Sunday, April 14, 2013

Action of Furstenwalde

This After Action Report is in conjunction with the Campaign of Nations game that is being played via email and web connections with players from the UK, Canada, USA and Australia taking part.

Poniatowski at the start of the Furstenwalde action

The battle action called for an advance by Ponitowski's VIII corps into the region to the west of Furstenwalde, some 18 miles east of Berlin. Swedish forces under the overall command of Pozzo di Borgo were to defend against the advance from the east to the city.

The game system chosen was SHAKO (version I) and this permitted the maximum of usage of the forces that I have.  I actually used all the French National painted gunners and foot artillery that I have (first time ever) and got to put out the newly painted Swedish troops, also using all of them.

Ponitowski was on the attack with three foot brigades with 10 battalions of foot in total, 26th Div artillery, VIII Corps artillery (with a total of 5 full batteries) and a brigade of cavalry under Uminski consisting of Ciurassier and two regiments of Krakus.

Pozzo di Borgo had a more humble force of 4 line battalions, 3 irregular or Freiwilliger battalions, two regiments of horse and one full foot battery of artillery.

Table lay out, included three low hills in the center

VIII Corps was laid out, from left to right, Uminski, Grabowski, 26th Artillery, Malachowski, VIII Corps Artillery and Sierawski.  Pozzo chose to put the irregulars on his right, the line force & artillery in the center - using the hill to fire the guns over the heads of his own troops and lumped the Freiwilliger Cavalry and Chevauxleger on his left.

French right, near the farm

VIII Corps Artillery forming a huge gun line

Grabowski on the left of the Polish position
Turn one was to be the pivotal moment.  It turned out the the Swedish force was 2" too close to the advance positioned Polish guns.  In the first salvo exchange the Swedish force lost some 1000 men, with an entire battalion of Freiwilliger foot Jagers fleeing in the first few minutes after taking 200 of their 500 men as casualties.  There were almost no battalions left untouched by the first bombardment.

Swedish response was to charge with their Schonen Carabinierregement into the Polish right, the infantry battalions simply formed square and drove them off.  It was in the recovery from this action that the Schonen Carabinierregement had their troubles, they were to use the next three turns to get back ready for any action, and do this arguing within sight of Pozzo di Borgo.   We postulated that this delay may have come from the nationalism of the time and an unhappiness on the part of the Schonen Carabinierregement (likely the most 'noble' unit on the table for the Swedes) having been sent into a meat grinder by the 'foreign' Italian/Russian commander Pozzo ....

Overall situation, lots of artillery firing in the first 30 mins - one cavalry charge that failed

Swedish center - narry a battalion without casualties in the first 20 mins

Polish center, Malachowski moving off to engage the Swedish center

VIII Corps batteries, dealing out death with every shot

Grabowski's brigade, killing off an entire battalion of Mecklemberg Jagers in the first salvo!

Turn two consisted of more casualties dealt out by Polish gunners and the Mecklenburg-Schwerin Freiwilliger Mounted Jäger under Generalmajor von Fallois being given orders to drive into the Polish rear and strike out for Ponitowski himself.  The Mounted Jäger managed to clear around the first squares, not enough room or time to stop Sierawski from re-deploying two battalions to block their path to the commander or the VIII Corps guns.  The Schonen Carabinierregement continued to fail to rally, the argument was dragging on into an hour of disorder ...

Turn three was the game ending one.

The artillery shattered Generallieutenant Vegesack's center battalions, sending all four of them from the table with some 1100 casualties from artillery fire.  Malachowski's leading battalions put the final nail in the division's coffin with a bayonet charge by two battalions versus one.  The colors were not taken, though some 300 prisoners were.

Over on the Polish right, Mecklenburg-Schwerin Freiwilliger Mounted Jäger under Generalmajor von Fallois chose to charge one last time, the Poles did not form square, rather delivered volleys into the charging horse and surrounded them with another battalion of foot swinging into the melee.  Generalmajor von Fallois was taken prisoner and the Mecklenburg-Schwerin Freiwilliger Mounted Jäger were sent scattering in all directions taking some 80% casualties.

end of turn 3, the Swedes were in full retreat

Malachowski's colums as seen from 26th Div arillery

Grabowski's columns as seen from 26th Div artillery

Schonen Carabinierregement finally getting reformed after nearly 90 mins of disarray

Schonen Carabinierregement would have much to answer for in their lack of participation

When the final tally came for turn three the score was Poniatowski : 7 (needed 5) and Pozzo di Borgo : 0 (needed 7) A ROUT of the Swedes and a solid VICTORY for the Poles for sure.

Swedish remnant

total Polish casting losses: 5; total Swedish: 28; almost all of them from Artillery fire


Archduke Piccolo said...

It seems the Swedes were caught out rather badly on this occasion, getting themselves embroiled in an unsound position against a superior force. Sometimes a heavy price must be paid for such ... erm ... carelessness. I have an idea a certain Don Gregorio Garcia de la Cuesta got himself similarly placed against a French army in 1808 or 1809. Easy enough to do, then.

MurdocK said...

Yes, likely the Don was also not experienced in facing a full Corps of troops and supporting artillery?

Small comfort for the Swedes, who now may be running towards a besieged Berlin ...

James Fisher, FINS said...

Well played Prince! That turned out even better than I could have hoped. Now it is onwards to Berlin and victory!

tidders said...

Interesting game

-- Allan