Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Summary of Halle Campaign


11 July 1813 - end of campaign



General
This campaign is part of the larger 1813 Campaign. It covers the period 17 June to 11 July 1813 and the fighting in central Germany between First French Army and the Russians. It has been done as a separate blog in order to keep all of the relevant reports together and to avoid making the main campaign blog too long and complicated.

We started the campaign on 24 August 2009 and finished on 14 October 2009


Summary of the Campaign
The allied success in northern Germany has left Blucher in a very exposed position. Although he has captured Magdeburg, his left flank is open to an attack by Napoleon’s First French Army. He demands that Kutuzov bring the Russian Army forward from Dresden to Halle to protect his flank.

Kutuzov is less than eager to march forward against Napoleon in person. He has learned during the previous year just how dangerous that could be. However his Army has been allowed to rest for two weeks, while Blucher has borne the brunt of the fighting. His corps have been reinforced and there is no excuse not to move forward to support Blucher.

For two weeks Napoleon has been expecting a Russian advance in support of Blucher.
He has been unable to join the army due to political and administrative problems in Paris. On 10 june he diverts reinforcements from the Imperial Guard to 3rd Corps which is short of a full division of infantry. By 16 June 3rd corps is ready to take the field, and is in reserve at Erfurt. The Imperial Guard will remain at Fulda to await reinforcements.

On 17 June the Russian army start their march from Dresden to the river Saale, and Napoleon departs from Paris to join the Imperial Garde at Fulda. The Halle campaign has started.

On 22 June Kutuzov enters Leipzig and his army take up position to cover the river Saale bridges from Halle to Neustadt. The western bank is only lightly held by the French as they await the arrival of Napoleon with reinforcements.

The first battle of the campaign is at Neustadt on 23 June when the French and Russians both race to take Neustadt. Russians reach it first, but are attacked before they can take possession. In a lengthy fight for the town the French fail to evict the Russians and have to retreat during the night

The following day filled with confidence after their victory at Neustadt, Kutuzov orders an attack on Gera, to deny the French their only bridgehead on west bank of the river Saale. It is a success and the following day the Russians cross to the west bank.


On 25 June Napoleon arrives at the Saale and immediately commits the Imperial Garde to retake Weimar and force the Russians back across the river Saale. In a close fought battle the 4th Russian corps held Weimar right to the end. The garde cavalry were beaten by the Russian cuirassiers, and three of the four garde infantry brigades were shaken. As night fell the sole garde infantry brigade finally pushed the Russians out of Weimar. A relieved Napoleon had halted the Russian advance and regained control of the west bank of the river Saale.

On 28 June Napoleon orders the Westphalians to cross river Saale and attack Lutzen, but there are unable to defeat Russians. After a fierce battle the Westphalians retire to Halle.

Unwilling to admit defeat Napoleon shifts his army south to outflank the Russian line along the east bank of the river Saale. They cross the river and occupy Neustadt, which causes Kutuzov to abandon the Leipzig road and move south to secure the road to Dresden. The result is a battle at Rohenburg on 1 June. Once more the French are beaten and forced to retire to the west bank.

Kutuzov is convinced that the French will now retreat west, and orders his entire army to cross the Saale on the Leipzig road. The French garrison of Halle retreat and the Russians garrison the town. However Napoleon has been reorganizing his army for one final throw of the dice, and on 7 June he attacks Halle.

The final battle of the campaign is a complete victory for the French. The Russian army fall back east and rally around Leipzig. However Napoleon’s army has taken a severe pounding during the campaign, and is in no condition to resume hostilities. He contents himself with holding the river Saale bridges, and both armies settle down to await resupply and reinforcements.

The campaign has been a limited success for the French. They have held the Russians on the line of the river Saale. They have also extended the line of the Second Army to the north on the river Elbe. But in doing so they have suffered heavy casualties and are in need of a considerable rest before Napoleon can hope to continue the struggle.

The Russian army is also in line with the Prussians to the north. The great advance has been brought to a complete standstill. But they have both achieved a number of victories against the French, and require only a good rest, reorganization and resupply to be ready to resist any further French advance.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

The Battle of Halle


CAMPAIGN BACKGROUND

Tactical Map 7 July 1813



Halle is a strategic town where the Leipzig and Magdeburg roads both cross the river Saale.


Overconfident after a string of victories, Kutuzov orders his whole army to occupy Halle in preparation for an advance on Kassel.


Given the recent defeats most generals would have retired to KasselFulda to regroup, but Napoleon was not most generals. He worked night and day to rally his weary troops and raise their morale sufficient for one last attempt.


WARGAME


Russians deployed along Naumburg road, French enter left


Top of the table is north to Magdeburg

Left road to Alstadt

Right road to Lutzen

Bottom road to Naumburg


Map squares

D1, E1, F1

D2, E2, F2

D3, F3, F3


Game objective is to capture Halle

French Army (Paul) enters along left edge of table

Russian Army (Jan) deployed in Halle and along Naumburg-Magdebug road

BATTLE REPORT


French left advance towards Halle

Both sides started the game on blinds, and the French were quickly spotted and had to deploy. It took longer to spot the stationary Russians, not least the blind (containing no figures) to the left of Halle. This meant that the Russians had the advantage of putting their figures on the table after the French.


French right and the gap in the Russian line left by the “blind “

The French have created a cavalry division from the guard chasseurs and horse grenadiers and they have advanced to recce the enemy position. On the right the garde is approaching Halle, on the left 3rd corps are deploying having crossed the hill.

The Russians are now fully deployed, and the gap in the centre where the “blind” had been is clearly visible. Unfortunately there is no French infantry available to support the cavalry and exploit the gap. The cavalry division alone are too weak to take on two Russian corps.




The Russian Left

4th Russian corps are in position on the left, but 3rd corps are still approaching between them and Halle. Each corps has a brigade of cavalry, which are sufficient to keep the French division from advancing.


Loss of Russian guns

2nd Russian corps hold Halle. As the French approach they move their artillery and cavalry to threaten the enemy flank. Their artillery advance too far, and come within charge range of the French cavalry, who make their morale and Opportunity Charge. The gunners fail their morale, are unable to seek shelter in the town and are wiped out. Their supporting cavalry are well placed to punish the French cavalry, but they also fail their morale, are Shaken and unable to charge the French.


French assault Halle


1st and 2nd French corps are fighting for Halle. On the right the Russian garrison has been pushed back into the centre of the town section, the buildings have been removed until the house fighting has been decided. On the left the French artillery are moving forward. Napoleon is riding to the left flank to issue new orders to the Westphalians.

Russian left flank falling apart

Part of the Russian left flank has broken and is in rout. The French corps opposite them were on "hold" orders, but have just received new orders to "engage" so next move they will attempt to exploit the Russian loss of morale.


French right

3rd French corps (nearest camera) now have orders to engage enemy, and are moving forward into the gap left by routing Russian infantry.

On their left the reserve cavalry have charged the Russian guns near Halle, the Russian cavalry will hold them at bay to cover the retreat.

On their left 3rd French corps have taken the nearest town section and are engaging the supporting Russian infantry.

French Left

The Russians, nearest the camera, have withdrawn behind the hill crest, and the Westphalians are moving forward to engage them.

On their right the Garde are attacking the nearest section of Halle, and the garrison are shaken. Their supports have already broken and ran away.

EFFECT ON CAMPAIGN

At last a convincing victory for Napoleon. The Russians have suffered heavy casualties, and will withdraw back over the river Saale at nightfall.

However in earlier battles the French have also suffered heavy casualties, and are in not condition to risk another assault over the river.

Both sides will settle for holding their side of the river. Napoleon has managed to secure the flank of Second French Army at Magdeburg, but has failed to beat the Russians and move north to attack the Prussians.

GAME NOTES

Game played September 2009.
Paul commanded the French.
Jan commanded the Spanish.

As a result of this game the fighting abilities of all the armies have been rewritten.

Class A for class, firing and skirmish have been greatly reduced.

Most infantry are now about three quarters B class and one quarter C class. Only rare exceptions, such as the Imperial Garde, are class A.

Combat will in future be much more dependent on the luck of the dice, and skirmish fire much less likely to be as effective.

Monday, 28 September 2009

The Battle of Rohenburg - Second Game


CAMPAIGN BACKGROUND


Tactical Map 1 July 1813


Rohenburg is a small village on the Dresden road east of the river Saale.

3rd Russian corps hold the village, and Kutuzov is leading 2nd corps to support them.

Napoleon is leading 2nd and 3rd French corps to take the village.


WARGAME



Table at start of game Russians top, French bottom

Top road to Zeitz.

Left road to Gera

Right road to Dresden

Bottom road to Greiz


Map squares

F7, G7, H7

F8, G8, H8

F9, G9, H9


Game objective is to capture village of Rohenburg

2nd Russian corps (Jan) in and around town

3rd Russian corps (Jan) will enter top left

2nd French corps (Paul) will enter bottom left

3rd French corps (Paul) will enter bottom right


BATTLE REPORT


French advance

2nd French corps (nearest camera) have rolled good movement dice and reached the road ahead of the Russians

3rd French corps have swung around to approach the town from the west, to avoid marching on the Russian guns. They are on engage orders and are about to attack the Russian Cossacks.

French lose cavalry melee


The French won the first melee, on the right flank, against the Cossacks, who can be seen retreating on the hill far left.

However the guard grenadiers, who have low morale due to earlier casualties, have lost their melee and are routing (front right). In doing so they have shaken the square, which Napoleon is trying to rally.

Both French corps are approaching their objectives and are about to engage Rohenburg (right) and the Russian held farm (left)

Russians hold despite cannister fire from French artillery


Despite being outnumbered at Rohenburg the Russian infantry continue to hold. The French gunners have routed and the Russian artillery is moving into canister range.


The Russian infantry in the farm is also holding their own against two French brigades who are exchanging fire with them. The French artillery, now almost in canister range, have failed to inflict a single casualty.

The Russian cuirassiers have reformed after their melee and are awaiting orders to attack



French cavalry and artillery rout

Both French cavalry brigades are in rout, as also are the right hand artillery battery. One infantry brigade engaged at Rohenburg has also routed, and its neighbour is shaken. Napoleon is about to order a withdrawal before the Russians can take advantage of the situation.

EFFECT ON CAMPAIGN

The young guard, the second best corps in Napoleon’s army, was effectively finished as a fighting force, and Napoleon’s attempt to storm the river Saale has ended in defeat.


French casualties – 3 cavalry, 6 infantry, 2 gunners

Russian casualties – 3 cavalry, 3 infantry, 0 gunners


GAME NOTES


Game played September 2009.

Paul commanded the French.

Jan commanded the Russians.


This is the second time we have fought this game. Last time the Russians had a run of exceptionally good dice, and the French very poor ones, resulting in more serious damage to the young guard corps, who had already suffered severe casualties in an earlier battle.


The dice were again in favour of the Russians, though not so dramatically as the first game. However the French again rolled dismal dice, so the end result was the same. Still a victory for the Russians.


We changed the artillery rules considerably as a result of this game It highlighted that the rules favoured the artillery too much. In future the infantry will be the deciding factor with the guns only being very effective at close, or cannister, range.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

The Battle of Rohenburg - First Game

CAMPAIGN BACKGROUND


Tactical Map 1 July 1813


Rohenburg is a small village on the Dresden road east of the river Saale.


3 Russian corps hold the village, and Kutuzov is leading 2 corps to support them.


Napoleon is leading 2 and 3 French corps to take the village.


WARGAME

Start of game - Russians top and French bottom


Top road to Zeitz.

Left road to Gera

Right road to Dresden

Bottom road to Greiz


Map squares

F7, G7, H7

F8, G8, H8

F9, G9, H9


Game objective is to capture village of Neustadt

French (Paul) - 2 and 3 corps enter bottom

Russian (Jan) - 3 corps in Rohenburg, 2 corps enter top right

BATTLE REPORT


French Deployment

3 French corps (right) have abandoned the Greitz road and moved to their left to avoid the Russian artillery covering the road. They have swung around the farm and are now approaching Rohenburg from the west.

2 corps (left) have advanced north towards the Dresden road. The French now occupy a strong position between the two Russian corps.


Russian Deployment

Thursday, 17 September 2009

The Battle of Lutzen


CAMPAIGN BACKGROUND

Tactical Map 28 June 1813




Lutzen is a village east of the river Saale on the Leipzig road

The village is held by 1st Russian corps

14th Westphalian corps is ordered to cross the river and take the village


WARGAME

Table at start of game

Having kept the Russians guessing as they crossed the bridge and deployed on the west bank, the Westphalians move two brigades into the woods and advance the rest to their left.

Behind the woods the Russians are also redeploying to meet this development.


cavalry melee and infantry skirmish in woods


The French cavalry have beaten the Cossacks who retire shaken.


Both sides skirmish in the woods, but the Russians have more infantry support available.



The melee in the woods could go either way



Westphalian cavalry opportunity charge the Shaken Cossacks and rout them. Russian gunners take cover in the nearby square.


Westphalian infantry and artillery move up on the left, but have suffered casualties from enemy artillery before they were driven into the square.


The fight for the woods continue, but the Russians are gaining the upper hand. On the right one Westphalian brigade is in rout, on the left both brigades are shaken. There is only one infantry brigade in reserve.


French cavalry pin Russian reserves


Both sides have received casualties, but more Westphalian brigades are shaken than Russian. If their infantry can hold on until the artillery (on the right) can unlimber and fire on the square they might just pull it off.


If the Russians can rout just one enemy brigade it is likely that off the shaken ones will join them, and that would be the end of the Westphalian attack.


The result is very much in the balance.



Westphalians break and rout

The Russians moved first. The right hand brigade fired on the routing brigade forcing nearby shaken brigades to test morale. They also routed and the whole thing fell apart.

The Westphalian cavalry covered the retreat over the river Saale.

The Russians had also suffered heavy casualties, but remained in possession of Lutzen.


EFFECT ON CAMPAIGN

Things are looking rather bleak for Napoleon. Every attempt to cross the river has ended in failure. He must now decide whether to settle for holding the west bank, or to risk everything on a more determined attempt to cross the river.


GAME NOTES

Game played August 2009.
Paul commanded the Westphalians.
Jan commanded the Russians.

Another very close wargame, right up to the last move either side could have won.
These smaller games seem to suit us lately. They can be fought to an end in 12 moves or less. As we usually only have a couple of moves a day, a game lasts a week.

We are both very pleased with the rules. The close fought games seem to prove that the rules are working very well.

Russian casualties – 3 infantry, 3 cavalry, 0 gunners
Westphalian casualties – 6 infantry, 1 cavalry, 0 gunners

Each casualty results in a morale test.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

The Battle of Weimar


CAMPAIGN BACKGROUND


Tactical Map 26 June 1813


Weimar is a small town to the west of the river Saale


The Russians have crossed the river and occupied the empty town.


The French Army are is some disorder following their defeat at Gera and Neustadt, and it is down to the Imperial Garde to stop the Russian advance.


WARGAME

Photo 1 – Table at Start of Game



Top of the table road to Allstedt

Left road to Gebsee

Right road to Naumburg

Bottom road to Jena


Map squares

A4, B4, C4

A5. B5, C5

A6, B6, C6


Game objective is to capture town of Weimar

1st French corps (Jan) enters on Gebsee road (left)

4th Russian corps (Paul) is in position at Weimar



French garde approach Weimar



The 4th Russian corps is deployed in and around Weimar. The infantry are in line behind the town, with the cavalry on the left and the artillery on the right.

The Imperial Garde approach on either side of the Gebsee road. Their artillery are engaging the Russian guns and the cavalry (out of photo on left) pinning the Russian cuirassiers.


Russian gunners abandon guns and run away



The Garde artillery (left) have won the artillery duel and the Russian gunners rout.

In Weimar the Russian jager brigade has been replaced by the Pavlov brigade. The French grenadiers have take casualties but are still skirmishing for the town.


Russians hold Weimar and repulse Garde infantry

The Russians are proving no push over for the Imperial Garde.

In Weimar the Pavlov brigade have routed the Garde Grenadiers and shaken their supports. The Russian cuirassiers have charged the Garde Chasseurs and won the melee. Both are hurt, but the Chasseurs have 2 casualties and are Shaken, the Russian cuirassiers only 1 casualty and Disordered.

But it is still anyone’s battle. Two Russian brigades are in rout. The jager brigade has routed back through the rear section of the town, and the line brigade previously in support of the Russian artillery have also been routed by the Garde artillery.


Russian cuirassiers win cavalry melee

The battle for Weimar continues. Three French infantry brigades are Shaken and only one remains to take the town. They have broken the Pavlov grenadiers, who are routing into the town.


In the near ground the Russian cuirassiers have charged the Guard Chasseurs and broken them.



Start of the Russian rout

The Russian infantry and artillery are in rout. In the left hand village section the Pavlov grenadiers are also in rout and are about to take the one remaining Russian brigade with them. Fortunately the cuirassiers have won the cavalry melee and can cover the Russian retreat.

Only one French brigade is formed and, supported by the garde artillery, have taken the town.

EFFECT ON CAMPAIGN


Napoleon had to win this battle, and did – just. The garde have taken a battering, but they have halted the Russian advance and driven them back across the river Saale.


Kutuzov is unlikely to repeat an attack over the river, but will hold the east bank.



GAME NOTES


Game played August 2009.

Paul commanded the Russians.

Jan commanded the French.


This was the closest fought wargame we have had for a very long time. It went the full 12 turns and could have been won by either side right to the last round. Whoever went first would stand a big advantage, and it was Jan.


Her Army was on Attack orders and with only one brigade not Shaken or in Rout she had to continue to attack on the town. Both sides were equal and it was down to the dice throw. Jan threw 10 with two D6 and the Pavlov grenadiers routed, taking two Shaken brigades with them.


Russians casualties - 7 infantry, 2 cavalry, 2 gunners

French casualties - 8 infantry, 4 cavalry, 0 gunner


In our rules even one casualty results in a morale test, so these were heavy casualties.


Friday, 4 September 2009

The Battle of Gera


CAMPAIGN BACKGROUND


Tactical Map 25 May 1813

Gera is a large town on the east side of the river Saale on the Erfurt to Dresden road


It is the only town occupied by the French on the east bank


2nd Russian corps has been ordered to attack and take the town.



WARGAME



Photo 1 – French in Gera, Russians approach from right

Top road to Naumberg

Left road to Jena

Right road to Rohenburg

Bottom road to Neustadt


Map squares

D7, E7, F7

D8, E8, F8

D9, E9, F9


Game objective is to hold village of Gera

2nd French corps (Jan) already in Gera

2nd Russian corps (Paul) enters on Rohenburg (right) road


BATTLE REPORT

Photo 2 – Russian attack


The Russians have launched their attack from south of Gera, and the French are redeploying to meet it.


The leading Russian brigades are skirmishing with the garrison of Gera, whilst the supports and artillery move up in support




Photo 3 – Russians win fire fight on right of Gera


On the right of the town both sides have been engaged in a fire fight which the Russians have won and the French are in rout.


The garrison continues to hold and the Pavlov grenadier brigade is moving up to join the fight.




Photo 4 – Russians prepare to storm Gera


On the right two Russian brigades are moving past the town


In the centre the remaining two brigades are now in position and await orders to storm the town.


On the left the artillery and cavalry are engaged in a stand off



Photo 5 – Russian and French cavalry stand off


The cavalry are well matched and neither side is prepared to take the risk of a melee.


The artillery is also facing each other, the French square has withdrawn and the guns fire ineffectively at each other.


Photo 6 - French rout from Gera


The Russians have routed the garrison, but at the loss of one brigade, and have captured one section of the town. The remainder is still held by the French, but two of their brigades are in rout.


EFFECT ON CAMPAIGN


The French withdrew to the west bank under cover of darkness.


This is the second defeat for the French, and they have lost their only hold on the east bank of the river Saale.


The Russians are now deployed along the east bank from Lutzen to Neustadt and well placed to push across to the west bank.



GAME NOTES


Again the house fighting rules were well play tested.


We used the new rule where both are Disorganised following hand to hand or skirmish fighting in a town, and it worked well.



Monday, 31 August 2009

The Battle of Neustadt

CAMPAIGN BACKGROUND



Tactical Map 23 June 1813

Neustadt is a village just east of the river Saale south of Gera.


Neither side has garrisoned the village and both are determined to prevent the other from taking possession of it.


3rd corps from each army have orders to take and hold the village.


WARGAME



Photo 1 – French left and Russian right


Top of the table is north to Gera.

Left road to Saalfeld

Right road to Greiz

Bottom road to Gefeld


Map squares

D10, E10, F10

D11, E11, F11

D12, E12, F12


Game objective is to capture village of Neustadt

French corps (Paul) enters on Saafeld (left) road

Russian corps (Jan) enters on Greiz (right) road


BATTLE REPORT

Photo 2 – skirmish fight for Neustadt

Both sides have sent their best brigade to take the village. Both have suffered casualties, but both are fighting on. Cavalry and artillery are facing each other. It will be down to the luck of the dice which sides wins this part of the game.



Photo 3 – cavalry melee

With both sides on Engage orders, the cavalry had to enter into melee. The cuirassiers have routed the Guard Cossacks, but an infantry brigade in square prevents any French advance.


In Neustadt both sides have replaced the original infantry brigades, and the fight for the town continues.

Casualties on both sides are mounting.


Photo 4 – French attack


The French follow up their cavalry success by advancing their infantry on the right. A second infantry brigade moves towards the town and skirmishes with the garrison, who are now outnumbered two to one. All of the French brigades have received casualties.


The Russians replace the brigade in Neustadt and continue to keep their hold on the town.



Photo 5 – Nightfall

Despite casualties the Russians hold Neustadt until nightfall. They manage to keep the enemy cavalry at bay by forming square. On the opposite flank their 12 pound artillery outgun the French 9 pounder.

With nightfall the French withdraw behind the river Saale.

EFFECT ON CAMPAIGN

This was a pretty ineffective battle.

Both sides received heavy casualties and neither side could gain a distinct advantage.

The French withdrew back over the river, leaving the Russians in control of Neustadt.


GAME NOTES

Game played August 2009.
Paul commanded the French.
Jan commanded the Russian

The house fighting rules were used a lot, and proved up to the job.
In future both brigades will be Disordered when they interpenetrate