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Campaign: Leipzig – The Two-Sided AAR, part 2

8 January 2014

Cyrano and PanzerDE face off in the age of muskets and sabers, and find themselves on opposite sides of an Eastern German battlefield, in the first of a series of AARs that give you both sides of the action.

As a reminder, we are alternating between Jim (in blue) and Doug (in green)

As always, click images to enlarge.

When last we left our intrepid French heroes (or in this case hero, Marshal Ney, the now-occasionally jittery commander of the Army of the Bober) he had concluded his appreciation that the battle near Lowenberg would develop in three areas, roughly north, not quite so north, and south. Troops in the north, in division strength, were sent to drive past Ludwigsdorf and parts further east. Troops not so far north, also in division strength, were sent to hold a position just east of Plagwitz (pleasant sounding little dorf that) as well as its victory point location. Troops to the south, notably at the village of Siebeneichen, were to, in the immortal words of “The Longest Day”, hold until relieved by forces marching up from the south.

Veterans of the TIller Napoleonic series know the joy of moving long columns of men along roads. This is, of course, true to the period and does an excellent job of forcing the commander to choose between striking his opponent at the first opportunity and striking him when all of his troops are up. It also can dramatically slow a column that includes the plodding supply wagons that, in addition to being the only way to allieviate a unit’s “Low Ammo” status, must be protected against raids lest they fall into the hands of the enemy granting victory points. It’s with all this in mind that our attention turns to Brigadier General Senecal bravely steadying the men of the 35th Division’s First Brigade just west of Siebeneichen.

siebeneichen

Beyond maneuvering to concentrate my Prussians in the north, all of the early action is in the Russian attack at Siebneichen. 15th Division swings into the attack:

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Doug’s played this series before and he’s certainly not coming afraid. I note that the men to Senecal’s front haven’t even bothered to deploy into line which suggests he intends to punch me square in the face. It will also be noted that my skirmish screen has largely scampered off to the west. Making matters worse, for me anyway, there’s a column of horse that I can see approaching from the north. It is true that Brigadier General Zucci’s men can be seen cresting the hill to the southwest bringing the promised relief. The problem, however, is the distance they’ve yet to cover and how stretched out his troops are.

longmarch

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they’re on their way, but I doubt Senecal is yet reassured.

Matters are easier in the not-so-far north. Just east of Lowenberg, the leading troops of the 16th Division under General Maison have reached Plagwitz and are deploying to hold.

LOWENBERG

The road march syndrome is in evidence as well as one of the consequences of trying to shortcut around the process of dragging each unit along. The system allows one to alt-click on a commanding unit which will cause all of its subordinates to follow in a nice conga line. The problem is that, on occasion, a unit one does not intend to have follow does so. The two fellows heading back to Lowenberg are not deserters but pioneers that I need to park by the bridge in case I want to destroy it later in the battle.

My initial assault routs some of Jim’s skirmishers. Unfortunately, devastating musketry from his line troops takes it’s toll and some of my skirmishers and an entire battalion of the 2nd brigade are routed.

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Jim remarks that my pursuit of his routed skirmishers with my cavalry is of a piece with his infamous jeep killing incident at Origins, and I have to agree. Still, those boys are Cossacks and short of scouting they aren’t good for much else! I move some “serious” cavalry around to the rear of the village, both to block the French retreat and to guard against a flanking move by the new French infantry coming up from the south.

In the north I can see very few opponents. So few, in fact, that I’ve detailed off a brigade to probe further east and, if possible, take the forest road south to assist in the area of Plagwitz. Should it encounter resistance, it would be no great matter to order its return.

taketheroadsouth8

I deploy 1st brigade of the 15th Division into line to give some fire support to 2nd brigade. I’ve left 2nd brigade’s regiments in column to maximize their assault impact but I need some firepower to keep the French occupied while I move them up

One last thing before wrapping up. One of the best features of any good computer wargame is that it manages fog of war better than any boardgame ever could. Even though I know what Doug’s initial deployments were and how many troops he began the battle with, five turns in, I’ve pretty well lost sight of both his troops and, more importantly, his axis of advance. With that in mind, I’ve sent a regiment of horse south of Weinberg in the hope of spotting as many of his troops as I can and, if appropriate, tendering assistance to the boys down at Siebeneichen…seems the least I can do. Besides, Doug has Cossacks and, though useless against formed troops, they’re absolute devils if you let them catch you out in the open and disordered. Tricky Russians…

weinberg

 

Come back next time for the smoke, blood, and mayhem!


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