Sunday 28 January 2024

Landshut Campaign – Day 6

Campaign Map

Austrians attack Dorfen
Siege of Essenbach day 2

1st Austrian army – siege of Essenbach
2nd Austrian army – retreat to Reisbach
3rd Austrian army – attack Dorfen

7th French army – garrison Essenbach
8th French army – regroup and resupply at Landshut
9th French army – defend Dorfen

End of battle of Dorfen

Both armies start the battle with campaign casualties.
The French have slightly more but both are spread between all three arms

The main Austrian attack in on their right, against the occupied village
It is a little forward of the main French battle line, making it easier to attack
The Austrian commander takes two brigades from the centre to create a reserve
The Austrians lose the initial cavalry melee on this flank, and this delays the attack

The Austrian commander switches his attack to the centre, against Dorfen itself
The French commander leads a counter attack, but is defeated and retreats
This allows the Austrians to move their artillery into close range of the town

A renewed attack on the farm has more success, and the defenders start to retreat
The town garrison have received considerable casualties, and also withdraw

The Austrian left has played no part in the battle, most due to weak artillery
They now advance, but it is too late to make any difference to the battle
The enemy rearguard hold the woods until nightfall to cover the retreat


When both sides start the game with casualties it is very difficult for the attacking side. This is particularly so when they have casualties to cavalry or artillery. In this game both sides has casualties to their cavalry and artillery.

The battle normally opens with counter battery fire, in the hope that the attacker can weaken, or even rout, the enemy gunners. Only two Austrian batteries could do so, and both needed a roll of 6 to hit the enemy gunners. They failed to do so.

Cavalry can charge enemy gunners, but they will always receive fire at short range.
The gunners will need a roll of 3 or more to hit, or 2 if they are 12 pdrs. If the cavalry already had 1 casualty, they will now have 2 and will be disorganised. They will have to roll 6 to charge home.

If both cavalry and artillery fail to weaken the defending artillery the infantry will have to attack unsupported. The artillery will get to fire twice before the infantry reach the guns. At long range they will need 3 or more at long range, and 2 or more at short range. If the infantry have casualties they will need 6 for the first casualty, and will be unable to pass their morale if they receive two new casualties. If the leading infantry brigade fails its morale and routs, it is very likely to take any friendly brigade within 4”, and particularly if they also have casualties.

However the attacker has to make it happen, or he will lost the game. The defender only has to hold the town or city.

There are 12 moves in each game. It will take 6 moves to reach the town if the attackers arrive on table at the start of move 1. It will take two moves for the attacking artillery to get within long range of the enemy gunners. The defenders will always get to fire first as the attacking gunners unlimber.

If the guns have no effect within 6 moves the attacker must consider using his cavalry. The defending cavalry will always be placed out of range of the attacking artillery. And they will usually get the opportunity to charge first, as the attacking cavalry have to move into charge range – which is 12”. If the attacking cavalry lose the first melee they will usually be of no use for the rest of the battle. Even if they make their morale and rally, they will be at a disadvantage of at least -1 to the cavalry they lost the melee to.

However once the attackers get within range of the enemy all bets are off. If they can rout just one enemy infantry brigade, there is a good change of the rout spreading to supporting brigades.

So it is quite surprising that in this campaign the Austrians, who were attacking, won five of the six battles/wargames. Some were down to a particularly good dice by the attackers, or a particularly bad one for the defenders. Most often it was the result of one rout spreading to supports. Quite often the attackers did not take the town/city, but defeated the enemy, and were a second day of battle to be fought would almost certainly crush the whole enemy army. In this situation it makes more sense for the defender to retreat, regroup and hope to win the next battle.

Sunday 14 January 2024

Landshut Campaign – Day 5


Campaign Map                                                 

Austrians attack Landshut
Siege of Essenbach day 1

1st Austrian army – start siege of Essenbach
2nd Austrian army – attack Landshut
3rd Austrian army – advance to Dorfen

7th French army – garrison Essenbach
8th French army – defend Landshut
9th French army – regroup and resupply at Dorfen

End of battle of Landshut

The Bavarian army held a very strong position between the city of Landshut and the river Danube.   The river was not fordable, and could only be crossed by using one of the three bridges available.

The Austrian CinC decided to attack the centre bridge which led directly to the city.   But to do so he would have to secure the one bridge available.   He took command of the elite division of 5 corps, and the artillery of 6 corps.   The artillery would deploy either side of the bridge and destroy the Bavarian artillery dominating the bridge.

On his left 4th corps would be ordered to attack along the narrow area right of the river, take the bridge and attack the city from the right.

The Bavarians defeated this plan by simply retreating out of artillery range, but leaving their guns within range of their side of the bridges.   Unable to destroy the enemy guns, the Austrians could not risk a cavalry assault over the bridges.

The only casualties were to 4th Austrian corps artillery, who suffered 10% casualties.   They lost their morale test and routed, taking a supporting infantry brigade with them.

An easy, but very convincing, victory for the Bavarian army.


When I created the map for this campaign phase I did not anticipate how difficult it would be to attack across a defended river line.   But once it became obvious I used the opportunity to test the rules and decide whether it was possible or not.

I only use major rivers in my campaigns, and consequently wargames.   They would not be fordable in real life, and are not so in my campaign either.   They can only be crossed by the use of a bridge, but I do allow more bridges than would perhaps be normal.   My table is three scenic squares wide, and I allow one bridge on each square.   The exception is on bends, where I consider that the current would be too fast for a bridge.

Because both armies are more or less equal in size, to take a bridge the attacker would have to destroy the defending artillery, or at least make them retreat.  This can only do done by counter battery fire.  

In my new rules 12 pdr guns require 5 or 6 to cause casualties, 9 pdr guns require 6, and 6 pdr guns must be at close range.   10% casualties to the crew reduce all of these by 1.   Therefore a crew with casualties can only hit enemy artillery at long range if they are 12 pdr, 9 or 6 pdr have to move to close range to do so.   When the defenders are behind a river the defending artillery can remain out of close range (4”) of the enemy guns, but remain within close range of their end of the bridge.

In this game four of the six corps artillery had 10% casualties.  Only two, both of which were 12 pdr, had no casualties.   Both were on the right side of the table.   22nd Bavarian corps deployed in the river bend, from where they could hit the Austrians as soon as they advanced beyond the hill.  

On the right bank of the river the Bavarian CinC commanded two brigades of cavalry, supported by two brigades of infantry.   He would be supported by the artillery if the Austrians tried to attack that side of the river.

4th Austrian corps would have to force the Bavarian gunners to retreat before they could risk moving down from the hill.   Otherwise any attack on the exposed right bank must result in heavy casualties before they even reached the Bavarian cavalry and infantry.  They would also have to reduce the Bavarian superiority in cavalry, before their own cavalry could advance.   All of this required them getting their 12 pdr artillery into action without being charged by the Bavarian cavalry.

They attempted to do so by deploying it on the far right, out of range of enemy cavalry and artillery.  They could then man handle it into range of the enemy cavalry, and force them to surrender.  They could then engage the enemy gunners, and hope to defeat them also.  This would all require a lot of good luck – which they did not have.

As soon as 4th Austrian artillery were in position the Bavarian cavalry retreated out of artillery range.  The Austrian gunners then manhandled their guns into range of the Bavarian gunners; however this allowed the enemy to fire first.   The Bavarian gunners needed 5 or 6 for a hit – they rolled 5.    The Austrian gunners needed 5 or 6 to make their morale – they rolled 1.   The gunners routed into the supporting infantry brigade, who routed with them.

I was the Austrian player, and found the game really interesting.   It was always going to be very likely that I would lose the game.   Even if I could force a crossing at one of the bridges, the French player could bring overwhelming infantry and cavalry against my bridge head.   But I really enjoyed the challenge of trying to find a weakness – even though I failed to do so.   And Jan (the French player) simply retreated her cavalry and infantry out of range of my artillery, whilst leaving her guns within range of her end of the bridge.

Great game, but I will take care to ensure this does not happen again.   In future I will ensure that my rivers do not stretch across the width of the table, and thus allow the attackers an opportunity to outflank them.

Sunday 7 January 2024

The Way Ahead



Each December we visit our family in the UK and spend Christmas and New Year with them. This enforced break in our normal routine removes me from my PC and wargame table, and allows me to have a break and appreciate how much I enjoy my normal routine. It’s lovely to spend time with our family, and especially at this time of year. But it is also nice to return to our busy and enjoyable normal routine

The end of the year is the traditional time to review events of the previous twelve months, and plans for the next twelve. Normally this would be a review of our wargame activities, but this year it has been a review of our life style.

Jan and I are fortunate to share both of our main activities, which are Wargaming and walking. For the past eight years we have run two walking groups for our local U3A. Monday is a 5-6 hour mountain walk and Thursday a more moderate 3 hour valley walk.

Blogging has also become a major part of my weekly routine. Each week I publish four blogs. One for each walk, an update for my 1813 campaign and this one. I also have a Facebook for each of our walking groups, and post an update each week

During the past year I have found that it has all become quite a chore, rather than something I really enjoy. Jan had an accident early in the year, which stopped her doing the more strenuous Monday walks. We had both already found the harder walks more challenging, and without her company I enjoyed them even less. I also felt quite guilty leaving her at home each Monday.

This commitment has grown up over many years, and has done so because we enjoyed it and welcomed each new activity. Obviously I enjoyed all of the administration; otherwise I would not have done it. It filled the long hours of retirement, and we made many hundreds of friends through the two U3A groups. They also became the centre of our social life. But as you get older you have less enthusiasm and energy, and what was great fun can become a challenge.

So in late November I decided to review our activities and to rearrange them to suit our current circumstances. Our weekly routine would be designed to suit what we wanted to do now, rather than what we had committed to over the years.

Our wargame activities had changed greatly since we started our 1813 campaign in 2009. It had always been a vehicle to provide us with an endless supply of battles to wargame. But it has grown from a solo campaign for the two of us to a PBEM campaign with ten players from around the world, and then back to a solo campaign again. As a PBEM campaign we completed at least one, and often two, wargames a week, and kept it going 365 days a year. More recently a wargame lasts 10 to 14 days. We still enjoy it and it still remains a major part of our life style. But gone is the hectic programme to keep up with updating ten players each week and Wargaming the resulting battles.

We decided that the major adjustment would be to our walking groups. We started the first group in 2015 to share our love of hill walking. We had a great response, but kept our weekly walks to a maximum of 16 on each walk. We soon found that we had more people wanting to walk and rather than disappoint we started a second group. Covid brought all of this to an end. Here in Spain restrictions were very severe, including being unable to leave the house except to shop or medical appointments. As the restrictions were relaxed we started the Monday walk with just 6, then 10 then 16 members. Eventually we restarted the Thursday group, but with valley walks in place of the hill walks.

Now that Jan could no longer to the Monday walks, we have cancelled the weekly hill walks and will concentrate on the weekly valley walks. This will remove half of the administration and give us more time for more sedate activities – such as sitting in the local square to enjoy a cold drink in the warm sunshine, even at this time of year.

About the same time that we started the reorganisation, we began watching the very enjoyable Netflix series The Crown. Last week we watched the final episode, when Queen Elizabeth is asked to review the plans for “London Bridge”, the code name for her ceremonial funeral. She was asked to do so because she was 79 and approaching 80 and the programme explored her reaction to accepting old age as a relatively fit and active person.

My 80th birthday is in June 2024.