Author Topic: The Musings of 'Ole Man Brunswick: A reflection on a lost campaign Prussia 1806  (Read 2190 times)

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Offline Hatricvs

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This is to record the corespondence of the Commander in Chief of the Prussian Armed forces during the  Campaign fought during October 1806 against the French under Napoleon Bonaparte and his Marshals of France.

Noting to see yet but it will be here very soon indeed!

Offline JasonPratt

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AND THAT WAS DAY ONE!  :D {rimshot}

...maybe also Day Two.
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Offline Hatricvs

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Yeah Jason...most of the campaign actually!

Offline Hatricvs

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This then is the collected missives and reports received and orders given to Brunswick in the October 1806 Campaign. I was thrown in the deep end a little in that I went from being on the subs bench as an observer to gaining command and then almost overnight becoming Brunswick....quite shocked me that did given that I was new to Kriegspiele and had not do anything quite like this before!

Offline Hatricvs

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So early doors the information received and the general feel for what was about to happen and then into the actual campaign.

From the Umpire:
Unlike the French forces, you are all a bit more of a two-headed monster.  Brunswick was, historically, in nominal command of your forces, but Hohenlohe had strong ideas of his own and pursued them as he saw fit.  Ruchel and Blucher were honestly the only two to emerge from this campaign without their fitness to serve being questioned, but they were subservient, at least by rank, to the other two.  The bottom line for Brunswick, though, he'll HAVE to delegate troops to Blucher to have any hope of maintaining command.

So straight away I needed to decide what I should give Blucher to command. Like the French we also had a period of preparation to work out what it was that we wanted to do and what it was that we were trying to do. I was never totally clear on what constituted a victory for the Prussian's but, we did have the basic idea that we must protect Berlin and not lose our forces. To me this meant that a delaying game was the best idea and I liked the idea of trading space for time. The following missives prior to actual game start gives the flavour of what the Prussian's discussed. Initial progress was impeded somewhat as I had not checked back on the joining instructions board and only belatedly found out that I was now Commander-in-Chief, consequently nobody knew who I was and there was already an air of dissension given that nobody had heard from me in the earliest stages of setting up....my bad!

Offline Hatricvs

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From: Brunswick
To: All Prussian commanders prior to the start of the 6 days campaign

Good Morning Gentlemen,
 
I have just discovered that I am nominally in charge of this shooting match and I realise that I now have a lot to do and think about...please bear with me and I will try and get something together. Advice from veterans will be most welcome given I have no experience of this process in this game....so a lot to learn in a very short time!
 
Cheers
Brunswick

Offline Hatricvs

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From: Ruchel
To: Prussian Commanders
Sir! I think we're all a little in the dark on this one... it's a first for me as well. Work out a plan and we'll hash it out. Cordially, Ruchel.

Offline Hatricvs

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From: Hohenlohe
To: Prussian Commanders
 
Duke of Brunswick . . . No worries, I think we are all new here in this type of game, I think the likely route of advance in my sector is through Hof, on the flank. In case you need it . . .

Prince Hohenlohe > Headquartered at Schleitz.
AG Louis > Encamped at Iena (with 12 Guns) Will act as my reserve but also be in a position to march to support Brunswick as needed.
1st DIV Grawert > Encamped at Neustadt (with 25 Guns). Preparing to march west through Posnech and on to and occupy/defend  Saalfeld (and the Saale River crossing there).
2nd DIV Zechwitz > Encamped at Schleitz (with 20 Guns). Will act as my personal reserve ready to react to reports of contact.
3rd DIV Prittwitz> Encamped at Schleitz (with 20 Guns). Preparing to march southwest to and occupy Lohenstein.
Flanc Taunzien > Encamped at Hof (with 35 Guns). Occupying Hof and defending the Saale River crossing.

Offline Hatricvs

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From: Brunswick
To: Blucher

Command being given to your goodself. I intend you to take control of:

Arnim's 2nd Res
Scharnhorst's 3rd Division
As well as your own division of course.

I hope this suits and that it will give you the capability you require.

Any comments upon this, please send by return.

Brunswick

Offline Hatricvs

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From: Brunswick
To: All Prussian Commanders
 
Gentlemen,
 
I am in receipt of a number of troops dispositions which are of interest and I am looking them over now. I have already given command of a significant part of my force to Blucher to ensure that we have some flexibility in our approach.
 
Now what do we jointly think our overall strategy should be. It strikes me that we can go one of two ways with this. We could contest the routes through the Forest and/ or the areas around Hof/Jena.
 
Or we could create some distance between ourselves and 'The Invaders' and take up a more defensive role further north contesting the major river crossings and forming, let's call them 'stop lines' around Halle, Leipzig, Nordhausen and the high ground in that vicinity. And a last line of defence around Vittenberg, Dessau, Magdeburg an Elbe Line.
 
What are your thoughts do we fight where we currently stand and perhaps face flanking actions or cause the enemy some consternation by not being where he expects us to be?
 
Any suggestions welcome
 
Brunswick

Offline Hatricvs

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From: Ruchel
To: Prussian Command
 
Either is fine with me. I do think we need to leave token forces along the routes of advance to act as early warning tripwires. Not sure if we can break down divisions or they have to maneuver as a whole force?

Offline Hatricvs

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From: Brunswick
To: All Prussian Commanders

Agreed, we need to know where the enemy is and in what strength. If we can guesstimate his probable line of advance this would help. The obvious is up via Hof as it is the easier and most direct route.   If the French get to Naumbourg or Altenbourg we will have significant problems. However the French may go for the less obvious and approach from the south west or even west. We have to look for places where the French can converge and concentrate overwhelming force against us.
 
I have it in mind to deny the French the luxury of dealing with us in small packets and by a policy of orderly withdrawal make room for our forces to more effectively converge whilst limiting what the French can bring to bear.
 
I see a potential withdrawal route for Ruchel's forces as being from Eisenach via Gotha and then north either via Erfurt on the road heading toward Eisleben or north via the road to Musshausen and onward to the high ground around Sondershausen/Nordhausen with a view to holding the high ground or defending the north bank of the river crossing at Nordhausen.
 
Blucher and myself could utilise in a similar fashion the route north-East from Weimar toward Naumbourg and onward to Halle or Lepizig as we see fit and once some indication of the enemy's main effort is being employed.
 
Hohenlohe's forces could fall back northward toward Gera and then either join with me in the area of Naumbourg or head towards Altenbourg depending again on what we know of the French effort.
 
I think key to our survival will be ensuring we stick to the roads as best we can and ensuring that our locations are well connected by road so that we can converge at need. We have to protect our supply from Magdebourg from being cut ...so a direction of fall back needs to keep in mind both preventing ease of access for the enemy toward Berlin and maintaining close proximity of our forces in a northerly and easterly direction.
 
Is this too defeatist in thought?
 
Brunswick

Offline Hatricvs

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From: Brunswick
To: All Prussian Commanders
 
Ok we are getting close to the deadline for orders are we all ok and understand where we are at...I have not really heard back from you all re possible plans and strategy. Blucher are you happy with the allocated force I have given you...in addition take 70 guns in artillery from our pool. Can you indicate your initial dispositions please so I can get a view of where you are. Currently my 3 divisions with 97 guns are all in Weimer. I have assumed that you will be located in Goth...is that correct or are you planning on being elsewhere? I am happy with the other dispositions . Do we know what we intend for our first orders or are we playing a wait and see?
 
Brunswick

Note: This was my first indication that I was unclear about Blucher and what he intended to do. Hohenlohe and Ruchel had already intimated their proposed locations but I was really in the dark with the proposed start location of Blucher.

Offline Hatricvs

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From: Ruchel
To: Prussian Command
 
The more I think about this the more concerns I have. If we are moving away from the French then our tails might get caught by them. Which means we'd need to have troops or cav at the tail end and the wagon trains in the middle or the front.... which would slow us down making it a surety that our tails get caught...
 
Still need to look at a map but maybe we don't want to backup or at least not too far...

Any thoughts?

Offline Hatricvs

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From: Brunswick
To: Umpire
 
Initial deployment of Brunswick forces:
Brunswick at Weimar
1st Res Kuhneim at Weimar
1st Div Orange at Weimar
2nd Div Wartens at Weimar
 
Blucher has the following:
AG Blucher
3rd Div Scharnhorst's
2nd Res Arnim
 
Currently I do not know their position but expect it to be Gotha...Blucher will confirm.
 
Corps commanders have a strategic orderly withdrawal order that has been suggested but as yet not fully confirmed...I sense there could be a little chaos early on!
 
Brunswick