Thursday, 18 August 2011

Decisive French victory at Wolfsburg

Table at end of battle of Wolfsburg

The second battle of Wolfsburg has been a decisive victory for the French. This result has given them one last chance to turn the table on Blucher.

This most unpromising battle turned into an excellent wargame. It started with an encounter battle between XIII French and 1st Prussian corps. On move 9 V French corps arrived behind the Prussians, and 4th Prussian corps behind the French. Difficult enough to grasp, even more so to wargame around.

1st Prussian corps started nearer to Wolfsburg, and gained an early advantage. However this was to prove their undoing. Unable to take the town, XIII French corps moved around the west of the town, to meet up with V French corps moving south.

This caught two Prussian brigades, one infantry and one cavalry, between the two French corps. After a cavalry melee the two Prussian brigades were forced to surrender. This is the first time I have had to deal with surrender during a wargame. Normally the loser of a melee just runs away towards his supports.

Normally I would have just removed them from the table and forgotten them. But as the wargame was appearing on the campaign diary blog as a move by move battle report, I felt I had to justify the French reaction to the Prussian surrender. The cavalry brigade which had caused the Prussian surrender had to leave the battle and escort the POW to the French rear area.

Strange that this has never happened before. But then again I have never fought a wargame when both sides were reinforced in such a strange way. Just another example of the unpredictability of a PBEM campaign.

We discussed it on the forum, and the general opinion was that the winning side should not be penalized by having to take prisoners. I doubt if it will happen again, but if it does the POW will be removed immediately and the victors disorganized for one or two moves to reflect the effect of having to escort the prisoners.

It’s good that the campaign is so good natured that all players look for acceptable solutions, rather than to create disagreement for the sake of it.

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