The NWC Newsletter
The official quarterly publication of the Napoleonic Wargaming Club


1. Editorial
2. Featured Article
3. News & Dispatches
4. Analysis
       HPS Salta-novka
5. Commentary
6. Letters to Editor

No. 26  JULY  2007
Dirk Smith, Editor


Okay.  We're on to the 25th publication of the NWC newsletter.  Thanks for the positive comments about the previous publication.  You'll note that this letter is much shorter than the previous. Part of that is due to me having less time this summer to work on the letter (wife is expecting fourth son on August 31, 2007 -- and my other three sons are all under 12).  The other part is due to having no submissions except one for the 'Analysis' section. This brings me to the next topic: Authors!  At least we should have the army commanders submit information about their commands for the 'Dispatches' section.

WANTED! NWC Newsletter Authors
This publication is for all the club members. However, it really is only as robust as the contributions from club members. Got any ideas or articles for next quarter?  If so, polish it up in the next three months and submit to before October 1, 2007.

Dirk Smith, 30 July 2007




The following news items were the only ones received by the newsletter for this publication.  Hopefully next quarter more feedback will be obtained.


NWC Newsletter did not receive information from Anglo-Allied Army Commander.


NWC Newsletter did not receive information from Dutch Army Commander.


NWC Newsletter did not receive information from Austrian Army Commander.


Here is the latest batch of information for the July 2007 NWC Newsletter from Monsieur le Marechal Baron John Corbin.


Lieutenant Colonel Patric Strijbis of VII Corps promoted to Colonel
Captain Jose Fornos of VI Corps is promoted to Chef de Battalion
Captain Mike Bangert of V Corps is promoted to Chef de Battalion
Colonel Paul Ayers of VII Corps is promoted to General de Brigade
Chef de Battalion Pierre Desruisseaux of VII Corps is Promoted to Lt.

Medals awarded

Monsieur le Marechal John Corbin and Lt. Colonel Pierre Desruisseaux are awarded the
Médaille Militaire for their multiplayer victory over allied opponents on the field of Waterloo.

New Officers

Lieutenant Armando Russo assigned to Armee du Rhin - VII Corps, 21ème
Division, 2ème Brigade, 1ère Leichte Regiment
Lieutenant Rafal vel Vertigus assigned to Armee du Rhin - VI Corps, 19ème
Division, 1ère Brigade, 1ère Liebregiment

From the Armee du Nord
The following report is a compilation of news as reported by corps for the months of April, May and June, 2007 for Armee du Nord.  This includes point awards that are shown cumulative for the period. 
I Corps Commanded by Marechal Doug Fuller
Lt. Thomas Moore graduated from Ecole Militaire and was assigned to 23e Chasseurs a Cheval of 1st Light Cavalry Division of I Corps.

III Corps Commanded by General de Division Greg Morgan
Cadet Fagnand completed his initial training in Ecole Militaire and was promoted to Lieutenant and assigned to 34e Regiment de Ligne of 1st Brigade of 10th Division.
General de Brigade Christian Rizo has been activated from reserve to resume his command of 1st Brigade of 11th Division.

I Reserve Cavalry Corps  Commanded by Marechal Bill Peterson
Lt. Col. Al Amos is awarded the Ordre de la Couronne de Fer in recognition of his lifetime contributions to strategic simulation gaming. 

Ecole Militaire
Cadet Jeffery John Wong has recently been assigned to Ecole Militaire and designated to be assigned to AdN upon completion of his initial training.


NWC Newsletter did not receive information from Prussian Army Commander.


NWC Newsletter did not receive information from Russian Army Commander.

Club Miscellaneous

NWC Newsletter did not receive any relevant information.


HPS Simulations' Napoleon's Russian Campaign

Gerald J. Nivison, PhD

death of a cuirassier officer
Death of a cuirassier officer

Single Battle - The Battle of Salta-Novka (36 turns, Small) - 23 July 1812 - [Historical] Bagration and his Second Army of the West are moving north in an attempt to join with Barclay and the First Army. Davout has positioned himself at Salta-Novka in an attempt to block Bagration. A successful French operation keeps alive the possibility that Napoleon may still be able to bring the First Army to battle without the reinforcement of Bagration.


   1.1 Audience
   1.2 Mapboard
   1.3 Order of Battle
   1.4 Objectives
   1.5 Optional and House Rules
   2.1 General Strategy
   2.2 Force Distribution
   2.3 Defensive Stage 1
   2.4 Defensive Stage 2
   2.5 Defensive Stage 3
   2.6 Later Defensive Stages
   2.7 French Counterattack
   3.1 Initial Encirclement
   3.2 Left Flank Attack
   3.3 Rough Slog


A perfect general, like Plato's Republic, is a figment of the imagination.
-- Frederick the Great [FRE47:34]

Before playing a wargame scenario for the first time, it pays to analyze it in depth.  In the first part of this article, The Battle of Saltnovka is analyzed first from the side of the French, the natural defenders in this scenario.  In the latter section of this article, it is shown how best to crack the French defenses when playing Russian attacker.  This analysis is not the end-all in how to play this scenario.  It is one way though and should at least give you food for thought for other ways.  When the author first played this scenario, his oppenent had already played it twice (once as each belligerent) and said "the Russians will be a steamroller".  Futher analysis, given in this article, left some doubt on that assessment since the French have near parity in forces (see Table 1 below) and have a nicely defendable region with both flanks secured by forests or impassable creek.  With competent play on both sides, this scenario should result in a draw, which implies a good design.  A nice feature of this scenario is its compactness; it's about a corps or so for both sides and fits into a nicely sized board.  One's mind naturally handles this sized game quite naturally, whereas I often feel it's more work -- though still fun -- to comprehend "the big picture" in larger scenarios.

1.1 Audience
The intended audience for this article is intermediate to advanced level gamers.  A beginner can benefit from reading this article but will have to work hard at understanding some of the concepts involved.  A solid understanding of basics, for example like Command and Control or all the myriad modifiers that affect game tactical decisions, is expected of the reader.  Further, basics of how to construct a defensive line using infantry battalions in line formation with skirmisher companies stacked for protection and backed up by close-support artillery and cavalry is assumed.  For articles covering basics see Napoleonic Archive Articles.

1.2 Mapboard
As an introduction to this scenario, familiarize yourself with the map in Figure 1.  Saltanovka is located in modern day Belaruss.  The image shown in the figure is the entire mapboard.  The top direction of the map is toward north.  The map is 66 hexes wide and 119 tall (6.6 x 11.9 km or approximately 4 x 7 miles).  Because of locations of objective hexes and bounding forests, rivers, and marshes, the battle most likely will be played inside the white boxed area, which is approximately 1/4 of the total map area.

25% scale of 2d zoomed out map
Figure 1. Geographic location and battle map (25% scale of 2D zoom-out view) with initial setup

1.3 Order of Battle
In Figure 1, the initial Russian units positions are shown in green and French in blue.  Forces should be understood in terms of groups that can operate independently with regards to the game engine C&C.  The French have three groups of forces:  4th Inf Dv (Dessaix) / I Corps, 5th Inf Dv (Compans) / I Corps, and 5th Cuirasser Hv Cav Dv (Valence) / I Cav Res Corps.  The remainder of the 5th Inf Dv is released at 8:30 AM (Turn 5), and the 5th Hv Cav Dv is released at 9:30 AM (Turn 9).  The two French 12-lb batteries arrive as reinforcements at 9:30 AM.  The Russians have four groups of forces:  12th Inf Dv (Vasilchikov), 26th Inf Dv (Paskevch), 2nd Gr Dv (Vorontsov), and IV Cav Corps (Sievers).  There are approximately 23000 French and 22000 Russians, though about half of the French are fixed for the first 4 to 8 game turns.  A detailed comparison of these forces is shown in Table 1.

Table 1.  Order of Battle Comparison


Line Infantry (men / battalions)
19650 / 25
13350 / 26*

Light Infantry (men / battalions) 0 / 0
3600 / 6

Horse Artillery (guns / batteries)
24 / 4
12 / 1

6 lb Artillery (guns / batteries)
16 / 2
48 / 8

12 lb Artillery (guns / batteries) 16 / 2
24 / 2

Light Cavalry (troopers / regiments) 1050 / 2
2675 / 6**

Heavy Cavalry (troopers / regiments) 2275 / 3
2100 / 4


Infantrymen (Bns) / Guns / Cavalrymen
19650(25) / 56 / 3325
16950(32) / 84 / 4775

     *  16 Russian line battalions are restricted and may not form skirmisher companies.
   **  3 Russian light cavalry regiments are cossacks, which receive a lesser charge bonus.

russian grenadiers
Russian grenadiers

The number of infantrymen indicate the amount of firepower a side can absorb, while the number of battalions indicate the amount of fatigue (how long it can remain in battle against an equivalent or reasonably larger force).  The number of artillery and cavalry indicate the amount of damage a side can deliver.  With these four numbers, a rough comparison to the orders of battles can quickly be made.  The forces roughly seem about equal, but about half of the French units are fixed the first 4 to 8 turns of the game.  Even though the Russian has 84 guns to French 56, the number of batteries (and thus shots per game turn) is much closer at 11 to 8.  Further, the French have 4 batteries of horse; it may be worthwhile to mass these batteries for counterattack opportunities, particularly to punish ill-conceived, poorly placed cavalry charges.  However, all Russian infantry is fanatical, which gives them a +2 morale modifier on many morale checks.  Also keep in mind that Davout commands only the 4th and 5th Dv, but not the 5th Heavy Cav Dv, whereas the Russian leader Bagration commands the entire Russian force.  (Is it historical that Davout does not have command over detached 5th Cav Dv?  Probably not, but that is the way this game simulates it, so be aware.)

1.4 Objectives
An old adage among veteran wargamers is:  "Ignore objectives and instead kill enemy forces."  This is true most of the time, because by killing forces, the objectives become easy to occupy or defend.  The French start with 7 objective hexes worth 550 points.  The Russian needs to gain a net of 550 points to get to a minor victory and 50 points to get to a draw.  To keep the value of objectives in perspective with units, recall that an infantry brigade of 4000 men is worth 160 points, whereas a cavalry regiment of 1000 troopers is worth 240 points.  (Take this as a hint on the relative worth of cavalry.)

Take note that there are two exit hexes in this scenario, one at the northern end for the Russian to exit units and one at the southern end for the French to exit units.  It is doubtful under typical game conditions that either will be used.

1.5 Optional and House Rules
The recommended optional rules to use for this scenario are MOE3 and definitely no multiple infantry melees and no line movement restrictions.


An army ... [ideally] has its two wings resting ... upon natural barriers.  Where both wings are protected, a general has only to guard against being penetrated in front.   ...  He should never allow the different corps of his command to depart [from the central position] for if it be difficult to contend with the disadvantage of having two flanks exposed, the inconvenience is doubled by having four, tripled if there be six; that is to say, if the army is divided into two or three seperated corps.
-- Napoleon [NAP31:55]

French chasseur
French chasseur

2.1 General Strategy
So, how to defeat the Russian?  Strategy depends upon the natures of the players facing each other.  If you face an aggressive Russian, he'll come after you and try to take the objective hexes.  The way to defeat him is to grudgingly give ground (and objective hexes) but make him pay heavily in destroyed units (via disorder and fatigue!).  Since cavalry counts 6 times infantry, always go after it with ranged fire whenever possible.  If the Russian is passive (it is NOT in Russian interest in this scenario to be), the best way is again to destroy his units, but wait until all French order of battle is released before being aggressive.  Figure 2 is the area with which we as defenders are concerned.  There are 5 objective hexes worth a total of 250 objective points located in the area shown in Figure 2.  So if you allow the Russian no further than this area and inflict damage equal to what is sustained, a draw will result.  However, if you inflict a net of damage on the Russian of 250 points or more, you will obtain a Minor Victory.

Early defensive positions
Figure 2. Early defensive positions in battle area

Refering to Figure 2, realize that this scenario is a defense of a peninsula of clear hexes bounded by forests (labels "D" and "E") running north and south.  The forests are your friends as a defender; use them to protect your flank from enfilade fire or cavalry charge.  Infantry can still penetrate through forest, but at a very slow rate of advance.  Conceivably cavalry and artillery could penetrate through the forest, but given the length of this scenario and forces involved, it has less value.  The defense advocated here is divided into stages, each represented in Figure 2 by a single digit labeled 1 through 5.  In this article each defensive stage is described in turn.

Send a skirmisher through the woods at "D" to keep an eye on the narrow corridor on the east.  If the Russian sends cavalry or infantry, be prepared to counter it.  The best place to do this is at "Z", since horse artillery (usually from the IV Corp Cav Res, which should be released by this time) can be placed up on the hill and a stack of two infantry battalions can be placed in the swamp as shown with a third backing them up to block ZOC movement.  Skirmishers can be placed in the woods and swamps to shoot at the cavalry.

This scenario has the same flavor as Marengo, 1800.  See that scenario at NiR Project. [NiRP]  At Marengo, the French start with few units and at poor odds must blunt a ferocious attack by Austrians.  Later in the same day, the tide turns as the French receive fresh troops.  This Saltnovka scenario is similar to Marengo in the buildup except the units are fixed rather than arrive from off-board.

In summary, ironically (because this was the Russian grand strategy in 1812) the French battle strategy here is to give ground early until all forces are released and then counterattack if opportunity arises.  Under no circumstances allow any non-skirmisher unit to be cut-off and destroyed by the initial Russian assault.  Play for a draw and sieze a minor victory if the Russian hands one to you.  Play defensive tactics keeping a solid zone of control across the entire corridor east to west from the forest on the Dnieper River side to the forest on the western side of the map.  Be on guard for sneak attacks through the western forest road or the eastern corridor between the Dnieper River and the eastern forest; use skirmishers to plug forest roads and watch for such tactics.  Keep a sizeable reserve for a counterattack or to handle unforseen events.

2.2 Force Distribution
Because the initial setup for the French is flawed -- it violates the the principle of mass and the principle of security in J F C Fuller's list [DUP87:17, DUP90:250] (see also U.S. Army Field Manual 100-1), the 85th Rg / 4th Dv immediately withdraws north along the pike to reduce chance of encirclement.  The optimal strategy is to collect ALL of the French forces and establish a secure defensive line before seriously engaging the Russian forces.  Trying to confront the Russian before 8:30 AM makes the French outnumbered at least 2:1 in infantry and much greater in artillery and cavalry.  Even the odds by giving ground for time as shown in Figure 3.  The 108th Rg / 4th Dv defends the eastern corridor as shown in Figure 3; this is simple because these are that unit's starting positions.

distribution of french forces on defense
Figure 3. French force distribution

The 61st Rg / 5th Dv is employed defending the western end.  It must be moved up from the rear; do so quickly.  These force distributions are shown in Figure 3.  All three of these regiments (15 infantry battalions plus skirmishers and 2 artillery batteries) are released at game start.  As more of the 5th Dv (111th Rg, 57th Rg, and two batteries at 8:30 AM, Turn 5) and 3rd Chas a Cheval Rg cavalary is released, these units are moved up into the defense line to relieve pressure if some battalions have routed to the rear.  Bring the 3rd Chas a Cheval Rg up in close support, probably on the road in the lowest point of the valley just behind the 85th and 111th.  Note the placement of regiments allows proper command and control for the brigade and division commanders.  The 4th Dv is on the west and the 5th Dv is on the east.  The quality of the battalions in the regiment is shown by the letter in the lower half of the NATO infantry symbols in Figure 3.  Quality 'A' in reserve and quality  'B' to protect the pike is optimal.

The 5th Cuir. Hv Cav Dv (not shown in figure) and 57th Rg / 5 Dv are in reserve.  Retaining these two units creates a force for later counterattack if that opportunity arises.  The 4 horse batteries might be collected with this reserve later for a nasty surprise.

2.3 Defensive Stage 1 (Turns 1-2, maybe 3)
The label "A" in Figure 2 corresponds to the village of Saltnovka.  Forces in that narrow peninsula scream to be surrounded and destroyed by advancing Russian forces.  So first thing is to delay Russian road advance (if any) in that area with skirmishers in marsh and road hexes and IMMEDIATELY withdraw back to the first line of defense labeled "1" in Figure 2 with right flank protected by the lake near Fatova labeled "B".   It will take the Russian at least 3 turns to advance to assault that first position and probably longer, allowing the remainder of the 5th Dv to be released and join the battle.  One possible positioning of units to delay Russian advance through the pike at Salta-novka is shown in Figure 4.  The positions in Figure 4 are at the end of French Turn 2 (remember that there is no French Turn 1).

Figure 4.  Positioning of French units for delay of Russian advance at Salta-novka

A skirmisher should be placed out in the marsh to the east to raise alarm against any sneak attack along the eastern band of clear hexes between the marsh and forest.  Two possible locations for this scout are either hexes (52, 63) or (44, 59).

A skirmisher or two to watch for any flank advance MUST be placed in the forest road on the far west end of the mapboard (road not visible in Figure 2).  These skirmishers can also block movement on that road for at least 2 or 3 turns, which is long enough to allow a defensive maneuver to thwart it.

2.4 Defensive Stage 2 (Turns 3-8 or so)
Once sufficient Russian units reach or threaten the Stage 1 line, withdraw to the series of defensive positions indicated on Figure 2 with "2".  Take care to prevent penetration behind Line 2 through the marshy area labeled "C" in Figure 2.  Such a defense can be done by using skirmishers in the swamp and wooded area, as shown in Figure 2 by the dots, supported by an infantry battalion or two properly placed.  If the Russian does successfully penetrate while the French has substantial forces in Line 2, another encirclement (like the initial setup near Saltnovka) could occur.  The French must take great care to ensure this does not happen.

The author assumes the reader is proficient in setting up a defensive line.  However, a brief summary is shown in Figure 5.

infantry division in formation
Figure 5. Basic defensive position of a three brigade infantry division

Such a defense as shown in Figure 5 maintains a large unbroken zone of control while keeping command and control at both brigade and division levels.  The alternating front line battalions ensures that a rout does not spread to adjacent front line units and allows cavalry counter-charges through if needed.  It also prevents successful melees on either side of a defending hex from cutting off retreat. Make sure sufficient battalions are present behind the main battle line to repair holes created by routing units.  Usually it is best to keep the second and third lines a mixture of column and line formations.  The disadvantage of line is that these become disordered when non-skirmisher units rout through them.  The disadvantage of column is that if disordered it can not form into line and engage in the classic backup while facing forward defensive maneuver.  The advantage of column is better movement; the advantage of line is less effect to artillery shot and more firepower.  Skirmishers should be in the same hex as their parent infantry battalion; remember that a skirmisher is protected by an infantry square and does not nullify its effects as does artillery.  Cavalry should be a few hexes behind the second line of infantry to threaten charges.  Artillery should be setup on a hill and be protected by preferably stacking with infantry battalions.  In Figure 5, 1st Bg has five battalions, 2nd Bg has six, and 3rd Bg has four; this shows how C&C is maintained for varying sized brigades.  For the French with a 6 hex divisional C&C rating, the division commander can be placed in the same hex as the 3rd Bg commander if wanted; also the French with a 3 hex brigade C&C rating, the brigade commander can be placed in the second row of column battalions for better protection against fire.  Cavalry, if available, can be placed on the flanks of the division in the second or third row back.  Obviously the layout shown in Figure 5 is idealized as terrain has a way of messing up the symmetric alignment.  Nevertheless, the corridor between forests should allow a defensive line similar to that shown in Figure 6, which is taken from an actual game.

Defense of Stage 2
Figure 6.  Example defense early in Stage 2 (French Turn 3)

In Figure 2c, the outline units in red are from the 4th Dv / 1st Bg.  The units in column at the top of the figure are from 5th Dv and preparing to form line and move up the hill to their southwest.  At this point, keeping them in column and on a road increases their mobility, which is a very important force multiplier for defense.  The units on the right in column facing north (away from the enemy) are 4th Dv / 2nd Bg still scampering back from the Russian onslaught at Saltnovka.  The stack on the road just north of the lake is artillery (unlimbered), infantry (column), and skirmisher.  Note the unbroken array of zone of controls exerted by the infantry battalions in line formation.  With the skirmisher in the village hex at the lower part of the Figure and the column formation infantry battalion on the pike on the right of the Figure, there is an unbroken ZOC from the marsh in the west to the forest in the east.  Skirmishers are not in same hex as parent battalion since they are protected by distance to and stream in between enemy.

In Figure 7, a late Stage 2 defense is shown from an actual game.  The units outlined in red are disordered.  Note that in the figure, the infantry battalions are all moved to the top of the stack for illustrative purposes; you should not do this in the actual game, and instead place your skirmisher companies on the top -- otherwise they can not fire when behind an infantry battalion in line.  And, you know why you place them on top rather than in front like the Russian is doing, don't you?  If not, read on ...

French defense at Stage 3
Figure 7.  Example defense late in Stage 2 (French Turn 8)

2.5 Defensive Stage 3 (Turns 9+)
If the Russian begins to penetrate the marsh near "C" in Figure, BEFORE he gets behind you, begin withdrawing to line "3".  This is the widest defensive line during the battle; at 19 hexes, it will require at most 9 battalions of infantry or so to place zone of control (ZOC) on the entire width.  Here you are helped in that by this time, most of the French order of battle should be released.  However if the Russian does not penetrate the marsh and ridge to the west, only 13 to 15 clear hexes in width need be defended, reducing the number of infantry battalions in the line to around 7 or so.  Make sure to keep plenty of battalions in mixed d'order (both column and line) behind the main battle line to fill in when units rout away.  Also the columns threaten counterattack should the Russian do anything foolhardy.

After giving up Objective Hex (32,65), the point tally should be around a near draw with the French having about 250 points mid-way between a Minor Defeat at 0 VP and a Minor Victory at 550 VP (relative to points at scenario start).  Once the defending line reaches the valley near or before hex (28,61), the defense must stiffen.  Understand that the line at hex (28,61) implies the entire line along the southwest to northeast hex grain including the aforementioned hex.  A concerted effort to no longer withdraw unless necessary must now be made.  By the time the defending line reaches hex (28,59) the potential for counterattack must be explored.  See Section 2.8 for example.  By this time the French heavy cavalry and 12 lb batteries coming from off-board as reinforcements are in the order of battle to assist.

Also, try very hard to hold on to ridge line formed by hexes (24,62) to (24,63) as this allows artillery to counter by threat of enfilade fire the Russian placing artillery on the ridge line (30,64) to (32,63), which can fire into the depression protecting our defendind line from artillery fire.  The 85th and 111th should set up a line in the valley about 3 hexes or so northwest of the marsh extension on the southwest, and the line in front consisting of the 108th and 61st Rg will back through it and reorganize and reform.  Artillery should be withdrawn from forward positions and set up on the ridge behind; there should be 4 artillery batteries by 8:30 AM.  Possible locations are hexes (24,63), (24,62), (25,60), (25,54), and (30,55).  An artillery brigade might be setup on the east in the pike surrounded by forests, but the field of view is quite limited which reduces the value of that option. 

2.6 Later Defensive Stages

The nice thing is that as you withdraw backward from "3", the defensive width shrinks to the line indicated in Figure 2 by "4", which is 11 hexes wide, only requiring 5 infantry battalions at most to properly defend.  Just keep backing up, maintaining line integrity, with flanks butted up against the forests on each end, and causing decent losses in Russian units to somewhat compensate for the lost objective hexes.  Also take care to plug the three narrow corridors on the far east, the far west, and up the pike.

Ideally the French defensive line will not fall back much beyond Stage 4, because the amount of damage and fatigue inflicted on the Russian should be sufficient to halt his advance before he reaches it.  However, Figure 9 shows the latter stages of defense if needed.  There are an additional 100 objective points in the area shown in Figure 9, so even if this area is lost, the Russian has only gained 350 objective points (which includes those gained earlier), which is insufficient for victory (recall he needs 550 at scenario start).  Thus, to keep the Russian from winning, give ground up to defensive line "5" and not lose more than 100 point differential in units destroyed.  As French defender, do not allow the Russian to push past "5"; if they get substantial forces into defensive area "6" (see Figure 9), the Russian will most likely gain a victory!

later defensive battle area
Figure 9.  Later defensive battle area

2.7 French Counteroffensive
At some point the Russian attack will peter out either by excess fatigue, losses, and disorder, or player incompetence.  When this happens, the French player must realize it.  Realizing this often is a "gut level" type of thing, but it should be obvious to an experienced gamer.  When that moment arrives, the units saved in Reserve must be used to counterattack and destroy sufficient Russian units for a French victory.  Since the French setup as described in this article refuses their left flank, an attack toward the east by the center later in the game might cut off Russian forces allowing their destruction.  The general idea is shown in Figure 10.

Possible French counterattack
Figure 10. Possible counterattack on extended Russian eastern flank later in scenario.

If the French player is fortunate, the Russian player will commit some bigger mistake allowing a sizeable Russian force to be destroyed.  That is the surest way to victory.  However, against a competent Russian player, the best the French can hope for is probably a draw.  Work toward that end by slowly withdrawing through each of the defensive stages and making the Russian pay dearly in lost units for each objective hex gained.  Its always more expensive to attack than defend because the defender has terrain benefits and can put distance between him and the enemy while the attacker has to move forward which decreases amount of time available to apply firepower to the defender while allowing the defender to remain stationary and perform reaction fire on the moving attacker.  The defender can also choose the terrain in which the attacker confronts him, which is an advantage as shown for example by placing his infantry line in a depression out of attacker artillery fire and allowing friendly artillery fire over the top.

In a somewhat reversal of roles, the Russian player has more skirmish companies relative to the French in this scenario.  If a Russian player leaves his skirmish line out of the ZOC of his formed infantry battalions, use a single squadron of cavalry to mow the entire line down given you can protect the squadron in its final charge hex.  An example of this is shown in Figure 5b.  Here a single squadron has eliminated or meleed 9 different skirmisher companies of around 75 to 100 men each.

before charge
after charge
Figure 11. French cavalry squadron before (top) and after (bottom) mowing down a skirmisher line.

In bottom Figure 11, note that after the cavalry charge, the infantry battle line has advanced one hex forward to better secure the final position of the cavalry squadron.  Several additional melees by infantry battalions against skirmisher companies were required to do this, which is okay as formed infantry battalions do not incur fatigue when meleeing skirmishers.


An army ought only to have one line of operation.  This should be preserved with care, and never abondoned but in the last extremity.
-- Napoleon [NAP31:59]

russian infantry

Several possible attacks are discussed in this section.  However one central idea should be selected and put into practice.  Do not try to perform several unrelated attacks at different points of the line as this will dilute your attack.  As Erich von Manstein said regarding WW2 armored attacks, "boot 'em, don't splatter 'em!" [MAN55]  One thing to keep in mind during play of this scenario (and this includes the French player too) is that fanatic quality of the Russian infantry.  They are not going to rout.  The skirmisher companies might occasionally, but the infantry battalions are going to keep on coming no matter what the French player dishes out.  Even fatigue won't bother them too much with exception of combinations of many factors like high fatigue (-2), disorder (-1), lost melee (-2), and enfilade fire (-2) which would add up to affect even the most stalwart unit.

3.1 Initial Encirclement
It should be obvious after reading Part 2 of this article that the first thing to do is try to cut off the opponent's forces in the Saltnovka area.  This can be done by aggressively assaulting the Saltnovka area with the 12th Inf Dv, and simultaneously pushing through the marshy area with the 26th Dv.  The 2nd Gren Dv should be kept in reserve along with the IV Cav Corps to be used to exploit opportunities made possible by French player mistakes; this is very important to winning a victory so don't neglect it.  The cossack cavalry can be used in duty support of either assault.  The general idea of this initial encirclement is shown in Figure 12.

encirclement and destruction
Figure 12. Encirclement and destruction of French 2nd Bg / 4th Inf Dv.

This initial attack is the best chance for a victory, so push hard early while a sizeable portion of the French forces are fixed.  When assaulting Saltnovka, remember Napoleon's dictum "One must break a few eggs to have an omelet."  Don't hold back; go right at hex (41, 81) and melee it to try to cut of the line battalions from escape.  That is approximately 2500 men, which translates to about 100 victory points.  Also, engage the forces to the east of the lake and try to penetrate behind and trap a large size of French battalions agains the wooded peninsula.

3.2 Wide Flank Attack
Optionally, a wide flank attack using the forest road can be attempted.  Against a competent French player, this is probably a poor selection for an attack, but might yield dramatic results if weakly countered.  The general idea is shown in Figure 13.

left flank attack
Figure 13. Left flank forest sneak attack

1 Bg / 26th Inf Dv makes for the forest road to the west.  Additionally some of the Jager infantry from the 3 Bg / 26th Inf Dv might accompany it.  The remainder of the 26th Inf Dv attacks through the marsh as shown in Figure 13 along with a concerted attack by 12th Inf Dv through Saltnovka.  Ideally the 1 Bg flank attack is not noticed and comes out of the forest unnoticed by the French, cutting his force in half and ideally seperating the French in two isolated groups.  The southern French group can than be destroyed by attack from two directions, which should win a decisive victory.

Similarly a sneak attack up the corridor on the far east can be attempted.  Against a competent opponent this is probably dubious, however as it can be easily parried by a one or two infantry battalions and their skirmisher companies on the flanks in forest and marsh.  However, if you think your opponent is a dupe, try it.

3.3 Rough Slog
If the French player has parried the initial encirclement and flank attack options and successfully withdrawn to a defensive line a few hexes south of the village Selets, you are in for a rough slog up the middle.  This is now a knock-down drag-out punch-counterpunch affair.  In this case, select a single place in the French defense and continually attack it until that part of the line caves in, using firepower of the Russian12-lb 12-gun batteries.  If neither player makes a mistake, the game probably will end in a draw.  Play for a draw waiting for any opportunity presented by a French defensive mistake that allows for destruction of substantial units.


This is an interesting scenario, and if played properly by both sides, probably will result in a draw.  The French player must, however, play flawless otherwise the Russian will steamroll him.  In particular he must pull back and collect his forces while performing a fighting withdrawal until his forces have grown sufficiently large to attempt a full defense or counterattack.



[DUP87]      Trevor N. Dupoy, Understanding War, Paragon House, 1987.  ISBN 1-55778-099-4

[DUP90]      Trevor N. Dupoy, Understanding Defeat, Paragon House, 1990.  ISBN 0-913729-57-4

[FRE47]      Frederick the Great, The Instructions of Frederick the Great for His Generals, 1747, reprinted Military Book Club, 2000.  ISBN 0-7394-1044-X     on-line    on-line

[HPSNRC]  The reader can obtain this game and scenario at: ; within the HPS Napoleon in Russia game CD look for filename: SB_Saltanovka.scn.  The analysis in this article is primarily of the HPS version, though this game may also be played instead using the NiR Project Add-ons.  See for example [NiRP]

[NiRP]      Jean-Marie Barbie, .

[MAN55]      Erich von Manstein, Lost Victories, originally published 1955, reprinted Zenith Press, 2004.  ISBN 0-7603-2054-3

[NAP31]      Napoleon Bonaparte, The Military Maxims of Napoleon, originally published 1831, reprinted Da Capo Press, David G. Chandler, editor, 1995.  ISBN 0-306-80618-5


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