"Hey Doug, I'm in town. Are you available tomorrow evening for a game?", asked MikeB on the phone. "Heck yeah!", was my response, so I had to come up something quick. I am still on my Nappy bend and the big game is in a week so good for a primer game.
The scenario I had in my back pocket was the Battle of Wartenburg.
During the Autumn campaign in Germany of 1813, The Prussians looked to find a crossing across the Elbe River and moved at Wartenburg. Morand's corps awaited the Prussians confident in their defence as the area was low lying and crossed with marshes, woods, muddy ground and irrigation canals.
|view from the north and that of the Prussians. Always in these photos, the amount of 'green area' looks soooo much more than the actual eye conceives.|
Prussian OOB French OOB
Due to the 'small' size of the battle, at least for these rules, I dropped down the ratio to 1 infantry element to 1,000 actual men and cavalry elements to a few squadrons each.
|The lead Prussian elements|
Again due to the 'small' size of the action, as each force was of corps strength, I placed each under one command and allowed the player to take elements as they saw fit with no regard to divisional integrity as usual. I kept the historical organization and deployment for the French but for the Prussians I left it open. [I used Bulow's corps of the 100 Days campaign which fit well and thus I did not need to change the labels! The French labels were also not adjusted so ignore them for the narrative ]
Knowing the scenario and with the French in a passive mode, I gave MikeB the Prussian attackers. I took the French forces which included Italians and Wurttemburgers which are as yet unpainted in my boxes, so more French were employed.
Historically they apparently made a passive defence as the Prussians masked their positions with heavy attacks. Nonetheless, a thrust was made to the south end of the position at village of Bleddin thereby flanking the French position around the hamlet of Globig forcing a retreat.
With the look of his initial column of troops Mike had me thinking he was going to follow history, as the lead light horse units with accompanying horse artillery moved near Bleddin.
In an attempt to divert some of the lengthy column I sent out, foolishly, a lone brigade which was quickly routed and with its loss, further weakening my forces.
|The Prussians swinging around to assault the village of Wartenburg|
Meanwhile, the Italians of Fontanelli's command awaited the Prussians across a disordering muddy field to mimic the boggy fields of the area through which the Prussians were forced to move through.
|The round markers with abandoned backpacks indicate these elements have been disorganized by muddy fields and such. I always use 'discrete' markers for my games liking a nice, clean battlefield!|
As it was late in the campaign and the French corps having many allied contingents, I kept the French element strength levels fairly low while the Prussians were given higher values for their "War of Liberation". With similar strengths but with important disordering terrain to fight over, the forces were thus even and this showed in the combat which wore down each side tremendously.
It was a good point to end the game as Mike needed to get up early for more business appointments. Later as I tried to get a conclusion to the game, it became apparent that nothing would be resolve as each force was on its very last legs and combats merely destroyed both.
While the artillery seemed now to have the correct effect and firepower in the rules, "divisional morale", to use the Shako rules parlance, needs to be addressed somehow. Each battle seems to produce a single emphases on the rules which is thus thought upon and corrected which has thus been a good thing for its development. Perhaps this "army morale" question is the final puzzle to be solved?
Mike seemed to enjoy himself and got to push around some lead - mostly plastics mind you - and I was happy that the scenario worked and we could have a 'big' Napoleonic battle on a small 5' by 4' table size with 28mm.