Prince Lauda immediately and sent his own nearest units - his Grenadier Division and his Cuirassier Division, moving rapidly backwards, as soon as another division could arrive and take responsibility for the siege train.
Fortunately for the Austrians, their troops (who started later but had a shorter distance to go) reached the town first and were able to set up to defend it from the advancing French...
Orders of Battle:
C-in-C: Gen Laffite (Capable)
Imperial Guard Division: 6 Veteran/Elite SK1 Infantry, 6 Trained/Elite SK1 Infantry, 1 4lb Hs Arty Bty
Artillery Reserve: 3 12lb Ft Art Btys
C-in-C:Gen Wallner (Capable)
Grenadier Division: 12 Veteran SK1 Infantry, 2 12lb Ft Arty Btys, 1 6lb Ft Arty Bty
1st Reserve Bde: 2 Veteran Cuirassier
2nd Reserve Bde: 2 Veteran Cuirassier
(n.b. Those really paying attention will note that the Austrian Reserve Division commander has assumed command of the force, and thus his own formation has been broken into its component brigades; similarly the French Artillery general has taken command of the French force)
|View from the south, from behind the French lines: Prost has deployed his heavy guns in the centre, with the infantry division in four brigade columns behind|
|View from the west looking at the gap between the two armies. The Austro-Hanoverian right (near) is protected by the Hanoverian troops, the centre and left by Austrian grenadiers, occupying a hill and some farms.|
|Looking from behind the hill towards the advancing French.|
|And from slightly further back; here the Austrian Cuirassiers in reserve in the dead ground can be seen|
|A close-up of the French reserve artillery with two French Imperial Guard infantry brigades on either side|
|The battle begins with the French 12-pounders achieving a degree of superiority|
|A slightly closer view of the French gaining one farm (left), whilst its infantry approach the second farmhouse (right)|
|The French launch their attack! Good progress is made, pushing one of the defending battalions back|
|The Austrian Cuirassiers charge! One Young Guard battalion is broken and routed (bottom-left) but the remainder of the French brigade holds on, just; the Cuirassiers are disordered and back to their starting positions|
|Both sides fail their morale checks and both brigades are spent, retreating towards their own lines|
|The French renew their assualt on the farmhouse, but this time the French are pushed back in severe disorder; not shown, but the French have failed to make progress in the centre up the hill|
|The Austrian opposition on the hill was too strong to break quickly and the grenadiers on the flank (bottom-right) convinced Laffite he couldn't win|
The Austrians had one Grenadier Bn broken and one Cuirassier Brigade shattered.
The French had one Middle and one Young Guard Bn broken and one Young Guard Bde shattered. The French units were both permanently lost.
The French move was imaginative and could have led to far-reaching results; luckily for the Austrians they were just able to counter it in time. The opening moves of the battle were very good for the French and it appeared that they might be able to force an Austrian retreat. But the combination of the cavalry charge and the stern resistance of the two Austrian Grenadier Bns defending the second farmhouse ended up in the French right giving way and without significant reserves at this point, Gen Laffite had no real choice but to call off the action. Strategically the French have at least succeeded in giving the Austrians something to think about but without reinforcements neither side is likely to make much progress here.
A pretty standard, fun game of Polemos General de Division. With relatively few bases, the game really does rattle along.
Depending upon a rules interpretation, fighting withdrawals can either be relatively easy or hard in Polemos. Withdrawing in a line facing the enemy is painfully slow and thus favours the attacker, who can normally get enough infantry in position to mount an attack at a place of their choosing. However, you can retreat by using "reform" moves of 2BW a turn, which are slightly but not prohibitively more expensive in terms of order points (i.e. PIPs), and this effectively represents breaking ranks or retreating in loose order and then reforming. I sway about which is the more realistic! I think that the ruleset's author, Chris Grice, prefers a slight modification the rule at the moment, which says that he prefers that at least one base in a given group must remain static during a reform move. In this case, the best tactic for breaking contact is to do it by alternating battalions (i.e. units in the same brigade or division reform on each other alternately; it takes a little more organizing and a few more TPs but achieves a similar effect).
Figures as ever by Baccus 6mm, most of the buildings by Total Battle Miniatures.