Saturday 31 August 2019

Luck of the Dice

Wargame Move 5

We had an interesting problem during our current wargame.   Two good dice throws, or bad depending on which side you were on, effectively ended the game on move 5 of 12 moves.   Worse still it would result in an early and unsatisfactory end of a campaign phase.   We were faced with the decision to accept the dice, or to ignore them and roll again.   Let me explain.

This was the fourth battle in the campaign phase.  We would normally expect to have about eight.   The Austrians has lost the previous three battles, and really had to win this one.  A defeat would result in a premature end of the campaign phase.

It was a large battle with three corps per side. 

The Austrians were attacking.   They had 10 infantry brigades, 3 cavalry brigades and 3 corps artillery.   However two of their infantry brigades had 2 casualties each, and a third 1 casualty.   Two of their cavalry brigades had 1 casualty each.

The Bavarians were defending.  They had 9 infantry brigades, 3 cavalry brigades and 3 corps artillery.   They only had 1 casualty on one of their infantry brigades.   And they held a large city, easily defended.

Although the Austrians had 10 infantry brigades against 9 Bavarian brigades, they had more casualties.   Each casualty reduced morale and combat by 1 on each dice throw.  So 2 casualties makes for a very weak brigade, quite likely to break and run if forced to test morale.

Consequently the Austrians needed to inflict some casualties on the Austrians, and particularly at the point of attack.   They would have four moves to fire their artillery, and then would have to attack anyway.   The Bavarians would have at least six moves to fire artillery, because the attackers had to move into close range to engage in firefight or hand to hand combat.

At the start of move five the Austrians has suffered one infantry casualty, and the Bavarians one cavalry casualty.   In order to reach the Bavarians and have time for a combat the Austrians must move this turn.

All three Bavarian corps moved first, due to the luck of the card draw.   First corps artillery needed 11 to hit Bavarian, rolled 12.   Third corps needed 10 to hit artillery, rolled 11.

These artillery casualties meant that the Austrians could not fire this move, and an infantry advance would screen the guns.   Their cavalry could not charge, because two brigades already had one casualty each.   Their only option was for the infantry to attack unsupported by either cavalry or artillery.

We were tempted to ignore the whole move and play it again.  But that would defeat the whole purpose of the dice roll.   But accepting the result would mean an early end to the campaign.

What would you have done?

We decided to refight the whole wargame and hope for a better result second time around.

Wednesday 28 August 2019

Summary of Campaign in North Germany

Battles fought in Northern Germany

At end of each campaign phase I do a summary of the whole 1813 campaign in that area.   This is so that anyone visiting the Campaign Diary blog can go straight to the summary page which is always up to date.

This summary has a map of the campaign area, and shows all battles fought to date.   Each battle fought is indicated by a coloured star.   In this area blue indicates a French win, and grey a Prussian one.   This simple map gives a clear picture of what has happened since the start of the campaign.

This is followed by a short introduction to the campaign, and an even shorter description of each campaign phase fought so far

Finally there is a list showing how to find the different sections of the campaign

01 - introduction to the 1813 campaign
02 - the five campaign areas
10 - introduction to the campaign in North Germany
11 – French order of battle in North Germany
12 – Prussian order of battle in North Germany
13 - daily diary for the campaign in North Germany
14 - battle reports of all battles fought in North Germany

These numbers refer to the Labels on the right side of the blog.

By using this list it is possible to access many hundreds of blogs.  

There are a number of blogs covering different parts of the campaign.  The current one covers the period from the Armistice on 12 April to 26 September 1813.   In this blog alone there are already 549 blogs. 

With such a mass of blogs it would be very easy to lose track of the whole thing, and only be able to read the last few blog entries.   But with this index it is possible to find specific important blogs.

For example by clicking on Label 01 you will find the introduction to the whole 1813 campaign.  

Label 02 contains details of the five campaign areas.

Label 14 will take you to the last battle report of the campaign in North Germany.  But by clicking at the bottom of the page you can go to the previous battle, and so on until you reach the first battle of the campaign.

I doubt if anyone actually carries out this type of research.   Certainly I have not done so.  But I get a lot of satisfaction knowing that if anyone wanted to do so they could with relative ease.

Saturday 24 August 2019

End of Salzwedel Campaign

Battles fought during Salzwedel campaign

The campaign provided eight battles to wargame.
The French won five, and the Prussians three
However it was not as one sided as the numbers would indicate

The three Prussian victories were spread throughout the campaign
Their last victory seemed to turn the tide against the French
However a daring attack on Salzwedel won the campaign for Napoleon

Campaign Notes
Eight battles in ten days is a pretty busy campaign

It also provided a lot of interesting problems of supply for both armies.    
These are not obvious for anyone following the campaign diary.  

The record keeping is pretty simple for the campaign.   
 It is all controlled on the computer using Excel.    
There are three pages for each day. 

First page is orders and supply situation for both armies
Each corps has simple orders move, halt, hold or attack
Supply is shown against each corps as start, use, new, left

Second page is French order of battle
Shows full strength for each brigade and any casualties

Third page is Allied order of battle
Also full strength for each brigade and any casualties

I start by updating supplies and delete previous orders
Next write orders for defender
Then orders for attacker

The current supply for each corps dictates what they can do
The maximum is four days, and if they have more than one day no problem
But if they are down to just one day they urgently need to resupply
If they run out they will lose attrition casualties (10% of one brigade for each day)

If they are in supply, and have the opportunity to attack, I then check current strength.   
 I check the strength for both sides, and decide whether either is too weak to fight.   
 If that is the case I change their orders to hold or retreat.   
 There is no point in playing a wargame where one side is going to retreat on move one.

Because of the almost constant fighting the supply problems were great in this campaign.
That, more than the frequent battles, made for an interesting campaign.