Sunday, 2 October 2022

Start of Goslar Campaign Phase


Map of Europe showing military regions and location of campaign phases

 

This will be the 83rd campaign phase since the 1813 campaign started in April 2009.

The location of each phase is shown on the map above, the colour indicating which side won.

There have been six revisions of the campaign since then, and each one resulting in new maps

Consequently many areas have been fought over more than once.

This is the current map, showing the military regions throughout Europe.

Goslar is the white star in northern Germany.

 

I try to make each campaign phase slightly different from the previous one

This is not as difficult as it may sound, because there are lessons to be learnt from each phase

The major difference in this campaign is an increase in the number of corps taking part

Campaign map showing location of each corps at the start of the campaign

 

Each side is now an army group of three armies

Each army has three corps.

You can see a full order or battle on the 1813 campaign blog here

http://1813pbemcampaigndiary.blogspot.com.es/       

This is an increase of three corps per side.

It will result in much larger battles, and more crowded wargame tables

Previously, with two corps per army, there was a large gap on the wargames table

I had to allow CinC to create a reserve to fill this gap

The new order of battle will allow one corps for each of the three scenic squares

It will also allow the CinC to create a larger reserve of artillery, cavalry or infantry.

 

In theory this should result in more interesting wargames, which is the aim of the campaign

But I will reserve judgement until I have play tested a couple of campaign phases.

 

It will also mean a reorganisation of the supply system.

In my earlier campaign phases most battles had only one, or possibly two, corps per side

The supply system of one days supply for each town held was designed to cater for this

 

Each corps starts the campaign with four days supplies, with one more day in each town held

A corps must be within one days march (three campaign squares) to resupply

With six corps, and six towns on each side, this worked well

But with nine corps per side, and still only six towns, it does not

 

The new supply system will remain the same.

Each town will receive sufficient supplies for one corps for one day

Corps must still be within one days march to receive supplies.

But the two regional capitals (Goslar and Dessau) will receive four days supplies each day

So the combined supplies will be sufficient to replace the total used each day

But a more complicated supply distribution system will be required.

 

To allow for this it will no longer be necessary to detach infantry brigades to garrison towns

Except in Spain, the garrison will no longer be shown on the campaign map

Nor will they take part in any wargame involving a town, unless I introduce sieges.

 

On the map the French (left) are dispersed to receive supplies for all six towns

The Prussians (right) are concentrated on the border to attack.

You will see that all nine French corps are within one day’s march of a depot

The Prussians are only within one day’s march of the three forward towns/depots

 

Each army has a campaign area three squares by twelve squares

Each army has two towns to supply three corps

So each CinC will have to organise a constant movement of supplies to his forward depots

The Army Group commander will have to distribute the extra supplies from Dessau and Goslar

It sounds quite complicated even before the campaign starts

Imagine how difficult it will be when corps move even further from their main depot

Or when a large supply is lost when a town is taken and the enemy secure the supplies there.

 

Once more it all works in theory, but game play will soon highlight any problems.

 

I am really looking forward to this campaign to see how these major changes work out

 

Sunday, 25 September 2022

End of Kufstein Campaign


30 May 1813 – Southern Germany – Day 10

Schwarzenberg orders his army to retreat back into Salzburg District

1st army abandon Walchsee and take all supplies with them to Nussdorf

2nd army abandon Sankt Johann and take all supplies with them to Inzell

3rd army abandon Kitzbuhel and take all supplies with them to Schonau

 

Massena orders a cautious pursuit to occupy the three abandoned towns

7th army occupy, but do not advance beyond, Walchsee

8th army occupy, but do not advance beyond, Sankt Johann

9th army occupy, but do not advance beyond, Kitzbuhel

Location of battles fought during Campaign

There were seven battles fought and the French claimed four

This is because they held the town at the end of the battle

However in at least two of those battles the Austrians defeated them

But they then has to retreat due to supply problems


Comment

The three battles the Austrians won were the first three of the campaign

At this time they were close to their main supply depot at Salzburg

It was only when they advanced and lengthened their lines of supply that they ran into trouble


After seven battles both armies had suffered heavy casualties

The French/Bavarian army had suffered considerably more than the Austrians

But as they retreated they were reinforced by the garrisons of the rear area

They were also much closer to their main supply depot at Kufstein


Had Schwarzenberg fought a second day of battle at Kufstein he might well have won the campaign

But at that stage his corps were running out of supplies, and in danger of attrition casualties

When a corps no longer has any supplies it has to immediately retreat until it comes within one days march of supplies

This would have thrown the whole Austrian army into disorder and could easily have led to their complete destruction

To retreat was the right decision, and was surely what the cautious Schwarzenberg would have done in real life

Had it been the French, under command of the more determined Massena, I might well have fought one last battle.

Great campaign and one which would result in major amendments to future campaign phases.

Sunday, 18 September 2022

Kufstein Campaign Day 9


29 May 1813 - Southern Germany - Day 9

Massena’s army has sufficient supplies, but also very heavy casualties

7th army resupply and reorganise at Oberaudorf

8th army rally, regroup and resupply at Kufstein

9th army resupply and reorganise at Worgl

 

Schwarzenberg has four of his six corps out of supply

1st army rally, resupply and regroup at Walchsee

2nd army retreat to Sankt Johann

3rd army resupply and regroup at Kitzbuhel

 

Comment

Schwarzenberg blinked first – but he really didn’t have any choice.

 

Both armies are shattered and in practical terms no longer operational.

The Bavarian/Baden army has lost more casualties, but are fully supplied

The Austrian army has suffered less, but still considerable, casualties

Most critical four of the six Austrian corps are now out of supply

 

1st and 2nd Austrian armies are completely out of supply

If they do not immediately rest and resupply they will start to lose casualties due to attrition

At that stage they must immediately retreat until they can resupply

3rd army is fully supplied, but being south of the river Inn is too far away to help

 

Today Schwarzenberg ordered 1st and 3rd armies to resupply and regroup

2nd army had to retreat to Sankt Johann due to attrition.

However this is only the start

He has accepted that to save his army he must retreat into Salzburg District to rest and regroup

 

This would be a perfect opportunity for Massena to pursue and smash the already broken Austrian army

However his own army have suffered so many casualties that they are no longer operational

A pursuit is out of the question until he can regroup and replenish his battle casualties

 

Schwarzenberg deserved to win this campaign.  

He has more operational brigades than Massena.

But no commander can ignore such a dire supply situation

If he does not retreat his army will disintergrate and he will lose everything

  

Sunday, 11 September 2022

Kufstein Campaign Day 8


28 May 1813 - Southern Germany - Day 8

Massena is determined to hold the line Oberaudorf-Kufstein-Worgl

7th army hold Oberaudorf

8th army defend Kufstein

9th army hold Worgl

 

Schwarzenberg is running short of supplies, but orders the attack on Kufstein

1st army retreat to Walchsee

2nd army attack Kufstein

3rd army hold Kitzbuhel

                       

Battle of Kufstein – Move 2

This photo is taken at the end of move two.

The Bavarian/Baden hold a very strong defensive position in front of the city of Kufstein

Half of 12th Baden corps started the game on the left bank of the river

However they have now crossed the river to join the rest of the corps

Apart from the field army, there are also two militia brigades in garrison in Kufstein

 

The Austrians have entered the table and are faced with a difficult choice.

An attack on the left will be outflanked by the Bavarian reserve on the pass

An attack on the right will have to take the strong hill

An attack in the centre will have to fight its way through the pass

All three options will be very time consuming

Schwarzenberg decided to pin the left and right and drive the centre back

He would then swing his reserve to their right to outflank the hill.

 

The photo shows the Austrian advance.

The reserve cavalry (centre) are charged by Bavarian cavalry

4th corps cavalry join the melee and rout the enemy cavalry.

 

By nightfall nine Bavarian and Baden brigades are in rout

Remainder are all shaken, including the garrison of Kufstein

The Austrians have defeated the Bavarian army, but it has taken too long

The Bavarians still hold the town, and can claim a victory

 

The French have lost 14 infantry, 5 cavalry and 2 artillery casualties (6300 men)

The Austrians have lost 9 infantry.3 cavalry and 2 artillery casualties (4100 men)

 

Comment

This game was a perfect example of a delaying battle.   The Bavarians could decide whether to hold the town itself, and engage the Austrians as they approached.   Or they could opt to try to hold the major high ground in the centre of the table.  

They decided on the latter.   The weak point is the pass in the centre.   The CinC created a reserve of two infantry and one cavalry brigades to hold this area.  But he had to hold the southern end of the pass, and he had to hold the high ground on both sides of the road.

The Austrians created a similar reserve, but could choose which side of the road to concentrate their attack.  The Bavarian cavalry tried to slow down this attack, and also did so.  However the support of 4th corps cavalry turned the tide and they were routed.

The Austrian reserve now moved right and supported 3rd corps attack on the hill.    It was now just a matter of time before 11th Bavarian corps was defeated.   Too late in the day they tried to retreat, but were surrounded and crushed.

On the opposite flank it was a more even battle between 12th Baden and 4th Austrian corps.   The Austrians eventually won, but not until very late in the day.   The outcome here was less important, providing that the Baden corps were not allowed to move to support Kufstein.

The final attack on Kufstein started on move 10, against 43 brigade in the right hand section of the city.   The Bavarian reserve of two infantry brigades had redeployed between the town and the pass.   3rd Austrian corps were the only troops available to attack, and they had already lost their artillery and cavalry.  So it was down to an infantry melee just outside the city.

The Austrians won, and two brigades attacked the town on move 12, just as night fell.   The garrison was shaken, but managed to hold (even though only poor class militia).   The attackers were also shaken, and could not launch another attack that night.  It would take too long to replace them with fresh troops, so the Bavarians remained in control of all of Kufstein at the end of the battle.   They could, and did, claim a victory.

At the end of the battle there were five Austrian infantry brigades and one battery who were not shaken or in rout.   Every single Bavarian and Baden brigade were either in rout or shaken. 

It would be pretty well impossible for the Bavarian/Baden army to hold the city for a second day of fighting.  But that had also seemed the case at Obersdorf, and they actually won the second day of battle there.

But now the Austrian army was desperately short of supplies.   All six armies had suffered heavy casualties, though not as much as the Bavarian/Baden army.   If Schwarzenberg risked a second attempt to take Kufstein, and failed, his whole army might well be destroyed.  

Overnight both commanders would study the strength returns and supply reports and decide who would blink first!

Sunday, 4 September 2022

Kufstein Campaign Day 7


27 May 1813 - Southern Germany - Day 7

Massena fights second day at Obersdorf

7th army fight to defend Obersdorf

8th army regroup and resupply at Kufstein

9th army regroup and resupply at Worgl

 

Schwarzenberg orders continued attack on Obersdorf

1st army attack Obersdorf

2nd army regroup and resupply at Sankt Johann

3rd army regroup and resupply at Kitzbuhel

Battle of Obersdorf – Second Day – Move 6

7th Bavarian army retreat to join the garrison of Obersdorf

1st Austrian army continue the attack for a second day

 

This photo was taken half way through the game.  

On the right 1st Austrian corps have defeated and routed 9th Bavarian corps.

On the left 10th Bavarian corps have defeated and routed 2nd Austrian corps

The Bavaians are swinging left to support the garrison of Obersdorf

In the centre the Austrian reserve and 1st corps artillery are bombarding the town

 

Over the next four moves the Austrians would take the right hand section of the town

9th Bavarian corps counter attack would rout the Austrian reserve including those in the town.

 

Casualties were very high on both sides

Bavarians have lost 15 infantry, 3 cavalry and 2 artillery casualties (6500 men)

Austrians have lost 10 infantry and 5 cavalry casualties (4500 men)

 

Comment

Against all the odds, and my forecast at the end of the last post, the Bavarians have won!

 

It is quite hard to explain why without going into massive, and probably boring, detail.

It was mainly because both sides had suffered heavy casualties in earlier battles

It would only take one casualty for a brigade to rout, often taking others with them

And this would largely depend on who “moved” first .

 

In our wargame rules each commander has a poker chip

They are placed in a bag at the end of each move

Next move the first chip drawn determines which corps will move first

This allows them to fire on the enemy, possibly cause a casualty often resulting in a rout

They can also initiate a cavalry or infantry melee, allowing them an “impact” bonus

This can be enough to swing the melee in their favour

 

This, and the influence of dice, is what makes our games so interesting – at least for us

It also makes them very unpredictable.   The game can often be won or lost in the last move.

 

It is rather boring to say that this was yet another very interesting wargame.

It often surprises me that even after 52 years married and gaming together Jan and I can still surprise each other.

At least on the wargame table.

Sunday, 28 August 2022

Kufstein Campaign Day 6


26 May 1813 - Southern Germany - Day 6

Massena continues to fight to hold Obersdorf, Kufstein and Worgl

7th army fight to defend Obersdorf

8th army deploy east of Kufstein

9th army redeploy around Worgl

 

Schwarzenberg orders an attack on Obersdorf

1st army attack Obersdorf

2nd army regroup at Sankt Johann

3rd army retreat to Kitzbuhel

 

Battle of Obersdorf

Both armies started the battle with moderate casualties from earlier battles

This results in brittle morale, and makes them more likely to fail morale test and rout

 

After just 8 moves (out of 12) the whole Bavarian army is in retreat towards the town

The Austrians pursue, but are unable to catch up with them

 

At nightfall the Bavarians still hole Obersdorf, and can claim victory

 

Casualties have been very light on both sides

Bavarians lose 1 infantry, 2 cavalry and 1 gunner casualties (700 men)

Austrians lose 2 cavalry casualty (200 men)

3 Bavarian brigades in rout, 1 Austrian brigade in rout

Comment

I recently made a decision to fight battles for towns in front of the town, rather than in it

This was to avoid having to storm built up areas in every wargame

However the unanticipated result is much faster wargames, because both sides start the battle in the open

Much less opportunity for artillery to play a role, and much more likely to have early (and decisive) cavalry melee

This is particularly so when both armies start the game with casualties and brittle morale

 

In this particular game the initial cavalry melee went to the defending Bavarian cavalry

This should have resulted in the collapse of the Austrian attack.

However the Austrian cavalry rallied (needed and got 5 with 1D6)

Their artillery were also effective and they continued the attack

 

The Austrians soon bogged down in the centre, but success on both flanks overcame this problem

 

On the opposite flank the Bavarians deployed behind a fortified farm house, safe from artillery fire

But they lost the cavalry melee, and the winning Austrian cavalry pinned the infantry in square

 

After just 6 moves (out of 12) the Bavarian commander (Jan) started to withdraw to the town

They moved so fast that the Austrians were unable to catch them

So at nightfall the Bavarians held the town

This made them winners of the battle

 

However they will not be able to withstand a second day of battle

They have lost both cavalry brigades and one infantry brigade

Their gunners have suffered casualties, making them less effective

 

If the Austrians can attack again tomorrow the Bavarians will be forced to retreat and abandon the town

The only thing that can save 7th Bavarian army is the supply situation of 1st Austrian army

Without checking the campaign stats I honestly don’t know what that is

So, like me, you will have to wait for next blog post to find the outcome

Sunday, 21 August 2022

Kufstein Campaign Day 5


25 May 1813 - Southern Germany - Day 5

Marshal Massena prepares to defend Obersdorf, Kufstein and Worgl.

7th army deploys east of Obersdorf

8th army retreats to Kufstein

9th army battle of Worgl

 

General Schwarzenberg continues to attack

1st army prepare to attack Obersdorf

2nd army occupy Sankt Johann

3rd army attacks Worgl

Battle of Worgl

Both armies lost heavy casualties during this hard fought battle

The French moved forward to attack, rather than wait for the Austrians to do so

The Austrians held their ground, and repulsed the French]

However they lost too many casualties to then attack the fortified town

 

French lose 9 infantry, 7 cavalry and 1 gunner casualties (4400 men)

Austrians lose 10 infantry and 5 cavalry casualties (4500 men)

Comment

For some time our wargames have involved the defending side deploying either side of the town, with the commander taking a couple of elite brigades from each corps to reinforce the town.   The attacking army would also create an elite attack force in the middle, often including the artillery from at least one of the corps, and would attack the town.

This was driven by the campaign supply rules.  This required each corps to stay within supply distance of its main supply town.   This was usually the one behind the town being attacked.  To build up the forward towns as the main supply base risked losing everything if they lost the battle.

However the result was really a wargame consisting of a short siege followed by the storm of the town.   This game was a deliberate attempt to move away from this model.

Worgl is one of the three most westerly towns in the campaign, so there was not a town further east to become the main supply base for 3rd army.   It is also just one days march south of Kufstein, which is the main supply base for the whole French army of central Europe.   So the defending French army could be deployed in front of Worgl, and one of the two corps would still be within one day’s march of Kufstein.

You will see from photo 2 above how this looked on the wargames table.   The French are deployed in the three centre squares.   Worgl is behind the centre of the French position, and is held by two militia brigades.   The Austrians started the game off table at the bottom of the photo, but entered the table at the start of move one.

Jan (who commanded the French army) decided to attack the Austrians as they entered the t able.   This was not in my original plan, but it did add an interesting edge to the game.   The result was a very hard fought battle, and one in which neither side could use their artillery effectively.   This photo is taken at the end of move two, and already a cavalry melee has been fought.   This is because both armies are moving towards each other.

The result was a short, but very hard fought, wargame.   It finished at the end of move 8 (out of a possible 12 moves.  By then most brigades of both brigades were in rout, or very close to doing so.   This is partly because they all started the game with casualties from earlier battles, but also because there was a lot of close combat fighting very early in the game.

I enjoyed it, and it has prompted me to consider changing the orders of battle.   At present there are two corps in each army, who deploy across three scenic squares on the table.  This was done to create a lot of space to manoeuvre.  But it resulted in both armies having to create a “reserve” under command of the CinC.  I am looking at the option of increasing to three the number of corps in each army.  This would allow one corps to deploy in each of the three scenic squares.  It would also allow the commander to create a real reserve to reinforce any breakthrough or concentrate elite troops to create the breakthrough.   This is all at the planning stage at present, but is looking very likely.   It is likely to be introduced for the next campaign phase to see how it works on the table.