Monday, December 28, 2015

Campaign Post Operations Report #11 - a diplomat emerges

Julius August Reinhold von Grawert
Count Haugwitz continued ...

May I respectfully suggest to your Majesty the following excellent fellow, Julius August Reinhold von Grawert (1746–1821), awarded the Pour le Merite, former governor of Silesia, General der Infanterie,and hardened on campaign but well-known to his French counterparts and only recently retired as a corps commander to his estates near Landeck in Lower Silesia-you may recall taking the waters at the Marienbad by Ober-Thalheim, your Majesty, as many have done in happier times, and the general lives nearby. As it is a truce we are talking about, we need the delegation to be headed up by a soldier, and I am sure that he will pass muster with the French, and as staff assistant I would nominate my own adviser the elder Steinmetz brother-no friend of the French he, like his younger sibling, but a tapfer Kerl who famously slipped through French lines at besieged Breslau, if he can do it once, he can do it again...

As political adviser, surely your Majesty could do no better than Hans, Graf von Buelow, at the moment your finance minister and at headquarters as he cannot get into Berlin at the moment on his way back from Liegnitz-this versatile man has actually met and negotiated with Napoleon in his time and also has good connections in the enemy camp, although he fell out with the preposterous Jerome of Westphalia when at that court some years ago, he has a realistic eye for what can be done in Germany. He will be in a position too to insist upon seeing the French Emperor and not being palmed off with a lackey in ostrich feathers and tight breeches.

The suggestion is being made that this all may go awry, however-surely your Majesty, we have a system of passwords agreed with the other side to ensure that nobody has to carry signed letters or risk getting entangled with minor functionaries? Do the French want to negotiate or not? A proper meeting of ambassadors can take place later, I should say, to sign off the deal.

C.v.H.

(Historical note: Grawert headed the Prussian contingent in the Grande Armee and is a Francophile; the elder Steinmetz on the other hand was a fire-eater against the French and was killed at Leipzig, his younger brother being the famous Steinmetz who commanded in the 1866 and 1870 campaigns; Hans von Buelow was finance minister both of Westphalia and later of Prussia and a supple political character, just the party we need, eh?)

 =======================================

The players in charge of the Prussian issues happening now were unclear about the reality of communicating on the 1813 battlefield.  As the game master here explains:

> There is no way to get a message to the French Emperor *immediately*.
>
> This is 1813, you are crossing a FEBA (forward edge of the battle
> area) and the fastest communications is by horse.
>
> Your supreme command is coming out of the eastern Bohemian Mountains,
> with your troops out of Potsdam, some 200 miles away. Even with the
> fastest horses that is TWO DAYS before the message could reach them!
>
> I shall not reveal, at all, how far away Bonaparte is; let alone
> comment on the likelihood that Prussian Officers - whatever their
> mission - will be so easily permitted to travel in the territory
> controlled by France.
>
> The battles are happening,as you have summoned the messengers, and
> they are still to arrive at the Allied Monarchs Supreme Headquarters
> in the field near Zittau. You will have news of Bautzen before
> sending off the emissaries to communicate with Bonaparte.
 Further explanation was needed:

> The, troops in the north are under the overall command of Swedish
> Crown Prince Charles John. Generallieutenant Bülow commands the
> forces that have marched to victory south of Potsdam and are now
> attacking to force the French away from Potsdam completely.
>
> As Monarch, you have had little or no contact with Berlin or the
> Northern forces for at least two weeks.
>
> Since the 17th of August 1813 (the current game turn is 23 August) you
> have been in the Allied Monarchs HQ in Bohemia, now marching out.
>
> -- in game we have been stuck on the 23rd for more than a month, not
> what I wanted and we are dealing with it --
>
> This means that the game is *frozen* at the moment and there is
> nothing to do until after the battles are resolved.
 The challenges with the one player were (mostly) resolved and James had this commentary:

As I have said several times previously, I am really enjoying this campaign. I particularly like the way that the fog of war is playing out. Julian as Frederick is deep in that fog now...!
 To which the player responded with:

Want of a telegraph, I suspect...
================================================

There were whispers ...

 here is some news from "a source close to the Czar":
Alexander was bemused to hear rumours that Frederick William is considering treating with "the ogre".
"Why would Frederick consider dealing with Napoleon?" he asked.
 "What is he thinking?"
"I do not know sire, they are only rumours..."
"Surely he would not be so foolish as to do such a treacherous thing? It will cost him his crown!"
<<silence>>
"Should he be so stupid he will regret his loss of reason when I burn Berlin!"
 ==================================================


Tsar Alexander, looking over his shoulder at Prussian "Allies"

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Campaign Post Operations Report #10 - the political maneuvers continue

the campaign map as seen by Prussian ministers
The machinations of Count Haugwitz continued:

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

And the re-groupment of the Prussian armies to the north, mein Herr General, this is of the very essence. It is so essential for the Prussian forces isolated and imperilled at Marienberg to be recalled at once-sofort!-by way of Komotau and Leitmeritz on Zittau, however, that this force can only make its northwards movement after it is clear of the Austrian rear. After that it can turn north and the army should really concentrate at a suitable point in the Mark Brandenburg.

Nach Norden, immer nach Norden!


We do not want the Habsburgers to understand that we are offering full neutrality if the French pull back from Berlin and then evacuate the Kingdom, of course, but that is what our envoys must be saying to the envoys of the French commander-in-chief. Only that will, I am sure, offer him the security that he needs to prolong his campaign in Saxony and be assured that his left flank will not be in constant danger (not that he will be able to neglect it entirely, under the circumstances, ho ho!).

The truce, and the regroupment, then.

Wo ist Bluecher?

C.v.H.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
while the player had these comments:

The other interesting point is that it is not only the Prussians,
befuddled by the neutralist advice in their camp and notoriously misled
by their weak-minded monarch, who have gone wrong, despite the
equivocal advantages of hindsight. In some ways they are doing right by
pulling back from an isolated position: was not the key to the success
of the historical 1813 campaign the firm resolution amongst all the
Allied commanders that they would never fight the Beast as a national
contingent by themselves, only when the entire Allied Army was
assembled? And look what Francis is doing now! How does he know the
Emperor will not appear?

I shall look forward to each post with great
anticipation, do I hear the thud of the despatch-rider's hooves on the
Lobauer Landstrasse even now?

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 Thinking 'privacy of his own tent' meant anything:

Alles immer schlechter, Euerer Majestaet...
The normally restrained Minister von Haugwitz is going to deliver an immoderate tirade in the privacy of his own tent, at this latest blow. How did all this come about? I was given to understand that Bluecher was coming up out of Silesia, I had hoped with a significant force, I had fondly imagined that he would save the day-now we discover him immersed in the great Lausitzer Bog, at the remotest corner of the theatre, as far as our army at Marienberg is concerned, in the land of the barbarous Sorbs, who speak a Slavonic dialect and still worship the Sun and Moon. We discover indeed that the Prussian Army, quite in contrast to the Habsburg one, and no doubt we shall discover to the Russian one as well, is actually deployed on a front of 200 miles, from the western Bohemian mountains on the left to Rothenburg on the middle Bober on the right, and that to reunite with Bluecher our corps from Marienberg must march the whole length of the fighting front, our flank to the enemy, to reach him. And all the while your Majesty's capital is under close siege by the French!

Oh, now we see the plans of our enemies made plain! Ganz sicher! Had we the most charitable view of our Habsburg cousins, we should have to conclude that they have contrived to consign the army of your great uncle to the role of flank-guard, outpost-provider, convoyer and garrison-keeper: with any more realistic appraisal of the situation we should have to say that they have set out deliberately and entirely to destroy the fighting capacity of the Prussian State, and to remake your Majesty as a vassal of the Habsburg empire. We have not been outmanoeuvred by the French, Euerer Majestaet, but we have been utterly bamboozled by our so-called Allies!

I cannot tell what is to be done by the generals, who are just as blame-worthy in this situation, a gaggle of hens presenting their necks for the farmer's chop. Would that Scharnhorst were still with us! It seems to me that Bluecher cannot move away north towards Cottbus or even Stettin until the corps from Marienberg is close at hand, but if this is any longer delayed-and what will Bonaparte be doing in the meantime, eh? Apart from defeating the arrogant Francis at Bautzen, of course-then it may be that the Marienberg corps (what is it called? Who commands it? I cannot keep calling it after the place it long ago departed) will have to remain detached, and march on into Upper Silesia by way of Jungbunzlau, Koeniggraetz and Nachod, where I presume it will find the fortress of Glatz in our hands, at least. We must look now to save the Army at all costs, it is yet the rock upon which the machinations of the enemies of Prussia will break.

I should suppose, Euerer Majestaet, that you should wish to depart the camp of the faithless Verbuendeten as soon as possible and make your way to join Bluecher, for under these circumstances, I deign to say that I fear for your Majesty's personal safety, I really do...

C.v.H.
 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

To which the Prussian King responded:

Yet again you are absolutely right - I shall await a reply from the Beast, and assuming it is favourable, this will give me even more reason to take off for Berlin immediately - pausing only perhaps to discover if, against all the odds, our Hapsburg cousins do succeed in giving the French a bloody nose, which I think most unlikely under the circumstances.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Count Haugwitz responded:
As I thought, Euerer Majestaet, answer comes there none. Your generals hang their heads in shame, if they are capable of it. They have presided over the extinguishing of their own prestige. The Army of the Great Frederick!
 then a few days passed (in the real world, nothing in-game had yet happened) and Haugwitz continued his verbal work on the Prussian King:

I presume the French besieging Berlin are growing weary of waiting for
their opponents to assemble sufficient forces to offer them a real
fight or even to defend the capital, and want to make an end of it.
Perhaps your Majesty needs to consider the Royal Castle at Posen, as
his first resort, and send ahead some staff and court officials to make
it ready. It is the twilight of Great Prussia...

Francis, meanwhile,
cannot wait to be beaten by the French at Bautzen, indeed he seems to
want to arrange it so that he may be beaten several times over on the
same field-unlike the Beast himself at Marengo, he will be able to say
that he had lost the battle in the afternoon, and lost it all over
again by nightfall!

C.v.H.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Prussian King appeared to be more concerned than ever:

We must avoid an encounter at Potsdam at all costs! What is the news from our emissary to the French Emperor?
 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 It was at this point that the Battle of Second Bautzen took place in our Campaign of Nations.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Campaign Post Operations Report #9 - Politics enters the game I

Count Haugwitz, former foreign minister of Prussia
Unknown to the Allied commander, portraying Schwartzenberg, there was a secret set of three 'informed players' from the ANF that would step into the roles of King Fredrick Willem, Emperor Francis of Austria and Tsar Alexander of Russia.  Only a lack of communication or a gap in space of 12 miles for a day by the Allied military commander would cause this to 'activate'.

The activation came on the night of 21 August, as it appeared that Schwartzenberg was too ill to attend to his command and staff duties (or the player was unreachable working in Iceland!).

To that end, first came some news for the Prussian King:

You will be fully aware, Euerer Majestaet, that following the setback at Luetzen the enemy armies now lie further east than Berlin and greatly outnumber your tapfere remnants. I am sure General Wittgenstein will do his best, but it would hardly be very wise to fight the Emperor of the French himself at this point. If only we had the army of General von Buelow with us, 30,000 men abandoned at Rosslau who did nothing at the time of the last battle! But they now are all that stands between the enemy and your capital, and should Bonaparte move that way, even just with a significant part of his forces, he might be dining at Potsdam in a week. He has already just persuaded that fathead King of Saxony to rejoin the Rheinbund-and you stand here on Saxon soil, after all. At the hour when he put his boots up on on the fauteuil of your illustrious great-uncle at Sans Souci, all of north Germany would be his again, all the little Rheinbuender his loyal allies.
You will be equally aware, natuerlich, how such a move into the heartlands of the kingdom would disrupt the entire ingenious Kruempersystem, which sad to say has not delivered anywhere near as many recruits as were promised initially but which absolutely depends on a measure of administrative stability to operate to build up the army you need. It would place him in a position to threaten Russian communications through Poland from the north, and-schrecklich zu sagen-menace you with an advance up the Oder and Warthe and a reprise of Jena on the borders of Silesia...although in such a case I am sure General Wittgenstein would do his best, of course.
But still worse, the Habsburgers are proving to be as tricky as they ever were. Of course they were showing an interest before Luetzen, who would not have done? But now, I have it on excellent authority that they plan to close the border to us, not only in the event of any difficulty, but with an active intention to deprive the allied armies of any true room for manoeuvre. The only way to avoid this would be for the armies to set out north again, to protect the capital, indeed, but also to ensure that you are not trapped up against the Bohemian mountain frontier. There may be little time to lose.
This move should not preclude an active diplomacy, not not at all. You should-Entschueldigung, Euerer Majestaet, darf ich vorschlagen-that emissaries go now to the enemy camp, with offer of an armistice, just a couple of months, but so as to enable you to secure your historic possessions in the north and reposition the army where it can be more effective. That will give you time to bring up more Russians, ach, so few of them have arrived so far, to complete undisturbed the recruitment of an army worthy of the name of Prussia; and to expose the Austrian machinations for what they are. Time is on your side, Euerer Majestaet, the French are far from home, surrounded by peoples who do not love them, and hoping for nothing more than one of their quick victories. Another unsuccessful action like the one at Luetzen simply cannot be borne, it would be the end of the Coalition. By August, say by September, our chances are so much better!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The (game) plot thickens ...

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Later he had more to say:

Ausgezeichnet, Euerer Majestaet!

Now, obviously our first condition has to be that the siege of Berlin be lifted and that in return the Prussian armies will undertake to realign themselves to the north to protect the capital and ensure the fighting remains firmly limited to Saxony-where its ill-effects are thoroughly deserved, ja sicher. Does your Majesty think it would be going too far-in just the right circles-to breath the word neutralitaet?

It might be proper do you not think at that point to make a return entry to the city, up a flower-strewn Unter den Linden to the Royal Palace, for would you not then be the effective liberator of your capital and its people?

And would this move not also thwart all Bonaparte's efforts to outflank the place d'armes of Upper Saxony to the north, both limiting the effectiveness of his own campaign and keeping the fighting-and all those rampaging Cossacks-outside the kingdom? How could the Tsar object to that? His own lines of communication through Poland would be safeguarded at the very same moment!

Whilst the secret parley goes ahead, your Majesty's armies might do well to mark time until we hear that this, and any other conditions which your Majesty might discover, have been agreed, and to adapt the position of the army accordingly-sad to say, your devoted Minister too has not been vouchsafed a glimpse of the staff map, which remains shut up in the quartermaster-general's dropbox, er lock-box, that is...

Map of the conditions that the King and former minister were discussing ...
 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

amazingly the Prussian King was considering a separate peace with Bonaparte!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Es freut mich viel, Euerer Majestaet, to discover that our thinking is so closely aligned. We should be careful of course-as I supervise the moving of my furnishings and baggage from a remote corner of the camp into the tent next to the Royal Pavilion-not to allow the dreadful Habsburgers to understand our purposes too well from any contacts with them. And urgent action may have to be taken, may I respectfully suggest, about the position of the Army, which is not favourable for a redispositioning such as you have ordained. From a copy of the staff map which I have been sent by one of my agents, it appears that in my absence the Army commanders-our army that is-have allowed a very dangerous situation to develop, in which (no doubt as a deliberate result of Habsburg policy) our forces seem to be divided by the Austrian army at Bautzen and sent instead to pursue footling missions on the flanks, placing them in extreme danger of being trapped in the mountains (this after all is the so-called Saxon Switzerland, the frightful tangle of peaks and rivers in which your Majesty's thrice-illustrious great uncle encircled and then enlisted the faithless Saxons at Pirna) or of dwindling away into irrelevance on the Bober-all this whilst the capital burns!

Wollen wir eine zweitende Moskau an der Spree?

The King responds:

Again, exactly my thinking, on reviewing the map at my headquarters. How has this unfortunate position been allowed to develop? With a third force under Blucher still some distance away, there remains the risk, I would have thought, that the Emperor may decide to try to defeat his enemies in detail with a series of lightning strikes, and we in Bohemia could very well be the first victims. We should therefore organise a strategic withdrawal to the North, leaving light cavalry forces to screen our withdrawal, and at the same time, if our diplomats think it wise, assuring our Hapsburg delinquent cousins that we are simply consolidating our positions to avoid encirclement. What does my illustrious advisor have to say? And my military advisors - how quickly can this be accomplished?

Count Haugwitz counters:

I would say that the strategic withdrawal in the mountains is the trickest operation of all, but may be accomplished, Gott sei Dank, by means of the road from Marienberg to Komotau and then on to Leitmeritz and back to Allied HQ. It cannot be managed by means of a northward movement, obviously, as the French are ensconced at Dresden.

But young Steinmetz, one of my promising military assistants, points out that this movement must be commenced without the slightest delay, begging your pardon, your Majesty. He notes that not only is the way very long, in effect the outer circle of all the armies, and through Habsburg territory where snares of all kinds might be devised to delay the troops further, but with your Majesty's cousin the King of Saxony now back in the French camp, the vital fortresses, Koenigstein in particular, in the Elbe valley passing through to Bohemia, are to all intents and purposes in French hands as well. This offers Bonaparte, should he be at Dresden for example, the opportunity just as your Majesty has so ably discerned to descend from the north by way of Aussig and Teplitz upon our tapfere Soldaten as they march home.

On the other hand, with this force endlich under your Majesty's direct supervision at Allied HQ, as it would be upon successful arrival there, your ability to ensure further rearrangements would be as secure as it could possibly be, until sturdy Bluecher comes up...

The King continues in something of a tizzy ...

The more I look at the map, the more horrified I am that we have allowed ourselves to be inveigled into this adverse situation by the scheming Hapsburgs. I agree completely with you that we must withdraw in the fashion you describe. Once we reach Allied HQ, however, we have a potential diplomatic and military encounter of a rather serious kind to manage. How are we going to explain our need to withdraw further? And how will this, in fact, be accomplished? Is there any word from the Emperor?

After the Czar and Francis meet, they respond with this missive about the coming progress:

We agree that the opportunity presented to us is too good to let go. Let the forces of the Austrian Empire attack Marshal Marmont and General Reynier. The second Battle of Bautzen will be a great Austrian victory for the forces of this alliance!

It will show my fellow monarchs that the forces of my empire are ready for this crucial struggle, particularly since we have not been left to stand alone as we were in '09.

Francis I

To which the King of Prussia responded:

Outstanding, my Emperor! You will not be standing alone! We Prussians are as you know rushing to your assistance. You will not be risking an assault on your flank during the great battle to come.  I am quite sure you are right, this will be a great victory for the noble Hapsburg Monarchy.....

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

more of the machinations from the Count continued though:

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Your Majesty, there is not a moment to lose!

The Habsburgers are sleepwalking to disaster in their insane bid to gain credit for an impossible victory-and when they fail, as they must, our army in Bohemia is irretrievably lost! The Habsburg plan-how did your Majesty's generals ever concur in it?-has turned their army in the centre at Bautzen into our Bohemian army's only flank protection, and if it goes, there is nothing to stop the Beast descending over the passes to wipe us out. But they must be on the road already, surely, and they must force-march in long stages to reach safety and link up with the doughty Bluecher at Zittau. Your Majesty, assure me that the order has gone out!

C.v.H.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

This plot line was not done with by any stretch of the imagination ...

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Orders all over the world.

just a finger on a map?  across the globe it is not that easy ...
In a Skype exchange, orders were confirmed:

[8:34:22 AM] JW: I'll be in the far NE of Iceland...
[8:34:45 AM] DM: If you could send me a quick summary of what you want done I could make sure those orders are acted on ... ?
[8:35:06 AM] DMi: just looking to keep things moving quickly (for the sake of player interest)
[8:41:33 AM] JW: ok.  For the cossack corps  disperse, some hovering around chemnitz, bigger group on road north toward Notzen ?(cant read the map clearly), smaller force fall back toward Zwickau
[8:42:36 AM] JW: de Toll'ys austrians toward Chemnitz to press through the Italians (Bertrand's corps?)
[8:43:08 AM] JW: de Tollys russians and prussians push on MacDonard with Sayda as a target
[8:45:44 AM] JW: in east, the Autrian mega stack continues on to Bautzen with as much mass as possible.  the kurassier corps on the north flank as a flanking force if resistance is met.  Keep the two major masses of troops on the two roads they are presentlyusing, .  I have/ promised aid to Blucher if he neds it
[8:46:04 AM] JW: If he needs it, will detail some troops at least to go to his aid
[8:46:38 AM] JW: move the monarchs up, keep them close to Swartz. and try to keep them close enough to be a reserve (ha!)
[8:46:54 AM] JW: does that answer?  nothing surprising there...
[8:47:01 AM] DM: yes the Russian foot is slow
[8:47:26 AM] DM: only one little surprise, the Russians under de Tolly pushing on the Italians.
[8:47:39 AM] DM: sounds like at least one battle will happen
[8:48:25 AM] JW: that was s upposed to be the austrians under de tolly on the italians.  basicall, the allied west flank form the previous battle conmtinues to press on the french west flank
[8:48:37 AM] DM: ok
[8:48:46 AM] JW: nice spelling, eh?  good grief!
[8:49:12 AM] DM: you are rushed, imagine doing that in 20 mins in the dark (or candle) after riding a horse all day
[8:49:31 AM] DM: with the stub of a pencil
[8:49:36 AM] DM: on wet paper
[8:50:04 AM] JW: while I am gone I will not be able to fight out a battle, obviously.  So, if the aussie boyz want to do it, or work it out abstractly ? i'm cool with whatever keeps the turn going

This was some of the methods used to keep the action moving on 21/22 August 1813 (fictional) while one of the game commanders was working in Iceland!  Planning games to happen in Canada and Australia.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Campaign Post Operations Report #8 - The tale of Marshal Ney

re-en actors from 2010
The tumultuous Battle of Berlin last saw Maréchal Ney, Prince of Moscow charging off towards the then opened gates of the city, opened so that some of the retreating Russian horse artillery might escape into the citadel and continue the defense of the city.

Ney was attacked by a force of cossacks and knocked from his horse by a saber blow to the head.  He was rescued by a force of grenadiers, though his horse was taken and his hat claimed as a prize by the cossacks who had thought him dead.

Not so!  As Ney quickly regained his composure, though such soaked in blood, he led the force of Grenadiers and Voltigeurs westward outside the city walls in hot pursuit of other Russian forces that were escaping from the battlefield.

These Russians were fleeing to a small access in the walls on the south-west side of the outer city, Ney and his band of elite Frenchmen were in hot pursuit.

The Russians threw 1/2 of their number at the pursuing French, who overcame the rearguard in only minutes as these tired stoic Russians had only powder of a couple of shots and no stomach for hand-to-hand.  Leaving some grenadiers to guard the Russians, Ney set off again in the near dark towards the, hopefully, still open access to the outer city of Berlin.

Upon arrival at the door, Ney was foiled ... the Russians had left another 20 men outside the door as they had been trapped outside the walls.  While they did not fight with the French, it was clear now that there was no way into the walls of the outer city.  Commandeering a tavern near the gate the Frenchmen then toasted one another on a great field victory in advance of what would likely become a siege.  Ney and the men drank the few remaining bottles and casks dry.

Ney could not be roused from his sleep on the morning of 21 August 1813 (fictional) and his head wound was not the only one suffered in the dark in clashes with cossacks and Russian foot.. as there were a number of torso wounds now bleeding into his already blood-soaked tunic.

The Voltigeurs and Grenadiers sent off messengers to get help at once for their stricken leader.

That day, information arrived in Napoleon Bonaparte's hands:

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

The outer city of Berlin has opened the gates and surrendered.   Only the garrisoned citadel on the north bank of the Spree at the city has given any resistance.  That resistance is formidable.  This is a Vauban fortification, the south works are gone - subsumed into the city, but the north side is fully positioned with 4 'points' of a 9 pointed Vauban fort still present.  Though artillery could be moved closer in the Konigsburg of south Berlin, there are plenty of Freikorps innsurrectio forces that have been taking shots at passing French forces, the city is not yet secured.

LATE IN THE DAY

NEY IS ALIVE!

He has been found at an inn outside the south walls of the city, lots of gin and garlic.  He has a head wound and a sabre slash to the torso.  Has not regained consciousness since collapsing there early on the 20th.  There are calls for Doctor Larrey.  None outside of III Corps command and the grenadiers that cared for Ney know that he is still alive.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Bonaparte was to promote Prince Poniatowski to the  post of command of the Army of Berlin and keep the truth about Ney a secret.  While Larrey would manage to recover the Marshal, Bonaparte wanted to keep the morale effects limited and potentially be able to re-activate Ney as a surprise to the Allied armies and provide the sudden boost to morale that such a lightening bolt might bring.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

The Orders sent out on the 21st from Imperial Headquarters were:


From Davout (8/7) to 30th Light Cav, XIII Corps (10/11) move to Parchim (9/12) and cut line of supply/communications to the enemy troops that are in and around Schwerin (8/9). Should any of the enemy move against you fall back towards Pritzwalk (10/14) and then towards Karstadt (11,11) where I will endeavour to bring the rest of my command to persue the enemy. If you have to fall back in the face of the enemy send me news by your fastest rider.

From Davout (8/7) to 9th Light Cav, V Cav Corps at Wismar (5/9) by the time you receive this despatch the lines of supply & communication to the enemy troops in Schwerin (8/9) will all have been cut by troops under my command. You are only to move from your present position if faced by superior force of enemy arms moving north from Schwerin. Under those circumstances fall back westwards towards Lubeck (5/5) and send me news by your fastest rider.

Remainder of Davout's command to remain at their present position; should the enemy move westwards against me I will issue further orders at the appropriate time.
Ornano's command - units of the Guard Light Cavalry - Ornano is keen to continue with the mission of capturing Prince John Charles, the traitor Bernadotte, 

Napoleon, at (14/24) sends ultimatum to FM Gen Lt Vegesak for him surrender himself and his troops forthwith to prevent any further bloodshed

Napoleon, at (14/24) sends orders to Flahault and the Young Guard (18/25) to proceed to Lubben via Teupitz

Napoleon, at (14/24) sends orders to Oudinout; Hold for as long as you can, without your force being badly damaged, then fall back towards Cottbus. The Young Guard Division together with the Guard Heavy Cavalry have been already been ordered there. I intend joining them at Cottbus together with the Imperial Guard, the Guard Light Cavalry and another Cavalry Corps. Please report your position and situation as a matter of urgency.

Napoleon, at (14/24) sends orders to Omano; continue your pursuit of Prince John Charles and bring him to me at the earliest opportunity. When you capture him or, if you are sure, he has fled back to Sweden then you are to bring the Light Cavalry of the Guard to join me at Cottbus.  Please report your position and situation as a matter of urgency.

Napoleon, at (14/24) sends orders to Poniatowski. Detail one of you Infantry regiments to escort the prisoners, from the Swedish division (actually the remnants that had retreated from VIII Corps), currently held at (14,24)(?).
 
Also I would wish that you order 1st Cavalry Corps, under Général de division Latour-Maubourg, to march to Lubben, via Teupitz, where they will then come under my direct command. 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

A full day was expected across all the lines, from Berlin to the Bohemian pass at Marienberg and along the line of the Bobr.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Campaign Post Operations Report #7 - Napoleon Orders capture of Bernadotte

Crown Prince Charles John, aka: Bernadotte
The epic skirmish series of Cossack and Lancer battles had determined that the French would learn of the whereabouts of the commander of the Allied Army of the North, Crown Prince of Sweden, Charles John, who was formerly known as Imperial French Marshal Bernadotte.

This news was very nearly a coup for Napoleon, as his Guard Cavalry was in camp only 12 miles away.  Certainly close enough to make a dash and attempt at capture of this vital person.

With this information in hand, here are the orders as dictated by our Napoleon (Mike in UK):

Napoleon has issued the following orders at 21.30 on 20th.

Prince Poniatowski has been promoted to the rank of Marechal of France. he received his Baton at 21.00 today from Napoleon.

Further Prince Poniatowski is to take command of the Army of Berlin forthwith

Orders for the Imperial Guard, to be actioned at 03.00 on 21st

Napoleon, at (16,25), to move with Old Guard Infantry.
Guard Heavy Cavalry, at (16,25), to march to (14,24) via (15,25)
Old Guard Infantry, at (16,25), to force march to (14,24) via (15,25)
Young Guard Infantry, at (16,25), to march to (18,25)
Guard Light Cavalry, at (17,25), to march to (14,24) via (16,24) & (14,2)
An ADC to be created, he is to move with, and issue orders to the Young Guard

Marechal Oudinot's Orders

Oudinot, (at 27,36), to move to (
XII Corps, at (27,36), to fall back to Lohsa, (27,34)
II Cavalry Corps, at (27,36), to cover XII Corps withdrawal by remaining at (27,36): if the enemy moves to engage with II Cavalry then they are to retire in the direction of Lohsa (27,34)

Messenger to Bautzen with orders for troops there to hold

Baron Drouot's Orders

Drouot, at (30,32), to move to Bautzen (30,33)
II Cavalry, at (30,32), to move to Bautzen (30,33)
IV Cavalry, at(3,33), to move to Lobau (31,35); if contact with enemy then retire towards Bautzen

Marechal Davout's Orders

Davout, at (8,7), no movement order.
9th Light Cavalry, at (7,8), are detached from V Cavalry Corps and are to move to Weimar (5,9) via (6,8)
30th Light Cavalry, at (9,8), are detached from XIII Corps and are to move to (10,11) via (10,8), (11,9), (11,10), (11,11)
V Cavalry, at (7,8), no move orders; if enemy approach then fall back, maintaining distance between them.
XIII Corps, at (9,8), no move orders; if enemy approach then fall back, maintaining distance between them.
 
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
 
 
Now a series of battles would be touched off when these orders were combined with the Allied nations moves, resulting in this list of conflicts:

*Game Players for tabletop action proxy Battles:*

North to south:

BATTLE (x2 possible): Prussians are moving out from Potsdam - lots of them!  Faced by French (across a river) = David (Western Canada) over weekend of 15-16 June

BATTLE (x2 possible - or just a LONG table?): Rothenburg part II:  This time can the French conduct a withdrawal under fire from Russians? = James & Julian (Australia) over weekend of 22-23 June

BATTLE (x2 possible battles - or a mini campaign?): Marienberg - the main event?  Russians, Austrians, Prussians are all converged against French and Allied forces in the Bohemian pass ...  (big battle potential here!) = Co-ordinated battle work with David (Western Canada) and Jim (Eastern Canada) 14-23 June

BATTLE: Chemnitz - major skirmish with LOTS of Cossacks versus French horse with some foot in support ... = still open (though some current research shows that this may not be much of an entertaining game) ...


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Then the critical item for the Allied Army of the North:

Charles John was still free as of nightfall on the 21at of August, his escort consisted of Schonen Carabinierregementet (4 sq) yet the situation was grim.

trapped along the coat of Pomerania, Charles John was desperate for any floating transport to permit him to escape
General Ornano was pursuing him with a substantial part of the Guard Light Cavalry, the Cossacks that were forming a part of his escort had deserted him at the edge of their first forced march attempt at Prenzlau.  Part of the Guard Light Cavalry had been dispatched to keep the Cossacks off the back of Ornano's remaining brigade that stayed in hot pursuit all night ...
 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Campaign Post Operations Report #6 - Rothenberg and crossing the Bobr River II

21st of August 1813 (fictional) would prove to be the turning point on the Bobr River.

General de Kavallerie Blücher had a trap planned for the French army under Oudinot.

A copy of the dispatch (email):


With regards to Rothenburg.  The goal is to attack with everything possible from the South and the East at the same time.   Preferably cutting off routes of retreat if possible.  Orders for the battle commander.

Commander,
Your priorities are as follows:
1.  Inflict as much damage on French forces as possible.
2.  Capture or kill Marshall Oudinot.
3.  You are not to retreat.  Death or Glory!

the overall picture sent to the tabletop organizing team in Australia

The resulting run-and-gun battle was played out by The Avon Napoleonic Fellowship and the After Action Report is in three parts:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Meanwhile, Berlin was under attack ... unknown to the Allied Supreme HQ with Tsar Alexander, Emperor Francis and King Fredrick William.

Prince Charles John was faced with the following data:

Berlin is completely invested now and cut off by the French forces.

Bulow is holding at Potsdam, the French are holding the opposite bank
of the Spree.

Corps besieging Magdeburg: Generalmajor von Hirschfeld  reports ready
to break off the siege and assist at Potsdam or otherwise.

In Mecklenberg, Davout has moved the French infantry to the south,
while a force of Cavalry has appeared in the north.


There was no way that the Russian cavalry would remain in Berlin at the citadel.  Their horses would become nothing more than rations within a week.  So Charles John had determined to move out with the cavalry before the complete encirclement of Berlin.


Prince Charles John collapsed into a short sleep in Eberswalde, to be
awoken during the night ... many patrols had not returned, one that
did claims to have seen a Colonel of Chasseur a Cheval - possibly of the
Imperial Guard?

++++++++++++++++++++++

Charles John next ordered:

Order to troops besieging Magdeburg to support and assist at Potsdam.
If they can attack from the rear so much the better.
Prince John will continue to retreat north if he is attacked to
stretch out the French. Any troops left in Berlin are order to do what
they can to damage and harass the French if they are able.


Aides asked of the Prince:
 
Did you want another Potsdam breakout to the south?

Anything with the Swedes in the west? 


To which the Prince replied:
 
Forgot about the Swedes. They are to retreat east as there is too big of a
French force to even delay it. They are to travel as fast as they can to
possibly meet up with Prince John in a couple of days if they can.
The troops at Potsdam will have to prevent the French from getting past them
easily. While keeping an eye out to the east for the enemy coming from the
battle at Berlin. I don't think I can do anymore seeing as the French has
superior forces everywhere. 


snapshot of the map for Charles John as of the 20th overnight
 The planned route of escape for Prince Charles John would have great impact on the progress of the Campaign, for the details about his whereabouts were going to face a skirmish contest that would see a whole new game set be invented and used again and again in this Campaign of Nations.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Campaign Post Operations Report #5 - Rothenberg and crossing the Bobr River

Very quickly in the campaign 20th of August 1813 (fictional) the Allied army under Blucher made the first of many attempts at forcing a crossing of the River Bobr.



Here listed are the forces for the first battle and the Allied orders:

Battle is in Hex 27,36, with the French on the west bank of the Bobr and the Russians advancing from the East.

Russian attackers: (ordered to cross the Bobr river in force)

General Intendent: von Ribbentrop = CIC

1st Cavalry Corps: Generallieutenant Baron Korff

Russian Cavalry Brigade
Brigade: Generalmajor Berdaeev

Tver Dragoon Regiment (2)
Kinbourn Dragoon Regiment (2)


Russian Cavalry Division
1st Chasseur à Cheval Division: Generalmajor Pantschulid

Tchernigov Chasseur à Cheval Regiment (3)
Sievesk Chasseur à Cheval Regiment (2)
Arasmass Chasseur à Cheval Regiment (2)

Light Troops: Generalmajor Grekov VIII
Brigade: Generalmajor Count de Witte
1st Ukrainian Cossack Regiment
2nd Ukrainian Cossack Regiment
3rd Ukrainian Cossack Regiment
Attached:
1st Teptar Cossack Regiment
Zikilev Cossack Regiment
Isaeva #2 Cossack Regiment
Selivanov #2 Don Cossack Regiment
Kutainikov #8 Cossack Regiment

Russian Artillery
Reserve Artillery:

Position Battery #10
Light Battery #29
Pontoon Company #4   <-- YES you see that correctly there is a pontoon bridge available and may be deployed (if your table/rules allow - or make some up!)

75th Marine (or Ships) Equipage <-- fully set river craft could also deliver some horse companies (maybe a regiment?) in one go ... they would likely be in disorder as they landed but operable after the landings.

Pioneer Company Lt. Colonel Gebenera


Cavalry Corps: Generallieutenant Vassil'shikov

Russian Cavalry Division
3rd Dragoon Division:

Brigade: Generalmajor Pantschulid
Courland Dragoon Regiment (2)
Smolensk Dragoon Regiment (2)


++++++ Russian Troops listed below are present at the battle yet
MAY NOT CROSS
the Bobr River
MAY NOT CROSS
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Russian Cavalry Division
2nd Hussar Division: Generalmajor Tschaplitz

Brigade: Colonel Vassil'shikov
Akhtyrsk Hussar Regiment (4)
Marioupol Hussar Regiment (4)
Brigade: Generalmajor Kaslovsky
Alexandria Hussar Regiment (4)
White Russia Hussar Regiment (4)
Artillery:
Horse Battery #18

Russian Cavalry Division
Light Troops: Generalmajor Karpov II

Semenschenko Cossack Regiment
Kutainikov #4 Cossack Regiment
Tcharnusubov #4 Cossack Regiment
Loukoffkin Cossack Regiment
Karpov #2 Cossack Regiment
4th Ukrainian Cossack Regiment
St. Petersburg Cossack Regiment
2nd Kalmuck Regiment
Popov #13 Cossack Regiment
Unknown Cossack Regiment


FRENCH Defenders:

XII Corps
Troop Strength: 9224
Commander-in-Chief: Maréchal Oudinot, Duke of Reggio  <-- Personally in command
Chief of Staff: Général de division Lejeune
Artillery Commander: Général de brigade Nourry
Commander of Engineers: Général de brigade Blein

French Infantry Division
13th Division: Général de division Pacthod
Troop Strength: 2336
1st Brigade: Général de brigade Bardet
4/1st Légère Regiment (19/471)
3/7th Line Regiment (21/340)
4/7th Line Regiment (19/296)
4/42nd Line Regiment (2/411)
2nd Brigade: Général de brigade Cacault
3/67th Line Regiment (21/537)
4/67th Line Regiment (20/449)
2/101st Line Regiment (20/520)
3/101st Line Regiment (17/538)
4/101st Line Regiment (18/403)
Artillery
4/4th Foot Artillery (3/70)
(6-6pdrs & 2-24pdr howitzers)
20/4th Foot Artillery (4/77)
(6-6pdrs & 2-24pdr howitzers)
Det. 2/4th Principal Train Battalion (1/89)
Det. 3/7th Principal Train Battalion (1/77)

French Infantry Division
14th Division: Général de division Guilleminot

1st Brigade: Général de brigade Gruyere
2/18th Légère Regiment (24/445)
6/18th Légère Regiment (17/382)
1/156th Line Regiment (22/855)
2/156th Line Regiment (20/893)
3/156th Line Regiment (25/897)

2nd Brigade: Général de brigade Brun de Villeret
2/Illyrian Regiment (26/486)
3/52nd Line Regiment (17/512)
4/52nd Line Regiment (16/544)
1/137th Line Regiment (27/585)
2/137th Line Regiment (16/586)
3/137th Line Regiment (16/606)
Artillery
2/4th Foot Artillery (3/92)
(6-6pdrs & 2-24pdr howitzers)
1/8th Foot Artillery (4/71)
(6-6pdrs & 2-24pdr howitzers)
Det. 1/9th (bis) Train Battalion (0/56)
Det. 4/3rd (bis) Train Battalion (0/19)
Det. 1/4th Principal Train Battalion (1/59)
Det. 5/7th Principal Train Battalion (3/37)

French Allied Infantry Division
29th Division: Generalleutenant Raglowich

1st Brigade: Generalmajor von Becker
2/3rd Bavarian Line (13/369)
2/4th Bavarian Line (10/387)
2/8th Bavarian Line (18/432)
Res/13th Bavarian Line (12/364)
1st Combined Jäger Battalion (14/452)

2nd Brigade: Generalmajor Maillot de la Treille
2/5th Bavarian Line (11/439)
2/7th Bavarian Line (18/606)
2/9th Bavarian Line (17/517)
2/10th Bavarian Line (20/645)
2nd Combined Jäger Battalion (16/419)
Artillery
1st Bavarian Foot Battery "Bammler" (2/60)
(6-6pdrs & 2-7pdr howitzers)
2nd Bavarian Foot Battery "Weisshaupt" (2/60)
(6-6pdrs & 2-7pdr howitzers)
Bavarian Reserve Battery (2/280)
(6-12pdrs & 2-7pdr howitzers)
Bavarian Train Det. (6/190)

Corps Cavalry Division: Général de division Beaumont

French Allied Cavalry Brigade
29th Brigade: Général de brigade Wolff
1/,2/,3/,4/Westphalian Chevauleger-lancier Regiment
(35/482)(545 horses)
1/,2/,3/,4/Hessian Chevauleger Regiment (12/248)(283 horses)
Bavarian Combined Chevauleger Regiment (3)(16/394)(421 horses)

French Artillery
Reserve and Grand Park

1/4th Foot Artillery (1/73)
(6-12pdrs & 2-6" howitzers)
18/4th Foot Artillery (4/82)
(6-12pdrs & 2-6" howitzers)
3/5th Horse Artillery (3/90)
(4-6pdrs & 2-24pdr howitzers)
4/2nd Sapper Battalion (3/100)  <-- could be used to disrupt pontoons?
4/9th Sapper Battalion (3/92)
Det. 1/4th Principal Train Battalion (1/102)
Det. 2/4th Principal Train Battalion (0/89)
Det. 4/12th Principal Train Battalion (0/6)
Det. 1/3rd (bis) Train Battalion (0/11)
Det. 3/3rd (bis) Train Battalion (0/9)
Det. 3/7th (bis) Train Battalion (1/4)
Det. 4/7th (bis) Train Battalion (1/88)
Det. 5/7th (bis) Train Battalion (0/17)
1/7th Train d'Equipage (1/75)
2/7th Train d'Equipage (1/66)
3/7th Train d'Equipage (1/130)

II Cavalry Corps:

Commander-in-Chief: Général de division Sébastiani
Chief of Staff: Adjutant Commandant Lascours
Commander of Artillery: Colonel Colin

French Cavalry Division
2nd Light Cavalry Division: Général de division Roussel d'Hurbal

7th Light Cavalry Brigade: Général de brigade F.Gerard
Staff/4th Chevauléger-lancier Regiment (6/8/29/9)
1/4th Chevauléger-lancier Regiment (9/165/20/167)
2/4th Chevauléger-lancier Regiment (10/212/23/211)
3/4th Chevauléger-lancier Regiment (3/87/7/86)
Staff/5th Hussar Regiment (9/5/28/2)
1/5th Hussar Regiment (8/195/18/195)
2/5th Hussar Regiment (8/199/18/196)
3/5th Hussar Regiment (11/195/24/193)
Staff/9th Hussar Regiment (6/9/21/11)
1/9th Hussar Regiment (7/195/16/196)
2/9th Hussar Regiment (8/201/18/198)
3/9th Hussar Regiment (8/203/18/196)
4/9th Hussar Regiment (6/206/13/208)

8th Light Cavalry Brigade: Général de brigade Domanget
Staff/2nd Chevauléger-lancier Regiment (3/2/9/2)
1/2nd Chevauléger-lancier Regiment (9/183/10/179)
2/2nd Chevauléger-lancier Regiment (8/220/18/221)
Staff/11th Chasseur à Cheval Regiment (6/9/22/5)
1/11th Chasseur à Cheval Regiment (9/222/21/212)
2/11th Chasseur à Cheval Regiment (9/217/20/218)
Staff/12th Chasseur à Cheval Regiment (5/8/19/12)
1/12th Chasseur à Cheval Regiment (8/190/18/187)
2/12th Chasseur à Cheval Regiment (16/287/32/285)

French Cavalry Division
4th Light Cavalry Division: Général de division Exelmans

9th Light Cavalry Brigade: Général de brigade Maurin
Staff/6th Chevauléger-lancier Regiment (6/4/20/4)
1/6th Chevauléger-lancier Regiment (4/233/30/230)
2/6th Chevauléger-lancier Regiment (9/171/22/174)
Staff/4th Chasseur à Cheval Regiment (10/6/26/10)
1/4th Chasseur à Cheval Regiment (7/156/16/152)
2/4th Chasseur à Cheval Regiment (9/215/19/214)
Staff/7th Chasseur à Cheval Regiment (6/7/20/3)
1/7th Chasseur à Cheval Regiment (8/199/18/200)
2/7th Chasseur à Cheval Regiment (8/159/18/158)
3/7th Chasseur à Cheval Regiment (7/174/18/17)
1/20th Chasseur à Cheval Regiment (14/202/33/200)
2/20th Chasseur à Cheval Regiment (9/175/20/174)
3/20th Chasseur à Cheval Regiment (9/178/20/178)
4/20th Chasseur à Cheval Regiment (3/71/7/70)

10th Light Cavalry Brigade: Général de brigade Wathiez
Staff/11th Hussar Regiment (6/5/27/6)
1/11th Hussar Regiment (9/137/20/138)
2/11th Hussar Regiment (5/61/11/62)
Staff/23rd Chasseur à Cheval Regiment (9/5/22/4)
1/23rd Chasseur à Cheval Regiment (5/174/11/175)
2/23rd Chasseur à Cheval Regiment (7/143/15/136)
3/23rd Chasseur à Cheval Regiment (5/150/12/149)
4/23rd Chasseur à Cheval Regiment (6/152/14/150)
Staff/24th Chasseur à Cheval Regiment (7/6/30/6)
1/24th Chasseur à Cheval Regiment (4/104/9/100)
2/24th Chasseur à Cheval Regiment (4/83/8/82)
3/24th Chasseur à Cheval Regiment (5/80/7/78)
4/24th Chasseur à Cheval Regiment (3/76/3/74)


French Artillery
Artillery: Colin

7/1st Horse Artillery (2/103)
(4-6pdrs & 2-24pdr howitzers)
2/11th (bis) Train Battalion (1/62)
7/4th Horse Artillery (3/94)
(4-6pdrs & 2-24pdr howitzers)
3/13h (bis) Train Battalion (0/62)
8/6th Horse Artillery (3/84)
(4-6pdrs & 2-24pdr howitzers)
3/13th (bis) Train Battalion (1/71)
4/11th (bis) Train Battalion (0/57)
4/3rd Horse Artillery (3/88)
(4-6pdrs & 2-24pdr howitzers)
Det 8th Train Battalion (0/57)


XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX


The battle is being fought over the Bobr crossing near Rothenburg near 51 Degrees 45 minutes North; 14 Degrees 55 minutes East.  There is a small airport with a single landing strip and Non-Directional Beacon (NDB) having the same name.  The river forms the boundary between modern day Germany and Poland.

Mostly flat lightly wooded terrain with some 'meres' or lakes - though they are likely dry in August, possibly not more than muddy patches? - in the area.

The Bobr River will be the main defining feature.

Blucher has ordered the crossing in some haste ... my overall view is that the cavalry will take a mauling here ... only a great failure by the French will see the Russians successful in the crossing.  This is an opportunity to eliminate many Russian horse before they can become a problem later in the campaign.


The results of this battle can be found at Avon Napoleonic Fellowship






Sunday, July 12, 2015

Campaign Post Operations Report #4 - Allied Information

Allied Cavalry messenger
Majesties:

your intelligence services and spy networks report the following about the French Grande Armee:

Napoleon Bonaparte was seen in Leipzig, start of August.

Many supplies are concentrated in Dresden and Leipzig

The French army appears to have been organized under the following commands:

Maréchal Ney, Prince of Moscow, commanding the "Army of Berlin"
Maréchal Macdonald, Duke of Tarente commanding the "Army of Saxony"

and a Central army reserve, of unknown structure as little messenger activity has been intercepted - likely the Imperial Guard is located with this central army group.


Campaign Post Operations Report #3 - French : A cunning plan

French Campaign Map view as of 18 August 1813 (simulation #1)
David and James

I think it fair to say we do have a Cunning Plan for the campaign.

Your Commands are

James - as Maréchal Ney, Prince of Moscow, commanding the "Army of Berlin"

III Corps - Ney
I Corps - Vandamme
V Corps - Lauriston
VIII Corps - Poniatowski
XIV Corps - Saint-Cyr
27th Polish Division - Dombrowski
I Cavalry Corps - Latour-Maubourg
ADC/Commanders
Corbineau
Nansouty

Your immediate objectives to bring to the battlefield, and defeat, the Army of the North who I suspect will be defending Berlin. As part of this you will need to raise the Prussian seige of Magdeburg should you think this is both necessary and easily undertaken.
In support of your endeavours  Maréchal Davout has been ordered to march from Hamburg, with XIII Corps (minus the Danish troops which will garrison Hamburg) and V Cavalry Corps, along the main road to Berlin, passing through Schwegin.
Should you think it necessary I can bring the Imperial Guard in on this operation. This will need/require a very quick fought victory in order that we can then support both Oudinot and Macdonald in the south and south-east of Saxony.


David - as Maréchal Macdonald, Duke of Tarente commanding the "Army of Saxony"

XI Corps - Maconald
IV Corps - Bertrand
II Corps - Victor
III Cavalry Corps - Ariighi
ADC/Commanders
Hogendorp

David yours, should you wish to accept it, may be "the Mision Impossible" OR should that read Impassable. I'd like you to make it as hard as possible for the Austrians to come through the mountain passes from Bohemia. This effort is to give the Army of Berlin & Ney sufficient time to close with and defeat the Allied "Army of the North"

  Maréchal Oudinot will be to your E/NE covering Bautzen and the Imperial Guard will be in the region around Luckau

The attached map shows their approximate positions. Would you please deploy your forces, as you see fit, in order to achieve your objectives given above.
If you choose to "break out" troops from their parent Corps please ensure that they remain / move in conjunction with their parent Corps and Commander.
Troops out of command will not necessarily move / comply with their latest received orders.

ADCs /Commanders -  to assist the Army commanders you have both been allocated 1 or 2 of these. Do you want any more???

Other troops available to us are: IX Corps under Augereau, which is forming; V Cavalry Corps (part) under Milhaud - bis - and 2 batteries of Young Guard Foot Batteries. All of these troops will appear on the map, arriving through the central Supply point on the western map edge.

Our forward Supply Depot will be at Leipzig; two Magazines are to be immediately established at Wittenberg and Dresden. These will be able to be maintained/supplied from two of the three Supply points (NOT the Hamburg one)

Our aims therefore,in brief, to break the Allied Coalition by first knocking Prussia and Sweden out before the the Russian and Austrian armies reach the battlefields of Saxony.

Your troops are loosely positioned in your area of operations.

After you have fully deployed your troops as you want them for the beginning of the campaign please return file to me and I will submit the "Master Map" file.

Any comments, observations and / or suggestions are most welcomed

Thanks guys and good luck

****************************
****************************

What are your thoughts of the plan?

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Campaign Post Operations Report #2 - Defection planning ...

Bavarian Allies of the French ... until they were not.
An important Campaign issue came up during the final stages of planning and troop deployment:

Mike (Bonaparte) asks:


What triggers the defection of French Allied contingents? Saxon and Bavarian spring to mind.

To which I answered:

The 'defection' issue is one of some significance, I was quick to point out that the handling of the Saxons in the Potsdam battle, during the play test, would have an impact on such considerations.

Basically if the French are loosing too much ground or too many men - likewise if they find themselves cornered, then the 'French allied troops' may have a chance of such defections.  The Bavarian case is something that I would consider an extreme - changing sides ON THE BATTLEFIELD is a very rare occurrence and should be handled as such.  Most certainly the 'change' happened overnight in a multi-day battle.

In all fairness I do also consider the departure from the coalition of allied armies also - there are conditions for the Swedes to bugger off, likewise for Prussians, less so for the Austrians and Russians; unless things are going bad for them - which if the Russians leave the coalition then 'peace' has broken out.

What are your thoughts or views of this potential?

Friday, July 10, 2015

Campaign Post Operations Report #1 - French Planning and Orders

In the build-up for the Campaign there were planning sessions for the French team, Mike in UK was nominally Bonaparte, James in Australia took on Ney and I in Canada did duty as MacDonald.



Here is the first notes I shared of my Campaign thoughts:

Gentlemen,

Looking to start action for the main game by Friday 15 February 2013.

I am requesting the location of the main supply depot (see below for
details) by no later than 11 February - I will have similar demands for the
other Allied armies) this will be used to give the Allied commanders an
'operating area' for the French Grande Armee, likewise there will be some
similar details coming back for you from the Allied commanders by the same
deadline (so news by the 12th).

Overall objective:

France: break up the working coalition of Russia, Prussia, Austria and
Sweden via destruction of field forces in central Europe, while maintaining
a sufficient force east of the Rhine.

     Personal for Bonaparte: eliminate Bernadotte (traitor to France and
now 'Crown Prince' in Sweden)


How to *break* coalition?

Sweden = eliminate a significant %age of their field force.
(how much?  I will not say just yet, suffice to say that 30% will not be
enough)
Capturing Bernadotte is a total Bonapartist coup!

Austria = win field battles early and often.  After at least 14 days the
coalition will start to trust Austria more ... early losses will hurt that
trust.  A big early loss may knock them out for some time or totally.
(again specific numbers I cannot say, but a triple 50% loss in three
consecutive field battles will go a LONG WAY to making the coalition
mistrust Austria)

Prussia = occupy Berlin, for as long as possible.  The nationalist
sentiments will not long permit the capitol to be so occupied without
response.

Russia = get them to mistrust the others by messing with the coalition.
 If Austria cannot meet its obligations then supply will be upset and
Russia will have to fall back.  If Prussia is preoccupied relieving Berlin
then Russia will have to help them and may abandon the Austrians to do so.
 If Sweden proves to be untrustworthy then the supplies from the east and
replacement troops will be diverted to cover the north flank of Silesia and
west Posen, this may make it impossible to keep Army of Silesia or Bohemia
supplied or force them to spread out too thin.

*Sufficient force* east of the Rhine?
(it will be a comparison to the remaining Allied forces, keep losses down
and you will stay in the same 'ratio' - if losses mount to fast you will
know about it soon enough)
Davout must maintain the Rhine bridgehead at Hamburg, if the Allies can
cross the Rhine then what is going on to the east of the river will be
meaningless.
Davout's forces are available and could take some actions to support Army
of Berlin (under Oudinot & historically Ney), however if the Allies cross
the Rhine at Hamburg or can bring the fortress under siege, then unless
France is doing well to the east the supply lines will have to shift to
support Hamburg and strategic consumption will restrict actions of the
Grande Armee to 14 days.

SUPPLY WILL BE THE FRENCH CHALLENGE (mostly hidden to the Allies)

Specifically you will have to 'trace' a supply line from the west edge of
the map (one of the half blue, half white circles) to your chosen supply
depot.  You may go with Dresden (as Bonaparte did) or any other location on
the map in the French deployment zone - it does not need to be a
fortification, though it must be on a MAJOR road (with 8 division movement).

Here are your limitations: once you choose your supply depot you may not
move it without a full five (5) day advance notice *AND* you will not be
able to move ANY TROOPS AT ALL along the route chosen to move your supply
depot, it moves at artillery speed and covers 3 full hexes of road (yes a
train 18 miles long).

Supply is part of the headache here for France, these young troops do not
do well when they get hungry - the Guard will do alright - the new ones ...
not so well.

Troops within 5 hexes of the supply depot are ALWAYS in supply (no matter
about the enemy movement unless totally surrounded), outside of that range
troops are only 'in supply' if ON or in the hex NEXT to any road.  If
deployed 'with friendly troops' that are next to the road, then the supply
line counts and extends along the continuous line of troops.  Therefore do
not send troops out off-road very far as they will either automatically
fall-back into supply (slowing or halting movement) or may be degraded in
combat effectiveness (at least the same as a 'spent' condition).

Troops outside of the 5 hexes from supply depot are also vulnerable to
becoming isolated from supply, any enemy cavalry is counted as having a ZoC
(Zone of Control) for supply purposes of 1 hex around it. So only three
cavalry units may cut off a full hex of troops if they can get all around
it.  Once cut off the troops will have two days of
supply/rations/ammunition to break out - or they will become degraded
suffering further penalty until supply is restored.

ONLY GUARD has exception to this, if the guard cavalry are present, then
the ZoC is cancelled (so it takes 6 units to surround them - or at least 3
to cut supply (unless it can be traced on other nearby roads).  Also the
Guard units may operate for up to 5 days without supply (thus moving well
off-road if so desired) without penalty.  After 5 days the 'degrade'
factors will come into play, though they will also be enacted more slowly.

For your forces mixture.
Please use the troops as listed on:
http://campaignofnations.**blogspot.ca/p/blog-page.html<http://campaignofnations.blogspot.ca/p/blog-page.html>

Your special unit THE IMPERIAL GUARD, may be marched as a single "Corps"
of [5] division strength.  Yes I know that they are more men and more
powerful, they are also veterans and well trained to do things better than
just about any other force in the campaign.  This comes at a price.  NO
OTHER ARMY UNIT MAY BYPASS THE GUARD ON ANY ROAD *UNLESS* BONAPARTE is
present (in command range), this means that the Guard units count as
'using' the road move unless countermanded by Bonaparte in command range.
 The GUARD will take precedence over all other forces, only the Emperor
could countermand this.

Other Guard functions are the ability to 'split' into divisions/corps
under separate commanders - I am still working out all the specifics for
this suffice to say that you could break the Guard into as many as 8
division sized 'pieces' if so desired.
Commands:

Bonaparte:  (3 hex range unless 'in command of of troops in contact to
enemy, then only 2 hex range)  To keep the 'wide range' Bonaparte must
stand off from contact with the enemy - the battlefield action takes up too
much of his time and the wider range gets cut off due to his need to focus
more locally.

WING Commanders: functioning as we did in the play test
Ney
MacDonald
Oudinot
Davout

(any other suggestions for WING?)

5 ADC's: functioning as we did in the play test, with the following to
choose from (I have named some on the board - you may choose differently &
attach other the other ADC's directly to forces - if ADC is 'taken out' in
combat then an 'alternate' from the list will be available to take his
place - the French just had that level of depth in their command structure)

Général de division Duke of Plaisance Lebrun
Général de division Count de Lobau
Général de division Count Hogendorp
Colonel of Engineers Barnard
Général de division Count Gueheneuc
Général de division Baron Corbineau
Général de division Flahault
Général de division Baron Dejean
Général de division Baron Drouot

to be deployed at your discretion
(any other ADC suggestions?)

Finally the 'messengers' - I have still not come to any final decision
about numbers of these ... there are just so many variables.
The 'go with it' Idea I have so far is:  1 'messenger' per 'hex' of
distance in command.  So Bonaparte gets 3, WINGs get 2 and the ADC's have 1
each.

(any suggestions?)

I am still working out the response/rating for Division commanders in
'solo' situations - what they will do when confronted with enemy going in
the way of their 'orders'.  (I plan to have that put onto the blog for all
to see)

Other than the Guard 'splitting up' I would prefer if you kept all other
formations together (or within a hex of each other, like you did at the
start of the play test Mike) - though you may 'deploy' as you wish - save
for Davout.  His force must be in Hamburg or deploy area in the north,
lower Rhine.

I shall attach a map with the 'pieces' for your force just lined up, you
may deploy as you please.

*************************************
*************************************

A later follow-up email spoke of more detailed thinking:

The usual challenges are present here.

1 - the strategy of Central position is key - if the French are pushed out from the center they are beat.  If the three allied armies can converge the French are beat.  If the Army of Silesia and Bohemia can converge it may be impossible to defeat them combined.

2 - The geographic weaknesses of the Allies are:
 i) BERLIN - the Prussian capitol is vital to their continuing in the coalition.
 ii) river crossings - Allied armies are larger and more cumbersome, if they can be coaxed into crossing partly then they can be cut apart and defeated in detail.
 iii) Bohemian mountains - these delay the Austrian moves and make their exit points easy to concentrate against.

Geographic strengths (at start) for French:
 i) the Bohemian passes are nominally under French control to start.  So long as that can be exploited then the advantage of mobility and time remains with the French.

3 - The Austrians cannot accept battle on anything other than terms favorable to them ... therefore we do best by permitting them battle at first on good terms for them, with delay action after delay action.

4 - Blucher is headstrong and once his crazy Hussar tendencies are going it may be possible to lure him into battle after battle.  This is something that I always thought was a possibility for the French, to get Blucher to commit early into the campaign and hammer him HARD.  Possibly cutting his army apart, while pursuit is out of the question, it may be possible to get 1/2 or more of his army out of action in a few days of maneuver & battle.  With the Austrians held up then there exists this real potential.

5 - Sweden, almost a wild-card in all of this is how to overcome the Swedes.  Again the potential for luring out the Army of the North across the Spree and getting the Swedes either pinned down in battle or flanking them to access Berlin - either way if the Swedes advance there is benefit.  Would commitment of a couple of Divisions under Davout be all that it takes to really mess with the Army of the North and keep them stuck on the north side of the Spree?  A covering force could do the job of keeping them bottled up at least - perhaps enough time to get Blucher?

6 - OPPORTUNITY.  Something that the French army was also excellent at - especially with Bonaparte.  The problem here is that you are left 'waiting' to see what the Allies are going to do before deciding to hit them.  The advantage is in having at least somewhat capable sub-commanders here that could hold their own for a day or two while the main body and Guard arrive to get in the killing blow.

For my own part I have always thought that Dresden magazine was the Achilles heel of the overall strategy.  Torgeau or Wittenberg work just as well for the French purposes, both are also Fortresses, both are on main roads in the campaign action area.  The only weakness is that they are on the more northerly flank and that may make them susceptible to attack from Army of the North.

In the end the general strategy of 'masking' Bohemia and North and having a major force ready to act against Blucher in Silesia is really the best overall.  If the forces for Blucher could manage to get him to commit then into battle between the Bobr and the Oder, possibly with a strategic flank maneuver?

The problem comes if the Austrians seize on the potential to strike out north via Librec and attempt to link the Bohemia-Silesia armies.

So to counter this the Opportunity plan comes into action, be deployed more east of Dresden, so that Blucher takes the bait and if the Austrians are sleepy then a major victory could be won.

Strategic reserves is the critical choice, IV Cav Corps and VII Corps are my first thoughts for 'hold backs' as something of a Strategic Reserve possibly near Torgau - with an ADC to move them quickly should the need arise.

Two Corps could be strong enough in the north to mask the Berlin sector, three Corps are going to be needed in the south to cover the passes out from Bohemia, that leaves the rest as hit and counter-punch (or opportunity) forces for Blucher.

++++++++++++++++++

Odd strategy.

The French could also go totally asymmetrical, take Wittenburg as the supply base, concentrate against Bernadotte and hammer into Berlin - break the coalition by force of arms.  Do delay actions only for as long as possible against Silesia and Bohemia.  Leave them champing at the bit as it were and fend them off at each zone that can be delayed.  This means holding the Bobr line for as long as possible and the Bohemian mountain passes - possibly two weeks?  In that time Berlin is secured and a new 'central position' is prepared - as Blucher will have to move north along the Bobr to reach help into Berlin, so the two armies of Bohemia and Silesia could still be kept apart.

++++++++++++++++++

That is the bulk of my thoughts.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Battle of LUBBEN

artistic impression of Napoleon Bonaparte
 A great victory.

How Bonaparte might have summed up the Battle at Lubben in our fictional 1813 Campaign Game.

MurdocK's MarauderS has played out the epic battle to a conclusion, one that may spell the end of this campaign.

We ask that you review the action and if you have commentary regarding the campaign to date please enter your comments below.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Grand Campaign BATTLE at LUBBEN - French Overview

Napoleon Bonaparte re-enacted
After many days of encouraging the forced march of Maréchal Count Saint-Cyr's XIV Corps at long last the Emperor was prepared to make his presence known in force to the Allied powers.

Many times over the past month it appeared as though the superior Allied cavalry numbers would penetrate the screens thrown up by the French.  Yet each time the French had prevailed in preventing the Allies from learning about the location of key elements of the Imperial Guard, or on one occasion, Bonaparte himself.

Now the chance at a crowning glory to the campaign presented itself, at Lubben were concentrated perhaps 1/2 of the Allied forces, under the command of Blucher, someone that the Emperor felt would most certainly stand and fight.  So the moves had been made over the past four days to make the appearance of a "La manoeuvre sur les derrieres" so as to push the wily old General out of his comfort zone in Lubben and possibly make a mistake.

The bait has appeared to work with a massive cavalry assault launched against I Corps on the 11th of September 1813 (fictional).

Now here on the 12th the cut off to the south of Lubben is in progress and all is in readiness for the main assault, commanded by the new Marshal Poniatowski, to take place on the 13th of September.

Field of battle as seen for French on 12 Sept 1813 (fictional)


Order of Battle

French

arriving from North West of Lubben (part by road, part via open country march)

Napoleon  (with escort of 2 Brigades of Polish Lancers of the Guard)

Druout
Guard Corps Mortier:
Old Guard Division Friant:
Curial Brigade
Michel Brigade
Old Guard Foot Battery

Young Guard 1 Division Doumoustier
___ Brigade
Tindal Brigade
___ Brigade
Guard Foot Battery

Young Guard 2 Division Barrois
Rottenbourg Brigade
de Morran Brigade
Boyeldieu Brigade
Guard Foot Battery

Young Guard 3 Division Delaborde
Gros Brigade
Combelle Brigade
Dulong Brigade
Guard Foot Battery

Young Guard 4 Division Rouget
de Rebeval Brigade
Pelet Brigade
___ Brigade
Guard Foot Battery

Guard Artillery Grand Batteries
4xGuard Foot 1xGuard Horse

Guard Heavy Cavalry Brigade Ornano
2xGuard Horse Batteries

6th Heavy Cavalry Division Lamotte
___ Dragoon Brigade
___ Dragoon Brigade
Horse Battery



Field Commander Maréchal Poniatowski

 XIV Corps St Cyr
42 Division Mouton-Duvernet
___ Brigade
Creutzer Brigade
Foot Battery
 
43 Division Claparède 
Godard Brigade
Butrand Brigade
Foot Battery

44 Division Berthezène
Pailard  Brigade
Letellier Brigade
Foot Battery

45 Division Razout
Goguet Brigade
d'Esclevin

Corps Artillery  1xFoot  1xHorse

III Corps Souham (in command since Ney's injury)
 8 Division Souham
Brayer Brigade
Charrier Brigade
Foot Battery

11 Division Ricard
Tarayre Brigade
Doumoulin Brigade
Foot Battery

Corps Artillery 2xFoot 1xHorse

Arriving from West Southwest:

Loubau
I Cavalry Corps Latour-Maubourg
 1 Light Cavalry Division Corbineau
Pire Brigade
Montmarie Brigade
Piquet Brigade

3 Light Cavalry Division Chastel
Valin Brigade
van Merlen Brigade
Demoncourt Brigade

1 Cuirassier Division Bourdesoulle
Berckheim Brigade
Bessieres Brigade
Lessing Brigade

3 Cuirassier Division Doumerc
d'Audenard Brigade
Reiset Brigade

Corps Artillery 2xHorse

VII Corps Reynier
32 Division Durutte
Devaux Brigade
Jarry Brigade
Menu Brigade
Foot Artillery

26 Light Cavalry Brigade Lindenau

Corps Artillery: Saxon Foot Battery

IX Corps (now formed) Augerau
51 Division Tureau
Lagarde Brigade
Aymard Brigade
Foot Battery

52 Division Sémélé
Bagneris Brigade
___ Brigade
Foot Battery

Corps Artillery 1xHorse

In Cottbus arriving late from South EAST:


Nansouty
Guard Light Cavalry Corps
Dutch Lancers Brigade
Cheveau-Leger Lancers Brigade
Berg Guard Lancers Brigade
Chasseurs a Cheval de la Guard 1 Brigade
Chasseurs a Cheval de la Guard 2 Brigade

South of Lubben on road (in battle on 12 Sept with Prussian Cavalry Reserve under Roder)

V Cavalry Corps (now formed) Milhaud
5 Heavy Cavalry Division Quinette
___ Dragoon Brigade
___ Dragoon Brigade

6th Heavy Cavalry Division Montelegier
___ Dragoon Brigade
___ Dragoon Brigade

Corps Artillery 2xHorse

Arriving on 13th from West of road south of Lubben:

Maréchal Oudinot, Duke of Reggio

VI Corps Marmont
20 Division Compans
Pelleport  Brigade
Jobert Brigade
Foot Battery

22 Division Freidrichs
Bachelet Brigade
Foot Battery

Corps Artillery 1xFoot  1xHorse +  Captured Aust Horse + II Cav Arty under Colin  2xHorse

Standing to west of Allied staging area:

XII Corps Guilliminot  (as Oudinot is to north)
14 Division Guilliminot
Gruyere Brigade
Brun de Villeret Brigade
Foot Battery

Corps Artillery 1xFoot