Sunday, 6 June 2021

Branau Campaign – Day 8


7 April 1813 - Southern Germany - Day 8

The Austrian supply system is improving

Only 1st Austrian army is still short of supplies

                                       

In the north 7th Bavarian army rally and regroup

1st Austrian army must resupply before they can resume offensive operations

 

In the centre 8th Bavarian army retreat behind Markl, but continue to garrison the town.  2nd Austrian army regroup and resupply

 

In the south 9th Bavarian army regroup behind the river Inn

3rd Austrian army redeploy in preparation for an attack over the river   

Comments

The situation for the Bavarian army is now desperate.

They have been pushed back to the eastern towns of Falkenberg, Markl and Burghausen.   They have also suffered considerable battle casualties, and urgently require reinforcements.  However these only arrive at the rate of 400 infantry or 100 cavalry or gunners per corps per day.

The Austrian army has also suffered heavy casualties, though not as many as the Bavarians.   Their major problem is resupply.

By moving supplies forward from the main depot at Altheim they are gradually improving the situation.   One more day and all three armies should be ready to continue operations.

In the south 3rd Austrian army is the strongest of the three.   However they are faced with the most difficult operation, attacking across a defended river line.   In preparation they move forward to the river, and reorganise.   General Merveldt combines both cavalry brigades to form a cavalry reserve.   His plan of attack is to pin the enemy by attacking each southern bridge with one corps.   He will cross the northern bridge with the cavalry reserve and attack the Bavarian northern flank.

Both commanders are now running out of time.  They have fought seven battles in eight days and are aware that their men cannot continue for much longer without a prolonged rest.   They anticipate that each of the three armies can each fight one more major battle.

Sunday, 30 May 2021

Branau Campaign – Day 7


6 April 1813 – Southern Germany – Day 7

The Austrian supply situation is still critical

In the north the Bavarians retreat to Falkenberg

In the centre the Austrians attack Marktl

In the south both armies face each other over the river Inn

Battle of Marktl at end of move 10

This is another battle where the winner has lost more casualties than the loser

This time the winner is the Bavarians

 

The Austrians attack, and must take the town to win the battle

 

In the north they are too weak to attack, both sides exchange artillery fire

The Austrian gunners lose 10% casualties, but continue to fire

 

In the centre the Austrian reserve take part of the wood

However the Bavarian garrison advance

This forces the Austrian reserve to abandon the attack on the woods

 

The battle is decided in the south between 11th Bavarian and 3rd Austrian corps

Supported by the reserve they rout the artillery and infantry north of the woods

They also take the northern part of the woods

But they lose the cavalry melee, and their hussar brigade rout

 

The Bavarian reserve moves forward from the town

This forces the Austrian reserve to redeploy to meet them

The Bavarian cavalry prevent 3rd corps infantry attacking the woods

 

At nightfall the11th Bavarian corps retreat to avoid further casualties

12th corps and the reserve also withdraw

But they still hold the town and can claim a victory

 

Comments

The Austrians should have won this battle.

The Bavarians held strong defensive positions in the woods either side of the road

However there was a large gap in the centre

This allowed 3rd corps artillery to deploy within short range of the woods

It also allowed the Austrian reserve of two elite brigades to support 3rd corps

 

The Bavarians has two infantry brigades in the town

There were brought forward and forced the Austrian reserve to redeploy

11th corps cavalry then charged and routed 3rd Austrian hussars

These actions forced 3rd Austrian corps infantry to halt and form square

 

11th Bavarian corps broke contact and retreated to the town

12th Baden corps, and the Bavarian reserve, did the same

At nightfall they had taken up a strong position either side of the town

The Bavarians lost 2100 casualties to the Austrian 300 casualties

But they were still strong enough to rally and prevent the loss of the town

 

Despite much heavier casualties the Bavarians easily won the battle.

Although they had to retreat, the ended in a very strong position.

It would take a determined Austrian attack to dislodge them

 

A strange result, and a frustrating one for me as the Austrian commander.

Particularly as the Austrians were now almost out of supply

Should they now retreat and resupply

Or risk everything on another attempt to take Marktl?

Sunday, 23 May 2021

Branau Campaign – Day 6


5 April 1813 – Southern Germany – Day 6

All six Austrian corps are running short of supplies

There are sufficient supplies available, but they are in the rear depots

It will take at least two days to bring enough forward to resupply the whole army

The Bavarian army has no supply problems.    Four of the six corps are fully supplies with four days. 


In the north 7th Bavarian army attack 1st Austrian army at Bayerbach.

In the centre 8th Bavarian army is fully supplied.     But they must rally and regroup.  

In the south 9th French army retreat to Burghausen having lost the battle of Eggelsberg.   3rd Austrian army occupy Eggelsberg and establish a new depot

Battle of Bayerbach at end of move 12

Both armies are evenly matched, though the Bavarians have more battle casualties.  

Consequently they must inflict artillery casualties before the infantry attack


Both Bavarian corps arrive at the start of move one, and deploy out of artillery range

They then advance their artillery and open fire.   This proves ineffective.

The Bavarian cavalry advance and engage in a prolonged melee, which results in massive casualties on both sides.   All four brigades retreat with 40% casualties

Massena has only one option left, an infantry attack.   His right flank is outnumbered, so 10th corps, on the left, will deliver the attack.   They will be supported by two elite brigades in the reserve, commanded by Massena.

The reserve attack the town, 10th corps the Austrian right flank.   Both sides suffer heavy casualties, but the Bavarians take the town.   However 10th corps is defeated and retreats.   On the opposite flank 9th corps also retreats, and Massena has to abandon the town.

The Austrians won the battle, though they lost more casualties.  

Bavarians have lost 11 infantry and 6 cavalry casualties (5000 men)

Austrians have lost 13 infantry and 6 cavalry casualties (5800 men)

Comments

It is not unusual in the later stages of a campaign for a weaker army to attack a stronger one.   This is usually caused when one side has a temporary advantage, often due to supply problems.

The defender always has to deploy his figures first.  This allows the attacker to concentrate against any weakness in the defence.   Now that we allow commanders to create a reserve, this tends to strengthen the attacker more than the defender.

However the attacker will usually suffer more casualties, particularly from artillery as they close to contact.   He may be able to cause artillery casualties before the attack, either with his own artillery or cavalry.  If not his chances of success are slim.

Or he may gain cavalry superiority by defeating the enemy cavalry.   This will at  least protect his infantry as they move forward, and force the enemy infantry into squares.   However if the enemy defeat his cavalry, the attack must be abandoned.

The outcome of the game is usually decided by the infantry.  However if they do not have some advantage they just have to rely on the luck of the dice.

Sunday, 16 May 2021

Branau Campaign – Day 5


4 April 1813 – Southern Germany – Day 5

In the north the Bavarians continue to regroup and resupply

the Austrians redeploy to defend Bayerbach

In the centre the Bavarians rally, regroup and resupply

The Austrians also regroup and resupply, they also receive supplies from Altheim

In the south the Austrians attack Eggelsberg

Battle of Eggelsberg at end of move 12

The French are stronger, so the Austrians hope to cause artillery casualties before they attack.   However after four rounds of artillery fire no casualties are recorded.

In the north 5th Austrian corps send their cavalry forward, hoping to defeat the French cuirassiers and force the infantry into square.  They lose the melee and are forced to abandon their attack

In the centre both commanders have created a reserve of two infantry brigades.  The French put both in the town.  The Austrians hold them in the centre, waiting to see which wing will gain an advantage from the artillery duel. 

In the south 6th Austrian corps also send their cavalry forward.   Here they win the melee and force the infantry into square.  The Austrian infantry and artillery advance and engage the French infantry at close range.

The Austrian commander commits the reserve to support his southern flank.  They take half of the town, as 6th corps take the woods.

At nightfall the French hold the northern half of the table, the Austrians the southern half.  However the French have lost more casualties, and have six brigades in rout.  Under cover of darkness they retreat leaving Eggelsberg to the Austrians.

Comments

This is the fifth battle of the campaign, and both armies have campaign casualties.   This makes them more fragile in morale tests, and therefore less likely to risk an attack unless the odds are in their favour.

The French start the battle stronger than the attacking Austrians.   They have seven infantry brigades to six Austrian.   However the Austrians must attack to take advantage of their temporary strategic advantage.   Both corps of 3rd Austrian army are concentrated.   Those of 9th French army are separated to keep within supply range of Burghausen.  

The Austrians hope to inflict some artillery casualties before committing to an infantry attack.   They create a reserve of two infantry brigades in the centre, which can support whichever flank causes the most casualties.  However after four rounds of artillery fire they have failed to inflict any casualties.

Running out of daylight the Austrians send their cavalry forward.   If they can defeat the enemy cavalry they can force the French infantry into square before their own infantry attack.   On the northern flank they lose the melee.  On the southern flank they win

At nightfall the French hold the northern half of the battlefield (and the town), the Austrians the southern half.  But the French have suffered more casualties, and six of their brigades have routed.   Only one Austrian brigade is in rout.   This was largely due to poor morale dice for the French.

An interesting wargame which looked like a French victory, until their luck ran out in moves 11 and 12.

Sunday, 9 May 2021

Branau Campaign – Day 4


3 April 1813 – Southern Germany – Day 4


A much needed day of rest, regrouping, reorganisation and resupply

In the north Bavarians deploy at Falkenburg, reorganise and resupply

Austrians set up new depot at Bayerbach, reorganise and resupply

 

In the centre Bavarians retreat having lost the battle of Branau

Austrians occupy Branau and set up a new depot

 

In the south Bavarians regroup, reorganise and set up depot at Eggelsberg

Austrians regroup at Mauerkirchen and resupply

 

Comments

After three days and four battles both armies are urgently in need of rest, reorganisation and resupply.   All twelve corps start the day with just one days supply.

 

To resupply they have to be within three squares of a depot, not in contact with the enemy and halted for the day.   All corps are within range, but the depots do not have sufficient supplies to bring each corps up to four days.  

 

Reorganisation is used to make each corps operational and battle fit.  To reorganise a corps must be in supply, halted for the day and not in contact with the enemy.  There are three elements in reorganising.

 

First all routed and shaken brigades rally

Second all infantry casualties can be transferred to one brigade, less 10%.  

Third each corps receives reinforcements of 10% of one brigade.  

 

Casualties affect the morale and combat effectiveness of a brigade.   Each 10% results in minus 1 on morale, combat and firing charts.  

 

Reorganisation concentrates most of the infantry casualties in one brigade, which in effect takes no further part in the campaign.   It also allows the remaining brigades to quickly become effective again.  However by leaving 10% casualties with the brigade for the remainder of the campaign, it also reduces their morale and combat ability. 

 

The aim is to allow a badly damaged corps to recover quickly to be able to take part in the campaign.   However it will never be fully effective until the next campaign phase.  

Sunday, 2 May 2021

Branau Campaign – Day 3


2 April 1813 – Southern Germany – Day 3

By the end of today all 12 corps will be reduced to one days supply

In the north 7th Bavarian army retreat having lost the battle of Bayerbach

1st Austrian army occupy Bayerbach

 

In the centre both 8th Bavarian army and 2nd Austrian army attack Branau

 

In the south 3rd Austrian army retreat having lost the battle of Eggelsberg

Battle of Branau at start of game

The fortified city of Branau dominates the centre of the table

It is unoccupied at the start of the game

Entry is only possible through one of the four gates

 

Both commanders took command of a reserve of two brigades each

They carried out the battle for the city, which ended with the Austrians in control

 

The Austrians won the battle fought north of the city

The Baden corps lost four brigades in rout and retreated

 

The battle south of the city was a draw

But the Bavarian corps had to withdraw having lost the city and northern wing

 

The Bavarians lost 4100 men and four brigades in rout

The Austrians lost 2600 men and one brigade in rout

 

Comments

Both armies were close to the city at the start of the game.

Neither side had any advantage in numbers or fighting ability

Both created a reserve of two infantry brigades to fight for the city

The result was a fast and enjoyable wargame, which was decided by the luck of the dice.   Both sides had an equal share of good and bad dice.   But the Austrian good dice came at the right time, the Bavarian at the wrong time.

After three days and four battles the campaign has now reached an interesting stage.   Both armies are low on supplies and should pause to resupply and reorganise. 

However although both armies appear to be in a similar situation it is not necessarily the case.   A lot depends on the exact distribution of casualties in each corps.    Also the ease with which each corps can resupply, the distance from the nearest depot and how many days supply in that depot can make a huge difference.

And finally the balance of these circumstances may make it advantageous for one army to risk a battle, and the possibility of running out of supplies, to gain a temporary advantage.

Until I update the campaign map, orders of battle and supply status I will not know

Sunday, 25 April 2021

Branau Campaign – Day 2


1 April1813 – Southern Germany – Day 2

In the north 1st Austrian army attack 7th Bavarian army at Bayerbach

In the centre 2nd Austrian and 8th Bavarian armies deploy at Branau

In the south 3rd Austrian and 9th French armies fight a second day at Egelsberg

Battle of Egglesberg move 4

 

Battle of Egglesberg – Day 2

During the night routed brigades were removed

Everyone else was allowed to redeploy within the square they were in

None were allowed to move closer to the enemy

The French held the southern half of the town, the Austrians the northern half

The Austrians were allowed to fully occupy their half

The battle started with both sides in very close contact


On the left the French infantry advanced

The Austrian cavalry moved forward to charge them

But the supporting French cavalry counter charged

The Austrians lost the melee and routed

This allowed the French infantry to continue their advance

 

In the centre the French guns were within close range of the enemy held half of the town.    As soon as they opened fire, the Austrian infantry started to withdraw.   But they suffered too many casualties, broke and ran.

 

On the right the French infantry entered the woods

As they neared the northern edge of the woods they were attacked by an elite jager brigade.   The French won the melee and the jagers routed, taking a landwehr brigade in reserve with them.

 

By lunchtime the French held all of the town and the woods

The Austrian commander ordered his army to break contact and retreat.

Battle of Bayerbach move 12

 Battle of Bayerbach

9th Bavarian corps held the town at the start of the game

They sent two of their four infantry brigades to garrison the town

The rest of the corps deployed to the right of the town

 

10th Bavarian and 1st and 2nd Austrian corps all arrived at the start of the game

 

1st Austrian corps artillery bombarded the town at short range

Two infantry brigades then stormed north Bayerbach

They quickly routed the two Bavarian brigades in the town

However they were unable to take south Bayerbach

10th Bavarian corps took and held the southern half of the town

2nd Austrian corps attacked the remainder of 9th Bavarian corps

They won the initial cavalry melee and forced the Bavarian infantry into square

The much stronger Austrian corps quickly broke and routed the rest of 9th corps

 

Comments

Most unusual to have two battles in one day

 

Day two of Egglesberg opened with both sides in close contact

The battle was quickly decided and ended in a French victory

 

Bayerbach was a much more interesting battle.

9th Bavarian corps was outnumbered by 1st and 2nd Austrian corps

They had to hold both halves of the town

This allowed the Austrian artillery to fire on the garrison at close range

An infantry attack quickly routed the two Bavarian brigades in the town

 

The arrival of 10th Bavarian corps brought balance to the battle

They quickly took south Bayerbach and held it until nightfall

 

9th Bavarian corps lost two infantry brigades in the town]

The rest of the corps was outnumbered by 2nd Austrian corps

They suffered heavy casualties and four of their six brigades were routed

 

Having to fight two battles in one campaign day meant we spent more time than usual at the wargames table.   Each battles takes about a week to wargame.  So there was a two week break from the campaign, which is a long time.

 

I would much prefer to fight just one battle each campaign day.   The campaign is still fresh in my mind when I transfer the result back to the campaign map.

 

But Egglesberg was too close to call at the end of the first day of battle.  I felt it was right to fight a second day, even though I expected that it would not last long.

 

I could have delayed Bayerbach to day three of the campaign.  But there was no sound campaign reason to do so.   Common sense might well suggest that it really didn’t matter, as it is a solo campaign. 

 

But it is important to me that both each battle/wargame and each campaign day make sense and react to defeats and supply problems.   Otherwise there would be no sense if running the campaign in the first place.