Prelude to Borodino – battle of Shevardino is a very interesting battle for a Napoleonic wargamer. Unequal forces, interesting terrain, including field fortifications and a possibility to add many scenario rules, that was a deciding factor in choosing battle to play.
Since premiere of our game rules „Gods of war – Napoleon” in Poland in April 2015, we played a couple of historical battles. First was Uticsa (southern part of Borodino battle), then Raszyn (1809 campaign in Duchy of Warsaw), then Quatre Bras and finally Shevardino.
We played Shevardino in two days during a biggest polish historical and wargame festival called „Pola Chwały” (Fields of Glory) in Niepolomice (near Krakow). The battle was prepared by 10 persons, who painted miniatures, created terrain, and took command of both forces.
So, did marshal Murat and prince Poniatowski destroy Russians, or maybe prince Gorchakov and general Neverovsky repeal French – Polish assault?
Short information about game scale (used in Gods of war – Napoleon):
One base is one battalion of infantry, two squadrons of cavalry or one battery of cannons. Basic single unit is regiment. In small game player take command of division of infantry with additional cavalry and artillery. In bigger game players take command of entire corps or even army.
1 cm = 33 meters, one turn is 30 minutes.
Beginning of the battle – opening moves, crossing the Kolotcha river, fighting with Russian jaegers.
Click to enlarge picture:
Situation on southern wing – Poniatowski vs Cossacks
Sheverdino area (click to enlarge picture). French assault in the center and on Shevardino village, charges of Russian cuirassiers:
South wing – Poniatowski’s assault against Sieviers, Russian counter-attacks:
Shevardino area – final moments of the battle:
It took two days to finish that battle, but we were very satisfied. French-Polish side was victorious, even a little better than in historical battle. Russian defence despite numerical superiority of French-Polish forces was very skilful. Duka’s cuirassier charges halted French advance and had a chance even to destroy French great battery north of Doronino. Knowing that direct assault would cost many losses, Napoleonic side assaulted from Shevardino area – north of redoubt. We discussed it later, if that assault would trigger Russian counter-attack from main defence line near Borodino – it was very probable. But during a battle we decided not to change our scenario, and to bring Woroncov grenadier division only late afternoon. Since battle ended before 18.00 PM, Woroncov didn’t appear. Russian heavy fire repulsed French frontal attack from Doronino, but redoubt was flanked from Shevardino and from the south. Poniatowski first drived the Cossacks out from Old Smolensk road and then successfully clashed with Sievers, finally flanking the redoubt. Because Russian forces lost more than 50% of its units, the battle was over. 50% means of course broken units, not dead soldiers. Appearance of Woroncov’s division wouldn’t change anything.
So Vive l’Empereur!
We would like to make a entire Borodino battle in the future. Now we are preparing Waterloo (June), and Polock (September).
We would like to thank all the people who prepared that battle, painted miniatures, created scenario, did historical research and wonderful photographs.
We used photographs made by Fromhold, Dardzin and Schtrasny, who of course commanded part of the French, Polish and Russian forces.
Few words about Gods of war – Napoleon wargame
The complete rulebook had premiere in April 2015, in Poland. First version was published in Polish, but we would like to start a crowdfunding campaign of English rules in autumn. It will be second edition of the rules.