Friday, June 30, 2017

Hanau, Germany October 30, 1813 - Corps In Conflict, 3mm Pico Armor Napoleonics

Got ready for the long 4th of July weekend by getting together with Mark, Joe, and Mike at TableTop Game Cafe to play a new 3mm Napoleonic scenario.  Mark supplied a new French force mostly of Guard units who were once again pitted against their old adversary, Mark's Austrians.  Below is the scenario briefing.

Napoleon chose Leipzig to confront the coalition of Austria, Russia, Prussia, and Sweden, but Napoleon's defeat forced a retreat back towards Mainz (on the Rhine River) and safety. At Hanau the Allies attempted to block the retreat of a disorganized French army. Bavarian General Wrede made sensible dispositions in-line with his intention to remain on the defensive. Wrede's relatively strong left covered the road to Mainz along which the French were retreating. Otherwise the coalition cavalry was placed behind the center in reserve supporting an evenly dispersed line of infantry and artillery throughout the intended battlefield across which Napoleon’s army would retreat.

Napoleon received detailed intelligence about Wrede’s preparations and set his army in motion accordingly. Napoleon surmised the Coalitions’ position and spotted its main weakness, namely that most of their army deployed with the river behind it, with some streams interrupting east-west movement. Upon seeing Wrede's dispositions, Napoleon sarcastically noted: "I have made Wrede a Count but it’s beyond my power to make him a General." In order to exploit this potentially fatal weakness in Wrede's deployment, Napoleon tapped his Guard infantry and Imperial Guard cavalry whose battalions were still relatively intact after Leipzig. The French plan was simple, attack the Coalition left, seal-off their position and outflank them in such a way as to get the retreating column across and ahead of the Coalition, then fight a rearguard action all the way to Mainz.

The initial setup

French Guard Forming up

Initial Set up from behind the French left looking toward the Kinzig River.

Hanau Order of Battle

Austrian III Corps (31 stands)

FML Fresnet-set-up in Zone 2              E                 5                  +2
GD Bach                                   R                 5                  +1
12# battery (6 guns)                      R                 12                 +0
GB Trautenberg                            R                 5                  +1
Grenadiers                   3x           E                 6                  +2
6# battery (4 guns)          2x           R                 6                  +0                   
GB Hardegg-set-up in Zone 1               R                 4                  +1
3rd Jagers                                E                 7                  +1
1 st Sleker Line             2x           R                 8                  +0
6# battery (4 guns)                       R                 6                  +0
GB Wolkmannt-set-up in Zone 2             R                 4                  +1
Archduke Rudolph Line        4x           E                 7                  +1
Jordis Line                  4x           R                 7                  +0
6# battery (6 guns)                       R                 9                  +0
GC Spleny -set-up in Zone 3               R                 5                  +1
Archduke Joseph Hussars w/ Brigadier      E                 7                  +2
Hussars                      2x           R                 6                  +0
Uhlans w/ Brigadier                       E                 7                  +3
Liechtenstein Cuirassiers                 E                 6                  +2
Dragoons                                  R                 6                  +0
French IV Corps (24 stands)

Napoleon                                  E                 5                  +3
GB Curial                                 E                 4                  +1
Grenadiers Old Guard                      E                 8                  +2
Chassuers Old Guard           2x          E                 7                  +1
Italian Line (Turin/Florence) 2x          R                 7                  +0
12# battery (6 guns)                      R                 12                 +0  
GC Nansouty                               E                 5                  +1
GD Desnouettes                            E                 4                  +1
Polish Lancers-Guard w/ Brigadier         E                 6                  +3
Carabiniers Young Guard w/ Brigadier      E                 6                  +3
Berg Lancers                              R                 5                  +1
Imperial Guard Lancers        2x          E                 6                  +2
6# Horse battery (6 guns)                 R                 9                  +0
GD Walther                                E                 5                  +2
Chassuers-Imperial Guard w/ Brigadier     E                 6                  +2
Polish Lancers-Guard w/ Brigadier         E                 6                  +3
Dutch Honor Guard Lancers     2x          I                 6                  +0
Dragoon Guard Lancers w/ Brigadier        E                 5                  +3
6# Horse battery (6 guns)                 R                 9                  +0

After Action Report:

Opening Phase of the Battle:

The Austrians made a crucial decision to deploy their center on the enemy side of the Kinzig river.  That would have a significant impact on the outcome of the day.  They posted a large cavalry force in the open ground on their left and anchored their right on the southern most bridge crossing the Kinzig.

The French plan was to assault the nearest bridge on their left with the bulk of their infantry.  An artillery grand battery was posted in their center with a large, but already weakened, cavalry force to screen it and protect their right.

Progress mid way through the day:

The Austrians right slowly gave ground to the French assault.  The Austrian center was immediately attacked by a large French cavalry force but was able to form square and hold off repeated French attacks.  This stubborn resistance lasted for 3-4 turns.  The French were unable to make a dent in the Austrian Center to put additional pressure on their right. On the Austrian left their cavalry became engaged to relive the pressure of the French artillery and the cavalry action.  An inferior French light cavalry brigade was hard pressed from the start.

The French assault on the Austrian right was a slogging match to reach the bridge.  The artillery in the French center was able to do significant damage to the Austrian center but not enough to dislodge any formations to allow the cavalry assault to break through.  The French right was slowly being ground down and the artillery in the center would be exposed in a few turns.  

Closing Phase of the Battle:

The Austrian center held the enemy the entire day.  Their cavalry became masters of the French right, but it was clear the bridge would be taken with the Emperor himself making an appearance to encourage the troops.  The overall engagement gave the impression of the lines rotating about 90 degrees with the French eventually making it across the river which would ultimately satisfy the victory conditions, but with a high cost.

The Corps In Conflict Scenario

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