Sunday, 14 July 2019

Salzwedel Campaign – Day 2

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

Campaign Notes

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.  

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Salzwedel Campaign – Day 1

Campaign Map on 22 September 1813

The Prussians are deployed over a wide area waiting for the French to show their plan of attack

Napoleon has concentrated the guard and reserve in the centre at Weyhausen
He orders 3rd corps to attack Dahre in order to draw the Prussian reserve to the left
Battle of Dahre – move 10
The battle opens badly for the French
Their cavalry are charged and routed by the Prussian hussars
They rout through a nearby infantry brigade, who rout with them

The French ignore this set back and press forward to attack
They win the hand to hand combat
Three Prussian infantry brigades and corps artillery rout

The French fail to take the town
But the Prussians have to retreat during the night

The French win the battle

Campaign Notes
This was an interesting start to the campaign

Both corps were equal in strength and type
In addition the Prussians had a brigade in Dahre
Despite this the French had to attack

They moved to their right to threaten the Prussian left flank
Their heavy cavalry moved ahead to protect the infantry columns
The Prussian light cavalry charged and routed the dragoons
In falling back the dragoons moved through a nearby infantry brigade
The infantry failed their morale and joined the rout
The Prussian cavalry had to test morale, failed and pursued the enemy
This caused more French casualties, but also took the hussars out of the battle

The French ignored the cavalry melee, and loss of one quarter of their infantry
The Prussians had put one infantry brigade in the farm
So the French infantry were still equal to the Prussians deployed in the open

As the French advanced the Prussian artillery fired on them, but caused no casualties
One French brigade charged and routed the gunners, who missed at close range
At the same time a Prussian brigade charged the French gunners
They suffered 10% casualties, failed their morale and halted shaken

The deciding combat was between two French brigades in column and one Prussian in line.   Hand to hand combat is costly in our rules.   Both sides usually lose casualties.   In this case each French brigade lost 10%, but the Prussian lost 30%
The Prussians routed, taking the nearby shaken brigade with them

The Prussian hussars had to return to command range of their corps commander (8”) to rally.   By now they had done so, and were once more a threat.   The French infantry had suffered casualties, and promptly formed square.

At nightfall the Prussians held both the town and the farm.  They also had their cavalry.
However they had lost three infantry brigades and their artillery
The French had lost one infantry brigade and their cavalry

The town is on the forward right wing of the Prussian deployment.   There is no one within supporting range.  Blucher is unwilling to detach his reserve to support them.   So at nightfall he orders them to retreat and abandon Salzwedel.

Both sides have suffered heavy casualties. 
The French lost 1100 casualties and two brigades in rout
The Prussians lost 3100 casualties and four brigades in rout

A good start to the campaign for Napoleon.