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 Bavarians lost 4400 casualties and six brigades in rout
A close battle, but a clear Austrian victory.
More important an exciting and fun wargame.