|A rather fuzzy panarama of the overall battlefield, looking west. Geoff, alias|
Prince Wittgenstein, can be seen on the skyline, organising his command.
Last weekend, after a hiatus of some months, Geoff and I once again got together at short notice for an Age of Eagles game with his 15mm Napoleonics. Overnight and during the early morning I knocked together the following scenario, based upon the First Battle of Polotsk , 17 August, 1812.
|General battle map of the action of 17 August as played|
over the weekend.
During the advance of La Grande Armee into Russia, Marshal Oudinot's IInd and General Gouvion St-Cyr's (Bavarian) Corps were detailed north of the main direction of command partly as a flank guard, and partly (presumably, bearing in mind the vast distances involved) as a link between the main army and Marshal Macdonald's command marching upon Riga. After several weeks of indecisive manoeuvring, Marshal Oudinot was reinforced by General Gouvion St-Cyr's Corps.
Seeing the French and Bavarians rather carelessly encamped about Polotsk town, Prince Wittgenstein determined upon a sudden strike at the exposed Bavarian Division of General Wrede about Spas convent. In the following table-top action, The Russian objective is to take Spas and hold the place: the French to hold the place or recapture it, and, if possible, Drive the Russians from the field.
The scenario was rather hastily knocked together in about an hour or so, including the labels you see in the pictures, so the reseach was not as thorough as it might otherwise have been. All the same, the forces were as follows:
Army of Finland:
I Corps: Prince Wittgenstein
Advance Guard: Koulnieff
1 Jager: R6/4/2 Sk (Regular, Fresh/Worn/Spent, capable of skirmishing.
Cossacks and Hussars: C6/5/4 LC
6pr battery: Regular Lt Artillery
Main Battle' Line: Berg
2 Jager: R6/4/2 Sk
1 Line Infantry: R12/9/6
2x 6pr Battery: Regular Lt Artillery.
'Second Line': Karkhovski
1 Grenadier: E9/6/4
2 Grenadier: E9/6/4
4 Grenadier: E6/4/2
1x 6pr Foot Battery: Regular Lt Arty
1x 6pr Horse Battery: Regular Lt Arty
(A very formidable formation!)
'Reserve' Line: Sazonov
3 Jager: R6/4/2 Sk
2 Line Infantry: R12/9/6
2x 6pr Battery: Regular Lt Arty
Reserve Cavalry: Repnin
Cuirassiers: E6/4/2 Armoured Heavy Cavalry
1x 6pr Battery: Regular Lt Artillery
1x 12pr Battery: Regular Hy Arty.
Note 1: All infantry are columnar.
2. Whole force deploys in the area marked by a line parallel to the northern table edge in line with the front edge of Prismenitsa Village until it reaches the road northeast, and behind the road thereafter.
French Forces: Marshal Oudinot
Elements II Corps (Oudinot)
6 Division: Legrand
1 Bde: R8/6/4 Sk
2 Bde: R8/6/4 Sk
6pr Foot Battery: Regular Lt Arty
II Corps Light Cavalry: Courbineau
1 LC Bde: R6/4/2
2 LC Bde: R6/4/2
Heavy Cavalry: Doumerc
Cuirassier Bde: E7/5/3
VI Army Corps: Genl Gouvion St-Cyr
19 (Bavarian) Division: Wrede
3 Bde: R8/6/4 Sk
4 Bde: R8/6/4 Sk
3x 6pr Battery: Regular Lt Arty
20 (Bavarian) Division: Deroi
5 Bde: R9/7/5 Sk
6 Bde: R9/7/5 Sk
1x 6pr Battery: Regular Lt Arty
1x 12pr Battery: Regular Hv Arty.
Note 1: All infantry are columnar.
2. II Corps is arranged between Polotsk town (exclusive) and the hill to the west (inclusive)
3. 19th Division (Wrede) deploys in and about Spas itself, the ponds and the hill to the west of there.
4. 20th Division (Deroi) stands east of Polotsk town.
|Grenadiers assaulting the Spas Convent|
The narrative of the battle is for a future posting: to be continued...
Meanwhile, may I wish readers all my best wishes for the Festive Season and the coming New Year. Although I am not religious myself, I do think it is well to recall to ourselves its spiritual meaning.