Saturday, November 5, 2016

The Eve of Austerlitz (Scenario for Field of Battle, 2nd edition)

    My friend Jared teaches at a private middle school about an hour's drive away from me, where he also leads a wargames club. We have arranged for me to run a game for the club there 4 weeks from today. With the date falling on December 3, and a good turnout anticipated, it seemed obvious to me that the stage was set to run a game based upon what was perhaps Napoleon's most impressive victory, the Battle of Austerlitz. I have previously run the Southern half of the battle (the desperate fighting around Tellnitz and Sokolnitz) and the Northern half (the action around Blaswitz, Jirschowitz, and Bosenitz) with Filed of Battle as separate actions at Historicon 2005, and we played the assault on the Pratzen Heights with Shako, 2nd edition with the Hartford Area Historical Gaming Society back circa 2005 as well, but I have never done the entire battle as one game.

    To set the stage, I can think of nothing better than these words of the late British military historian, David Chandler, which I first read nearly 50 years ago. To my mind, they have lost none of their magic in the interim:


THE EVE OF AUSTERLITZ 

    " C'EST L'ANNIVERSAIRE!   VIVE L'EMPEREUR!"  The cold early morning air rang to the sound of cheering as unit after unit of La Grande Armee flocked from their campfires to greet their leader. It was one of those rare, spontaneous demonstrations of soldierly trust and affection which warm the heart of any general. The Emperor was affected as he moved from bivouac to bivouac amid the burning brands of twisted straw held aloft by the soldiers to light his way. "Look how happy he is!" exclaimed Sergeant Coignet of the Regiment of Grenadiers of the Guard as he passed by. "He looked very touched," recorded another eyewitness, and "moved his hand in a characteristic gesture as if to say "Thank you." As the procession passed through an artillery bivouac the Emperor gruffly warned the impromptu torchbearers to keep well away from the ammunition caissons; he had no wish to see a fireworks display added to the general celebrations. At times the enthusiasm of the troops threatened to get out of hand, and the escorting staff officers and aides-de-camp were forced to form a ring round their master.


    Away across the valley on the Pratzen Heights, Russian sentinels called their officers to report the unusual degree of activity in the French camp; a hurried staff conference was convened at the village of Blasowitz to discuss the possibility of a French night attack or alternatively an attempted evacuation, but little by little the commotion died away, and by 2 :30 A.M. all was quiet except for the occasional exchange of musket shots by over-excited picquets in the vicinity of Tellnitz.

     As Emperor lay back on his bed of straw to snatch a few hours more sleep, he was heard to murmur, "It has been the finest evening of my life." A few hours away lay the "struggle of the Three Emperors," or, as it is more commonly known, the Battle of Austerlitz. The date was December 2, 1805.

    The flag-bedecked streets of Paris en fete seemed an age away from the frost coated fields of Moravia, but in point of time exactly one year separated them. On December 2, 1804, a gorgeously arrayed Napoleon had ridden in splendor through cheering crowds to the cathedral of Notre Dame, there to crown himself Emperor of the French in the presence of Pope Pius VII, the Bonaparte family, and the newly created grandees of the land. It was all a far cry from the austere days of the Republic, certain "old grumblers" of the newly-created Imperial Guard pointed out as they took down the revolutionary emblems from their bearskins and replaced them with the eagle badges; but then, much water had flown under the Seine bridges since 1792, and no doubt le Tondu* deserved the royal honors more than any man alive.

    Twelve months later the Emperor and his grenadiers were again together, but the occasion could hardly have been more contrasting. At four in the morning the first bugles began to sound reveille; the day was come, and with it the moment of supreme testing for the Grande Annie and its master.

David Chandler, The Campaigns of Napoleon. The MacMillan Company, New York, NY, 1966.
Introduction to Part Seven, From the Rhine to the Danube.


Map based upon that in Volley and Bayonet: Road to Glory by Greg Novak and Frank Chadwick. We will be using a total table area 5 feet by 14 feet; their map was for a 6 x 12 foot table. 
One large square = 12", 1 small square = 3". 

All streams are class 2, all hills except the higher levels of the Prazen Heights are class 2, higher levels class 3, all buildings are Class 3. The surface of the Satchen Mere lake is frozen but not firmly. Units moving across it (usually involuntarily) roll a D6 each time they move - on a 1, 2, or 3 the unit will lose 1 UI for men who have fallen through the ice. 

If either side loses control of their road exit marked LOC (Line of Communications for the Army), it will immediately lose a D8's roll worth of Morale Points, with another D8 roll worth lost on each subsequent friendly MOVE that ends with the road exit still under enemy control. To control an opposing Army's LOC, one of you units must be stationed on or within 6' of the enemy road exit.

In order to give the Allied side at least a reasonable chance to win the game, I \have rated their leaders somewhat more kindly than they probably deserve. They also need not deploy historically, but can mark their dispositions on a copy of the map. To represent Napoleon's deceptions, as well as the morning fog that covered the battlefield, the French side will then be given a copy of  the Allied map, and will mark their own dispositions with the advantage of knowing those of their opponents already. At least that's my idea, if Jared thinks it will work. 

Orders of Battle

1 unit = 1200 Infantry, 800 Cavalry or 12 Guns.   (twice the standard ratio for Field of Battle)
These OOB's are based upon those found in Napoleon and Austerlitz, by Scott Bowden
Many of the Allied guns were 3 lber regimental pieces, allocated by battalion. I have fudged things by partially absorbing their numbers into those of other artillery, and partially by giving the Allied infantry better ratings than they might otherwise have. They were in fact, not all that useful, and often proved more of a hindrance by impairing the mobility of the infantry they were attached to.


French Army - Emperor Napoleon I
Exceptional, LD  12    Sequence Deck: Skilled  Morale points 85

Imperial Guard, Marshal Bessieres Skilled, LD 10

Guard Infantry - General Hulin  Average  LD 12+1
1 Old Guard Grenadiers a Pied  DD 10, CD 12+1
1 Old Guard Chasseurs a Pied  DD 10, CD 12+1
1 Italian Royal Guard Grenadiers  DD 10, CD 12

Guard Cavalry- Colonel Morland  Average  LD  10
Grenadiers a Cheval  DD 10, CD 12+1
Chasseurs a Cheval  DD 10, CD 12+1

Guard Artillery - Colonel Couin  Average  LD  10
2 Batteries Guard Horse Artillery  DD 10, CD 12+1


Division d' Elite, General Oudinot (Grenadiers de la Reserve)  Skilled  LD 10
4 Grenadiers  DD 8, CD12
1 Foot Battery  DD6  CD10


1st Corps, Marshal Bernadotte Skilled, LD 10

1st Division - General de la Raffiniere  Average  LD 8
4 Ligne  DD6  CD10
1 Foot Artillery  DD6  CD10

2nd Division General Drouet  Skilled  LD 10
2 Legere  DD 8, CD12
3 Ligne  DD6  CD10
1 Foot Artillery  DD6  CD10


3rd Corps, Marshal Davout Exceptional  LD 12+1


2nd Division, General Friant
  Skilled  LD 12
1 Legere  DD 8, CD12
2 Ligne  DD6  CD10
1 Foot Battery  DD6  CD120

Dragoon Division - General Bourcier  Skilled  LD 12
1 Dragoons  DD6  CD12


4th Corps - Marshal Soult Exceptional  LD 12+1

1st Division - General St. Hilaire  Skilled  LD 10
1 Legere  DD 8, CD12
6 Ligne  DD6  CD10
1 Foot Artillery  DD6  CD10

2nd Division - General Vandamme  Skilled  LD 12
1 Legere  DD 8, CD12
5 Ligne  DD6  CD10
1 Foot Artillery  DD6  CD10

3rd Division - General Legrand  Skilled  LD 12
2 Legere  DD 8, CD12
3 Ligne  DD6  CD10

Light cavalry Division - General Margaron  Average  LD  12
1 Hussar  DD8  CD10
1 Chassseur a Cheval  DD6  CD10
1 Horse Artillery  DD 8, CD12

3rd Dragoon Division - General Beaumont  Average  LD 10
2 Dragoons  DD6  CD12

Corps Artillery Reserve (can be attached to any Infantry Division)
12# Foot Battery  DD6  CD12


5th Corps - Marshal Lannes  Exceptional  LD 12+1

1st Division - General Caffarelli  Skilled  LD 10
1 Legere  DD 8, CD 12
5 Ligne  DD 6  CD 10
1 Foot Artillery  DD 6  CD10

3rd Division - General Suchet
  Skilled  LD 10
1 Legere  DD 8, CD12
5 Ligne  DD 6  CD 10
1 Foot Artillery  DD 6  CD10

2nd Dragoon Division - General Walther
  Average  LD  12
2 Dragoons  DD 6  CD 12


Reserve Cavalry Corps, Marshal Murat  Skilled  LD 12+1


1st Heavy Cavalry Division - General Nansouty
  Skilled  LD 10
1 Carabinier  DD 8, CD 12
1 Cuirassier  DD 8, CD 12

2nd Heavy Cavalry Division - General d'Hautpol
  Skilled  LD 12
2 Cuirassiers  DD 8, CD 12

Light cavalry Brigade - General Milhaud
  Skilled  LD 12
1 Chasseur a Cheval  DD 6  CD 10

Light Cavalry Division - General Kellermann
  Skilled  LD 12
1 Hussar  DD 8, CD 10

Light Cavalry Division - Fauconnet
  Average  LD  12
1 Chasseurs a Cheval  DD 6  CD 10

Corps Artillery (can be attached to any Cavalry Division above)
1 Horse Artillery  DD 8, CD 12

Grand Parc d' Artillerie  General de Careil  Average  LD  10
(deployed on Santon Mound, cannot move except to change facing)
2 Light Foot Artillery  DD 6  CD 8





ALLIED ARMY - Tsar Alexander I, and
General Mikhail Kutusov
Abysmal  LD 8    Sequence deck: Poor   Morale Points: 78


1st Column  - Lieutenant General Buxhowden Abysmal  LD 8

Advance Guard - Feldmarschal-Leutnant Kienmayer  Poor  LD 12
2 Grenzer  DD 4  CD 10
1 Chevau-Leger  DD 6  CD 10
1 Hussar  DD 8  CD 10
1 Cossack  DD 4  CD 8
1 Cavalry Battery  DD 6  CD 10

Main Body - Lieutenant General Dokhturov  Poor  LD 8
1 Grenadier  DD 8  CD 12
5 Musketeer  DD 6  CD 10
2 Russian 12 lber Batteries  DD 6  CD 12


2nd Column - Lieutenant General Langeron  Poor  LD 12
1 Jager DD 6  CD 12
2 Grenadier  DD 8  CD 12
5 Musketeer  DD 6  CD 10
1 Dragoon  DD 6  CD 12
2 6 lber Foot Batteries  DD 6  CD 10


3rd Column - Lieutenant General Prebyshevsky Abysmal  LD 8
1 Jager  DD 6  CD 12
4 Musketeer  DD 6  CD 10
2 6lb Foot Batteries  DD 6  CD 10


4th Column - Fekldzeugmeister Kolwrat  Poor  LD 8

Russians - Lieutenant General Miloradovich
  Poor  LD  10
2 Musketeers  DD 6  CD 10
1 Grenadiers  DD 8  CD 12
1 Russian 6lber Foot Battery  DD 6  CD 10
1 Russian 12# Foot Artillery  DD 6  CD 12

Austrians - General-Major Rottermund  Poor  LD 12
1 Jager  DD 8  CD 12
6 Line  DD 6  CD 10
1 Austrian 6# Foot Artillery  DD 6  CD 10
1 Austrian 12# Foot Artillery  DD 6  CD 12


5th Column - Feldmarschal Leutnant Prinz Johann von Liechtenstein
 Poor  LD 8

Austrian Cavalry - Feldmarschal-Leutnant Prince Hohenlohe  Abysmal LD 10

2 Austrian Cuirassiers  DD 8  CD 12
1 Austrian Cavalry Battery  DD 6  CD 10

Russian Cavalry - Lieutenant General Essen II  Poor  LD 8

1 Uhlan DD 6  CD12
1 Hussar  DD 8  CD 10
1 Dragoon DD 6  CD12
1 Cossack  DD 4  CD 8
1 Russian Horse Artillery  DD 6  CD 10


Advance Guard of the Army - Major General Prince Bagration
Poor  LD 8
2 Jagers DD 6  CD 12
4 Musketeers  DD 6  CD 10
2 Hussars  DD 8  CD 10
1 Cuirassier  DD 8  CD 12
1 Dragoon DD 6  CD12
2 Cossacks  DD 4  CD 8
1 Russian 6 lber Foot Battery DD 6  CD 10
1 Russian Horse Artillery DD 6  CD 12
1 Austrian Cavalry Battery  DD 6  CD 10


Russian Imperial Guard - Grand Duke Constantine
Average  LD 10

Infantry - Lieutenant General Maluintin    Poor  LD 8
1 Guard Jager    DD 8  CD 12
4 Guard Infantry    DD 10  CD 12
1 Guard 12# Battery  DD 8 CD12+1
1 Guard 6# Battery  DD 8  CD 12

CavalryLieuteant Geberal Kologrivov  Poor  LD 12
1 Guard Hussar    DD 10  CD 12
2 Guard Cuirassier    DD 10  CD 12+1
1 Guard 6# Horse Artillery    DD 8  CD 12


Austerlitz Army stats


INFANTRY
UNIT TYPE
FRENCH
RUSSIAN
AUSTRIAN
ALLIED
Line/Musketeers
33
20
6
26
Light/Jagers
9
4
1
5
Grenzer
-
-
2
2
Grenadier
4
4
-
4
Guard
3
5
-
5
TOTALS
49
33
9
42


CAVALRY
UNIT TYPE
FRENCH
RUSSIAN
AUSTRIAN
ALLIED
Chasseur/ChvLg
3
-
1
1
Hussar
2
3
1
4
Dragoon
4
3
-
3
Uhlan
-
1
-
1
Cossack
-
4
-
4
Cuirassier/Carab.
4
1
2
3
Guard Cavalry
2
3
-
3
TOTALS
15
15
4
19


ARTILLERY
UNIT TYPE
FRENCH
RUSSIAN
AUSTRIAN
ALLIED
3# Foot
2
-
-
-
6# Foot
6
6
1
7
12# Foot
1
3
1
4
6# Horse/Cavalry
2
1
2
3
6# Guard Foot
-
1
-
1
12# Guard Foot
-
1
-
1
6# Guard Horse
2
1
-
1
TOTAL
13
13
4
17


    Although it is obviously possible to argue endlessly about it, it has been said that Napoleon is the second most written about (or influential) historical figure, with Jesus Christ having the top spot in most such analyses. Certainly the number of books,articles and websites devoted to napoleon and his times is staggering; I have well over 100 myself. One reasonable online starting place to learn more about the Napoleonic Wars, among many other candidates, is Napoleon, His Army and Enemies: Armies - Battles - Tactics - Commanders

20 comments:

  1. I think I know how this one ends. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Probably, but we're going to try to at least have the possibility of a different outcome!

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  2. Peter, are you planning a refight of Austerlitz?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As you can see, the answer is a resounding Yes!
      We had a case of premature exposition earlier today, a result of hiring some shortcut that caused the post to be published way before it was done. I didn't realize it for several hours, at which point I "reverted it to draft" until it was finished tonight.

      Delete
    2. That explains this AWOL post for most of the afternoon. I began to think I was losing it. I refought Austerlitz on the 200th anniversary and then again in 2012. Massive battle and a YUGE undertaking. Looking forward to your recap.

      Delete
  3. How exciting! I'm looking forward to a good old fashioned wargaming historical stoush! Your "premature exposition" explains why I found nothing when I clicked on this a few hours ago.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm looking forward to it! Won't be fully historical (if as planned above), but still using the historical terrain, troops, and overall situation. The main benefit the French have is better leadership. Terrain set up and army lay out for a game this big can be time consuming, but hopefully with a lot of players and adult support, we can do that fairly rapidly as a team! I plan top have all the commands and Terrain well organized to facilitate the process as well.

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    2. I actually rolled fairly poorly for the French leaders, and better for the Allies, so the difference isn't as bad as it coukld have been. I also rolled only a Skilled Sequence deck for Napoleon. Although they deserved it historically, I couldn't saddle the Allies with the Abysmal Sequence deck, so they got a Poor one instead.

      Delete
  4. Good luck to the Allies in this one !!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They should have a chance, but it will be an uphill battle!

      Delete
  5. Good luck with this one, a totally immense battle, can't wait to watch this unfold.
    Be good,
    Jeremy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jeremy! I'm looking forward to it!

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  6. This promises to look incredible. Good luck Peter, can't wait to see the pics!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jake. I am looking forward to it as well! I bought a castle style birdhouse at Michael's to paint up as Sokolnitz "Castle", too!

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  7. Grand event Peter. WR awaits the result with pictures.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hopefully it will not disappoint. I am looking forward to working with the students, too!

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  8. Looks like it will be great, I'd be interested in your aar but even more so now I've been bitten by the napoleonic bug and have started painting units!
    Best Iain

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Iain! What are you painting?

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    2. French line infantry, I've almost finished the 3rd 24 man unit 5 more to prime when I get back to the UK and then on to chaussures, hussars and dragoons, most of which are ready to prime, then artillery and lots of Austrians!
      Best Iain

      Delete
    3. Well, if you're going to play Napoleonics, there's no place better to start than with French Line infantry. I am near completing 4 new under-strength units of same for the Austerlitz game (the 28 units I have already weren't enough!). Good choice to to go for the Light Cavalry and Dragoons first, and save the "big boots" for later

      Delete