Heretical Gaming is my blog about my gaming life, featuring small skirmishes and big battles from many historical periods (and some in the mythic past or the far future too). The focus is on battle reports using a wide variety of rules, with the occasional rules review, book review and odd musing about the gaming and history. Most of the battles use 6mm-sized figures and vehicles, but occasionally 15mm and 28mm figures appear too.

Friday 14 December 2018

The Battle of Elchingen 1805 - A Polemos AAR

Next battle up in this series of refights from the Rise of Eagles 1805 scenario book is the Battle of Haslach-Jungingen but I have tackled that one previously, so I moved on one to the Battle of Elchingen, Ney's masterpiece.

A numerically inferior but qualitatively superior French force is attacking an Austrian force.  The French are reinforced in a trickle over the course of the action whereas the Austrians are mainly concentrated on the battlefield.

The French aim is to capture the villages and/or destroy the Austrian force.

The Forces:

Imperial France:

C-in-C: Marshal Ney (Decisive)

Loison's Division: Loision (Capable)
1st Bde: 3 bases of Trained SK2 Infantry, 2 bases of Trained SK1 Infantry
2nd Bde (Arrives Turn 12): 5 bases of Trained SK1 Infantry

Colbert's Brigade (Arrives Turn 4): 1 base of Trained Light Cavalry

Laplanche's Brigade (Arrives Turn 4): 3 bases of Trained Dragoons, 1 base of 4lb Horse Arty

Malher's Division (Arrives Turn 32): Malher (Capable)
1st Bde: 3 bases of Trained SK2 Infantry
2nd Bde: 4 bases of Trained SK1 Infantry
3rd Bde: 4 bases of Trained SK1 Infantry
1 base of 8lb Foot Arty

Imperial Austria:

C-in-C: Riesch (Plodding)

Coburg's Advance Guard Brigade: 1 base Veteran SK1 Infantry, 1 base Second-Rate SK1 Infantry, 1 base Trained Light Cavalry

Hermann's Brigade: 2 bases of Veteran SK1 Infantry, 1 base Second-Rate SK1 Infantry, 2 bases Trained Cuirassiers

Genegdegh's Brigade*:
1st Regt: 4 bases Second-Rate SK1 Infantry
2nd Regt: 3 bases of Second-Rate SK1 Infantry

Auersperg's Brigade*:
1st Regt: 4 bases Second-Rate SK1 Infantry
2nd Regt: 3 bases of Second-Rate SK1 Infantry

Ulm's Brigade (Arrives Turn 4): 2 bases of Veteran SK1 Infantry, 2 bases of Trained Cuirassiers

Mescery's Brigade (Arrives Turn 4): 1 base of Veteran SK1 Infantry, 1 base of Second-Rate SK1 Infantry

n.b. As ever, rating the Austrians is very much a matter of taste.  The Austrian Grenadiers could be Trained/Elite rather than Veteran and could be SK0 rather than SK1.  I have used 'Second-Rate' instead of 'Trained' for the Austrian infantry, who should be counted as effectively 'Raw +1' in the rules.  They would be the same in infantry combat if they were rated as Trained SK0 instead, the 'second-rate' modifier makes them worse against cavalry and artillery too.  The scenario designer seems to rate the French a little higher than I do and he would rate the French SK2 units as 'Elite' as well.

The Set-Up:
The battlefield.  The Austrians hold Ober-Elchingen (left) and the high ground between that and Uber-Elchingen (right).  The French approach from the South-East (bottom-left)

A closer look at Ober-Elchingen and the Austrian defenders

The Austrians defending the high ground in the centre

Ney's eye-view

The left of the Austrian position.  Uber-Elchingen is unoccupied, but Mescery's troops will arrive shortly in this quarter of the battlefield.
 The Battle:

Ulm's Grenadiers and Cuirassiers reinforce the Austrians on the high road behind Ober-Elchingen

Mescery's troops arrive to garrison the other village

Loison organizes his troops as if attacking Ober-Elchingen

The French cavalry brigades have arrives and are observing the Austrian centre

The Austrian infantry beats off Loison's first attack on Ober-Elchingen with heavy loss: the French must retire and reform.

Which they do.  Once again, with feeling!  Ney himself lends his sword and hat-waving to the attack (bottom-right)

It doesn't do much good though: the lead battalion crumples under the weight of fire and routs (bottom) and the rest of the troops recoil

However, Loison has enjoyed better fortune and he leads two battalions of the 6th Light into the centre of the village

Riesch moves Cuirassiers down from the heights to try and outflank the French; Ney re-orientates his Dragoons and Horse Artillery to face them

Loison's second brigade arrives after an hour or so of fighting and marches to reinforce the attack on the Austrian right

Ney reforms his troops and leads them in again

And this third assault is crown with success!  Another portion of the village is in French hands

Loison pushes his troops on, hoping to clear the Austrians from the environs of the village

Ney attaches himself to the second brigade to lead in their attack

The Austrian infantry do not give up easily!  The attack is repulsed, although Ney manages to dodge the bullets again...

Loison has gained a permanent ascendancy over his opponents; routing one battalion (left) and pushing the others back.  A single Austrian infantry battalion is left behind, still holding out at the edge of the village (bottom-right).

A wider shot; the French have definitely gained the upper hand in the village

The French press forward to try and destroy the force in front of them

And Loison achieves a breakthrough! (top-centre); in addition the French have taken more of the village (right)

A closer look at Loison and plenty of routing (top & left) and shaken (right) Austrians

One of Ney's aides and some French infantry can be seen through the trees in the village

Riesch decides to launch a surprise counter-attack in the centre!
The French recoil in some disorder down the slopes

Auersperg's Brigade is spent and fleeing!  Ober-Elchingen is now entirely in French hands...

A slightly wider shot of the same

Only Ulm's Reserve Grenadiers remain to face the French on the slopes above the village

However, Riesch instead concentrates on developing his counter-attack and throws Genegdegh's second regiment into the fray!

The Austrian pressure is telling!  Some of the French are routing (left & bottom right) and there is severe disorder in the rest.  French morale is shaky, but the brigade holds on

The French Dragoons are re-deployed to prevent the Cuirassiers making a charge

Loison manoeuvres into position for a flank attack (top-left)

Can he sweep away the Austrian Grenadiers?!

However Loison's second brigade is crumbling!  It collapses and its collapse causes an equivalent collapse throughout the division!!

Loison's troops retreat at the moment of victory!

Ney beats his sword in frustration as the French infantry retreat!

Only the French cavalry remain in action, successfully discouraging any too vigorous pursuit

The Austrians have held and triumphed!
Game Notes: A very exciting game, although to what extent my bad tactics helped it to be so, I leave to the reader!  The French attack on Ober-Elchingen was successful and seemed to follow historical precedent quite closely.  The mistake was in letting the covering force get too close to the slopes and the Austrians to allow the chance to make a counter-attack with a reasonable chance of success.  This risk having come off, Riesch succeesfully continued to apply the pressure until the French brigade was broken.  A quirk in the Polemos rules that I have remarked on before is that divisional collapses can occur with relatively few broken units.  I think that only two French units were actually routed, but this lead to a brigade morale failure and then there is a 50% divisional morale rule, so when half a division's brigades are broken, then the whole formation is spent.  On the one hand it seems harsh, but then again it seems to produce quite historical results.  In this battle, the Austrians would have lost rather more men than the French but has won the battle regardless.
One of the advantages of solo player is that it is easy to wind the clock forward when I know that neither side is going to do anything.  So I really played turn 1, then resumed at the end of turn 4 and the game lasted until about turn 23 (i.e. two hours).  Next time, I may move the clock forward until Mahler arrives and start from there.

Rules were Polemos General de Division, Figures by Baccus 6mm, Buildings by Leven

No comments:

Post a Comment