Several years ago I had the good fortune to visit several Franco-Prussian War battlefields in France. It’s an interesting war which, among other factors, has the impacts of technology on the battlefield front and centre. From an infantry perspective both main armies are equipped with breechloading rifles, though with very different capabilities. Artillery is being transformed with the Prussians benefiting from their modern Krupp guns. Not to be outdone the French are facing tactical challenges with the introduction of the Mitrailleuse.
At the time of my visit I undertook to purchase a number of 6mm miniatures to refight some of these battles. Fortunately one of my favourite sets of rules, Volley & Bayonet, models this period well. It was therefore a logical extension. Unfortunately, for one reason or another my painting progress stalled. There just never seems to be time to complete one project before being distracted by another. Last year however the first batch of French figures, which can be seen below, were ready.
At the same time one of my regular opponents posed something of a challenge, by asking if we could play some smaller than normal Volley & Bayonet games which could be resolved in around two hours. Intrigued, I pondered options. Finally, a couple of weeks ago, I put together a small scenario which used both the limited forces available and would utilise an equally limited gaming window. Despite these limitations the French would deploy most of a single corps, some 22,000 infantry, 72 cannon and 12 Mitrailleuse. Advancing towards them the Prussian commander would have 30,000 infantry, 4,000 cavalry and 96 cannon. A reasonable number and well representative of a smaller battle.
Everything was set for a challenging game. For those interested I have tried to summarise our fictional encounter in the following report. Hopefully you find it of some interest.