19 April 1813 – Northern Germany - Day 7
Blucher orders the Prussian army to concentrate at Wismar, Schwerin and Ludwigslust. This will take them east of both the
Wismar/Lubeck border and also the river Elbe.
Napoleon orders First French army to retreat closer to the border, but to hold the border towns of Boltenhagen, Gadebusch and Fletchingen.
The French are low on supplies, and their lines of supply are over extended from Lubeck. To ease his supply problems he must move his army west until he can reorganise his supply system.
The French have won a significant victory in the Lubeck campaign, but they are not yet ready to move into Wismar district.
This is the second campaign phase in northern Germany, and once again the French have won.
From a technical point of view this campaign area is very challenging. This is because one of the six French corps is the Imperial Garde. I have mentioned before how difficult it is to make the guard special, but not too powerful. It is also difficult to confirm whether I have the balance right or not.
Because our wargame rules rely so heavily on the luck of the dice, it is easy to mistake a run of bad (or good) dice for a weakness in the rules.
I always insist that we accept the outcome of each wargame however lucky, or unlucky, one side has been. It is very tempting to say just ignore that dice throw or it will ruin the game. But the whole essence of the campaign is that each battle is decided on the wargames table. And the whole purpose of dice driven rules is to allow for those unusual outcomes. The guard cavalry may be beaten by a line hussar brigade because the French player rolled a total of 2 with 2D6 for the melee, and then rolled a total of 1 with 1D6 for the subsequent morale test.
But without these highly unlikely outcomes you might just as well do away with the dice and rely on plus and minus points for combat and morale. And of course the player with the Imperial Garde is bound to defeat the player with a standard Prussian corps.
So it is important to accept the luck of the dice, however unlikely it may be at the time.
Despite the above I always spend a lot of time pondering the relative strengths and weakness when such a thing happens. And never more so than when the Imperial Garde is in play. And this campaign phase has been no different. It has prompted me to review the whole balance of plus and minus throughout all ten armies in the campaign. More of this later.