Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Portable Napoleonic Wargame

Several months ago I received my hard-cover copy of Bob Cordery's The Portable Napoleonic Wargame.  I have not yet played out any actions with it, but I certainly have spent some time thinking about it.

Outlining, as it does, disparate scales of action - brigade, Division and Army Corps, it seems to me no great leap to determine that on my 15 x 11.5 hex board, an Army level action, involving more than one army corps the side, ought to be feasible.

So several ideas have come to mind:

#1. An escalating battle, starting with the brigade level action, then stepping up to Divisional thence to Corps level.  This would involve at some point interrupting the action to accommodate a broader engagement.
#2. A fictitious add-on to the 100-days campaign, in which the North German Federated Corps (real) under General von Kleist encounters the 'Army of the Meuse' (fictitious) somewhere east of Liege.
#3. Refighting Wavre, pitting two French Army Corps plus cavalry and Teste's infantry division against Thielemann's III Prussian Corps.
Already I have developed Orders of Battle for ##2 and 3.  Project #2 looks promising, as both sides comprise a single army corps.  One, the Prussian, is actually historical, though it didn't really get involved in the campaign until after Waterloo.  The French 'Army of the Meuse' is fictitious, possibly drawn largely from the several fortifications along that part of the French frontier.  At one point during the slow process of building his corps, General von Kleist got word of French troop movements heading his way from the south.  My departure from history was to suppose this rumour had been true.

Project #1 is probably the best place to begin - but why not combine #1 and #2?  Not a bad place to start.
I'll begin the narrative in another posting, but you might be interested in the Orders of Battle of the respective Army Corps.  For the Brigade and Division sized actions, OOBs will be listed with the narratives.

North German Federal Army Corps, 1815:

General Commanding: Graf Kleist von Nollendorf   (Good: SP8)

1st (Hessian) Brigade(*1); Generalmajor Prinz zu Solms-Braunfels (Average 3SP)
     2nd Grenadier Battalion von Lassberg(*2)   (Elite SP1)
     Infantry Regiment Landgraf Carl  (Average SP2)
     Infantry regiment Prinz Solms (Average SP2)
2nd (Hessian) Brigade; Generalmajor von Muller (Average 3SP)
     1st Grenadier Battalion von Haller (Elite SP1)
     Infantry Regiment Kurfurst (Average SP2)
     Infantry Regiment Kurprinz (Average SP2)
3rd (Anhalt-Thuringen) Brigade; Oberst von Egloffstein (Average SP3)
     1st Provisional (Saxe-Weimar/Anhalt) Regiment  (Poor SP4)
     2nd Provisional (Saxe-Gotha/ Schwarzburg) Regiment (Poor SP3)
     3rd Provisional (Lippe/Lippe-Detmold Landwehr/Waldeck) Regiment (Poor SP3)
     Oldenburg Line Infantry Regiment  (Average SP2)
Hessian Cavalry Brigade; Generalmajor von Warburg (Average SP3)
     Life Dragoon Regiment(*3) (Poor SP2)
     Hussar Regiment (Poor SP2)
Corps Artillery; (Average SP1(*4))

*1.  Prussian Brigades were cognate to Divisions in other Armies, and are so treated here.
*2.  The infantry strength points (SPs) I have assigned 1 per battalion, unmodified by quality.  The effects of unit quality I have confined to combat outcomes.  Note that 1st Provisional Regiment comprises 4 battalions - numerically a very strong unit. (This is a departure from Bob Cordery's scheme, but I reckon it should work OK).
*2A.  The 'Poor' rating testifies as much to indifferent equipment as to level of training of the Anhalt-Thuringen and cavalry brigades.
*3.  The cavalry SPs have been allocated 1 per 2 squadrons.  This tends to be inconvenient were units to comprise an odd number of squadrons, but there the SPs would be rounded up and the unit down-rated one qualitative level.
*4.  Artillery have been assigned 1 SP per 20 guns approximately.  The NGF Corps in fact had 16 - rather under-equipped for an Army Corps.

Totals: 18 Units (Median 9+1: 'Good' Commander), 50SP (Exhaustion Point 17SP lost)

North German Federal Army Corps.  The flags denote the
command of the Division-sized Brigades.  Figures
Italieri plastic infantry, Minifigs artillery and
Corps commander.  Revell cavalry. 

French Army of the Meuse, 1815:

General Commanding: General of Division Henri Count Beaujolais (Average, SP6)

French 'Army of the Meuse'.  Again, the flags denote
Divisional command.  Figures: infantry except for
 Grenadiers, '1st generation' Minifigs; Artillery, hussars,
dragoons and mounted command, later Minifigs
chasseurs-a-cheval, Hotspur.  
1st Division; Genl of Div,  Maurice Merlot (Average SP3)
     Carignon Converged Grenadiers    (Elite, SP2)
     3rd Legere (Average SP2)
     20th Ligne  (Average SP2)
     23rd Ligne  (Average SP2)
2nd Division; Genl of Div, Emile Baron Malbec (Average SP3)
     41st Ligne (Average SP2)
     57th Ligne (Average SP2)
     88th Ligne (Average SP2)
3rd Division; Genl of Brigade, St-Amand de Viognier (Average SP3)
     32nd Ligne (Average SP2)
     70th Ligne (Average SP2)
     103rd Ligne (Poor SP2)

Cavalry Division; Genl of Div, St Jean-Anne-Marie Count Cabernet-Sauvignon (Good SP4)
     9th Hussars (Elite SP2)
     21st Chasseurs-a-cheval (Average SP2)
     16th Dragoons (Average SP2)(*5)
Corps Artillery; (Average, SP2)

*5.  One feels there ought to be some differential between heavy and light cavalry, but I have left that issue alone for now.

Totals: 19 Units (Median 10, 'Average' Commander), 47SP (Exhaustion Point: 16SP lost).

To be continued: Brigade Action at Perwez.


  1. Archduke Piccolo,

    I like the changes you have made. They make lots of sense, and I'll be very interested to see how the battle pans out.

    All the best,


  2. Hi Bob -
    They have been pretty minor changes, more interpolations, really, I think. The Brigade and Division actions have been fought; the corps action will be (I hope) in a day or two.

  3. Looks good Ion, will be interested to see how it goes. I picked up a copy (PDF) of the PNWG when it was released too :)

    1. What I like about the concept is that it is so accessible for a small playing area. All the same, although I like the PWG system in general, it probably won't end up being my 'go to' rule set for Napoleonics. That means I really MUST finish off my BE4ST game system!