Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Day Two at Peine

First light at Peine

The battle of Peine ended in a clear Prussian victory. XIII Polish corps ran from the battlefield on the road to Hanover. V and VI French corps had not played much part in the battle. Both were already reduced to half strength. The Prussians outnumbered the French by two to one. At midnight Davout ordered V and VI corps to fall back towards Celle.

Blucher was delighted with the outcome. Only one small nagging doubt. IV French corps had arrived at Brunswick, which cut his communications with Magdeburg. He ordered his army to rest during the night, and prepare to pursue the two retreating French columns at daybreak. He was rather surprised when IV French corps attacked him at first light.

Davout was overseeing the retreat of V and VI corps from a hill north of Peine when he observed the approach of IV corps. He thought that they were somewhere to the north of Celle. He ordered V corps was already off the battlefield heading for Celle. He ordered VI corps to halt, and rode off to bring V corps back.

That is the opening situation for the second day of the battle of Peine. And it is a good illustration of the advantage of PBEM campaigns. I would never have dreamed up such a complicated scenario for a solo campaign. Yet this is only one of the many excellent wargames which the Hanover PBEM campaign has produced.

The downside is that there is a tendency to fight to the last brigade. In the present battle three of the six corps are below half strength. This is caused by the campaign commanders wanting to “do something” rather than just rest their corps and let them recover from the last battle. Each campaign move that the corps is not fighting or moving they receive one casualty replacement. For most corps this would mean they must rest for 6-9 moves, which is two to three days, to recover all of their casualties. But at the rate of one or two campaign moves per week that is a long time.

Apart from this one drawback the campaign is working much better than I had dared to hope. I thought that it would last about three months, and produce about 4 to 6 battles. So far it has lasted seven months and produced ten battles.

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