Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Napoleonic Clash - continued


The Austrian cavalry having routed the chasseurs, they await
the response of the French husaars.

We left the narrative in my previous posting (link HERE) with the French hussars seeking to administer a harsh requital for defeat of their chasseur comrades.  But before returning to the outcome of that clash, let us review what was happening elsewhere upon the field of battle.
Klenau's Division under pressure; arrival of cuirassiers from
the reserves.
In and around East Village, Kaiser's Division continued to maintain its 'hesitant'stance.  Paul allowed afterwards that at no time during the eight or nine turns he had the Division under his command did Kaiser show anything but an extreme reluctance to do anything positive.  The lead column stalled, and even lost its fire discipline.  It was probably fortunate that the French made no serious effort to attack this Division or to carry the East Village, beyond pressing in a crowd of skirmishers on three sides.
St-Julien's Division falters, just as the cuirassiers arrive.
The arrival of the Cuirassiers, followed soon after by the two 12-pr position batteries, we hoped would give weight to St-Julien's effort against the North Village.  These arrivals coincided unfortunately with the collapse of St-Julien's lead regiment, which also caused the whole division to falter.  Rather than reinforcing what little success the Austrians in this sector had so far enjoyed, they rather reinforced failure.  It is true, however, that the French seemed to make no determined effort to follow up their success.  Possibly that was due to the hurts that the lost regiment had themselves inflicted before their collapse, and the deterrent posed by the heavy horse and guns.  Subsequent pictures indicate several French units with wounds to think over.
All quiet on the northern front.

On the extreme north flank, only Pieterwardeiner Infantry and Vukassovic's artillery sustained the fight against the village garrison.  This was never going to be more than an affair of popping musketry punctuated by the odd shell burst.  The respective light cavalries continued to eye each other, both as yet unwilling to chance their arms.
French infantry around the North Village look as though
they have recently been in a fight!
 Although the French infantry continued to occupy the area around North Village, several showed visible signs of the battle they had endured, as the above picture shows (the orange markers).  (Aside: At some point around this time, I carried out a count of 'hits' taken by my wing - a total of 44.  If the rule set ran to figure removal, this would have amounted to 44 figures out of a whisker over 300 - over 14%.  That's quite severe, and we weren't done yet!  Mark did a quick count and his wing had taken something over 60 'hits'!  This mauling was not at all obvious from my side of the battlefield).
The southern wing cavalries square off

By contrast, the action in the southern half of the world continued here and there to spark into violent life.  Having seen off 1st Chasseurs, the Austrian horse clashed with the enemy hussars.  The chevauxlegers - for the first time in more than a merely supporting role - faced 6th Hussars, the uhlans took on the 5th.  Perhaps coveting the laurels that the uhlans had already won, the chevauxlegers dealt brusquely with the 6th Hussars, flung them back beyond their own infantry, and, with hardly a loss to deplore, pushed into the ground won.  The outcome of the uhlan's battle was not to be the same.

Defeat of 6th Hussars.  5th Hussars and 1st Uhlans fight
each other to a standstill.
Flushed with the tide of success so far, the uhlans might well have anticipated a repetition.  They didn't get it.  Unlike their comrades of the 6th, the 5th Hussars did not give way at the first shock, but sustained the fight into for long enough to persuade the unlans that this unit was not for turning.  (The first dice rolls were evenly matched, which took us - from memory - into a second round.  That, too, proved indecisive.  At this point, both players had the option to withdraw.  Honour satisfied, I didn't wait for the hussars' decision, and opted to pull out the uhlans. Back they trotted past the churchyard, pride intact).  The drawn fight between 1st Uhlan and 5th Hussars satisfied the pride of both sides.  For mine, there seemed to be nothing to be gained from sustaining a chancy battle in such an exposed position.
Weber's Division pulling back to form a new line well short
of the South Woods.
The fact was that Weber's Division was in no position to support the light horse, being rather inclined to pull back well out of range of the skirmishers in the South Woods.  This might not have been the smartest policy, in the circumstances.    But I felt that this formation was too small to achieve much against the French right wing.  Had I (Feldzeugmeister Kollowrat-Krakowsky) appreciated more fully how much of a mauling the French had so far taken, I might have tried something a bit more aggressive here.
Brady's Division in a holding action against the French
centre-right.
It was upon Feldmarshalleutnant Brady's front that I had my eye.  For the moment Brady's Division was carrying out a holding attack against the French line.  What was wanting was the masse de rupture - the Brigade of Grenadiers.  Where were they?  Good question!  For three turns in a row I waited in vain for their appearance. (Aside: one rolls for the availability of aides-de-camp by which one issues orders. The Austrians could get a maximum of 6 - 3 per wing - with one added for the cuirassiers and for the grenadiers when they arrived.  It required two of such gentry to call up the grenadiers, and then with no certainty of their arrival.  Having said that, General d'Armee seems to be one of those rare rule sets in which a holding, or pinning, attack is feasible and worthwhile.  On this occasion it was prolonged farther than I would have preferred).


The withdrawal of the uhlans having left the chevauxlegers isolated, the latter, too, began to with draw to their own lines. Those lines had been slowly receding before the crowds of  French skirmishers.
At last, at the fourth (!) call, FZM Kollowrat sent three ADCs to bring up the grenadiers.  There they were, advancing up beside the east Village, three splendid battalions, the force of decision.
Here come the Grenadiers - 3 turns later than hoped for, but
here they are!

Awaiting this reinforcement, the Division Brady regiments had extended its front - Coloredo Infantry shook out into line formation, whilst Zettwitx Infantry formed a refused flank.  Even so extended the Austrian musketry was hardly equal to the musketry incoming from at least three French regiments and a skirmish line as well.   The small band of skirmishers available to FML Brady might have to be called upon to protect the line, if only a little.  When Zach Infantry lost some of its cohesion, that intervention seemed to be indicated.


The sector of decision, seen through the 'Zeke' filter


Weber, of course, continued his retrograde, under the pressure of heavy French clouds of skirmishers.  Already, FML Klenau had ordered counter-measures.  Pulling back the uhlans to his main line, he left the chevauxlegers covering the left of the churchyard.  his artillery and jagers he swung leftwards towards the flank of the enemy skirmish line.  The Austrians had little fear of a disaster on the south flank, not with this flanking counter-attack in train. 

Austrian cavalry have pulled back; Jagers and Klenau's
artillery moving to rake the enemy's advanced
skirmish line
All that, however, was mere diversion.  The centre would be the decisive sector  - supposing a decsion were possible in Austrian favour.  I'll admit right here, that, although I'd been having a lot of fun, I still didn't think an Austrian victory likely under the terms of the scenario.  There I now think I was mistaken, but I daresay that sort of thing can easily happen in warfare.  The commands of Gudin, St-Hilaire and Pujol (Mark) had taken already a greater battering than I realised at the time.  A stronger, more aggressive effort might well have been feasible.
The plan of attack.  But I want to broaden it to more than
one column width.
Having said that, the Austrian cause had been helped in no way by the Grenadiers' tardiness.  Dependent upon the Grenadiers' masse de rupture, the attack had to await their arrival.  That left Brady's strong Division, assisted it is true by the churchyard garrison, to sustain the holding action.  Losses to Zach infantry caused its temporary loss of cohesion, and losses were mounting rapidly to Coloredo as well.  We could count ourselves lucky (though henceforth I assigned ADCs to prevent it) that there were no further delays to the Grenadiers' march.
This one almost snuck under the spyglass: the French
chasseurs wake up and charge!


Almost unnoticed amid the unfolding drama in the south, on the extreme northern flank, General Jacquinot nerved himself to charge the Austrian hussars.  Possibly the latter were surprised at such belated hostility, or maybe had simply been lulled by the relative peacefulness that had prevailed all morning and well into the afternoon.  The qualitative superiority of the Austrian horse seemed to avail them little as the Frenchmen struck home.

Hessen-Homburg Hussars taking a mauling.


At first contact, the chasseurs concentrated their assault upon the Hessen-Homburg Husaren (probably everyone's favourite Austrian hussar unit, certainly mine, for the colourfulness of its uniform, its known military record, and the name of its Inhaber).  Colour, name and reputation seemed to count for little on this occasion.  Inflicting five hits to one, the chasseurs beat the Austrians back, coming within an ace of driving them pell-mell from the field.

At once, the victorious chasseurs turned their attention upon the Archduke Ferdinand Hussars, and served them out the same way.  Back went the Austrian horse, though, again, not so as to abandon the field.  At the same time, the Pieterwardiener Grenze and the horse artillery bethought themselves of their own safety.
General view from south wing, looking north along the
Austrian line.
As Vukassovic's Division was being driven in on the northern flank, Weber's in the south had stopped their retrograde and were holding up the oncoming French skirmishers.  Losses mounted on both sides, but the intervention from Klenau's light infantry and cannon were to tip the balance well in favour of the Austrians.  It was not long before the French skirmish line began to feel the weight of the incoming musketry to heavy to bear, and to pull back.

For his part, FML Klenau was beginning to feel his oats and joined the chevauxlegers by the churchyard.  The troopers could see by the maniac glint in his eye that the good Feldmarschalleutant had some deviltry in mind.


Klenau's charge for glory!
His thirst for glory as yet unslaked, Klenau and his men dashed forward, 5th Hussars their target. (Aside: This is one of the 'chrome features' of General d'Armee - special orders, some of which are as you would expect, such as the Grenadiers' receipt of  'Infantry Assault' orders that apply to the Brigade or Division as a whole, others a little more ... erm ... subjective in nature.  This was the 'Glory' order that you might see in the picture.  This presents certain advantages to the side attacking under it.)  Manfully, the hussars counter-charged, but to no avail.  The Austrian horse hurled them aside in as brusque a manner as their comrades had been by the uhlans.  The affront of the 5th Hussars' halting the uhlans' tide of success was thusly summarily avenged.

5th Hussars retreat.
The developing attack...
Events at this point were unrolling with ponderous deliberation in the centre.  One thing about this rule set, is that infantry attacks do seem to have a sense of weight that can not be hurled about with the lightness of the cavalry.  Brady's Division had to contract its front, the main reason to poke the small force of skirmishers in between the lines.  The was little to be gained from the Grenadiers attacking on a single regiment front.  Even as it was, the crowded field presented a superb target to the French battery close by the West Village.

Grenadier casualties mounting uncomfortably rapidly...




Before resuming the tale of other dramatic events, another quick survey of the quieter parts of the field seems in order.  In the south, the French skirmish line, quite unsupportrd by any close order troops, had reached their high-water mark and were beginning to come under counter-pressure themselves.  The Austrian right centre were still unable to unravel themselves.  The lead Hungarian regiment had taken a fearful battering all day, without the slightest support (you can see the 'hesitant' marker that obviated any means of relieving the situation from within the Division, and no help was to be had from St-Julien's Division, which, failing to rally, was in the process of quitting the field altogether.
FML Vukassovic leads Hessen-Homburg's unexpected
comeback!

The one ray of sunshine that was to pierce the northern darkness was to come from an unexpected quarter.  Placing himself at the head of Hessen-Homburg, FML Vukassovic rallied the hussars, exhorted them to a supreme effort, and led a headlong charge into the flank of the 18th Chasseurs.  In a trice and despite the presence of General Jacquinot, the chasseurs broke and vanished westwards.  Paul had to leave at this point.  Having gained the initiative the following turn, I would have liked to have sealed the Austrian resurgence here by attacking the other chasseur regiment.  This turned out to be mot possible on account of one unit being obstructed, and the other unable to wheel betimes.  Instead, they could do no more than to form a line of regiments and present a united front against the 19th Chasseurs.  The latter soon made off to join their comrades.


After that there is little more to relate.  For some time the weather had been threatening, the distant thunder (rattling of the dice, which began from move 10 to determine when it struck) heralding an approaching storm.  That didn't stop the counter attacks by Weber and Klenau Divisions


The grenadiers storm the French line...
Nor did it halt the long awaited assault bu the Grenadiers.  Much as I would have liked to have sent the two columns to attack simultaneously - I do like to hit hard - this turned into a right-and-left, one-two combination.  The right column went first.  Braving the defenders' musketry, gunfire and fire from a flanking line of skirmishers, the grenadiers smashed the French line back with ease.
... and break through on a wide front -
just as the thunderstorm breaks and ends the battle.

In went the second column.  The defenders took a considerable toll as the attackers forged on.  Shrugging them off, these grenadiers repeated the performance of their comrades.  Back went a second French unit, through the woods, and beyond.

With this breakthrough, perhaps the Austrians might have been able to achieve more, with the grenadiers trundling on and Klenau's Division joining them in a general assault. It was not to be.  The long threaten thunderstorm broke, and the action came to an end.  We had played out the 12 turns.

Well, I knew the parameters of the scenario, and in those terms, the French had won.  Our one Victory Point came from the churchyard we had taken from the French.  They could count the North Village, the Southwest Village and the dispersal of St-Julien's Division. In addition, our call upon the reserves awarded the French a fourth VP.   Although several French units had taken heavy batterings, not one French Division had routed off and dispersed.   Not had Marshal Davout seen the need to call upon the heavy horse of St-Sulpice.

The remaining 8 pictures show the state of the battlefield at the close of the action. They begin at the Austrian south wing, travel north, and then repeat on the French side

End of Battle - Austrian left flank
I had a ball in this battle, and from my perspective, this didn't feel like a defeat at all.  But I have to acknowledge that scoring more in the way of VPs was, in hindsight, probably more achievable than I believed at the time.  At that, had the grenadiers showed up at first or even second call, we might have been able to mount a whole 2-Division general assault upon the French right-centre, and who knows where that might have led?  I don't believe we have much to complain of in terms of play balance play-balance.  After all, the French reserves amounted to no more than two cuirassier regiments, and they felt no pressing need to call upon them.  This defeat did not feel like a defeat.
End of battle: Brady's division
This was my second outing with this rule set - the first was back in July, also with Mark's kit at his home (July posting).  I'll tell you what: Mark had to work hard to keep track of combat results and morale outcomes.  I tried to follow on the quick play sheets (4 pages, colour coded), but it took a long time even to figure out what columns I was supposed to be looking at. 
End of battle: the Austrian centre
There is a heck of a lot of chrome to these rules, and that seems to lead, judging by my experience so far, to a great deal of command 'friction'.  That friction can lead to frustration, there's no doubt.  Kaiser's division did its bit protecting East Village, but Paul and I wanted more than that from such a powerful formation.  Unsupported, St-Julien was simply outmatched.  Having said that, it is still possible to do things, given the patience.  It's hard, but not impossible, even for an unhandy army like the Austrians.  I would like to try playing the French, some time, though!
End of battle: Austrian right centre
There is, I think, a fair amount of luck, as well.  I enjoyed good fortune all day with the combat dice.  Maybe I could have ridden that luck, but I'm not really inclined that way.  I'm no gambler - or at least, not much of one.  Luck for mine describes past events, and says nothing of the future nor one's stannic bunns.
End of Battle: Austrian right wing


End of Battle - French right wing
Initiative plays a big role in this game.  With the better commanders and the more flexible armies, it much easier for the French to win the initiative.  The Austrian army makes up for this somewhat by its large infantry units, which can hit hard and are the more durable (although I suspect not proportionately so).  All the same, the four occasions out of twelve the initiative fell our way, we found ourselves able to do more than on the other occasions.  This was especially true of the three-turn sequence beginning about the middle of the game.  I had the same 3-move experience in July; that was when the Austrians were at their most dangerous.  Winning the initiative on Turn 1 was of immense benefit to the French, though, as, by advancing rapidly with a special order, they were able to seize all three non-baseline villages.  Thereafter, they were inclined to stand rather on the defensive, which might well have proved a riskier option than it seemed.

End of Battle: French centre-right
 Thanks Mark for a great day, and for Andrew's and Paul's participation. 
End of Battle: French centre and centre-left

End of Battle: French left wing.




Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Napoleonic clash, 1809

Davout at the Crossroads - General d'Armee Game

About a week ago I received an invitation from Mark to participate in a 'Napoleonic bash' at his place.  He would be providing the venue, the kit, the whole shebang.  That invitation was as welcome as it was unexpected.  'Sure', said I with thanks.  As I don't drive, Mark had to come across town to pick me up.  Game start was about 10:30.

The French right.  1st Chasseurs and 5th Hussars
leading 6th Hussars; the churchyard seized and occupied,
 the wood to the right being contested by a small
body of Austrian skirmishers.


The set-up

At the start of the 1809 campaign, Marshal Davout's III Corps d'Armee had found itself out of position and a portion of this Army Corps clashed with the Austrian IV Armeekorps at the Battle of Teugen-Hausen. In a "what if" variant of this circumstance, Mark postulated instead an encounter between Davout's whole Corps and the two Armeekorps of Feldmarschalls Kolowrat-Krakowski (II) and Hohenzollern-Hechingen (III). The rule set was General d'Armee, the forces about 5000 'points' per side.  Unfamiliar with the rules myself, I'm not sure what that means, but there was certainly a lot of kit on the table, by my count 608 French figures (516 foot, 60 horse and 32 gunners manning 8 cannon), with a further 24 Cuirassiers in off-table reserve; and 545 Austrian figures on table (465 foot, 48 horse, and 32 gunners for 8 cannon).  The Austrians could call upon an extra 148 figures from the off table reserve (108 Grenadiers, 24 Cuirassiers and 4x12 pr position battery cannon each with 4 crew.  Something over 1300 figures on the table is something to see all right! 

For Mark's account of the set up and action check out the Chasseur blogspot.
Low level view from the Austrian left, looking north.

The Austrians had twice as many artillery immediately as the French, and could call upon half as much again from the reserves - a considerable edge.  But the limited Austrian command (I don't like the word 'poor' in this context) and the large unwieldy infantry units, made the Austrians unhandy in manoeuvre, however formidable once they got into a fight.  Their large size made them the more enduring.

In light troops, the Austrians were also less well served than their opponents, having just two specialist units (one jager and one grenze in the Corps' respective Advance Guard formations).  In the other Divisions, skirmishers were drawn from the line infantry and 'brigaded' into weak ad hoc  formations. The French while low on artillery, have excellent command and a great number of light troops. Both sides have similar numbers of cavalry, the French having an edge in numbers, but the sides well matched in quality.  Overall the Austrians were stolid, enduring but not rigid; the French far more flexible.

Mark had 'bathtubbed' the action, what amounted to brigade strength formations standing in for Divisions.  I tended to think of the formations as Divisions anyway, with each unit representing a regiment of two or more battalions/squadrons rather than a single battalion/squadron, and each pair of guns representing two batteries. 
French had 23 infantry regiments (Mark said 25, but I can count only 23: 15 Line, 4 'Veteran' Light and 4 Voltigeur), 4 artillery, and 7 cavalry.
Austrians have 18 infantry regiments (all but two being large: 12 Line, 1 jager, 1 Grenze, 3 Grenadier, plus 11 skirmisher companies), 8 artillery, and 6 cavalry.

Victory Conditions
Both sides have similar objectives - take strategic positions around the central crossroads and press the enemy. Points are scored for the following and whoever has the most points when the game ends wins.
  • Each enemy Division destroyed is 1 point
  • Each built up area held is 1 point, holding the enemy baseline built up area is 3 points
  • Committing any reserves is negative 1 point

Game Length
The game is 12 turns, but from turn 10 the game ends start of each turn on a die roll of 5-6 due to severe thunderstorms (such thunderstorms ended the battle of Teugen-Hausen).

FRENCH Forces

All French Divisional Commanders are Excellent (free reroll if Hesitant result).

III Corps d'Armee: Marshal Davout.

General view of the French left - the Divisions of Morand
and Friant.

The French centre right.  Gudin's Division I think.
Left Wing: Morand and Friant: 4 ADC's (Andrew)
1st Div Morand: Veteran Legere, 4 Ligne, 5 Skirmisher Coys (stands), Battery
2nd Div Friant: Veteran Legere, 4 Ligne, 5 Skirmisher Coys, Battery
Light Cavalry Jacquinot: 2 Campaign Chasseurs-a-Cheval (18th and 19th?)

Right Wing: Gudin and St-Hilaire : 4 ADC's (Mark)
3rd Div Gudin: Veteran Legere, 4 Ligne, 5 Skirmisher, Battery
4th Div St-Hilaire: Veteran Legere, Veteran Ligne, 3 Ligne, 5 Skirmisher, Battery
Light Cavalry Pajol: 2 Veteran Hussars (5th and 6th), 1 Campaign Chasseur (1st?)


Reserve 2nd Heavy Cavalry, St-Sulpice: 2 Veteran Cuirassiers (Large), (+1 ADC)

Austrian left: Weber's Division (closest camera), Klenau's
Advance Guard Division, and skirmishers
 of Brady's Division in the distance.

AUSTRIAN Forces:

II Armeekorps - Feldzeugmeister Kolowrat-Krakrowsky: 3 ADC's (Ion 'Archduke Piccolo')
Advance Guard FML (Feldmarshalleutnant) Klenau : Jager, Line Infantry (Large), Uhlans, Dragoons*, Cavalry Battery
1st Div FML von Brady: 2 Line Infantry (Large), 2 Skirmisher, Battery
2nd Div FML Weber von Truenefels: 3 Line Infantry (Large), 3 Skirmisher, Battery

Austrian left centre: parts of Klenau's command, and
Brady's Division.


Austrian centre right: most of Kaiser Division (one
regiment is occupying the East Village, and
all of St-Julien, advancing between the villages
III Armeekorps - FML Hohenzollern-Hechingen: 3 ADC's (Paul 'Jacko')

Advance Guard FML von Vukassovic: Grenz (Pieterwardeiner), 2 Veteran Hussars (2nd and 4th)**, Cavalry Battery

1st Div FML Lusignan: 3 Line Infantry (Large), 3 Skirmisher, Battery

2nd Div FML St Julien: 3 Line Infantry (Large), 3 Skirmisher, Battery


  
Austrian right flank: Vukassovic's command:
Pieterwardeiner Grenze, Erzherzog Ferdinand Husaren
and Hessen-Homburg Husaren, together with Div Arty.


Grenadier Reserve: 3 Veteran Infantry (Large), (+1 ADC)
Cuirassier Reserve: 2 Veteran Cuirassiers,  (+1 ADC)
Artillery Reserve : 2 Position 12pdr Batteries

* Mark told me the Austrian unit brigaded with the uhlans were dragoons, but I suspect they were actually chevauxlegers - the equivalent of the French chasseurs-a-cheval or the British light dragoons.  


** According to Mark, an extra Hussar unit was added for reasons of balance, but my own researches indicate that the 2nd (Erzherzog Josef) and 4th (Hessen-Homburg) Hussars both belonged to III Armeekorps.  In view of other units being scaled back from 3 to 1 battalion, I infer that Mark originally intended to omit one of them.

Actually, Mark and I began the action and got in a couple of turns by the time Andrew arrived late morning and Paul shortly thereafter.  At that particular moment things were looking none too bright for the Austrians right across the table.  If anything, prospects on the left (southern) wing were looking the bleaker - Rohan infantry, having lost their fire-discipline and become unformed, under attack by French light horse -  so, figuring it would be unfair to throw Paul into it, took that wing for myself and handed over the right.  As it transpired I may have done Paul no favours at all.

Narrative:

The day began inauspiciously enough for the Austrians, the French seizing the initiative at once and, with it,  the the two villages that had lain between the opposing forces.  For the lack of better identifiers the villages will be names thus: North Village (on the Austrian right), East Village (Austrian baseline, worth 3VP to the French if they could take, carry or seize the place), West Village (French baseline, worth 3VP to the Austrians), Churchyard (containing a fine eccesiastical establishment that was the pride of the district for miles around) and Southwest Village on the French right flank.


St-Julien Division rumbles forward...

A little post-battle research has suggested identities for most of the Austrian II Armeekorps' units, but apart from the Grenze and hussars, I am a whole deal less confident about the right wing III Armeekorps, or even which Division was which.  This latter wing was to run into a whole deal of trouble during the course of the day.  Partly this was due to my rather hasty advance of the lead regiment (1st, Kaiser Franz?) towards the enemy line flanking the North Village.  I had intended the following units, together with the Pieterwardeiner Grenze to their right, to carry out a general assault on the place.  Unfortunately, the Hungarian Division that  was covering the East Village proved 'hesitant' during at part of the time I was handling them, and pretty much refused to budge the entire time Paul had them under his command.  
Kaiser Division.  For some reason this Division hardly
stirred, all day.

One of the features of General d'Armee game system is that it isn't easy to develop the kind of attacks I prefer - at least, not until one has developed a familiarity with the system.  Recalling my only previous experience with it, last July (see here), things were much easier if one seized the initiative for several turns in a row  - not easy for the Austrians.  Back then, they managed for three successive turns late in tha action to mount a dangerous attack on the hinge of the French Line.  In this action we also were able to turn a three-turn sequence with the initiative to mount several successful attacks against the French Left Wing. 
Brady Division.  The smoke indicates loss of
fire discipline by Zettwitz Infantry
After some delay the II Corps Division Brady began to rumble forwards, leaving its right flank refused to offer a clear field of fire for the brigade battery on the hill.  A French unit of chasseurs-a-pied pressed into the gap to bring the Austrian artillery under skirmisher fire.  The French got the better of the early exchanges, too, the right hand Austrian column - Zettwitz Infantry - losing their fire discipline, and the battery itself incurring a 'fatigue' loss.  This duel was to continue for much of the day.
Division Klenau advances - slowly - towards the churchyard
 After a hesitant beginning, the II Corps Adbance Guard lurched slowly into motion.  As constituted, this was quite an interesting formation, and performed extremely well on the day.  Early on, the 1st (Merveldt) Uhlans sought to relieve the thin line of 2nd Division skirmishers by charging a French column through the enemy skirmish line at that moment attempting to drive the Austrians out of the south woods.  The French chasseurs and voligeurs scattered in gratifying fashion, whereat the Uhlans drove on into the French line.  Having formed square betimes, the infantry saw off the unlans easily.
Neither unhappy nor surprised at the result, I was pleased enough that my uhlans had got off with frifling loss.  The 2nd Div skirmish line comprised just two stands.  It could not sustain much punishment, yet the loss of this unit would have been as serious a matter as that of any other unit (the type of rule in which the rout or scattering of a skirmish line affects the morale of nearby close order troops makes no sense to me, but, there it is).  At least this little unit was permitted to occupy its advanced position in cover for a considerable while longer.  As the uhlans drew back, the guns of two Divisions brought the French infantry square under fire, and forced it back into the Southwest Village.
Stuart Infantry, ordered to charge the French column
has a bit of a think.  What is German for "It ain't
gonna happen"?
My intention was that the 18th (Stuart) Infantry would occupy the flank south of the woods and hold against possible French attacks in that region.  At one point I even contemplated a charge, but the Division became hesitant, and put paid to that idea.
The French square, having seen off the Austrian
uhlans, begins to take some stick from accurate
Austrian gunnery.  Nearby, the chasseurs are eyeing
the distant Austrian column.

The Austrians barely hang on
against the French light horse.
Having seen off the Austrian light horse attack, the lead French light horse, the 1st Chasseurs-a-cheval, chanced their arms against the other 2nd Div foot, the 21st (Rohan) Infantry.  This was a pretty fraught moment for the Austrians, as the column lost its fire discipline, then fell into disorder - became 'unformed'.  Possibly only the very size of the amorphous mob saved them, for, despite their elan, the chasseurs could make no impression, and soon made off with some loss.  Rohan infantry were left to reform.
Events are developing but slowly just north of the
churchyard.
This was not to last, as the French tried a second, more powerful attack with their veteran hussars, the 6th, supported by the 5th.  
A formidable French skirmish line - hardly a fair
contest against Austria's exiguous line.

On the northern flank, events were developing more slowly.  Having rushed forward to sieze the North Village, the French seemed content to wait upon the Austrians to come to them, rather than to push on.  This did not stop them pushing their skirmishers right up into the Austrian faces, and a certain amount of bickering developed between the respective skirmish lines right across the front.  

In this sector, little would happen until very late.

Outmatched as they were, the Austrians could not keep up this unequal duel for long, and it certainly was never going to wrest the North Village from the enemy grip.  At the point at which Paul took over this wing, I had pushed the lead regiment of St Julien's Division right up to and across the north-south road.  
The chasseurs having (barely) failed to shift Rohan
Infantry (marked by the distant smoke), the French Hussars
are planning to strike before the Austrians can reform.
Although I had no intention that it remain there isolated and unsupported, the vicissitudes of battle worked against us.

On the south flank, the French once more attempted to force the woods occupied by Weber's skirmishers.  For such a small unit, they performed very well all day, relinquishing the wooded area in their own good time, and incurring only slight losses.

In the south centre, the French also elected to stand and weather whatever the Austrians might throw at them.  Generalleutnant Brady had been issued his orders: assauly and carry the churchyard.  The heavy regimentasl columns ground forward.


5069 Following their earlier reverses, the French again tried their luck against the Rohan infantry. Having not yet recovered their order or fire discipline from their earlier fight, once more it seemed all up against the Austrian foot.  They were faced by veteran light horse, and they supported as well.  Against that, Rohan Infantry could call upon the support of at least one battery.  That was to make a crucial difference.
The hussars' turn to try conclusions with Rohan Infantry!
Unable to make head against Rohan's stout refusal to distegrate, the hussars themselves made off behind their own infantry close by the churchyard.
The hussars repulsed. Feldzeugmeister Kollowrat
takes a mental mote to mention Rohan Infantry
in dispatches. Attacks begin against the churchyard.
Against the churchyrad itself, Zach Infantry didn't exactly fling itself into a violent assault.  Advancing into musketry range, they found the defendes' fire brisk enough to induce a halt.  The Austrian return fire, supported by Lenau's Advance Guard artillery was to prove more than the churchyard garrison could stand.  Hastily they abandoned the place.
The lead Austrian infantry holding out against immense
pressure from French musketry.
Close by the North Village, the lead Austrian regiment had formed a battle line, but were becoming increasingly isolated.  Far from attacking, they were to defend themselves for quite some time against musketry coming in from three sides.  (Aside:  Concentrating on my own sector, I wasn't too aware of events developing - or failing to develop - on the northern half of the battlefield.  Paul tells me that at no time could he get Generalleutnant Kaiser's Division to move - the vagaries of the dice to determine each Division's decisiveness.  I recall at one point (this after the grenadiers had arrived) that all four of my Divisions rolled OK for orders.  Decent chance of winning the initiative roll, I thought.  How did Paul do?  Every Division - all four - became 'hesitant'.  There went the initiave roll (of course) and for that turn Paul could do very little to change the situation.)
Unable myself to bring forward Stuart Infantry on the exteme southern flank - Weber's Division 'hesitating' at this time, I formed them into line to act as a flank guard.  For this move, I kept Weber's little band of skirmishers in the woods for this move, but they were to be withdrawn in due course.  Meanwhile French foot chasseurs were rather audaciously pressed forward beyond the churchyard to bring Klenau's artillery under fire.
French chasseurs rather boldly advance...
On my other wing, close by the east-west highway, French foot chasseurs and Austrian brigade artillery continued their duel, losses mounting on both sides.  This had the effect of confining Brady's Division onto a narrower front than it might have occupied.  Partially to equalise its own firefight, Colloredo infantry formed line.  Zettwitz infantry waited in support.
Events on the right having developed badly for Austria, Paul and I agreed that we should call upon our Reserve Corps.  As it happened, although our calling upon them cost just one Victory Point - presumably the Archduke Charles wished to retain this Corps uncommitted - each arm, Cuirassiers, Grenadiers and heavy field artillery, had to be diced for separately.  Paul chose the Cuirassiers to begin with, as likelier to achieve something on the rather constricted battleground, as they could not be brought onto the battlefield farther than 60cm from the centre line of the east-west road.
On the extreme right, where the cuisssiers might have been the more welcome, neither side seemed to be willing to try conclusions in a close order fight, apart from the artillery and Pieterwardeiner Grenze peppering the North Village garrison.
Fond as I am of the Austrian Army of the Napoleonic era, I am probably not suited to be an Austrian commander.  I like to think of myself as a pugnacious wargames general, fond of attack, and always on the lookout for the chance.  The appearance of an infantry line pushing towards the South woods, then being evacuated by Weber's skirmishers ,prompted the Uhlans to try a second charge, supported this time by the chevauxlegeres.  The chasseurs scattered out of the way, of course, and then the uhlans hit the infantry line.  (Aside: This was one of those instances in which measurement showed the target unit right on the extreme margins of the charge move.  Was it 'in' or 'out'?  In the end Mark proposed a 50-50 die roll, I accepted, and we abode the result.  The uhlans duly rode into the enemy line.)
The charge of Austrian light horse: uhlans and chevauxlegers
Catching the French infantry in line, the ride them down,
scatter the skirmishers and plunge into the mounted
Chasseurs.

At the same time, in view of Brady's attack having stalled, Kollowrat flung in the Archduke Charles Infantry against the churchyard.  Brady's  musketry attack had been successful insofar as to induce the garrison to pull out, but a supporting French battalion had as quickly reoccupied the place.  From memory, the garrison was as yet unformed as the Archduke Charles Infantry - no holding back here - rolled into them.  Shrugging off the defenders' fire, the Austrians pitched the Frenchmen out with the bayonet and setlled down to place the churchyard into a state of defence.

As it transpired, no serious attack to recover the churchyard was mounted by the French for the remainder of the day.  
Now it is the chasseurs' turn to feel the points of the
Austrian lances.


 5083 Meanwhile, the uhlans rode down the enemy infantry line in such emphatic fashion that they permitted themselve to plunge on - straight into and over the 1st Chasseurs-a-cheval.  I 'm not sure what happened to them, but they don't seem to appear in any of the subsequent pictures!
 5084
Where have all the chasseurs gone?
Naturally, the French reaction to this rude irruption and the signal defeat of two of its finest units in the Grande Armee was swift.  The veteran hussar units wheeled to face the triumphant Austrians.  Vengeance was nigh!
The French hussars prepare to drive the Austrian horse
out the gap they have created in the French line

The churchyard won, Archduke Charles Infantry
hastily prepare for counterattack...

To be continued...