We experimented with using combined cavalry brigades in this week’s wargame.
It was a medium sized wargame, with three corps per side. But the terrain was very crowded, with hills and a large town reducing the space available to deploy. The only space available for the cavalry was in the centre.
The Russians (right in photo) attacked in three columns, one in each scenic square. 1st and 4th corps cavalry brigades were combined to attack 4th Russian corps attack in the centre. The French (left in photo) combined 2nd and 20th cavalry brigades to counter the Russian cavalry division.
As the Russian infantry neared the town, the leading French cavalry brigade charged them. The infantry failed their morale to form square, broke and routed. They took the reserve infantry brigade with them (top to white stars in photo)
The leading Russian cavalry brigade charged the disordered French cavalry. The French retired shaken behind their support brigade. The second French cavalry brigade now faced the leading Russian brigade. Both were disordered. The Russian reserve brigade was still formed, but blocked by their leading brigade.
Our morale rules allow disordered brigades to become formed at the end of the move. Thus the forward French and Russian brigades would be able to charge again at the start of the next move. The shaken French brigade would have to pass a morale test to rally to disordered. If he had a poor dice he would remain shaken or might even rout.
So far so good. If the Russians lose the next round of melee, their reserve brigade will be able to cover the retreat of their forward brigade. If the French lose they will have no reserve to cover their retreat.
It would be much better if there were space to deploy both cavalry brigades in echelon, so that the leading brigade would be able to retire, or even rout, without making the reserve brigade disordered.
I am pleased with the use of larger cavalry formations in this first wargame.
In future games, with more space to deploy, it should be even more decisive.