Cavalry Combat

Grand Manoeuvre Napoleonic Wargames Rules

Example of a Cavalry Combat.


A French cavalry brigade of two regiments of Dragoons supported by a horse artillery battery has taken up position between a wood and a village.

They are ordered to perform a rear guard action against a larger Austrian cavalry force of two brigades; one has a regiment of Uhlans and Chevauleger, the other of two regiments of Hussars.

The French cavalry and the Austrian Uhlans and Chevauleger were classed as “C”
class troops and the Hussars as “B” class.

Turn One:

Austrian cavalry brigade of advances from beyond long range of the French horse
The French horse artillery opened fire, but there was no effect on the Austrian
Chevauleger; only a “1” was rolled against them!


Turn Two:

A French initiative roll was made to counter-charge the advancing Austrians and was passed. Being at just under 20cms away the two lines met in the middle. In the combat that followed the French Dragoons are disordered by the Austrian Chevauleger.

Showing the die rolls and disorder marker, the second dragoons disordered by the Austrian Chevauleger.

Turn Three:

At the start of the turn, I tried to activate the Austrian reserves by rolling for the commander’s initiative. As a regimental commander, this is more difficult to do; I require a “6” to do this. I fail the test.

The French Dragoons are rallied and the combat continues in which the Austrian Uhlans become disordered.


Again, showing the die rolls and a disorder marker, but this time the first regiment of dragoons disorder the Austrian Uhlans.

Turn Four:

I attempt to activate the Austrian reserve, but fail again!

The lancers are rallied and the combats in this turn are all tied.

Turn Five:

Again, I fail to activate my reserve cavalry.
Combats are all tied.

Turn Six:

In this turn I finally managed to activate the Austrian reserve and the Hussars
advance in column towards the French right to attack its flank.
In combat the Austrian Chevauleger are disordered.

Turn Seven:

The Chevaulegers are rallied and the combats are tied once more

Turn Eight:

The Austrian lancers become disordered.

Turn Nine:

Stationed on his brigade’s right and seeing the Austrian reserve approaching, the French general tries to make an initiative to retire, but the player fails the die roll. The Austrian Uhlans are rallied and the combats are tied

Turn Ten:

This turn the French general passes his initiative test and the command is ordered to retire. However the cavalry are engaged with the enemy and therefore need to make a test to perform the manoeuvre. These tests are passed with two rolls of “6” on the dice! They successfully disengage and retire half a move, but the leading regiment of advancing Hussars charges home on the first regiment of dragoons.

The French horse artillery are limbered and move off. In the combat that followed, the first dragoon regiment became disordered.


This photo shows the start of the turn and the French general’s initiative test (he rolled a “4” and passed) and the two unit manoeuvre tests which were passed by rolling two sixes!

Turn Eleven:

As the rest of the French command retires, their first dragoon regiment becomes shaken and they are routed in combat. The Austrian Hussars, failing their reaction test, pursue them in disorder. In the pursuit the Dragoons are beaten again.


Photo shows the first French Dragoons in a pursuit combat with the Austrian Hussars as the rest of the French command retires.

Turn Twelve:

At the start of turn twelve, the Hussars are rallied and the first dragoon regiment continues to rout


Although beaten and forced to withdraw, as a rearguard action the French were reasonably successful in holding the Austrians for about ten game turns; equalling some forty minutes of real time. Ordering his withdrawal just in time, the French commander managed to save one of his regiments from defeat and he saved his artillery too.

In this example scenario, I wanted to show a reasonably balanced combat between cavalry and then a decisive use of a reserve. This plan worked out very well, because the disorders caused on the regiments in the combats were all rallied for each of the next turns of fighting. It might have turned out differently however if these units were not rallied; in which case there may possibly have been a decisive result either way within three turns of combat.

Photos by Malcolm Williams.

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