Heretical Gaming is my blog about my gaming life; currently concentrating on a re-fight of the entire Peninsular War, but with the odd foray into ancient, medieval and WW2 battles.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Miniature Wargames Scenario - Battle of Teugn-Hausen

The latest issue of Miniature Wargames features a Command challenge scenario written by veteran wargamer Steve Jones based on the Battle of Teugn-Hausen, which took place during the war between Napoleonic France and Imperial Austria in 1809.  I've never gamed a battle from this campaign before but I've been fascinated by it ever since I first read a copy of Petre's Napoleon and the Archduke Charles many moons ago.

Details of the scenario can obviously be found in the magazine, but they basically pit an Austrian Corps consisting of two infantry divisions and a small vanguard division against a French Corps of two infantry divisions.  The second French division arrives as soon as serious combat begins.  The Austrians have a little cavalry and the French have none, but unlike in many rules, the French are not unduly penalized by this in Polemos.


The battlefield looking South to North.  The Austrian main body is concentrated around the southern village (Hausen), whilst St. Hilaire's Division of Davout's III Corps is concentrated around the northern village (Teugn).  Vukassovich's small Austrian Vanguard Division occupies the ridge between the two villages and the two main wooded hilly areas.

Another shot of the set-up.

The view from the Austrian grenzers' position on the central ridge, looking down into Teugn.

Same position.

The French attack.  The French try to use their superior infantry to force an early advantage against the Austrians.  The Austrian grenzers have held tenaciously in the wood however and driven the French back.  However, the French musket fire has shaken the Austrian battery which has failed to halt their advance.  The Austrians try and rush their main body forward to support the grenzers and hussars before the French take the ridge.

A wider shot of the same situation.

The Austrian infantry force the French infantry back in the woods (top-left).  However, the advancing French infantry has captured, killed or driven off the Austrian gunners and forced back the Austrian Hussars and some of their infantry.  The Austrian general, St Julien,has desperately reformed his position halfway down the slope.  The other Austrian commander, Lusignan, has manoeuvred two battalions into position to make a flank attack on the French - who will seize the initiative?

French defeat!! To no-one's surprise, the French seized the initiative and attacked the shaken Austrian Hussars.  However, for the first of several times during the game, Davout badly fluffed a key die roll and shockingly, the Hussars held and their carbine fire and resolution caused the advancing French veterans to hesitate!  This gave time for the Austrian infantry to carry out their flank attack, which saw the French bundled back down the slope in considerable disorder.  The Austran Hussars then charged and routed the first battalion, but were in turn broken by a volley from the second.  The French infantry had had enough however and continued their retreat to the north.

A similar event occurred in the neighbouring woods.  The initial French attack was carried out with skill and elan and drove the Austrians back, but their resolution in turn led to the infliction of enough musketry casualties to allow the Austrian reserves to carry out a most effective counter-attack...

Which saw the Kaiserliks send the French fleeing back through the trees, their battle over.


A wider view of the position at this moment.  St. Hilaire's division is in some disarray, but he has hopes that his flanking maneouvre may change the situation radically.

But nothing is going right for the French now.  Their veteran light infantry has been held and driven back by the Austrian musketeers!

Fighting in something resembling the British style, the Austrians follow up their musketry with a charge...whilst the Austrians charge down the central slope (top right) to try and finish off the remainder of St. Hilaire's Division.

The French light infantry in precipitous retreat on the left.  The French infantry on the right have actually held and one battalion, led by Davout in person is advancing up the hill.  This has finished off the Grenzers who are now in full retreat, but the cumulative lossed have broken St. Hilaire's division and worse, the French army's morale.

A closer look at Davout's spectacular last-minute triumph, too late to affect the issue of the battle but enough to restore some pride (and break at least the Austrian Vanguard Division).  The grenzers can be seen coming back up the hill in their brown tunics and blue trousers.  The red counters, as ever, mark shaken units.  Davout's command group can be seen behind the French battalion to the left of the picture.

Another shot of the same situation.

The position on the Austrian right (East).  Friant's Division never quite got to grips with St Julien's brigades before the rest of the the French packed up.
Game Notes: An excellent scenario which I thoroughly enjoyed - I was quite disappointed that the battle led to a relatively early French defeat, but my miniature Davout's ability to fluff the key rolls was uncanny!  The French have a key advantage in this scenario - their infantry are much better.  In Polemos terms, they are 'Veteran SK2 or SK1' against Austrian musketeers mainly rated as 'Trained SK0'.  This basically translates as a +3/+4 advantage on opposed D6 die rolls (the basic combat mechanic of the game).  The Austrians maximized their use of the slopes, the woods and mutual support - and were bold enough to take a gamble on offensive action when the opportunity presented itself - and, in this game, were duly rewarded.  It was a pity that Davout failed his force morale role when St. Hilaire's division was spent - another key failed roll.

There was a long discussion on The Wargames Website recently concerning historical movement rates.  Polemos doesn't really specify time scales, but I think that based on the move distances involved a turn should be considered to be about 5 minutes.  The game took 15 turns overall, which seems about right for essentially a divisional action (since the French only got one division into action).

As ever,  I really enjoyed using the Polemos Napoleonic rules and they continue to give good games: find my review here.

Update: Austrian Napoleonic expert Dave Hollins  has kindly let me know that the terrain is wrong for an historical refight of this battle.  I have very roughly sketched the very nice scenario map in the actual magazine so that anyone viewing the blog can see what the terrain should look like according to the scenario writer as I only approximately followed the guidelines (to fit with the first hills that came out of the box...):

Grey rectangles = towns; black lines = roads; grey shapes = woods; green/brown lines = contours

7 comments:

  1. Unfortunately, your terrain is wrong. The road runs over the Hausen ridge and then down the side of the ridge pointing towards Teugn. The second ridge (towards Teugn) doesn't reach as far as shown - this is nonsense from Arnold's Crisis book. Grant Eliott wrote an article on a T-H refight in the defunct Age of Napoleon mag about 1998 and there is Ian Castle's 1996 Osprey, both of which show the ground correctly and with the information drawn from Krieg 1809 Vol.1 . The tree line ios part way up the Hausen slope on the village side.
    Dave Hollins

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  2. Thanks for pointing that out Dave - probably the errors are from my cavalier approach to setting up the terrain rather than any fault of the scenario writer - I have sketched what the terrain set-up was in the magazine and added that to the bottom of the blogpost. When I come to re-fight the battles of the 1809 campaign sometime in the next few years, I shall certainly check with the sources you mention to use as accurate a terrain as possible.

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  3. Hi, regarding the terrain; the scenario is just based on the actual battle and both terrain and OOB are fudged to an extent to give a game easily adapted to other armies. The scenario presents similar command challenges but did not attempt a 100% accurate reconstruction. I hope this doesn't detract from your enjoyment of the game, which looks great.
    Best wishes, Steve.

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  4. Steve Jones does make it clear that the scenario is "loosely based on" Teugn-Hausen. It is not intended to be a direct historical simulation.

    Thanks for the excellent battle report and I'm glad that the scenario did what it was supposed to do – give you a fun and entertaining game.

    Henry Hyde

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  5. Thanks for your comments Steve and Henry. As you say, the scenario is clearly intended to be 'based upon' and I took it as such and enjoyed the game greatly on that basis.

    But I am grateful to Dave for helpfully pointing adjustments to make and further information to use should I aim to stage a re-fight more closely tied to the historical details.

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  6. If you are interested in photos from the actual battlefield, please email me. I have a bunch of photos from two visits and walks to the field in 2008 and 2012. dkline1863@aol.com

    Doug

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  7. Thanks for the very kind offer Doug.

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