From: Houston, TX
LEIPZIG 1813 AAR
This is an AAR for analysis of my test of my “Leipzig 1813” scenario. As I did with the “France 1944 D-Day”, “Germany 1945 (Last Stand)”, and “Soviet Union 1941” AARs, I’ll play both sides in hot seat (“changing hats” each player turn). The game was played using TOAW version 126.96.36.199. With almost 600,000 participants, this was the largest pre-modern battle in history.
Before we start, let’s review the scenario a bit.
1. Special Settings: Not only is this scenario about a Napoleonic topic, it borders on Grand-Tactical scale. That stretches the TOAW system enough to require special rules and settings. First, editor settings prevent digging in, and allow free hex conversion. Movement doesn’t expend supply at all, and expends readiness at a reduced rate. Density penalties have been halved, but the forces are so large that they will still be experienced in many situations. Movement allowances have been increased to account for the fact that, while the nominal scale is 2.5km/hex, the true scale is 0.48km/hex. All pre-dawn turns are under a cease-fire – combat is not possible.
2. Special Rules: But even with these settings, special house rules still have to be employed to address issues with artillery and cavalry. At this scale, line-of-sight rules had to be devised for artillery. Furthermore, they may not be placed in any reserve deployment – so they can only apply their defense strength to the hex they occupy. And cavalry strengths are based upon the assumption that they are charging. Therefore, they are forbidden to be used against terrain where charging would be impossible (unless the defender contains cavalry as well).
3. The Forces: The composition of the forces is very similar. However, the French, thanks to the large Guard contingent, have a slight edge in average proficiency, and a significant edge in commander proficiency (expressed in shock levels). And the French are a more homogeneous force – sometimes giving an edge in cooperation. The Allies, however, have a huge edge in combined material – almost two-to-one. The Allies also have an edge in Night Combat – the one Night turn each day will give them their best opportunities. Neither side receives replacements nor can any units reconstitute.
4. The Map: Major rivers divide the map into east and west sections, with the city of Leipzig on the west side – making it a potential trap for the French. All woods contain badlands, making them almost unusable as defensive positions or flanking paths (not to mention that it gives them an “autumn” coloration). That allows them to secure flanks – as they did historically. Occupation of peak hexes is critical for visibility of the enemy lines. Since units can’t dig in, the rare fortified line terrain, as well as the few urban hexes, are important defensive possessions. Ridge hexsides (modified border hexsides) block artillery line-of-sight via house rules – even for adjacent units.
5. The Starting Situation: While they will ultimately field almost twice the material as the French, the Allies start out in a vulnerable situation. The French have most of their force already on the map, while less than half of the Allies have arrived. Worse, they are widely divided in the starting deployment. But they have the pre-dawn to straighten things out. And Blucher’s Silesian Army is about to start arriving to the north. However, they will have to hold out till the 18th for the Polish Reserve Army and the Army of the North to arrive. This gives the French player a short window of opportunity to exploit his concentration advantage.
6. The Ending Situation: Later, as the battle nears Leipzig, it may trigger the defection of the Saxon forces from the French to the Allies. And if the Allies get too close to the bridge out of Leipzig, it may be blown early – possibly trapping French forces in Leipzig, figuratively. By that, I mean there will be a victory award to the Allies depending upon the French communications with the map edges. On the 19th, the French supply point in Leipzig is removed. They will need to secure a map-edge supply point by then if they wish to remain supplied.
7. Victory: Except for that special award mentioned above, victory will depend upon the Loss Penalties and awards for each unit destroyed. There are no VP locations on the playable map section. Rather, every unit in the game has a VP associated with it, which will be awarded upon its destruction. With an Attrition Divider setting of 50, it’s hard to gain VPs via the Loss Penalties or even to attrit units. That makes it critical to actually destroy units, thereby gaining the VP awards for them, and for the bulk loss of equipment that unit destruction brings. To achieve that, it’s usually necessary to cut them off. That makes it critical for forces to prevent the enemy from flanking or penetrating their lines.
Let’s get started.