Sunday 24 June 2012

Possneck ends in Draw

The second battle of our Gera PBEM campaign has ended in a draw.  Things are not going well for the French; they really need a convincing victory.

The tactical map above shows the area of the battlefield/wargames table.  At the same time that Possneck is being fought there are two other battles at Domburg and Bad Kosen.  So the whole a huge battle is being fought along the whole length of the campaign area at the same time.  This represents an area 45 miles from north to south.

The background to Possneck is that the 2nd French corps is moving through the mountains towards Greiz.   As they approach Possneck a Russian division retire along the Greiz road.   This encourages Marshal Victor, the French corps commander, to order his corps to push on and pursue the retreating Russians.

It would appear wise for General Wintzingerode, commander of 3rd Russian corps, to attack the leading French division as they emerge from mountains.   But for reasons best know to the campaign player the Russians advance three divisions abreast into the broken ground.

The result was a very interesting battle/wargame.   The difficult ground allowed the French time to defend Possneck and deploy to the north.   They could only use the squares shown above, because the battle of Domburg was being fought in the next three.  

The Russians pressed home their attack, but did not have sufficient time to bring their full weight to bear against the French.   The battle started at midday, and there was only 8 hours/game turns to nightfall.   The broken ground also delayed the Russian advance. 

The French attacked with their leaving division to delay the Russians still more.   The second division deployed to the north, and 4th division fell back on the town.   There was a lot of confused cavalry fighting, and a lot of artillery used.  But the infantry played little part in the battle.

 End of day one  - Decision time

At nightfall both sides has suffered light casualties.  But neither side was a clear winner.   It is therefore up to the two corps commanders to decide whether they want to retreat, hold their ground or attack at first light.  

If they both decide to fight a second day it is going to be a real blood bath.   The French hold Possneck and are deployed along the Domburg road.  The Russians are deployed just 12” to the east.  All battle casualties from the first day will remain, but regiments routed or shaken will rally during the night.    The corps commanders can tell me how to deploy, or they can leave it up to me and Jan to deploy for them.  

We use poker chips for each corps and divisional commander.  They all go in a hat and are drawn one at a time to decide sequence of moves.    In this type of battle the first division to move will have a huge advantage.

So it is a test of nerve as well as tactical skill for both commanders.

We now have to fight the battle of Bad Kosen before we write orders for the next day.    I can hardly wait to find out what will happen next at Possneck.

If you would like to follow the campaign you will find a diary and battle reports on the campaign diary blog here:

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