Saturday, 11 June 2011

French Triumph at Leipzig

Well perhaps triumph is a bit of an overstatement but as a member of the French team it certainly felt like a triumph on wednesday evening when by turn twenty four the Prussians were halted and in some places in full retreat.  Once again Neil has provided us with a commentary of the game, though this time it is by necessity less comprehensive than his earlier reports due to him being drafted into the Prussian side as Dom was unavailable.  This was sadly the harbinger of doom for even handed umpiring decisions as Neil vented his Francophobe spleen on his hapless opponent in a vain attempt to claw back some semblance of pride for the battered Prussians......

The following report may be lacking in the same detail as previous reports from the front and may be missing a few of the ancillary happenings as our war correspondent stepped into the boots of Brunswick in command of Von Preussen, Blucher and Von Oswald due to the Prussian CiC being AWOL for the night….

Turn 18 and the French Guard Heavy Cavalry continued its single handed demolition job as it rode through 2 battalions of Scharnhorst’s Prussian Infantry and caused them to rout. This panic spread rapidly through the rest of the command and in short shrift the Division broke, with the exception of a brave but almost certainly foolish officer who steadied his battalion in front of the French Infantry and prepared for combat.
In the centre, half of Von Oswald’s infantry continued its rout whilst the remainder stood on the slope of the hill and re-ordered after its melee victory. Just South of the village itself, Vandamme moved onto the offensive and advanced to put pressure on the previously untroubled Blucher.
On the far South flank, Von Irwing announced his arrival in the front line by charging into and through some French Lancers sweeping them completely from the field.

A little too late to influence the outcome of the battle, Saxon infantry and cavalry arrive to take position in the centre.

Turn 19 and the countdown toward the end had begun for the Allies. Von Pletz receives heavy casualties from fire as he pulls back his line to reduce the open flank left by Scharnhorst collapse. Scharnhorst isolated rearguard gets decimated and eventually cut down by rampant French Infantry from St Hilaire’s division. Von Oswald begins the difficult task of trying to break contact with the French but Caferelli with his blood up isn’t keen on letting them go and advances to match their withdrawal. Blucher throws everything he has available in the way of the charging French Columns but to no avail as his battalions come out second best and the front ranks break. The far South sees the ponderous advance continues.

The field of battle from the North.  In the South Nicks' troops finally push the French defenders back to their second line of defence and end the game as the furthest advanced Prussian troops.


Turn 20 and determined to match the performance of their heavier colleagues the French Light regiment spots an unformed Prussian battalion facing away as it flees and spur their mounts onwards. Alas though, the glory was not to be theirs. Various reasons were given on their return, to the amusement of the Grenadiers, but suffice to say they failed in their efforts to break into the Infantry and instead returned to their own lines.
In the centre, Blucher reorganises from his set-up, Von Oswald continues his gradual withdrawal and there appears a new face on the front line scene as Von Dyherrn’s Saxon Infantry advance between Oswald and Scharnhorst’s position.
T21 sees Scharnhorst regain control over his command however, their flight now sees him occupying ground in a remarkably similar position to where he first assembled some 7 hours previously. More minor manouvering in the centre took place in preparation for the next storm whilst the Village defenders transferred their fire onto anything that remained visible to them. In the South however, Von Mufflings Infantry finally got within Musket range of Oudinot’s Elite infantry and took out their frustrations on the French forcing them to fall back in some disarray.

French reserve heavy cavalry await their turn in vain.

Turn 22 and Vandammes reformed masses crash headlong into the next line of Blucher’s troops and after a fierce and bloody confrontation are again victorious with the Prussians breaking and Vadamme having confirmed his control and domination of the South Central area.
The final stages of the battle saw most sectors relatively quiet being restricted to limited long range fire and minor line manouvers. The exception to this however was the Centre North side of the village where D’Hautpoul managed to squeeze a squadron of his Cuirassier forward to engage Von Oswalds retiring Infantry. Advancing at the trot into Musket range, a hail of balls met the brave troopers and in spite of their leaders best efforts they were unable to be convinced to follow through with the charge and instead fled backwards in some disorder! Von Dyherrn, now the front line in the face of Caferelli, lined out his Grenadier battalion and poured fire into the mass of French Infantry.

Austrian and Russian cavalry playing the part of the Saxon heavy division.

Turn 24 and as the light faded, there was only a single piece of action really left to resolve as Caferelli ordered his already bleeding battalions into the charge against the Saxon grenadiers. The Saxon’s held their cool, calmly reloaded and, waiting until the French were in short range, they ripped the lead ranks apart with a devastating series of volleys. Undeterred and after bloody revenge, the brave French souls continued into melee and gained a slight advantage once they got to grips with their outnumbered German foes. In the second round however, only a single French column could find courage enough to join the slaughter whilst 3 battalions of Saxon musketeers responded and the melee and battle were soon over leaving many hundreds of dead and dying on the ground.

One of the curses of too much artillery, nowhere to go and nothing to shoot.
So the battle was over, in the North Von Arnim had lost much of the ground they had seized earlier in the day and they were in no fit state to continue the fight even if light had allowed. In the centre, Vandamme had held and even advanced his position slightly whilst Caferelli had regained all the ground he had given up. Caferelli’s troops had paid a heavy price in the struggle, less so Vandamme but it was the two main assault Divisions of Von Blucher and Oswald who were licking the heaviest wounds with close to 50% of their Infantry injured or dead on the field – a testimony to the struggle they had been involved in! In the far South, the watching war had resulted in a surprising degree of casualties considering the long range nature of the combat but really resulted in the troops from both sides being in decent order and more than fit should battle resume. Victory goes to the French and defeat to the Prussians in both tactical and strategic terms. It was not the decisive killer blow I think Napoleon hoped for prior to the battle but it ended as a victory without question for the French.
In the campaign, both sides need time to recover and replace their losses properly and decisions now need to be taken by Dom and Noel as to whether to resume conflict with the surviving forces available immediately or break off at Leipzig. Dom has to consider what to do, or try and do, about the French Corps marching on Berlin. Austria has crossed the Bavarian border and engaged a Danube Fortress whilst Maximillian hastily tries to mass and raise his field army to counter....

So there you have it, the campaign movement continues next week and may or not result in an encounter.  It also remains to be seen how the Prussians and their Allies will react to the almost certain loss of Berlin.

5 comments:

Steve's Wargame Stuff said...

Another great looking game. Keep 'em coming!

Rafael Pardo said...

Hi
The look of the bettlefield is impressive! I love theyour big battalions!
Regards
Rafa

Christopher(aka Axebreaker) said...

Awesome!

Christopher

BFG said...

Noel,

Looks really impressive, do you find it all a little constrained when it comes to manoeuvring, it look really tight for space.

Noel said...

BFG: To be fair most of the battle field wasn't as crowded as the centre but it was there that the Allies were making their major effort. They were using bludgeon tactics and so manouevering spacw wasn't a huge concern.

Noel.