Monday, August 15, 2011

Positional Defense 2 of 2 After Action Report

Here is a scanned map from Charles Grant's book. I added graphics for a kind of crude overlay to show the progress of the attack.  This is the disposition at the end of turn 8.  With 4 more turns to go, it's doubtful that the French would have been able to achieve the scenario's objective of clearing the BAC line.

More than likely the French would have captured position 2 by the end of the 12th turn but it is doubtful they would have been able to grind down yet another stationary British Brigade in a redoubt that was sitting in position 1.  They also would have likely been able to capture Redoubt C but given the movement rate and also the stubborn British defense, I do not think they would have been able to force the entire position in one "day" (12 turns).

Proposed attack.  The FR left wing was commanded by the Division Commander. 

Drove out the British Brigade in position A by turn 9.  Finally made it to position C by turn 9!

Key Lessons Learned:

Assaults need to be tied in with the overall strategy.  The French left wing division got bogged down with numerous, repeated failed assaults on the town in the center while the timer ticked by.  An entire turn could have been saved by preparing the British Brigade first with both artillery batteries.  The position could have been carried by turn 4.  It sounds ridiculous but 1 turn is literally a half hour worth of movement.  Do your homework in volley and bayonet!  You don't have the benefit of a staff working things out for you.  You need to know what your greatest constraints are within the context of MISSION, ENEMY, TERRAIN, TROOPS AVAILABLE, and TIME (METT-T).  It is a US Army planning acronym that's been around forever. 

If your Artillery is not shooting every turn, you're wrong.  Again, Artillery at close range hits on a 4 or better.  If it's stationary you get another die!  You're as close as you're going to get to scoring another hit and you're another turn closer to reducing a position. 

If you have a Stationary Brigade defending a hardened position, DONT MOVE IT.  The British retrograde at the end of turn 9 was a disaster!  It enabled a French divisional attack directly on its heels.  What was worse was the moving British Brigade was shredded in the open by French musketry and cannons as soon as it left the position.  It would have remained for another turn at least, further preventing a French victory.  The retrograde movement towards position 2 at the beginning of the 8th turn proved to be the decisive moment in the battle.  I thought I could retire the Brigade and move it to position 1.  It was not to be.

If you're on the defensive and your order of battle allows it, use skirmishers to disrupt the enemy's movement.  The British Highland unit I had in the woods forced almost an entire French Light Division to fight 5 turns out of 9 turns and slowed them down.  My only complaint is that I didn't push them forward sooner in the game.  If so, it's doubtful the French would have even made it to the redoubt (position C) by turn 9 like they did.

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