Saturday, May 25, 2013

Battle of Dresden, Day 2 (August 22, 1813); Scenario Development

    The Battle of Dresden was probably Napoleon's last large scale success, although the words of his old friend, Marshal Marmont proved to be all too prophetic:“I fear greatly, sire, lest on the day upon which Your Majesty has gained a victory and believe you have won a decisive battle, you may learn that you have lost two.” Dresden was a very large battle, involving over 350,00 men total between the two sides. I had previously run Dresden 10 years ago using Grand Piquet, and look forward to running it using Field of Battle. Based upon my last time out, as well as practical matters, I have decided not to attempt exact reproduction of the Order of Battle and command structure, but rather a more impressionistic, "based upon Dresden" approach, while keeping the overall ratio of the forces involved as close to correct as possible. 

    The combat front at Dresden was roughly 12 kilometers long. Field of Battle in normal scale uses 1" = 25 yards/meters, so that would require a table 12,000 meters/25m per inch = 480 inches long, or 40 feet! It would also require something on the order of 300,000 men/50 men per figure = 7,000 castings. Well, if the entire group pooled our figures, after doing Wagram and Borodino we might actually be able to come up with that many, but the logistics would be a nightmare in many ways. Doubling the ground scale and figure ratio (to 1' = 50m and 1 figure = 100 men) reduces the table size to 20 feet, which is big but doable, and reduces the figures needed to about 3,500. From past experience, less troops on the table is definitely better than more, so I decided to increase the scaling factor for the troops up to triple the normal, roughly 1 figure = 150 men. Thus, 1 infantry unit of 12 figures will represent about 1800 men, a cavalry unit of 8 figures will represent about 1200 men, and an artillery unit of 6-8 crew and 2 guns will represent about 24 guns. Bath-tubbing at its finest!

I have taken some liberties with the Gross Garten, positioning it a bit further to the left and down than it would otherwise be... otherwise it wouldn't appear on the able at all! The Weisseritz River was in full flood, and is only crossaale at the bridge at Pirna fior the Allies; the French can send their reserves from Dresden to either side(s) of the raging river (via bridges closer to the city). 

Here's how the (unaltered) OOB for Dresden (2nd day) would then look at that ratio:


Left Wing (Austrians): Hessen Homburg

Light Division - Moritz Liechtenstein
1 Jager
1 Grenz
1 Cheavu Leger
1 6# Cavalry Battery

1st Line Division - Colloredo
7 Austrian Line
1 6# Foot Battery

2nd Line Division - Bianchi
6 Hungarian Line
1 6# Foot Battery

3rd Line Division - Civalart
6 Austrian Line
1 6# Foot Battery

1st Reserve Division - Chasteler
3 Austrian Grenadiers

1st (Heavy) Cavalry Division - Nostitz
2 Austrian Cuirassier

3rd (Light) Cavalry Division - Schneller
1 Chevauleger
1 Hussar

Left Wing (Austrians) Ignatz Gyulai

Light Division - Crenneville
3 Grenz
1 Cheavuleger

1st Line Division - Weissenwolf
7 Austrian Line
1 6# Battery

2nd Line Division - A. Liechtenstein
7 Austrian Line
1 6# Battery

2nd (Heavy) Cavalry Division - Lederer
2 Austrian Dragoons

Army Corps Klenau

Light Division - Mesko
1 Grenz
2 Line
1 Hussar

1st Line Division - Mayer
7 Line

2nd Line Division - Hohenohe-Bartenstein
5 Line
1 6# Battery

(Heavy) Cavalry Division - Kuttalek
1 Cuirassier

Artillery Reserve
1 12# Battery

Russian/Prussian forces

Army HQ
1 Cossack
1 Opolochenie

Right Wing - Wittgenstein

Advanced Guard - Roth
4 Russian Jager

1st Corps - Gotcachov
4 Russian Line
1 6# Battery

Left Wing - Kleist (2nd Prussian Corps)

9th/10th Brigades - Von Klux/Pirch I
2 Prussian Line
2 Prussian Reserve
2 Prussian Landwehr
1 Schutzen
1 6# Foot Artillery
1 Landwehr Cavalry

11th/12th Brigades Ziethen/Pr. August von Preussen
3 Prussian Line
3 Prussian Reserve
3 Prussian Landwehr
1 6# Foot Battery
1 Hussar

Cavalry Reserve - Von Roder
2 Prussian Cuirassier
1 Uhlan
1 Landwehr Cavalry
6# Horse Battery

Reserve Artillery 

12# Foot Battery

Russian/Prussian Reserves

Infantry:  Miloradovich

3rd (Grenadier) Corps - Raevsky
4 Russian Grenadiers
1 Russian 6# Battery

5th (Guard) Corps - Udom-I
4 Russian Guards
2 Prussian Guards
1 Russian Guard Jager

Cavalry: Grand Duke Constatine

1st Cuirassier Division - Depreradovich
2 Guard Cuirassier
1 Guard HOrse Artillery

2nd/3rd Cuirassier Division Kretov/Duka
3 Cuirassiers

Guard Light Cavalry Division - Chevich
1 Guard Hussar
1 Guard Dragoon

Prussian Guard Cavalry
1 Guard Cuirassier
1 Guard Horse Artillery

Army Artillery Reserve
1 Guard 12 # (Russian)
1 12# Battery (Russian)
2 6# Horse Batteries (Russian)



Imperial Guard - Mortier

1st (Old Guard) Division - Friant
2 Grenadiers a Pied
2  Chasseurs a Pied
Guard 6# Foot Battery

1st Young Guard Division - Dumostier
Fusiliers- Grenadierts
3 Voltigeurs
Young Guard 6# Battery

2nd Young Guard Division - Barrois
2 Flanquers
3 Voltigeurs
1 6# Young Guard Battery

3rd Young Guard Division - Delaborde
3 Voltigeurs
1 6# Young Guard Battery

4th Young Guard Division - Rouget
3 Tirailleurs
1 6# Young Guard Battery

Guard Cavalry - Nansouty

1st Division - Ornano
1 Berg Lancers
1 Dutch Lancers

2nd Division - Lefebvre-Desounettes
1 Polish Lancers
2 Guard Chasseurs a Cheval/Mamelukes

3rd Division - Walther
Grenadiers A Cheval
Guard Dragoons
Guards d' Honneur

Guard 6# Horse Artillery

Guard Artillery Reserve - 

Guard 12# Battery
Guard 6# Horse Battery
Young Guard 6# Foot Battery

II Corps - Victor

4th Division - Dubreton
1 Legere
3 Line
1 6# Foot Battery

5th Division - Dufour
1 Legere, 3 Line
6# Foot Battery

6th Division - Vial
1 Legere
3 Line
1 6# Foot Battery

IV Corps - Marmont

20th Division - Compans
1 Legere
1 Line
2 Infanterie de la Marine
1 6# Battery

22nd Division - Frederichs
1 Legere
3 Line

21st Division - Lagrange
1 Legere
2 Infanterie de la Marin
1 Regt Joseph-Napoleon

25th Light Cavalry Brigade
Wurttemburg Chevau-Legers

Corps Artillery Reserve
1 12# Foot Battery

XIV Corps - St. Cyr

43rd Division - Claparede
1 Legere
3 Line
1 6# Foot Battery

44th Division - Bertheneze
1 Legere
3 Line
1 6# Foot Battery

45th Division - Razout

1 Legere
3 Line
1 6# Foot Battery

Corps Reserve
1 Hussar
1 Italian Chasseur
1 6# Horse Artillery

I Cavalry Corps - Latour - Mauborg

3rd Light Cavalry Division - Chastel
3 Chasseurs a Chjeval

1st Heavy Cavalry Division - Bordesoule
3 French Cuirassier
1 Saxon Cuirassier

3rd Heavy Cavalry Division - Doumerc
1 Cuirassier
1 Italian Dragoon
3 French Dragoon

Corps Artillery
1 6# Horse Battery

V Cavalry Corps - L'Hertier
2 French Dragoon
1 Chasseur a Cheval
1 6# Horse Battery

Dresden Garrison

1 Westphalian Light Infantry
2 Westphal;ian Line Infantry
1 Saxon Footguards
1 Saxon 6# Battery


   For game purposes, I will probably redistribute the troops of Klenau's (Austrian) Corps to become Russians (adding them to Wittgenstein's pathetically under strength Corps). This will give me 2 Austrian Corps, 1 Russian Corps, and 1 Prussian Corps on the Allied side, plus the Reserves, allowing 5-6 players.  On the French side, The Commands will be The Young Guard Divisions (with at least one of the Guard cavalry Divisions),  Marmont, Victor, St Cyr, and Latour-Mauborg, with the Old Guard and remaining Guard Cavalry and Artillery as a possible 6th command. The troops of the Dresden Garrison, or at least their numbers, will be used to bolster the numbers of the French Infantry Corps a bit.

  The second day of Dresden featured very heavy rain, often making musket fire almost impossible. I think the way that I will handle this is to put a couple of Weather cards in each side's sequence deck.  The game will start with Light Rain. Upon each appearance of a Weather Card, the side turning the car rolls a D6.  On na roll of 1 or 2, the rain decreases a step. On a rol or 4, 5, or 6, the rain increases a step. The levels and effects are as follows:

Overcast - use the usual rules

Light Rain - all Infantry Fire is Down 1

Heavy Rain - all Infantry Fire is Down 2, Infantry and cavalry are Down 1 in melee.

Downpour - No infantry fire allowed, all Infantry and Artillery are Down 2 in melee.

Infantry in buildings (but not the Gross Garten) are exempt from the above penalties,

Next time I'll cover the "fudged" OOB and the deployment for the game.



  1. Very interesting, still an impressive OB at 150.


    1. It is pretty much a tie between Dresden and Wagram for 2nd largest battle of the Napoleonic Wars after Leipzig. In both cases, Austrians were the bulk (or all) of the opposition!

  2. Dresden is ndeed that's a big undertaking

    1. IO did it once before 10 t=years ago, using Grand Piquet. That went OK but not quite as well as I';d like do to not being that familiar with the rules. I am going for a more straight up, impressionist approach this time out!

  3. As John notes, it's still gonna be a massive undertaking and a really impressive game. You have the added challenge of playing it as an 'away game'!


    1. While I can run a prety big game at home (my table is 6 feet wide x 20 feet long, *IF* I clear all the junk off it!), I ruin the majority of my big games away from home. It definitely does add to the work load!

  4. That's a lot of toys!
    I also prefer the "inspired by" approach to refights - it allows you to make a game of it in some respects.
    Looking forward to seeing this unfold and some piccies too.
    enjoy, JJ

    1. I enjoy historical refights, but over the years, I have come to the conclusion not to go too far and allow history to interfere with a good game. Should be more on the Dresden scenario in a week or two, pictures of at least the trial set up by the end of next month, I'd guess, then the game itself in late July.

  5. Dresden is a fun game. Good luck and have fun.
    At the scale at which we play Napoleonics, OB changes to fit the figure availability or table size considerations, are just part of the scenario design.