Saturday, March 01, 2014

Marienberg III - Campaign of Nations AAR

A Campaign of Nations AAR, from the September 1, 1813 (fictional) game turn:

Barclay de Tolly

FML Prohashka

General de Division Bertrand
Only a few days had passed since the last storming of Marienberg had been attempted, the strategic situation had not changed for Barclay de Tolly.  Unless the French in Marienberg could be forced out then the Allied supply lines could never be secure.  De Tolly would not be able to pursue Marshal Macdonald north out of the Bohmian mountains and the stalemate would continue.

What had changed, a force of Prussians who a week earlier had marched out of the mountains south then east at the direct written orders of the King of Prussia had now been rescinded, the Prussians were back and at least one Division of them would be on hand for the coming battle, while the rest of the Korps and their attached heavy artillery could be moved into position to prevent any French interference in the coming battle.

This could allow Barclay de Tolly to bring his entire force into battle at Marienberg; giving him a more than 2:1 advantage ... the only question was would this be enough?

Facing this assault was the troops of IV Corps under General Bertrand, Marshal Macdonald would not be present, so Bertrand would be doing the job alone, same as last time.  What was missing from last time was two battalions of foot and a battery of artillery.

details of the deployment - missing are the Russian Hussars of Pahlen III - which would be deployed in reserve on turn 4 in the Allied rear center

Tabletop loaded with the most minis yet to date on this temporary tabletop
Russians on the Allied Left, two Divisions worth!

Left Wing under command of FML Prohashka

Left and center - loads more Russians and Prussians

Part of the Allied left overlapped into the center, where Austrians stood

Allied Center and right

Right flank refused ... no plans to cross that bridge this time
This time the French had built in field-works in the four days

Two such fortifications were done (improvised from the terrain pieces I have)

The vista of the filed from behind the French lines

Looking across the field from the French fortifications
The Allied commander determined that a 'forlorn hope' of a Cossack force would be sent far into the French right flank, with the mind to pin down as much of the French as possible and permit the 3rd Division of the 2nd Russian Reserve Corps to advance across the river.

Meanwhile the rest of the line would pour fire from artillery into every French position.

On turn 3 more Allies would be moving forward, as Turn 4 it was planned for the Russian Hussars to arrive in Allied reserve.

The French plan?  Kill off Allied units at a rate greater than twice the French losses.

Turn 2

Cossack Forlorn Hope

Turn 3, 0 French losses : 1 Allied loss

the Cossack forlorn hope was still intact!
Turn 4 score 0 French losses : 3 Allied losses

Russian GHQ was getting orders ready ...

HQ Cossacks shifted right to make room for the Hussars

Austrians remained in reverse slope to hold the center

On the left the Russians and Prussians surged forward

while on the far left, the Russian reserve infantry waited ...
Turn 5 French 2 lost : Allied 4

The Russians were now crossing the river in force

38th Division was holding the river line and taking casualties doing so

no-mans land between artillery batteries of both sides

the Allied right was scoring hits on Marienberg town

Austrian battery view of the no-mans land

Allied right flank

Newly arrived Russian Hussars of Count Pahlen III

Russian reserve, to be idle no more as orders were issued ...

that same reserve, far behind the fighting lines of the 3rd Division, now forcing the river line ...
Turn 6 was one of maneuver still 2:4

Turn 7 French 3 :: Allied 4

Russians in a square on ground that had been filled with horsemen and other Russian foot only an hour before

French Hussars were now sallying out from the makeshift barricades

Bertrand knew that if the French firepower kept on failing as it currently was then IV Corps could not hold this ground ...

seeing a moment of delay Bertrand orders the French foot artillery to limber for movement

Fontanelli and his 5th Division were taking some hits and still held Marienberg and the bridge

Turn 8 French 3 :: Allies 4
Cossack forlorn hope still taking action in the French left!

A most complex pairing off with four units in melee at once!
Turn 7 French 5 :: Allies 7

Cossack forlorn hope was still wreaking havoc not recovered from a blown condition since turn 2

French artillery line up on the riverbank, Austrian columns in their sights

Lancers make for one more charge

the whole of the river line was spitting fire

Austrians dropped in great numbers, causing the division to break morale and retreat

lancers ready for one more charge
Turn 10 French 5 :: Allies 9

With the whole of the left flank committed to battle FML Prohaska could only await news of the river line success or not ...

Turn 11; French 6 :: Allies 9

lancers hit 38th Division one last time, shattering the infantry and overrunning the battery

view of the Allied left, with all Russian forces now committed to attack

lonely Austrian battery poring out fire from the hilltop, with the Division retreated behind them

Allied success at last on the left, a portion of Marienberg town was now under Austrian Jagers control

still not getting the needed 2:1 ratio the situation was not lost, yet far from won for Bertrand

Bertrand needed more effect from his artillery and the Allies were not presenting any open targets ...
Turn 12 ; French 6 :: Allies 11

The fortifications guns were able to get some kills and a Russian division fled from the field

Turn 13 ; French 7 lost units :: Allies 13 lost units

with only the Hussars in reserve, all other troops committed Barclay de Tolly needed only one more French unit killed to win the day, this must be done without losing two of his own units ...

Austrians on the far right, were preparing to cross the river

French artillery in the center was deadly ...

Allied artillery on the left were now scoring more hits

Prussians had retreated, rallied, and were now ready to go back into the fray ...

still in reserve, the Russian hussars of Count Pahlen III
Turn 14; French 8 losses :: Allies 13 = ALLIED VICTORY

FML Prohaska was first to learn that the French were starting their retreat.  His exhausted divisions were not going to have to storm those French redoubts

Final French artillery salvos destroyed Austrian batteries

the many assaults had left one battery without crew, they would have to be abandoned to the enemy as the French retreat started ...

not assaulted at all this day, the bridge over the Main river would be unguarded by nightfall

the center of the field was littered with the terrible cost of victroy

Allied guns continued to fire even as the light was fading

French cavalry was still a threat to the Russian infantry, who wisely left them to cover the French retreat

the hasty fortifications served to keep the French guns alive, now they would have to rush to leave the field with their pieces ...

The Russians had made two division morale rolls at the end of turn 13, otherwise they would have been retreating already ... now with one more battalion lost, it was Bertrand and the IV Corps with the 6th Light Cavalry that would have to leave the field in the hands of the Allies.

almost as an afterthought the Austrian 1st Division of the 3rd Corps was across the river, threatening the retreat route ...
The Allies had won the day ... by the skin of their teeth (according to the Allied command player).

After taking in the losses, the end of day forces looked like:

French 6th Light Cavalry

IV Corps would be down to 2 Divisions ....
The Allies ended the day with:

Captured and recovered artillery would be put to use by Russian units as they still have the gunners available

Gyulai's command took a pounding in the two battles at the Main river, now not much more than a large Division

Prussians did re-engage, loosing the Jagers in the process

Hardest hit was the 3rd Division - virtually wiped out as their survivors will be used to bring 4th Div to full strength

The Hussars are still ready for action

of note the 2nd line Lancers will be re-set at one brigade, while the 1st Line Cossacks of Milleinov are going down in the annals in the stuff of legend as a forlorn hope that kicked butt!
The French would retreat to the west northwest, while the Allied army re-collected themselves on their hard-won field of battle.

the toll was high for the Allied attack ...


Penalt said...

Terrific AAR. I was actually scrolling down frantically to see what had happened next.

Penalt said...

Great after action Report. I was actually trying to scroll down at speed trying to see what happened next. Terrific struggle by both sides and well fought.

MurdocK said...

Thank you for the comment Penalt.

Will we see you at the table soon?

The Army of Silesia seems close to a battle ...

Jiminho said...

Wicked battle David, really dramatic once again. It looks like it was fun except for the little lead guys in the casualty boxes (is there any space around Marienberg that isn't piled high now…?!)

Really nice AAR as well, the photo-laden presentation communicates the details well without having to lay on the text.


Phil said...

Great AAR with beautiful figures and nice explanations!

MurdocK said...

Thank you Gents.

Yes Marienberg has the potential for a mini-campaign in its own right.

Having said that there are parts of the opening phases of the 1813 Campaign that could each be taken as their own game ... here we are running amok in them all!

James Fisher, FINS said...

Wow, what a slug-fest David! It's to be expected, I guess, given the terrain, but you seem to be specialising in the closest, hardest-fought encounters of this campaign!
As the others have said, a great, fast-paced, pictorial report of what looks to have been a most enjoyable game. Thanks.