Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Neresheim, 1796

A couple of weekends ago, we gathered in Roanoke, Virginia to fight out a small "what-if" engagement pitting French versus Austrians and Saxons in 1796 Germany. The rules used were the Carnage and Glory 2 computer-moderated system. The games also gave us a chance to utilize the recent updates for the rules system, most notably the "extended line" formation instead of "open order."


Imperial forces advance against French infantry in 1796 Germany


We ended up playing 2 games over the weekend. The after action report and pictures are featured for the second game. It was an interesting and very challenging scenario for the French (who were on the defense), who had to make some critical decisions on deployment in the face of a strong Austrian advance. The outstanding miniatures and superb terrain were provided by Doug Kline of Battlefield Terrain Concepts, who also provided great hospitality, meals, good German beer and schnapps.

Doug also initiated the historical research and developed the scenario.

To summarize the games, they served as great learning experiences in deploying properly and having a plan based on the defense of objectives. In other words, the French got their heads handed to them in both games because decisions were made to hold too much ground (and victory point objectives) with their meager initial forces. I always approach a wargame with the objective to learn just a bit more about strategy and tactics. I really enjoyed the gaming atmosphere and experience....unfortunately I played the French in both games.

The Scenario

The scenario pitted the Archduke Charles' Austrian and Saxon force against a French wing under General de Division Dessaix (of later Marengo fame). Charles' object was to catch one of Dessaix' isolated divisions and batter it before reinforcements could arrive. Both sides contained slightly over 19,000 troops of all arms, but roughly half of the French wing was due to arrive on the battlefield rather late. Reinforcements were rolled for, with one Imperial column beginning to roll on Turn 1, the rest of the Imperials to begin rolling on Turn 6, and the French to begin rolling on Turn 7. To enhance fog of war, both players had to secretly plan where their reinforcements would arrive onto the table. As the picture below demonstrates, the victory points for the various villages or bridges were keys to a geographic victory at the end of the game. The French were allowed to deploy on the majority of the table, but were very thin at the start. Some major grand-tactical decisions had to be made due to the uncertainty of the direction of marching Imperial reinforcements. In both games, the French elected to rest their right flank on the area around Iggenhausen, but also attempted to stretch their defensive line all the way to the area around Burg Enlingen, which proved to be too much of an area for one division to defend. The critical bridges at the bottom of the picture would allow Imperial troops  to threaten the French right flank unless they were blocked.

The premise of the game was that the French had to defend an area long enough for their reinforcements to arrive and then hopefully counterattack. The Imperial force's goal was to batter the French early enough so that the French reinforcements could not be used to gain valuable victory points.

Army morale for both sides were set in the system at 75% and the weather was clear at the start.



The battlefield, with initial deployment areas and victory points marked.


The Game

With the French division under Beaupuy stretched from Burg Enlingen to Iggenhausen, the first large Austrian column consisting of brigades Giulay and Baillet marched towards the French left flank arriving on road 1 near Hoffen. This force under Generalleutnant Starray consisted of 13 units and was very mobile, with the bulk of the force consisting of grenzers and hussars. Immediately the French decided to refuse this flank by occupying the woods next to Burg Enlingen, and advancing to the castle ruins in this area. Unfortunately, this move only served to isolate units further in the face of the rapidly advancing Austrians. The French cavalry, which was placed in reserve in the center, also began to move to this threatened flank. 


Imperial forces marching through Hoffen towards the French left flank


Initial French deployment area

On the French right flank, the area in front of Iggenhausen was empty. The French decided to take the initiative and advance to the bridges and the village of Dunstelkingen in order to cut off or slow down any Imperial troops arriving in this sector. Although this stretched the French even further, the importance of the bridges and Dunstelkingen was obvious to any approaching Imperials.


 Absent any threat at this time, French troops advance from Iggenhausen to occupy Dunstelkingen and block the bridges in this sector.


In subsequent turns, the Austrians wasted no time in occupying the heights above Burg Enlingen with a strong battery, supported by cavalry, and pounding the isolated French infantry occupying the castle ruins. French cavalry arriving to bolster the left flank found themselves under horrific artillery fire and were forced to retire. The French legere occupying the castle ruins also took devastating losses before being thrown out by a battalion of the Austrian 1/Pelegrino infantry regiment. In the blink of an eye, the French left flank was crumbling and the defending units were crushed and retreating. The French 3/10th Legere was demolished, having to retreat from the castle ruins and then being scooped up by supporting cavalry (this battalion lost 709 out of 734...ouch). At this early point in the battle, the French abandoned all hope of regaining the initiative in the Carnage and Glory 2 program, a very important part of the game which allows one side to move first or to react to the opposing side. 


Austrians driving in the French left flank


The French 1/10th Legere suffering horrible losses from Imperial infantry and artillery fire.



The 1/Pelegrino IR occupies the castle ruins

On the right flank, the French continued to advance, occupying the town strongpoint in Dunstelkingen and the woods next to the village. By this time, the Saxon force under Feldmarschall-Leutnant Lindt also marched onto the table in this sector. Due to the aggressive French advance, the movement was slowed dramatically.


Aggressive French advance on the right flank near Dunstelkingen


The Saxons arrive on the tabletop 


Lindt's Saxon infantry advances toward Dunstelingen, while the cavalry races for the bridge


At this point, the Austrian hussars and French  chasseurs collided on the French left flank, with the chasseurs giving way almost immediately. The grenz were moving through the wooded area past the castle ruins as well. The entire French left flank was crushed. One bright spot was that the 1/10th legere formed extended order in the woods on the extreme left and forced the Austrian infantry to deal with it.  On the right flank, the French occupied the woods next to Dunstelkingen, while Saxon cavalry raced to get over the bridge in order to threaten the French right flank and rear. The French countered by advancing the last remaining cavalry unit and a line battalion to guard the crossing. 


French infantry infests the woods around Dunstelkingen, while chasseurs attempt to advance over the bridge


French chasseurs retreat back over the bridge in the face of superior numbers of Saxon cavalry

Austrian reinforcements then arrived in the center of the field, as Kaim's grenadier brigade, supported by Canisus' dragoons marched toward the primary objective of  Iggenhausen. 


Austrian reinforcements arrive in the center


On the French left flank, matters were continuing to deteriorate, as the 2/10th legere attempted to form square when threatened by Austrian cavalry to protect what was left of the flank, opening itself up to fire from the grenz infantry emerging from the woods. Austrian line infantry was  threatening the square as well.


The "new" French left flank, with the 2/10th legere forming square in the face of Austrian cavalry


It was turn 8 by this time (the French having failed their first reinforcement roll) and the Austrians were advancing at will on the French left flank and the center. The Saxons on the right were bogged down in front of Dunstelkingen and the woods, but with the French forces pinned in this area, there were only two battalions left to defend Iggenhausen from the advancing grenadiers. Austrian cavalry was exhausted by this time, but were facing a wide-open French left flank and rear. Canusis' dragoons were already moving to the left of Iggenhausen to fill the void. To make matters worse, the 2/10th legere had already retreated in substantial disorder and was halted in square. 


Saxon infantry bogged down in front of Dunstelkingen


The decision was made to bring the French reinforcements onto the table prematurely to this disastrous situation. Delmas' division was marched onto the table, with fresh cavalry threatening the blown Austrian hussars, who were in turn menacing the French rear. 

The situation on the French right sees the Saxons making headway through the woods and over the bridge. The Weimar Jagers formed extended order and began throttling the French infantry formed up in the woods. The greencoats inflicted terrible losses. The French infantry was slowly being forced back, while the Saxon cavalry maneuvered across the bridge and sent the chasseurs flying. 


Saxons advancing on the French right flank


....and Saxons pushing the French on the right flank

In the center, the French occupied the strong point in Iggenhausen, while the Austrian grenadiers continued to advance on the town. 

 




Austrian grenadiers begin to push into Iggenhausen


Arriving French cavalry attempting to save the day


By this point, the French had already been attempting to refuse the right flank and form up next to Iggenhausen in the face of the Austrian onslaught into the French center. On the left flank, Austrian dragoons began pouring into the area next to Iggenhausen to face off with the arriving French cavalry. The combat here was touch and go, but the Austrians began to come out on top. 



The Austrian assault into Iggenhausen


A
Austrian dragoons pour into the void against French cavalry


With a final push, the Austrian grenadiers took Iggenhausen, with the exception of the town strongpoint. The French infantry ended up retreating due to a compulsory brigade movement, leaving the town undefended. The French infantry on the right was beginning to fall back in disorder, while the chasseurs were defeated by the Austrian dragoons. General de Division Dessaix was mortally wounded as the 2/10th legere was destroyed by Austrian cavalry. Dessaix would not go on to historical fame at the field of Marengo, 1800.


The game was called at this point and declared a Major Imperial victory. The French were reeling at all points. Although the French right flank proved to be stubborn in its defense, Dessaix' position elsewhere on the field was extremely weak and was ripe for a strong Austrian attack.



It was a disaster for the French, who lost 3096 troops. For the Austrians, their losses were 595. The Archduke Charles reached his goal: to maul Dessaix and send his command reeling back in order to delay any offensive by Moreau.

In the discussion following the game, we noted how powerful the extended line formation was for units defending woods, which seemed to mirror historical results well. The only issue we found was that the units in extended line never seemed to fatigue. We also talked about how important the initial deployment was in this game. If the French deployed too thinly, the result was a disaster; a lesson well learned. As always, the Carnage and Glory 2 system simulated this action extremely well. Also, the scenario proved to be challenging, yet very well thought-out. Even with the lop-sided results, a great time was had by all !

 


The After-action orders of battle are included below:


Corps Dessaix

[ 101] General de Division Dessaix - Mortally wounded B+ [1400 paces]

  Division Beaupuy - Attack

  [ 102] General de Division Beaupuy - Active B+ [950 paces]

    [W]  [ 101] 1/4th Artillery a Cheval          0/ 100 [ 4] C        ( 3)

            [ 102] 1/2nd Artillery a Pied            0/ 150 [ 4] C        ( 4)

    Brigade Jobat - Attack

    [ 103] General de Brigade Jobat - Active C [350 paces]

            [ 103] 1/10 Legere                      12/ 722      C+ [sk+] ( 5)

    [D]   [ 104] 2/10 Legere                     703/  31      C  [sk+]    

    [D]   [ 105] 3/10 Legere                     709/  25      C  [sk+]    

    Regiment Jeanat - Attack [Retire]

    [ 104] Colonel Jeanat - Active C [175 paces]

[ 104] Colonel Jeanat - Active C [175 paces]

    [R]   [ 106] 1/10 Ligne                      177/ 623      C  [sk+]    

            [ 107] 2/10 Ligne                        0/ 800      C- [sk+] ( 6)

    [D]   [ 108] 3/10 Ligne                      800/   0      C- [sk+]    

    Regiment Carartin - Attack [Retire]

    [ 105] Colonel Carartin - Active B+ [250 paces]

            [ 109] 1/62 Ligne                      156/ 678      C  [sk+] ( 2)

    [R]   [ 110] 2/62 Ligne                      320/ 513      C- [sk+]    

    [D]   [ 111] 3/62 Ligne                      272/ 561      C- [sk+]    

    Regiment Marbote - Attack [No Advance]

    [ 106] Colonel Marbote - Active B+ [250 paces]

            [ 112] 1/103 Ligne                     118/ 770      C  [sk+] ( 7)

            [ 113] 2/103 Ligne                      28/ 860      C- [sk+] ( 1)

[ 114] 3/103 Ligne                      62/ 826      C- [sk+] ( 4)

    Brigade Ste. Suzanne - Disengaged

    [ 107] General de Brigade Ste. Suzanne - Lightly wounded B+ [500 paces]

    [D]   [ 115] 6th Dragoon                     108/ 242      C- [sk+]    

    [D]   [ 116] 4th Chasseur a Cheval            93/ 177      C- [sk+]    

    [D]   [ 117] 1/8th Chasseur a Cheval          87/ 171      C- [sk+]    

    [D]   [ 118] 2/8th Chasseur a Cheval          19/ 239      C- [sk+]    



  Division Delmas - Attack

  [ 108] General de Division Delmas - Active B+ [950 paces]

            [ 128] 2/4th Artillerie a Cheval         7/ 143 [ 6] C        ( 2)

            [ 129] 2/2nd Artillerie a Pied           0/ 150 [ 6] C           

    Brigade Eckmeier - Attack

[ 109] General de Brigade Eckmeier - Active B- [400 paces]

            [ 119] 1/16 Legere                       0/ 794      C+ [sk+]    

            [ 120] 2/16 Legere                       0/ 793      C  [sk+]    

            [ 121] 3/16 Legere                       0/ 793      C  [sk+]    

    Regiment Lancia - Attack

    [ 110] Colonel Lancia - Active D+ [150 paces]

            [ 122] 1/50 Ligne                        0/ 840      C  [sk+]    

            [ 123] 2/50 Ligne                       96/ 744      C- [sk+] ( 2)

            [ 124] 3/50 Ligne                       48/ 792      C- [sk+] ( 2)

    Regiment Repiear - Attack

    [ 111] Colonel Repiear - Active B [250 paces]

    [W]  [ 125] 1/97 Ligne                       34/ 780      C  [sk+]    

            [ 126] 2/97 Ligne                        0/ 813      C- [sk+]  

 

[ 127] 3/97 Ligne                        0/ 813      C- [sk+]    


    Brigade Frimont - Attack [Retire]


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



            [ 130] 10th Dragoons                     0/ 340      C- [sk+] ( 6)



            [ 131] 17th Dragoons                    14/ 306      C- [sk+] (10)



    [D]   [ 132] 7th Hussars                      29/ 251      C+ [sk+]    



            Strengths:
                        losses/active
                          3535/ 13571  Bayonets
                           350/  1726    Sabres
                             7/   543       Artillerists
                             2/    20        Cannon
                          3892/ 15840    Total of all arms
                                   22         Colors present
                                    2          Colors lost

 Generalissimus Archduke Charles - Active B [1300 paces]

  Division Starray - Attack
  [ 502] Generalleutnant Starray - Active B- [800 paces]

    Brigade Giulay - Attack
    [ 503] Generalmajor Giulay - Active C [400 paces]

            [ 501] 1/Bannat Grenz                   35/ 705 [ 1] C- [sk+] ( 4)

[ 502] 2/Bannat Grenz                   15/ 725 [ 1] C- [sk+] ( 2)

            [ 503] 1st Horse Artillery               0/ 100 [ 4] C-       ( 4)

            [ 504] 1/Szekler Hussars                 9/ 261      C  [sk+] (10)

            [ 505] 2/Szekler Hussars                42/ 168      C  [sk+] ( 6)

            [ 506] 3/Szekler Hussars                 4/ 206      C  [sk+] (10)

    [W]  [ 507] 4/Szekler Hussars                11/ 199      C  [sk+] (18)

    Brigade Baillet - Attack

    [ 504] Generalmajor Baillet - Active B [450 paces]

            [ 508] 1/Wenckheim IR                    0/ 825 [ 1] C-          

            [ 509] 1/D'Alton IR                      0/ 600 [ 1] C           

    [R]   [ 510] 2/D'Alton IR                     67/ 533      C           

    [W]  [ 511] 1/Pelegrino IR                  148/ 727 [ 1] C-       ( 9)

            [ 512] 2/Pelegrino IR                   91/ 784      C-       ( 8)

[ 513] 1st Brigade Battery               0/ 150 [ 6] C-       ( 6)

    Brigade Kaim - Attack
    [ 505] Generalmajor Kaim - Active B- [500 paces]

            [ 514] 2nd Brigade Battery              10/ 140 [ 6] C-       ( 2)

    [W]  [ 515] Abfaltern Grenadiers             86/ 614 [ 1] C+       ( 1)

            [ 516] Candian Grenadiers                0/ 680 [ 1] C+ 
         
            [ 517] Retz Grenadiers                   0/ 690 [ 1] C+ 
         
            [ 518] Reisinger Grenadiers              0/ 675 [ 1] C+
          
    [W]  [ 519] Waren Grenadiers                 79/ 621 [ 1] C+       ( 1)

    Brigade Canisus - Attack
    [ 506] Generalmajor Canisus - Active C [400 paces]

            [ 520] 1/Empress Dragoons                6/ 254      C- [sk+] ( 5)

            [ 521] 2/Empress Dragoons                1/ 259      C- [sk+] ( 6)

[ 522] 3/Empress Dragoons                0/ 260      C- [sk+]   
 
            [ 523] 1/Herzog Johan Dragoons           0/ 260      C- [sk+]    

    [W]  [ 524] 2/Herzog Johan Dragoons          62/ 198      C- [sk+] ( 4)

            [ 525] 3/Herzog Johan Dragoons           0/ 260      C- [sk+]    

  Division Lindt - Attack
  [ 507] Feldmarschall-Leutnant Lindt - Active B [875 paces]

    Brigade Zeschwitz - Attack
    [ 508] Generalmajor Zeschwitz - Active B [450 paces]

            [ 526] 1/Carabiniers                     0/ 260      C  [sk+]  
  
            [ 527] 2/Carabiniers                     4/ 256      C  [sk+] ( 6)

            [ 528] 3/Carabiniers                     0/ 260      C  [sk+] 
   
            [ 529] 1/Kurland Chevauleger             7/ 193      C- [sk+] (11)

[ 530] 2/Kurland Chevauleger             0/ 200      C- [sk+]   
 
            [ 531] 3/Kurland Chevauleger             7/ 193      C- [sk+] ( 3)

    Brigade Nostitz - Attack [No Advance]
    [ 509] Generalmajor Nostitz - Active B [450 paces]

            [ 532] Brandenstein Grenadiers         114/ 566 [ 1] C+       ( 3)

            [ 533] Kurfust IR                        7/ 678 [ 1] C-       (10)

    [R]   [ 534] Prince Anton IR                 189/ 493      C-  
        
            [ 535] 1/van der Hayde IR              104/ 546 [ 1] C-       ( 1)

            [ 536] 2/van der Hayde IR               65/ 585 [ 1] C-       ( 4)

            [ 537] Setzler Artillery                 0/ 200 [ 8] C-       ( 3)

    Brigade Niesemeuschel - Attack
    [ 510] Generalmajor Niesemeuschel - Active B [450 paces]

            [ 538] Werner Artillery                  0/ 200 [ 8] C-       ( 3)

            [ 539] Prince Gothan IR                  0/ 685 [ 1] C-     
     
            [ 540] Prince Clemons                    0/ 685 [ 1] C-       ( 2)

            [ 541] Glaffay Grenadiers                0/ 685 [ 1] C+
          
            [ 542] Weimar Jaegers                    8/ 572      C+ [sk+]    

            Strengths:
                        losses/active
                          1008/ 13674  Bayonets
                           153/  3687    Sabres
                            10/   790      Artillerists
                             3/    49        Cannon

                          1171/ 18151  Total of all arms
           30         Colors present



The French Army has suffered losses of:
            [ 15%]   3096 men of all arms
   incl.[  9%]   1886 prisoners of all arms

            [ 16%]   2848 bayonets
            [ 11%]    241 sabres
            [  1%]      7 artillerists
                    2 cannon[s] lost
Honors: [ 118] 2/8th Chasseur a Cheval
[ 90%] ammunition available

Losses include 2 Color[s]:
        [ 105] 3/10 Legere [1]
        [ 108] 3/10 Ligne [1]

Losses include 2 General[s]:
        [ 101] Dessaix - Mortally wounded
        [ 107] Ste. Suzanne - Lightly wounded


The Imperial Army has suffered losses of:
            [  3%]    595 men of all arms
   incl.[  0%]    140 prisoners of all arms
[  3%]    539 bayonets
            [  1%]     56 sabres
            [  0%]      0 artillerists
                    3 cannon[s] lost
Honors: [ 507] 4/Szekler Hussars
            [ 91%] ammunition available