Thursday, March 31, 2011

Campaign Move 4 – Battle of Uelzen

0800-1200 24 July 1813

The armies are now in close contact along the whole front.

All corps have spent the previous day trying to identify what is opposite them. Some have been successful, and are aware of the designation of the enemy corps. Others have been unable to penetrate the enemy cavalry screen and are only aware that there is a corps sized formation opposite them.

The two commanders in chief will not be aware of the situation until they receive the daily reports from their corps commanders. These will start to arrive during the current move, but those corps furthest from army headquarters will not arrive until the next move.

All corps are currently working on orders issued during the previous afternoon.

At that time the Prussian corps at Rosche was ordered to push forward to Uelzen, and attack if necessary. This movement resulted in the battle of Uelzen.

The French corps at Uelzen has orders to take up a defensive position and hold the town.

As a result the first battle of the campaign will be fought between Rosche and Uelzen.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Campaign Move 3 – First Contract

1600-2000 23 July 1813

Both armies have now moved within sight of each other along the whole front

Between the two armies the cavalry brigades from each corps are now in contact. Most have orders to observe and report, but to avoid combat.

All corps are now within 15 miles of each other, which is contact range. They would be aware that there is an enemy corps approaching, and which square they are in. As long as the two cavalry screen are maintained they would not be aware of the identity of the enemy corps.

If the cavalry on one side retreats to its parent corps, the other cavalry brigade will be able to approach close enough to the enemy corps to identify which corps it is.

In the north two cavalry brigades fight a brief melee. It resulted in a draw, both brigades lost one casualty each and both withdrew to their parent corps.

The cavalry melee was resolved under Wargame Rule 14 : Combat - cavalry v cavalry.

Both brigades are well matched in strength and type, so neither has the advantage. A dice was rolled to decide which brigade would dice to decide. Two D6 dice were rolled, for a total of 6. The result was draw, both disordered, each lose one casualty.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Campaign Move 2 - Fog of War

1200-1600 23 July 1813

At this early stage of the campaign both armies are 20-30 miles apart, so during the morning there have been no contacts reported.

All eight corps are in movement. In most cases their cavalry brigades are moving well ahead of the corps columns, searching for the enemy, securing cross roads and bridges and collecting information.. Little information of any importance has been collected so far, as they are still operating in an area which they previously controlled.

It is likely that by the next move there will be initial cavalry contacts.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Campaign Move 1 – Prussian advance

0800-1200 23 July 1813

For the past week both sides had been preparing for a renewal of hostilities. All corps were fully operational and awaiting orders to deploy.

At first light on 23 July Blucher ordered his army to advance.

Shortly afterwards Davout ordered his army to deploy.

The Hanover campaign had started.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Introduction to the Hanover Campaign

Europe - 22 July 1813

The main 1813 campaign consists of five mini campaigns

North Germany – Hanover - French v Prussians

Central Germany – Halle - French v Russians

Southern Germany – Linz - French v Austrians

Eastern Spain – Tarragona - French v Spanish

Western Spain – Burgos - French v British

Germany – 22 July 1813

In April 1813 Marshal Davout was appointed CinC of all French troops in Northern Germany. These were mainly the survivors of the Russian campaign of the previous year. He was ordered to hold the line of the river Elbe from Hamburg to Magdeburg.

On 1 May 1813 Prussia declared war on France, and general Blucher was ordered to invade Westphalia, take Magdeburg and secure a crossing of the river Elbe. It was anticipated that this objective could be achieved before the French could build up their forces and take the field.

Against all expectations Marshal Davout had the Second Army battle ready within days of the Prussian advance. He could not prevent Blucher crossing the river Elbe, but he did fight a series of battles for Magdeburg.

On 14 May 1813 Blucher won a narrow victory at the major battle of Magdeburg.

The next day Davout abandoned his defence of the river Elbe and withdrew towards Hanover.

Both armies were battered and weary after a hard fought campaign, both needed rest and reinforcement.

Hanover Strategic Map - 23 May 1813

The Hanover Campaign is the sixth phase of the 1813 campaign, and the second phase of the campaign in northern Germany.

Davout deployed his army in and around Hanover.

Blucher deployed his army west of the river Elbe in and around Madgeburg.

After a period of rest and reorganization on 22 May 1813 Blucher received orders from Berlin to march his army westwards and take the city of Hanover. The second phase of the battle for Northern Germany had begun.

Campaign Area

The campaign area covers an area 135 miles by 75 miles.

All movement is by road only

The red roads are the major supply routes, the yellow minor supply routes. The brown roads are tracks and not suitable for supply.

Second French Army

The Second French Army consists of four corps.

Each corps has four infantry and one cavalry brigades.

Marshal Davout may withdraw cavalry brigades to form a cavalry reserve

Prussian Army

The Prussian army also consists of four corps

Each corps has four infantry and one cavalry brigades

No change in this order of battle is allowed.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Summary of 1813 Hanover Campaign

22 July1813

The French campaign objectives are

1 - Defeat the Prussians

2 - Take Madgeburg

3 - Keep the Hanover to Hamburg road open

Davout’s strategy is concentrate in the south of the campaign area and advance on Magdeburg, defeating any enemy in their path

The Prussian campaign objectives are

1 – Defeat the French

2 – Take Hanover

3 – Cut the Hanover to Hamburg road

Blucher’s strategy is to advance on a wide front from Ardensee to Magdeburg.

They are likely to sever the Hanover to Hamburg road, but run the risk of being defeated piecemeal in the south.

23 July 1813

The first contact, on the first day of the campaign, is at Welbeck. The Prussians are only aware of VI French corps, they are not aware that there are four French corps advancing against just two Prussian corps.

24 July1813

A major battle was fought at Helmstedt, and a minor one at Marienborn.

4th Prussian corps launched a surprise attack on VI French corps as the latter marched south from Helmstedt. Both sides suffered medium casualties in the fighting, and the Prussians held the town at nightfall

3rd Prussian and XIII French corps fought a minor deploying battle at Marienborn. Neither side had completed deployment at nightfall, and both sides suffered light casualties.

V French corps and the cavalry reserve were delayed due to congestion, and a refusal to give way, at Brunswick

1st Prussian corps is moving away from the main concentration area.

25 July 1813

Blucher has grasped that all four French corps are concentrated against Magdeburg, and ordered 1st Prussian corps to march south and join him at Helmstedt.

There is a second battle at Helmstedt with two fresh corps, V French and 2rd Prussian. In addition the two battered corps from the previous days battle, VI French and 4th Prussian, are drawn into the battle.

In the south 3rd Prussian corps has withdrawn to Seehausen, pursued by XIII and IV French corps.

End of Campaign

The second battle of Helmstedt was never fought. Nor was the anticipated battle in front of Magdeburg. Nor the final battle somewhere near Madgeburg. Because the campaign came to an abrupt and untimely end when one of the CinC players resigned. This followed a period of petty complaints by the other CinC. Very disappointing, and a waste of a lot of work.

But not the end of either the 1813 campaign, nor my attempts to create a PBEM 1813 campaign. Lessons have been learnt. Work is under way to rewrite the campaign rules. Recruiting is well advanced for the new command posts. I hope to have the revised PBEM 1813 Hanover Campaign up and running in a week or two.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Last day of the Campaign

25 July 1813

Strategic map at 2000 25 July 1813

By the end of the third day of the campaign the fog of war would have lifted, and all eight corps would be identified.

The two battles of the previous day would dictate the efforts of both armies during 25 July.

In the north 1st Prussian corps marched south to draw closer to the main battle area, but would still be too distant to play any role.

In the south 3rd Prussian corps would break contact at Marienborn during the early morning, and would retreat to Seehausen.

XIII French corps were unaware of the withdrawal and did not start the pursuit until midmorning. As they approached Seehausen they found the Prussians deployed in a strong defensive position. The French deployed ready to attack, but by then it was too late in the day to commence battle.

IV French corps had an uneventful march from Salzgitter to Marienborn, where they arrived late in the afternoon.

But it was in the centre, around Helmstedt, that the most critical action took place.

The second battle of Helmstedt would involve two Prussian corps and two French corps plus the cavalry reserve.

Throughout 23 July 4th Prussian corps and VI French corps had battled for possession of Helmstedt. Both corps suffered medium casualties, and at nightfall both withdrew from the town. The French to the south, the Prussians to the east.

Marshal Blucher was aware that 2nd Prussian corps was approaching the town from the north, and he ordered 4th corps to deploy just east of the town so that they could support them

Marshal Davout also had fresh troops available. V French corps, and the cavalry reserve, had arrived just west of Helmstedt at nightfall.

He ordered V corps to occupy Helmstedt, and push east on the Welbeck road.

The cavalry reserve was ordered north to protect the left flank and to delay any Prussian troops marching on Helmstedt.

VI corps would take up defensive positions just south of Helmstedt.

Campaign Note

Both CinC and corps commander orders were plotted on the map, and this was the result.

The next stage would have been to fight the second battle of Helmstedt. The wargame was set up when one of the CinC resigned, bringing the campaign to an untimely end.

A summary of the campaign will be published on the blog shortly

Because this is a campaign game, and because it ended as it did, I will be refighting the Hanover phase of the 1813 campaign as a PBEM again. I expect the new campaign to start in a week or two.

If you would like to keep up with the preparation for the second attempt you will find the campaign forum at

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

End of PBEM Campaign

Unfortunately one of the key players has withdrawn from the campaign, which makes it impossible to continue.

This stage of the campaign was being used to test play a new set of rules to make it a PBEM campaign. There are two key roles, those of French and Prussian commander in chief. Both of these roles are difficult to replace, and especially as this critical stage of the campaign.

One CinC found it difficult to accept the mechanism for playing the campaign battles as wargames. He wanted Jan and I to be bound by his campaign orders and fight the wargame in a way which he felt it should be fought. He also found fault with my umpiring of the campaign, and certain decisions I had made. Worse he refused to compromise for the good of the campaign.

This in led to an exchange of posts on the forum, and eventually to the second CinC resigning from the campaign.

The experience has not put me off PBEM. I have learned a lot of valuable lessons from the attempt, particularly not to rely too much on one or two key players. So I will attempt to get a new PBEM campaign going shortly.

As this is part of the overall 1813 campaign I have a further problem, because this stage has not been brought to any sort of reasonable conclusion. So it is very likely that the next campaign will be a replay of the Hanover campaign.

I have no idea how long all of this will take, but you can keep up to date with what is happening by checking out either the campaign forum on

Or on my main wargame blog at

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Battle of Marienborn - Move 8


24 July 1813

Table at the start of Move 8

Both sides are determined to hold their own side of the town at nightfall.

Little attempt has been made to improve the deployment south of the town

3rd Prussian Corps

Bulow has 5CP

Artillery fire on square and hit, square test morale and pass

9 brigade move forward in square

12 brigade moves behind artillery and forms square on the other side of the guns

10 brigade skirmish with 2 brigade in town, both miss

XIII French Corps

Poniatowski only has 4CP

Artillery fire on East Marienborn and miss

2 brigade skirmish with 10 brigade and score a hit

10 brigade returns fire and fails to hit

10 brigade test morale for second casualty and pass

Table at the end of Game

The Prussians were lucky that 10 brigade made their morale with 2 casualties

As they hold East Marienborn at nightfall they can replace 10 brigade with the reserves

Both sides can complete their deployment during the night.

They are not allowed to move closer to the enemy, but can complete deployment

Effect on Campaign

The casualties so far have been light.

3 Prussian corps two casualties

XIII French corps one casualty

Both sides have secured their deployment and hold the nearest section of Marienborn.

Nightfall has prevented a skirmish developing into a battle

Both corps will be fully deployed at daybreak

Note on the Wargame

This has been an uneventful game so far.

10 brigade was unlucky to receive two casualties, and not inflict any on 2 brigade

The French have a slight advantage if the battle goes to a second day.

But not sufficient to feel confident of victory

A second day’s battle could go either way.

Battle of Marienborn - Move 7


24 July 1813

Table at the start of Move 7

Both sides have occupied the nearest section of Marienborn, and have also reinforced the first brigade sent to take the town. So both are obviously determined to hold their side

Both sides have also expanded well to the south of the town. Neither deployment is complete, but the battle lines are taking shape

3rd Prussian Corps

Bulow has 5CP this move

Artillery fire at the enemy square, which is just in range, and miss

Gunners man handle guns forward to remain in range if the square moves

10 brigade moves to centre of Marienborn and 11 brigade moves up in support

10 brigade skirmish with 2 brigade and miss

2 brigade skirmish back and score hit

10 brigade test morale and pass

XIII French Corps

Poniatowski also has 5CP this move

Gunners manhandle guns forward into range of East Marienborn

Cavalry move forward to protect gunners, the infantry are too far away

Poniatowski moves closer to town and orders 2 brigade to centre of town

2 brigade skirmish with 10 brigade, both miss

Rule Note

With just one casualty the Prussians are at a disadvantage in the town

They will require a roll of 6 to hit, the French require 5 or 6

It is probably too late in the day for either side to take full control of the town, though it is possible that a rout could leave one side empty.