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.


  1. Thistlebarrow,

    I read your longer battle report on your 1813 Campaign blog and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    This has been a very interesting campaign, and shows that with the right leadership, the Austrians are quite capable of holding their own against the French and their allies.

    Where are you going next? Iberia?

    All the best,


  2. Hi Bob

    Good to hear from you

    Glad you enjoyed the campaign. The Austrians do much better in my campaign than they did in real life!

    I like each of the five campaign areas, but for different reasons. In south Germany it is the very colourful Austrian v Bavarians. Half of my Austrians are German infantry, so there is the blue trousers to break up the endless white uniforms. I also have landwehr and jager, who again add a little variety. But it is the lovely light blue Bavarians that I particularly like.

    The next campaign phase will be northern Germany, where Napoleon will face Blucher once again.
    Currently working on the maps and orders of battle.

    All the best, and a belated Happy New Year



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