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, 20 December 2019

Battle of Dunzling - A Polemos General de Division AAR

Dunzling, 19 April 1809:

This scenario is from Michael Hopper's Eagles Over Bavaria.  Featuring a little-known clash, it recreates an Austrian attempt to separate Davout's Corps from the remainder of the Imperial Army.  Most of Davout's Corps were in action at Teugn-Hausen this day (I have done a Teugn-Hausen scenario before), so the Austrians led by Rosenberg confront a French force mainly of light infantry and cavalry and led by Montbrun, which aims to delay or stop the Austrian attack.

The Forces:

Imperial France:
C-in-C: Montbrun (Decisive)
Gilly's Bde: 1 base of Trained Infantry, 3 bases of Trained Light Infantry,
Pajol's Division (Decisive): 2 bases of Veteran Light Infantry, 4 bases of Trained Light Cavalry
Guiton's Division (Decisive): 4 bases of Trained Cuirassiers

C-in-C: Rosenberg (Plodding)
Somariva's Division (Plodding): 7 bases of Trained Infantry, 2 bases of Trained Light Cavalry, 1 base of Horse Artillery
Hohenlohe's Division (Capable): 8 bases of Trained Infantry, 1 base of Foot Artillery
Artillery Reserve: 2 bases of Foot Artillery

The French are trying to retain control of Dunzling (right) and a presence in the woods to the West (left).  The Austrians are trying to capture Saalhaupt (top-left).

The Set-Up:

French forces are divided between Pajol's division around Dunzling (right) and Gilly's brigade (left) deployed in the woods (left)and around Saalhaupt (top-left)

Gilly's light infantry in the woods

With a battalion garrisoning Saalhaupt.

Pajol's infantry hold Dunzling and his cavalry are stationed just outside
The Battle:
Montbrun brings forward his cuirassier division from reserve

Hohenlohe's division enters to threaten towards Saalhaupt.

Whilst Somariva's troops move towards Dunzling

Somariva sends an infantry regiment forward to threaten that place

Whilst the remainder of his troops march towards Pajol's cavalry

Hohenlohe, at the head of two battalions, advances towards the cuirassiers

Somariva brings his troops towards Pajol but does not yet commit to an attack

His forward units deploy to maximize firepower

Rosenberg (centre) brings forward his artillery - this attack is going to be done correctly

Meanwhile Somariva's troops demonstrate towards Pajol, who has massed his cavalry - Montbrun joins him (top-left)

Meanwhile Hohenlohe is manoeuvring behind his foward battalions to threaten both the cuirassiers and the infantry in the woods

Rosenberg's artillery starts to play upon Dunzling, with some effect

Montbrun takes the bold move of ordering the battalion in support in Dunzling to leave the buildings and threaten the flank of the troops facing Pajol's cavalry (centre-right)

A wider shot

Sniper fire and poor Austrian artillery practices rob the fire of any further effect - Rosenberg is kept busy getting his artillery back into line

He then launches a desperate bayonet charge to drive back the French light infantrymen...

Inspired by his hat-waving and harangues, the Austrians get the upper hand...

Casualties are heavy on both sides, but the French are forces to withdraw!

Inspired, Somariva launches his cavalry and horse artillery against Pajol's troopers!

First one French regiment is worsted and broken...

And then another!

Hohenlohe, feeling that the flank of his column is now adequately protected, launches his column forward towards the trees (top-right)

The position in the Austrian Right

Feeling that events are rapidly turning against him, Montbrun orders Guiton's Cuirassiers to charge!

Whilst he and Pajol lead the remaining French Hussars and Chasseurs against the Austrian infantry outside Dunzling

The Austrians waver...

Meanwhile, Guiton's Cuirassiers have been seen off by the Kaiserlichs in fine style!  Three of the four Cuirassier unts have suffered heavy casualties

Whilst the remaining Austrian infantry threatens the woods

Despite some disorder in the Austrian ranks, they held and drove the French light cavalry off (centre-top)

A little more musketry is applied and the Cuirassiers run for it!

Whilst Pajol's cavalry end up feeling much the same way

Pajol's division withdraws in its entirety...

And the French are in full retreat - Rosenberg has isolated Davout's Corps from the rest of the French Army!

Game Notes: A quick, enjoyable game although a little one-sided since the French had no luck at all, except in the uselessness of the Austrian Foot artillery!  It wasn't so much that any individual combat should have gone the French's way, but at least one or two of the combats should have.  The key combat was actually Rosenberg's bayonet charge which prevented Montbrun's bold decision to use Pajol's reserve battalion in an offensive rather than defensive role from working.  Montbrun could feel let down by this - the odds were about 2:1 in his favour that the French would win the combat and drive the Austrians back and then perhaps create an opportunity for his cavalry to exploit.  After this, all of the combat slightly favoured the Austrians, but it was unusual good luck for them that the French got nowhere.  The rules used favour infantry over cavalry more than in most sets I think, which obviously helped the infantry-heavy Austrians in this scenario.

Rules used were Polemos General de Division, figures by Baccus 6mm, buildings mainly from Leven.


  1. Again interesting post game thoughts and a very different game from your previous one.

    1. Yes, as you say, very different. They were both stimulating exercises, but at quite different levels of intensity. This battle is in a sweeter spot for play in some ways (15-25 bases per side) but the down side is that it can get quite one-sided, whereas Vauchamps (roughly twice as big) is much more likely to spread that luck out a bit more, which creates that ebb-and-flow so often seen in Napoleonic warfare.

    2. In our smaller games on a 4' x 4' table with 12 - 15 units per side, we find the same issue that once a side starts taking losses, it is not easy to recover from. However with our limited gaming time it works for us.

    3. Agreed, very much so. Both sizes have their virtues as games.

  2. How does Polemos rules work for multi-players per side games?

    1. In a very similar way to 2-player, except each player on the same side then rolls to see whose bid will be accepted as representing that side. So at Talavera, 'Wellington' and 'Cuesta' will both tempo bid individually (in secret) and then roll between them to see which of those bids is used.