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.

Saturday 7 September 2019

Battle of Reinhausen - A Polemos General de Division AAR (Second Battle)

Once again, with feeling...

I re-loaded the Reinhausen scenario from the last game of Polemos Napoleonics since the board was set up already and I felt like trying out a couple of different tactics to try and confirm or deny some of my inuitions about the previous refight.

The orders of battle and the mission were generally the same, however this time I deployed the French artillery on the river bank protecting the main approach to Reinhausen.

The Set-Up:

Note the French artillery pre-positioned by the river bear Reinhausen (centre)

Another view

And another one, focusing more on the French around and in the village and the approaching Austrian force.

The Battle:

This time, the French artillery makes it worth apparent early, driving back the Austrian attackers as they form up, and allowing the French to reinforce Reinhausen.

The Austrians do manage to launch an attack onto "the hot corner" - the edge of the village of Reinhausen.

But they are driven back with loss! First and second blood to the French, although the Austrian artillery and skirmishers have done some damage to the French defenders

Rather than spend time reforming his defeated first column, the Austrian general merely launches his second column into the attack...

The French make just as short work of this attack and the Austrians are now forced to regroup their whole force!  The French commander busy himself getting his lead battalion re-organized...

The Austrian commanders still cannot perceive a better solution than a direct assault, so a third head-on attack is tried...

And is thrown back with further heavy losses!  The Austrian commander moves a cavalry regiment forward (centre-left) to provide target practice for the French artillery but also to screen his infantry attacks...

Again, emphasizing attacking rather than organization, a fourth assault is ordered forward...

Heavy casualties are caused on both sides...

And this time it is the French who have had enough and are forced to fall back to the other part of the village!  Their supporting units become somewhat demoralized and the Austrian commander, seeing his moment, orders his Dragoons forward (centre)...

Davout faced a very difficult decision at this point: he was able to order a quick return into Reinhausen before the Austrians could advance or he could spend time re-organizing his men but lose half of the village...he chose the former course, and the French fusiliers re-occupied their vacated positions (centre-left)

The Austrian force, itself re-organized, presses forward again  against the distinctly shaky looking French...

And this time there is no escape: the leading French battalion is routed and their supports are both shaken and disorganized (centre)
And without further shots being fired, the entire French regiment routs back over the bridge!

The French chasseurs grimly holding onto the edge of Reinhausen against the Austrian masses (centre/centre-left) look very vulnerable to being cut-off from the bridge by the Austrian Dragoons (centre-top)

Davout leads another battalion across the river (right) to try and stave off disaster

The final French battalion in the town has been evicted, broken and is now in full retreat (bottom-left), demoralizing the French on the other side of the bridge as they fled (bottom-centre)

With the major part of Reinhausen now entirely occupied by Austrian infantry (left), the Austrians unleash their Dragoons against the French infantry at the bridge, who are already shaken, although Davout is there to command them in person (centre)

A series of faultless volleys decimated the Dragoons and sends them off in flight!

Not a good day to be an Austrian Dragoon...

However, a combination of the dire situation and some effective shooting from the Austrian infantry in the village breaks the French battalion guarding the bridge..

And French morale collapses entirely!  The isolated French light infantry battalion (extreme-right) has to surrender before it gets to fire a shot...
Game Notes: A really good game, more exciting than the first try.  Again, the scenario threw into relief the focus of the rules on shock rather than attrition: the French infantry were initially very successful in throwing back the Austrian attacks, but lacked a mechanism by which they could convert this into decisive defeat (it is very hard although not impossible in these rules to break opponents by fire alone, even close range defensive fire).  Conversely, although the Austrians suffered many setbacks, they were always able to rally and then attack again without having lost any effectiveness.  What one thinks of all this will be entirely dependent upon one's view as to the importance of attritional fire combat in Napoleonic warfare. 

As ever, rules were the Polemos Napoleonic set, the figures were by Baccus 6mm and the buildings a mixture of Timecast and Total Battle Miniatures.


  1. That was a bloody fight for sure and initially I didn't think the Austrians would do it. How wrong was I? It does seem a bit strange that the Austrians didn't lose any combat effectiveness, despite so many 'hits'.

    1. Initially I wasn't sure the Austrians would do it either but the geometry of the situation really hurt the French - it was very difficult to support, reinforce or otherwise help the most exposed French battalion, no matter how many units the French got across the river.
      It is a quirk of using non-attritional systems that troops don't typically lose combat effectivess from non-fatal reverses. I know that DBx has something of the same issue in that successful Knights can just keep on charging and you can't really wear down opponents with archery. These are both mitigated "somewhat" by other mechanisms, but not totally - and in some scenarios, that really makes a difference.