Saturday, 8 November 2014

Unusual Strategic Battle

tactial map showing area of battle 

Our PBEM campaign is designed to provide interesting battles for Jan and I to wargame.

Each phase of the campaign is designed to be similar in scope to the Waterloo campaign.  To this end the tactical map covers an area of just 45 square miles.  This is approximately the area from Charleroi to Brussels.

The map is designed to look like the wargames table, and each square on the map can be reproduced as a 2x2 foot square on the table.

This has resulted in some complaints from campaign players that there is not sufficient space to allow for outflanking movements.   I have always felt that this was unfair, and that a tactical outflanking was possible, though not the grand strategic type of movement often found in more historical campaigns.

So I was very pleased when the campaign called for the battle of Oberstein.   The Russian commander has sent one of his four corps to take the French main supply base, and cut their communications with France.  

The main French army has won three of the four battles in this campaign, and is concentrated around Bad Kreuznach, ready for the final push against the main Russian army at Oppenheim.

The French commander becomes aware of the threat late in the day.   The nearest French corps is the 2nd Young Guard corps.   However they have suffered heavy casualties and were in reserve trying to regroup and reorganise.

the rout of the French Young Guard

Because of the terrain, and their superior numbers, the Russians were able to take control of a ridge overlooking the flank of the French position.   Their longer range artillery routed a French square, and their cavalry and infantry were poised to finish them off.   Two more Russian brigades were in position to storm the town.

The French commander ordered a retreat before he was surrounded and forced to surrender.   This resulted in the loss of the main French supply base, and their main road to France.

The Russian commander was rewarded for his daring flanking movement

Better still, next day the isolated French army would abandon their lines of communication and attack the Russian army at Oppenheim.   But that is a different battle and a different story.

If you would like to read the full battle report you will find it here

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