Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Campaign Move 34 – Cavalry skirmish

0800 to 1200 3 August 1813

At first light 4th Prussian kuirassier brigade entered the town of Brunswick. They were aware of enemy cavalry to the west of the town, and approached with caution. They had orders not to attack the enemy, but to fight if attacked.

13th Polish lancer brigade had orders to attack and charged as the Prussians entered the town. The lancers outnumbered the kuirassiers, who had previous battle casualties. The long reach of their lances, plus the impetus of their charge, quickly overpowered the heavier enemy cavalry.

The Prussian cavalry suffered additional casualties, and routed from the town. They withdrew behind the main body of 4th corps, and soon rallied.

The Polish brigade calmly noted the strength and order of march of the approaching 4th corps. They then fell back in good order and abandoned the town to the Prussians.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Campaign Move 33 – Fog of War

1600-2000 2 August 1813


By nightfall Davout was confident that he could halt his beaten army and start to rally his shaken and routed brigades. There had been no sign of the Prussian’s since early morning, and it was clear that they were not mounting a pursuit.

Leaving his corps commanders to rally V and VI corps he awaited reports from IV and XIII corps to the north and west. Tonight he would have to decide where to concentrate his army and hope that he could concentrate them before Blucher attacked again.

Blucher had also had a busy day. Resting on the battle field after the battle he had managed to rally his disordered brigades. But they had to be withdrawn to Helmstedt and prepared for their move east. By evening they were all in their march positions ready to start at first light.

He was taking a risk in not mounting a pursuit of Davout. To do so he would have had to detach at least one of his three corps. That corps would then have been at the mercy of the French should they turn and fight. He would keep his three corps concentrated and be ready to react to whatever Davout might attempt.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Campaign Move 32 – Break Contact

1200 - 1600 2 August 1813



By lunchtime both armies had broken contact at Helmstedt.

The French had started to retreat during the hours of darkness following the battle. They made no attempt to rally or regroup. They moved as a disordered mass, their only interest to put as much distance as possible between them and Blucher’s army

The Prussians has spent the night resting and regrouping. By morning they had rallied their shaken and routed brigades and were ready to move by first light. 3rd corps were deployed just north of Helmstedt to cover the march of 1st and 4th corps west towards Hanover.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Campaign Move 31 – Disorder after the Storm

0800-1200 2 August 1813


The recent spate of battles has left both armies battered and disorganized. But this is no time to rest and recover.

The defeat at Helmstedt means that Davout has to produce a new strategic plan.

His failure to cut the Prussian lines of communications at Helmstedt has passed the initiative to Blucher. Both V and VI corps have suffered heavy casualties, and urgently require a period of rest to rally and regroup. The offensive option is no longer available, and he must consider whether to try to hold Hanover or to fall back on Hamburg.

Blucher has also suffered heavy casualties in the recent battles. However his victory at Helmstedt has allowed him to rest over night on the battlefield and rally his routed brigades. His corps would benefit from a short period of rest, but it is not essential.

He has the strategic advantage for a short period and he must decide how to best take advantage of it. Should he halt at Helmstedt to protect his lines of supply and reorganize his battered corps. Or should he now go on the offensive and strike at the French.

During the evening of 1 August 1813 both commanders issue orders to their scattered and battered corps which will answer all of these questions.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Campaign Move 30 – Second Helmstedt

1600 - 2000 1 August 1813

Table at 2000

By taking personal command of 4th corps Blucher could issue orders in place of Tauentzien, but he could not issue any orders to 1st or 3rd corps.

Blucher led 4th corps forward towards the French centre. As he did so Davout completed his withdrawal by placing one brigade in the farm, and formed the remainder of his two corps either side of it.

The French withdrawal had taken V and VI corps out of artillery range of 1st and 3rd corps. Both commanders had to wait for fresh orders from Blucher before they could advance to support 4th corps, but those orders were never issued.

As he neared the farm the French cavalry rallied and advanced to threaten the right flank of the Prussian columns.

It was now 1900, and only one hour remained before night fall. Blucher halted 4th corps on the abandoned French gun line. The second battle of Helmstedt had ended. He is confident that if the French do not retreat during the night he will be able to defeat them once he has regrouped his three corps.

Davout has done well to hold his second position until night fall

The French have lost 12 infantry, 1 cavalry and 4 gunners

The Prussians have lost 2 infantry, 3 cavalry and 1 gunner

Davout has 1 cavalry and 3 infantry brigades in Rout

Blucher has 1 cavalry and 1 infantry brigades in Rout

The Prussians are clear winners and will hold their ground over night

The French will retreat during the night and avoid battle for 24 hours

Friday, September 16, 2011

Campaign Move 29 – Second Helmstedt

1200 - 1600 1 August 1813

Table at 1600

With the failure of 3rd corps, Blucher had to rethink his attack.

On the right 1st corps was on hold orders as it was too weak to attack. With its 12 pounder guns it could cause casualties on VI corps whilst still out of range of the French guns.

On the left 3rd corps need time to rally and regroup. Blucher changed their orders to Hold to allow them to do so. They were within artillery range of V corps so could support an attack in the centre.

It was clear that Tauentzien could not be relied upon to command the attack. Against orders he had halted his corps, which contributed to the failure of 3rd corps. Blucher now took personal command of 4th corps and led them towards V corps.

Despite his temporary success against 3rd corps, Davout was well aware that he was too weak to withstand a new attack. He ordered V and VI corps to withdraw to the farm. This would take them out of artillery range of 1st and 3rd corps and gain time before Blucher could reach them with 4th corps. With luck they should be able to hold until night fall, when he could then retreat.

Marmont ordered his cavalry to return to the centre to cover the withdrawal, and his artillery to limber and retire. At the same time Blucher took personal command of 4th corps, and pushed his cavalry forward to opportunity charge the limbered artillery. The French gunners failed to react and were cut down. The supporting cavalry were Shaken by the disaster, but the nearby infantry in square moved forward and routed the Prussian cavalry.

Blucher must press home his attack with 4th corps before the enemy withdraw and regroup.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Campaign Move 28 – Second Helmstedt

0800 - 1200 1 August 1813

Table at 1200

Davout was aware that he was outnumbered by three corps to two, but felt he had to offer battle in order to force Blucher to abandon his march on Hanover. He hoped that he might be able to fight at least the early stages of the battle on even terms. As he observed the Prussian lines it was obvious that all three corps were in position at the start of the battle.

Blucher commanded three corps, but they were far from equal. 1st corps had suffered heavily at Wolfsburg and took the field with only two infantry brigades and the corps artillery. 3rd corps was his best corps and was almost full strength. 4th corps was also full strength, but was commanded by general Tauentzien the least capable of Blucher’s four corps commanders.

The attack opened with a general advance by the three Prussian corps.

1st corps had 12 pounder artillery, and they halted within range of VI French corps, but out of range of the 9 pounder French guns. VI corps was thus pinned by the much weaker 1st corps, but could not ignore the threat

3rd and 4th corps advanced towards V corps. The French cuirassier brigade moved forward causing 3rd corps to halt and form square. Their hussar brigade engaged the cuirassiers and drove them back.

As 3rd corps continued their advance, Tauentzien lost his nerve and ordered 4th corps to halt. Blucher ordered 3rd corps to press on, and went to sort out Tauentzien. 3rd corps had suffered from artillery fire whilst they sheltered in square, and were now met by a determined French infantry line. Without the support of 4th corps they lost the exchange and fell back to regroup.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Second Helmstedt – Move 12

1900-2000 1 August 1813

Table at the start of move 12

Davout has completed his withdrawal to the farm

The French are out of artillery range of 1st and 3rd Prussian corps

4th Prussian corps is now faced with the reformed V and VI French corps
3rd Prussian corps

General Bulow (Average) – Hold – 5CP

French out of artillery range

Waiting for orders from Prince Blucher to advance

VI French corps

Marshal Marmont (Average) – Hold – 6CP

Cavalry move to left flankAlign Center

24 infantry occupy farm

Marshal Davout (Gifted) – 5CP

No orders issued

V French corps

General Laurison (Average) – Hold - 6CP

Artillery fire (5) at close range on enemy gunners and miss

Poor Card

4th corps is under command of Prince Blucher (Average)

4th Prussian corps

Prince Blucher (Average) – Commanding 4th Corps - 6CP

Change orders from Engage to Hold

Artillery fire (9) on 20 French and cause one casualty

20 French test morale (-1) for second casualty, fail and Rout

Gunners test morale (1) for Rout within 4”, fail become Shaken

Garrison test morale (5) for Rout within 4”, pass and remain formed

15 brigade advance 6”

13 brigade advance 6”

Artillery manhandled 2”

Cavalry test morale (2) for Shaken, fail and remain Shaken

1st Prussian corps

General Yorck (Gifted) – Hold – 7CP

French are out of artillery range

Waiting for new orders from Prince Blucher

4th Prussian corps

General Tauentzien (Poor)

Corps under the command of Prince Blucher

Game Notes

Blucher has ordered 4th corps to hold on the VI corps abandoned guns

He is confident that if the French do not retreat during the night he will be able to defeat them once he has regrouped his three corps.

Davout has done well to hold his second position until night fall

Table at the end of move 12

Winner

The Prussians are clear winners and will hold their ground over night

The French will retreat during the night and avoid battle for 24 hours

Casualties

French have lost 12 infantry, 1 cavalry and 4 gunners

Prussians have lost 2 infantry, 3 cavalry and 1 gunner

Routed brigades at night fall

French have 1 cavalry and 3 infantry brigades in Rout

Prussians have 1 cavalry and 1 infantry brigades in Rout

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Second Helmstedt – Move 11

1800-1900 1 August 1813

Table at the start of move 11

Davout is retreating to the farm which he will hold until nightfall

The farm is out of artillery range of 1st and 3rd Prussian corps

Blucher has personal command of 4th corps and only issue orders to them

4th Prussian corps

Prince Blucher (Average) – Commanding 4th Corps - 7CP

Artillery fire (8) on 24 French and cause one casualty

24 French test morale (4) for first casualty, pass and remain formed

All four infantry brigades advance 6”

Blucher moves to centre of corps

Cavalry test morale (2) for Rout, pass and become Shaken

VI French corps

Marshal Marmont (Average) – Retire to Farm – 6CP

Change orders to Halt

24 infantry retire into farm

23 infantry form line from column of attack

Cavalry move behind 23 infantry

Cavalry test morale (3) for Shaken, pass and become Disordered

V French corps

General Laurison (Average) – Withdraw to T Junction - 6CP

Change orders to Halt

Artillery fire (9) at short range on enemy gunners, cause one casualty

Prussian gunners test morale (3) for first casualty, pass and remain formed

1st Prussian corps

General Yorck (Gifted) – Hold – 5CP

French are out of artillery range

Waiting for new orders from Prince Blucher

Poor Card

4th corps is under command of Prince Blucher (Average)

3rd Prussian corps

General Bulow (Average) – Hold – 6CP

French out of artillery range

Waiting for orders from Prince Blucher to advance

4th Prussian corps

General Tauentzien (Poor)

Corps under the command of Prince Blucher

Marshal Davout (Gifted) – 7CP

Move to V corps change orders to Hold

Move to VI corps change orders to Hold

Game Notes

Davout has completed his withdrawal to the farm

VI corps has also occupied the farm, and rallied their cavalry

The French are now in a strong position

Blucher has failed to break VI corps before they withdraw and regroup

To attempt to storm the farm would be a very dangerous choice

Without cavalry to counter VI corps cavalry his infantry are at risk

And with only one move to night he would not have time to exploit any success

Wargame rules can be found at

http://napoleonicwargamerules.blogspot.com/

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Second Helmstedt – Move 10

1700-1800 1 August 1813
Table at the start of move 10

Davout is retreating to the farm which he will hold until nightfall

The farm is out of artillery range of 1st and 3rd Prussian corps

Blucher has personal command of 4th corps and only issue orders to them

Marshal Davout (Gifted) – 6CP

Personal command of 24 brigade

24 brigade retire 2” facing enemy

3rd Prussian corps

General Bulow (Average) – Hold – 6CP

French are out of artillery range

Waiting for orders from Prince Blucher to advance

General Tauentzien (Poor)

Corps under the command of Prince Blucher

4th Prussian Corps

Prince Blucher (Average) – Commanding 4th Corps - 5CP

Artillery fire (6) on 24 French and miss

Manhandle guns 2” towards enemy

14 brigade advance 6”

16 brigade advance 6”

Blucher moves to centre of corps

Test morale (0) for Routed cavalry, fail and continue to Rout

Poor Card

4th corps is under command of Prince Blucher (Average)

1st Prussian corps

General Yorck (Gifted) – Hold – 7CP

Artillery fire (8) on 23 French hit and cause one casualty

23 French test morale (5) for second casualty, pass and remain formed

Unable to take any further action on Hold orders

Waiting for new orders from Prince Blucher

V French corps

General Laurison (Average) – Withdraw to T Junction - 4CP

Artillery fire (6) on 14 Prussian and miss

20 brigade form line

17 brigade retire 2” facing enemy

VI French corps

Marshal Marmont (Average) – Retire to Farm – 6CP

23 brigade form column of attack from square

23 brigade retire 3”

Test morale (2) for Shaken cavalry, fail and remain Shaken

Game Notes

Once again a poor dice throw prevent Blucher from handing control of 4th corps back to Tauentzien. He has now run out of time to activate 1st and 3rd corps and must do the best he can with 4th corps

The French withdrawal has worked well. They are now out of artillery range of 1st and 3rd Prussian corps and are well positioned to hold their own against 4th Prussian corps.

Wargame rules can be found at

http://napoleonicwargamerules.blogspot.com/

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Second Helmstedt – Move 9

1600-1700 1 August 1813

Table at the start of move 9

Davout has ordered a withdrawal to the farm in an attempt to hold until nightfall

Blucher has taken personal command of 4th corps to resume the attack

VI French corps

Marshal Marmont (Average) – Retire to Farm – 4CP

Prussian cuirassiers declare Opportunity Charge on Shaken chasseurs

Cuirassiers test (3) to charge, fail and remain stationary

23 brigade (in square) move within range of cuirassiers

23 brigade fire on cuirassiers (6) and cause one casualty

Cuirassiers test morale (-1) for first casualty, fail and Rout

Test morale (2) for Shaken chasseurs, fail remain Shaken

Test morale (-1) for Routed 22 brigade, fail and rout off the table

3rd Prussian corps

General Bulow (Average) – Hold – 6CP

Corps ready to advance, but waiting for orders from Prince Blucher

V French corps

General Laurison (Average) – Withdraw to T Junction - 5CP

Artillery fire (4) on 14 Prussian and miss

20 brigade retire 6”

17 brigade retire 2” facing enemy

Test morale (3) for Shaken 20 brigade, rally and become Disordered

Poor Card

4th corps is under command of Prince Blucher (Average)

4th Prussian corps

General Tauentzien (Poor)

Corps under the command of Prince Blucher

Prince Blucher (Average) – 5CP

Artillery advance 4” and unlimber

13 brigade advance 6”

15 brigade advance 6”

Tauentzien move to command range (8”) of cuirassiers

Test Morale (-1) for Routed cavalry, fail and continue to rout

1st Prussian corps

General Yorck (Gifted) – Hold – 7CP

Artillery fire (9) on 23 French hit and cause one casualty

23 French test morale (6) for first casualty, pass and remain formed

Unable to take any further action on Hold orders

Marshal Davout (Gifted) – 6CP

Move to 24 brigade and take personal command

24 brigade retire 2” facing enemy

Game Notes

Prince Blucher had intended to hand back command to general Tauentzien

But the timing of the Poor Card would have meant 4th corps would have had to change their orders to Halt

Furthermore with only 5CP Blucher would not have been able to change orders for 1st or 4th corps

Formed cavalry can declare an Opportunity Charge on any Shaken enemy at the start of that enemy’s turn. To complete the charge they must first test their morale

Rule 6 deals with Opportunity Charges

Wargame rules can be found at

http://napoleonicwargamerules.blogspot.com/