After our recent battle, we changed sides, and Ken actually suggested to give the 2 day scenario a go. Hardly any AAR have been posted so far with little/no strategies available. So it was all a bit blind flying…
I was making notes and comments as we did go along, so apologies for changes in tense or a sometimes erratic/changing style.
I was the Allied this time, and it all started with a few questions:
1) What is the difference in the 2 day battle?
Well, obviously, there is more time, but what does this mean? I thought it might mean more time for attrition, command problems might get worse, and corps probably need to be in mutually supportive positions to avoid destruction in piecemeal especially at the start.
2) Where to put my Schwerpunkt this time round?
This was the classical I think that you think that I think that you think ….
So, to cut it short, the plan was:
- to have enough of a southern attack to grind through the French defenses forcing hopefully the arrival of the reinforcements. One reasonably sized corps straight on the map for that, with a second in a supportive position that had a bit of everything to either support the south or have a go at St.Hilaire in the centre.
- A strong far north to come in early, both in numbers of regiments and actual strength. See what he would think about this. One strong corps would come on early in the game to keep the French guessing, some others would stay off board for 2-3 turns to give him some second thoughts before committing himself too much on one flank or another
- Overall few very large corps with several quite small ones. Maybe this might help in the manoeuvre part of the game to optimise the use of my limited command.
- The guards are kept a bit backwards
The first few turns saw some jockeying for positions, with two, maybe three distinct separate battles developing: the far south and far north, with maybe some further melee in the middle later on?
Already at 8am though the French mean business and prepare a 3 corps assault on the southern pincer. So much for well laid out plans with regards to the main strike in the north. These guys will need reinforcements rather soon. I wish I had been a bit more systematically in bringing troops to the front. Now I have summoned more ghosts than I can deal with!
The French assault out of Kobelnitz required already a counterattack by heavy cavalry. I always meant to get them involved on the first day as some of the moral loss can be regained in the night, but jeepers, it’s just the second turn. So much about the more timid approach we had in the last game.
Things were hotting up fast down there, but my sheer numbers hopefully should give me the edge at the moment. Langeron forces VanDamme to commit or withdraw and take losses. I think, the commitment might be a mistake, as not only do I now have some artillery in the approach (ok, he doesn’t know that), but also Miloradovich with another corps in his flank. Good lesson that getting in contact is easy, breaking contact off can be pretty difficult.
My last big joker corps stays off for one last turn to give the French some food for thought. I just hope, I haven’t delayed it too much, argh, we will see.
The French however don’t give up. VanDamme has seen his mistake and is pulling back. St Hilaire on the other hand throws another elite regiment (3) into the fray and is burning rapidly through my blocking detachment, again requiring a local counter-attack. Langeron will have to withdraw as well, bugger.
Things look better in the north were the French are slowly withdrawing
Time to give the French position a good punch between the rips. First, Vandamme is forced to retreat, 2 morale loss. And now the French Scouts in Pratze realise they are surrounded by Allied troops. Being cavalry, they cannot defend the town and are forced to surrender, another 2 moral loss. Yieehah.
Kienmeyer though has to blow off the assault on the Schloss since the whole affair cost me all my commands, and we don’t want to give a similar present back to the French
My last reserves are coming on as well, heading for the gap in the centre of the French lines.
Miloradovich goes into the approach, since going into sector 94 is too risky, and should the French advance, his artillery is right there to make them regret it.
Round 1 goes to the Allied so far I reckon, we shall see how things turn out; it’s early days yet.
Ken spends most of his time reorganising his corps, but he shuffled another corps from the north southwards. Either he is tempting me, or he is actually afraid for his centre. It is though all too easy for him to move it back up.
Legrand carefully follows Kienmeyr northwards, but there is no attack on the entire front this turn.
Kienmeyr now switches position with Langeron, and probes into Kobelnitz. St Hilaire is truly spent, and Kobelnitz will fall next turn! Langeron forces Legrand in the south into the approach setting up his artillery for the next turn.
My centre moves up, and in the north we both only now realised, that the major road allows three movements! Kollwatz shows true initiative and is racing down the road through the gap before it closes again. Yes, they will get bombarded by the battery on the hill and the corps with disperse, BUT, both units are cavalry and will make for some nice nuisance behind the French lines, Poor Bagration - meant to be the spearhead of the Allied advance and victory is still being left behind… So much for no plan survives the contact with the enemy…
This game is turning a bit into a comedy of errors here, with both of us misjudging things considerably.
Oha, Legrand is attacking from the south. Langeron is holding, but only just... He won’t next turn though if there is another elite regiment (3) in there.
VanDamme is moving into Kobelnitz, but this all doesn’t look that stable I have to say.
Messengers from Bernadotte arrive at Napoleon’s tent and are more than surprised when told to rush forward the corps as soon as possible to plug the hole in the line and to help chase back the Allied cavalry currently being bombarded from Santon Hill. The situation is saved, but now this is a different game. The trap is sprung, but is it too early?
Oh bugger, only most cavalry screens are there to harass doesn’t mean that they cannot bite every so often as well as the inept Lichtenstein is finding out. Venturing a bit too far forward and being caught in an exposed position (the three corps look together so neat and fairly aligned, but his position is hopeless - didn’t catch that one in time). His corps is suddenly charged from the flank by heavy cavalry. The embarrassing bit : it’s a guard regiment that is caught in the open. This is a costly mistake. So the French can still bite things until now just did look really well…
There won’t be much left at the southern front for a second day of battle at the present rate.
Kienmeyr gives it a go at Kobelnitz: Yiikes, VanDamme is not faking it, an elite regiment massacres the attacking battalion. Legrand gets bombarded, and is found now to be nice and weak, with only some skeleton formations left.
Miloradovich mobilises again, and as a trump, Constantine shifts to the south. There should not be much the French can do against this infusion of fresh troops. Davout will only arrive the following morning. If, of course, this doesn’t mean that my centre collapses in return beforehand...
Probably encouraged by my south shift, the French are pushing in the north and centre and getting into positions for attacks in an hour or so. In the south, Legrand tries to break contact.
I re-organise troops in the south and scout to make Legrand’s life a bit difficult. Langeron manages to integrate a regular (2) regiment and is now again useful to some degree.
I don’t know anything about Murat in the centre, but I DO KNOW that St Hilaire is weak after the fighting in Kobelnitz earlier. This may be worth persuing with a big gap in the middle as the reward. Or, if he retreats, VanDamme is in trouble.
Lannes in the centre thought that Preby -his couterpart- is going to run, he was wrong. See how Ken reacts to that! There is the rest of the guard in there, so unless Lannes has heaps of artillery, this should hold.
Hehe, in the north, two regiments of heavy cavalry run accidentally into each other, with the French keeping the upper hand though, grgrml. And the Allied have no corps command left to take advantage of that… bugger.
Legrand is trying to again establish a river defence, while his brethren further north realise they are in trouble. VanDamme is pretty doomed as St.Hilaire has to fall back.
Murat, worryingly, is setting up for a set-piece battle. Will those guys actually manage to channel me into that box south of Puntowitz and prevent a break-through?
Lannes starts the expected bombardment, but shies away from any further action when seeing my guard regiments. I still don’t know where his guard is though.
Annoyingly, the French manage in the far north to encircle an allied cavalry battalion. Bugger, didn’t see that coming. All those little losses are really adding up and hurting!
And now I even have some French horsies behind my lines, bummer.
While strategically I think I still have the upper hand and initiative, my guys might not stick around long enough to see it through...
Small local attacks collect a scalp or two, with Constantine being the main action as he forces the gap in the line. His partner creates a great battery opposite Murat.
VanDamme is now truly trapped and will have to surrender next turn. The lonely French cavalry detachment that slipped through the lines last hour is a major headache. All those corps set up for battle in their approaches now need a rear-guard! This will keep eating up my individual unit commands for a while.
Overall I am quite happy still. The main French forces in the centre are pinned with only some mobility left in north, importantly a gap is appearing, if just my moral could hold now.
The French house is burning just about everywhere. St.Hilaire retreats to safety leaving VanDamme to his doom. Legrand establishes again something of a river-line in the south, only now with depleted battalions and without reserve. In the north, Bernadotte races southwards to meet Constantine. The second French reinforcement corps is just so badly needed! Murat’s bombardment costs another morale point, but nothing much else happens this turn.
As expected, Kienmeyr accept the officer’s sword of VanDamme in surrender, and Constantine pushed onwards into Puntowitz.
Miloradovich unveils his grand battery, and an entire regiment disappears in Murat’s corps.
Further north, Lichtenstein and Bagration start moving, creating not only a solid line, but mainly threatening the entire French centre now from south and north. The whole sector 74/83 area is turning into a disaster zone for the blues. Night cannot come too early for the French now, but will the respite be enough?
The French north falls back, trading space for, I suppose, siphoning units of Bagration should he advance. The blues might actually just pull it off up there.
Bernadotte just about stabilises things in the centre for now, whereas the French cavalry wrecks havoc in the Allied rear area. This is really hurting. The 1on1, French wins rule makes this all highly dangerous with all these corps in approaches. The Lannes – Preby stand-off continues, with bombardment costing another morale point there. It’s two guard regiments left in there by themselves now!
Final turn: Dusk before nightfall
And it was not only the generals and soldiers that were truly exhausted by now. Dear reader, I have to confess, so were we. This game has been immensely draining and exhausting, so we were looking forward to nightfall as much as our little guys on the battlefield.
Constantine feint splits Bernadotte’s corps, but this ’major’ breakthrough for now is less than hoped for. Kienmeyr however prepares to take on his old friend St.Hilaire again in the morning. VanDamme saved him last time, there won't be much help around this time.
Lichtenstein has to fall back to help defending the rear, and Bagration pushes forward to push more pressure on the French! He certainly looks impressive compared to the other eviscerated corps everywhere else.
I knew that forming squares was a routine thing in Napoleonic warfare. But squares like those developing in sectors 84 and 74, with several corps creating them…
Grrml, the hole in my centre is getting worse, and I am running rapidly out of reserves. The whole situation resembles a bit the two snakes devouring each other; question is, who gets eaten first.
The situation is completely untenable for both of us, with just so many options for both sides. Things will collapse one way or another rather quickly I reckon the following morning. And I think I can fairly safely say that a territorial victory is a bit unlikely...
What a blast to play! Few things developed as planned or hoped for, mistakes on both sides (hey that's real life), but certainly for us a very entertaining game!
So, here in all the glory, the situation at the end of the day as both generals fall into an uneasy sleep:
Thank you all for reading!
To be continued…..
In the wonderful game, Bonaparte at Marengo, this is how to get nasty Frenchies out of a village.
Awesome! Keep 'em coming!
I have to think that the French will pull this one out, but it'll be interesting to see how they actually manage to do it.
Your session reports are so well presented and enjoyable to follow that I feel like a nitpicker of the worst sort to note a couple of possible errors on the Allied setup:
Kienmayer's corps appears to have been allocated 7 units, but the capacity of his setup locale is only 6 (so he has one unit too many).
The Allied Staging Area shows two Austrian and one Russian corps with 3 units assigned, plus one Russian corps with 2 units assigned (I can't see the commander names).
However, there are only three Allied corps with 3-unit minimums:
two Austrian (Kienmayer and Kollowrath)
one Russian (Miloradovich).
The remaining Allied corps have 4-unit minimums (no Allied corps has a 2-unit minimum).
As Kienmayer has already been accounted for, it appears that one Austrian and one Russian corps didn't receive their minimum allocations.
I may, of course, have misread the entire situation. But my comments are submitted with the best intentions.
Many thanks for the reply.
The Kienmayer size was an oversight I have to confess. I only thought about the 8 size limit, but we didn't look close enough on the board...
For the other corps: I wasn't aware that the same size limitations are in play for the 2 day scenario, in fact creating a few large and several very small corps was completely on purpose! But looking onto the real board, you are right. Because we played the whole things on cyberboard again, which doesn't have the written numbers at the side, but only the symbols on the battlefield, this completely slipped.... Bugger - I really liked this approach to at least partially tackle the Allied command problem. So much for the learning process
It may have influenced the game a bit I reckon, but hey, it's 'alternate history', just that a few more things were different here than in real life.
Looks like the Allies will have some glorious moments up north. Next turn there are some good moves that can be made. Waiting eagerly to see if I´m right.
Well done again Henrik and keep it up.
Andreas E. Gebhardt
So, here in all the glory, the situation at the end of the day as both generals fall into an uneasy sleep:
Thank you all for reading!
To be continued…..
Thanks to BOTH generals for this formidable report.
Should the sun of Austerlitz gleam on you both!!