Rasputitsa -> RE: Version 3.06 become v3.10 (2/8/2021 2:34:51 PM)
Turn 24 - 09th May 1809
The weather for this turn is 'Rain' and it has been raining for several days (turns), so the roads have become muddy, increasing movement delays and stress on marching troops.
The rain will also reduce the battle effects of fire weapons, muskets and cannon, it also reduces the chance of units, not already in the battle hex, hearing a battle and marching 'to the sound of the guns', even provided that this option has been selected in the corps commanders' info panel.
As a house rule, I am not using 'To the guns' for the Austrians to reflect their lack of co-ordination and initiative.
During this turn resolution, an information battle panel indicates a battle at (Hex - 22,12), as I feared at the crossroads, with the forces involved shown as – KOLOWRAT, 43 Inf/16 Cav/7 Art – MASSENA, 66 Inf/6 Cav/5 Art.
Each infantry point is worth 500 men, so KOLOWRAT has 21,500 infantry, whilst MASSENA has 33,000 infantrymen, a clear infantry advantage to the French.
Each cavalry point is worth 500 horsemen, so KOLOWRAT has 8000 cavalry, whilst MASSENA has only 3000 horsemen, a clear cavalry advantage to the Austrians.
Each artillery point is worth 48 pounds of shot, but 'one strength point can represent four
12-pounders, or eight 6-pounders and so on' (Manual).
So the artillery comparison is in hitting power, rather than in the number of actual guns, however, KOLOWRAT has a slight artillery advantage, with the combined guns of two Austrian corps, except that it is raining, which might reduce their effectiveness.
The first thing to note in choosing battle tactics is that, as Austrians, the Artillery will be an advantage if I want to 'Defend', or alternatively the Cavalry will be an advantage, if I want to cover a 'Withdraw', but which to choose?
When you move to the next battle screen, the centre of the main map is obscured and you cannot see the battle hex and terrain, so it would be an advantage if this next panel could slide to one side, or the map still scroll as with some of the other game screens and the battlefield hex could then still be seen.
However, because the map currently will not scroll after the next battle screen is selected, best do it now and slide the battle hex to one side, where you can see it when the next battle panel is displayed, as in the following image.
Which I keep forgetting to do !
Press 'continue', to move to the battle decision screen.
All the Austrian units are listed as already on the field, none are listed as entering in later battle rounds, so they will all be in the battle from Round One. KOLOWRAT is shown as the Austrian commander for this battle, although he will have the use of KIENMAYER's units.
This first battle screen shows your battle choices and the friendly forces involved, as the purpose of this initial battle screen is to select your battle strategy, from the options available. The available options will depend on the 'contact stance' which has previously been ordered and received for this corps commander. The battle commander’s 'Command Rating' will dictate what strategies he is capable of carrying out, depending on the skill (Battle Attributes) of the commander. Note that in v3.10 these can vary.
If units are noted as joining the battle in later rounds, you could choose 'Escalating Assault', or 'Defend in Depth', where your battle intensity starts low and increases in these later battle rounds, when those other units have become available.
When a corps commander has an 'engage' contact stance, the battle strategy options available will be more aggressive, towards assault and attack. If a corps commander has a 'defend' contact stance, the options will be less aggressive, as in this case, KOLOWRAT can choose Defend/Counter-attack/Withdraw/Defend in Depth, which are safer options in this situation. Changing KOLOWRAT to contact stance 'defend' last turn was a good decision, as he now has some good defensive battle choices. If he had been left at 'engage', he would have been committed to more dangerous attacking options, when enemy units of unknown strength are nearby.
Also in this screen, there is the option to resolve the battle out-of-game,using miniatures, or any other battle system. The game has an option to extract the battle data, resolving the battle in the system of your choice and inputting the results back into the game, to continue normal play.
This initial battle screen shows a list of Austrian units to be involved in the battle, their strength, experience and morale states. KOLOWRAT has the advantage of both his own corps' artillery and that of KIENMAYER, likewise he has some of KIENMAYER's infantry and cavalry. The units are all 'Steady', or 'Confident', which is good, but that may not be the case in future battles.
You also get some guidance in the battle intensity ratios, which will be used by each side for the different strategy options available and for each of the potential four rounds of battle, including those which could result from the various choices your opponent may select. Depending on the battle strategy choices, the battle may end before the full four rounds and, additionally in v3.10, a feature has been added that if a force is unexpectedly over-matched, the battle stance might be automatically changed to 'Withdrawal' or 'Feint'. This is to avoid a force blindly continuing with an obviously hopeless battle strategy.
A failing defensive battle strategy may automatically downgrade to 'Withdraw', with the force attempting to leave the field. Whilst a doomed attacking strategy may downgrade to 'Feint', stopping the attack to cover the failure, so that in v3.10, a corps commander can use his own initiative in fighting a battle, to overrule your orders as Army Commander, which is a nice touch of realism.
So to the battle strategy decision and in this case I want to hold the cross-roads at (hex 22,12), as this is my Quatre Bras. If I give up this position, having already lost REGENSBERG, the French will be able to advance into the rear and split the Coalition position, threatening the river crossings at LANDSHUT and LANDAU, including the LOC and hospital at LANDAU.
MASSENA, for the French AI, is normally a good commander and has a significant advantage in infantry, but I am playing 'randomised commander attributes' (new in v3.10), so there is more uncertainty here. Enemy commanders are not visible on the map, so you cannot see their attributes, apart from knowing them from previous games when you played that side, but now they can be randomised it's not so certain.
I am not at all confident and thinking of withdrawal as the safest option, but select 'Defend', my troops are not going to be moving back, at least not without a fight. I don't feel confident enough for 'counter attack' and 'defence in depth' starts at lower intensity, but I have all my units present for an immediate firm defence.
The 'Defend' option will give the highest initial level of battle intensity to the Austrians, in whatever battle option that MASSENA chooses, which will result in more damage to the French, if KIENMAYER is successful, but more loses to me if MASSENA is better.
Historically, these decisions are being made in the early hours, to give time for messengers to take the commander's orders out over the battlefield, to be ready at first light. All that can be seen of the enemy at this stage are camp-fires, giving some idea of the size of the enemy force, but not much more.