Saturday, December 07, 2013

Battle of Kremmen - AAR for Campaign of Nations

Once again I have run a table battle in connection with the ongoing Campaign of Nations, this time using the Fast Play Grande Armee Rules set.

The battle is set north of the Spree River, north of Potsdam, where Generallieutenant Bülow is commanding the remains of 3rd and 4th Korps and the Corps of the Oder along with Russian remnants from battles around Berlin and the east of the Prussian capitol.

Indeed the outcome of this battle could seal the fate of the citadel of Berlin, now known to be under siege.

Maréchal Prince Poniatowski
The French forces tasked with this attack were not all uniform and fresh either, indeed only the I Corps could lay claim to being untested in the campaign so far.  One thing that was fresh was the promotion of Prince Poniatowski to the rank of Maréchal, this coming after Ney's disappearance at the first battle for Berlin ...

For this task Poniatowski would have his own VIII Corps, elements of III Corps and the remains of V Corps with I Corps in reserve arriving after the battle started.

The Prussians were not fully aware of these forces and had chosen a course that could see them on the outskirts of Berlin, given the chance to overwhelm a blocking brigade of French cavalry.  It was while this force was on the march that Bülow was informed of the advance of a massive French force into the rear of his column.  At once ordering the Corps of the Oder to form a rear guard and have 3rd Korps take up battle positions so that Corps of the Oder could retire into the line.  Aides were also sent off at once to turn about 4th Korps and the vanguard of Prussian and Russian Cavalry.  The stage was now set for a battle of giants.

Field of action at noon
The Prussians formed up, with a hinge of Cossacks and a plan to do a right flank refused.

The French simply formed up in columns to race toward the Prussians and hammer them until I Corps could come up.

Bülow's center

Coccaks and Corps of the Oder

Center and part of 3rd Korps

The Prussian line

The French line

in the center, one Prussian brigade runs out

seeming in a fit of madness von Thumen raced out to meet the French at close range
The command dice of the Prussians caused von Thumen to race out towards the French line, where his brigade was promptly destroyed.

on the far left the Prussians drove forward to keep back French artillery

the French artillery were the real threat that the Prussians had to overcome

in the French center, counter-battery fire was the first method of Prussian attack

the Poles were charged by Cossacks, when their guns were too far away and had to be moved

the Cossacks paid the price, yet achieved the disruption of many batteries

while on the far left the French allied German brigades were still marching
only 2 pulses in turn 3, at the start of turn 4 the field appear thus

Poniatowski was still seeking a weakness in the Prussian line

Heavy French cavalry was on the far left

French Left Wing

while in the center Cossacks wreaked havoc!

the Cossacks disrupted two batteries

on the French Right, Prussians had chased off artillery and broken 1/2 of V Corps

though it was now that I Corps arrived!

an entire French Corps on the march, with light cavalry in the vanguard

Cossack threat neutralized, the French could again move artillery closer to Prussian lines

though in the very center one last Cossack force was not yet done ...

Prussian artillery were to kill many French gunners

while French guns replied at long range, killing many Prussian Landwher
Both sides received their re-enforcement in turn 4, the battle was now going to involve the whole of both armies, as neither commander was giving an inch.

now re-enforced, the Prussians were do go over to the attack on the left, near the woods

the French center was utterly shattered, until I Corps could arrive

a wide open swath of destruction in no mans land, dominated by Czernichev's Cossacks in the early part of the battle

Prussian cannon continued to deliver damage to French batteries

I Corps now surges onto the field

3rd Pulse turn 4, the field became a chaos as neither commander had any CD's remaining

Vandamme's I Corps filled in the gaps in the French lines

I Corps artillery moved to threaten the Prussian left

French light cavalry, strike at the Prussians

French left wing now in range of some targets
turn 5 - reaching a fever pitch, now the Prussians had to destroy many French brigades

massed French batteries on the French right

Prussians grimly hold their hilltop

French batteries on the left now in range of Prussians

no mans land in turn 5

Russian and Prussian cavalry sacrifice to disrupt and chase away French batteries one last time

on the left the French are pushing back the Prussians

turn 5 pulse 2, the critical moment, could the French get in enough damage?

at last in range the French batteries on the left deal out heavy blows

Prussians on the hill are melting under the weight of fire

French Heavy cavalry cuts a swath on the far French left

critical decision time ... Bülow had just enough left for one more attack

nothing remains of Russian cavalry on the Prussian left

literally surrounded the Russian Hussars were cut down before they could withdraw

the Prussians had no reserves left

the command escort Cossacks are sent in to attack Poniatowski, who see them coming and adroitly retires

Bülow now starts the retreat - his pioneer companies are to have an important task by nightfall ...

more Cossack troubles, even less French cavalry to deal with them

on the French left wing, the Heavy cavalry takes shelter behind light cavalry from some long range Prussian artillery, the Heavies have taken out three brigades of Prussians and are fully spent
The Prussians then had lost more than the 9 units to create the army morale roll conditions, this time the 14+ was rolled right away!

For the first time in the campaign a pursuit was going to happen and the French had 10 light cavalry points to use, while the Prussians had ... none!

More casualties resulted from the lively pursuit, though the skillful withdrawal of artillery with the pioneers early by Bülow, guaranteed their safe escape.

A major French victory, though at a cost ...

Vandamme holds the field

Poniatwoski and the cavalry pursue, while the wounded French retire from the field

after a major re-organization and amalgamation of units a 'rump' force of Prussians remains to retreat to ....

More tales to tell for certain in the Campaign of Nations.


Archduke Piccolo said...

I form the impression that the Prussians put up a decent show before their final collapse. The pics indicate what I call a 'hard' defence: unyielding, and very costly to the attacker, though inclined if unsuccessful, to brittleness and heavy loss in turn. Leads to heavy casualties on both sides.

Jiminho said...

The Army of the North has put up a tough and determined fight. Hats off to them.

James Fisher said...

It seems to me that the Emperor's faith in Józef has been rewarded. A hard-fought, but critical victory that should turn the tide in the northern sector. Of course, the campaign will be decided further south...!

Rafael Pardo said...

Wow.. I almost missed the link. A great and bloody battle!