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.

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
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
the Bobr River

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)
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)
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)
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)
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)


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

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

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

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:


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
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

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
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:

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
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.

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

(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

(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.