Bringing the "Lost Sisters" Home: The Invasion of Alsace, 1896

A Cooperative/Solo Play Viktoria! Scenario

The Alsatian damsels (as evidenced by their traditional bow-tie-like headgear)
seem much happier with the liberating Frenchmen than with their Germanic conquerors of 1870!


Britain has declared war on Germany over the Pretorian Crisis of 1896, and the French - allied to Britain - have taken the opportunity to invade Alsace. Recent news about the construction of a modern fortress (Festung Kaiser Wilhelm II) at Mützig, outside Strasbourg, has alarmed the French - it is said to be impervious to modern artillery, being constructed wholly of concrete. Such fortifications could end forever the fond French hope of reuniting the "Lost Sisters" - Alsace and Lorraine - with their homeland.

Ahead of the French invasion force, an advance guard has been ordered to seize the German outpost on one of the critical passes through the Vosges mountains. Here, the invading French army could be bottle-necked. Players command this advance guard, tasked with occupying the German outpost and clearing the way for the French army arriving on the following day. Soon, this pass - one of the few points where a passage of the Vosges is practicable - will be blocked by the new fortress. For now, it can still be taken by the French, and used as an avenue of attack. If left in enemy hands, however, it could be the place where a determined German defense destroys any hope of a successful invasion. The mission is critical.

German uhlans have been reported in the area, and resistance is to be expected. How much, and of what type, is unknown. The Germans are said to possess flying machines, something the French do not. The British - caught up in an arms race with the Germans both at sea and in the air - have sent members of the Royal Aeronautics Corps to assist their allies in the event that the German air fleet makes a showing.

The Battlefield

The battlefield is as shown in the map below. The hills are rocky and tree-covered, acting as rough terrain and providing soft cover to units on them. The German outpost (red dotted line) is fortified, and will provide hard cover to its occupants. The woods are rough, and provide soft cover. The farmhouse and the surrounding walls and hedges will provide hard cover. The walls/hedges are linear obstacles.

The French forces will start up to 12 inches beyond their front line (the red line in the southwest corner of the map). The German outpost is held by German forces (presumably Uhlans) but their number and type will not be known until the French approach.

At the start of play the weather is fine, with Light Airs blowing toward the North.

Order of Battle

French forces are organized into two commands, under Brigadier Laperey and his subordinate Colonel Duplessis, consisting of the following units:

    33e Infanterie de Ligne: 2 companies of Veteran infantry armed with rifles, @ 12 figures

    25e Artillerie: 2 sections of Veteran field artillery, @ a gun and 4 crew

    5e Dragons: 1 Troop of Veteran dragoons armed with carbines, 10 figures

    1e Cuirassiers: 1 Troop of Veteran cuirassiers armed with carbines, 10 figures

    2e Artillerie de Forteresse: 2-man unit of artillery observers for heavy guns (off-table), classed as Veterans.

    Scouting Party, Royal Aeronautics Corps: 2-man unit of observers, able to call in a flying machine armed with bombs and a rear-firing machine gun (call as if heavy artillery). All British are classed as Soldiers (they are not, obviously, as brave as Frenchmen!)

French players may organize their forces as desired, but each unit must report to one or other of the two French commanding officers.

Victory Conditions

Play will continue until the German outpost is captured and held for at least two turns against any German opposition, or the game is conceded by the French.