Sunday, 5 September 2021

Lubeck Campaign – Day 7

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.


  1. Thistlebarrow,

    So Bluchrr has withdrawn to regroup so that he can fight again in the near future ,.. and Napoleon can congratulate himself for yet another victorious campaign in Germany.

    You comments about the Imperial Guard are interesting. They are often portrayed as super soldiers, and for much of their existence their intervention in a battle was decisive … but I’ve often wondered if their reputation was based on their reputation (I,e. Being famous for being famous). At Waterloo they were repulsed by steady musket fire from British troops who stood their ground. One suspects that if it had been Dutch-Belgian troops who were receiving the Guard’s attack, the former would probably have run because they were being attacked by the Guard. Mind you, by 1815 they were probably past their sell by date. Recent research indicates that after long exposure to combat, even the best troops begin to lose their edge. A case of wanting to be being an old soldier and not a bold soldier?

    All the best,


  2. Hi Bob

    I think you are right, the real strength of the Imperial Guard was that THEY believed they could not be beaten. They were almost always held in reserve and only released when the battle was already decided. So the easy victory which followed would increase their confidence.

    But this belief also gave them that extra confidence to push on despite heavy casualties when they were used to turn the tide. At Plancenoit they performed well against the Prussians.

    So the final attack against Wellington which decided the battle at Waterloo should also have resulted in them winning the day. The elite of the elite was used for this attack, and they had been sheltered from casualties throughout the battle.

    The British infantry had been subjected to heavy attack all day. Whilst the French elite were composed of very experienced soldiers, I do not believe this was the same with the British foot guards. My understanding is that they were no better than other line battalions. The 52nd, who some say actually defeated the old guard, was very experienced. But they were not all the same men who had fought throughout the Peninsula Wars.

    Whatever the reason it is appropriate that the final battle of the long Napoleonic Wars was between the feared French old guard and the equally respected British infantry.

    I was just glad that my toy soldiers were able to continue the myth.




I have set the settings for comments to come to me before posting so that I will not miss any