The French C-in-C felt strong enough to resist and offered battle just outside the city...
The Orders of Battle:
The French Army consisted of:
C-in-C Gen Prost
1st Division (Carrière - Decisive): 12 Tra SK1 Infantry, 3 Tra SK2 Infantry, 1 8lb Ft Bty
2nd Division (Delpierre - Decisive): 9 Tra SK1 Infantry, 3 Tra SK2 Infantry, 1 8lb Ft Bty
3rd Division (Dupraz - Plodding): 10 Tra SK1 Infantry, 3 Tra SK2 Infantry, 1 8lb Ft Bty
Guard Cavalry Brigade: 2 Vet/El Heavy Cav, 1 4lb Hs Bty
Dragoon Division (Maas - Decisive): 4 Trained Dragoons, 1 4lb Hs Bty
Lt Cavalry Division (Desmenez - Decisive): 3 Trained Lt Cav, 1 4lb Hs Bty
The Austro-Hanoverian Army consisted of:
C-in-C Prince Lauda
Grenadier Division (Muller - Plodding): 12 Vet SK1 Infantry, 2 12lb Ft Bty, 1 6lb Ft Bty
1st Division (Weissenberger - Plodding): 12 Tra SK1 Infantry, 1 Tra SK2 Infantry, 1 6lb Ft Bty
2nd Division (Wagner - Capable): 12* Tra SK1 Infantry, 1 Tra SK2 Infantry, 1 6lb Ft Bty
3rd Division (Bosnar - Capable): 11 Tra SK1 Infantry, 2* Tra SK2 Infantry, 1 6lb Ft Bty
Advance Guard Division (Manninger - Capable): 2 Raw SK2 Infantry, 2 Tra SK1 Infantry, 2 Veteran Lt Cav, 1 3lb Hs Bty
Rearguard Division (Pogatetz - Plodding): 2 Raw SK2 Infantry, 2 Tra SK1 Infantry, 2 Veteran Lt Cav, 1 3lb Hs Bty
Dragoon Division (Wawra - Capable): 4 Trained Dragoons
Independent Cavalry Brigade: 3 Trained Heavy Cavalry*
* = incorporating defecting Martinstaadt units.
|The Austrians advance towards the French holding various enclosed bits of farmland.|
|A view along the lines from the Austro-Hanoverian left/French right|
|Same thing, slightly different angle|
|A closer view of the French left|
|And of the French Right (Carrière's Division to the left of the picture,|
|From behind the French Right: Delpierre's Div to the left, Carrière's Div to the right, facing Weissenberger's Infantry and Wawra's Dragoons (top-right)|
|And the French left: Dupraz' Division faces Bosnar's Division (top-left) and Wagner's Division (top-centre)|
|A wider shot of the same, this time incorporating Desmenez's Light Cavalry Divsion facing Wallner's Cuirassiers, but with an infantry brigade in front of them|
|Same position, but from behind the French|
|One of Dupraz' brigades makes ready to recieve Bosnar's attack|
|A closer-in view of the face-off at the extreme French left|
|The first attack goes in on the extreme French left: mixed fortunes, but in general the French have held their position, and one of the Austrian infantry battalions has been shattered by musketry and is running away|
|Further combat has seem the shattering of both infantry brigades on this flank; note (centre-left) that the French have held against Bosnar's main attack and some Austrian infantry is routing, some severely shaken|
|And a proper view of that attack; some Austrian battalions were forced back, but overall the Austrian attack was stopped in its track with heavy casualties|
|A closer view of the same; the best results were achieved by the Martinstadt infantry on the left (with general)|
|A better view of the routing Austrian infantry; the defeat of this brigade led to the collapse of morale in Bosnar's entire division|
|Certainly not in a mood to give up yet, Prince Lauda orders his Cuirassier Division to charge before the French light cavalry has recovered|
|A closer view|
|Total success! The French guns are captured, the entirety of the French Cavalry is routed!|
|Prince Lauda has brought up the Rearguard Division to reinforce his right; aloong with the Martinstadt Heavy Cavalry Brigade; Dupraz re-orders his division to protect himself against this threat|
|Reacting, General Prost brings on his Dragoons to support the Guard Heavies|
|The main position; French troops are largely holding their initial positions, in-spite of the turning of their flank|
|However, Austrian Hussars, supported by light guns and infantry rout the French infantry battalion that had successfully counter-attacked Bosnar's Division|
|The third phase of the renewed Austrian assault: the infantry of the Rearguard Division storm forward in an attempt to break Dupraz' Division at its 'hinge'; one Austrian column is repulsed with loss, but some Grenzers break into the enclosures|
|The follow-up attakc breaks the shaken French Battalion, which leads to a subsequent collapse in the brigade, which leads to the collapse of Dupraz' Division...|
|The wider situation on the Frech Left/Austrian Right Flank: the French are turned!|
French: 5 x Inf units broken, 3 x Lt Cav units broken, 1 x 4lb Hs Bty overrun; 4 x Infantry brigades spent, 1 x Light Cavalry brigade spent. Permanent losses: 2 x Infantry units, 3 x Light Cavalry units, 1 x Hs Bty
Austria: 1 x Jager unit broken, 4 x Infantry units broken; 4 x Infantry brigades spent. Permanent losses: 2 x Infantry units. Permanent gains: 1 x 4lb Hs Bty
The French Army has again fallen back to regroup after its second defeat. The loss of almost the entirety of its light cavalry may well be a big problem in the campaign! It does have a light cavalry unit which defected from Martinstaadt, which now constitutes its sole light cavalry capability...
Game Notes: Partly as a sop to foraging rules, partly as a sop to playability, I have a limit of 50 units per side on the table at any one time in big Polemos GdD battles. Other formations can be brought on as reserves (as happened with both sides in this game). I some ways I think this is because it is the weak spot in Napoleonic games: it is a lot of battalions for one person to handle, even if they largely operate by brigade; whereas 14-16 brigades is quite a light game for big battle rules. On balance, I think I may have made slightly the wrong call in this game. Where I definitely did make an error is in the table set-up; two errors in fact. My first error comes from my habitual use of a 5'x3' table in the past; for the present I have a 7'x4.5' table so I should definitely deploy the defence line about 6" further back, to allow more room for the attacker's deployment. The second error (potentially) is in the use of so many enclosures. The Polemos Napoleonic Companion's campaign rules have a random terrain generator, which, for "open country", generates "pasture" areas. But these aren't defined in the rules, so I have used enclosures instead. But this seems to occupy an awful lot of the area, so perhaps I need to reduce the area but make it a kind of strong point, a la Hougoumont and La Haye Sainte etc. Comments on this point welcomed!
I used the +1 for Veteran and -1 for Raw in this game; on balance I think it did work better. Further musing on factors, I might be inclined to reduce the melee advantage for heavier cavalry to +1 (not the charge phase though); on the basis that if the light cavalry do stick it out and face the charge, the odds against them probably aren't that bad.
One quirk/feature of the Polemos rules is just how important repeated attacks are in infantry combat. The basic problem is the defenders "+2" for first fire (a big benefit); this makes it quite hard for the first infantry attack to succeed. So what you have to do is attack, realize that you may well get beaten, but then pile in the reserves (that +2 subtley changes the hidden odds from favouring the defender to favouring the attacker). Awareness of this allowed the Austrian infantry to make that crucial successful 3rd phase of assault in the the second general attack.
I haven't commented much on the progress of the campaign, except very briefly in the scenario notes at the top. I will comment on that next week, along with the next battle report, insha'allah!
Figures as ever by Baccus 6mm, rules were Polemos General de Division, campaign rules in the Polemos Napoleonic Companion.