Sunday 27 November 2022

Goslar Campaign Day 6


6 June 1813 – Northern Germany – Day 6

Prussians attack Osterode

In the north both armies rest and reorganise

In the centre French retreat to Goslar

In the south Prussians attack Osterode

Battle of Osterode – Move 10

The battle opened with the French deployed just in front of Osterode

As the Prussians entered the table the French occupied the woods on either flank

However they held their centre back

This proved a mistake, because the Prussians could outflank the woods


The Prussians lost the first cavalry melee on their right

This forced them to hold back their attack on the woods

Only when the French started to retreat did 1st corps advance


On the opposite flank they had more success

Here the cavalry melee was a draw, and both brigades withdrew

The Prussian infantry and artillery pressed home their attack on the woods

Fighting continued until nightfall, but the French suffered more casualties


The Main attack was in the centre.  

Kleist took the grenadier brigade from each corps to form the main attack

Supported by 2nd corps he managed to break the French centre

This forces both flanks to withdraw and gave him a convincing victory



In this campaign it would appear that the French can do no right

Despite having the Imperial Garde and Napoleon in command


This game was decided within two moves

The French had woods on both flanks, with open ground in the centre

They could deploy behind the woods, half way in or hold the whole woods

They decided on the latter, but left their centre where it started the game


The woods are a strong point, but they are difficult to defend

Prussian artillery could approach within short range of the woods

They could then blast the forward infantry brigade in the woods


To counter this the French cavalry had to be brought forward

This would deter the Prussian gunners from getting too near the woods

But it would then present the Prussian gunners with the cavalry for a target


As always the initiative is with the attacker

He can take advantage of any deployment error

The commander can also take brigades from the three corps

This strong reserve can then be directed at the weak part of the defence.


During this campaign I have usually been the attacker

This is because Jan prefers to react

I have found that the opening moves are where the attacker is most vulnerable

He must advance into artillery range of the defender, and in doing so accept first fire

If he loses either cavalry or artillery, it becomes almost impossible to attack.


He has two or three moves to fire on the enemy

If he takes longer he will arrive too late to take the objective

If his guns do not cause damage to the defenders he must risk his cavalry

Unless he can weaken the enemy guns he will probably take heavy infantry casualties

This will usually result in an early cavalry melee


Cavalry melee will usually result in both sides taking casualties

This will weaken both brigades, who then usually retreat behind the infantry

If the defender wins the cavalry melee it will be very difficult for the attacking infantry to advance.


The advantage of my new three corps per side is that each corps has its own cavalry

It is most unlikely that one side will win all three cavalry melee

The attacker will usually win at least one melee

He can then use his reserve to support the winning side


This makes for an interesting wargame

The attacker must hold his reserve in the centre

From here he can support whichever wing wins the cavalry melee


His greatest problem is to force a break through early enough to reach the objective

This has proved the most difficult thing to achieve in this campaign

It has often resulted in the defender holding the objective at nightfall

However to do so he has lost more casualties than the attacker

But by holding the objective he has won the game.


This should result in a second day of battle

But that is usually a very boring wargame

The stronger attacker can redeploy overnight

Within three or four moves he will have broken the weaker defender

I usually avoid this outcome by having the weaker defender retreat overnight.

Sunday 20 November 2022

Goslar Campaign Day 5

5 June 1813 – Northern Germany – Day 5

French attack Harzburg

In the north surprise French attack on Harzburg

In the centre French prepare Liebenburg for a siege

In the south both armies regroup and resupply

Second battle of Harzburg Move 12

The French plan was to pin the Prussian left

The main attack would be in the centre against Harzburg

The Guard would crush the Prussian right and support the centre

The Prussians put up a fierce resistance and held their centre and left

Their right was broken, but delayed the Guard until it was too late to take the town

At nightfall they still held Harzburg and won the battle



The situation is becoming desperate for the French

The Prussian army has crossed into Goslar district and is poised to take Goslar itself.

Fortunately the city is defended by 1st French army, including the 1st Guard corps.


Napoleon orders 1st army to attack 2nd Prussian army at Harzburg

The aim is to break the Prussian centre, or at least disrupt their plans to attack Goslar.


The attack quickly becomes bogged down.

On the right 3rd corps are quickly repulsed and only just hold the flank

The main attack in the centre is a dismal failure, including the reserve commanded by Napoleon

But on the left the Imperial Garde brush aside 4th Prussian corps and attack the city

Unfortunately the run out of time and the Prussians still hole Harzburg at nightfall.


I commanded the French, and it was a real pleasure to see the Imperial Garde on the table

The dice rolled well for them, and allowed them to crush the Prussians as you would expect them to do

However it was only fair that they failed to take Harzburg

For Jan, who commanded the Prussians, defeated two thirds of the French army

And without doubt deserved to win the game.


I am really pleased with the type of game provided by the larger armies

In effect there are three games being fought at the same time

And it is most unlikely that one side will win all three

Often the game is won by the side who win the centre of the three battles

They can then move to support whichever flank is having the most success

However, as in this case, it is often too late to take the objective within the 12 moves allowed.

Sunday 13 November 2022

Weekly Deadlines



When we retired to Spain in 2006 Jan and I had two hobbies which we wanted to pursue

One was, of course, Wargaming

The second was hill walking


We are fortunate to have a permanent wargames room to pursue the first

And our 1813 campaign was developed to provide an endless supply of wargames


We are also fortunate to live is a very beautiful part of Spain, well known as an impressive area for hill walking

This is the main reason we choose the Jalon valley, half an hour drive inland, and a world apart, from busy Benidorm


Within a year of moving to Spain we had established a weekly routine, which we have followed ever since

One day a week we walk, currently we lead a U3A walking group

Most days we spend an hour at the wargames table


We also record both interests in a series of blogs

The wargames blog was started as record of my various projects

A second blog was soon added to record the progress of my 1813 campaign

The third blog was to keep family and friends in the UK up to date with our new life in Spain.


The weekly routine worked well until recently.

I could complete one wargame a week, have an enjoyable walk and update the three blogs


Jan has long suffered from problems with her neck, and recently this has got worse

The doctor has advised that she should avoid the jarring effect of hill walks over difficult terrain

This has become a very important part of our social life here, and to give it up would be a real loss

So we decided to create a second U3A walking group, this time gentle morning walks around the valley

This has been a great success, and we have made many new friends

When we meet each Thursday I am reminded of an expression we had in the army for those reporting sick.

They were called the “sick, lame and lazy”.

Our new group are not in any way lazy, or even sick, but many are lame

Hill Walking

Organising two weekly walking groups, and recording them on our blog, has greatly increased my workload

I find it harder and harder to find time to keep the campaign administration up to date and fight a wargame each week

Finding time for the wargame is no problem, but after each battle it takes the best part of a day to update the campaign

Instead of being one day, and one battle, ahead of the weekly blog dateline I am now struggling to complete the current one in time


I have always considered that Wargaming is a hobby, and as such should be enjoyable and not a chore

But now I realise how much I actually enjoy the discipline of the weekly routine

The blogs greatly add to my enjoyment of both Wargaming and hill walking

I also find that I have a very rewarding “following”.

More so perhaps on the walking blog and Facebook.


But it does mean that I will have to abandon the current objective of posting one campaign day and battle each week on this blog

I am sure that most of you will not actually notice the change

But just in case any of you do notice, I wanted you to know why.


I am very aware of  how lucky we are to be able to pursue such a pleasant lifestyle

And I am not in any way complaining about “my lot”

But it is interesting how we make our own life difficult by these self imposed deadlines

Understandable when it is necessary to earn a living

But quite silly when we are retired and can prioritise as we wish

Sunday 6 November 2022

Goslar Campaign Day 4

4 June 1813 – Northern Germany – Day 4

Prussians attack Liebenburg

In the north Prussians attack Liebenburg

In the centre both armies resupply and reorganise

In the south Prussians enter Lauterberg, French retreat to Osterod

The battle of Lauterberg – end of move 12

The Prussians were unlucky to have lost this battle

They took the woods on the left and routed 6th French corps

The CinC reinforced 8th corps for the main attack in the centre

They took heavy casualties on the right, but managed to support the attack in the centre

But they lost the critical infantry melee in the centre and failed to take the town

The French lost 9 infantry, 4 cavalry and 2 artillery casualties (4200 men)

The Prussians lost 10 infantry and 7 cavalry casualties (4100 men)

The French has 8 brigades in rout, the Prussians 7 brigades.

The Prussians failed to take the town and lost the battle



The very busy, and complicated, photo of the end of the game tells the story

Blue stars are French brigades in rout

Grey stars are Prussians brigades in rout

White stars are the critical infantry melee


The Prussians broke and routed 6th French corps on the left

They then swung right through the woods towards the centre


They lost the battle on the right, but managed to advance when the French redeployed


The Prussian attack in the centre was well supported by cavalry and artillery

They routed the French cavalry, but caused too few casualties to the infantry in the centre

Despite this the Prussian infantry attack outnumbered the French infantry defending

However the dice were against them


It was a very complicated and very tense wargame

Everything went well for the Prussians and it seemed like their attack in the centre would succeed

The final melee was three Prussian against two French infantry brigades

The French were in line and the Prussians in column

The Prussians had the edge, but not the luck of the dice.


Both armies suffered heavy casualties

Both would need to regroup and redeploy before they could commence fighting

This would allow the French to concentrate in and around Leibenburg.


We enjoyed this game so much that we played it twice

The first time the Prussians won, the second they lost

A final dice throw decided which game would be recorded for the campaign.