From: Houston, TX
Had such a result occurred in history it would have reversed the results of the Napoleonic Wars. The Austrians would certainly have been knocked out of the war – even if the Emperor hadn’t been captured. With the Tzar a prisoner, it’s likely the Russians would have to come to terms as well. The Swedes, ever blowing in the wind, would likely have switched back to French allegiance. That would leave Prussia on its own on the continent. That wouldn’t have lasted long, regardless of their choice of posture.
To see how lopsided this victory was, consider that the French began outnumbered almost two-to-one in manpower and more than two-to-one in guns. At the end of the game the French actually held a small numerical advantage in manpower (131,650 vs. 127,930) and a significant advantage in guns (721 vs. 593). Add in the French proficiency and commander advantages and the Allies have far less than parity in force – even without national defections.
As the designer, such a lopsided result has to give you pause. But, as I look back on the game, I now see things I did that sunk the Allied chances:
1. I should not have sent the Austrian III Corps and the 1st Light Division against the Leipzig Garrison. Rather, they should have been sent across the Pleisse with the rest of the Army of Bohemia.
2. The Austrian IV Corps should also have been incorporated into the Army of Bohemia’s defense between the woods instead of sitting idly on the flank. Together, these forces would have significantly increased the strength of the Allies southern defense. I had overrated the strength of that defense, and so let the French have an easier time of it.
3. I used minimize losses for all attacks. Yet the Allies never got more than three combat phases. Every attack consumed the maximum three rounds (MRPB is 3). Therefore, I could have used ignore losses for all Allied attacks without loss of combat phases. In fact, while the French often got more than three phases per turn, that was due to their positive shock bonus. I probably could have used ignore losses for them as well. But the Allies would have benefited the most from this – possibly making Blucher’s offensive in the north more effective, thereby siphoning more French support for that defense.
4. I probably did not always comply with the house rules against artillery attacks across ridge hexsides and the house rule against using cavalry against non-cavalry defenders in urban or woods terrain (house rules are easy to forget). That probably injured the Allies (mostly defending) more than the French.
5. Had Schwarzenberg not been lost on turn 2, the Allied shock penalty would have remained at 4%, not increased to 10%, for the rest of the game. That affected both combat strengths and how many formations were reorganizing each turn.
So, since the game turns on small margins, I think such a change in strategy and tactics could have allowed the Army of Bohemia to survive. Had it done so, the blown French would have been in very serious trouble by the 18th. And, correspondingly, I can imagine a more conservative French approach in the south could result in both the Army of Bohemia surviving AND the French being in good condition by the 18th. So, I’m not planning any major adjustments to the forces or shock just yet. The result achieved is one that should be part of the range of possible results.
The game took 21 days to play the 15 turns. I had always enjoyed the board wargame it was based upon and I found that I enjoyed this translation of it even more. Obviously, Napoleonic tactics can’t be perfectly modeled in TOAW just yet. But they weren’t perfectly modeled in the board wargame either. Besides, the game is scaled just beyond tactical scale, and at that scale those tactics are assumed to be under the hood.
Happy Operational Wargaming!