Sunday, 7 April 2013

PBEM Campaign Map Deployment

I am often surprised how often the corps commanders in my PBEM campaign fail to deploy properly before a battle.   Failure to do so often results in defeat because the attackers are outnumbered or the defenders simply withdraw before the attackers can close with them.

As an example have a look at the map above.

Each square on the map is a 2x2 foot scenic square on the battlefield.  
Movement is at the rate of three squares per day on a road, two per day off road and one per day through difficult terrain.

1st French corps (blue) want to attack Vockabruck, which is defended by 2nd Austrian corps.

The map shows the position at the end of the second day.

During the first day the two French divisions advanced from Uttendorf.
The two Austrian divisions deployed side by side.

The French cannot enter squares G03, G02 or G01 unless they have orders to attack

Most often the French commander would order both divisions to attack Vockabruck.
1st division would enter the wargames table at the start of move one
They would immediately be within artillery range of the two Austrian divisions
Worse still the Austrians could attack the French at odds of two to one.
2nd division would not enter the table until the start of wargame move 5.

Alternatively the French commander could deploy to attack.
1st division would have to move north into F03, or south into F01
2nd division would move forward into F02
Because of difficult terrain this manoeuvre would take a full day

Meanwhile 2nd Austrian corps might have ordered an attack
In which case they would catch the French disordered as they attempted to redeploy.

Or 2nd Austrian corps might decide to abandon Vockabruck and retreat to Wels.

Of course it’s easy to highlight the opportunities and dangers when you know the exact locations of all four divisions.  In the campaign the French commander would be aware of the location of the two Austrian divisions.   But the Austrian commander would only be able to see 1st French division, who would screen 2nd division.


JWH said...

What do you think the optimal French strategy in your rules is at this point?



thistlebarrow said...

Hi John

I think the best French strategy would be to hold with the north and centre, and attack with the southern corps.

Indeed as CinC I have positioned the reserve to support such an attack.

I have also advised all thee corps commanders that this is the "official" strategy.

The beauty of PBEM is that they are allowed to disregard what the CinC wants to do, and often exercise their option.

The result often produces far more interesting battles than I could have thought up myself to wargame.