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.

Friday, 4 March 2016

Polemos General de Divsion: Haslach 1805

To get back into the swing of gaming after the recent hiatus, I set-up a Polemos General de Division game.  The scenario was a version of the Battle of Haslach-Jungingen adapted from a scenario first published in Miniature Wargames Issue 338:

I believe that Miniature Wargames' digital subscribers can get access to the edition online if you don't have a hard copy. 

Adapted for Polemos GdD, the forces involved were:

IMPERIAL FRANCE
C-in-C: Gen Dupont (Competent)

Divisional Troops:
Brigade Marchand:
2 x Veteran SK2 Infantry
3 x Veteran SK1 Infantry

Brigade Rouyer:
3 x Veteran SK1 infantry

Divisional Artillery:
1 x 8lb Foot Bty

Sahuc's Cavalry Brigade:
2 x Trained Dragoons

IMPERIAL AUSTRIA
C-in-C: FM Mack (Plodding)

D'Este's Cavalry Brigade:
1 x Veteran Cuirassiers
1 x Veteran Light Cavalry

Schwartzenburg's Division:
1 x General (Capable)
6 x Trained SK0 Infantry
2 x Raw SK0 Infantry
1 x 6lb Foot Bty

Werneck's Division:
 1 x General (Plodding)
3 x Trained SK0 Infantry
3 x Raw SK0 Infantry
1 x 6lb Foot Bty

Von Reich's Division:

 1 x General (Plodding)
3 x Trained SK0 Infantry
3 x Raw SK0 Infantry
1 x 6lb Foot Bty

As Polemos uses 1 base = 1 battalion, the order of battle given above doesn't exactly reflect the numbers of battalions actually present.  Here, the strong French Bns have been given a couple of extra bases, the Austrians have lost a couple.

THE SET-UP:

The village of Jungingen is top-centre, the village of Haslach bottom-right.  The French forces are around Haslach, the Austrian are approaching from the left.  Rouyer's Brigade is in front of Haslach and has the divisional artillery attached; Marchand's brigade is approaching Jungbach whilst the Dragoons of Sahuc are just above Haslach.

View from behind Haslach and Rouyer's Brigade of the Austrians.  The Danube bounds the battlefield.

Marchand's Brigade ready to seize Jungingen before the Austrans can get there.

View from behind the Austrian right: von Reisch's Division to the right, Werneck's Division to the left

View of Jungingen from the Austrian left:  FM Mack in the centre, Schwartzenburg leading his columns to the left
A top-down shot: French at the top around the two villages, Austrians in two distinct wings at the bottom
THE AUSTRIANS ADVANCE

FM Mack decided to advance on both flanks simultaneously in order to stretch the French defenders as widely as possible and prevent the French holding significant reserves.  Mack has switched his cavalry from the left to the right, expecting to find them more useful in the more open ground near Haslach.  Dupont mirrors this and sends Sahuc's Dragoons to stiffen Rouyer's Brigade.  Marchand's Brigade has occupied both Jungingen and the surrounding woodland to oppose the Austrian left flank (top), comprising Schwartzenburg's Division.


Same position, different view of the advancing Austrian right wing, seen from Haslach.  The French artillery was very effective in disrupting the Austrian advance here.

And the position on the other flank, seen from behind Jungingen.

And this time, seen from the perspective of the Austrian right

Dupont, perhaps surprisingly but showing aggression and boldness, disrupted the Austrian deployment by a sharp advance out of the wood on the part of the French light infantry.  The Austrians retire shaken.
 THE MAIN CLASH
After a long deployment period, FM Mack launched his main assault on his right flank, feeling that the position around Jungingen would prove impossibly difficult, as opposed to merely very difficult.  The Austrian infantry were everywhere beaten back with heavy loss, except in the very centre of the line, where the Austrians captured the French guns!! They were immediately driven back but the gunners had been killed or scattered and the French would be without artillery support for the remainder of the battle.

Same position, seeing more closely the shaken Austrian battle line after it failed to push back the French veterans

Same position, slightly differen shot.

Dupont, seixing his advantage, ordered Rouyer's Brigade to advance in their turn.  Further damage is caused across the Austrian line which is buckling, but not yet broken.  However, the backs of a couple of routing Austrian infantry battalions can be seen behind the Austrian main line.

Dupont had a strategic choice to make at this point: reform his defence and wait for the next attack or continue his attack and try and defeat the Austrian right flank.  For better or worse, trusting in the great superiority of his veteran infantrymen, he chose to press home the attack...and is rewarded with both success and failure!  Leading the central battalion in person, his charge has routed another Austrian battalion and pushed back more as they reel away.  However, the left flanking battalion has been stopped in its tracks by bloody volleys of musketry and is now wavering...

The gap in the Austrian line seen more closely

"Un contre-dix"?  Not quite, but Dupont is leading his infantrymen to glory as the Austrian column recoils in the face of French bayonets!
Refusing to panic, von Reisch concentrates on his front and routs the French veteran battalion in front of him.  The French left is turned!  Half of Sahuc's Dragoons (bottom of picture, on the road) face this new threat.  However, further along the road one can see the mass of red counters indicating the shaken Austrian battalions as Dupont pushes them back further...

And French defeat!!  Dupont's charging battalion loses impetus and raw Kaiserliks put enough fire into the battalion to cause it to waver...and retreat!  This in turn demoralized the remaining French infantry, even though Marchand's Brigade has easily beaten back Schwartzenburg's desultory attacks on Jungingen

Apologies for this shot!  But it shows the Austrian cavalry unleashed and the French Dragoons are now in rout, ending the battle in favour of the Austrians!

THE OUTCOME:
Although the Austrians lost far more men than the French in this encounter, they did manage to inflict just enough casualties on the French to give themselves a chance and aided by a little luck, were victorious.  The key moments were Werneck's division surviving two brigade morale rolls (each with a 33% chance of failure) whereas Rouyer' brigade failed its morale check (again, 33% chance of failure).  However, whereas the loss of Werneck's division would not have been fatal to the Austrians, the loss of a single brigade was fatal to the French: there is a "50% rule" in General de Division which means that when half the brigades of a division are spent, then the whole division becomes so...so Marchand's brigade was hors de combat too even though it had never been in any danger from the Austrians, whose attacks they had beaten off with ease.  It is debateable whether Dupont chose the right option, but it isn't certain he didn't.  Not attacking would have conceded to Mack the right to prepare further assaults of the kind which cost the French their artillery and the French infantry was so superior that it was probably a risk worth taking.  I feel that Mack's strategy - the reverse of the historical one - was the correct one.  He needed luck to win, but he needed to create the circumstances which would allow him to have some luck.  Getting drawn into an attack on Jungingen would probably have been no more successful than it was on the day.

GAME NOTES:
A very enjoyable game - perhaps surprisingly so.  The infantry modifiers against the Austrians here are fearsome, varying from a basic +3/+4 against upto +6!  On an opposed D6 roll!!  The only way to partially mitigate this is to use quite tight, solid formations to try and get as many flanking and supporting bonuses as possible...and hope for one or two bits of luck and exploit them.  And this is how the game panned out.  In most of the infantry combats, the Austrians were hammered but by using enough attacks, there was bound to be a couple which defied the odds.  And so it proved!  However, I do feel that the bonuses for being veteran and penalties for being raw may be too extreme in Polemos GdD.  A four-point swing (+2 for veterans, -2 for raw) seems just too big,
Artillery is relatively much easier to attack in GdD, because it is hard to get the same number of defensive bonuses, so if you can isolate the artillery from its supports, it is almost always worth ago.  It is the one set of rules which actually encourages you to keep your artillery at a bit of a distance, whereas most seem to actually encourage you to move it really close to get into canister range,
Yet again, the brigade morale roll is key to GdD and proved the difference between success and failure.  I think it reflects the morale of subordinate generals as much as that of the men in the units involved.
The game was played out on a 4'x3' board.  The figures are all from Baccus 6mm Napoloenics and the buildings are mainly from Total Battle Miniatures.

 

3 comments:

  1. This looks brilliant. A very well presented battle. Great. I have also wondered a bit about veteran and raw bonuses but maybe they are right.Just a thought: have you considered cutting your counters in half? It an be easily done with a pair of modelling slippers and they are less obtrusive. I use half winks to mark everything.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much. And thanks for the great idea. I will do it or something like it. I have been meaning to get a better solution for shaken markers and tempo points that bright plastic counters for ages!

      Delete
  2. Also instead of using two counters for twice shaken units I put a blob of paint on one side and just turn it over...but I don't actually use slippers to cut them in half. I use clippers but my kindle always thinks it knows best.

    ReplyDelete