Wednesday 31 July 2019

Salzwedel Campaign – Day 6

Campaign Map on 27 September 1813 

After five days of fighting both armies are desperate for resupply and reorganisation
Both French and Prussian corps are down to 2 days supplies
If a corps runs out of supplies it will suffer attrition casualties

There are sufficient stocks to resupply both armies, but they are in the wrong place
Due to corps constantly moving, only the main corps have sufficient supplies

2nd Prussian corps has to retreat into Salzwedel
The reserve corps has to retreat behind the walled city
1st and 3rd corps both halt, regroup and resupply

All four French corps halt where they are to regroup and resupply

There are just enough stocks to resupply each corps with one days supplies

Blucher orders redistribution of supplies from Salzwedel to Schenga and Kladen

Napoleon orders movement of supplies from Weyhausen to the new depot at Kuhfelde

Campaign Notes
The campaign supply rules are really very simple
But they are also very effective.

Each army always has a minimum of 20 days supplies
This is four days per corps and four days in reserve
This is the combined total of supplies with corps and in all depots
If the army falls below, the balance is delivered to the main depot

Each depot receives one days supplies for one corps each campaign day
A depot much have a full strength infantry brigade as a garrison
It takes a brigade one full day to establish a depot
Up to four days supplies can be moved between depots each day
They can move a maximum of three squares per day.

Each corps starts the campaign with four days supplies
Plus four days spread between the depots

Each corps can carry a maximum of four days supplies

For at least three days there is no problem, whatever the army does
But unless they receive supplies each day, they will start to run low
This is particularly so when there is a lot of movement and fighting

Often a commander will have to decide whether to continue to advance
Or to stop and resupply, or perhaps move his supplies around

Saturday 27 July 2019

Salzwedel Campaign – Day 5

Campaign Map on 26 September 1813
Both armies are in urgent need of reorganisation, resupply and reinforcements.
Blucher orders his four corps to hold, resupply and regroup.

However Napoleon is determined to prevent the Prussians regrouping.
He orders 1st Guard corps and Reserve corps to attack Salzwedel
This is the main Prussian supply base and is defended by 2nd Prussian and reserve corps.
Battle of Salzwedel – end of move 6
All four corps have battle casualties, but the French less than the Prussians
However the French have to attack and win.
The Prussians have only to defend and hold Salzwedel

The Prussian cavalry and artillery did not perform well in this battle
By midday both cavalry brigades had been defeated and routed
The gunners had failed to inflict only light casualties on the enemy infantry

The French gunners were more effective, and caused more casualties
Their unopposed cavalry forced the enemy infantry into square
The infantry broke the Prussian centre and routed five brigades

By late afternoon Blucher was forced to order a general withdrawal into the fortified city of Salzwedel

Campaign Notes
This wargame would be decided by the luck of the dice.

The Prussian gunners fired 10 times, but only inflicted one casualty

Both Prussian cavalry brigades were defeated in melee
But worse both suffered heavy casualties
And worse still they failed to inflict heavy casualties on the French cavalry

Without cavalry support the Prussian infantry were forced into square
They prevented very attractive targets to the French gunners
And they lost heavy casualties as a result

The French guard infantry advanced in three columns
They received no casualties from enemy artillery or skirmish fire
The leading brigade routed the centre artillery battery
This caused the adjoining infantry brigades to test their morale, which they failed

Fortunately the fortified city of Salzwedel was directly behind them
The fleeing Prussian infantry and cavalry were able to find shelter in the city
The French have no siege artillery in this campaign.
Their field artillery is pretty ineffective against a fortified city
To attack without siege artillery would be ill advised.
The only option is a siege
The city has four days supplies.

The campaign is designed to provide good battles to wargame
A siege does not make for a good wargame
There are no rules for siege warfare, though they would not be difficult to write
But my preferred option would be to make the defenders fight to relieve the city
Hence the unrealistic four days supplies for a major city.