Sunday 27 June 2021

Branau Campaign – Day 11

10 April 1813 - Southern Germany - Day 11

 In the north 1st Austrian army attack Falkenberg

In the centre 2nd Austrian army occupy Marktl and 8th Bavarian army abandon the campaign and retreat west.

In the south 3rd Austrian army and 9th French army regroup and resupply

Battle of Falkenberg at end of move 11        

The Austrians ignored the town and directed their attack against the Bavarian left

This forced the Bavarian right to move down from the hill to engage the Austrians

The battle was decided by two separate cavalry melee, both won by the Austrians

At nightfall the Bavarians still held the town, but most of their corps was in rout

They abandoned the town under cover of darkness and retreated


The Bavarians occupied a very strong defensive position.   The walled town would be difficult to attack, and their right flank was on a convenient hill.   Only their left flank was open.

No surprise that the Austrians ignored the town and attacked the weak flank.  To do so they created a reserve of two grenadier brigades, which supported the attack.   Their weakest corps moved towards the town, to protect the left flank of the attack.  This forced the Bavarians to move down from their hill.

 The battle was decided by two cavalry melee.   All four brigades started the game with 20% casualties.   This evened the odds, but the first to suffer new casualties were almost certain to rout.   The Austrian cavalry had the luck of the dice, and routed the enemy cavalry with 50% and 60% casualties.  They suffered 30% casualties to each brigade, which meant both were out of the battle.   But the loss of the Bavarian cavalry allowed the Austrians to concentrate their infantry strength against the weakest Bavarian flank.

 The Bavarians had lost the campaign before this battle even started.    But the loss of Falkenberg meant that they would have to retreat off the map.   This is a decisive defeat.

Sad end to the longest campaign phase in all 12 years of the 1813 campaign.   It would have been better if the Bavarians had won the final, if not decisive, battle of the campaign.  It would have allowed them to lose with some honour

Interesting wargame and campaign.  There will be some major changes to the campaign rules before the start of the next campaign phase.   More of that later

Sunday 20 June 2021

Branau Campaign – Day 10

9 April 1813 - Southern Germany - Day 10

The Austrian supply system is now fully operational

In the north 1st Austrian army advance within attack distance of Falkenberg

In the centre 2nd Austrian army attack Marktl

In the south 3rd Austrian army retreat having failed to take Burghausen

Battle of  Marktl at end of move 6     

 The second battle of Marktl was a short but very brutal one.   Both armies were weakened by previous battle casualties.   Aware that he needed a quick victory, Merveldt ordered 1st army to attack without the usual artillery barrage.   He suffered heavy casualties, but he won the battle

Almost every brigade in both armies started this battle with casualties.   This made their morale very brittle.   Merveldt was aware that this must be a swift battle, not one of attrition. 

He created a reserve of both corps artillery and also the grenadier brigades from each corps, which he placed in the centre opposite Marktl.  His two corps were on the flanks.   He opened the battle by ordering the whole army to advance.

Oudinot also created a reserve of three infantry brigades and 12th corps artillery.  These were placed in and around the town.     12th corps occupied the woods to the north, and 11th corps the woods to the south.

The resulting battle was fast and brutal.   Merveldt ordered his reserve infantry to attack the town, but used his artillery to support 4th corps attack in the north.   An attack was delivered along the whole front, without the usual artillery preparation.   On the flanks the cavalry fought a fierce melee, which resulted in all four brigades withdrawing with 30-40% casualties.

At nightfall the woods to the north were still held by the Bavarians.   The fighting in the town resulted in a draw, with both brigades suffering 30% casualties.  However 11th Baden corps in the south were routed.  By midday Oudinot could see the complete destruction of his army and ordered a general retreat.


This has already been the longest campaign phase we have fought.   Most last five or six days and produce four or five battles.   This one has already lasted ten days and provided nine battles.

This is mainly due to the larger order of battle, which allows more time for each of the three armies to recover.   If allowed time to recover infantry battle casualties can be concentrated in one brigade per corps.   Cavalry and artillery casualties can be replaced.   All except for 10% of each brigade.   By now almost every brigade in all six corps have at least 10% casualties.   Most corps are reduced from four to two infantry brigades.   One brigade is detached as garrison of their supply depot, a second had detached men to replace battle casualties amongst the other brigades.

The real danger is the brittle morale due to these casualties spread between all brigades.   One lucky artillery hit can not only rout the brigade it hits, but also all of those within supporting range (4”).   To reduce this risk it is necessary to avoid a battle of attrition, and to go for a quick victory.   This is a nice easy solution, but is easier said than done.

This was a great wargame.   It only lasted six moves, half of a full day battle.   But everyone was critical, and the outcome uncertain to the end.   In fact at the end it looked like a draw.  

In the north it was a draw, with the Bavarians still holding the woods.   But they has no cavalry or artillery left, and the Austrians were redeploying their own grand battery to close range.   In another two moves they would blast the already weak brigade holding the woods.

In the centre the Austrians half one half of the town, and the Bavarians the other.   Both brigades had 30% casualties.   One more combat would reduce them to 40%, which is an automatic rout.  Neither side had any reserves left in the centre.

In the south 11th Bavarian corps was in rout, but 3rd Austrian corps was too battered to pursue.

 The Austrians lost 3100 casualties and two brigades in rout

The Bavarians lost 4400 casualties and six brigades in rout

A close battle, but a clear Austrian victory.

More important an exciting and fun wargame.

Sunday 13 June 2021

Branau Campaign – Day 9

8 April 1813 - Southern Germany - Day 9

The Austrian supply situation continues to improve

However both armies have suffered heavy casualties

In the north 7th Bavarian and 1st Austrian armies rest and reorganise

In the centre 8th Bavarian and 2nd Austrian armies resupply and reorganise 

In the south 3rd Austrian army attack Burghausen

Battle of Burghausen at end of move 10      

To attack Burghausen, 3rd Austrian army must first cross the river Inn

The river, and the town, is defended by 9th French army

Both armies start the battle with heavy campaign casualties

And the French outnumber the Austrians by one infantry brigade.


The Austrian CinC creates a reserve by taking the cavalry brigades from both corps

He commands the reserve, and crossed the river Inn out of range of the French artillery.   By doing so he pins 18th French corps.


In the south, 5th Austrian corps is the weakest Austrian corps.  They deploy close to the river and pin 9th French army on the hills south of the town.


6th Austrian corps, supported by the reserve, make the attack.   They take the northern half of the town, but are unable to take the other half.


9th French army attack 5th French corps.   Despite suffering heavy casualties they rout the Austrians.


At nightfall both sides are shattered.  However the Austrians have failed to take the town, and their left wing is routed.   At nightfall they retreat back over the river Inn.



Both armies have heavy casualties.  But both have also had time to rally and regroup.   The cavalry have suffered badly, and all four brigades have casualties.


Attacking across a river is always difficult.  In our rules infantry can ford a river at half movement rate, and are disordered whilst they do so.   Artillery and cavalry must use a bridge.   They are always a lot of bridges, so it is possible to attack, but never easy.


It is even more difficult if the defender is stronger than the attacker.   The French have one more infantry brigade than the Austrians.   But they must cover the whole length of the river, whilst the Austrians can choose where to attack.

The French deployed on high ground north and south of the town, within artillery range of the western bank of the river Inn.  Their commander took infantry from both corps to reinforce the town garrison.


The 6th Austrian corps was the stronger of the two, and made the main attack directly against the town.   They were supported by the cavalry reserve.   With a little luck they manged to take the northern half of the town.   But they were too weak to attack the southern half.


17th French corps was strongest.   As soon as they realised that they outnumbered 5th Austrian corps they moved forward to attack.   They suffered heavy casualties, but their cavalry brigade managed to cross by the defended bridge.  They broke the stronger of the two Austrian infantry brigades, and the weaker one joined the rout.   Without infantry support the gunners had to withdraw.


Neither side won the battle.   But the Austrians failed to take the town.   In addition their left flank was broken, and their lines of supply in danger of being cut.   They were forced to retreat and concede defeat.


A very complicated battle, which is quite difficult to describe.  But a really interesting one to game, particularly for me as the Austrian commander.    Jan thought that she had lost the game, because she lost more casualties than me, and had more brigades in rout.   But she has three infantry brigades left, to my two.  And they were in position to hold their half of the town, and even attack the two Austrian infantry brigades left fighting.


Had the Austrians fought a second day, and then lost, they would have been destroyed.   By retreating they still formed a threat to 9th French army, and prevented them moving north to support the remainder of the French/Bavarian army.

Sunday 6 June 2021

Branau Campaign – Day 8

7 April 1813 - Southern Germany - Day 8

The Austrian supply system is improving

Only 1st Austrian army is still short of supplies


In the north 7th Bavarian army rally and regroup

1st Austrian army must resupply before they can resume offensive operations


In the centre 8th Bavarian army retreat behind Markl, but continue to garrison the town.  2nd Austrian army regroup and resupply


In the south 9th Bavarian army regroup behind the river Inn

3rd Austrian army redeploy in preparation for an attack over the river   


The situation for the Bavarian army is now desperate.

They have been pushed back to the eastern towns of Falkenberg, Markl and Burghausen.   They have also suffered considerable battle casualties, and urgently require reinforcements.  However these only arrive at the rate of 400 infantry or 100 cavalry or gunners per corps per day.

The Austrian army has also suffered heavy casualties, though not as many as the Bavarians.   Their major problem is resupply.

By moving supplies forward from the main depot at Altheim they are gradually improving the situation.   One more day and all three armies should be ready to continue operations.

In the south 3rd Austrian army is the strongest of the three.   However they are faced with the most difficult operation, attacking across a defended river line.   In preparation they move forward to the river, and reorganise.   General Merveldt combines both cavalry brigades to form a cavalry reserve.   His plan of attack is to pin the enemy by attacking each southern bridge with one corps.   He will cross the northern bridge with the cavalry reserve and attack the Bavarian northern flank.

Both commanders are now running out of time.  They have fought seven battles in eight days and are aware that their men cannot continue for much longer without a prolonged rest.   They anticipate that each of the three armies can each fight one more major battle.