The battle of Plauen came to an end last night after 24 turns and was hard fought all the way to the finish. I've already received one of the commanders battle reports and will post an abridged version in the next blog entry. But I thought I'd take the opportunity to provide an umpires eye view of how it went. In every way as a wargame it was extremely successful, the battle ebbed and flowed throughout and casualties on both sides were remarkably similar. Strategically it was a victory for the Austrians who despite being caught by superior numbers managed to defend well until their reinforcements were able to arrive and turn the tide in their favour.
It could have been very different and the French commander, Nick, must be rueing a golden opportunity missed. Nick opted for an immediate frontal assault on a two division frontage rather than use his superior artillery to pound the centre whilst outflanking through the woods on the left which provided plenty of cover. His choice of tactics might have worked against small thirty two man units but against Austrian forty eight man units and elite twelve pounders the attack quickly faltered due to high casualties.
To compound the problem the French also failed to secure the village on the right of their position which would have dominated the ground which any reinforcing Austrians had to cross. This allowed Erics Austrians an unopposed route to scene of the action and led to the French being forced to give ground on their right flank. In the end most of the heaviest fighting took part on the French right flank against newly arriving Austrian divisions with the original objective of punching through the centre being side lined.
After the initial French assault had been repulsed the centre and left was reduced to sporadic small scale clashes which were never going to affect the course of the battle. The French could reasonably be accused of being transfixed like a mouse in front of a snake by the appearance of a single regiment of Austrian cuirassier.
Still, it was a steep learning curve for both commanders due to the added pressure of knowing that casualties from this battle would not miraculously reappear in time for the next game. Each commander will now have to decide which units to spend the small number of reinforcement points allocated on. Does he blow it all on a few expensive elites or bulk out his formations with second class line?
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