Wednesday, 7 October 2009

The Battle of Halle


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.


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


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.


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 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.

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