Sunday, 22 May 2011

Challenging Campaign Wargame

French prepare to attack with their full strength brigades on the right, and pin the enemy with their weak brigades (from a previous game) on the left.
I converted my solo 1813 campaign to PBEM in order to make it more interesting and challenging, and the latest battle/wargame has not let me down.
It is the fourth battle in the campaign, but the first to include casualties from a previous battle. In 40 years of wargaming this is the first time that I have faced this type of challenge.
The battle was not really planned by either of the campaign corps commanders, but it has developed into a critical part of the campaign.
Earlier in the campaign the two corps fought the first battle of Uelzen. The Prussians won, and the French retreated. Both halted to regroup and replace casualties. In the campaign they receive one casualty replacement for each move that they are stationary and not in contact with the enemy.
Two days later another Prussian corps lost a battle 15 miles south, and this corps was tasked to move south to support them. As they did so, the French corps they had defeated earlier sent their cavalry to recce Uelzen who reported that it as empty. The French commander decided to occupy the town and cut the Prussian lines of supply.
The Prussian commander realised what was happening, ordered an overnight about turn and marched back to occupy Uelzen before the French could do so. The result was the second battle of Uelzen.
Both corps have five casualties each from the earlier battle. The Prussian cavalry have two casualties, and three infantry brigades’ one each. The French have two casualties each on two brigades and one on a third.
Casualties have serious consequences in my rules. Each one reduced fighting ability and counts as a minus on a morale test. One is a slight problem, two a serious one. For example a third casualty would result in a morale test, and the brigade would require a total of 6 on 1D6 to pass.
The Prussians are fighting the battle without their cavalry. Or rather their cavalry have been kept well away from the enemy cavalry or artillery.
The French have a real problem. They have to fight with half of their infantry likely to rout if they receive one more casualty. The solution is to attack with the one full strength infantry brigade, the full strength cavalry and the artillery. The remaining three infantry brigades are kept out of harms way, but used as a threat to pin part of the Prussian corps.
The game has just started, so I have no idea how it will work out. I have command of the French, and am quietly pleased with my clever tactics. Of course if I lose either my good infantry or cavalry brigade the game is over.
Starting the game with casualties is proving so challenging that I am wondering why I have never used it in a game before.
If you would like to see how it works out you will find the first post of the battle report on the 1813 campaign diary

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