Thursday, September 30, 2010

Austrian army enters Bavaria

3 July 1813

Charles orders his HQ and 1 corps to Altheim to pin 9 Bavarian corps north of the river Danube. 2 corps will move to Franken and secure the bridge over the river Salach. 3 and 4 corps will continue to march towards Linz. He has crossed the river Salach without opposition.

2 July 1813

Austrians cross the river Salach into Bavaria

As soon as they cross the river Salach 1st corps march along the river Danube towards Passau. 2nd corps march south towards Salzburg.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Introduction to the Passau Campaign

1 July 1813

Locations at the start of the campaign

Napoleon is confident that the Austrian army will remain neutral during 1813. Not only did they fight alongside the French in Russia the previous year, but also Napoleon is married to the daughter of the Emperor Ferdinand. Despite this he sends Marshal Oudinot to Munich to take command of the Bavarian and Baden armies, to reorganize them and to ensure that no Austrian troops are sent north to join the allies.

On arrival at Munich Oudinot finds his army spread throughout Bavarian. The majority of the army are Confederation of the Rhine troops, organised under French and Bavarian command. There is one corps in reserve in Munich, a second watching the Austrian border at Passau and a third at Salzburg keeping the tyrolean rebels under control. A fourth Baden corps has just reached Ratisbon and is now under his command.

Austria has long resented earlier defeats at the hands of the French. Observing the French defeat and retreat from Russia, Ferdinand forms an alliance with the allies to strike at France through Bavaria.

The Archduke Charles has been given command of the main Austrian army, and has orders to take Munich. When he arrives at Linz to take command he finds that only two of his corps are available. A third is marching to join him, but has only got as far as St Polten. A fourth corps has just been formed at Vienna, and will be sent to join him immediately.

Aware that any delay will increase the chances that Oudinot will move his concentrate his scattered army and move it towards the border, Charles orders the two corps under his direct command to cross the border and advance on Passau.

The Austrian advance comes as a complete surprise to Oudinot.

Link to Passau Campaign Blog

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Halle campaign ends in French Victory

28-30 June 1813

Locations at end of campaign

Over the next four days Kutuzov withdraws all of his army to the east bank of the river Saale.

His concern now is to hold the line of the river and cover the road to Dresden.

Napoleon takes advantage of the Russian concentration around Leipzig to push his 3rd corps over the river to occupy Gera.

With this foothold on the west bank, Napoleon orders his weary troops to close up on the west bank and orders a temporary halt to operations

Effect of the Campaign

The campaign has been a limited success for the French. They have held the Russians on the line of the river Saale. They have also extended the line of the Second Army to the north on the river Elbe. But in doing so they have suffered heavy casualties and are in need of a considerable rest before Napoleon can hope to continue the struggle.

The Russian army is also in line with the Prussians to the north. The great advance has been brought to a complete standstill. But they have both achieved a number of victories against the French, and require only a good rest, reorganization and resupply to be ready to resist any further French advance.

Link to main Halle Campaign Blog

Saturday, September 25, 2010

French victory at Halle

27 June 1813

Battle of Halle

Halle is a strategic town where the Leipzig and Magdeburg roads both cross the river Saale.

Overconfident after a string of victories, Kutuzov orders his whole army to occupy Halle in preparation for an advance on Kassel.

Given the recent defeats most generals would have retired to Kassel – Fulda to regroup, but Napoleon was not most generals. He worked night and day to rally his weary troops and raise their morale sufficient for one last attempt.

French Guard attack Halle

The French Old and Young guard, led by Napoleon, attack Halle.

The Russians put up a strong defence, but are eventually forced to withdraw from the town, and cross the river under cover of darkness.

Effect on the Campaign

At last a convincing victory for Napoleon. The Russians have suffered heavy casualties, and will withdraw back over the river Saale at nightfall.

However in earlier battles the French have also suffered heavy casualties, and are in not condition to risk another assault over the river.

Both sides will settle for holding their side of the river. Napoleon has managed to secure the flank of Second French Army at Magdeburg, but has failed to beat the Russians and move north to attack the Prussians.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Russian concentration at Halle

26 June 1813

Russian deployment at Halle

Russians concentrate at Halle

French march to Halle

25 June 1813

Wargames Map

Kutuzov orders all corps to concentrate at Halle

Napoleon orders all corps to move on Halle

24 June 1813

strategic map

Russians now control east of river Saale

French move north along western bank of Saale towards Halle

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Napoleon retreats west of river Saale

23 June 1813

Kutuzov orders his army to move north to open Leipzig road

French army break contact and move west of river Saale

22 June 1813

French rally at Gera

Napoleon’s strike across the Saale is in tatters, and he orders a withdrawal back to the west bank.

Monday, September 20, 2010

French defeated at Rohenberg

21 June 1813

Battle of Rohenberg

Napoleon must strike before the Russians can concentrate, he orders two of his corps to take Rohenberg and drive the Russians away from the Dresden road.

Kutuzov orders 2nd corps to abandon Gera and move to support Rohenberg.

Table at start of game

Game objective is to capture village of Rohenburg

2nd Russian corps (Jan) in and around town

3rd Russian corps (Jan) will enter top left

2nd French corps (Paul) will enter bottom left

3rd French corps (Paul) will enter bottom right

Fight for the farm

Despite being outnumbered at Rohenburg the Russian infantry continue to hold. The French gunners have routed and the Russian artillery is moving into canister range.

The Russian infantry in the farm is also holding their own against two French brigades who are exchanging fire with them. The French artillery, now almost in canister range, have failed to inflict a single casualty.

The Russian cuirassiers have reformed after their melee and are awaiting orders to attack

With both French cavalry brigades in rout, and also one of their batteries, Napoleon orders a withdrawal before the Russians can take advantage of the situation.

Effect on Campaign

The young guard, the second best corps in Napoleon’s army, is effectively finished as a fighting force, and Napoleon’s attempt to storm the river Saale has ended in defeat.

20 June 1813

Outflanked in the south, Kutuzov orders his four corps to concentrate on the Dresden road and abandon Leipzig.

All four French corps have now crossed the river Saale, but are widely separated, whereas the Russians hold the central position.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

French cross river Saale

19 June 1813

3rd Russian corps at Neustadt forced to retreat to Greiz as 2nd and 3rd French corps march on Neustadt.

Kutuzov arrives at Gera and orders his four corps to abandon the Leipzig road and concentrate on the Dresden road.

18 June 1813

Napoleon shifts his army south to outflank the Russian line along the east bank of the river Saale.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Napoleon defeated at Lutzen

17 June 1813

The Battle of Lutzen

Lutzen is a village west of the river Saale on the Leipzig road

The village is held by 1st Russian corps

14th Westphalian corps is ordered to cross the river and take the village

Start of Game

The top road goese to Kothen

The left road to Halle

The right road to Leipzig

The bottom road to Zietz

Battle for the woods

As the Westphalians cross the river and advance towards Lutzen, the Russians are moving towards the river, and both sides clash in the woods just west of Lutzen.

Both sides commit reinforcements to the woods, but eventually the Russians gain the upper hand.

The Westphalian cavalry covered the retreat over the river Saale.

The Russians had also suffered heavy casualties, but remained in possession of Lutzen.

The Westphalian cavalry covered the retreat over the river Saale.

The Russians had also suffered heavy casualties, but remained in possession of Lutzen.

Effect on Campaign

Things are looking rather bleak for Napoleon. Every attempt to cross the river has ended in failure. He must now decide whether to settle for holding the west bank, or to risk everything on a more determined attempt to cross the river.

Imperial Garde take Weimar

16 June 1813

Battle of Weimar

Napoleon commits the Imperial Garde to retake Weimar and force the Russians back across the river Saale.

Photo of table

In a close fought battle the 4th Russian corps held Weimar right to the end. The garde cavalry were beaten by the Russian cuirassiers, and three of the four garde infantry brigades were shaken.

Cavalry melee

As night fell the sole garde infantry brigade finally pushed the Russians out of Weimar. A relieved Napoleon had halted the Russian advance and regained control of the west bank of the river Saale.

15 June 1813

Russians cross the river Saale

French withdraw to Jena and Russians occupy Gera.

Napoleon is one days march from Weimar

Further north the Russians cross the river Saale at Naumberg and occupy Weimar.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

French lose Gera

14 June 1813

Battle of Gera

Filled with confidence after their victory at Neustadt, Kutuzov orders an

attack on Gera, to deny the French their only bridgehead on west bank of the river Saale

Table at start of battle

The town is held by 2nd French corps

Another hard battle for possession of the only French held town on the eastern bank.

The town is held by a brigade of Young Guard, who hold the town throughout the day but are finally driven out by the Pavlov Grenadier brigade.

Russians take Gera

The Russians have routed the garrison, but at the loss of one brigade, and have captured one section of the town. The remainder is still held by the French, but two of their brigades are in rout.

Efffect on Campaign

The French withdrew to the west bank under cover of darkness.

This is the second defeat for the French, and they have lost their only hold on the east bank of the river Saale.

The Russians are now deployed along the east bank from Lutzen to Neustadt and well placed to push across to the west bank.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Russians hold Neustadt

13 June 1813

Battle of Neustadt

Kutuzov has ordered 3rd corps to occupy Neustadt in order to isolate the French in Gera, their only foot hold on the east bank of the river Saale.

Aware of the danger, Napoleon has ordered his 3rd corps to cross the river and occupy Neustadt.

Table at start

Both corps approach the town at first light on 23 June 1813, and the Russian win the race for the town. The French attack before they can take full possession, and a desperate hand to hand fight takes place.

Fight for the town

The fighting extends to the area around the town and the French cuirassiers rout the Guard Cossacks. However the Russian infantry hold their ground and as night falls the Russians still hold the town and the French retreat back across the river.

Russian army enters Leipzig

12 June 1813

Kutuzov meets with his generals at Leipzig

The Russian Army arrives at the river Saale and Kutuzov occupies Leipzig

French are heavily outnumbered and particularly vulnerable at Gera.

3 corps is ordered south to Saalfeld to hold the right of the French line.

11 June 1813

Kutuzov is alarmed to receive reports that Napoleon has left Fulda and is marching towards the river Saale.

He orders his four corps to push ahead to reach the river Saale and take up defensive positions between Leipzig and Zwichau.

Napoleon and the Imperial Guard are still four days march from the river Saale.

He only has one corps on the west bank at Halle and a second on the east bank at Gera.

A third has been ordered to move to Jena to support the bridgehead at Gera.

He has issued orders that the river must be held at all costs.