Monday, August 17, 2009

1813 Campaign: Battle of Teinitz

In the ongoing saga of our current Napoelonic campaign, our first battle was fought this weekend. To see the preamble to the campaign and the rules, look here.

After four turns of movement, as players tried to consolidate their armies and scout the enemy, a battle took place on the southern front between the Army of Bohemia and Napoleon's Grande Armee (sud). From the beginning of Turn 1, Napoleon and Schwarzenberg had been banging into one another near Ratisbon (see map below). Schwarzenberg initially pushed I ArmeeKorps (minus the Advance Guard Division) across the Danube at Ratisbon in an attempt to quickly establish a bridgehead there. The small French garrison tried in vain to destroy the bridges leading to Ratisbon but the Austrian advance was too sudden. But when Schwarzenberg approached Ratisbon with I ArmeeKorps, he realized his objective might not be so easy to take. In the campaign, Ratisbon is a major walled city and because the Austrian force was crossing a river to attack the city, the French were able to take advantage of substantial earthworks for their defence. As the Austrian commander pondered his next move, Napoleon moved parts of the Imperial Guard corps and I Cavalry Corps into Ratisbon to reinforce the garrison. Seeing the futility of attacking such a formidable force, Schwarzenberg began moving I ArmeeKorps back across the river towards Teinitz. It was in this small town that Napoleon was able to catch up to the 2nd Division of I ArmeeKorps which had lagged behind the remainder of the Korps.

The Austrian commander was seriously outnumbered and out-classed in this first campaign battle. Unfortunately, the campaign rules force a tabletop army to remain on the tabletop for a minimum of two full Field of Battle turns. After that, the army may attempt to retreat off-board (not always an easy thing to the game or historically).

Army of Bohemia

CinC: Feld-Marschall Furst zu Schwarzenberg

I ArmeeKorps: General der Kavallerie Merveldt
  • I Korps/2nd Division (infantry)

Grande Armee (sud)

CinC: Emperor Napoleon

Imperial Guard: Napoleon
  • 1st Division (infantry)
  • 2nd Division (infantry) [scheduled to arrive as reinforcements]
  • 3rd Division (cavalry)
  • Artillery Reserve

I Corps de Cavalerie: General de Division Latour-Maubourg
  • 1st Division (dragoons)
  • 2nd Division (cuirassiers)
Although the expected result of the battle was agreed by all to be a foregone conclusion, it is precisely these small battles upon which the campaign can hinge. Repeated jabs at isolated enemy divisions can lead to an increasing loss of National Will Points. The most the Austrian commander could hope for here was a marginal loss.

As can be seen, there was not alot of tactical subtlety in this game. The French commander chose to move his cavalry forward to pin the Austrian infantry while the guns of the Artillery Reserve unlimbered within canister range.

Elements of the Imperial Guard cavalry division move forward to pin the Austrian infantry.

The guns of the Imperial Guard artillery have unlimbered and begin to pound the Austrian squares that were necessitated by the approaching French cavalry.

Napoleon's "beautiful daughters" unlimber in preparation for the storm they are about to unleash on the hapless Austrian squares.

The game proved to be rather short, which was not unexpected. Once the French artillery began to fire at close range on the Austrian squares, casualties quickly mounted and Schwarzenberg failed his first Army Morale Check miserably. But actually it was to his benefit. The Austrian army (such as it was) broke and ran before any more serious damage could be inflicted upon it. The Austrian division receives a "downgrade 1 unit" modifier in addition to permanently losing one infantry unit from its order of battle (destroyed during game play). All of the involved French divisions each receive an "upgrade 1 unit modifier." You can see the rules here for detailed explanations of these modifiers.

1 comment:

  1. Good game. Though if we take from history that will probably be the only game the French win.