Sunday, October 27, 2013

Battle of Kamenz - AAR Campaign of Nations

This after action report is for part of the Campaign of Nations game.

General der Kavallerie Blucher
General der Kavallerie Blücher, commander of the Army of Silesia had set himself the task of clearing away Maréchal Oudinot and his XII Corps along with II Cavalry Corps General Sébastiani of the Grande Armée.

These forces had already met in battle near Rothenburg (part 1 :: Part 2 :: Part 3), though XII Corps had time to gather their wits, the Russians had gathered another cavalry Corps ...

This time however the horse had to cover 18 miles to get fully around the flank of the French who only had to march 6 miles.  This meant that the Russians would have to force the French to stand and fight, holding them till past nightfall.

 The ground for this battle was mostly flat farmland, with only two low hills from which the French would be coming out from.  Setting up blind, the French took up the widest frontage possible with massed artillery in the center, while holding the Chasseurs of Excelmans in reserve.  Blucher chose to swing wide right, to avoid the bulk of the French artillery and make an effort to sweep hard into the French left, held by Saxons.

late in the day Blucher caught Oudinot, battle starts on turn 6

Not wasting any time, Oudinot drove forward those divisions which did not have Russians blocking their path out of the battlefield.  The first rounds of artillery were at long range and had no effect.

French breakout in the north and make ready to receive Russian Dragoons in the south
The Russian half of the turn was to make the whole battle line pinwheel in a counter-clockwise direction.

the battle line shifted counter-clockwise all evening
Oudinot wasted no time in moving two divisions to escape the Russian trap
even with the rush off the Russian left flank, there were enough to force a fight or two
With the second pulse the Russians won initiative and used it to good effect in sweeping well past the fire arcs of 25th Division, putting Cossacks within striking range of the French rear.  Other Cossacks facing French Hussars and Chasseurs did not fare so well.

Russians win initiative in pulse 2 and keep moving to the flank
25th Division was clearly the target of Borosdin's Dragoons and the leftmost brigade crumbled under the combined assault. 

Russian Dragoons take no casualties in their first assault
Sebastiani personally assists in close battle with Russian Hussars and Cossacks
French Chasseurs are moved to the center - response as needed?
The turn ends after only two pulses and now the Russians again win initiative.  Blucher uses some of his command dice to move headquarters so as to keep near the fighting and support it if needed.  Likewise Oudinot was to move his headquarters every turn also, though more to escape the jaws of another Russian trap.

Turn 7 and the Russians keep the pressure on
25th Division is cut apart and looses all their artillery to Russian Dragoons
For the French, now almost two Divisions had escaped, along with the Corps artillery, now though the reserve Chasseurs had to turn about and take up new covering positions.  Would they be enough to halt the triumphant Dragoons?

French are escaping ... though there may not be enough cavalry to cover the retreat?
Chasseurs turn about, to cover the now threatened rear
Oudinot's view, now past the center of the field, could he shepherd out more of the battered II Cavalry Corps?
Blucher's blood was up ... capture the hill and get those guns into action!
Wolff's brigade charged the Russian guns, they fled ... though now there was room for the French to escape
two full divisions would have escaped had Pacthod not stalled on tun 7 pulse 1 and rolled a "6" = Hold
Now the battle could have ended, for turn 7 had come to an end, again after only 2 pulses, and the Russians had lost just more than enough brigades (due to one fleeing off table in the first pulse of the battle) to trigger a morale check.  They passed the test and so turn 8 was to come about.

Turn 8 started with the usual command die rolls, this time the French were totally in command of the situation.  They were to have a total of 16 CD's to the Russians 9.  This would mean that the French could afford to do many re-rolls and add plenty of die to combat situations.

the smaller blue (French) and red (Russian) die tell the tale of the CD's for turn 8
French win initiative on pulse 1 turn 8 and conduct more forces out of the area, only Chasseurs remain to cover retreat
Sebastiani again leads directly from this critical rearguard action, while 25th Division desperately moves to get more distance from the Russian Dragoons
Indeed the Chasseur Division is split to ensure that at least half will escape the field ...
d'Hurbal's division was not to survive the Russian artillery, who eliminated that last of the Hussars fleeing
Pulse 2 the Russians won out the initiative, though by then it was too late to do much more than pressure the last of the Chasseurs.  With Sebastiani leading them (and his bonus dice) the Dragoons were forced back, with more losses, while the Chasseurs took none!  (yes I was surprised by the 1's and 2's that the Russians threw in that battle).  Now the French could escape for certain.

Russians could not catch the elusive Frenchmen
Blucher takes the hill and command of the guns from 25th Division
The Karkov Dragoons were thrown back by French Chasseurs led by Sebastiani
25th Division was eliminated by the New Russia Dragoon brigade only the commander and his staff managed to evade destruction on this field.
The result was another fighting retreat for the French, losing more cavalry and the 25th Division.  Blucher and the Russians hold the field and recover more of their losses, though many Cossacks and a Hussar Brigade are not coming back.  At least the remaining horses will make good draft teams for the captured batteries of 25th Division.

French forces that escaped in some confusion
Russians that will be fully recovered by the morning
The Campaign of Nations continues ...


Phil said...

Nice report, great looking minis and pictures, and a nice idea with the dices results...

James Fisher, FINS said...

The French-Allied side cannot keep losing cavalry and trading casualties in this way!

MurdocK said...

Thank you Phil.

The strategic choice to 'attrition' away all the French cavalry may be what Blucher is up to?

Then again he may just only really know how to race in like a Hussar and the cavalry charge continues to be his modus operandi, even on the strategic scale - perhaps all General Vowarts can see is the tactical use of horse?

Penalt said...

Great AAR! If Oudinot keeps losing fast troops like this he may not escape another encirclement! If Blucher continues to pursue things could look very bleak for the French in this particular area.

Archduke Piccolo said...

Fighting retreats aren't the easiest of military operations, especially if your cavalry is outmatched by the enemy. Whilst he has the initiative, Genl Prinz Blucher might as well carry on with his present policy: harass and harry, chivvy and chase the French ever further westward...

Rafael Pardo said...

It seems a good fight! Thanks for sharing