Monday, July 30, 2012

Campaign Move 6

1600 to 2000 15 August 1813

Marshal Victor – Commander 2nd French Corps

Victor fought an aggressive fighting retreat towards the river Saale.

He held his right flank with a well timed cavalry charge against the Russian cavalry, infantry and artillery moving through the high ground there.   As the artillery unlimbered on the edge of the hill to support the main 9th division advance, they were charged by a regiment of French dragoons.   The gunners were cut down and the supporting cavalry and infantry routed.

Despite this there was nothing Victor could do to hold his left flank.   3rd division were attacked in front by 8th division and on their left by 6th division.   Dubreton held the woods on his left to the very end, but his centre crumbled under the pressure.

4th division in the centre tried to retreat when it became obvious that the battle was lost.  They sent their cavalry brigade to the rear to hold the vital bridge.   This left their infantry to attempt a fighting retreat, but one regiment after another was broken and routed.

At the bridge all was chaos.   A mass of routed French infantry and cavalry crowded the bridge and make the task of the French cavalry sent to hold the bridge all the more difficult.

Meanwhile 6th Russian division were fighting to reach the bridge and prevent the French escape.
Their infantry were blocked by the French infantry holding the woods.   But their cavalry pushed ahead for the bridge.

The fought two cavalry melee to reach the bridge, and their victory added to the confusion amongst the French fugitives.   By late afternoon the Russian cavalry had reached the bridge, and it was all over for 2nd French corps.

At 1800 Victor decided that all hope was lost.  If he continued to fight he would only suffer more casualties.   Each attempt to form a rear guard has failed.  His formed regiments were competing with the routed mass in a race for the bridge, which was now in Russian hands.

This is the first time in the whole campaign that a full corps was forced to surrender.

Napoleon is now faced with a difficult decision.  His army hold the west bank of the river Saale, which is a strong defensive position.   Retreat will be difficult, as his army will be greatly outnumbered once the Russians have crossed the river.  

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Battle of Possneck Day 2 – Move 10

1700-1800  15th August 1813

Table at start of Move 10

Time is running out for the French
More than half of their regiments have been cut down, are in rout or shaken
Because the Russians are so close they have to sacrifice formed infantry to cover the retreat/rout
16th hussars alone are in position to hold the bridge, and they have 10% casualties

Russian corps at the end of Move 10

3rd Russian Corps
Russian infantry and cavalry surge ahead and mask their artillery
It is now just a race for the bridge

Rudzewitsch (left) advance and bypass French rearguard regiment who surrender
The remainder of the enemy have retreated
French right wing has collapsed

Woroncow (centre left) advance towards bridge
The French centre has collapsed
There is no formed enemy to attack

Melnikow (centre right) has bypassed the woods and is nearing the bridge
4th cuirassiers charge 16th hussars in the flank and cut them down
4th cuirassiers join 4th dragoons at the bridge

Galitzin (right) has surrounded 9th French in the woods and they surrender
Remainder of division advance towards bridge
French left wing has collapsed and there are no formed enemy to fight

French corps at end of Move 10

2nd French Corps
Victor has failed to reach the bridge before the Russians
More than half of his corps are cut down, in rout or shaken

Dubreton (left) starts the round with just 3CP
His last formed regiment is surrounded in the woods and surrender
The remainder of his division have been cut down, are in rout or are shaken

Vial (centre) has 4 CP for this move
Artillery and 15th infantry both retire
Vial moves to command range of 16th hussars and orders them to charge 4th dragoons
The result is a draw, with both regiments disordered
4th Russian cuirassiers then charge 16th hussars and cut them down

Maison (right) orders 3rd dragoons and 8th infantry to about turn and march for the bridge
7th infantry are left to form the rearguard, but are soon surrounded and forced to surrender
7th dragoons (on the hill) are out of command range and make their own way back to the bridge

Russian cavalry reach the bridge

Russian cuirassiers and dragoons on the left have reached the bridge
The mass of French cavalry and infantry are all in rout and must avoid the enemy
The limbered artillery will be cut down if they do not surrender
There is now no possibility of a French retreat
Marshal Victor orders 2nd French corps to surrender to avoid their complete destruction

Game Notes
2nd French corps has ceased to exist as a fighting force
There are still a few formed infantry and cavalry regiments, but they are vastly outnumbered
If they attempt to stand and fight they will be destroyed
The only bridge has been captured by the Russians, so retreat is now impossible

If this were not a campaign game we would have finished it on move 8, and agreed that the French had lost and must surrender.

Because it is a campaign game we have carried on, but with each move more and more French regiments are routed or cut down.  

The French made a good recovery in the opening moves to react to the surprise Russian attack.

But the arrival of 6th division on the open French left flank was decisive.
The French had no reserves to counter 6th division, and were now outnumbered four to three
Worse still there was nothing to stop 6th division from reaching the river and taking the bridge

Wargame rules can be found at

Table at end of battle

Game Result
The French started the battle with     ;           9600 infantry, 1800 cavalry and 1100 gunners
They lost to battle casualties             :           4700 infantry,  700 cavalry and 800 gunners
The remainder surrendered                :           4900 infantry, 1100 cavalry and 300 gunners           

The Russians started the battle with  :           9600 infantry, 1400 cavalry and 1200 gunners
They were reinforced with                 :           2900 infantry, 700 cavalry and 400 gunners          
They lost to battle casualties                        1900 infantry, 1100 cavalry and 400 gunners

The result is a major Russian victory
The loss of 2nd corps is a disaster from the French

The Russian commander will have to nominate one of his three divisions to handle the large number of prisoners

6th Russian division will cease to be under command of 3rd corps and will await orders from their own corps commander

Battle of Possneck Day 2 – Move 9

1600-1700  15th August 1813
 Table at start of Move 9

Left – 2nd French corps are starting to give way
Right – 3rd Russian corps press home the attack 

 Russian corps at the end of Move 9

3rd Russian Corps
Russian left is in a shambles after French dragoons charge hill
Centre is secure, right is pushing ahead towards the bridge

Rudzewitsch (left) now on Attack orders
French dragoons charge shaken cavalry on the hill and rout them
11th infantry join them and both are cut down by the dragoons
The remainder of 7th division break the centre of 4th French division

Woroncow (centre left) is still on Engage orders
His artillery have cause havoc in the close packed enemy ranks
2nd infantry win their firefight with 5th Westphalian, who lose 30% casualties and rout
14th French  infantry and 11th hussars fail their morale and join the rout

Melnikow (centre right) is now on attack orders
8th infantry win skirmish fight with 10th French, who lose 10% casualties and rout
4th cuirassiers charge shaken 12th French, who fail to form square in time and are cut down

Galitzin (right)  orders his infantry and artillery to concentrate on the woods
He sends his cavalry ahead to secure the bridge over the river Saale

French corps at end of Move 9

2nd French Corps
Victor desperately tries to withdraw his divisions back to the river

Dubreton (left) has lost more than half of his division
Both cavalry regiments are in rout and making for the bridge and safety
One of his infantry regiments have been cut down, and a second is in rout
He remaining two regiments are fighting in and near the woods, and in danger of being cut off
His artillery has withdrawn towards the bridge, but has no infantry or cavalry support.

Vial (centre) has sent one cavalry regiment to hold the bridge
The remainder of his division is falling apart
Two of his infantry regiments are in rout and a third is shaken
Only 15th regiment on the hill is retreating in good order

Maison (right) is holding his own, despite heavy casualties
7th dragoons have rallied after cutting down the Russian gunners
They charge, and rout, the Russian hussars and break the supporting infantry
7th infantry win their firefight and rout 9th Russian
Despite this the remainder of the division has to fall back towards the river

Game Notes
Both sides are taking heavy casualties
When one regiment fails its morale and breaks, all friends within 4” also have to test their morale
Because most regiments already have casualties it is not unusual for the rout to spread

6th Russian division had brushed aside the weak French cavalry and are pushing towards the bridge
Only the French held woods is holding them back.
The infantry and cavalry have been ordered to take the woods and fall on the French left flank
The cavalry have been ordered to bypass the woods and secure the bridge

A mass of broken French infantry and cavalry regiments are making for the bridge and the relative safety of the west bank.

Rule 18 covers morale

Wargame rules can be found at

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Campaign Move 5

1200 to 1600 15 August 1813

General Wintzingerode – Commander 3rd Russian Corps

General Wintzingerode had not been warned that 6th Russian division had been ordered to “march to the sound of the guns” until they approached his right flank along the Domburg road just before midday.

At this stage the battle was inconclusive.   The French had recovered well from their initial shock, and were holding their own just west of Possneck.   The weakness of the Russian cavalry had prevented Wintzingerode from taking full advantage of his surprise attack.

As the Russians approached the main French battle line a series of skirmish engagements broke out.   Behind this screen the Russian infantry moved into position ready to launch their main attack against the French centre.   Then word arrived that 6th Russian corps had made contact with the Russian right flank.

Wintzingerode had two choices.

He could order 6th division to continue behind his battle line and form a reserve in the centre.   This would strengthen his main attack, and ensure that the French would be destroyed if their held their ground.   However he would have to halt his attack until 6th division were in position.   This might not be achieved before nightfall, in which case the French could withdraw over the river under cover of darkness.

Or he could order 6th division to attack along his right flank.   There was very little space, and the area was dominated by the French held woods.   Just west of the woods French cavalry were positioned to delay any advance.  

Wintzingerode met general Galitzin at the head of 6th division and requested him to drive west and take the only bridge over the river Saale.  If he could achieve this before nightfall 2nd French corps would be lost and would have to surrender.

Galitzin ordered his cavalry to drive off the French cavalry to allow his division to approach the woods.   His leading infantry brigade, supported by the divisional artillery, would attack the woods and secure the flank.   The division would then push on to secure the bridge.

By mid afternoon his cavalry had routed the enemy cavalry and his infantry were exchanging musket fire with the French in the woods.   But this fighting slowed his deployment, and time was running out.   He was confident that if he could reach the bridge he could take it.  It would be dark in four hours, his infantry could not reach, and secure, the bridge in that time.

He ordered his cavalry brigade to push on to the bridge without infantry or artillery support.   They would reach the bridge in time, but would be powerless in the face of formed infantry in square.  If the French had one or two regiments at the bridge they could still escape at the last moment.