Sunday, July 22, 2018

Battle of Elchingen 14 October 1805

I was looking around for a small Austerlitz related scenario and came across an Age of Eagles scenario for the Battle of Elchingen.  I knew nothing about the battle, but it fitted my needs perfectly.  While the AoE scale is similar to Napoleon's Battles, I couldn't just use it as and luckily found an excellent OOB in Scott Bowden's book on Austerlitz and then even more fortunately a write up of the battle on the Obscure Battles Blog which also included some wonderful maps.

As the notes for the AoE scenario state, this battle is probably too small to be done justice by the rules, however having had fun with small scale games using Napoleon's Battles in the past I thought it was worth giving it a go.  I was not disappointed.

I actually created two OOBs, one using large units and the other small.  I decided to use the small one as that gave ten units per side, mostly representing regiments.  I used the map from the OB Blog, as ultimately realised by the available club terrain.  The only specific terrain I used was the BUA markers which I tried to get to match the map dimensions for the villages.  This resulted in two BUAs for Ober-Elchingen and one for Unter-Elchingen.  This had the benefit of allowing one of the BUAs for Ober-Elchingen to be rated as +2 to represent the Abbey.  The other BUAs were just +1.

 Starting positions 09:00
As it had snowed the previous day we played on a white background.
Other than that there were no weather effects.

Stephen, using his very own figures, took the Austrians.  I took the French using my figures.

 The French crossing is assisted by their artillery.,

I had the set up place the advanced Austrian unit in the arc and range of the French guns. The leading French column was placed at just under 5" back so it could change formation from march column to column and advance its residual inch to also be in range of the Austrians (but outside their 3" range).  This specific set up was aimed at avoiding the need for any tricky rules to represent the combined elite companies which historically had been pushed across to cover the bridge repair, the bridge repair itself and the initial crossing of the Danube.

 The Austrians launched an immediate counterattack, 
but the French infantry formed square and with the help of the artillery, easily repulsed them.

 End of the 09:00 turn.

 By the end of 09:30 the French 2nd Division was across the Danube.

 Ney leads an attack on Ober-Elchingen.

He had to use one of his rerolls and was successful.  The French start with three rerolls which I calculated as 1 for the first four turns plus 2 for Ney being rated as Excellent.  The Austrians start with none as their 1 for the first four turns is removed as their overall CinC is Poor (a minus 1). 

Ney adds a significant +3 to an attack, but the downside is that it means he is not available to command the army in the subsequent turn.  That means at best French infantry units will be moving at half speed.

 Another immediate Austrian counterattack.
It bounced harmlessly off the French square formed by the 6th Legere.

 End of the 10:00 turn.

Both sides have command challenges which result in much needed troops being left out of the action.
I felt this also reflected that some of the ground might be a bit boggy and therefore no additional terrain effects were required (as was the case for weather).

 End of the 10:30 turn.
Ney has returned and is ready to renew the attack.

 End of 11:00 turn.
Each side received a Free Roll marker.
The French 3rd Division has arrived.
Meanwhile the 2nd Division has advanced to engage the enemy.

 End of 11:30 turn.
Ney is being somewhat cautious and making sure his regiments are deployed ready for close combat.  His cavalry is on react, ready to exploit any weaknesses in the Austrian position.

 Ney has attacked and taken the Abbey.  Again he needed a reroll to succeed.
The cavalry have taken an opportunity to attack an Austrian unit that had become disordered.

 The Austrians are able to counterattack Ney and he is forced to withdraw.

 The 4th Dragoon Division unleash a devastating charge on the Austrian left flank.

 End of the 12:00 turn.
The 4th Dragoon Division went on a wild charge.

End of the 12:30 turn and the Austrians have broken.
Not hopelessly broken, but it was time for lunch and it was a good point at which to stop.
The French 3rd Division had not been engaged.

Just a note on the rules used.  Mostly 3rd Edition but with significant parts of 4th Edition plus a few house rules of my own.  The main things being:
  • BUA Combat as for 4th Edition
  • BUA Movement as for 3rd Edition.
  • BUA deployment and advance after combat etc as per my clarifications.
  • Interpenetration as for 3rd Edition.
  • Rally and command for units used the optional rules from the 4th Edition.
  • With the cavalry being only 8 figure units, I ignored Column formation.  They were either March Column or Line.  I rather like how this worked as I must admit I don't see the point of the Column/Line formation distinction for cavalry.
  • As there was no set number of game turns (although it would have ended with nightfall after the 17:00 turn) I decided to allocate Free Roll markers at the start of each fourth turn (i.e. at 09:00, 11:00. 13:00, 15:00 and 17:00).  This would give the French an advantage at the start (and they seemed to need it).
  • Most strikingly we played without labels!  The small OOBs with just two divisions per side and the fact that most units were the same made this fairly easy.

The Order of Battle was as follows:

Corps Division Brigade Commander/Regiment Rating Dispersal Points
6th Corps Ney 8"E(7)+3 7M     5F 32
2nd Infantry Division Loison 4"G(6)+1 14
1st Brigade Villatte
6th Legere 16FrLT 6 16
39th Ligne 16FrLN 6 15
2nd Brigade Rouget
69th Ligne 16FrLN 6 15
76th Ligne 16FrLN 6 15
3rd Infantry Division Malher 3"A(7)+0 10
1st Brigade Marcognet
25th Legere 12FrLT 5 12
27th Ligne 12FrLN 5 11
2nd Brigade Lahassee
50th Ligne 12FrLN 5 11
59th Ligne 12FrLN 5 11
6th Corps Cavalry Division Colbert 8FrLC 4 8
4th Dragoon Division Laplanche 8FrLC 4 8
6th Corps Artillery
Foot Artillery Fr12# 11
Horse Artillery Fr8# 11

Corps Division Brigade Commander/Regiment Rating Dispersal Points
II Column Riesch 8" P(5)+0 7M     5F 19
Advance Guard Coburg 4"G(6)+0 12
Advance Guard Erzherzog Ludwig IR#8 12AsLN 6 9
Centre Brigade Genegdegh
Karl Riese IR#15 12AsLN 6 9
Erzherzog Maximilien IR#35 12AsLN 6 9
Reserve Brigade Ulm 12AsLN 6 9
Artillery As6# 10
Hessen-Homburg's Division Hessen-Homberg 3"A(5)+0 8
Advance Guard Mescery
Erbach IR#42 12AsLN 6 9
Centre Brigade Auersperg
Erzherzog Karl IR#3 12AsLN 6 9
Auersperg IR#24 12AsLN 6 9
Reserve Brigade Herman 12AsLN 6 9
Cavalry Cuirassier Erzherzog Franz #2 8AsHC 3 8
Hussars/Uhlanen Blankstien #6/Schwarzenberg #2 8AsLC 4 7

I originally considered making Ulm and Herman 12AsGN but thought this would make them too tough and the actual Grenadier units were well dispersed amongst the brigades.  This also helped in my decision to avoid trying to create a French unit representing converged elite companies (and using the initial setup to give the French the chance to break out. 

Also, the French 3rd Division could almost be left out.


  1. Thanks. The visual appeal of playing on a white surface was surprisingly strong.