Sunday, 25 September 2022

End of Kufstein Campaign


30 May 1813 – Southern Germany – Day 10

Schwarzenberg orders his army to retreat back into Salzburg District

1st army abandon Walchsee and take all supplies with them to Nussdorf

2nd army abandon Sankt Johann and take all supplies with them to Inzell

3rd army abandon Kitzbuhel and take all supplies with them to Schonau

 

Massena orders a cautious pursuit to occupy the three abandoned towns

7th army occupy, but do not advance beyond, Walchsee

8th army occupy, but do not advance beyond, Sankt Johann

9th army occupy, but do not advance beyond, Kitzbuhel

Location of battles fought during Campaign

There were seven battles fought and the French claimed four

This is because they held the town at the end of the battle

However in at least two of those battles the Austrians defeated them

But they then has to retreat due to supply problems


Comment

The three battles the Austrians won were the first three of the campaign

At this time they were close to their main supply depot at Salzburg

It was only when they advanced and lengthened their lines of supply that they ran into trouble


After seven battles both armies had suffered heavy casualties

The French/Bavarian army had suffered considerably more than the Austrians

But as they retreated they were reinforced by the garrisons of the rear area

They were also much closer to their main supply depot at Kufstein


Had Schwarzenberg fought a second day of battle at Kufstein he might well have won the campaign

But at that stage his corps were running out of supplies, and in danger of attrition casualties

When a corps no longer has any supplies it has to immediately retreat until it comes within one days march of supplies

This would have thrown the whole Austrian army into disorder and could easily have led to their complete destruction

To retreat was the right decision, and was surely what the cautious Schwarzenberg would have done in real life

Had it been the French, under command of the more determined Massena, I might well have fought one last battle.

Great campaign and one which would result in major amendments to future campaign phases.

Sunday, 18 September 2022

Kufstein Campaign Day 9


29 May 1813 - Southern Germany - Day 9

Massena’s army has sufficient supplies, but also very heavy casualties

7th army resupply and reorganise at Oberaudorf

8th army rally, regroup and resupply at Kufstein

9th army resupply and reorganise at Worgl

 

Schwarzenberg has four of his six corps out of supply

1st army rally, resupply and regroup at Walchsee

2nd army retreat to Sankt Johann

3rd army resupply and regroup at Kitzbuhel

 

Comment

Schwarzenberg blinked first – but he really didn’t have any choice.

 

Both armies are shattered and in practical terms no longer operational.

The Bavarian/Baden army has lost more casualties, but are fully supplied

The Austrian army has suffered less, but still considerable, casualties

Most critical four of the six Austrian corps are now out of supply

 

1st and 2nd Austrian armies are completely out of supply

If they do not immediately rest and resupply they will start to lose casualties due to attrition

At that stage they must immediately retreat until they can resupply

3rd army is fully supplied, but being south of the river Inn is too far away to help

 

Today Schwarzenberg ordered 1st and 3rd armies to resupply and regroup

2nd army had to retreat to Sankt Johann due to attrition.

However this is only the start

He has accepted that to save his army he must retreat into Salzburg District to rest and regroup

 

This would be a perfect opportunity for Massena to pursue and smash the already broken Austrian army

However his own army have suffered so many casualties that they are no longer operational

A pursuit is out of the question until he can regroup and replenish his battle casualties

 

Schwarzenberg deserved to win this campaign.  

He has more operational brigades than Massena.

But no commander can ignore such a dire supply situation

If he does not retreat his army will disintergrate and he will lose everything

  

Sunday, 11 September 2022

Kufstein Campaign Day 8


28 May 1813 - Southern Germany - Day 8

Massena is determined to hold the line Oberaudorf-Kufstein-Worgl

7th army hold Oberaudorf

8th army defend Kufstein

9th army hold Worgl

 

Schwarzenberg is running short of supplies, but orders the attack on Kufstein

1st army retreat to Walchsee

2nd army attack Kufstein

3rd army hold Kitzbuhel

                       

Battle of Kufstein – Move 2

This photo is taken at the end of move two.

The Bavarian/Baden hold a very strong defensive position in front of the city of Kufstein

Half of 12th Baden corps started the game on the left bank of the river

However they have now crossed the river to join the rest of the corps

Apart from the field army, there are also two militia brigades in garrison in Kufstein

 

The Austrians have entered the table and are faced with a difficult choice.

An attack on the left will be outflanked by the Bavarian reserve on the pass

An attack on the right will have to take the strong hill

An attack in the centre will have to fight its way through the pass

All three options will be very time consuming

Schwarzenberg decided to pin the left and right and drive the centre back

He would then swing his reserve to their right to outflank the hill.

 

The photo shows the Austrian advance.

The reserve cavalry (centre) are charged by Bavarian cavalry

4th corps cavalry join the melee and rout the enemy cavalry.

 

By nightfall nine Bavarian and Baden brigades are in rout

Remainder are all shaken, including the garrison of Kufstein

The Austrians have defeated the Bavarian army, but it has taken too long

The Bavarians still hold the town, and can claim a victory

 

The French have lost 14 infantry, 5 cavalry and 2 artillery casualties (6300 men)

The Austrians have lost 9 infantry.3 cavalry and 2 artillery casualties (4100 men)

 

Comment

This game was a perfect example of a delaying battle.   The Bavarians could decide whether to hold the town itself, and engage the Austrians as they approached.   Or they could opt to try to hold the major high ground in the centre of the table.  

They decided on the latter.   The weak point is the pass in the centre.   The CinC created a reserve of two infantry and one cavalry brigades to hold this area.  But he had to hold the southern end of the pass, and he had to hold the high ground on both sides of the road.

The Austrians created a similar reserve, but could choose which side of the road to concentrate their attack.  The Bavarian cavalry tried to slow down this attack, and also did so.  However the support of 4th corps cavalry turned the tide and they were routed.

The Austrian reserve now moved right and supported 3rd corps attack on the hill.    It was now just a matter of time before 11th Bavarian corps was defeated.   Too late in the day they tried to retreat, but were surrounded and crushed.

On the opposite flank it was a more even battle between 12th Baden and 4th Austrian corps.   The Austrians eventually won, but not until very late in the day.   The outcome here was less important, providing that the Baden corps were not allowed to move to support Kufstein.

The final attack on Kufstein started on move 10, against 43 brigade in the right hand section of the city.   The Bavarian reserve of two infantry brigades had redeployed between the town and the pass.   3rd Austrian corps were the only troops available to attack, and they had already lost their artillery and cavalry.  So it was down to an infantry melee just outside the city.

The Austrians won, and two brigades attacked the town on move 12, just as night fell.   The garrison was shaken, but managed to hold (even though only poor class militia).   The attackers were also shaken, and could not launch another attack that night.  It would take too long to replace them with fresh troops, so the Bavarians remained in control of all of Kufstein at the end of the battle.   They could, and did, claim a victory.

At the end of the battle there were five Austrian infantry brigades and one battery who were not shaken or in rout.   Every single Bavarian and Baden brigade were either in rout or shaken. 

It would be pretty well impossible for the Bavarian/Baden army to hold the city for a second day of fighting.  But that had also seemed the case at Obersdorf, and they actually won the second day of battle there.

But now the Austrian army was desperately short of supplies.   All six armies had suffered heavy casualties, though not as much as the Bavarian/Baden army.   If Schwarzenberg risked a second attempt to take Kufstein, and failed, his whole army might well be destroyed.  

Overnight both commanders would study the strength returns and supply reports and decide who would blink first!

Sunday, 4 September 2022

Kufstein Campaign Day 7


27 May 1813 - Southern Germany - Day 7

Massena fights second day at Obersdorf

7th army fight to defend Obersdorf

8th army regroup and resupply at Kufstein

9th army regroup and resupply at Worgl

 

Schwarzenberg orders continued attack on Obersdorf

1st army attack Obersdorf

2nd army regroup and resupply at Sankt Johann

3rd army regroup and resupply at Kitzbuhel

Battle of Obersdorf – Second Day – Move 6

7th Bavarian army retreat to join the garrison of Obersdorf

1st Austrian army continue the attack for a second day

 

This photo was taken half way through the game.  

On the right 1st Austrian corps have defeated and routed 9th Bavarian corps.

On the left 10th Bavarian corps have defeated and routed 2nd Austrian corps

The Bavaians are swinging left to support the garrison of Obersdorf

In the centre the Austrian reserve and 1st corps artillery are bombarding the town

 

Over the next four moves the Austrians would take the right hand section of the town

9th Bavarian corps counter attack would rout the Austrian reserve including those in the town.

 

Casualties were very high on both sides

Bavarians have lost 15 infantry, 3 cavalry and 2 artillery casualties (6500 men)

Austrians have lost 10 infantry and 5 cavalry casualties (4500 men)

 

Comment

Against all the odds, and my forecast at the end of the last post, the Bavarians have won!

 

It is quite hard to explain why without going into massive, and probably boring, detail.

It was mainly because both sides had suffered heavy casualties in earlier battles

It would only take one casualty for a brigade to rout, often taking others with them

And this would largely depend on who “moved” first .

 

In our wargame rules each commander has a poker chip

They are placed in a bag at the end of each move

Next move the first chip drawn determines which corps will move first

This allows them to fire on the enemy, possibly cause a casualty often resulting in a rout

They can also initiate a cavalry or infantry melee, allowing them an “impact” bonus

This can be enough to swing the melee in their favour

 

This, and the influence of dice, is what makes our games so interesting – at least for us

It also makes them very unpredictable.   The game can often be won or lost in the last move.

 

It is rather boring to say that this was yet another very interesting wargame.

It often surprises me that even after 52 years married and gaming together Jan and I can still surprise each other.

At least on the wargame table.

Sunday, 28 August 2022

Kufstein Campaign Day 6


26 May 1813 - Southern Germany - Day 6

Massena continues to fight to hold Obersdorf, Kufstein and Worgl

7th army fight to defend Obersdorf

8th army deploy east of Kufstein

9th army redeploy around Worgl

 

Schwarzenberg orders an attack on Obersdorf

1st army attack Obersdorf

2nd army regroup at Sankt Johann

3rd army retreat to Kitzbuhel

 

Battle of Obersdorf

Both armies started the battle with moderate casualties from earlier battles

This results in brittle morale, and makes them more likely to fail morale test and rout

 

After just 8 moves (out of 12) the whole Bavarian army is in retreat towards the town

The Austrians pursue, but are unable to catch up with them

 

At nightfall the Bavarians still hole Obersdorf, and can claim victory

 

Casualties have been very light on both sides

Bavarians lose 1 infantry, 2 cavalry and 1 gunner casualties (700 men)

Austrians lose 2 cavalry casualty (200 men)

3 Bavarian brigades in rout, 1 Austrian brigade in rout

Comment

I recently made a decision to fight battles for towns in front of the town, rather than in it

This was to avoid having to storm built up areas in every wargame

However the unanticipated result is much faster wargames, because both sides start the battle in the open

Much less opportunity for artillery to play a role, and much more likely to have early (and decisive) cavalry melee

This is particularly so when both armies start the game with casualties and brittle morale

 

In this particular game the initial cavalry melee went to the defending Bavarian cavalry

This should have resulted in the collapse of the Austrian attack.

However the Austrian cavalry rallied (needed and got 5 with 1D6)

Their artillery were also effective and they continued the attack

 

The Austrians soon bogged down in the centre, but success on both flanks overcame this problem

 

On the opposite flank the Bavarians deployed behind a fortified farm house, safe from artillery fire

But they lost the cavalry melee, and the winning Austrian cavalry pinned the infantry in square

 

After just 6 moves (out of 12) the Bavarian commander (Jan) started to withdraw to the town

They moved so fast that the Austrians were unable to catch them

So at nightfall the Bavarians held the town

This made them winners of the battle

 

However they will not be able to withstand a second day of battle

They have lost both cavalry brigades and one infantry brigade

Their gunners have suffered casualties, making them less effective

 

If the Austrians can attack again tomorrow the Bavarians will be forced to retreat and abandon the town

The only thing that can save 7th Bavarian army is the supply situation of 1st Austrian army

Without checking the campaign stats I honestly don’t know what that is

So, like me, you will have to wait for next blog post to find the outcome

Sunday, 21 August 2022

Kufstein Campaign Day 5


25 May 1813 - Southern Germany - Day 5

Marshal Massena prepares to defend Obersdorf, Kufstein and Worgl.

7th army deploys east of Obersdorf

8th army retreats to Kufstein

9th army battle of Worgl

 

General Schwarzenberg continues to attack

1st army prepare to attack Obersdorf

2nd army occupy Sankt Johann

3rd army attacks Worgl

Battle of Worgl

Both armies lost heavy casualties during this hard fought battle

The French moved forward to attack, rather than wait for the Austrians to do so

The Austrians held their ground, and repulsed the French]

However they lost too many casualties to then attack the fortified town

 

French lose 9 infantry, 7 cavalry and 1 gunner casualties (4400 men)

Austrians lose 10 infantry and 5 cavalry casualties (4500 men)

Comment

For some time our wargames have involved the defending side deploying either side of the town, with the commander taking a couple of elite brigades from each corps to reinforce the town.   The attacking army would also create an elite attack force in the middle, often including the artillery from at least one of the corps, and would attack the town.

This was driven by the campaign supply rules.  This required each corps to stay within supply distance of its main supply town.   This was usually the one behind the town being attacked.  To build up the forward towns as the main supply base risked losing everything if they lost the battle.

However the result was really a wargame consisting of a short siege followed by the storm of the town.   This game was a deliberate attempt to move away from this model.

Worgl is one of the three most westerly towns in the campaign, so there was not a town further east to become the main supply base for 3rd army.   It is also just one days march south of Kufstein, which is the main supply base for the whole French army of central Europe.   So the defending French army could be deployed in front of Worgl, and one of the two corps would still be within one day’s march of Kufstein.

You will see from photo 2 above how this looked on the wargames table.   The French are deployed in the three centre squares.   Worgl is behind the centre of the French position, and is held by two militia brigades.   The Austrians started the game off table at the bottom of the photo, but entered the table at the start of move one.

Jan (who commanded the French army) decided to attack the Austrians as they entered the t able.   This was not in my original plan, but it did add an interesting edge to the game.   The result was a very hard fought battle, and one in which neither side could use their artillery effectively.   This photo is taken at the end of move two, and already a cavalry melee has been fought.   This is because both armies are moving towards each other.

The result was a short, but very hard fought, wargame.   It finished at the end of move 8 (out of a possible 12 moves.  By then most brigades of both brigades were in rout, or very close to doing so.   This is partly because they all started the game with casualties from earlier battles, but also because there was a lot of close combat fighting very early in the game.

I enjoyed it, and it has prompted me to consider changing the orders of battle.   At present there are two corps in each army, who deploy across three scenic squares on the table.  This was done to create a lot of space to manoeuvre.  But it resulted in both armies having to create a “reserve” under command of the CinC.  I am looking at the option of increasing to three the number of corps in each army.  This would allow one corps to deploy in each of the three scenic squares.  It would also allow the commander to create a real reserve to reinforce any breakthrough or concentrate elite troops to create the breakthrough.   This is all at the planning stage at present, but is looking very likely.   It is likely to be introduced for the next campaign phase to see how it works on the table.

Sunday, 14 August 2022

Kufstein Campaign Day 4


24 May 1813 - Southern Germany - Day 4

Marshal Massena moves to support Sankt Johann

7th army retreat to Oberaudorf

8th army attacked at Sankt Johann

9th army deploys in front of Worgl

 

General Schwarzenberg continues to attack

1st army occupied Walchsee

2nd army attacks Sankt Johann

3rd army redeploys to attack Worgl

Move 4 - Austrians prepare to attack

Austrians take Sankt Johann and rout three brigades defending town

Baden corps (left) is broken and routed

Bavarian corps (right) hold hill but fail to support garrison

Bavarians lose 5 infantry, 2 cavalry and 1 gunner casualties (2300 men)

Austrians lose 2 infantry and 2 cavalry casualties (1000 men)


Comment

This game was interesting because Sankt Johann is a walled town.

This makes it particularly difficult to storm, unless the garrison is weakened first.


The Bavarian commander (Jan) had taken command of the town, and reinforced the militia garrison with two elite infantry brigades.   This would be a very difficult nut to crack.

 

The Austrian commander (me) created a reserve of two elite grenadier brigades in the centre.

3rd corps would attack on the right, 4th corps on the left.   The reserve would support whichever one had the most success.

Move 12 – end of game

3rd corps (on the right) lost the opening cavalry melee and had to be content with pining 11th Bavarian corps.   4th corps (on the left) won their cavalry melee and went on to rout 12th Baden corps.

At the end of move 9 the artillery of both Austrian corps deployed within close range of the town and opened fire on the garrison.   At the same time the reserve infantry closed to skirmish with the garrison.   The militia brigade (left half of town) were soon shaken, and then routed by the Austrian grenadiers.   The elite brigade (right half of town) held out until the end of move 11.   They suffered 20% casualties and were being replaced by the third brigade, when the second Austrian grenadier brigade stormed and routed them both.

Even at close range it requires a total of 6 with 2D6 to cause 10% casualties to the garrison.   Infantry require 6 to cause the same casualties by skirmish fire, and they can only fire alternative rounds (they lose minus 1 for firing last turn).   So I was surprised that I was able to take the walled town.  I expected a draw, with the Bavarians holding the town but having suffered heavy casualties and having to retreat. 

Another interesting game, and the campaign is going very well for the Austrians.

Sunday, 7 August 2022

Kufstein Campaign Day 3


23 May 1813 - Southern Germany - Day 3


Marshal Massena is determined to hold the Kufstein/Salzburg border

7th army to hold Walchsee

8th army to hold Sankt Johann

9th army to rally at Worgl

 

General Schwarzenberg wants to follow up his victory at Kitzbuhel

He also orders reserve depots to forward all available supplies to forward depots

1st army to attack Walchsee

2nd army hold Inzell

3rd army occupy Kitzbuhel

Battle of Walchsee

Austrians win the battle of Walchsee

At nightfall the Bavarians hold half of the town, but have six brigades in rout

During darkness they retreat and abandon the town

Bavarians lose 8 infantry, 2 cavalry and 1 gunner casualties (3500 men)

Austrians lose 3 infantry and 1 cavalry casualties (1300 men)

   

Comment

The battle was much closer than the casualties and final outcome would suggest.

 

The Austrians lost the first attack on the town, which was held by a militia brigade

Due to a poor dice throw, the attacking Grenadier brigade retreated shaken

Fortunately there were two reserve brigades, and they took half of the town on the second attempt

 

The Austrians also lost the first cavalry melee, but rallied and routed half of the Bavarian army

 

We fought this game twice, which is really very unusual

I always feel that it is important to accept the outcome of the table game

However in the first attempt the Austrians lost so heavily that it would have been the end of the campaign

This was entirely due to poor dice for the Austrians, and very good dice for the Bavarians

The result was almost all of 1st Austrian army were routed with heavy casualties

 

After just three campaign days, and two battles, the Austrians would have been reduced to two armies

It would have been impossible for them to attack the three Bavarian armies

 

Had it been a PBEM campaign, we would have felt obliged to accept the result

But because it is a solo campaign we both agreed to refight the battle

In doing so we salvaged the whole campaign phase.

But I do feel a little guilty to have compromised to do so

Sunday, 31 July 2022

Kufstein Campaign Day 2

 

22 May 1813 - Southern Germany - Day 2

Marshal Massena orders the Bavarian army to advance towards the border.   His intention is to defend Walchsee, Sankt and Johann and Kitzbuhel and not to cross the border and attack the Austrian army.

General Schwarzenberg orders the Austrian army to halt on the border and resupply.   However he orders 3rd army, south of the river Inn, to cross the border and attack Kitzbuhel.  

Battle of Kitzbuhel

Both armies start the battle at full strength

The French have 9 infantry, 2 cavalry and 2 artillery brigades

The Austrians have 8 infantry, 2 cavalry and 2 artillery brigades

 

Marshal Victor takes the best infantry brigade from each corps to support the garrison

17th and 18th corps are ordered to move forward to support the town

 

General Merveldt takes the two best infantry brigades from each corps to form the attack force

This leaves 5th and 6th corps weaker than their opposing French corps

Their orders are to contain the enemy, but not to attack

It is his intention to take the town with his strong reserve of four infantry brigades

 

The Austrians win the battle of Kitzbuhel.

French suffer 9 infantry, 1 cavalry and 1 artillery casualties (3800 men)

Austrians suffer 3 infantry and 1 cavalry casualties (1300 men)

 

Comment

The Austrians open the campaign with an attack on Kitzbuhel, south of the river Inn

If they win they hope to cause the French to retreat from their battle line along the border

 

Both armies are full strength, but the French also have a conscript brigade as garrison of Kitzbuhel

However both French corps are still in their peace time locations, four hours west of the town

This is so that they can receive supplies from the three western towns

 

The Austrian plan is to attack the town with the four best infantry brigades in the army

The two corps will then be outnumbered and will attempt to pin, but not attack, the French

 

5th Austrian corps (north of the town) deploy with their artillery at short range from the town

The French cavalry advance to attack the guns, but are driven off by the Austrian hussars

The Austrian guns cause 30% casualties causing the French to commit their reserve brigade

The Austrian infantry take the northern half of the town and rout both French brigades

All four Austrian brigades then attack and take the southern half of the town

 

The terrain south of the town makes it impossible for 6th corps to deploy at close range of the town.

They exchange fire with 18th French corps, but neither side do much damage

 

The French played a very defensive game, and paid the consequences.   Both corps were stronger than the Austrian corps opposite.  But neither took advantage and attacked.  In the north this was due to the loss of their cavalry early in the game.   In the south it was due to difficult terrain

The French were outnumbered in the centre, and worse still half of the Austrian artillery were allowed to deploy within close range of the garrison.

The advantage always lies with the attacker.   The defender must deploy first, and the attacker can then concentrate to attack the weakest part of the defence.  

Despite this the attacker must gain an advantage, particularly to attack a strong garrison.   This usually puts him at a disadvantage, for example 5th Austrian corps outnumbered by 17th French corps.  But the defender must counter this early in the game.  This is why the French sent forward their cavalry.  But having lost the melee, even though the cavalry did rally later in the game, they were unable to send forward their stronger infantry to attack 5th Austrian corps.

This was disappointing start to the campaign for the French.  However the Austrians needed an early victory to push the French back from their strong defensive positions on the border.

Wednesday, 27 July 2022

Kufstein Campaign Day 1


 

21 May 1813 - Southern Germany - Day 1     

 

The Austrian army advance to the Kufstein/Salzburg border

This brings them within attack distance of Walchsee, Sankt Johann and Kitzbuhel

However it takes out of supply range of their depots at Mattsee, Salzburg and Kuchl

All three towns forward supplies to the forward depots at Nussdorf, Inzelll and Schonau 


The Bavarian army is surprised by this movement and remain in their peace time locations.  This keeps them within supply range of all six depots

Comment

To receive supplies a corps must be formed (no brigades routed), stationary, not in contact with the enemy (at least one map square between them) and within one days march (three squares) of a depot.

On the map all six Bavarian corps are able to receive supplies from the six depots in Kustein District.

By moving up to the border all six Austrian corps are out of range of the three eastern towns in Salzburg district.   However they can move supplies to the three forward towns.   They are allowed three convoys per day, and each convoy can take up to four days supplies.

If a corps runs out of supplies it cannot attack the enemy, but it can defend itself.   It will lose 10% of one brigade each day that it remains out of supply, that is 400 infantry or 100 cavalry or gunner.   The corps commander can decide which brigade will lose these men.

Each depot collects one day’s supplies each day that it is not under attack.

Each army has a minimum of 30 days supplies.   This is normally four with each corps, and one with each depot.   If a town/depot is captured by the enemy they take possession of all it s current supplies.   This may bring their total to more than 30 days.   The side which loses the depot will receive their supplies at their main depot, in order to maintain the minimum of 30 days.  

Sunday, 24 July 2022

Start of Kufstein Campaign

 

Southern Germany

The next campaign phase takes us to southern Germany with the colourful uniforms of the Austrian and Bavarian armies.  The light blue of the Bavarian infantry, and the white and blue of the Austrian Hungarian infantry are amongst my favourites.

Start of Campaign

Kufstein district is right in the middle of the Tyrol area of southern Germany, between Innsbruck and Salzburg.   Obviously a very hill terrain, and not particularly well suited to Napoleonic battles.  

When I first considered this campaign phase I played around with the idea of including guerrilla bands of Andreas Hofer style irregulars.  I do not have any suitable figures, but the irregular combat would not be included on the wargames table.  And when a garrison was required I could use Spanish guerrillas.    But he was shot by the Austrians in 1810 and the Tyrol became part of Bavaria.  

I am never sure whether to make the field armies responsible for the garrison of towns and depots, or whether to have a reserve army charged with this task.   If the field army is responsible it makes them weaker as they take new towns, but it reduces the size of corps on the wargames table.   In this campaign I have compromised by giving both sides a reserve corps of six brigades.   That is sufficient to provide garrisons on their own side of the border.  But if they capture a town from the enemy they will have to provide a garrison from the field army

The Austrian campaign objective is to take and hold Kufstein (centre far left).   So they will have the initiative and the campaign will start when they cross into Kufstein district.

The Bavarian objective is to hold all of Kufstein district.

Lots of hilly terrain making movement and deployment difficult, especially for the attacking Austrians.   And the river Inn cuts communication between both armies.

Looking forward to this campaign.

 



Sunday, 17 July 2022

Battle of Waterloo Fun Game


 

Wargame Map

There is a lot of administration when one campaign phase ends and I have to prepare for the next  one.   It can take a couple of weeks to complete, and during that time we don’t have a wargame on the table to play.   We are used to having a couple of moves most days, so this can be annoying.   And particularly at this time of year when it can be very hot here in Spain, and we rely more on our wargaming than during the cooler months.

This time I have decided to have a one off fun game, very loosely based on Waterloo.  It is many years since we last did this, and we both quite liked the idea of a game outside the constraints of the 1813 campaign.

I would stress that this is not a wargame of Waterloo.   The terrain is wrong, the buildings are wrong , the orders of battle is wrong, the whole concept is wrong.  It is just a fun game inspired by the famous battle

We used the same scenic boards and corps organisation as in our 1813 campaign,  but the British corps do not have their Portuguese infantry brigades.   The order of battle is:

Brigades              French                   British

Infantry                   12                          9

Cavalry                     3                          3

Artillery                     3                          3

The game would last our usual 12 moves, each move representing one hour.  

The French objective was to take the cross roads

Table at start of game

The British are deployed on the left , with one infantry brigade in each of the three fortified farms to their front.   Wellington is centre rear.  He does not command any troops, but can take command of any brigade by moving into base contact with them

The French are deployed in column of march on the right.   Napoleon is centre rear and can also take command of any brigade by moving into base contact.

Both armies are out of artillery range at  the start of the game.

The French advanced their artillery to short range of the three buildings.  These were held by elite British brigades, and supported by their artillery.   The French artillery were in place by the end of move one, but it would be move 6 before they inflicted sufficient casualties on the garrisons for the French infantry to attack and take them.   There were then only six moves left for the French to take the cross roads.

The British artillery dominated the open area between the three buildings.   The French cavalry were sent forward to cover the massed infantry attack.   Two of the three French brigades were broken by the artillery fire and by British cavalry counter  attacks.  By the end of move 10 the cavalry on both sides were withdrawn.  

On the left the 4th French corps took the ridge behind Hougoumont.   Only one of the four British brigades remained formed, and they covered the retreat of the rest of 1st British corps

On the right 3rd French corps took the ridge and routed all of 3rd British corps.  They were then able to move infantry and artillery to support the main attack in the centre.

1st French (Guard) corps advanced to take the cross roads.   This was the most  heavily defended area of the whole table, and they suffered heavy casualties.  By the end of move eleven all three French artillery brigades were firing on the cross roads.   The Guard infantry suffered heavy casualties, but managed to rout 4th British corps.   At  night fall the only one British infantry brigade remained to cover the retreat.

Comment

This wargame was never intended to be a serious refight of Waterloo.   The table paid only a passing resemblance to the actual battlefield.   The orders of battle were nothing like either Wellington or Napoleon armies.   The rules were our standard campaign wargame rules, designed to provide a fast, fun game.

Despite this the course of the battle was similar.  The three villages held up the French for half of the game.   The French took the high ground either side of the cross roads, but struggled to  take the centre.  In fact during the closing phase of the game it  looked like they would run out of time and fail to take their objective.

The stars on the photograph indicate brigades in rout.   The French has four, compared to fourteen British brigades.  However this is a reflection of how our wargame rules work, rather than a complete French “walk over”.   To create a clear winner my rules rely heavily on morale.  As the battle develops both sides suffer casualties, which in turn reduce their ability to survive a morale check.   When one brigade does rout, all friendly brigades within 4” have to test their own morale.  Quite often one or more will join the rout.  This in turn forces other friendly brigades within supporting distance to test their own morale.

This was a really enjoyable game.  It was nice not to have to consider the consequences of the outcome, and therefore to just  fight to the end.   Not sure I would want to play too many games like this, but it was a nice way to cover the gap between the end of one campaign and the start of the next.