Sunday, 16 May 2021

Branau Campaign – Day 5


4 April 1813 – Southern Germany – Day 5

In the north the Bavarians continue to regroup and resupply

the Austrians redeploy to defend Bayerbach

In the centre the Bavarians rally, regroup and resupply

The Austrians also regroup and resupply, they also receive supplies from Altheim

In the south the Austrians attack Eggelsberg

Battle of Eggelsberg at end of move 12

The French are stronger, so the Austrians hope to cause artillery casualties before they attack.   However after four rounds of artillery fire no casualties are recorded.

In the north 5th Austrian corps send their cavalry forward, hoping to defeat the French cuirassiers and force the infantry into square.  They lose the melee and are forced to abandon their attack

In the centre both commanders have created a reserve of two infantry brigades.  The French put both in the town.  The Austrians hold them in the centre, waiting to see which wing will gain an advantage from the artillery duel. 

In the south 6th Austrian corps also send their cavalry forward.   Here they win the melee and force the infantry into square.  The Austrian infantry and artillery advance and engage the French infantry at close range.

The Austrian commander commits the reserve to support his southern flank.  They take half of the town, as 6th corps take the woods.

At nightfall the French hold the northern half of the table, the Austrians the southern half.  However the French have lost more casualties, and have six brigades in rout.  Under cover of darkness they retreat leaving Eggelsberg to the Austrians.

Comments

This is the fifth battle of the campaign, and both armies have campaign casualties.   This makes them more fragile in morale tests, and therefore less likely to risk an attack unless the odds are in their favour.

The French start the battle stronger than the attacking Austrians.   They have seven infantry brigades to six Austrian.   However the Austrians must attack to take advantage of their temporary strategic advantage.   Both corps of 3rd Austrian army are concentrated.   Those of 9th French army are separated to keep within supply range of Burghausen.  

The Austrians hope to inflict some artillery casualties before committing to an infantry attack.   They create a reserve of two infantry brigades in the centre, which can support whichever flank causes the most casualties.  However after four rounds of artillery fire they have failed to inflict any casualties.

Running out of daylight the Austrians send their cavalry forward.   If they can defeat the enemy cavalry they can force the French infantry into square before their own infantry attack.   On the northern flank they lose the melee.  On the southern flank they win

At nightfall the French hold the northern half of the battlefield (and the town), the Austrians the southern half.  But the French have suffered more casualties, and six of their brigades have routed.   Only one Austrian brigade is in rout.   This was largely due to poor morale dice for the French.

An interesting wargame which looked like a French victory, until their luck ran out in moves 11 and 12.

2 comments:

Robert (Bob) Cordery said...

Thistlebarrow,

I read the slightly more detailed battle report on your 1813 Campaign blog, and it was interesting to see how the slightly stronger French force was given such a drubbing in the latter part of. The battle. They were obviously more brittle than I imagined they would be.

The Austrians seem to be gaining the upper hand, but I wonder if they will manage to exploit the advantage they currently have, and turn this into a definite campaign victory.

All the best,

Bob

thistlebarrow said...

Hi Bob

Thanks for your comment

The Austrians are doing well, but they have serious supply problems. All well providing that they win each battle, but if they lose and have to retreat, they will not be able to resupply until they have broken contact.

The supply system works well to prevent the usual campaign system, where one defeat almost always results in another and another. So that the side who loses the first battle is most likely to lose the whole campaign.

In my campaign the losing side usually has the most casualties and the worse morale. But as they retreat they fall back on their supply depots, and often release infantry brigades previously used as garrisons. They can then usually resupply quicker and boost their strength. Meanwhile the winner is struggling to resupply. He can risk another battle, and hope to capture the enemy supplies. But if he is defeated he will often lose all the advantages of the earlier battles.

It keeps the outcome of the campaign is doubt right up to the end. After four or five battles both sides have usually lost considerable casualties, and their morale is brittle. This makes any subsequent battle a very uncertain affair.

For some simple campaign and wargame rules may fail to reflect the flavour of the period. But I have found that often complicated rules result in boring and predictable wargames. I remember Don Featherstone writing many years ago that complicated combat and morale rules often cancel themselves out.

No right or wrong, just a matter of choice. Mine have stood the test of time and certainly suit us.