- Andrew Hobley(Andrew H)United Kingdom
So after battling with huge forces onto a light snack of a game, a map one quarter the size of the full Leipzig map and far fewer counters. North on the map is to the left.
The Grand Army is retreating from Leipzig, down from 427 SP to 120. Facing them are Wrede’s Bavarians and Fresnel’s Austrian V Corps – a total of 87 SP. Although the Coalition forces are outnumbered the French are very fragile, many units are reduced so one step loss or elimination takes them out of the battle for ever. Only the Imperial Guard is in a reasonable shape. The Coalition is also handicapped by its leaders. Wrede is an Officer-Commander so can either put the Bavarians into command, or provide command to Fresnel, who with an initiative of 2 will on average spend two-thirds of his time out of command.
The terrain is wooded, with the Kinzig River running down the middle to Hanau. From around the village of Rükingen and then west the main crossing points are the Rükingen and Lamboy bridges, until the town itself is reached. A bridge in the middle of the woods only takes a track across, the main road to the south has a track leading off to Rükingen. So if the Allies split their forces they may find themselves fighting two separate battles, and with their movements on the south of the river hindered.
Just to make life harder for the French the exit hex for them is west of Hanau. Allied forces at the Kinzig Bridge will be able to interdict the road off. And both the VP hexes – Hanau itself and the south side of the Lamboy Bridge – mean the French will have to make a diversion to take them.
Note I used the patch in the file section here to remove the mighty flank holding fortress of the terrain key, so making Werde’s life even harder.
I played the approach to battle scenario, starting at 3pm on the 29th October. The Allies decided to make a forward defence around Rükingen; the Bavarians to the north and the Austrians to the south. Both sides marched up their respective roads as the French cavalry and advanced guard of the IX Corps headed west. At 5pm Wrede had a very unpleased shock as the Old Guard arrived not only early, but on the road from Diebach, flanking his position and overrunning the Bavarian cavalry on the flanks. Night fell to French shouts of ‘Vive l’Empereur!’ as Le Petit Caporal himself arrived to bivouac in Ravolzhausen.
To make things worse as night fell Arrighi and his cavalry arrived further west and headed via Langendiebach for Hanau behind the Baverians!
Next morning Wrede decided discretion was the better part of valour and ordered the Bavarians back towards Hanau and gave the Austrians a march order to the Kinzig Bridge, so ensuring Hanau would be held. Napoleon ordered the Guard cavalry and XI Corps to follow the Austrians and the rest of the army to pursue the Bavarians west. Luckily for the Austrians the French pursuit was badly handed, and they were able to march south. Sebastani and some French cavalry used the track west to cross the Kinzig twice and take the Lamboy Bridge. Their presence also stopped the Austrian march to Hanau.
Arrighi and his French cavalry made it as far as the Kinzig Bridge when Austrian cavalry and infantry caught and routed them. The Guard and cavalry had pursued the retreating Bavarians and caught up with them - despite a heroic rear-guard stand by the Bavarian horse artillery - around noon as they made a stand between the Bruchköbler Wald and the river.
Very quickly the Bavarians were split, Werde being wounded and taken out of the fight*, the Guard driving one division back along the road to Hana, the rest being pushed north into the Bruchköbler Wald and being eliminated, after putting up a strong fight. But the French had a very narrow front to advance on and it is only by nightfall the Guard had taken the Kinzig Bridge and secured the retreat of the army. To the north the Austrians had pushed Sebastani and his men back across the river, the Guard cavalry had finally made it down the road to threaten the Austrians.
Counting the bodies the French had lost 20 SP, the Allies 27. Two French Corps had been demoralised, as had the Bavarians. The result was a marginal Coalition victory; Werde recovered from his wound to join the invasion of French in 1814.
Well that was interesting. Both sides are in a difficult position, but the French are more vulnerable then players may be used to; they have very little wiggle room when taking losses and risking demoralisation of their Corps. Worth playing again – and unlike the other scenarios in this package it’s a quick game.
Well I have now played all of the Library of Napoleonic Battles games. I need to replay ‘The Coming Storm’ as I failed to take note or photos for a write up. But now for a non-Napoleonic pause to recharge my batteries while I wait for Napoleon’s Last Gamble to arrive – perhaps time to indulge in another of my historical interest – The Successors.
* My own house rule is if a leader rolls a ‘6’ when in a retreating stack and is removed you roll again; 0-1 killed, 2-3 wounded, 4-6 captured. At the end of the game if wounded roll again - 1 or 2 the wound is mortal and the leader dies; on a 4-6 they recover, and appear at the next battle if playing a campaign.
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- christopher moeller(cmoeller)United States
- I've loved all of your replays Andrew! Thanks so much!
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