Rasputitsa -> Campaigns on the Danube AAR with House Rules (4/30/2019 9:39:03 AM)
The purpose of this AAR is to test a what-if scenario playing as the French against the Coalition AI.
In the previous v3.05, I played as Austrians against the French AI, but with self imposed house rules to replicate the historical lack of co-ordination and initiative of the Austrian commanders.
The result was a narrow win for me, which I suppose is good, because it shows that the house rules provided a good balance, whilst a big win, or loss, would have indicated an unbalanced game.
Playing as French is not much of a challenge, as they are more capable than the Austrian Coalition, unless you really mess up the game, so looking for ways to add to the challenge and level the playing field.
I know that I can change the balance of the game with 'favour French/Coalition' settings, but I don't want to play with a diminished army and I want an AI opponent that keeps its historical fighting capabilities. I think that house rules provide this balance, without disturbing the historic capabilities of either side.
Having used house rules to provide a historical limitation on my Austrians when playing against eh AI in the last game, so now how to limit the capabilities when playing as the French. I don't want destroy the historic capabilities of the French units and their commanders, but still get some balance in favour of the AI Coalition.
The game has no editor, so I cannot change the French OOB, but decided to reduce the available French units by 'parking' selected units on the edge of the map, where they should not affect the AI's decisions and then play on with what's left.
There are 'what-if' historical situations which might have drawn off some of NAPOLEON's forces for both 1805 and 1809 scenarios. There was a possibility of a British landing somewhere on the Channel coast, or Prussia may have been drawn into the conflict, by the infringement of their territory at Ansbach in 1805, or the insulting diktats that NAPOLEON imposed on them, leading up to the 1809 campaign.
Part of Austrian plan was to encourage uprisings against NAPOLEON in the German States, 'what-if' that worked, as it did in the Tyrol.
The plan is to 'park' selected French corps out of the conflict, to simulate forces sent to other theatres. NAPOLEON did not choose these campaigns, they were forced on him by the Coalition and he must fight with whatever is available.
The selected units have to be far enough away so as not to influence the AI moves, so I am trying hexes 01,22 and 01,01 to see if that is effective in removing French forces without affecting the game.
It will take some practice to find the units to remove to get a nice balance to play a challenging game as NAPOLEON.
'The Invasion of Bavaria' - 9th April 1809 - 'Campaign' option selected, giving end date 14th July 1809, CotD v3.05 with my own adapted copies of the CHEMKID Map and Counter Mods.
FOW set 'Hidden Enemy'.
What-if scenario - VANDAMME ordered to 01,22 and I will not use BERNADOTTE (due in 24 days), or GRENIER (due in +72 days), they will be ordered to the map edge as they arrive.
These are self imposed choices, but also experimenting with a SourceForge APP 'Random File Picker', which will randomly select situations from a series of prepared folders that will permit options to vary the scenarios.
Victory conditions French must capture VIENNA, or defeat the Austrian army, or lose.
Available forces French - Player
Emperor NAPOLEON Army Commander
LANNES (II Corps)
DAVOUT (III Corps)
MASSENA (IV Corps)
LEFEBVRE (VII Corps)
MOUTON (Guard) - arriving ULM in 5 days
MACDONALD (Mac Corps) in +72 days
GROUCHY (Gro Corps) in +72 days
MARMONT (XI Corps) in +72 days
Units not taken as what-if option for this scenario
VANDAMME (Wu Corps) what-if option, diverted into the Tyrol to counter Archduke JOHN
BERNADOTTE (IX Corps) - what-if option, diverted towards Ansbach, due Prussian mobilisation.
GRENIER (Gre Corps) what-if option, will be diverted on arrival in +72 days to assist against Prussia
Austrian forces - AI
Archduke CHARLES Army Commander
BELLEGARDE I Corps
KOLOWRAT II Corps
HOHENZOLLERN III Corps
ROSENBERG IV Corps
LOUIS V Corps
HILLER VI Corps
LIECHTENSTEIN I-R Corps
KIENMAYER II-R Corps
The scenario opens with the Emperor at ULM, with the corps of MASENNA , VANDAMME and the Engineers, whilst DAVOUT is at ECKMUHL and LEFEBVRE is between ECKMUHL and INGOLSTADT. LANNES is at AUGSBURG.
MOUTON and the Imperial Guard will arrive at ULM in 5 days, also there will be some reserve units attached directly to NAPOLEON ( Nansouty, Rouyer, Gency, Bruyer ).
VANDAMME is ordered to defend hex 01,22 to 'park' him out of the way, as part of the what-if, dealing with an uprising in the Tyrol.
Historically BERTHIER was in command at this stage and when the AI plays as French, NAPOLEON is locked in ULM, by the game, for several turns to reflect this delay in command (Napoleon actually reached the front on 17 April 1809). However, I have command as NAPOLEON and I make him free to move immediately. I have given the AI an advantage by not using some of the available French Corps, so I will make use of NAPOLEON straight away.
The Emperor has decided to maintain a forward position, until Austrian intentions become clear and, whilst the safe option would be to withdraw forward units towards AUGSBURG, he intends to concentrate the units coming forward from ULM (MASENNA, MOUTON and the reserve units) through AUGSBURG towards LANDSHUT.
A safer option would have been to concentrate on LANNES further back, but that would have meant giving up part of BAVARIA, which would have been politically damaging and I don't see NAPLOEON doing that.
However, with a forward concentration, DAVOUT's III Corps and LEFEBVRE's VII Corps must hold their positions near the Danube alone, until the rest of the army can arrive.
The game gives significant and varied Strategic decisions right from the start.
Turn 01 - 09th April, weather Clear
Supply set to 'computer control', LOC and Hospital set to AUGSBURG.
NAPOLEON expects DAVOUT to stay at ECKMUHL and he will move to that town and attach himself to DAVOUT's III Corps.
Initially I gave no order to DAVOUT, but on his own initiative, he started to retreat towards INGOLSTADT, probably a smart move, but I have decided on forward defence, so will order him back to ECKMUHL.
LEFEBVRE is ordered to 'defend' the Danube crossing at STRAUBING.
St Sulpice cavalry (detached) is detached from DAVOUT's III Corps to probe through REGENSBURG toward CHAM, with 'fallback' orders, to watch for Austrian movements on the Northern flank.
Deroi infantry is detached from LEFEBVRE's VII Corps to 'defend' the crossing at LANDSHUT and watch for any Austrian approach on the Southern flank. Wrede infantry is detached to 'defend' the crossing at STRAUBING, neither unit will be able to stop a serious advance, but they will detect it and may delay such an advance. Montbrun cavalry is also detached from III Corps to support Wrede at STRAUBING.
The Emperor dislikes these detachments, as he wants to keep the large corps of DAVOUT concentrated as a powerful striking force, aided with his own attributes by attaching to DAVOUT, but he cannot allow the Austrians to approach undetected.
LANDAU is too far forward to cover, so DAVOUT is ordered to use the small supply depot there to empty supply from this exposed position.
LANNES has just left AUGSBURG, ordered to 'defend' LANDSHUT and cover the Southern flank, whilst the rest of the army is held up near ULM on the congested roads, although struggling forward to AUGSBURG.
The crossing over the Danube near ULM is a bottleneck and slows the advance, especially when MOUTON and the reserve units arrive at ULM to be moved forward. I could have and should have used alternative routes for different units and maybe delayed the Emperor's departure from ULM.
Keeping NAPOLEON at ULM would have shortened orders delay, while organising and ordering forward these units.
During later turns I found that corps commanders were not passing on march orders exactly as given and congestion developed on the ULM /AUGSBURG road. Orders had to be repeated and re-directing some units would have helped, but orders delay made this difficult to accomplish with NAPOLEON now heading for ECKMUHL.
The learning point is that the army commander (NAPOLEON/CHARLES) should always be close to the action to have the best effect, but the action is not necessary always combat and in this case movement was the vital issue, to get units forward. Keeping NAPOLEON at ULM may have been the smart move, as DAVOUT could take care of himself for a few days, but that's hindsight. It was not clear how fast the Austrians would approach and NAPOLEON wants to be at the sharp end.
There is a large supply depot at MUNICH (2000 supply points), with no forces available to defend it, the first effect of the what-if house rule 'parking' and not using VANDAMME. Supply must be sent back to the LOC at AUGSBURG and, although the game will allow the player to form supply convoys of up to 1000 points, this seems excessive, so by another house rule, only using convoys of 300 points per turn will be allowed from a city the size of MUNICH.
It will take several days to empty this depot, so the cavalry of d'Espange is detached from LANNES II Corps to cover MUNICH, from 2 hexes East of the city with 'fallback' orders. It is not expected that one cavalry division can save the city, but it will give warning and may delay the Austrians. Each day's delay will save another 300 supply points, which could be vital in a long scenario that may take the army to VIENNA.
House Rule :
The player may form supply convoys of no more than 100 supply points, for each town, per turn/day.
Except those originating from larger cities including AUGSBURG, LINZ, MUNICH, REGENSBURG, PILSEN, ULM and VIENNA, which can be up to 300 supply points for each convoy, per turn/day.
Note : the computer controlled supply system rarely sends out supply convoys with more than 100 supply points.