Thursday, April 13, 2017

Battle of Schellenberg, October 6th, 1813

This past weekend, Doug Kline (of Battlefield Terrain Concepts) and I met in beautiful Roanoke, Virginia for some Napoleonic gaming. Doug dug deep into the 1813 archives to come up with an interesting "what-if" scenario set in the vicinity of Chemnitz (Saxony) between Marshal Murat and elements of the Austrian Army of Bohemia. Between grilled steaks and good German beer and schnapps, we managed to get in a fair amount of gaming, playing through the scenario twice. As always, it was an incredibly fun time doing what we do best: eating, drinking, and pushing lead.

Carnage and Glory 2 was our rules system of choice and, as always, it did a fantastic job of producing a top-flight simulation of Napoleonic warfare.


Doug's beautiful terrain and magnificent figures provided the backdrop of an outstanding game


The Scenario

During the latter days of the 1813 campaign, the Emperor Napoleon was seeking to destroy the Prussians, Swedes, and Russians in a grand maneuver. Recent defeats by subordinates were jeopardizing ultimate victory, yet Napoleon still resolved to crush his enemies before him.  To accomplish this, the French had to keep the allies separated. In particular, one army's location and activity was unknown to the Emperor; namely the Austrian Army of Bohemia. In order to determine where and what the Army of Bohemia was up to, Napoleon tasked Murat with a rather large force to locate and delay the Austrians as long as possible.

Murat was given command of the V Cavalry Corps, II Corps, V Corps, and VIII Corps. The flamboyant marshal was able to uncover enemy activity in the area of Zwickau, Annaberg, and Chemnitz, which led Napoleon to order Murat to conduct a "reconnaissance in force" to ascertain what was ahead of him. As Murat advanced, he realized that he had to clear enemy forces threatening his left flank in the vicinity of Augustusberg and Schellenberg. He tasked Victor's II Corps, Pajol's V Cavalry Corps, and the 1st Light Cavalry division to advance into this area on October 6th, 1813.

The tabletop represents this area to the right of Chemnitz. Historically, the Austrian troops under FML Murray were spread out as the French marched onto the table from various points. Finding themselves about to be overwhelmed, the Austrians called for reinforcements as they conducted a fighting retreat. Reinforcements never came and Murat secured the heights above Augustusberg, which gave him a full view of the Austrian forces in the area. Having accomplished his primary task of reconnaissance, Murat decided not to push further that day. Austrian casualties were about 400 while French losses were even less. Historically, the battle was merely a large skirmish.

Our scenario assumes that Murray was successful in activating the rest of his division as reinforcements. In addition, Feldzeugmeister Gyulai actually paid attention to the French advance and sent reinforcements to shore up Murray's position. So, instead of a "reconnaissance in force," the skirmish turned into a full-scale engagement.

Turn 1 was to begin at 10:00 am. The Austrian outposts under Murray were spread out and in a bad position as the French marched onto the table.


The tabletop

Reference the above picture for initial deployments. The French marched on from the top edge of the table as well as the right side of the table (Hohenfichte). The Austrians had 2 infantry battalions on the heights opposing the primary French advance. A few squadrons of Austrian cavalry, one battalion of infantry, and a battery were spread out in this area. Not a good defensive position! On the bottom edge of the table, the rest of FML Murray's division were poised to march on as reinforcements, but were delayed until turn 2.


A different shot of the table, with the French marching on at the bottom of the table and to the left of the table.

In our game, there were some tense moments as the Austrian outposts attempted to consolidate and retreat in the face of the French advance. As the remainder of Murray's division under Generalmajor Salins was delayed until turn 2, this left the Austrians desperate and without support. The French marched on methodically and seemingly without initial resistance. French lancers preceded the infantry as columns spread out onto the field from the town of Hohenfichte (on the right side of the table in the first picture). General de Brigade Pire's light cavalry and DuFour's division of infantry pursued the Austrians downhill from the heights overlooking the village of Plauen (the top edge of the first picture). Another French column advanced from Plauen to threaten the Austrian left flank. The Austrians scrambled to form some semblance of a defensive line.


French lancers protect the infantry columns debarking from Hohenfichte


DuFour's division of infantry with French light cavalry advance against the two Austrian infantry battalions manning the heights


French troops also threaten the Austrian left from the direction of the village of Plauen


But in the face of the French advance, against the odds, the Austrians were forming a semblance of a defensive position. The wooded strip opposite Hohenfichte offered a nice sanctuary for the Austrian infantry; as the French approached piecemeal, the large Austrian units issued powerful volleys in defense. The infantry retreating down the heights above Plauen were skirmished mercilessly in their retreat by the French legere troops, but hung in the fight.


Austrian infantry form a nice defensive line in the face of the French advance


Infantry retreating from the heights pursued by DuFour's infantry and light cavalry


French troops force their way onto the Austrian left flank


By this time, Salins' brigade was marching in maneuver column towards the beleaguered Austrian position. Although the French had advanced steadily from Hohenfichte, the Austrian position on the right flank had stabilized. The Austrians in front of Grunberg were pushed to the limit....and to the French player's surprise, one Austrian battalion actually charged the 2 French infantry columns facing it. The defensive fire was feeble, but supporting fire from an adjacent French battery forced the Austrians back. A big sigh of relief from the French player was overheard.


Austrian reinforcements begin to arrive


Austrian and French forces face off on the Austrian right flank


Austrian infantry unexpectedly charge and were only barely stopped by supporting artillery fire


At this point, although the French had occupied Grunberg as the Austrian infantry fell back in disorder, the Austrians had formed a nice defensive line and the battle was beginning to turn into a stalemate. The Austrian player had retreated in admirable form against great odds. The Austrian fatigue and morale were suffering though, but at least the French advance had been blunted.


The Austrian right flank had stabilized


The forces were in a stalemate with lines drawn


As the forces faced off, Crenneville's Austrian division was marching to the field. Grenz light troops had also arrived and these large units were pushing French legere in the woods on the extreme Austrian right. By this time, L'Heritier's French dragoon division had also arrived and the first brigade was advancing in the center and onto the Austrian left.


More Austrian reinforcements arrive........the tide is beginning to turn


L'Heritier's dragoon division arrives


In order to break the stalemate and take advantage of the weak fatigue and morale states of the Austrians, something dramatic had to happen. More and more Austrian reinforcements were arriving in support; after a promising start to the battle, the French player was sensing the chance of victory slipping away.

Austrian reinforcements even arrived on the French right flank, but a new defensive line was quickly formed with cavalry in support.

After a couple of turns, the dragoons were ready to strike. In conjunction with French lancers, the first dragoon brigade charged. The French player was attempting to wear down the Austrians in the center with artillery placed on the heights, but it was a gamble charging battalions with no adverse markers.

The French cavalry charged the Austrian center. ......it was a success. The 5th Chevauleger-lanciers almost destroyed the 3/Erzherzog Ludwig infantry battalion as the dragoons all converged on the center. Not every charge was a success, but the Austrian center was forced into either squares or closed columns. And above all, the Austrian fatigue and morale worsened to the point where the situation was now deemed hopeless for the Austrians. The game was called at this point. (The French player silently breathed yet another sigh of relief).

Although the French player was thankful for the victory, the Austrians had almost pulled off a miracle and had played a very difficult scenario brilliantly. It was a well-played game on both sides and deserved to be well toasted with German schnapps.

Consulting the Carnage and Glory 2 system, the battle was determined to be a Minor French Victory. After walking wounded and returning stragglers were added the following day, the French suffered a total of  1391 casualties and 4 cannon lost. The Austrians suffered 2485 casualties with 13 cannon lost.

In retrospect, the Carnage and Glory 2 system tracked the fatigue and morale to a level that led to the resignation of the Austrian player. Without the effect of failing fatigue and morale, the Austrians could have hung on much longer.  I don't know any other rules system that is as accurate and capable when it comes to analyzing an overall battle situation.

I've had a couple of requests for the orders of battle. Here they are:

Army Murat

[ 101] Marechal d'Empire Murat - Active A [1600 paces]


Corps Victor

[ 102] Marechal d'Empire Victor - Active B+ [1400 paces]

  Division Dubreton - Attack

[ 103] General de Division Dubreton - Active B+ [950 paces]

  Brigade Ferriere - Attack

    [ 104] General de Brigade Ferriere - Active B+ [500 paces]

            [ 101] 1/24 Legere                       0/ 543      C  [sk+]    

            [ 102] 2/24 Legere                       0/ 462      C  [sk+]    

            [ 103] 4/24 Legere                       0/ 426      C- [sk+]    

            [ 104] 1/19 Ligne                         0/ 427      C  [sk+]    

            [ 105] 2/19 Ligne                         0/ 455      C  [sk+]    

            [ 106] 4/19 Ligne                         0/ 377      C- [sk+]    

    Brigade Brun - Attack

    [ 105] General de Brigade Brun - Active B+ [500 paces]

            [ 107] 1/37 Ligne                        0/ 353      C  [sk+]    

            [ 108] 2/37 Ligne                        0/ 413      C  [sk+]    

            [ 109] 4/37 Ligne                        0/ 371      C- [sk+]    

            [ 110] 1/56 Ligne                        0/ 493      C  [sk+]    

            [ 111] 2/56 Ligne                        0/ 494      C  [sk+]    

            [ 112] 4/56 Ligne                        0/ 405      C- [sk+]    

    Regiment Reisser - Attack

    [ 106] Chef de Battalion Reisser - Active B+ [250 paces]

            [ 113] 7/2nd Foot Artillery              0/ 200 [ 8] C+          

            [ 114] 11/4th Foot Artillery             0/ 200 [ 8] C+          

  Division Dufour - Attack

  [ 107] General de Division Dufour - Active B+ [950 paces]

    Brigade Estko - Attack

    [ 108] General de Brigade Estko - Active B+ [500 paces]

            [ 115] 1/26 Legere                       0/ 533      C  [sk+]    

            [ 116] 2/26 Legere                       0/ 533      C  [sk+]

            [ 117] 4/26 Legere                       0/ 531      C- [sk+]    

            [ 118] 1/93 Ligne                         0/ 415      C  [sk+]    

            [ 119] 2/93 Ligne                         0/ 430      C  [sk+]

            [ 120] 4/93 Ligne                         0/ 430      C- [sk+]

    Brigade Lahne - Attack

    [ 109] Colonel Lahne - Active B+ [500 paces]

            [ 121] 1/46 Ligne                        0/ 569      D+ [sk+]    

            [ 122] 1/72 Ligne                        0/ 607      D+ [sk+]

    Regiment Grosset - Attack

    [ 110] Chef de Battalion Grosset - Active B+ [250 paces]

            [ 123] 3/5th Foot Artillery              0/ 200 [ 8] C+          

  Division Vial - Attack

  [ 111] General de Division Vial - Active B+ [950 paces]

    Brigade Valory - Attack

    [ 112] General de Brigade Valory - Active B+ [500 paces]

            [ 124] 1/11 Legere                       0/ 528      C  [sk+]    

            [ 125] 2/11 Legere                       0/ 450      C  [sk+]    

            [ 126] 4/11 Legere                       0/ 426      C- [sk+]    

            [ 127] 1/4 Ligne                          0/ 440      C  [sk+]    

            [ 128] 2/4 Ligne                          0/ 548      D+ [sk+]    

            [ 129] 4/4 Ligne                          0/ 389      C- [sk+]    

    Brigade Bronikowski - Attack

    [ 113] General de Brigade Bronikowski - Active B+ [500 paces]

            [ 130] 1/2 Ligne                        0/ 465      C  [sk+]

            [ 131] 2/2 Ligne                        0/ 529      C  [sk+]    

            [ 132] 4/2 Ligne                        0/ 432      C- [sk+]  

 
           [ 133] 1/18 Ligne                       0/ 539      D+ [sk+]
 
           [ 134] 2/18 Ligne                        0/ 544      D+ [sk+]    
           [ 135] 4/18 Ligne                        0/ 512      D+ [sk+]    
    Regiment Louis - Attack
    [ 114] Chef de Battalion Louis - Active  B+ [250 paces]
            [ 136] 25/3rd Foot Artillery             0/ 200 [ 8] C+          
            [ 137] 26/3rd Foot Artillery             0/ 200 [ 4] C+      
    Brigade Mongenet - Attack
    [ 115] General de Brigade Mongenet - Active B+ [500 paces]
            [ 138] 10/6rd Foot Artillery             0/ 200 [ 8] C+          
            [ 139] 1/2nd Horse Artillery             0/ 150 [ 6] B-          

  Division Berkheim - Attack
  [ 116] General de Division Berkheim - Active B+ [950 paces]
    Brigade Montmarie - Attack
    [ 117] General de Brigade Montmarie - Active B+ [500 paces]
            [ 140] 16th Chasseur a Cheveal           0/ 185      C  [sk+]    
            [ 141] 1st Chevauleger-lancier            0/ 185      C  [sk+]
            [ 142] 3rd Chevauleger-lancier           0/ 185      C  [sk+]
    Brigade Piquet - Attack
    [ 118] General de Brigade Piquet - Active B+ [500 paces]
            [ 143] 5th Chevauleger-lancier           0/ 180      C  [sk+]
            [ 144] 8th Chevauleger-lancier           0/ 180      C  [sk+]    
            [ 145] 1st Italian Chasseur a Cheval    0/ 200      C- [sk+]

Corps Pajol
[ 119] General de Division Pajol - Active B+ [1400 paces]
            [ 160] 2/3rd Horse Artillery             0/ 150 [ 6] B-          
  Division Pire - Attack
  [ 120] General de Brigade Pire - Active B+ [950 paces]
    Brigade Klicki - Attack
    [ 121] General de Brigade Klicki - Active B+ [500 paces]
            [ 146] 3rd Hussar                                0/ 163      C  [sk+] (14)
            [ 147] 27th Chasseur a Cheval            0/ 264      C  [sk+]
    Brigade C. Vial - Attack
    [ 122] General de Brigade C. Vial - Active B+ [500 paces]
            [ 148] 14th Chasseur a Cheval            0/ 188      C  [sk+] 
[ 149] 26th Chasseur a Cheval                        0/ 178      C  [sk+]
            [ 150] 13th Hussar                               0/ 135      C+ [sk+]
  Division L'Heritier - Attack
  [ 123] General de Division L'Heritier - Active B+ [950 paces]
    Brigade Quennet - Attack
    [ 124] General de Brigade Quennet - Active B+ [500 paces]
            [ 151] 2nd Dragoon                       0/ 333      C       
            [ 152] 6th Dragoon                       0/ 270      C           
    Brigade Collard - Attack
    [ 125] General de Brigade Collard - Active B+ [500 paces]
            [ 153] 11th Dragoon                      0/ 360      C           
            [ 154] 13th Dragoon                      0/ 187      C       
            [ 155] 15th Dragoon                      0/ 270      C           
  Division Milhaud - Attack
  [ 126] General de Division Milhaud - Active B+ [950 paces]
    Brigade Larmotte - Attack
    [ 127] General de Brigade Larmotte - Active B+ [500 paces]
            [ 156] 18th Dragoon                      0/ 250      C           
            [ 157] 19th Dragoon                      0/ 199      C           
    Brigade Montelegier - Attack
    [ 128] General de Brigade Montelegier - Active B+ [500 paces]
            [ 158] 22nd Dragoon                      0/ 330      C           
            [ 159] 25th Dragoon                       0/ 243      C           

            

Corps Graf I. Gyulai
[ 501] Feldzeugmeister Graf I. Gyulai - Active C [1200 paces]
            [ 536] 1st Heavy Position Battery        0/ 150 [ 6] C           
            [ 537] 1st Position Battery                   0/ 150 [ 6] C           
            [ 538] 2nd Position Battery                  0/ 150 [ 6] C           

  Division Crenneville - Attack
  [ 502] Feldmarschall-Leutnant Crenneville - Active C [800 paces]
    Brigade Hecht - Attack
    [ 503] Feldmarschall-Leutnant Hecht - Captured C [400 paces]
            [ 501] 1/Warasdiner Kreuzer Grenz        0/ 899      C- [sk+]    
            [ 502] 1/Warasdiner St. George Grenz     0/1004      C- [sk+]
            [ 511] 1st Cavalry Battery               0/150 [ 6] C           
    Regiment Klenau - Attack
    [ 504] Oberst Klenau - Active C [200 paces]
            [ 503] 1/Klenau Chevauleger              0/ 273      C  [sk+]    
            [ 504] 2/Klenau Chevauleger              0/ 210      C  [sk+]    
            [ 505] 3/Klenau Chevauleger              0/ 210      C  [sk+]
            [ 506] 4/Klenau Chevauleger              0/ 210      C  [sk+]
    Regiment Dauch - Attack
    [ 505] Oberst Dauch - Active C [200 paces]
            [ 507] 1/Rosenberg Chevauleger           0/ 201      C  [sk+]
            [ 508] 2/Rosenberg Chevauleger           0/ 201      C  [sk+]    
            [ 509] 3/Rosenberg Chevauleger           0/ 201      C  [sk+]    
            [ 510] 4/Rosenberg Chevauleger            0/ 201      C  [sk+]    

  Division Murray - Attack
  [ 506] Feldmarschall-Leutnant Murray - Active C [800 paces]
    Brigade Salins - Attack
    [ 507] Generalmajor Salins - Active C [400 paces]
            [ 512] 1/Erzherzog Ludwig Infantry       0/ 948      C- [sk-]    
            [ 513] 2/Erzherzog Ludwig Infantry       0/ 948      C- [sk-]    
            [ 514] 3/Erzherzog Ludwig Infantry       0/ 948      C- [sk-]    
            [ 515] 1/Wurzburg Infantry                     0/ 907      C- [sk-]
            [ 516] 2/Wurzburg Infantry                     0/ 907      C- [sk-]    
            [ 517] 3/Wurzburg Infantry                    0/ 907      C- [sk-]    
            [ 518] 1st Brigade Battery                      0/ 200      C-          
    Brigade Lowenwarth - Attack
    [ 508] Generalmajor Lowenwarth - Active C [400 paces]
            [ 519] 1/Mariassy Infantry                 0/ 752      C  [sk-]
            [ 520] 2/Mariassy Infantry                 0/ 751      C  [sk-]    
            [ 521] 1/Ignatz Gyulai Infantry          0/ 826      C- [sk-]
           [ 522] 2/Ignatz Gyulai Infantry           0/ 826      C- [sk-]  
                      
  Division Weigel von Hessen-Homburg - Attack
  [ 509] Feldmarschall-Leutnant Weigel von Hessen-Homburg - Active C [800 paces]
    Brigade Czollich - Attack
    [ 510] Generalmajor Czollich - Active C [400 paces]
            [ 524] 1/Kottulinsky Infantry            0/ 738      C  [sk-]    
            [ 525] 2/Kottulinsky Infantry            0/ 738      C  [sk-]    
            [ 526] 3/Kottulinsky Infantry            0/ 738      C  [sk-]    
            [ 527] 1/Kaiser Franz Infantry           0/ 794      C- [sk-]    
            [ 528] 2/Kaiser Franz Infantry           0/ 794      C- [sk-]    
            [ 529] 3rd Brigade Battery                0/ 200 [ 8] C           
    Brigade Grimmer - Attack
    [ 511] Generalmajor Grimmer - Active C [400 paces]
            [ 530] 1/Kollowrath Infantry             0/ 801      C- [sk-]    
            [ 531] 2/Kollowrath Infantry             0/ 801      C- [sk-]    
            [ 532] 1/Frohlich Infantry                 0/ 930      D+ [sk-]    
            [ 533] 2/Frohlich Infantry                 0/ 930      D+ [sk-]    
            [ 534] 3/Frohlich Infantry                 0/ 930      D+ [sk-]    
            [ 535] 4th Brigade Battery                0/ 200 [ 8] C           

    Brigade Paumgarten - Attack
    [ 512] Generalmajor Paumgarten - Active C [400 paces]
            [ 539] 1/Palatinal Hussar                  0/ 260      C  [sk+]    
            [ 540] 2/Palatinal Hussar                  0/ 259      C  [sk+]    
            [ 541] 3/Palatinal Hussar                  0/ 259      C  [sk+]    
            [ 545] 2nd Cavalry Battery               0/ 150 [ 6] C           
    Regiment Zauten - Attack
    [ 513] Oberst Zauten - Active C [200 paces] -
            [ 542] 1/Erzherzog Ferdinand Hussar      0/ 209      C  [sk+]    
            [ 543] 2/Erzherzog Ferdinand Hussar      0/ 208      C  [sk+]    
            [ 544] 3/Erzherzog Ferdinand Hussar      0/ 208      C  [sk+]    

  Division Furst Hohenlohe-Bartenstein - Attack
  [ 514] Feldmarschall-Leutnant Furst Hohenlohe-Bartenstein - Active C [800 paces] -
    Brigade Schaffer - Attack
    [ 515] Generalmajor Schaffer - Active C [400 paces]
            [ 546] 1/Colloredo Infantry              0/1007      C- [sk-]    
            [ 547] 2/Colloredo Infantry              0/1007      C- [sk-]    
            [ 548] 1/Zach Infantry                      0/ 907      D+ [sk-]    
            [ 549] 2/Zach Infantry                      0/ 907      D+ [sk-]    
            [ 550] 3/Zach Infantry                      0/ 907      D+ [sk-]    
            [ 551] 5th Brigade Battery                0/ 200 [ 8] C