Friday, May 2, 2014

Leipzig Table C Scenario - Napoleon's Battles

This is the big one. Set up had taken around two hours.  How much of the game would we get through?

The scenario had the battle starting at 06:30 with the first Allied reinforcements arriving at 12:30.  Could I hold out that long?

The road to Wachau.  
The French launch a spoiling attack against the preponderance of Russian artillery.  Barclay is in the way of the cossacks who might (40% chance) have gone to the battery's aid.

While the Allies moved first, it meant that the French got in the first fire and a few of the Allied guns were damaged.  The return fire was pretty poor except against the exposed troops in the French II Corps.

Another spoiling attack by the French, eh, Poles, but this time they were met by the Prussian heavy cavalry and did not fare well.

With Victor's Corps blown away the French launch a cavalry attack to pin down the Prussians.

All my new innovations are on display in the above picture:
  • the unit labels as flags with coordinated pin heads;
  • movement trays (a bit awkward when my troops had to form square); and 
  • combat markers (some kind of expanded polystyrene packing foam).

The Prussians also ended up being fairly fixed to this position with their front on the Markleeberg-Wachau road more or less (the less being they failed to ever capture either of those two villages).

Another attack by the French on the road to Wachau.  This time the cossacks charged.  They failed to do any serious damage to the French who didn't even form square (pinned by the proximity of the Russian infantry).  The Guard Lancers on their right had more success.

A Polish brigade holding to Markeelberg.  They were being worn down, but stood firm for the length of the game.

The closest the Russian got to Galgenberg Hill.

However, even at this early stage, weight of French numbers was beginning to tell and they were able to mount a counterattack which pushed the Russians back.
The Russian Guard Hussars.  
After going to the rescue of some batteries they then did the unforgivable and continued on in an uncontrolled charged, disordering the batteries they were supposed to be protecting and getting themselves beat up for no good.  The batteries were moped up by the French in the next half hour while the blown hussars looked on in disgrace.  None of the cossacks helped either (about five goes with a 40% chance) although they probably wouldn't have done much, they might have saved the guns. 

Still fighting along the road to Wachau.  The Russians fail to form square and the cossacks fail to come to their aid (where is the Guard Cavalry when you need it?)

The Allied centre has collapsed.  Guldengossa is held by the remains of the Guard light cavalry, but everything else is routed and/or fatigued.  Being right on the table edge there is not much that can be done, not that I could do much, but I would have routed these units much further away.

This is around the 09:00 turn.

The Russians are now on the defensive.  Their I Corps is clinging  to the hill.

Wittgenstein looks on as the French start to sweep round the left flank of I Corps.

A Russian artillery officer looks for his lost gun, last seen on the road to Wachau.  The guns had been lost and reclaimed and lost again.  But now the Russians were reduced to just "looks that would kill".

The beginning of the end.  Having broken the centre the French I Corps heavy cavalry now started to attack the right of the Russian II Corps.

After repulsing numerous frontal attacks the Russian I Corps is being taken in the flank.  Barclay and Gortchakov are leading the brigades in person.

The surrounded Prussian II Corps.  

We finished around the 10:00 turn.  We had played for about eight hours and it was pretty exhausting.  The Allies were done for and their reinforcements were not due till 12:30.


The rules worked well.  We were a bit rusty and had to look up a few things, but no real surprise there.  The optional rules we used were Napoleon, Alexander, cossacks, massed artillery and wheeling template.  It wouldn't have been Leipzig without the Napoleon rule.  The Alexander rule had no impact as the Allies were so crowded together with plenty of Wing and Corps commanders.  Cossacks... grumble (I ended up getting them involved by either putting them in the way of the advancing French or attaching them to batteries).  Massed artillery... probably okay (otherwise it would have been a very long line of batteries and very hard to command).

I don't care for the compulsory withdraw rule.  I think it would be better if this was left to the discretion of the player.  My objection is that it seems to inflict double the casualties on the Russians.  They can take 4 losses in combat and then easily another 4 or 5 in withdraw and as a result just about dispersed.  Much better for them to keep on fighting, take a maximum of one more loss and then rout.

There are two or three major failings with this scenario.
  • The start time is wrong.  According to Petre mist and smoke covered the filed delaying the start till 09:00.  If we had started at that time the allied reinforcements would have been arriving when the allies were most threatened, just like in the real battle. 
  • The table area is nine foot by five and we were playing in just three foot by five with the allies hard up against the table edge.  As the whole battle was fought in the vicinity of Wachau, the table should have been centred on that village, which would have given the allies and extra three feet of rear area in which to regroup and marshal their reinforcements.
  • There is no incentive for the French to hold back forces to deal with developments on their flanks.

That last point really reflects the fact that  the scenario is just a break down of the overall Leipzig battle scenario, rather than a well thought out battle/game in its own right.  For the standard nine by five playing area common for Napoleon's Battles, a much better orientation could have been achieved covering the southern battle.  I am keen to redo the battle (in a few years), but with a redesigned scenario representing the full southern flank.

It would be nice to be able to leave the game set up so it can be played over weeks as it is unlikely that sufficient time can be scheduled to knock it off in two or three days (plus it is exhausting).  More players might help, but then complicates scheduling.  It would be easy to have two or three players per side.

The majority of the figures and the terrain was from Richard's collection.  The Prussians were mine and some of the Russians as well ( the infantry of the II Corps).

With regard to my innovations.  The troop labels and movement trays didn't get much use.  The combat markers I found very handy as it is easy to overlook combats.  They also added to the visual appeal.


  1. Good AAR, soulnds like your changes would make all the difference


    1. Thanks Ian. Writing the AAR was fun and allowed me to relive the game, kind of a double whammy of extra enjoyment.

  2. A good battle despite the bad design! :-)

    1. Thanks Rafael. I wouldn't call it a bad design, maybe flawed and maybe I should have done some research, but the aim was to use the scenario "out of the box" so to speak. But next time...

      There has also been some related discussion of the Napoleon's Battles Yahoo Group which this link hopefully leads to: