Sunday 16 October 2022

Goslar Campaign Day 2


2 June 1813 – Northern Germany – Day 2

Prussians attack Harzburg

In the north French retreat and Prussians occupy Vienenburg

In the centre Prussians attack Harzburg

In the south French advance towards border

The battle of Harzburg – end of move 12

Prussians ignore the flanks and attack the town

French fight a defensive battle to take advantage of their strong position

This allows the Prussian artillery to deploy at close range and batter the town defenders

Just before nightfall the infantry attack and rout the garrison.


The French really should have won this battle.

Napoleon commanded the 1st French army, and it included the 1st Old Guard corps.

Jan was so confident of success that she decided on a defensive battle

Napoleon commanded a small reserve of one infantry and one cavalry brigade

The town was strongly held, and the flanks would deploy level with the town

The Prussians would be bombarded as they advanced

It was not anticipated that the French would need to counter attack


As Prussian commander I created a strong reserve of 2 artillery and two elite infantry brigades

This was placed to the left of the main road in the centre, and would be the main attack force

On the right 4th corps would take a defensive position and pin the French left

In the centre the weakened 5th corps would support the attack on the town

On the left 6th corps would take the farm and pin the French right


All went well until the end of move 10.


On both flanks fighting was restricted to cavalry engagements and artillery fire


By move 6 the Prussian reserve artillery was firing on the garrison at short range

The French artillery on the flanks quickly concentrated on the Prussian gunners

But most of this artillery fire was very ineffective.


During move 11 both French garrisons received 10% casualties, but passed their morale test

On move 12 they again received 10% casualties, both failed their morale test and were shaken

The waiting Prussian infantry stormed the town during the last move of the game

The shaken garrison both routed, and took the supporting brigades behind the town with them


The French decision to fight a defensive battle was a sound one, and it should have worked

The town was held by two elite infantry brigades, one in each half of the town

They were supported by two conscript brigades behind the town

The flanks were strongly held, and suffered little during the battle


The flaw was relying on conscript brigades in support to counter attack if necessary

This was a risk which had to be taken, because better reserve would have weakened the flanks

It was just bad luck that at the critical moment the dice throw caused the conscripts to rout


  1. Thistlebarrow,

    Wow! The Prussians beating the French under Napoleon is a real turn up!

    I read the more detailed account on your 1813 Campaign Diary blog and found the photos and the description really helped me to understand what actually happened during the battle.

    All the best,


    1. Hi Bob

      Thanks for your comment

      Glad that you find the battle report on the 1813 campaign blog useful. I feel I have to put a summary on this blog as I suspect most readers here do not read the campaign blog. But it can never be more than a brief summary. Good to hear that the actual battle report makes more sense.

      It is always difficult to decide whether to use Napoleon and his Garde in wargames, and if so how to use them. For most of the period the Garde were used entirely as a reserve, and hardly ever committed to battle. And we are all aware that Napoleon never lost a battle - at least until Waterloo.

      But when I created the campaign I wanted to be able to use every figure I have, and that included Napoleon and the Garde. But I went further and decided that they would be elite, but not super human. I was thinking more of the Garde in 1814, when they were more of a fighting force than in earlier campaigns. But it does feel wrong for Napoleon to lose to Blucher again and again!

      best regards



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