Monday 6 June 2016

Dresden 1813. Day 2.


Losses at the end of Day 1 were roughly even:

French losses: 14 battalions, 2 foot batteries, 6 regiments of cavalry.
Allied losses: 17 battalions, 2 foot batteries, 3 regiments of cavalry, 2 horse artillery batteries.

 The Austrian commander was replaced by another attendee but all those who had commanded on day 1 would be holding their commands for day 2. The French had managed to hold Stehlen, the barn in Bachnitz but had lost the manor house in Plauen so the artillery arsenal was split 10 rounds of effective fire to the French and 5 to the Allies for redistribution.

The Allies never did take a look behind that hill and wood screen and so it remained, would the newly constructed pontoon be useful for potential reinforcements?

French reinforcements.

Two divisions of French infantry. (2 brigades of Old Guard, 2 brigades of Young Guard, one line brigade and one conscript brigade) Four foot batteries. One cavalry Division of 3 brigades plus 2 horse artillery batteries. Lots to welcome.

Using the 1D8: (thrown 3 x for each division)

1: does not arrive.
2: deploys on the western flank.
3-7: deploys in the centre.
8: Deploys eastern flank.

The French threw a 5 (Guard) and an 8. (Handy for the Guard to arrive in the middle)

1: does not arrive.
2: Deploys western flank.
3-5: centre.
6-8: eastern flank.

The French threw a 2. Looked like that pontoon bridge would come in handy after all.

Day 2. The map is missing the 2nd Austrian heavy cavalry brigade
which punched a hole between the Austrian Grenadiers
 and the 6th Hungarian brigade on the eastern flank.

Western flank:

The Prussians were already having problems on the western flank and now with cavalry coming at them from the village and across the pontoon, desperate measures were needed.
The engineers rest behind the guns having done their hard work
 in the previous 24 hours. Figures from Franznap. Had the Prussians deployed their own
artillery to counter this French battery they may well have made more progress in Plauen.

Two regiments of Guard scouts and a regiment of heavy dragoons
(4th cavalry brigade) begin to outflank the Prussians using the pontoon.
Art Miniaturen. Guard scouts with their newly acquired shakos.
The 1st and 2nd French cavalry brigades move towards the relief of Plauen.
Carabiniers, Horse Grenadiers and Krakus Cossacks
 leading the way. (just visible crossing the bridge)
Retreating Prussian infantry forced to form square (white red markers underneath)
 from French cavalry out of shot to the left. Two regiments of the French 7th cavalry brigade
rode through Plauen and pursued the hapless Prussians, routing two battalions who
 could not form square under a failed brigade test.

The Prussian 4th brigade that never saw action. Being left behind it lacked
 the will to move forward when it mattered. Should have been used on day 1. 
The cavalry clash in the centre using the newly deployed Prussian 2nd brigade
 and Austrian dragoons. French cuirassiers of the 3rd brigade blocked the way however. 

Prussian landwehr were no match for the Old Guard in Bachnitz.

Prussian light cavalry made little impact but would at least
 provide some cover for an eventual withdrawal. 
Silesian cavalry watching….
1st Lieb Hussars….also did a lot of watching.

The Prussians began to withdraw their infantry while their cavalry sat and witnessed the debacle.

Eastern flank:

 To cap it all, the new Austrian commander threw a succession of 1s, 2s and the odd 3 on the D8 which meant he could not get his troops moving to take advantage of the lull, before the French reinforcements could make a real difference. The heavy fighting on the previous day had clearly taken its toll. The Austrians simply could not take advantage of the lack of French cavalry and lacked guns that constantly had to limber up when the brigade they belonged to kept failing its test.

Austrian cavalry attempt to make a go of it
 but the woods prevented the space to attack.

The Austrians did manage to take one building in Strehlen before yet another failed brigade test meant they had to vacate. Austrian brigades began to disintegrate, though one sole Austrian heavy cavalry brigade caused a minor flutter of hearts amongst the Allied camp. The Austrian Grenadiers eventually ran out of steam also.
3 out of 6 Austrian Grenadier battalions begin to run out of steam.
Austrian cuirassiers from the 2nd brigade did initially make
an impact before their infantry colleagues began to retire.

French infantry forced to form square by the 1st Austrian heavy cavalry brigade.
 Sadly the Austrians were decimated by artillery and skirmishers in the woods.
The French horse artillery was able to scoot away before the Austrians could make contact.

The Austrian 6th brigade failing to make progress having crossed the stream.
 One battalion was wiped out by a flank attack from Bavarian light infantry.

The Allied losses. Immense. So immense in fact that I
could not be bothered to count them.

French losses by the end were not greatly different
 from those  at the end of day 1. A few more cavalry regiments.
Overall a fun game. Had the Prussian left been more bold and had the Allies used more reserves then the opportunities that did arise on Day 1 might have been capitalised on. Austrian deployment was awkward (umpire's mistake perhaps) and could not take advantage of their numbers. As it was, the French did better than expected on Day 1 and their reinforcements were overwhelming on Day 2.

Saturday 4 June 2016

Dresden 1813. Situation end of day 1.

French Deployment.

The French were permitted to shift their positions from the deployment given to them initially by the umpire, while the Allied commanders sipped their coffee out of sight.

Battle map with Plauen in the west, Bachnitz in the centre and Strehlen in the east.
The three objectives. 

Plauen (forgive the spelling of the three villages!) with the church in the foreground was to be held by a conscript French brigade with a brigade of Poles in support. The French decided to give this French brigade commander an above average morale rating which was to prove crucial in the battle for this objective. A battery of artillery was positioned on the hill to the west of the river line. Impossible to get at for the Allies, and meant that any attack on Plauen would be vulnerable from flank fire from the hill. A brigade of light cavalry were also in support.

An overview looking from the west.

Unbeknown to the Allies a French engineer company was busy building a pontoon bridge in square A5, behind a hill and screened by trees protected by a single battalion of infantry (pictured). If the french are re-enforced on this flank tomorrow they will welcome this access point. But would the Allies detect it?

The French centre consisted of a Saxon brigade (poor) which was given the task of defending Bachnitz, again with a Polish brigade in support.

The Saxon Brigade commander did as well as could be expected.

On the western flank of Bachnitz there were fairly large quantities of French medium and light cavalry with a large heavy brigade of French Cuirassiers on the eastern flank.

The 3rd French heavy cavalry brigade.
The 6th and 8th French light cavalry brigades.

The eastern flank and the defence of Strehlen was delegated to the Bavarians, with one brigade strung out between the wood and the road east of Bachnitz while the other brigade was held back in Stehlen with two light battalions in the woods to the north of Strehlen. A brigade of French dragoons were positioned on the extreme flank.
The Bavarian 10th Brigade with supporting artillery on the hill,
prepare to take on the more numerous Austrians.

The Bavarian commander of the 11th Brigade
who managed to hold Stehlen.

The Allied deployment.

The Allies were permitted to move one cavalry brigade and swop cavalry brigades at will once they were welcomed back into the barn and could see the French deployment.
Prussian deployment in the west. 

The Prussian 2nd cavalry brigade.

The 4th Prussian Cavalry brigade. 
The attack on Plauen was to be spearheaded by the Prussian 2nd and 6th infantry brigades with flank support from the 3rd and 4th Prussian cavalry light brigades. The Prussian 2nd cavalry brigade (pictured) was to remain stationary and held back for day 2. The umpire had decided that any Allied cavalry brigade was had been uncommitted with no losses could be re-deployed anyway along the baseline as a night move. The 4th Prussian infantry brigade would also be held in reserve but none of the infantry was given this luxury freedom of movement.

The Prussian 5th brigade prepare to attack in the centre
with the Prussian Guard out of shot to their right.
In the centre the task of taking Bachnitz was given to the Prussian 1st infantry brigade (Guard, and the best the Allies had) with support from the Prussian 5th infantry brigade with cavalry flank support in the west from The 1st Cavalry brigade, the Guard de Corps, supported by the 5th Prussian light cavalry brigade.

The pride of the Prussian cavalry. 
The larger Austrian battalions dominated the east. A heavy and medium cavalry brigade were positioned in O7 and P7 while the 1st Hungarian Grenadier brigade and 2nd Austrian line brigade would drive forward towards Stehlen and the open ground to the west of Stehlen. The 6th Austrian brigade would support. Austrian heavy cavalry were kept in reserve while the 4th light brigade would take on the French Dragoons on the eastern flank.

The Austrian 2nd Infantry brigade prepares to lead the attack on Stehlen.
The 1st Hungarian Grenadiers.
Two Austrian cavalry briagdes, one heavy (2nd) and
one a mixture of Dragoons and Cheveuxleger (3rd)

The supporting Hungarian 6th brigade, making up
 the third contingent of this large Austrian infantry division.
The opening moves.

The onus was on the Allies to make quick progress within the 10 moves allowed for on Day 1. On the western flank, Prussian progress was initially good. The French battery on the hill squandered opportunities to inflict serious casualties with a series of unfortunate dice throws. Quickly the most forward building fell to the Prussian 6th brigade, the French conscripts inside, rapidly put to flight. The Poles moved up smartly to prevent a catastrophe and the French position held.

Prussian infantry move forward to attack Plauen.
The 3rd Prussian cavalry brigade moved slowly
 forwards to link up with the 4th cavalry brigade.
Prussian cavalry moved cautiously to protect the eastern wing of this assault.

A cavalry clash to the west of Bachnitz resulted in the French 8th cavalry brigade being annihilated while the Prussian Guard de Corps were also destroyed, largely by French battery fire.

The Prussian attack on Bachnitz initially went well for the Prussians. The Prussian Guard and 5th Brigades routed the Saxon brigade, though the Saxons did cause some initial set backs for the Prussians. Again the Poles moved in to restore order and the damage to the Prussian Guard was irreversible and resulted in the Prussians total destruction of their prime unit. Two buildings were taken but the Poles managed to re-take the barn.

The barn on the right was taken by the
Prussian Guard and then re-taken by the Poles.

The Austrian assault moved into the bottleneck between the stream (crossable) and the hill/wood but without close cavalry support were quickly halted by the French 9th Dragoon brigade, which moved up to support the Bavarians. Weight of numbers would eventually see the Austrians make progress but if there had been a moment to cause a problem for the Austrians, this was it and was seized upon by the Bavarian commander, who used the mix of infantry and cavalry in close support to excellent effect.
The Austrian bottleneck. Just not enough room to deploy properly. 

Meanwhile the Austrian 6th brigade moved across the stream and some Austrian heavy cavalry also crossed the bridge onto the hill. The 4th Austrian cavalry brigade played cat and mouse with the French cavalry on the eastern flank.

The Austrian 6th brigade moves across the stream.

Nightfall on Day 1.

 Around Plauen….the French attempted twice to take back the forward building taken by the Prussian 6th brigade and failed both times. The Prussian 6th brigade commander was awarded the iron cross and his morale rating increased from 0 to +1. Crucially this was the building where the 5 mystery reserve artillery rounds were stored. These would fall into Allied hands. The French battery on the hill, despite running out of effective artillery rounds, was able to cause significant  damage, causing the Prussian 2nd brigade to retreat.

Flank fire from the hill.
The French 7th cavalry brigade remained untouched all day,
while Poles are forced into square from Prussian cavalry. 
The Prussian view of Plauen.

The Allies never did see what was going on behind those trees and hill so by morning, a new bridge will have been constructed but will it be needed?

French engineers finishing off that bridge.

Massed Prussian cavalry between Bachnitz and Plauen.

The Polish efforts in the centre stabilised control and so two-thirds of Bachnitz remained in French hands, and again, importantly this included the barn which had housed the artillery arsenal. The Polish 6th brigade commander's rating was already +2 and he was given the legion d'honneur and permitted to sleep with the Corps commander's mistress. Those French!

The Austrians finally make progress but fail to take Strehlen.
The Bavarians managed to keep hold of all three buildings making up the village of Stehlen. The Bavarian commander was awarded the Legion d'honneur and his morale rating increased from +1 to +2. But the Austrians have a more open route to exploit while the direction of French re-enforcements is still unknown. The French 5th dragoon brigade lost both its cavalry regiments so is likely to fail its brigade test with only a horse artillery battery left….(so this useful battery is sure to follow suit)

It will remain to be seen if French reinforcements will arrive quickly enough to help the promising start made by the French commanders on day 1. Where they appear will also be crucial.

The Allies have re-deployed their 2nd Prussian cavalry brigade to the centre and Austrian units should now at last make headway with so little French cavalry left to hinder them.

The Allies have 5 effective artillery rounds to re-distribute and the French 10. The French commander of Plauen has a foot battery and a horse battery, both of which have run dry. How he would dearly wish for that re-supply to come his way.