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.

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