Sunday, February 27, 2011

Battle of Marienborn - Move 6


24 July 1813

Table at the start of Move 6

On the left the Polish artillery are in danger from the enemy cavalry

If the Prussians move first, they could move their cavalry to charge the guns in flank

3rd Prussian Corps

Bulow does move first, and he has 7CP

He changes his corps orders from Move to Engage

The artillery unlimber with a field of fire which includes West Marienborn

10 brigade moves through East Marienborn, with 11 brigade in support

Bulow moves to the rear to bring up 12 brigade

XIII French Corps

Poniatowski has 6CP to react to the cavalry threat

He changes his orders from Move to Engage

He moves his lancers to the south to counter the Prussian cavalry

Rule Note

Bulow could either risk a cavalry charge or deploy his corps

He went for the second option.

He would have had to move away from the corps to order the charge

He might have taken out the enemy artillery

Had he failed he widely spread corps would have been at the mercy of Poniatowski

Poniatowski used his turn to redeploy his lancers to counter the Prussian hussars

Both commanders have changed their orders to Engage so that they can skirmish with the enemy in Marienborn.

Battle of Marienborn - Move 5


24 July 1813

Table at the start of Move 5

The withdrawal of both cavalry brigades allows the commanders to deploy their corps.

On the left Poniatowski has sent his artillery well to the south

This will give them an excellent field of fire.

One division is entering West Marienborn

The second division is taking position south of the town

Bulow is slightly behind in his deployment

His artillery is too close to the town to fire on West Marienborn

Three infantry brigades are still on the road approaching East Marienborn

XIII French Corps

Poniatowski has 5CP to complete his deployment

2 brigade is occupying West Marienborn, supported by 3 brigade

The artillery are unlimbered and have a good field of fire

4 brigade is moving into position between 1 brigade and the guns

3rd Prussian Corps

Bulow has 6CP

He moves his hussar brigade well to the south to threaten the enemy artillery

10 brigade is sent into East Marienborn, supported by 11 brigade.

His artillery are badly positioned, he orders them to limber and move south.

Rule Note

The Prussian cavalry are more than 16” from the nearest enemy.

So they can have multiple moves to outflank the enemy gunners

This should allow him to regain the advantage of his slow deployment.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Battle of Marienborn - Move 4


24 July 1813

Table at the start of Move 4.

On the left Poniatowski has ordered one division to occupy Marienborn, and the second division to deploy to the south, supported by the cavalry and artillery.

On the right Bulow is reacting to the enemy deployment. He has ordered his artillery to deploy south of the town, and one brigade to support them. But the remainder of his corps has been left behind.

3rd Prussian Corps

Bulow again moves first, and this time has 7CP

Artillery move and unlimber beside East Marienborn

Cavalry withdraw out of enemy artillery range

9 brigade form square to protect artillery

Column move towards East Marienborn

XIII French Corps

Poniatowski has 5CP

He also orders his cavalry to withdraw out of enemy artillery range

The artillery moves to the right flank

2 brigade enters West Marienborn, with 3 brigade in support

Rule Note

The cavalry have completed their role of covering the approach and deployment.

They are now very vulnerable to enemy artillery fire.

To withdraw them is expensive and dangerous.

If they offer a flank or rear to the enemy cavalry they risk an opportunity charge

To withdraw half a move facing the enemy costs 2CP

They are not allowed to pass through friends.

Both commanders are aware of the problem and have completed the withdrawal safely

Friday, February 25, 2011

Battle of Marienborn - Move 3


24 July 1813

Table at the start of Move 3

Poniatowski starts to deploy his corps to the south of Marienborn. His cavalry have moved forward within charge range of the Prussian hussars to prevent an opportunity charge on the infantry columns.

Bulow is still some distance from the town, and his cavalry brigade is isolated and unsupported.

3rd Prussian Corps

Fortunately Bulow moves first.

With 5CP he can have a double move with his column and still be more than 16” from the nearest enemy.

He also orders his artillery out of the column to engage and drive off the Polish lancers.

XIII French Corps

With 5CP Poniatowski starts to deploy his corps

The artillery move to the right of the town, supported by 4 brigade. This move is protected by the lancers and 1 brigade in square

2 and 3 brigade move towards Marienborn.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Battle of Marienborn - Move 2


24 July 1813

Table at the start of Move 2

The cavalry of both sides have deployed south of Marienborn, and the rest of the corps are approaching on the road.

The French have an early advantage due to their good dice throw for CP in move one, and are much nearer the town than the Prussians.

3rd Prussian Corps

Another low dice throw gives Bulow just 5CP.

He orders the cavalry brigade forward to pin the enemy cavalry

Behind the cavalry screen the corps an only move 8” towards the town.

XIII French Corps

Poniatowski is no more lucky with his dice and has just 4CP

However he is nearer to the town and must decide whether to use his CP to occupy the town with his leading brigade, or to start to deploy. He decides on the latter.

He moves his cavalry brigade within charge distance of the Prussian hussars.

Behind them the whole corps swings to the south.

Despite his cavalry screen he orders his leading brigade to form square

Rule Note

Poniatowski has opted for a cautious deployment.

Despite his cavalry screen he has still ordered his leading brigade into square. This will delay the deployment, but will protect his infantry should the Prussian cavalry attack and defeat his cavalry screen.

A bolder move would have been to make a dash for Marienborn and try to take at least the west section before the Prussians infantry arrived.

Battle of Marienborn - Move 1


24 July 1813

Table at the start of Move 1

The French will enter the table from the left and the Prussians from the right.

Both corps are full strength and evenly matched. Both commanders are Average quality. So the opening moves will be very important. The side which moves first will be able to take multiple moves, providing that they keep more than 16” from the enemy cavalry brigade.

XIII French Corps

The French move first and with 7CP are able to make a dash for West Marienborn in column of march. They are unable to fight in this formation, but can march quicker. Their cavalry brigade covers the approach march

3rd Prussian Corps

The Prussians are less lucky with the dice and only have 4CP. They also enter the table in column of march, but first send their cavalry brigade forward to block the enemy cavalry.

Rule Note

All corps transfer from the campaign to the wargame in column of march. This formation allows them to march faster than any other, but they must deploy into column of attack or line if they wish to fight.

This formation is particularly vulnerable to enemy cavalry. If the move sequence is in their favour the cavalry can approach before the column can deploy, and inflict heavy casualties.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Battle of Marienborn - Set Up

Start 1200

24 July 1813

Tactical Map 24 July 1813

Campaign Background

On the same day that the battle of Helmstedt was fought, there was an encounter battle on days march to the south between XIII French corps and 3rd Prussian corps.

The battle starts at 1200 24 July 1813.

Table at 1200 24 July 1813

Wargames Table

Marienborn is in the middle of the table at the cross roads

The road from left to right is from Wolfenbuttel to Seehausen

The road top to bottom is from Helmstedt to Halberstadt

The French cavalry are deployed west of Marienborn.

The remainder of XIII corps will enter from the left on move one

The Prussians cavalry are deployed east of Marienborn

The remainder of 3rd corps will enter from the right on move one

French Army

Poniatowski has orders to move to Marienborn. His orders for the day state that the corps will engage equal or inferior forces and will hold against superior forces. His lancer brigade are marching in advance of the corps and as they approach Marienborn they spot Prussian hussars approaching the town on the Seehausen road

XIII Polish Corps

General Poniatowski (Average)

7 Infantry Division

1 Infantry Brigade CB FB SB

2 Infantry Brigade CB FB SB

8 Infantry Division

3 Infantry Brigade CB FB SB

4 Infantry Brigade CC FC SC

13 Lancer Brigade CB Light Cavalry

13 Corps Artillery CB 9 pounder

Prussian Army

Bulow has orders to move to Marienborn and to drive back any enemy encountered.

He has instructed his corps to march to Marienborn and attack if occupied by the enemy.

At midday his hussar brigade approach the town and sight enemy cavalry approaching from the west.

3rd Prussian Corps

General Bulow (Average)

5 Infantry Division

9 Infantry Brigade CA FB SB

10 Infantry Brigade CB FB SB

6 Infantry Division

11 Infantry Brigade CB FB SB

12 Landwehr Brigade CC FC SC

3 Hussar Brigade CB Light Cavalry

3 Corps Artillery CB 9 pounder

Game Notes

This is the second battle of the Hanover Campaign.

Marienborn is the objective of both the French and the Prussians

Both corps enter the table on move orders

Rule Note

The rules will be our standard wargames rules.

They can be found at

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Battle of Helmstedt - Move 12


24 July 1813

Table at the start of Move 12

First - Poor Card

General Tauentzien will not count as morale support

Second - VI French – 6CP

Artillery fire on east Helmstedt and miss

21 brigade (shaken) move out of west Helmstedt

22 brigade move to edge of west Helmstedt to replace 21 brigade

23 brigade skirmish east Helmstedt, no casualties

Garrison east Helmstedt unable to skirmish due to earlier casualties

21 brigade test morale for shaken, fail and rout

22 brigade test morale for rout, pass no effect

Third - 4th Prussian – 8CP

Artillery fire on 23 brigade (skirmish east Helmstedt) and miss

Blucher moves to centre of Helmstedt

16 landwehr brigade moves to support west Helmstedt

Test morale for shaken 14 brigade in west Helmstedt, fail remain shaken

Test morale for shaken 15 brigade in east Helmstedt, fail and rout

Test morale for 13 brigade (garrison east Helmstedt) pass

Test morale for 16 brigade (within 4” of rout), pass

Second - French CinC – 8CP

No action

Effect on Campaign

Table at nightfall 24 July 1813

This has been a very hard fought battle, both sides have considerable casualties and neither side is in firm control of Helmstedt. For this reason the battle is a draw, and both sides will have to withdraw during the night.

Because both CinC are present, they will decide the direction of retreat, and will include this in their orders for 25 July 1813.

Detailed casualties will be sent to each CinC and both corps commanders with the chief of staff report, but I can confirm that each side has lost 8 casualties. This may not seem a lot, but under these rules it can have dramatic results.

1 casualty per brigade is considered light

2 casualties per brigade is considered medium

3 casualties per brigade is considered heavy

Note on the Wargame

This has been a very enjoyable wargame.

The conflicting orders carried over from the campaign should have given the Prussians a good advantage. However their poor command hampered their ability to take full advantage of this opportunity.

The French reacted quickly to the threat to Helmstedt, and managed to get a brigade into the eastern section of the town just as the Prussians arrived.

The presence of both CinC in the game greatly affected command and control. The Prussians were able to overcome the problem of a Poor commander. The French had two commanders and their CinC was able to change orders for any brigade at will.

The town fighting put the rules to the test, and could have gone either way right up to nightfall. Both sides were able to replace the original garrison, and the failure of the final Prussian attack was a complete surprise to us both.

At nightfall the fighting died down. The Prussians still held the village, if only just. So the French withdrew into square M11.

So both sides could claim victory. VI corps controlled the farm, 4th corps the town of Helmstedt. Both sides had achieved their daily objective.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Battle of Helmstedt - Move 11


24 July 1813

Table at the start of Move 11

First - 4th Prussian – 6CP

General Tauentzien sent to join shaken 15 brigade in west Helmstedt

Artillery fire on 23 brigade (skirmishing east Helmstedt), no casualties

13 brigade replace 15 brigade as garrison of east Helmstedt

13 brigade skirmish 21 brigade, no casualties

21 brigade skirmish back, one casualty on garrison

13 brigade test morale for first casualty and pass

14 brigade in west Helmstedt test morale, fail remain shaken

15 brigade (routed in east Helmstedt} test and pass morale, become shaken

Second - French CinC – 8CP

Take command of artillery

Artillery fire on east Helmstedt, no casualties

Gunners manhandle guns into close range of the town

Third - Poor Card

Fourth - VI French – 6CP

Artillery have already fired on CinC orders, may not fire again

22 brigade move towards west Helmstedt

21 brigade (shaken in west Helmstedt) withdraw to edge of town

23 brigade skirmish east Helmstedt, inflict second casualty on 13 brigade

13 brigade (garrison east Helmstedt) skirmish and inflict first casualty on 23 brigade

23 brigade test morale for first casualty, pass

13 brigade test morale for second casualty, pass

21 brigade (shaken in west Helmstedt) test morale for shaken, fail and rout

No supports within supporting distance, so no further morale tests.

Game Note

Blucher (gifted commander) has taken command of 4th Prussian corps because Tauentzien is a poor commander. However Tauentzien can still be sent to add morale support to the shaken 15 brigade, who is out of command range of Blucher. This will add plus two when 15 brigade tests their morale.

Had the Poor Card been drawn before 4th Prussian corps turn this would not have been possible.

When there is a rout any brigade within supporting distance (4”) have to check their morale. When a game gets to the present stage, where there are a number of shaken brigades, one rout can have a knock on effect. Fortunately there were no supports when 21 brigade in west Helmstedt routed.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Battle of Helmstedt - Move 10


24 July 1813

Table at the start of Move 10

First - 4th Prussian – 6CP

Artillery fire on enemy attacking east Helmstedt, no casualties

Gunners manhandle guns towards Helmstedt

13 brigade move into east Helmstedt as reserve

Blucher joins 14 brigade and orders them to charge shaken 21 brigade in west Helmstedt

14 brigade have the advantage but still lose melee, retire shaken with 2 casualties

21 brigade remain shaken and receive another casualty, making total of 3

Second - Poor Card

Third - VI French – 6CP

Artillery out of range, limber and move towards Helmstedt

22 brigade form column of march from square and move towards Helmstedt

23 brigade continue to skirmish east Helmstedt, inflict third casualty

15 brigade (garrison) test morale for casualty, fail and rout

13 brigade (support in east Helmstedt) test morale for rout and pass

14 brigade (garrison of west Helmstedt) test morale for rout, fail and remain shaken

Fourth - French CinC – 8CP

Leave cavalry brigade and ride to join artillery

Game Note

14 brigade lose melee in west Helmstedt

There are two options for fighting in a built up area.

Skirmish fire is not very effective, and can continue for many moves. Each side requires a total of 6 to hit the enemy. It is not unusual for two brigades to continue for four or five moves before one side loses its morale. Once a brigade has two or three casualties it is no longer able to hit the enemy, but may continue to hold its ground.

Attack, or hand to hand fighting, is much more decisive. A plus and minus list decides which brigade has the advantage. The balance is then added to a roll of 2D6 to decide the outcome. A very low total will result in the WINNER losing the melee, an average roll will be a draw and a high score will result in the LOSER losing the melee. The total will decide the number of casualties and whether the loser is shaken or routs.

14 Prussian brigade is average and has no casualties. 21 French brigade is elite but has two casualties and is shaken. So the advantage is with the Prussians. They have plus 2 and roll 2D6. The dice roll of 3 makes a total of 5. The have lost the melee, lost two casualties and retire shaken. The French have 1 casualty and remain shaken.

This is a good example of how the rules are designed to make every outcome uncertain, even when one side appears to have the advantage. Not the type of game everyone would enjoy, but we love the edge it gives to all decisions.

Rule 10 covers hand to hand fighting in built up areas.

Rule 11 covers skirmish in open or built up areas