Friday, July 8, 2011

The Battle of LIGNY, 1815 CONCLUSION!

The French players were lead by David Bonk [Vandamme], and included John Manning, Dan Druckman [Dn.Lefol], Rob Walter [Dn.Berthezene] , Paul Crouch [Dn. Habert], Guy Gormley and Guy Jr.,[Dn.Girard] .

The Prussian players were lead by John Snead [Ziethen], and included Todd Kauderer, Scott Monteith [Dn.Steimetz] , Jon Davenport, Tom Ballou [Dn.Pirch II], Tom Cusa and Chris Maine [Dn.Tippelskirch] .

Here are the results:

Major victory for the Armee du Nord

The Armee du Nord has suffered losses of:
[ 9%] 2524 men of all arms
[ 7%] 1912 dead and wounded
[ 1%] 486 missing
[ 0%] 126 prisoners

[ 10%] 2362 bayonets
[ 0%] 0 sabres
[ 9%] 162 artillerists
3 cannon[s] lost
Honors: [ 107] 1/23e Ligne [John Manning]

The Army of the Lower Rhine has suffered losses of:
[ 20%] 6498 men of all arms
[ 3%] 1102 dead and wounded
[ 8%] 2781 missing
[ 8%] 2615 prisoners

[ 23%] 6423 bayonets
[ 0%] 0 sabres
[ 5%] 75 artillerists
Honors: [ 532] F.RIR 25 [Lutzow Freikorps] [Tom Cusa]

Losses include 2 General[s]:
[ 504] Karl Friedrich von Steinmetz - Severely wounded
[ 523] Beyer - Severely wounded

St.Amand - Assaulted by Dn.Lefol and defended by Dn.Steinmetz. The French eventually captured both strong points, also capturing virtually the entire strength of two Fusilier battalions and the attached Schutzen battalion. Steinmetz was wounded and captured himself in the village square outside of the church. The Prussians attempted to retake and relieve Steinmetz's isolated battalions within St.Amand by attacking across the bridge now defended by the French, but failed in each attempt, losing engineer officer Beyer to a severe wound as a consequence.

St.Amand-Long- Prez - Assaulted by Dn.Berthezene and Dn.Habert and defended by Dn.Pirch II. The French successfully captured both strong points south of the Ligny Brook, but were unable to press their advantage to capture the ferme La Haye. The defensive efforts of Dn.Pirch II resulted in the highest percentage casualties amongst any Prussian division, six of nine battalions being used up in their spirited defense.

Wagnelee - Assaulted by Dn.Girard and Dn.Tippelskirch. In advance of the Prussian arrival, the French seized the initiative by advancing upon the village of Wagnelee and the bridge to its east, which was masked by a Prussian 12 pdr battery. The opposing artillery engaged in counterbattery fire, with one French half battery losing a cannon and caisson, before being forced to retire. The Prussian infantry occupied the church luring the French to assault across the bridge. On their second attempt, led by GB Piat they were counterattacked by a Prussian Landwehr battalion who successfully pushed the French back from the bridge.

Napoleon released one brigade of the Young Guard to assist in the assault on St. Amand detaching a second to observe a mystery force arriving from the west, whilst Blucher called up three battalions of Dn.Kraft to counterattack the French hold on St. Amand-Long-Prez. But at this point it was clear that the Prussians were tiring and their morale sinking and Blucher took the only course open to him and ordered a withdrawal from their positions. The French were themselves exhausted by their efforts, and would need time to consolidate and form up ready to continue their assault. But with losses heavily against the Prussians Napoleon was in a position to claim a major victory.

With a few tweaks I am really looking forward to reprise this very different engagement at H'con in a few weeks.

There are photos here:
http://groups. group/carnageand glory2/photos/ album/2058237625 /pic/list

All the best

Here's the results from the Scenario being re-run at HISTORICON 2011!

We ran a repeat of the scenario that I hosted in CT for the 20th Anniversary. This time John, who had played Blucher originally, acted as table GM, which was much appreciated, as it helped move things along nicely. And the only other player that had played in CT was Scott Monteith, who switched from the Prussians to the French side to mix it up a little.

The French essentially repeated their successful tactics that had been seen in CT [Scott, was that your doing?]. With Lefol assaulting St. Amand, Berthezene and Habert focusing on St. Amand-Long-Prez in the center, and Girard scrambling for Wagnelee in advance of the imminent arrival of Tippelskirch in that area.

The result was the same as the previous game, and saw a French victory.

From my perspective, as GM, this French movement against Wagnelee is a game winner in many ways, as it closes down the threat of any Prussian incursion into the French rear position once they are committed to their attacks on St. Amand and St. Amand-Long-Prez. Historically, Vandamme, was forced to commit Habert's large division to contain the threat presented by Tippelskirch in this region as they attacked towards Le Hameau.

In our game, the French infantry, although much smaller in strength by individual battalion, were able to concentrate against the larger and lower quality Prussian opponents and decisively defeat them wherever they stood on the defensive. The disruptive terrain served not only as a detriment to movement, but also blocked fire potential, and the defending Prussians were never able to deliver enough fire to stop the multiple French attacks.

It occurred to me, again from the perspective of the GM, that the better policy for the Prussians would have been to act offensively, and to have countercharged the French whenever they were charged themselves. Deploying to line, and attempting to volley the French to a standstill only resulted in more exposure and the opportunity to be hit by multiple smaller French units. However, if the Prussians had remained in column and attacked on narrower frontages, they would have been one on one, and the weight of numbers in the Prussian battalions may have been enough to defeat the smaller individual battalions. I drew this conclusion, after I witnessed one Prussian company column storm the French held church in Wagnelee. The French had been worn down by Prussian musketry, from other battalions which refused to charge, but the elan of the one attacker was enough to dislodge the French defenders from a position that should have been very difficult to crack.

Clearly this is a very difficult scenario for the Prussians, mainly due to troop quality, but ultimately, both John and I felt that the best Prussian tactic would have been to literally abandon the villages, allowing the French to cross the stream at the choke point bridges and fords, where they would be first slammed by canister from close support artillery batteries and then counterattacked by company columns. The French would have been defeated piecemeal in this event.

I'll add the combat casualties and results later.

But thank you to all who participated, both the gallant but overwhelmed Prussian defenders, and the exultant French attackers.