|Looking southwards along French lines
along the Elster River, Dolitz village in the foreground,
Markkleeburg in the distance. The village of Dosen
is just visible to the left of the picture.
|Developing Austrian attack on the Markkleeburg bridge.
|The cavalry fight between the Baron Ott Hussars and
French light horse. Already battered by gunfire, the
Austrians, in defeat, still handed out some hard knocks.
Allowing he didn't want a straight 'pick-up' sort of game, Mark had set up an interesting looking scenario, loosely based on a incident during the 'Battle of the Nations' at Leipzig, October, 1813. This was an Allied attempt to wrest the village of Markkleeburg from the hands of the French (Poles, actually) on the first day. The details of the scenario set-up and orders of battle you will find here, so I'll keep my description brief. Given the choice, I opted for the Austrians. Just because I like Austrians. And I prefer attack to defence anyhow.
|Austrian Brigade across the river from Dolitz. I was never clear in
my mind how I was going to use the cavalry.
|Looking north along the river line. This must have been taken
early in the day, for the field is innocent of a single Austrian,
Apart from going around, over or under, the only way to get to the other side of the river was to force a bridge crossing. The way to do that is to set up a large battery (masked by infantry), with it batter down the bridge defenders, then storm across the defile with infantry.
|Much later, and the river bank firefight. Not unexpectedly,
the veteran Poles got the better of these exchanges - not helped
by the Austrians' failure to keep their fire discipline.
The Markkleeburg bridge was the obvious target, though I expressed enough interest in the Dolitz bridge to tie down a French brigade there. The latter was one awkwardly placed bridge, from the point of view of an attacker, but I rather think I ought to have shown a bit more aggression than I did in that direction.
|You can see how these pictures got out of order, eh?
The French and Poles await the Austrian approach from the
|Magnificent French and Polish light horse.
|Dolitz: a tough nut. The bridge nestling in a
reentrant river bend made this an awkward
objective. It took much longer to develop an
attack, here, but it tied down this whole brigade.
|Arrival of the Austrian Advance Guard Division: three
light horse regiments, horse battery, and a battalion
of grenze. The grenze performed pretty well on the day.
It was to be a long time before they did so, at that. I needed two 'ADC's to bring on one formation, and that still required a die roll of '6' for the first couple of turns. At that, to activate the 'off table, reserve ADCs, I needed to roll 5s or 6s. Well, they weren't going to happen in a hurry, eh? Failing on turn one, the next opportunity would not arrive until Turn 4, as in the two intervening turns I found myself with precisely one ADC available. During that time, my brigade commanders seemed hesitant to commit themselves to any action, and matters developed painfully slowly. Mind you, I was getting through my moves quickly!
|The skirmishers at Dolitz eventually drove off
the French guns
|From behind French lines east of Markkleeburg
|German line arriving behind the Hungarians.
The coordinated Brigade INFANTRY ASSAULT requires two ADCs to get going, and then required a roll of 3 or better on a D6 to succeed. When the Insurrectio went in, I didn't have the 2ADCs available, the next turn the order failed to register upon the bewildered mind of the local commander, so it was not until two (further) turns had gone by before the Hungarians could start mounting really testing assaults. By that time, the Insurrectio were pretty much spent as a fighting force (having taken 11 'hits', one fewer than the number required to disperse them outright).
|French chasseurs-a-cheval charging the Austrian Advance
Guard battery. This didn't go well for the French.
|The fight for Markkleeburg bridge. One Austrian battalion has
collapsed and departed, the remaining one will do so shortly.
Already preparations are afoot to send in deep columns
supported by the massed artillery.
|Pressure building against Markkleeburg.
|Polish infantry disordered by the Austrian cannonade.
|Looking westwards from beyond Dosen village. I counted
eight enemy infantry units in and about this village. All tied down
by my light (Advance guard) and heavt Brigades.
But that, of course, served to unmask the batteries that the Austrians had lined up within effective range of the opposite bank. The bombardment was rapidly fruitful. As two line battalions formed up into deep columns, the bridge defenders were taking a fearful battering. The Polish veterans fell into confusion before at last breaking and scattering.
|'Vorwaerts! Marsch!' the time has come to force the crossing.
|At about this time, the last French reinforcements arrived:
The Empress Dragoons and the Red Lancers of the Imperial
Guard. The magnificence of these troops would grace
|Across the bridge goes the leading column. A battery has been
thrown forward in support.
|Markkleeburg under pressure from west and south.
|But of a mess here. The Hessen-Homburg Hussars try to
clear the way for the grenadiers to advance. But they have
arrived rather too far over to the right...
|Confusion in front of Dosen. I really made a mess of this.
|Where the action is. Behind the hill, a Hungarian line
infantry unit looking very sorry for itself
|Approaching French and Polish light cavalry.
|Polish line infantry hit in the flank by a charging column.
|The moment before the decisive clash. A Hungarian line
and a German column about to be hit by cavalry. The
Germans managed to form square betimes.
|The Hungarians scattered, a supporting German
column comes in for close Polish attention.
No. Now was the moment for a desperate charge. A veteran regiment of Polish uhlans and a unit of French (?) chasseurs galloped in. The latter took on a German column that had already taken some knocks. The infantry formed square betimes, and comfortably saw off the Frenchmen. No problem there. It was the Poles that did the business. At first strike, they scattered the Hungarians - blinded by their own smoke - to the four winds; following up, swept aside a German column, then, heeding not the waft of incoming canister, rode over the German brigade's guns. On 2D6 the guns rolled a 5 - enough to inflict a 'casualty' (in game terms) - not enough, in all likelihood, to stop the charge. It didn't.
|Austrians pouring across the bridge...
|A suddenly naked - and sad - looking battlefield.
|The fields north of the Markkleeburg-Dosen road
look more densely populated than those south of it!
|Late in the day, Austrian skirmishers press onto the
Dolitz bridge. But it is far too late.
|Most of the units that began the day west of the Elster
are still there at its end.
Unfortunately, the first 5 pictures got themselves out of order, from which impregnable position, they would not be shifted. I can't say much in favour of their quality, neither.
Thank you, Mark, for a great day's war gaming, and to Paul for such a congenial adversary.