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Battle of Borodino refight

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Hi all. I am planning to kick this off in around two weeks time.


Because I am conducting this as a solo game, I am going to give myself ample time to complete this. I reckon two months is sufficient enough.

I will post occasional progress reports but don't expect much beyond that. Eventually a full battle report (and analysis of this as a solo wargame) will be published on, or around, the 7th September 2023 which is the two hundredth and eleventh anniversary. 

Eleven years too late...oh, well!


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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi again. Just an update on this refight.

Firstly, I decided to go with a two-table setup for the refight. While I have the space (elsewhere at home) to conduct this endeavour, I don't have the time nor inclination to leave minis in situ for any great length of time. I can do that in my mancave. Which is my plan. To that end, I had to do some tidying (a lot because I am a messy person) before setting up two 9' x 4' tables - one in each room of my studio.

Unfortunately, I miscalculated (happens a lot). Tonight I went to set up the first table and saw I had a major problem. That problem was the table width of 4' was just too narrow. So after a rethink I decided to go with a single table at 8' x 6' which is a standard size. Homer moment of self-realisation.

Anyway, set up the new table and began a test deployment to fix the terrain pieces and objective items. To the right are some of the minis to be utilised in the game. Much more behind me and in the next room. Sigh.


A bit cramped for movement but manageable. Just have to suck the stomach in a lot.


Began with a test deployment of the attack on Borodino position. Elements of Eugene's 4th Infantry Corps were charged with this task with Delzons heading the attack on Borodino and the New Post road bridge (shown just beyond Borodino). Like I said, doing this test run to properly fix the terrain elements and objectives.


The width of the new table allows for better deployment of minis remembering of course that the combat zone is confined to the table's dimensions. Reserve units, flanking movements will still be conducted off-table.

Remember also that this is a solo refight. I will therefore be playing at my leisure although I have given myself a timeframe to complete this by. I will, from time to time, post regular batrep updates with adequate photos accompanying. Cheers.

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Very exciting esp after all that time spent painting and planning mate. Watch your back as well , all that leaning and moving (even not very heavy stuff) can take its toll. Good plan to take your time and leave it set up in the man cave out of the boss' way. Appreciate any photo's/updates as often as is convenient.

Enjoy the refight


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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, MarkJ said:

Looks promising!


11 hours ago, Gus said:

Very exciting esp after all that time spent painting and planning mate. Watch your back as well , all that leaning and moving (even not very heavy stuff) can take its toll. Good plan to take your time and leave it set up in the man cave out of the boss' way. Appreciate any photo's/updates as often as is convenient.

Enjoy the refight


Yes and no on the excitement part. Relief is more what I'm feeling right now. Just glad to finally get this behemoth moving again. Hoping to find a really steep slope, like a cliff, so I can just push it and let its own momentum send it to its final reckoning. Lol. Sorry, been playing too much Dredge lately.

Anyway, here's the final table layout which I sketched just now after reviewing the existing layout yesterday afternoon. Sketch gives the final tables dimensions. Wall represents the divide between Poniatowski's flanking attacks and the main assault. Numerous trees will adorn either side to represent the thick dense forest that existed there.

Orientation of the battlefield has north at the four-five o'clock position. So the French/Allies will be attacking from the top edge and the Russians will be defending the bottom edge.

Just need to add the terrain and she should be good to go shortly thereafter. Cheers.


Edited by b20f08
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Marked out the streams and roads for the main table. Then again with the test deployment. Realised the table is still too small but I am going ahead nevertheless. Cheers.



Placed Eugene's IV Corps and Ney's III Corps. Davoust's I Corps is also deployed but they are unseen to the right of Ney. Two of his divisions - Morand and Gerard were attached to Eugene's corps for assault on the Grand Redoubt. None of the cavalry (apart from Ney's corps cavalry) are deployed.


Started laying out the Russians. Baggavout's II and Osterman-Tolstoy's IV Corps are off-table to the left of the New Post road. Only Dokhturov's VI Corps and Raevsky's VII Corps are seen with one of Borozdin's VIII Corp division posted in front of Semenovskaya village. Again, no room for the cavalry corps sited behind the front line. Also, the Russian Imperial Guard were held in reserve and will remain off-table except when deployed in the combat area.

The rest of the test deployment will be revealed tomorrow (one hopes).

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Guess you will never really have a big enough table for all those painted figs. Looks magnificent I must say. Gives one an appreciation of what it must have looked like for those there (although with a somewhat birds eye view). You must be pretty shattered after setting all that up and adding the names to those photos. A few beers and a good night sleep will help (gamers remedy).


Great stuff (bit jealous too haha). Thanks for sharing.

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Having very recently done a large game of 40k I understand the effort involved in all that setting up. But at least their was 8 of us to help share the effort among. 

Hats off to you for the whole endeavour and it must be nice to be at the tale end of it all through?

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Posted (edited)

Thanks. And it is a burden made more bearable when shared as you said.

Nearly set up and ready to go. Hoping tomorrow or Friday at the latest. Some more table shots. Played around with deployments. Using two recent references found online to sort out deployment.


View of Siever's cavalry corps in support Raevsky. Initial photo shows all of Raevsky's infantry posted behind the redoubt. But changed that by deploying half forward of the redoubt.


View south of the French deployment. Divisions from foreground are Broussier, Morand, Gerard, Ledru, Razout, Dessaix, Compans. Friant absent as he was part of the general reserve.


Another view of the massed French troops. In the distance is the Grand Redoubt.


Shuffling pieces around allowed me to finally place the Russian cavalry. Started with Siever's 4th Corps. This is Pahlen's (or Kreutz depending on which source used) 3rd Corps. He is posted behind Dokhturov's 6th Infantry Corps.


A closer view of Siever's cavalry - Dragoons, Uhlans, Hussars. This is a later photo after I made adjustment to Raevsky's deployment.


Borozdin's 8th Infantry Corps deployed at the fleches.


Second table. Poniatowski versus Tuchkov.

8 Duka's cuirassiers in foreground.jpg

Duka's cuirassiers placed behind the fleches.

9 Looking east from behind Ney's cavalry.jpg

View from behind Ney's corps. Junot's Germans are to the right.


Edited by b20f08
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"Napoleonic's done right" comes to mind! Look at all that stuff you painted and based and now have the fun of gaming/playing with it. I used to play Talonsoft's Borodino many years ago and that was a computer game. On the full Borodino refight option It had every battalion and you could even detach skirmishers etc. This reminds me of that except a bit more upscaled but in 3d and still of massive scale. Thanks for the photos. so impressive.

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Cheers on the photos trying to convey the sense of scale.

Because of space, I am not able to show the Russian Imperial Guard (infantry, cavalry, artillery), Baggavout's 2nd Infantry Corps, Osterman-Tolstoy's 4th Infantry Corps, Platov's Cossack force, Uvarov's 1st Cavalry Corps, and the Moscow militia (who never took active part in the fighting but they did put up the fortifications - yay!). On the French side, the Imperial Guard, Nansouty's 1st Cavalry Corps, Montbrun's 2nd Cavalry Corps, Grouchy's 3td Cavalry Corps, Latour-Mauborg's 4th Cavalry Corps, and the rest of Eugene's 4th Corps are off-table.

As the battle unfolds, however, elements of all those off-table formations will make their appearance (except for the Opelchenye).

I think I've heard of Talonsoft. John Tiller's series, right? Meant to buy a couple but never followed through. Long ago.


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Game Turn One

Opening barrage by French artillery signalling the French attack. Time is 0600.



Artillery too far back to fire directly upon the defensive fortifications so they chose to harass the skirmish line instead. But the effect was disappointing with no real casualties suffered other than a stubbed toe. Lol. Meanwhile Borodino village was bombarded. The Life Guard Jagers stationed there lost a cohesion level as a result, going from Steady to Disordered.


Delzons begins his attack initiating the first assault. The LG Jagers recover their cohesion and manage to inflict a cohesion loss upon the front unit (106th Line). The rest of Delzons' command advance supported by the artillery.


Morand crosses the Kolocha with his division and presses toward the Grand Redoubt. Available space prevents adding the pontoon bridges that were there so you have to imagine them. Lol.


Ney's forward units advances upon the Kamenka stream. Like Morand, the forward units come under close attention from the Russian skirmish line and suffer cohesion losses as well. One unit even stops as a result of the close attention.


Meanwhile to Ney's right, Davout's two divisions begin their advance on the fleches.


Poniatowski's flanking attack begins as well. His infantry advance through the plantation in march column while his artillery deploys. Missing are the cavalry units. I will proxy units using the Imperial Guard cavalry.


The view from behind the Russian forward skirmish line. The Jager units here manage to score success forcing some French units to pause. As they commence harassing fire on the advancing units they also start to retire.

End of Game Turn 1. Cheers.


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Excellent effort, very impressive!

The 1/72nd scale figures look good when massed. Seeing your project writeup over the past few years has encouraged me to build up more of my 1/72nd Napoleonic armies.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Rossco said:

Maybe one day!

Ah...the mysterious one day! 🙂 Look forward to that day then.

Turn 2. This isn't going to way of history. Delzons' attack on Borodino on the isolated Russian guard jagers was meant to be a routine walkover but that is not happening. The 106th Line lead the attack supported by the 92nd Line. But the Russian guardsmen are made of stern stuff it seems and they respond fiercely.


The 106th are pushed back. Its brigade mate though is still engaged.


Photos in this report is from the French turn. The 106th are shaken and retire to recover. In the Russian turn, the Lifeguards also repulse the 92nd Line. And they are still in possession of Borodino at the end of Turn 2.


Napoleon riding by Shevardino.


What's left of Davoust's corps now begin their advance making for the fleches.


In the centre, the French manage to push back the Russian skirmish line in this sector and are about to cross both the Semenovskoii and Kamenka streams. One of the skirmishing units (41st Jagers) is lost unfortunately.


Because they never made an appearance historically (apart from Sorbier and the guard artillery), I've transferred the Guard cavalry to Poniatowski's flank to fill his vacancy of cavalry. Guard lancers front left. Guiard chasseurs and dragoons (large unit) front right. Behind the lancers are the Horse Grenadiers and Gendarmes.

Going to take a break now to review and hopefully improve the process of solo gaming. And shake the iron cobwebs regarding the rules being used to play this refight as I made quite a few mistakes, gaffes and stuffups. Next update (Turns 3 and 4) won't happen until next Thursday (earliest). Until then...


Edited by b20f08
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Wow. that a lot to digest in just a few turns. Lot's of troops and all that wonderful blocking of artillery LoS (a problem I always found when playing Shako or Black Powder is keep clear lanes of fire for artillery. Unless, of course you have got higher ground for the arty.

Did the Life Guard Jagers get wiped out? I think they pretty well got smashed historically, yes? Your guys seem to be doing quite well at holding back the Frenchies

A stubbed toe is up there with a papercut - surprisingly painful. Hopefully a swift recovery and onto great gaming glory for you. Hope your not wearing thongs - need proper footwear in a battle of this magnitude haha!

Ans yes, Talonsoft, John Tiller's series, right? They had a Waterloo, 1812 and prelude to waterloo (and a ship one too IIRC). Spent many hours on the first 2, never got hold of prelude. 

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Posted (edited)

True enough on the LOS blocking. Given they were too far away to be of any use, the artillery are nothing more than a slight speedhump for the massed infantry to pass through. Once that's done the artillery will limber up and re-position themselves and hopefully provide more effective outcomes than nought.

You're correct historically. The French easily took both Borodino and the bridge before the Russians counterattacked and finished the job of destroying the New Post road bridge.  In the refight, however, the reverse is happening which makes for an interesting development. Hopefully Delzons has better luck next week.

My toes are fine. I was making a joke at the miniatures expense.

I may check out Talonsoft again. I used to play Waterloo and Austerlitz on the old Commodore Amiga way back in 1990. Those two games got played to death. I especially enjoyed reversing the historical outcome. I spent many a happy time helping the Russo-Austro alliance upset Napoleon at Austerlitz. It often became a timed race redeploying the alliance forces to the centre in time to meet in force the French main advance up the Platzen Heights. And then use the reserves to take Sokolitz and stop Davoust's race from the south. Sort of like a rugby league sliding defence approach. Shame they didn't expand further with other big battles like Marengo or even Leipzig.

Edited by b20f08
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A disruptive week. Thursday was cancelled due to life priorities. Today started well before an unexpected power outage delayed play. Resumed early afternoon. As a result, only the French turn was completed. No problem as I can catch up next week. Enjoy the weekend. Cheers.

Summarising, the French took Borodino on their second attempt. The Russian skirmish line before the Grand Redoubt and fleches was broken through by the massive French advance. On the second table, Poniatowski's Poles (with proxy Austro-Hungarians artillery, British and Austrian cavalry) pressed toward Utitsa with the Russian jagers preferring to withdraw rather than contest. Karpov's Cossacks before Utitsa was forced back by artillery and musketry.

Photo gallery below with captions.


The valiant Life Guard Jagers are finally pushed out of Borodino by St. Aubin's brigade.


Space behind the massed formations allows for placement of the rest of Eugen's corps - Italian Royal Guard and the corps cavalry, Junot's Westphalian Corps (near Shevardino) and Friant's infantry division (detached to general reserve by Davoust).


Proxied new units to represent's Poniatowski's corps cavalry. A mix of Imperial Guard lancers, Imperial Guard chasseurs, Austrian cheavulegers and even British light dragoons. Commander is Austrian too.


Left flank assault by Poniatowski's men is met with a shoot-and-skoot response by the Russian jagers.


Paskowski's brigade encounters one of Karpov's Cossack units in front of Utitsa. With their artillery, the Poles managed to force the Russians to retire.


The Polish cavalry advance to force Karpov's hand. This marked the end of the French turn. Below is the view from the Russian side.


View from Gorki toward Borodino. Life Guard Jagers have retreated and will be lost as they are broken.


The defenders of the Grand Redoubt watch the French massed advance.


View from the fleches - open ground that will soon be packed.

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wow so amazing to see in action, so many painted figs. You have had quite a week or so with interruptions though. Good thing you can work around it and moves the boys about when you can/able.

I have a soft spot for those poor lifeguard Jaeger esp. being left out on a limb a bit as they were historically IIRC the other side of the Kolocha river near in Borodino. Think it was pretty well a wooden town that went up in flames (or maybe getting mixed up with other battles - my book is packed away somewhere out i the shed) 


The poles are causing lots of problems for the Russians for sure. Lots of fun !

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de Tolly did not want the Jagers so far forward but was too late in recalling them. Not sure about the wooden town part you're referring to but the church was not wooden as depicted. Still no room to fit the French cavalry yet. But the same also applies to the Russian other large formations - Baggavout, Osterman, Korf, Pahlen/Kreutz, Russian Imperial Guard - no room as yet. 

I think the Poles are going to cause a lot more trouble for Tuchkov and his corps on the second table. It will be interesting to see how Karpov and his irregular light cavalry Cossacks go up against the drilled and disciplined Polish lancers and chasseurs. 

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Another local power outage (planned this time) allowed me to finish off the Russian's third turn.


Karpov's Cossacks decide to retire in the face of the Polish advance.


A fight is brewing up around Utitsa.


Firing dice by those units eligible.


Russian firing this turn is not that successful.


Only on this front did the Russians enjoy some success forcing back one of Broussier's lead units. Shortly after this turn ended, power was restored. And I went back to my PC online gaming. Turn 4 tomorrow. Cheers.

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That's a lot happening in a turn. Yes, the Cossacks would need to kite the Poles I think and draw them away from the main battle. Seems historical with the Russian firing phase being a bit meh - wait till they get into combat tho.

Hadn't noticed before but I do like the green dice for the Russkis and blue for French side - adds a wee bit extra flavour.

Sad about the power outages. Hope they go away for you. Still good to be able to play during daylight the old fashioned way -i.e. no lights/candles


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