Campaign: Leipzig – The Two-Sided AAR, part 3

5 February 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

1030 August 19, 1813

Well, if, indeed, there are to be three scraps in this fight for Lowenberg (per Marechal Ney’s original appreciation), the two other scraps had better get a good deal more hotted up

In the north, some may remember, GD Maison had detailed GB Penne to take his First Brigade, 18th Division, V Corps and see if anything couldn’t be done to help their brethren preparing to fight near Plagwitz.
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Between the time this screenshot was taken (turn eight) and the end of turn 10, Penne finally located the Prussians coming from east of Deutmannsdorf and preparing to cross the Deutschbach Stream. These troops at first were cavalry piquets and, as no JTS Napoleonic commander worth his salt(peter) would turn down a chance to shoot at horses with infantry, I had Penne move his men up and form into line. Shortly thereafter, though, they were joined by well north of 1,000 foot in two battalions and, choosing the better part of valor, Penne began a withdrawal back to Maison’s main force.

It’s been an eventful five turns, particularly in and around Siebeneichen.

The Russian 15th Division has run the French out of the village only to run head on into strong French reinforcements. Jim has what looks like an entire division there, and it’s stronger than mine. What’s worse is that it’s well supported by artillery. Some idiot of a quartermaster decided that the best place for the Russian artillery was dead last in the order of march. All of my guns are still on the other side of the Bober, waiting behind all of the rest of 10th Corps to get across the ford/bridge at Zobten.

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The good news is that the lead division of 10th Corps, the 22nd, is across the river and nearly to Siebeneichen. Jim can’t see these troops yet from his positions. He knows I have more Russian infantry out there but not where. My cavalry also isn’t in bad shape though it looks like Jim has some reinforcements coming down from the north that are cavalry. I’ll have to use my cavalry to prevent his from grabbing the village objective and from getting a good idea of where and how many troops I have coming toward him.

I want to hold this village for two reasons: first, it protects my critical river crossing at Zobten, allowing me to get the rest of the Russian army on the west side of the Bober. Secondly, when the rest of the Russian army is up I’ll significantly outnumber Jim’s French forces in the area. If I can maul this division badly enough without getting torn up in return, I may have a good run from the south toward Lowenberg. At the least doing so should siphon off forces from Jim’s other strong points or force him to consolidate toward Lowenberg.

Jim is tricky, though. Until I can get the Russian cavalry free to scout to the northwest I can’t count on that path being open. In any case we have a tough fight shaping up at Siebeneichen and it’s too early to think much beyond holding the village.

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Meanwhile in the center of the map the Prussians continue to move toward a concentration around Lautersiefen. The troops of the VII.Brigade of I.Korps are settling into positions near Pertersdorf to await the remainder of the Korps. The brigade cavalry is out to the west to screen the concentration area, supported by the brigade artillery.

 

Now, I understand that the bridge west of Plagwitz runs straight into the key objective of Lowenberg. That said, even in this early going, I’m growing increasingly concerned with the creepy quiet around Plagwitz. I’ve got cavalry scouts crawling all over the Steinbruch plateau — as, for that matter, does Doug — but I see no significant body of troops. Doug’s also got five squadrons of Prussian cavalry lurking ca. 2,000 meters away just watching. It’s enough to unnerve a fellah.

All I can credibly conclude is that he’s placing a much greater emphasis on the on-going brawl down at Siebeneichen. By the end of turn eight, GB Senecal’s brave defense had not only brought his brigade an ignominious defeat, but it led to his having to turn over his sword to the Russians and enter what I’m certain will be a generous captivity. This screenshot represents Doug’s last bit of mopping up of Senecal’s brigade.
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I’ve also pushed some Russian cavalry up the road along the river to scout the route and provide warning of any French movement toward Siebeneichen or Zobten. Again, this cavalry force is supported by some horse artillery. South of Plagwitz they make contact with a French force of unknown size. I’m going to deploy them in a screening position on the Plattenberg in hopes of keeping whatever that force is under observation.

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To the north the cavalry of the Prussian Advance Guard has also made contact with a French force on the road between Deutmannsdorf and Ludwigsdorf. I’m going to deploy this cavalry here, again with some supporting artillery, to screen the position and keep the French under observation while the rest of the Advance Guard comes up.

Jim can’t see the infantry column coming up yet, while I have at least some visibility as far west as Ludwigsdorf. This is a diversion, so I want to deploy the Advance Guard to demonstrate against his force here. Doing so will at the very least keep him from reinforcing Plagwitz and the fight at Siebneichen. If I’m lucky I can draw some forces from Plagwitz or Lowenberg itself, making those attacks easier. In a best case scenario I can route this force and take Ludwigsdorf, netting some sweet, sweet victory points!

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There is simply no great way for me to get the northern Prussian column down to Lauterseifen. Not one damn road connects the road they’re on to the road the rest of I.Korps is using so they have to go cross country. That means disrupted units which means an even slower rate of march. Blucher there, sitting up on the hill, probably wants to get off his horse and push his men into position.

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The overall picture in the northern half of the map, showing the relative positions of Prussian concentration toward Lautersiefen, the screening cavalry forces, and the Advance Guard infantry movement toward Ludwigsdorf.

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The same for the south, showing the complete picture of the Russian river crossing and concentration at Siebneichen.

By turn 10, it was time for a bit of counter-punch.
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The men of GD Gerard’s 35th Division have begun pushing up the road as fast as he can lash them and they’ve driven the infantry to their front ever-so-slightly-but-significantly northeast. He’s deployed cavalry to his left flank to block the threat of the cossacks — who continue to give me the wig — and, best of all, the horse of the V Corps’ 8th Light Cavalry continue to make their way south to aid in the affray. My hope now is that the generally good quality of my own men — and of my leaders — will tip the coming scrum in my favor. What’s more, we’ve a nice weight of artillery facing to the front and I doubt the Russians want the sort of pounding we’re prepared to dish out.

 

The plan for the next few turns is to hold Siebneichen and get the rest of the Russian 10th Corps into position to hit Jim’s division there hard (I suspect these are actually mostly Italian troops, and not that many French) while the Prussians concentrate for an attack on Plagwitz.
I’m delighted to say that, while I’ve no idea how balanced this scenario is, it’s a fun one to play. I hope you’re enjoying following along.

See you next time.

The battle is joined! Next time? More, well, more screenshots of the action!


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