Thursday 19 December 2019

Summary of the Campaign in Southern Germany

Campaign Phases in Southern Germany

At the end of each campaign phase I post a summary of the whole campaign in that area.   The aim of this summary is to provide a brief history of the campaign in each area.  There are six campaign areas, and it can take up to a year between phases.  The summary is a quick update which is useful when I start work on the next phase in that area.  It also gives visitors a brief history of what has happened in each of the campaign areas.

The 1813 campaign started in April 2009 as a solo campaign.   Since then it has been reorganised four times.   This was done because of a major change, such as becoming a PBEM campaign in October 2009.   And again when it reverted to a solo campaign in February 2015.  

Since 2009 there have been 32 campaign phases, spread over the six campaign areas.  Surprisingly the allies won 16 and the French also 16.   However in Southern Germany the Austrians won all of the seven phases fought there.

Battles fought in Southern Germany

There have been 30 battles fought in Southern Germany.   The Bavarians won 11 and the Austrians 19. 

Schwartzenberg won almost two to one battles, but this does not explain why he then won all seven campaigns.

I don’t have an answer for this.  Once it became apparent that the Austrians were doing much better than any other allied army I have paid more attention to each campaign phase.   In Rosenheim I was quite pleased in the early stages that Oudinot was doing so well.  I thought that the Austrian run was coming to an end.   But they managed to reverse the trend and once more won.

This apparent unbalance has not affected our enjoyment of the campaign in Southern Germany.   In fact trying to end the Austrian run of success adds to the enjoyment of the campaign.

Sunday 15 December 2019

End of Rosenheim Campaign

Rosenheim Campaign Battles

The Rosenheim campaign was the seventh phase in southern Germany between the Third French Army commanded by Marshal Oudinot and the Austrian Army under General Schwartzenberg.   It lasted fifteen days and there were seven battles.   Schwartzenberg won three of the seven.  The Austrians won the Rosenheim campaign phase.

The campaign started on 29 August and ended on 30 November 2019

Campaign Notes

For the first six days all went well for Oudinot.   He won the first three battles and it appeared he could do no wrong.   The Austrians were pushed back and he managed to get three of his four corps over the river Isar.   He even took Rosenheim, the campaign objective.   However to win the campaign he now had to hold it.

Oudinot needed time to consolidate his string of victories, and establish his army on the east bank of the river.   His corps were running short of supplies, and he needed to reorganise his battle casualties

Despite his defeats Schwartzenberg found himself in a much stronger position.   As he retreated he fell back on his depots.   Supply was much easier, and he could choose the point to launch his counter attack.

He did so against Rosenheim and he drove the Bavarians back over the river.   He did not immediately follow up.  He halted on the east bank to reorganise and resupply.

Using the river to mask his intentions, he reinforced his northern wing and attacked Holzkirchen.   The first battle was a limited victory, and it required a second battle to complete the destruction of half the Bavarian Army.

An Austrian victory was now certain.   Schwartzenberg could have waited a couple of days to concentrate his four corps in the south, and then crush the two remaining Bavarian corps.   Or, more likely, Oudinot would simply retreat to avoid certain defeat.

However Schwartzenberg wanted a decisive and overwhelming victory.   To do so he took a short term risk.   Oudinot has two badly shaken corps desperately holding Bad Tolz long enough to withdraw all the remaining supplies held in the main depot there.   The two Austrian corps available to attack were also badly shaken.   A battle in such circumstances would be decided on the relative morale of the two armies.   One bad move, or one bad dice throw, could easily result in a major rout – for either side.

Schwartzenberg fought a very defensive battle, even though he was the attacker.   He ignored the strong walled town and concentrated his attack on the enemy troops south of the town.   His first attack ended in disaster.   Half of 4th corps ran away when their cavalry brigade lost a melee.   But he was able to bring most of 1st corps to support the remainder.   It worked and 12th Baden corps were routed.

When I write the summary with hind sight it all seems very obvious and an easy victory for the Austrians.   But it could so easily have gone wrong.   Had they lost the first battle of Holzkirchen, Schwartzenberg would have won the campaign.

It proved to be a very enjoyable wargame campaign.   All seven games were fairly even and unpredictable.   None, not even the last one, were a lost cause for either side.   This is not brought about by my fixing the campaign in anyway.   Two things dictate who does what, and both are almost impossible to fix. 

First the supply system punishes the victor because he moves further away from his main depot as he pursues the defeated enemy.   The losing side falls back on his established depots and not only finds supplies, but also the depot garrisons.

Second battle casualties.   It is possible to concentrate infantry casualties within one brigade, and also to receive replacements providing the corps does not move or fight.   But every brigade which suffers any battle casualties always retains 10% for the rest of the campaign.   This reduces the fighting ability and also the morale of each brigade concerned.   After three or four battles many brigades will have such casualties.   Future battles then depend on the luck of the dice, particularly morale dice.

I always feel that the most recent campaign was one of the best, and Rosenheim is no exception.  

I would have liked the Bavarians to defeat the Austrians at least once, but it did not detract from our enjoyment of either the campaign or each wargame.