From: Bedfordshire UK
4th May 1809
Weather raining, not enough to affect the roads, but will have an affect on battle odds.
VANDAMME has appeared at LANDSHUT, opposing HOHENZOLLERN, who has started moving South from ECKMUHL.
CHARLES has moved out of LANDAU and onto the road to LANDSHUT, with the leading units encountering what appears to be leading units from MASSENA, where yesterday CHARLES had ordered his screening units on the road to 'withdraw' in the face of MASSENA's probe, what to do today.
The fog of war is lifting slightly, BERNADOTTE's corps is still North of REGENSBERG, whilst the mass of MASSENA's IV corps is suspected on the road from LANDSHUT and St Cyr is more than just a screen against HILLER, as the hex stack number shows 6 units.
Still no sign of the IMPERIAL GUARD, or LEFEBVRE, and where is NAPOLEON, as knowing where the ogre is might indicate the main French advance, but the decision now is whether to defend, or counter-attack, against MASSENA forcing his way up the road from LANDSHUT to LANDAU and CHARLES has now moved out onto that road to oppose him and do battle.
MASSENA has excellent battle attributes (shown on previous battle reports), but now CHARLES has taken direct command in battle of these Austrian advanced forces and also has high attributes. The three Austrian units initially engaged are fresh and confident, but the rest of MASSENA's corps is coming up the road and may join the action after it has started. The rest of ROSENBERG's corps is nearby and been ordered onto the LANDSHUT road, but under house rules I am not using 'To the guns' for Austrian corps, so they might come onto the battlefield in their march, or maybe not. LIECHTENSTEIN is just arriving South of LANDAU, KIENMAYER is reaching PASSAU and reports say that BELLEGARDE has rallied his troops at KLATTAU.
In the battle on the road to LANDSHUT, CHARLES has cavalry and artillery superiority and it is tempting to 'counter-attack' and to strike back at MASSENA, to do some damage in case he is merely probing again as yesterday, instead of another inconclusive action. However the rain will diminish the firing of his units and, during the earlier turn resolution phase, more French units could be seen on the road. Only six days left, but CHARLES decides that, if a larger battle is to develop, it would be better to wait, until his corps have closed up and maybe the fog of war will lift further. He orders a 'Defend' on the road.
The battle opens to reveal that MASSENA is coming forward in a 'Hasty Assault', with the French infantry attacking in open terrain with no cavalry, or artillery support. MASSENA seems to have anticipated pushing aside a screening force on the road, just like yesterday, but finds a prepared artillery defence and the French losses are high (7 pnts).
CHARLES takes post behind his guns and watches, with some satisfaction, as the French infantry is routed off the field, suffering casualties of nearly a third of the force. Austrian casualties are light (1 pnt), but no other forces have reached the field and a more aggressive 'counter-attack' stance may have wiped out the French force. However that is hindsight, which CotD does not permit.
Meanwhile, HOHENZOLLERN is marching out of ECKMUHL onto the flank of the suspected French deployment and meets a large force of cavalry from VANDAMME, now revealed to be near LANDSHUT.
HOHENZOLLERN is advancing in a 'Defend' posture, as ordered by CHARLES, and it would be foolhardy to attack cavalry. HOHENZOLLERN has a mixed force of Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery, which should be able to form a stout defence, even though he has left some of his corps in ECKMUHL to defend against BERNADOTTE, in case he breaks away from LOUIS and moves through REGENSBERG. HOHENZOLLERN obeys CHARLES' strategic advice and orders his units into defence, his job here is to threaten the French flank and rear, and whilst the whereabouts of considerable French forces are still unknown, he does not want to expose himself to the fate which befell KOLOWRAT.
In the open terrain South of ECKMUHL artillery is king and Nansouty commanding the French cavalry has wisely decided on 'Withdrawal'. VANDAMME is no MASSENA and is suffering from communication problems, but the Austrian cannon speak loudly enough and the French cavalry suffer some loss, but do not leave the battlefield and stay close to HOHENZOLLERN's positions.
CHARLES is well satisfied with the results of the day, maybe in hindsight much more could have been achieved and in many other games it would have been possible, as your opponent waits whilst you take your turn. Here in WEGO-land the enemy is also moving and the situation could have been very different.
BELLEGARDE has restored himself and the three units left with him, but they are all still 'wavering', so are not yet ready to return to battle. He has obeyed the order to stop at KLATTAU, where there is safety and a small supply depot, sufficient for his purposes. It may be several days before he can resume operations, so some housekeeping. His Ulm infantry had detached itself and was intending to head further into the rear, so reattached to keep what is left of the corps together. BELLEGARDE has 172 supply points in hand, with another 91 at KLATTAU, and a supply convoy (40) just arriving, so he does not need supply from the LOC, therefore, is ordered to make KLATTAU his supply depot. I have ordered a 'rest day' to help restore the units and keep them resting until they improve.
Two points, if I had looked at BELLEGARDE's supply situation earlier, I could have avoided an unnecessary supply convoy being sent to him, not important now, but in a longer campaign it would not be good to have unnecessary supply distributed. Secondly, I stopped him at KLATTAU because the counters on two units were showing losses which I assumed were stragglers and it is best to keep units from moving too far, so that stragglers can re-join. A closer look at BELLEGARDE's info panel shows that the losses are wounded, not stragglers, which will have been sent to the hospital at WIMPERK. It might be better to have BELLEGARDE move closer to WIMPERK, but KLATTAU will have to do for now, because if he is to come back into action, it is most likely to be via CHAM, or DEGGENDORF, so KLATTAU is a good position.
I have described this in some detail, to show how much control you have and how much can be done to improve the state of your units. After a battle, there are likely to be units and commanders setting their own orders and heading to the rear, even when they are not heavily damaged. It's a good policy to check commanders and units, looking at objectives and march urgency to check that they are still doing what you need. Keep checking because even after sending re-orders, the panic effect can still last a for a few turns and the commands have to be repeated, until they come into line.
Again LOOK AT THE MAP, if a Frank Hunter game is showing you something, then it is important, a feature that I constantly fail to see.
Keep checking that Objectives, Supply Depots, Stance and Urgency, Retreat Points, are still as you want them.
The two units of MASSENA's corps, which assaulted CHARLES are still on the battlefield, but routed, so they should be easy meat, but where has the rest of French IV corps gone. I am avoiding looking at the stack numbers display as I mouse-over the map, so as not to see which hexes are occupied, to preserve FOW, unless hexes show unit counters.
HILLER is moving at glacial speed, he was out of communication, due to French movements, but should now be back in contact and is showing the objective which CHARLES has given, which is the crossroads on the road to BRAUNAU. The cavalry of Vincent is sitting on the crossroads, but HILLER is slow in bringing up his other units, but the French have withdrawn from this area to confront CHARLES, so the delay has not been vital. CHARLES repeats the order to get HILLER moving, in order to threaten the French Southern flank as HOHENZOLLERN is doing from ECKMUHL.
HILLER's Kottulinsky infantry suffered many casualties (8 pnts wounded) and is trailing in the rear of HILLER's column and maybe slowing the march.
The infantry of Nordmann from HILLER's corps is continuing its panicked flight to the rear after the battles in MUNICH. I had transferred this unit to CHARLES in hopes that it could be brought under control, but it is ignoring all objectives and the importance of this is that, as the unit continues to run, it is shedding more and more stragglers and slowly destroying itself and, the further it goes, the less the likelihood of stragglers being able to re-join.
CHARLES, with ROSENBERG, needs to press forward towards LANDSHUT to close up to HOHENZOLLERN, who is moving South from ECKMUHL and CHARLES also orders LIECHTENSTEIN to follow through LANDAU onto the same road.
LOUIS was given orders to march on STRAUBING to support HOHENZOLLERN, expecting that BERNADOTTE was heading for REGENSBERG, but BERNADOTTE has not moved over the River Regen and is still confronting LOUIS with some of his units. However, BERNADOTTE has the cavalry of Gutschmidt just North of REGENSBERG, which could quickly descend on ECKMUHL and cut off HOHENZOLLERN, so he must detach and post at least one unit in ECKMUHL, to protect his retreat, which is the infantry of St Julian, but that weakens the force that HOHENZOLLERN can use against VANDAMME. Luckily VANDAMME has a small corps and MASSENA is engaged against CHARLES, but where is NAPOLEON, the IMPERIAL GUARD, LANNES and LEFEBVRE. HOHENZOLLERN is in an exposed position.
CHARLES decides to stay with the plan of pressing in on the French forces near LANDSHUT, but cautiously. HOHENZOLLERN's units are all confident, but have suffered significant losses and the corps has 20 points of wounded.
Trying to co-ordinate the movements of several Austrian corps into an effective strategy, with commanders having their own fears, becomes very difficult, but that is what the game is all about and it does encourage a cautious approach, as a lot can go wrong.
----- Everything in war is very simple. But the simplest thing is difficult. - Karl Von Clausewitz -----
Frank has certainly hit the target.
CHARLES realises that the order for LIECHTENSTEIN to follow him through LANDAU, to confront MASSENA, will leave the flank vulnerable, until HILLER and KIENMAYER get into position. The calculation is that the main French forces are North of the River Iser and St Cyr is merely a covering force, so hopefully there will be no action in this area, until HILLER and/or KIENMAYER arrive at their objectives.
Later, checking the map, the hex stack number for St Cyr shows 6 units, so it's much more than a covering force.
I am still hoping and expecting that the main battle will take place between LANDAU and LANDSHUT, on the North bank of the River Iser and am intending to concentrate there. There is a possibility that some French forces are following HILLER from MUNICH (which is back under French control), but they should have become visible by now.
I am torn between continuing to bring LOUIS down through STRAUBING, to join the main concentration, providing a reserve and something to fall back on if things go badly in a major battle, or sending him after BERNADOTTE. Leaving the order at STRAUBING, but not convinced it is a good move.
Changed my mind on LIECHTENSTEIN's supply, as he joins CHARLES, I have set his retreat point as DEGGENDORF, so re-set his supply depot to WIMPERK, because if there is a retreat he will then be falling back on his supply line.
I have checked KIENMAYER's units and although the order to him is for march urgency - 'Regular', he has all his units moving on 'slow'. CHARLES is furious and considering a firing squad, but if he has to shoot all of his generals, who will be left to command the army. The order is repeated at 'regular' march, but without much hope of a change.
Historically, the Austrian army had a slow marching pace at the beginning of the campaign, but easily outpaced the French and Bavarians when it came time to escape back to Bohemia.
< Message edited by Rasputitsa -- 12/6/2018 9:24:38 PM >
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