Magister Ludi
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Fremantle
Western Australia
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The heading of this report owes its title to French Chief of Staff, Marshall Berthier’s despairing correspondence to his master during the historical campaign, when his muddled orders had placed the French troops in an exposed position. Fortunately Napoleon arrived on the scene shortly afterwards and was able to turn the confused affair into one of his more masterful manoeuvres, smashing the Austrian advance and driving them back in the twin battles of Abensberg and Eckmuhl between the 16th to 23rd April (game turns 4 to 8 historically).

As the previous AAR Storm over Bavaria relates, the Austrian advance, particularly in the South has proceeded better than expected with the fortress of Passau taken, along with Regensburg in the north, Landshut in the South and Munich, the Bavarian capital in the extreme south. Based on additional rules in use, this sees Vienna Morale at +3.

Game Turn 9- 25/26th April- Weather Fair


Charles and forces at end Gt8

At the end of GT8, Charles and the bulk of his forces, having secured crossing point at Landshut commence moving south west to the crossing at Moosburg, with the intention of turning the French right flank. At this point however, the main Austrian supplies (accumulated AP’s)were beginning to become depleted after a fortnight of advances and wishing to consolidate his army in the face of French build up, Charles issues only limited commands and rests the bulk of his forces.

Massena and Oudinot, with their Army Corps along with the cavalry brigade of Montbrun move in response towards Nandlstadt (W 0633).

Charles and Liechtenstein advance across the Isar at Moosburg and catch the isolated brigade of Montrbrun. Normally, being fair weather and a high initiative, the cavalry screen would be expected to be able to withdraw before being forced to battle, but on this occasion they are caught in place, perhaps being unused to the boldness of the Austrian thrust. The corps of Louis and Hiller have also thrust into Bavarian territory, advancing towards Pfaffenhofen (hex W 0034- off map).

In the resulting battle, the Austrians smash Montbrun in a 10:1 attack, utterly destroying his brigade of 4,000 sabres.

However the arrival of Napoleon tips the scales back to the French. Gathering his scattered commands, Napoleon, Massena, Oudinot and Bessieres advance en masse against Charles and drive him back across the Isar. Charles had unwisely chosen pitched battle and was lucky to escape with losses of some 9,000 men, although the series of running battles had also taken their toll on the French, with 8,000 casualties suffered.


Charles and the Austrians retreat.

An unfortunate outcome of this battle was that Louis and his corps was left exposed just to the south of Nandlstadt (W 0633) and Napoleon used his superior command rating to muster troops for the counterattack.

Hiller with his corps had attempted to advance in support of Louis across the Isar further south and clear the small French blocking Division under a Major General at Freising (map extension). Despite odds of 3 to 1 in their favour, the corps of Hiller was repulsed leaving the Archduke Louis and his isolated corps ripe for destruction.

Game Turn 10- 27/28th April – Weather Rain.

Napoleon wasted no time in consolidating his forces to take advantage of the Austrian misfortune. Calling in troops from far and wide he mustered Massena, Oudinot, Davout and Bessieres to smash Louis.


Louis is driven back.


The battle lines were drawn and the French mustered some 77,000 troops against Austrian forces of 19,000. Flanking forces were in place to prevent escape. Things looked grim. The dice were rolled and results was a retreat for Louis. Fortunately he was able to move south towards Munich, which was still occupied by Jelacic and while the French pursued the losses were only 6,000 (which had been doubled due to movement through an enemy ZOC). While total annihilation had been expected, the French had not been able to block all avenues of escape, and Louis was able to maintain a force in being. The next game turn saw him march further south to Munich and rouse Jelacic from his indecision.

Recognising that he needed to distract Napoleon, Charles finally requested his two idle corps of Bellegarde and Kollowrat around Regensburg to move south and threaten French lines of communication.
A small French blocking force had been left in place in anticipation of such an Austrian move at hex W0721. What the Austrians had not fully realised was the Lannes were more than ready to force march towards the sound of the guns…


Bellegarde attacks Lannes.

The resulting battle then became a 1 to 1 in affecting terrain. The Austrians bold advance was then turned from a certainty to a very chancy affair, with Bellegarde failing to dislodge the defenders and each side losing some 2,000 men. Fortunately the Austrian retreat is limited and Bellegarde manages to remain in contact with Kollowrat. Mouton, with the Imperial Guard pursues and catches up with Kollowrat.

Game turn 11- 29/30th April-weather fair.

Being adjacent to the enemy in the north, Mouton will be required to attack the Corps of Kollowrat. Lannes marches to assist, but rising to the occasion, Bellegarde force marches to his assistance.



This results in the odds to tip in the Austrian favour to the tune of a risky 1-3 attack. The French are not unduly worried as Lannes has a -1 tactical modifier, but in the resulting battle a dreaded ‘6’ is rolled which forces Lannes and Mouton to suffer a rout of 0/10 result! (Nil losses to the defender and a retreat of 10 hexes). Lannes retreats towards hex W0127. The Austrians chose to advance only a short distance to hex W0721 and occupy favourable defensive terrain as they fear that news of their success will draw the attention of the French.

Sure enough, in the French manoeuvre phase Napoleon, upon seeing the crossings of the Isar at Landshut, Moosburg and Freising blown up by the Austrians and damaged gathers his forces and heads North to deal with the northern incursion…



Next AAR-A Bohemian ending...
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David Fisher
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Fascinating developments. I continue to follow this with great interest, please keep posting...
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Paul Brown
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Well this AAR certainly shows why interior lines gave you such an advantage.
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