Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Nationalist and republican Reinforcements

Several odds and ends to flesh out my SCW CoC collection.

Field Guns, nationalist and Republican Standard Bearers, Tanks, Armoured Cars and Tiznaus

Monday, 9 March 2015

Blucher Eye candy - Battle of Zellerode 1809

Pre-battle Campaign

Scharnhorst is a pre-game campaign system which generates even more Fog of War within Blucher. Both players start with an agreed number of points with which they must build their armies. Once the army build is complete, both commanders allocate forces to four Columns which then move on a map eventually reaching the stage where a battle is fought between the opposing armies.

As most of my games are fought solo, I approached a good friend to see if we could work out how to use Scharnhorst to create a battle I could then fight solo without having an ‘all-seeing eye’. We came up with an old school solution – Play By E-Mail, which I have to say worked really well. 

I chose both starting forces (in hindsight I think it would work even better if Nick had done this) and then Nick and I created our columns, informing each other by email and/or text of our moves. Sadly in my eagerness to get the campaign underway I didn’t pick up that moves are alternate by Column until late in the play, however the end result was achieved and a very enjoyable solo game followed.

I certainly think this method would work well ahead a week or so before an actual game night so that no actual game time would be lost.

  • ·         PBEM is well suited to the Scharnhorst system
  • ·         Adds to the FoG of War
  • ·         Leaves more time to play the actual battle when done by PBEM

Room for improvement:
  • ·         Opponent should decide the army build
  • ·         Don’t forget IGo-Ugo by columns!
Nick and I have been gaming together for years so there’s a high level of trust between us. PBEM would need to be moderated by a third party for competition style play.

Background to the Actual Battle
French forces have been massing on the Austrian border for weeks. Incensed at this sabre-rattling the Austrians have mobilised to meet the threat head on.

Determined to gain an upper hand, the Austrian CinC massed reconnaissance units in force under the very able Cavalry Hero Keinmeyer and chose to make his move from West to East across the Northern Germany Campaign Map.

Despite out-scouting the French, the Austrians found themselves brought to battle on less than favourable terms over a very barren battlefield dominated by the town of Zellerode which is flanked on three sides by minor rivers. Furthermore some very clever manoeuvring by the French CinC had brought about another real threat – that of a flanking reinforcement march.

With fewer Campaign Victory Points in hand, the Austrians needed to break the French Army and rout them from the field to win. The French simply needed nightfall to arrive before the Austrians could achieve this to secure their own crushing campaign victory.

Austrian Forces
CinC – Martain
1st Division (Map grid B4) – Led by Bellegarde (Hero)
Avant Garde Bde, Veteran Infantry Bde, Grenadier Brigade, Cuirassier Bde
2nd Division (Map grid C4) – Led by Keinmeyer (Cavalry Hero)
Avant Garde Bde, Conscript Infantry Bde, Landwehr Brigade, Hussar Bde
3rd Division (Reinforcements arriving at Map grid B4)
Avant Garde Bde, Conscript Infantry Bde, Landwehr Brigade*, Cavalry Bde
*Did not make the battle – delayed arriving
4th Division (Map grid B4)
Veteran Infantry Bde, Grenadier Bde, Cavalry Brigade, Massed Foot Artillery Brigade

Assigned to Reconnaissance:
Keinmayer, III Division Avant Garde and Cavalry Brigade

French Forces
CinC – Bellame
1st Division (Reinforcements arriving at Map grid D4)
Elite Infantry Bde, Ligne Bde, French Model Allied Infantry Bde, Light Cavalry Bde*
*Did not make the battle – Garrisoned in Zuckerritz
2nd Division (Map grid B5)
Elite Infantry Bde, Ligne Bde, French Model Allied Infantry Bde, Light Cavalry Bde
3rd Division – led by Ney (Hero) (Map grid C5)
Ligne Bde x2, Allied Infantry Bde, Heavy Massed artillery Bde
4th Division (Map grid C5)
French Model Allied Infantry Bde x2, Allied Infantry Bde (garrisoned in Zellerode), Light Cavalry Bde

Assigned to reconnaissance:
2nd Division Light Cavalry Brigade

The Map and the actual Battlefield

Final positions on the Campaign Map.
Columns 1 and D did not participate in the battle.
Column B and 4 were reinforcing columns.
The actual battlefield is outlined in red with Zellerode in C5

The battlefield of Zellerode

How the battle of Zellerode was won
Having declared the battle the French got to move first. Safe in the knowledge that the only way the Austrians could win the campaign was by breaking the French force before nightfall, Bellame was more than content to sit back and wait for the Austrians to come to him.

Martain, knowing that Bellame knew he could only lose the campaign by being broken set about doing just that. Worryingly for the Austrians there was also the very real threat of a French Reinforcement on their own right flank.

The Austrians would need to be sharp and sought to assault the French left flank whilst feigning towards Zellerode and the French right.......

Initial deployments. French in the foreground.

French right flank

French right flank

Austrian right flank feignting towards Zellerode whilst
 protecting the expected French reinforcement route

Battlefield view from the South 

The Austrian left flank sallys forward

The Austrian left flank marching towards the French right

The Austrian feignt towards Zellerode 'top down'

The French left flank

The French line North of Zellerode. French Heavy Artillery opens fire!

Austrians close on the French centre - the French artillery is causing casualties

The view from the East.
In the far West Austrian Reinforcements enter the fray but are too far away to be identified

The Austrian reinforcements use a reserve move to threaten the French right,
however the Austrians in the middle are finding it tough to get to grips with the French
due to their skirmishing lines proving very effective

Austrian Reserve. The ploughed fields would make like tough for the Austrians

The battle of the french right becomes a pivotal focus. Austrian losses are mounting

The French left flank has lost a unit retired due to losses from the Austrian Artillery but holds firm

At midday the French Reinforcements arrive to the Southwest of Zellerode and immediately
bring the Austrian right flank to bear with the advantage of numbers

The Austrian right flank begins to buckle

Flanked and outnumbered the Austrian right flank wavers

With time against them the Austrian centre mounts a desperate assault against the French lines

Weight of numbers favour the Austrians. Even the presence of Ney does little for french chances

The French centre buckles. Ney Holds the line but numbers will surely tell for the Austrians?

The Austrian right crumbles, Grenadiers being run down by French Light Cavalry. HUSSAH!!

Having despatched the Austrian Right flank, the French Left flank regroups.

Ney's command is pushed back as one unit routs across the river.
The Austrian follow up is almost exhausted. To the North and the French
right flank, the Austrian advance is checked with appalling casualties.

Despite an Austrian breakthrough in the centre, French reserves
press against the exposed Austrian right hoping to roll up a flank

With the Austrian's in disarray, even the Garrison at Zellerode sallys out to join the battle.