close quarter pressure upon the reeling column - that is to say, I accepted the losses rather than take the 'retreat' result of several of the close combat dice rolls. That couldn't last very long, of course, and it contributed to the casualty rate of the m'Butu fairly closely tracking that of the Azeitona. A couple of early counts indicated that after the initial blows in favour of the natives, the Azeitona troops were giving as good as they were receiving.
After the early attacks, Azeitona has lost 4SP, m'Butu none! 
I'll let the pictures tell most of the story from here. Suffice to say that gradually m'Butu pressed the Azeitona soldiery onto the road among the baggage animals, and even into rising ground within the river bend. The supporting gunfire from Sonolenta was only moderately successful in inflicting casualties, and not at all in keeping the spear-wielding m'Butu off the embattled column.
Part of Pili band has cut the road near the rear of the column.
The Tenente-Coronel had wisely placed his cavalry at the rear of the column, whence they could see and intervene against trouble further up the trail. But they too quickly found their hands rather too full of enemies.  The moment they drove off one company, back would come another. 
Desperately defending the baggage train!  The '5' on the
SP die should actually be a '3'.
All the time, the final band, the Wa Nne were rushing through the forest, only to find it hard to insert themselves into the scrimmage along the road.
At the bend in the trail, Azeitona infantry keep the m'Butu
away from the road.  Heavy losses mounting on both sides.
Here, the m'Butu have lost 7 SPs by my count,
Azeitona at least as many.

Heavy losses towards the rear of the column as well.
Chasing one Pili company into the edge of the forest, the Azeitona horsemen found themselves entangled in a verdant melee among the boles and vines and divers foliage. Eventually they scattered the natives, but one troop at least had taken damage. This was the first stand lost to the m'Butu, but by that time the Azeitona had lost two, leaving the baggage train here and there badly exposed.
Azeitona riflemen forced back onto the road.  Having put
some distance between themselves and the m'Butu, maybe they
can hold them off with rifle fire... 

Never able to mount any concerted attack, the Azeitona infantry made sporadic company sized thrusts to keep the natives from the road. Such was the impetuosity of the m'Butu (I really was having a good deal of the fun!) that the column, much reduced, was being forced onto the trail, and even beyond it into the forested river bend.
Nothing loth, m'Butu charge in again.
Early on, perhaps after 4 turns or so, I asked for an accounting of losses, not in the expectation of either side having reached their exhaustion point, but rather to see how they were tracking. The Azeitona column had lost 12SP, the m'Butu 9, indicating that after the initial surprise, the soldiers were matching their warrior opponents, despite the few opportunities to use their superior firepower. This was, by the way, why, as the m'Butu, I was keen to keep the fight close, despite the losses that policy incurred (taking the loss instead of retreat options). Late in the action, closely pressed as they were, the column was taking losses when 'retreat options' were denied them on account of crowding, proximity to other enemies, or (in the case of the baggage) impassible forest.
Counter-attack at the rear of the column. 
But both sides by now have taken a fearful battering.
Look at all the SP dice showing ones and twos.  Both sides.
By this time the Azeitona had lost two companies (stands)
outright, m'Butu would soon lose their first stand.
Two or three turns later and the SP loss had almost doubled.  Azeitona had lost 20, m'Butu 17. Had we been using the 'per spec' loss of one-third of the original SP, the action could have been called right there: both sides having reached their exhaustion points of 17 (bearing in mind we thought the Azeitona started with 50SP) and 16 respectively. But as we had already determined upon the 50% exhaustion point, the battle carried on.

By the time Azeitona had reached its exhaustion point - 25SP lost - m'Butu were in scarcely better case, having lost 20 or so - still in aggressive fighting trim.  Paul had a run of bad luck shortly before this point, for a whole turn unable to score a single hit.  I was to return the compliment a couple of turns later, but promptly followed that up with a whole string of hits and SP kills that tipped the Azeitona morale over the edge.  

Huddling in the river bend they managed to fight off the attacking warriors long and effectively enough, that they, too, reached their exhaustion point (23SP).  The attacks faded away, the warriors drew off into the forests, and, apart from the dead and dying, the trail was clear.
That was, of course, the end of the expedition.  The losses had been far too heavy - a good half or more of the soldiery were casualties, and much of the baggage train had been destroyed or plundered.  At least the gunboat could carry many of the wounded back to Vertiginus; the surviving column had to straggle as best they could back down the trail.  The m'Butu were well satisfied with their victory...

 (We take up once against the missive of Reverend Juggins)

There is no doubt that the m'Butu have clapped a stopper over the ambitions of Colonel Relaxado and the Azeitona Colonial Office. There is equally little doubt that, despite their grievous losses, the m'Butu think no end of themselves for their victory. The expedition lost a good half of its soldiery, and half its baggage as well, as attested by the booty the m'Butu bands brought away. It will be some while before the Azeitona will mount any similar enterprise; much less are they in a position to mount any time soon a punitive expedition against the natives.

For his part, King Barra Kuta gave no indications of continued hostility against the Veriginus colony itself, going so far to declare his forbearance, his wish for the resumption of good relations, and returning to the colony a number of prisoners, combatant and non combatant alike, taken at the battle of the Limpopo Trail. For a benighted heathen, the King shows a measure of good faith that many a Christian might do well to emulate.  But the line has been drawn in the sand, he declared through his emissary - myself standing as translator - 'so far, but no farther.'

Finally, I thank you for that small consignment of Bibles and tracts that arrived here at the King's kraal six months ago.  I would request that you send more.  The damp climate of the Big Rainy Season is not kind to their bindings nor to their pages..."

Respectfully yours in ... etc
Revd. J Eglington Juggins, DD.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Expedition on the Limpopo Trail

The Limpopo River Trail.

Along the great grey-green greasy Limpopo River, which is as deep as the sea, and bordered with fever trees, there runs an ancient, well worn trail that leads from the Azeitona colony and sea port of Vertiginus, inland to promising farmlands and who knows what riches that lie in the interior.  The prospect of 'what lies beyond' was too much for one Tenente-Coronel Joao Pablo Relaxado, the military governor, who, upon the end of the April-May rainy season of 1875, set off to carve out a settlement far upriver. 

Paul Jackson and I have been working on organising and consolidating several 19th century Imagi-Nations projects that have been more or less ongoing for some considerable time.   My own projects have been the Chromatic Wars, among Ruberia (RED), Azuria (BLUE), and the late comer, Turcowaz (TURQUOISE, the 'other' BLUE).  Recently I have begun building the Turcowaz Army, with Regular Crimean War regular Turks, foot Bashi-Bazouks, and a handful of Sipahis using traditional (17th century) battle techniques.  At one time I had toyed with including a BLACK army, the M'yeusi (Zulu figures) and a WHITE army, which would be vaguely Arabic in nature.

I never did get around to building those armies, and probably never would have done, but then Paul comes up with his own scheme, building the M'Butu and an as yet unnamed force of semi-arid and desert dwellers supplementing the slender resources with raid and plunder.  Another colonial power has arisen to rival Ruberia and Azuria - the Kingdom of Azeitona (GREEN - specifically, olive green).
Map of opening situation, the head of the expedition's column
sees the M'Butu blocking force.

Focusing for the moment upon the Benighted Continent, Paul thought it a fine idea to prologue the campaigns with an incident which brings the Azeitona colonials into conflict with the militant tribe of M'Butu, led by King-Chieftain Barra Kuta, himself harbouring imperial ambitions. 

Prepared to tolerate the existence of the Vertiginus colony for the material benefits, and even status, it brought to himself and his tribe, King Barra Kuta was inclined to draw a line in the sand at its present limited extent - a town and sea port of no great size, and a hinterland that extended no more than five or ten miles from the town's centre. Written and verbal requests from the Colonial authorities to extend the colony by establishing settlements in the interior, the King had disdained to answer at all. Choosing to take the silent snub for tacit consent, the military governor all through the rainy season organised his expedition.

Promptly on 1st June, 1875, the convoy set out, horse and foot, accompanied by His Faithful Majesty's Gunboat Sonolenta, a sidewheeler steam vessel with a pintle mounted 12pr rifled gun fore and aft. As well a providing some artillery during the expedition, the captain and officers were charged with mapping the river Limpopo. The Expedition comprised:

Azeitona Limpopo Expedition
Command: Tenente-Coronel Joao Pablo Relaxado and HQ ..... 6SP
6 Rifle Companies (each 1 stand @ 4SP)  ..... 24SP
2 Cavalry Squadrons (1 each 1 stand @ 3SP) ..... 6SP
6 Transport elements (pack mules, pack elephants and carts @1SP) ..... 6SP
1 Gunboat (HFMS Sonolenta) ..... 2SP.
All elements 'Average'.

Azeitona column and gunboat.

Now, although this force was supposed to be 50SP, and we treated it as such throughout the coming action, the arithmetically minded reader will observe just 44SP here. Paul was allowed to compose his own expeditionary force, the only stipulations being the gunboat of 2SP, and 4 - 8 transport elements (he chose 6). I had some notion of offsetting losses to SPs with transport elements continuing on off the table, but now think that unnecessary. At any rate, I suspect Paul must have double counted something, otherwise unable to account for the missing 6SP. As it transpired the action might well have been fairly well balanced as played!

We also set the Exhaustion point at half, instead of one third, of SPs lost. Memory lapse there. So we had set the Expeditionary force exhaustion point at having lost 25SP.

The Azeitona column marching into the
Benighted Continent interior.

His excellent 'jungle telegraph' intelligence apparat very soon apprised King Barra Kuta of the affront about to be offered him by Relaxado's unauthorised and obviously hostile move, though they were inclined slightly to exaggerate its strength (the 44 vs 50 SP thing?). Quickly he gathered together a force he thought sufficient to stop these foreigners in their tracks.

M'Butu Army:
Command: King Barra Kuta, staff and hangers on ..... 6SP
Kwanza Band: 3 Spear stands, armed with smoothbore muskets @4SP ..... 12SP (all 'poor')
Pili Band: 2 Spear stands @ 4SP ..... 8SP (average)
Wa Tatu Band: 3 Spear stands @ 4SP ..... 12SP (average)
Wa Nne Band: 2 Spear stands @4SP ..... 8SP (average)
Total: 46SP; Exhaustion Point 23SP.

King Barra Kuta's blocking force, the Kwanza band,
several of whom are armed with muskets.

Special features:

1.   Being familiar with the terrain and lightly burdened, the M'Butu could move 2 hexes through the bush.  European troops could move 1 hex in the bush, and the transports only on the road and 'clear' hex-grid areas.

2.  The gunboat could travel 2 hexes per turn, forward (against the current) or astern (with the current)

3.  The hill upon which stood the M'Butu road block (Kwanza) was rocky, rough going, but afforded no cover.

4.  Paul was free to determine the order of march.  Units could be stacked, provided there was no overlap of hex-boundaries.  Further, he had to count the number of hexes along the road from the eastern edge the head of the column had reached; then move the gunboat the same number of hexes.  It was enacted that the the large bend in the river had caused the gunboat to fall a trifle behind the head of the column with which the intention was to keep pace.

5.  A departure from the rules: only one unit in a stacked hex could fight, or would take hits in close combat or being shot at.  There is a potential change here concerning following up a successful assault.  If the attacked unit is forced to retreat, two options present themselves:
(a) that the second unit in the same hex must retreat; or
(b) the attacking unit can at once attack the second unit.
This can have an effect against defended baggage.  The attackers drive off the defenders, then get in amongst the train.  We did neither of these, but it's worth thinking about, I reckon.

5.  The beginning location of the Pili, Wa Tatu and Wa Nne bands were determined by dice rolls, 1 Red and 1 Green for two of them; 2 Red, 1 Green for the last.  The bottom left of the map was designated 1,1.  Coincidentally, the first 2 rolls were 5,6 (Pili) and 6,6 (Wa Tatu).  There being 3 stands in the latter band, the third stand was placed 1 hex behind, at 6,5.  Finally, Wa Nne rolled 9,1.

6.  Finally, the action was played out straight IGoUGo, though it might have been interesting to have rolled for initiative each turn.  The Europeans, suddenly seeing the trail blocked by a force of M'Butu, have to react...
Head of the Azeitona column.

For this action, Paul supplied the soldiery on both sides and the elephants.  I supplied the cart and pack mules, the gunboat and the terrain. 

Next time: how the action unfolded: Reverend J. Eglington Juggins's account.
To be continued...

Sunday, February 23, 2020

One Hour Wargames...

For the first time in a long, long time, Jacko and I visited the club of which, as fully paid up members, we all too rarely avail ourselves. He brought along his WW2 Romanians and Italians; I brought some Russians, a little bit of terrain, and my metre-square 'grass' mat that I originally bought to make hills from, then changed my mind about its purpose.
On this we played several One Hour Wargames scenarios. I don't recall the names of all the scenarios, unfortunately. The first had the Axis forces (a mixed Romanian/Italian battlegroup) defending a river line, crossable only at the bridge and a ford close by a forest. Half the Russian forces began off table, arriving after several turns behind the Axis left flank.  
To tot up losses of strength points, each unit having 15 to begin with, we colour-coded the dice in the holder. The blue dice represented 11-15SP, the purple dice 6-10SP, the red dice 1-5SP. As you might see from the pics, the Russians forcing the river crossing got rather badly knocked about.  
The Axis were split in two, some units striving to reach the bridge, the last skulking in a wood whence they were eventually winkled out.  

The second action was 'The Bottleneck'. I had the defenders in this one, and frankly I made a pig's breakfast of the defence. The Russians comprised 3 infantry units and an AT gun (you might call them 3 infantry companies and an anti-tank gun company) to defend a point along the road that passed between a forest and a lake, or mere.  Beyond the lake was a stretch of open country an attack might choose as an alternate approach.
Unfortunately Colonel N.O. Tverybrightski placed a company in ambush too far forward, out of support from their comrades in rear of the lake. By the time they fetched up where I should have placed them in the ... erm ... first place, they were down to 4SP remaining. Meanwhile, the Axis got pretty much their ideal composition for this operation: 3 rifle companies, a tank company (M13/40, I think), and two batteries of mortars.  The mortars were the killers, once the Axis forces got close enough to call down the support fire. I suppose I ought to have been thankful to have got an anti-tank gun, but I don't recall that I got the better of the gunnery duel. This one was an emphatic Axis victory.
On to the next scenario: 'Blundering Relief' - a kind of antithesis of Don Featherstone's famous 'Auberoche' scenario. The Russians are advancing upon an axis-held town. As in the previous scenario, the Russians had just 4 units: 3 rifle companies with mortars in support. The town's garrison comprised one company of Romanians, with a second company off to their right flank.
To the dismay of the Russians, they found the ridge skyline to their left swarming with Italians: tanks, rifle companies and anti-tank guns. It was probably fortunate they had no mortars. But in this scenario, Colonello Giovanni da Clotta elected to send one company at a time onto the flank of the Russian advance. Perhaps this was less a predilection for piecemeal, penny-packet attacks as an excess of caution. Be it noted though: this was a condition imposed upon the role played by the Axis forces. Without it, we really would have had, potentially, a Russian front Auberoche.
The relief forces led off with the tank, and here, I think might have been the game decider. We simply forgot to take the -2 for infantry and mortars shooting at the tank, though we did remember the +2 the tank got against rifle units. Eventually the Russians saw off the tank, and attacked the town with enough strength to take the place. But that victory was undeserved.  The tank ought to have been an approximate match for mortar and rifle company together, which might well have left the Italians enough strength, if the town were lost, to recover the place betimes. This one we'll have to do again some time.
The final action, according to my gallery of pictures, was this one: an Axis column intending to barge past or through a small Soviet blocking force, when suddenly a second Soviet force appears on the flank of the column. The column comprised a tank company in the lead, followed by two Italian rifle companies, and anti-tank battery and two Romanian rifle companies bringing up the rear.  
A Soviet anti-tank gun and rifle company stood blocking the road: 'но пасара́н!'  Making their stage left appearance were three rifle companies backed up by mortars.  
Probably the Russians had the ideal forces on this occasion.  Part of the column had to be diverted to hold off the flank attack, and part to deal with the road block.  

The axis forces never quite made it. Again, possession of the only mortar conferred a significant advantage. Possibly had the Axis forces gone all out to defeat the flank attack before turning their attention to the road block, they might have achieved a breakthrough. ...Maybe.
Altogether an enjoyable outing, a good lunch meal, and chewing the fat with old acquaintances.  But out of four scenarios, the Russians received not a single tank!

Friday, February 21, 2020

Carnage at Elchingen (2)

We left the previous episode, the attack of Loison's Division having been brought to a standstill, with the midday arrival of Malher's Division, its two brigades in battalion columns, advancing astride the Unter-Elchingen road. 
Badly mauled though Loison's Division had been, one battalion still remained clinging to its southern quarter of Ober-Elchingen.  This corner was to remain in French possession for the rest of the day. Of course, the Austrians had the strength in numbers to have driven out the French at the point of the bayonet, but it appears that command and control problems inhibited any such show of aggression.
The next few pictures show the situation on the French left at around midday, the time Malher's brigade began its march upon the right. 

The liaison between Loison's and Malher's wings was maintained by Colbert's light cavalry (hussars and chasseurs).  Small as this formation was, it was hard to risk it against the mass of Austrian infantry upon the plateau beyond the escarpment.  At one point about mid-afternoon, the 10th Chasseurs-a-cheval felt sufficiently emboldened to chance their arm against the Austrian Schwarzenberg Uhlans.  It did not go well.  Although the chasseurs inflicted some hurt upon the uhlans, the latter doubled the pain upon the chasseurs.  Off went the chasseurs, and Colbert was left with only his hussars in hand.  These he declined to risk further.
But by now the main interest in the battle was being sustained by Malher's nine battalions, his brigaded skirmish companies and two gun batteries.  As Labassee's brigade, led by a cloud of skirmishers, pushed up against the escarpment just west of Unter-Elchingen, Marcognet developed his assault upon the village.
The latter flung the Austrians in short order out of the southern sector of the place, and even induced the Austrians to abandon the eastern.  It seemed that the whole village would very quickly fall into the hands of the French.  Meanwhile, Laplanche's dragoons, accompanied by horse batteries, were fetching a wide sweep around the eastern end of the village, in the hope and expectation of falling upon the Austrian flank.  
This attack seemed to promise rather better results than achieved by Loison...
... and then it all stalled. The defenders of the village were Austrian grenadiers, and they seemed determined to stay. At this point, Marshal Ney bethought himself to move closer to the Unter-Elchingen action to ensure the attack would be kept up, unrelenting. Now, in this rule set, when rolling to activate formations, French units must score anything but a 6 on a D6 to do much apart from shoot. I gather that the Austrians have to avoid rolling a 5 as well.  However, if a formation (Division) commander is within the command radius of the Corps or Army commander, a 'failed' score may be rerolled. In effect, a formation commander 'under command' rolls two dice. That was why Ney moved.
The above picture tells the story.  Now within Ney's command radius, Malher promptly rolled double-6.  Reliable hitherto, General Laplanche (still outside Ney's command radius) also rolled a 6. The whole battle hinged on what was happening here - and for a whole turn, nothing was happening! So infuriating, one simply had to laugh.
Unfortunately for the continuing narrative, I forgot for a considerable time to take any more pictures, which left the most dramatic moments without a pictorial record. Once Malher's Division again lurched into motion, Marcognet continued to find his eviction notices being defied by the lone and isolated grenadier battalion. For his part Labassee pushed up the escarpment unopposed, his skirmishers pushing forward into the Austrians' faces. Although inflicting some damage upon the Austrian infantry, the French weren't having things their own way there, neither.
On their side, the Austrians had pulled in their left flank, leaving the Unter-Elchingen garrison isolated, but making way for two regiments of cavalry - what appeared to be the Hohenzollern-Hechingen Cuirassiers and the Blankenstein Hussars. Continuing their sweep into the Austrian left rear, the 18th and 19th Dragoons charged up and over the escarpment and into this enemy flank guard.  Eighteenth Dragoons swiftly rode down the opposing hussars. One might have expected the reverse result from the 19th Dragoons' encounter with the cuirassiers. The melee was certainly prolonged, and the dragoons knocked about, but the heavier Austrian horse also broke in rout.
French jubilation can be imagined, as can Austrian dismay.  The rout of the Austrian flank guard, and the impending irruption of French horse and guns upon their now exposed flank caused several infantry regiments in turn to break towards the rear.  The beleaguered grenadiers in the Unter-Elchingen promptly abandoned the place, leaving it altogether for the French.
All this was most encouraging. Were French fortunes about to reverse?
Not... really. That glorious cavalry charge was the one bright - even brilliant - spot upon a very dark day, apart from a further glimmer, towards dusk. Labassee's projected assault upon the Austrian left centre was abruptly repulsed, though with heavy loss on both sides.  Two of Labassee's battalions were shattered and departed the field, as eventually were the skirmishers.   
My main reason for going after the villages was that they together formed bastions punctuating the escarpment 'wall'.  Capture them, the main Austrian position would be vulnerable to attacks from the flanks.  This was not 'how it was done' historically.  Then the French just punched straight through the centre, up and over the escarpment. When I surveyed the field, I didn't believe such a course achievable, though maybe I ought more to have used linear formations.
Malher and Laplanche having pretty much achieved all they was going to achieve, it remained for Loison to see what he might accomplish with what remained of his exiguous command.  A battalion of light infantry had maintained a watching brief ever since late morning, suddenly, late in the afternoon, saw a chance to carry or seize the west end of Ober-Elchingen.  In they went; out went the garrison; and now half of Ober-Elchingen was in French hands.
As night drew in, both sides could contemplate the stricken field.  Who had won?  At the time, I figured it to have been a French defeat, plagued all day by misfortune.  It was certain my French corps had been fought to a standstill, and the Austrian army remained firmly on the field.  I didn't quite realise that the Austrian army had taken almost as severe a battering.  
The 15 units the French lost were spread fairly evenly throughout the Corps, only Rouget's brigade being so badly wrecked that but one battalion remained in hand.  At least 3 other brigades were within an ace of breaking.  Austrian losses were far less evenly distributed.  The 14 lost units were largely from 3 small (and therefore somewhat brittle) brigades.  But what secured for the French a semblance of victory - enough for Emperor Napoleon to claim it as such in his Bulletin - was the capture of half of Ober- and the whole of Unter-Elchingen.  But the cost had been practically to have wrecked VI Army Corps.
My thanks to Mark Ottley for inviting me to join in such an enjoyable and fine game; and educational too.  Some aspects of the rule set in use were a little perturbing to Paul and me both, but I believe that they are still under a certain amount of fine tuning.  There was no problem with overall playability, esopecially with Mark keeping very busy as moderator.   The entire kit and caboodle - armies, terrain and table - are his, and a joy to play with as well as to look at.  Paul and I have had many a battle. It is not unusual for them to lead, such as this one was, to 'un combat acharné '.