Monday, April 22, 2013

Snappy Nappy 1813 AAR, part 2: Middle Game

    Part 1 of this report covered the initial deployment and the first two (synchronous) moves or so. Using the master Table map that I had to keep everything straight, here is what the opening moves of the Campaign, covered in that post,  looked like.  Keep in mind that the players only had the very general theater map, and had to gradually figure out how that related to the tables as well as the overall situation, communicating only by handwritten (delayed) messages.

Opening Moves

The Prussian advanced guard  (Blucher) has just crossed the Bober at Leignitz onto the Gorlitz table.

At the same time, the Austrians (Schwarzenberg) have advanced onto the Lonely Mountain table. A weak French garrison in a small mountainside village sends the alarm to Ney on the adjacent Bautzen table!

Bernadotte's Army of the North is passing through Dennewitz on their way South.

Shortly thereafter, Bernadotte's Advanced Guard crosses the Elbe near Dennewitz, and runs smack into Bernadotte's Bavarian Corps, headed North!

St Cyr's Saxon Corps has crossed over the Neisse onto the Bautzen table, joining Ney's French Corps.. This table is readily identifiable because it is the only one with a brown table cloth; we will be seeing a lot more of it as the campaign progresses!

Situation Map #2

Meanwhile, St. Cyr seems to have been having trouble with his map and compass. He initially marched West to Leipzig, apparently thinking it was Bautzen. Upon being informed of his error by the Burgermeister, his Corps headed South, but took the Westernmost fork in the road. Upon reaching the edge of the table, his scouts were informed that up ahead the road rapidly degenerated into mere mountain tracks (i.e., there was no table in play to represent that part of the Theater map!). Thereupon, his (doubtless cursing) Marie-Louises reversed directions for the second time, and took the correct Eastern fork in the road. The lead elements of St. Cyr's Corps are seen here, entering the Torpitz table. 

Schwarzenberg's Corps bears down upon the weak French blocking force, as Ney hurries trio send reinforcements to stop or at least delay them from entering the Bautzen table! 

Siever's advanced guard, a unit of Miltia quality Bashkirs, encounter's the lead elements of Ney's Corps. Somehow, the Elite rated, armored Carabiniers a Cheval managed to rout the bow armed Asiatic light horse shortly afterwards...

Bernadotte has very successfully established and expanded his bridgehead over the Elbe, and is advancing to the attack; the garrison of Torgau  (two units of decent quality Vistula Legion infantry, plus a 6# battery) is seen in the background. Oudinot's initial orders apparently required him to avoid becoming too heavily engaged. 

On the Bautzen table, the arrival of McDonald's Saxon Corps (to stymie any attack from the South by Schwarzenberg) is allowing Ney to once again turn his attention Northwards towards Siever's large Russian Cavalry Corps.

St Cyr has left a moderate garrison behind at Dresden (seen in the distance, with the Erzgebirge mountains beyond), whilst Oudinot has left a Bavarian cavalry unit or two on the Dresden table as well, in order to maintain communications and act as an early warning of any allied advance in this sector; none ever develops. 

The bulk of Siever's cavalry Corps remains on the Keineburg table, hesitant to advance  too far on a narrow front against infantry and artillery in well established positions on the Bautzen table.

Bernadotte calls for reinforcements, reducing the garrison of Berlin to a minimum. Here Russian infantry and artillery march towards Dennewitz and the bridge over the Elbe.

St Cyr's Corps makes headway on their way to Bautzen via the Southern route; here they are approaching the town or Torpitz. St. Cyr's confusion resulted in the Emperor (Ney/James) being equally confused as to St. Cyr's whereabouts - even though he was on a table in plain sight less than 15 feet away!  At one point, St. Cyr wrote that he had reached Bautzen (except it was actually Leipzig), whereupon the exasperated French C-in-C wrote back to St. Cyr "You are NOT in Bautzen; *I* am in Bautzen!" St. Cyr also neglected to relay that he was on the same table as Oudinot, who was heavily engaged with Bernadotte, nor did he ask if he should march to the assistance of the Bavarians. Evidently it is not just the historical marshals who failed to cooperate effectively!  

In fairness to Peter D. (St. Cyr), I must point out that the game was deliberately designed to foster the maximum uncertainty in the players despite all the tables being in plain sight. None of the Cities or Towns were labeled on the individual table terrain maps, and the Theater map was of very limited detail, and didn't always correspond exactly to the more stylized table configurations. The whole point of the exercise is  gain insight into the duties and uncertainties of higher command in the Napoleoic era, both as C-in-C, relying on less than perfect or up to date information to implement and revise your grand strategy  and as Corps Commander, trying to implement the orders you are given, even when they don't seem to make sense.

Bows against armor, Elite against Militia, Heavy against Light. Anyone want to guess the result?

Blucher's Corps streams onto the Gorlitz table; McDonald has left Gorlitz garrisoned by 2 Conscript Infantry brigades and some heavy 12# artillery.  Blucher anticipates a prolonged bottleneck at Gorlitz, and decides to take the risky step of sending his Corops cavalry off across country towards a seemingly forgotten bridge over the Neisse at Guben.

Meanwhile, Bernadotte and Oudinot, ex comrades in arms, continue to battle it out near Torgau. 

St Cyr, soon to be under orders to "Come to Bautzen Immediately!), labors to keep his strung out Corps in command as they stream South through the Mountain passes; he could have arrived in Bautzen much more rapidly by back tracking  across the Elbe (on the right of the picture) onto the Dresden table and continuing due East to Bautzen, but the table configurations made that not so easy to appreciate! The Emperor, being in the dark as to St. Cyr's exact location, was also somewhat vague in his instructions, and by the time he made it clear that Bautzen was St. Cyr's destination, his entire Corps was already well South of the Mountains. 

Overview of Blucher's advance on the Gorlitz table; the city is down the road off the right side of the picture.

Close up of the continued bitter fighting between Oudinot's Bavarians and the polygot Army of the North. Bernadotte (Joe) evidently had hot dice all day. His vintage Minifigs Swedes probably felt like they had something to prove, this being their first time  back on the wargames table in almost 15 years!

Schwarzenberg's Austrians have defeated the French and Saxon troops sent to delay them at the Mountain pass South of Bautzen. A brief reconnaissance reveals the forces on the Bautzen table are far too powerful to make an assault here wise. Instead a small covering force is left to guard the passes, and the bulk of the Kaiserlicks are seen "coming around the (lonely) mountain" towards the Easternmost pass. 

Situation map #3

Having routed the Bashkirs, the Carabiniers try their luck on some lance armed Cossacks. Still Elite Heavy cavalry facing Militia Light cavalry; this time the Cossacks are merely Panicked (instead of routed and destroyed outright)! 

The leading troops of Schwarzenberg's Austrian Corps enter the Gorlitz table, joining Blucher's Prussians. 

as the Prussian cavalry crosses an overlooked bridge over the Niesse onto the Bautzen table.
(GM note: although the bridge was clearly marked on the Table map used to set up the terrain, it wasn't placed when the table was laid out. This was easy to miss, as there was NOT a road connected to it (deliberately so). Ney (James) took it in stride, but it was certainly an unpleasant surprise!)

The Carabiniers aren't feeling quite so smug about their position now!

Back on the Keineburg table, Sievers rallies his repulsed Cossacks. 

Oudinot and Bernadotte continue to battle it out near Torgau.

Blucher's Prussian Infantry and artillery advance upon Gorlitz.

as the battle of Torgau continues.

St. Cyr passes  throughTorpitz, and the Emperor is finally made aware of his exact location!

Schwarzenberg's Austrians join the advance upon Gorlitz.

Bernadotte (Joe) and Oudinot (Roger) continue their private battle, ans St Cyr (Peter D) prepares to move the last of his troops off the Torgau/Leipzig table. 

Ney moves French Dragoons and infantry to contain the newly arrived Prussian cavalry.

Between them, Blucher ans Schwarzenberg concentrate the fire of no less than SEVEN artillery units on the Saxon garrison of Gorlitz!

The Bavarians are slowly but surely being pushed back by the Army of the North.

As the advance upon Gorlitz continues.

Ney's defensive lije shapes up... but his troops are becoming rather thinly stretched!

Despite the overwhelming odds, the Saxon conscript infantry and heavy 12# battery stationed at Gorlitz put up a brave and stubborn defense!

Dan (Schwarzenberg, in cap) and Russ (Blucher) confer on the conduct of the Siege of Gorlitz.

James (Ney/Emperor) left, Barry (Sievers) center, and Greg (McDonald) right in action around Bautzen.

The army of the North continues to press Oudinot's Bavarians slowly backwards from Torgau.

The Prussian cavalry pushes forward from their bridgehead.

Russian Cavalry General Sievers deems it time to resume the pressure upon Ney, so as to tie down more of his troops as the Prussian attack develops. These three units of Russian dragoons represent almost 5,000 troopers!

St. Cyr's French Corps finally picks up speed as it nears the edge of the Torplitz table.

Russian Dragoons charge to cover the deployment of their Horse Artillery!

Oudinot's Bavarians are severely battered, but not yet (quite) broken. He advises the Emperor that it is unlikely that he will be able to hold out much longer...

The Hanoverian garrison of Berlin has been enjoying the fare at the Ratskellar!

Gorlitz has fallen!

but all remains quite around Dresden, much to the relief of the King of Saxony.

Situation map #4

Conclusion (part 3) to follow...



  1. It looks veeeery interesting!
    Thanks for sharing

    1. It was! I have been eager to try this since first reading the articles on the idea by Russ in the old MWAN ? almost 15 years ago now.

  2. This has been very interesting. It must be difficult to umpire as well. How do you keep it straight whose going where without giving it away to the players?

    1. Actually, it was among the easiest game to umpire that I have run. Despite the fact that 1 player had never played the rules before, and aside from Russ and Dan, the rest had played only once, ant where from 6 months to three years prior, there were remarkably few rules questions.

      The master table map (used for the situation maps in this post) was in my possession only, and worked well to keep everything straight. As you can see in the pictures, each table had the (more detailed) terrain map print out left right on the table and in the proper North/South Orientation, making it pretty easy to figure out what connected to what... for me at least!

  3. Peter is very devious, don't let his charming smile fool you!


  4. Excellent stuff Peter. This looks great fun and I love the fog of war aspect that the multiple tables and 'vague' maps etc brings to the campaign in general.... Sounds like St.Cyr's Corps got through a lot of boot leather!

    Best wishes,

    1. Yes to all of the above, Steve!

      BTW, the "Corps" we used in these games had roughly 100 figures each = representing perhaps 60-70,000 men - about double the size for a typical Napoleonic Corps.

  5. Very nice looking battlefield, and useful maps to follow the actions! I like your Bashkirs too, very nice report...

  6. Thanks, Phil! The Bashkirs are Barry's; they may even be refugees from his 1400's era Hungarian army!

    1. Thanks for the answer...I've got a medieval army, I've just played an Hungarian battle this afternoon, in 1300!
      All the best,

  7. Inspirational stuff here chaps.....well done.

  8. Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed it - the "fog of war" was very successfully recreated!