Monday, 21 October 2013

Leipzig. A commemorative game

Last Saturday (19th October) a (small) group of us got together to commemorate the 200th anniversary of The Battle of the Nations aka The Battle of Leipzig. I'd known I wanted to commemorate the battle for some time. Last year I regretted not doing a commemorative Borodino game but seeing as none of us had a Russian army it would have proved a difficult task!

I also have to say that seeing the General de Brigade demo game of Aspern Essling at Salute in 2012 proved to be a real inspiration http://generaldebrigade.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/aspern-essling-salute-game.html

I really wanted to put on a big game that would get all our relevant figures on the table and be a visual spectacle.

So this year I was determined to do a Leipzig game. Between us we had a sizeable French army and I had a good size Austrian army to which I've been adding units all year. 

Over summer I realised we needed to capture the multi national feel of the game so I started to collect and paint a Prussian army for the game and one of our group decided to start painting up some Russians. The last few months has seen a lot of painting and terrain making. Working to a deadline can be frustrating but very worth it in the end.

For the actual game I realised recreating the whole 4 day battle was never going to happen due to the scale. I also felt focusing on one part of the battle e.g Mockern would be difficult as our figure collection didn't really fit any historical OOB. So instead I went for a fictional scenario designed to capture the essence of the whole battle. 4 days were condensed into one afternoon.

The rules we used were Napoleon at War (our favourite rule set) and the table size was 12'x 5'.

The battlefield from the French side.

The historical battle was characterised by a lot fighting over villages so our battlefield had a village on each flank and one in the center.

Village on the French Left.

Village in the center (the redoubt was removed before play)

Village on the French Right.

On initial set up the French player was given a 3500pt force to deploy first but was told he was to attack the enemy. He was told he was facing Austrians and that he out pointed his opponent. This was to encourage him to attack. The purpose of this was to recreate Napoleons initial optimism on the 16th where he planned to attack the Allied army of Bohemia to the South.

The Allied commander was given a force of 2300 points. He was to deploy after the French and was also told to attack but importantly he was also told a sizeable combined Prussian and Russian force was going to arrive on a flank very soon. This was to represent the aggressive stance of the allies and the fact that the arrival of Bluchers Army of Silesia (battle of Mockern) came as a shock to Napoloeon and blunted his hopes of victory.
The timing of the arrival of reinforcements was supposed recreate the feeling that the French had over the course of the battle ie after initial hopes of victory the French gradually fight a more desperate battle until they need to withdraw.

Austrian initial deployment (Sorry pic is a bit fuzzy). Austrians are on the left.

The French opted to occupy each village and as such ended up spreading themselves a bit thin.

TURN 1

The allies started very aggressively and launched themselves at the villages on each flank. In Napoleon at War it pays to get stuck in!

Two Austrian infantry brigades envelope the Poles holding the village on the French left.

The Austrian Light Brigade launches itself at the village on the French Right and forces out some French conscripts from the first building.

The French have to react but as they deployed first it takes time.

TURN 2

The Austrians, heavily outnumbering the Poles, quickly force their way into the village on the French left.

The French realise they are in trouble and have to react to the Austrian aggression.

TURN 3

After a suitably themed lunch of German Bratwurst sausages in French bread (plus French mustard!) the game continued.

The Prussians (2550pts) arrive in force on the French right flank.

The Austrian Light brigade fail to make further in roads into the village.

The French also recieve some much needed reserves (4360pts altogether!) and begin to advance in the center 

but they fully retreat from their left flank and wait for the reserves to catch up.

TURN 4

The Russians arrive but they merely end up adding to the growing congestion as the French retain hold of the village on their right.

Whilst on the French left the reserves bolster their position and the Poles reform.

TURN 5

The Austrian reserve (2310pts) arrive in the center.

The Austrian cavalry assault the French advancing infantry in the centre and destroy them leaving the French center looking very vulnerable.

The allies start to collect victory points but fail to capitalise on their successes.

TURN 6

With the game drawing to an end both players realise that despite the size of forces at their disposal, no major breakthrough is going to occur.

The allies incredibly fail to take the village on the French right as the French move more and more forces up to support that flanks.

The French finally bring on their cavalry division (despite being available earlier) to shore up their center.

Final view of the centre with the Austrains advancing but the French moving up their reserves.

Final view of the French left where the Austrians, after taking the village early opted to hold their position.

CONCLUSION 

The original game was supposed to be played with 3 people on each side, as such the game was supposed to move a bit quicker and I'd hoped to get approximately 12 -18 turns in the time we had     ( approx 6-7 hours). But getting a group of wargamers to be in one place at one time proved harder than herding cats! In reality only 4 players could make it with me as umpire, and two of those players had to leave early (one after half an hour!) so it fast became clear some adjusting had to be done. 

With so many figures to move, each turn went very slowly and so we just decided to take it easy and enjoy the spectacle. With the forces available it could have been a total blood bath but both players were very conservative. The task of marshalling such a large force proved challenging for both players and ultimately led to a failure to coordinate a decisive action. Despite this we all had a very enjoyable day. 
The two opponents happily called the game a draw as each owned 1 village and the third was contested. They both shook hands as comrades in arms....not!!
Schwarzenberg on the left, Napoleon on the right.


6 comments:

  1. Great looking table and troops!

    I think your decision to do a "Based upon Leipzig" was wise especially considering the available resources. It sounds like the project really spurred expansion of your collections, which is a major advantage. With the troops you have now (plus just a few more to paint, LOL), you might want to try a "Based Upon Dresden" game.

    My grandiose attempt at same:
    http://blundersonthedanube.blogspot.com/2013/07/aar-dresden.html

    Peter

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    1. Many thanks Peter. Dresden would indeed be a great game to do. Loved your AAR. I'm pleased that the end result of this project was a Prussian army, as well as memories of a good day :-)

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    2. Both among the best possible outcomes, eh?

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  2. Looks like a great game, thanks for the detailed report.

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    1. Many thanks Chasseur. I hope you enjoyed it.

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  3. Good report. Sad it didn't end up being a 3 aside game.

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