Campaign Map on 23 September 1813
1st Prussian corps retreat towards Schenge
Blucher moves forward his reserve corps to support Kuhfelde
Napoleon orders 1st corps and his reserve to attack Kuhfelde
3rd French corps occupy Dahre
Battle of Kuhfelde – Reserves arrive on the left
This was the first use of the reserve corps on either side
Both reserves are full corps, but their infantry have been detached as garrisons
This leaves only the cavalry and artillery still in reserve
Each has its own corps commander
The advantage of the reserve is to allow each commander to reinforce one of his other three corps with additional cavalry and artillery. This will make a significant difference to their combat ability, but will not make for too great a difference in the wargame. When two full corps fight one corps the game outcome always goes to the stronger side.
Napoleon committed his reserve to the left of the main road. It was his intention to take personal command of both corps artillery, and to place reserve corps commander in command of both cavalry brigades. This would leave 1st corps commander with only his four infantry brigades
The game plan was for the infantry to attack right of the main road, take the village and defeat any Prussian infantry in this area. The combined cavalry division would be on the left flank, and pin the Prussian cavalry to prevent them disrupting the infantry attack. The combined artillery would be in the centre and would engage the enemy cavalry and the garrison of the village in the centre.
To carry out this reorganisation Napoleon would have to take position within 8” of both cavalry brigades and corps artillery. It would require three command points (3CP) to change the orders of the reserve corps commander (who is a poor commander), and 4CP for the artillery and cavalry (one for each brigade and corps artillery). When he was in position he rolled one average dice and got five, plus his own three (he is an Elite commander) giving him 8CP. This was sufficient to carry out the reorganisation.
Blucher wanted to take command of 2nd corps cavalry, artillery and infantry brigade to the right of the village. To do so he would only require 3CP (one for each brigade). He rolled an average dice and got 2CP, plus his own 1CP (he is a poor commander). However he had to move to within 8” of the three brigades, which required a further 1CP. As a result he was only able to take command of the cavalry and artillery.
This reorganisation takes one full move to complete. Everyone involved must be within 8” and the CinC requires sufficient CP to be able to issue orders to each brigade involved. As happened in this case, the better the commander the better his chance of doing so.
I am very pleased with how this new rule worked in this game. It will be even more interesting when only one side has the support of the reserve.