Monday, May 27, 2019

The Olmutz Convoy: A Wagon Train scenario

A page from the Southern Sortie magazine
of the Christchurch Wargames Society, 1993.
Having just seen this wagon train scenario on the blog spot Blunders on the Danube, I bethought myself to writing up this one - The Olmutz Convoy - played and published in Southern Sortie, the local war games magazine, over 25 years ago.

The following is from the  published article:

"The Background:
After his spectacular campaigns on 1757, culminating in the victories of Rossbach and Leuthen, Frederick the Great of Brandenburg-Prussia was disappointed to find his French and Austrian enemies remained determined to fight.  With Tsarina Elizaveta of Russia now also an active enemy, his army would face double its numbers.

To free his hands to deal with this new adversary, already overrunning East Prussia, Frederick decided to take the field early in the campaigning season of 1758 with a diversionary strike against Austria with the view to neutralizing them at least for the time being.  To besiege the Moravian fortress town of Olmutz would place a direct threat against Vienna, and induce a large scale diversion of Austrian troops to a location from which they could offer no help to the Russians.  Could they be beaten in battle as well, so much the better."
Hildberghausen Infantry.
"The Situation:
The Prussian army marched in April, and by early May invested Olmutz without interference.  Once the train arrived, the siege could begin in earnest, but the garrison proved lively, the investment somewhat casual, and the siege went badly.  Though in the offing, the main Austrian army, led by Count Leopold Daun, declined to be drawn into battle.  By late June, maintenance of the siege depended upon the safe arrival of a vast convoy - some 3,700-odd carts and wagons laden with provisions, ammunition and one million thaler in cash.  Escorting the train were strong forces of all arms, though a third of the infantry were recruits for the army, organised into provisional battalions."
Arenberg and Alt-Colloredo Infantry.
 "The Scenario:
The Austrian attacks on the Olmutz Convoy struck me , as described in Peter wilson's article in Military Modelling (April 1985), and in Christopher Duffy's Frederick the Great: A Military Life (London, 1985), as a most interesting and challenging scenario for the tabletop.  In part this is due to its unusual flavou, but, to add spice, the action along the Autliebe-Domstadtl road proved decisive for the whole campaign.

This road passed through a region of 'little rounded hills and valleys, and isolated blocks of conifers... not particularly wild, but... well suited for ambush.' [Duffy, p159].  The original escort had comprised 12 battalions (4 of recruits) totalling 7,261 officers and men; about 220 jager and freikorps, nearly 1800 cavalry from various units, together with 16 light cannon.   According to Duffy, Zieten's arrival brought in addition 2 grenadier battalions, 2 cuirassier regiments and 600 hussars.  Here he diverges from Wilson, who mentions a third grenadier battalion, 200 dragoons and a further 300 hussars [Wilson, op. cit.].  However, as Zieten is said to have sent on ahead a detachment to Domstadtl, there might lie the source of the discrepancy between the two accounts."

The Austrians were, of course, very interested indeed in intercepting this convoy, and sent considerable forces to intercept it.

"The Austrians were in separate commands. Southeast of the road lay Major-General Ziskowics with 1200 fusiliers, 500 grenadiers, 1000 grenze, 2000 'home grenadiers', 400 each of dragoons, hussars and Saxon chevauxlegeres and 100 Saxon hussars - some 6000 troops in total.  At Baern, to the northwest, Baron Loudon had with him 2000 fusiliers, 1000 grenadiers, 1000 grenze, 400 hussars and 200 dragoons: 4,600 in all.  All these forces are from Wilson's article.   Unusually for this type of action, the forces were quite large: some 13,800 Prussians against 10,600 Austrians."

Early moves of the Olmutz Convoy action.

For the purposes of the war game, played on an 8ft by 4ft table, these forces were scaled down:


Generalleutnant Hans Joachim von Zieten
2 Line Infantry Regiments @ 36 figures = 72
1 Grenadier Battalion @ 19 figures
1 Jager Company @ 7 figures
1 Cuirassier Squadron @ 10 figures
1 Dragoon Squadron @ 10 figures
2 Hussar Squadrons @ 10 figures = 20
1 Battery @ 2 guns and 9 figures.
Total, 147 figures.

30 wagons (actually there ought to have been 37, but I ran out of matchboxes with which to scratch more together!)


Major-General Ziskowics:
1 Infantry Regiment @ 36 figures
1 Hussar Regiment (under strength) @ 15 figures
1 Grenze Company @ 10 figures
1 Cannon @ 5 crew figures.
Total, 66 figures

Baron Gideon von Loudon:
1 Infantry Regiment (less 1 fusilier company) @ 28 figures
1 Hussar Squadron @ 10 figures
1 Grenze Company @ 10 figures
1 Cannon @ 5 crew figures.
Total, 53 figures.
Overall Austrian total: 119 figures.

I added some notes here of 'Special Features' of this game.

1. The troops came out of my Imagi-Nations armies which, as it happens, are modelled upon the adversaries in this action.

2. The action was held to open at 8am, and end at 8pm with nightfall.  Twenty-four game turns represented this 12 hour period.

3. The whole section of road between Autliebe to Domstadtl was compressed into an 8-foot by 4-foot table.

Two infantry regiments, formerly in the service of
4.  The Prussians: 
- Begin on table, with the wagenburg just west of Autliebe, and the troops (apart from a detachment in Domstadtl) in or within 15cm (6 inches) of the village itself. 
- A detachment of at least 1 company (9-10 figures) strength must be located in Domstadtl at the start of the action (though they may move away from there). 
- Until the Austrians appear, the troops must remain within musket shot of the road (30cm/ 1 foot in my rule set).
- The wagons each occupy 10cm (4 inch) of road (so you can see that when the head of the column passes through Domstadtl, there will still be wagons waiting to exit the wagenburg).  The wagons' first moves must be to exit the wagenburg onto the road.  They may not travel cross country.
- Each wagon is being driven by a more-or-less civilian driver who will abandon the vehicle as soon as any enemy get to within medium (20cm/ 8 inch) musket range. Abandoned vehicles may not move, but can be taken over by a soldier figure, who will continue on at 2/3 normal rate (I think 20cm), they being less skilful drivers.  Alternatively, soldiers may clear the road by pushing wagons off.

5. The Austrians:- Begin off table.  Ziskowics may enter the table at any time he chooses, from move 1 or later, with at least half his force southeast of the Autliebe-Domstadtl road.  To simulate ambush, he may wait until the Prussians have completed their move before bringing his own troops onto the table in the same turn, and completing their moves.
[Note: my rule set used 'simultaneous movement', rather than IGoUGo].
- Apart from the stipulation supra, Ziskowics's troops may enter the table on any edge but the Autliebe end, and not within 30cm (1 foot) of enemy troops.
- Baron Loudon must wait until the end of Turn 6, and from then will enter the table on an even score on a roll of a D6 die.  The Prussians having completed their 6th Turn, the Austrians may determine the arrival of Loudon's column, then, if successful, bring the troops onto the table and complete their moves.  As Loudon arrives along the Baern road, all initial moves must be measured from the point at which the Baern road enters the table.

6. Terrain:
- Close order troops are disordered in wooded areas.
- The stream before Domstadtl is fordable.

7. Objectives and Victory Conditions:
Before nightfall to carry all (or as many as possible) wagons from Autliebe through Domstadtl and off the table where the road there exits.
Prussians score 2 points for each wagon successfully brought off.
Prussians also score 1 point for each wagon not exited, but still under Prussian protection (even if for the moment abandoned), up to the number exited.  Any excess count zero. Wagons count as under protection if they are NOT closer to enemy than are friendly units.
Before nightfall, capture destroy the whole train before it passes through Domstadtl.
Austrians score 2 points for each wagon destroyed or captured.  Wagons abandoned, and not under Prussian protection, count as captured.  So is any wagon that exits the table by any route other than at Domstadtl or Autliebe.
Austrians score 1 point for each wagon exited from table at Autliebe, even if under Prussian protection.
Both sides score 1 point for any gun they capture.

Von Ruesch Husaren.
8.  Rule Set.
These were my own Imagi-Nations rule set, which owe their provenance to ideas from Young and Lawford's Charge!, from Charles Grant's The War Game, and from the board games Terrible Swift Sword and Wizard's Quest.

'Prussian' Infantry, with their beloved chieftain.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Portable Napoleonic Wargames: Wavre

The general view of the battlefield, seen from the north,
looking south-east.
In the late afternoon of 18 June 1815. Marshal Grouchy ordered the attack upon the town of Wavre.  For some hours, the distant cannonade to the west indicated a major battle in progress out Waterloo way - no doubt the Emperor sweeping aside the English army of Milord Duc de Wellington.  Needs must Grouchy's own wing should push through the Prussians in front of him, push on to Brussels and there reunite with the main body of L'Armee du Nord.
Vandamme's III Corps storming Wavre and Nieder-Wavre
assisted by the Corps artillery. Exelmans's Cavalry have been
ordered down the river road, across IV Corps' front.
In the following action, I set up the table as the situation stood at about 4pm, 18 June.  This placed Exelman's II Cavalry Corps immediately behind General Vandamme's III Army Corps facing Wavre.  General Gerard's IV Army Corps was on the road marching up from the south.  The detached cavalry Division from Pajol's Cavalry Corps - actually commanded by General Soult - and Teste's Division from VI Corps were swinging towards the river crossing at Lival.
Seeing a threat developing to the south, the Prussian Cavalry
is directed thereto via the road through the Bois de Rixenart.
Historically , the action began late in the 18th and continued into the next day, drawing to a close as news filtered in from the west that Napoleon had suffered a complete disaster at Waterloo.  Here, I played the thing out as a continuous engagement, although an incident a few moves into the game could perhaps have been due to the onset of evening.
The battle for Wavre.
For quite some time, Vandamme's Corps sustained the burden of battle, as the rest of Grouchy's army regrouped.  That plan was for Soult's cavalry and Teste's infantry, accompanied by several cannon, was to cross the Dile River at Limal, and advance up the far riverbank into the flank of the Prussian position at Bierges.  Exelmans's Cavalry Corps would take the road southwest to Limal and follow them over.  After II Cavalry Corps had crossed their front, the lead Division (12th) of IV Corps would attempt to force the crossing at Bierges.
IV Corps awaits the passage of Exelkmans's
Cavalry.  Teste's Division is far from the action.
This plan ran into its first snag when orders failed to get through to Soult and Teste.  After a bit, Soult lurched briefly into motion, then stalled again.  Exelmans at least was carrying out his instructions, and it seemed belike he would reach Limal first.  At one point, none of the French commands - apart from the elements of III Corps already in close combat - followed orders. Two conclusions were drawn from this: (1) that darkness was drawing in, and (2) let us go back to the original game system in which Divisions were tested according to proximity or distance from Corps command, instead, as I had been doing so far, from Army Command.  This did not, however, solve the problem of Soult's and Teste's orphaned Divisions.  The latter never did cross the Dile...
Prussian Cavalry Reserve on the march.
Seeing how things were developing, when the battle reopened, Thielmann ordered the Cavalry Reserve to take the road through the Bois de Rixenart to the more open spaces to the south and contest the onset of the French cavalry from that direction.

Nearly all of Wavre has fallen, and 11th Division has forced
the bridge.
By this time the battle for Wavre and Nieder-Wavre was well advanced.  Tenth Division had evicted the defenders - the Leib Regiment - from the eastern suburb of Nieder-Wavre, and was now pushing across the bridge. Drawn into the battle, 30th Infantry had also taken heavy losses, though the French assailants were not themselves coming off lightly.  Eleventh Division had made even better progress, storming the bridge at Wavre itself.  3rd Kurmark Landwehr, still under assault by 8th Division, was left depleted and cut off on the east bank, and part of 10th Brigade retained a toehold in the western corner of the town.
Looking from the north: a general view.
It was clear that the battles around Wavre were to be no quick and light ordeal, Prussian counter-attacks disputing the advance of Vandamme's Corps every inch of the way.
In the foreground, it looks as though the Prussian cavalry will
reach their destination betimes.  Soult's slow moving light
horse has yet to cross the river.

The depleted 15th Light Infantry,
withdrawn from the battle.
To the south, Soult's Cavalry Division was by now clattering across the La Motte bridge into Limal.  The earlier hesitations had taken their toll, however, in time.  Already the lead Brigade - von der Marwitz's - of the Prussian Reserve cavalry were drawn up just north of Carmelues, with General von Lottum's Brigade swinging around to the west and southwest of the place. General Soult began by trying to clear a sufficiently sized bridgehead to allow Exelmans's command to cross, whereat it was expected that weight of numbers would force back the Prussian horse.

Cavalry action imminent west of Limal.
Exelmans's cavalry having cleared the front of General Gerard's IV Corps, the latter were able to mount their own attack in the centre of the French extended line.  The village of Bierges and its river bridge were defended by an infantry regiment (the 19th) under Major von Stengel's command - detached from 4th Brigade of I Corps.  The rest of Stengel's column, 6th Hussars was covering the Prussian flank immediately to the south of there; eyeing with some apprehension the enemy troop movements across the river, and observing sinister activity in Limal, about a kilometer distant.
French Cavalry build-up around Lival.
The cavalry battle between Limal and Carmelues was slow to develop, prolonged, and wasn't going all the French way.  The latter were having to fight their way out of the town and into the open.  Nor did it help that a Prussian horse battery had materialised south of Carmelues, where it could enfilade the French mounted lines.
The french horse might be in a spot of trouble, here.
At this point I thought I would suspend the battle narrative, and discuss some thoughts that this game brought to mind.  The AAR continues in the captions.
Teste's Division waiting idly to cross the river; IV Corps
storming the bridge at Bierges (top).

1.  Close combat - amendment.  The amendment I suggested last time seemed to me to play out very well.  There was never any prospect of combatant invulnerability.  Rather, added protections would halve the chances of a hit at best, but might also increase the possibility of hits being incurred upon an opponent.  I thought the system of rolling for the effects of combat upon your own troops hard to get used to, but perhaps playing the game solo helped there.

The proposed amendments:
Current rule: Increase the D6 die roll score of the figure base initiating the Combat by 1 for each friendly supporting figure base in the same grid area as the figure base initiating the Combat.
Amended Rule: For each friendly supporting figure base in the same grid area as the figure base initiating the Combat, cancel 1 point of reduction to D6 die roll score due to each enemy supporting figure base in the same grid area as the figure base being attacked.
Current Rule: Increase the d6 die roll of the figure base being attacked by 1 for each supporting friendly figure base in the same grid area as the figure base being attacked.
Amended rule: For each friendly supporting figure base in the same grid area as the figure base being attacked, cancel 1 point of reduction to D6 die roll score due to each enemy supporting figure in the same grid area as the enemy figure base initiating the Combat.

In effect, add +1 to the D6 score of each combatant figure base for each friendly supporting element to match a -1 to the score by an enemy supporting element.  This AFTER reducing by -1 the D6 die score for each enemy supporting element.

Note that for these to make proper sense, the list of D6 die score modifications should probably be rearranged.  The reduction of D6 die roll scores due to enemy supporting elements should now head the list, if these amendments were accepted.
Tyhe attack on the towns.
2.  Close combat - During this battle, parts of the French cavalry found itself fighting to exit from a town in the face of enemy horse.  I reckon there ought to be a minus for cavalry fighting in unsuitable terrain - at least a 'minus-1'; and perhaps even a 'minus-2', for the side initiating the combat.
The fall of Wavre.
3.  Initiating combat.  I am assuming that in an ongoing Combat, the 'figure base initiating the Combat' belongs to whichever side happens to be moving at the time.  For instance, the French charge into a town, to initiate a fight with the Prussian garrison.  At the end of the turn, the two remained locked in combat.  The Prussians 'go' next (say), the fight continues (no order necessary) and the Prussian figure base this time is 'initiating' the Combat.  What is happening internally to the action is perhaps a local counter-attack, or some other counter-action, subsumed in the face-to-face attitude of the contending figure bases.

Consider a cavalry fight on the edge of a town, such as occurred between Soult's Division and elements of von der Marwitz's Brigade at Limal.  Let us say that, seeking to prevent the French from breaking out into the open, the Prussians attacked - initiated the Combat.   As their opponents are 'in cover', the Prussians take a minus (-1) on their die roll.  I am proposing that, as the French horse are in unsuitable terrain, they should also take a minus (-1).  In the actual game, I adjusted the score of neither side for reasons of terrain - just for accompanying generals and supporting figure-bases.
Most of 10th and 11th French Brigades push west of
Wavre.  A Landwehr infantry counter-attack
stops 8th Division from crossing at Nieder-Wavre.

4.   Cavalry vs Infantry.  The current rule increases the D6 die roll of the figure base initiating the combat if it is cavalry attacking infantry or artillery.  I have some comments to make on this.

4.1 I assume, once again, that the side 'initiating the Combat' is that whose move it is.  So the cavalry add the 1 in its own turn, not in the enemy's turn.

4.2 I am inclined to drop this rule altogether, not so much 'in principle' as because of a convention I developed for my own games of linking Strength Points to battalions and squadrons.  That was simply a matter of convenience. I could equally well have assigned strength points for every two, or part thereof, of battalions or squadrons. if I had, the action might well have gone a lot more quickly!

4.3  If, however, the differential to be retained between horse and foot, I would again suggest that the foot and artillery take a minus, rather than the horse take a plus.  Suppose a single cavalry unit, accompanied by a general, attacks a single infantry unit in the open.  The cavalry adds +1 for the general and +1 for initiating combat with enemy foot, and is therefore invulnerable.  Presumably in the infantry's turn, that second +1 no longer applies, but it would still be a huge advantage for the cavalry to be invulnerable every other turn.  In my proposed amendment, the -1 for infantry or cannon under attack, applies (I infer) only in the cavalry's turn.
Yet another general view looking southeast.

5. Command.
Because this was in effect an 'army level' action - at least from the French point of view - the extra 'layer' of command  should probably be ignored, or maybe (as in the case of 'independent' formations such as Teste's infantry and Soult's cavalry) the Army commander will dice for units not part of the Army Corps structure.  Because they were so distant from their commander, those Divisions proved a real problem to get into motion.

As time went by, and this is somewhat apparent in the pictures, even successful commands began to break up and lose cohesion.  To begin with, it was scarcely worth rolling a die to see if orders reached their destined ears or were carried out, if but one command applied to the whole formation, it was in contiguous grid areas, and it was somewhere accompanied by its commander.  Once battle was joined, the problem was still not so very apparent, if the Corps' sub-formations were closely engaged (as was III Corps, along the line of Wavre and Nieder-Wavre).  It was once local successes began to be achieved, and the sub-formations becoming separated, that Corps and Army cohesion became problematic.  If anything that was even more the case for the defenders.

I think this very feature, frustrating as it can be, is probably what gives this Corps and Army-level Portable Games rule set its own special character.

6.  The fate of generals.  As it transpired, no generals were killed or injured in this battle (unlike the previous two, in which the cavalry commanders in particular seemed to live dangerously). But there were one or two occasions in which a general happened to be accompany a unit that was destroyed. The 2D6 die roll indicating no harm to the general, he rode off to join another unit of his command, if one were available. But it occurred to me that there might have been a fair likelihood of his being taken prisoner. In those particular circumstances, perhaps we could add that a score of 9 on 2D6, the general is taken prisoner, and loses all SPs.

Bierges has fallen.  12th Div heads towards Limal;
13th Division towards Bois de Rixenart.

7. Movement rates: 
As I mentioned last time, I think, I am very tempted to add one grid area to movement rates in good going or on roads. 
Infantry: 2
Cavalry: 3
Artillery (if limbered): 2, or 3 if exclusively of horse artillery.

This has yet to be play tested.

If Exelmans and Soult were having trouble breaking out at Limal, Gerard's IV Corps was having no such trouble at Bierges.  Stengel's 19th Infantry Regiment rapidly succumbed to the French 12th Division's assault.  Sixth Hussars had long since left the area to help in the cavalry fight south along the river.  Having carried the town, General Gerard led 12th Division down the Limal road in the wake of the Prussian hussars, with the view to levering open the cavalry bottleneck.  The following 13th Division was directed northwards, where they soon became engaged with the left flank of  Prussian 12th Brigade, along with the Prussian artillery reserve.
Prussian Divisional artillery almost surrounded.

By this time, the 9th, 11th and 10th Brigades had been driven well clear of Wavre and Nieder Wavre, the remnants struggling to maintain any kind of line.  First Kurfurst Landwehr were still trying to contest the river crossing at Nieder-Wavre, attempting several times to seize the west end of the bridge.  Once they even succeeded, cutting off parts of 10th Division, and forcing the following-up 8th Division back across the river.  Outnumbered as they were, they could not keep this up for long.  Repulsed again and again, the Prussians were forced to relinquish their tenuous hold of the riverbank.
All along the Dile River, Grouchy's command were pouring across the bridges, with by now little hope for the Prussians to contain them.  At about this point I counted up the Strength Point losses. The Prussians had lost 32 - just one short of their Exhaustion point.  What little was left of the 9th, 10th and 11th Brigades could scarcely even be called 'remnants'.  Of 9th Brigade, only a badly depleted Landwehr regiment remained in action.  I called the action at this point, with the Prussian Corps badly mauled, but the news from the west indicating to Marshal Grouchy that it was high time to pull his forces out.
The French had lost 21 SPs, the bulk of them from Vandamme's Corps.  Around Limal, however, the outnumbered Prussian cavalry had given a good account of itself, 6 SPs lost on both sides.  Everywhere else, the French tide was on the make, and it was hard to see the lone 12th Brigade holding for long.
On the whole, I felt that the action played out quite well, though I rather think I would opt for a less cluttered battlefield another time.  That the thing was set up for a French victory, I admit, and it was intended to test the Portable Napoleonic set for army level action.  On the whole, I found an enjoyable action, though not one for the impatient.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Portable Napoleonic Wargames - Army action

Wavre battlefield as translated into my table.
Having played out Bob Cordery's Brigade, Division and Corps level actions in a species of 'mini-campaign' (see previous three postings ), it was no great leap to see how the Portable Wargames concept would go with an 'Army Level' action.  This brought me to another, actual, Hundred Days engagement, that between Marshal Grouchy's 'Right Wing' of the Armee du Nord on one side, and the Prussian III Corps plus Cavalry Reserve on the other.

The map, taken from the Hofschroer volume (Vol 2, The Waterloo Campaign), very conveniently fitted onto the grid map as shown here.  Now, I keep in my files a copy of a blank grid array of the dimensions of my grid table.  Printing a transparency of this, I laid it over the double page map spread.  From there I drew onto a grid array on paper the locations of roads, forests, towns and rivers.  Possibly photocopying would have been quicker, but the join between the pages might have presented a problem.   As will become apparent, I would probably have been better also to have left off the small settlements represented by a single 'block', and maybe the woods north of Carmelues as well.
The Map - see text for method of generation.
The forces were organised as follows: 

Prussian Forces at Wavre 18-19 June 1815
III Army Corps, Generalleutnant von Thielmann 6SP
9th Brigade: Generalmajor von Borcke 2SP
8th (Leib) Infantry 3 Bns 3SP
30th Infantry 3 Bns 3SP
1st Kurmark Landwehr 3 Bns 3SP
1,2/ 3rd Kurmark Landwehr Cavalry 2 Sqns 2SP
18th/35th Foot Batteries 16 cannon 2SP
10th Brigade: Oberst von Kemphen 2SP
27th Infantry 3 Bns 3SP
2nd Kurmark Landwehr 3 bns 3SP
3,4/ 3rd Kurmark Landwehr Cavalry 2 Sqns 2SP
11th Brigade: Oberst von Luck 2SP
3rd Kurmark Landwehr 3 Bns  3SP
4th Kurmark Landwehr 3 Bns  3SP
1,2/ 6th Kurmark Landwehr Cavalry 2 Sqns  2SP
12th Brigade: Oberst von Stulpnagel 2SP
31st Infantry 3 Bns 3SP
5th Kurmark Landwehr 3 Bns 3SP
6th Kurmark Landwehr 3 Bns 3SP
3,4/ 6th Kurmark Landwehr Cavalry 2 Sqns 2SP
Reserve Cavalry: General von Hobe 4SP
1st Cavalry Brigade: Oberst von der Marwitz 2SP
7th Uhlan (Light horse lancers) 4 Sqns  4SP
8th Uhlan (") 4 Sqns  4SP
12th Hussar (Light horse) 4 Sqns  4SP
2nd Cavalry Brigade: Oberst Graf von Lottum 2SP
5th Uhlan (Light horse lancers) 4 Sqns 4SP
7th Dragoon (Medium horse) 4 Sqns 4SP
9th Hussar (Light horse) 4 Sqns  4SP
20th Horse Battery 8 cannon 1SP
Detachment from I Corps: Major von Stengel 2SP
19th Infantry 3 Bns  3SP
6th Uhlan 3 Sqns  3SP
Reserve Artillery: 
Reserve Foot and Horse Artillery 27 cannon 3SP
Total units (incl command)  34
Total Strength Points 98
Prussian III Corps, Cavalry Reserve and Stengel's detachment.

French Right Wing: Wavre 18-19 June 1815

Command: Marshal Count Grouchy 6SP
III Corps: General of Division Count Vandamme 4SP
8th Division: General Lefol  2SP
15th Light 3 Bns 3SP
23rd Line 3 Bns  3SP
37th Line  3 Bns 3SP
64th Line 2 Bns 2SP
10th Division: General Habert 2SP
11th Line 3 Bns 3SP
34th Line  3 Bns 3SP
70th Line  3 Bns  3SP
22nd Line  2 Bns 2SP
2nd Swiss 1 Bn 1SP
11th Division: General Berthezene 2SP
12th Line 2 Bns 2SP
56th Line 2 Bns 2SP
33rd Line 2 Bns 2SP
86th Line 2 Bns 2SP
III Corps Artillery  16 cannon 2SP
16 cannon 2SP
IV Corps: General of Division Gerard 4SP
12th Division: General Pecheux 2SP
30th Line 2 Bns 2SP
63rd Line  2 Bns 2SP
96th Line 2 Bns 2SP
13th Division: General Vichery 2SP
48th Line 2 Bns 2SP
69th Line  2 Bns 2SP
59th Line 2 Bns  2SP
76th Line 2 Bns 2SP
14th Division: General Hulot 2SP
9th Light 2 Bns 2SP
11th Line 2 Bns  2SP
44th Line 2 Bns 2SP
50th Line 2 Bns 2SP
IV Corps Artillery 19 cannon 2SP
19 cannon  2SP
7th Cavalry Division: General Vallin 2SP
6th Hussar Light horse 3 Sqns 3SP
8th Chasseurs Light horse 3 Sqns 3SP
Attached from VI Corps:
21st Division: General Teste 2SP
8th Light 2 Bns (?) 2SP
40th Line 1 Bn 1SP
65th Line 1 Bn 1SP
75th Line 1 Bn 1SP
Division Artillery 8 cannon 1SP
Attached from I Cavalry Corps
4th Cavalry Division: General Pajol Soult 2SP
1st Hussar Light horse 3 Sqns 3SP
4th Hussar Light horse 3 sqns 3SP
5th Hussar Light horse 3 sqns 3SP
Division Artillery 6 cannon n/a
II Cavalry Corps: General of Division Exelmans 4SP
9th Cavalry Division: General Strolz 2SP
5th Dragoon  Medium horse 4 Sqns 4SP
13th Dragoon Medium horse 4 Sqns 4SP
15th Dragoon Medium horse 4 Sqns 4SP
20th Dragoon Medium horse 4 Sqns 4SP
10th Cavalry Division: General Chastel 2SP
4th Dragoon Medium horse 4 Sqns 4SP
12th Dragoon Medium horse 4 Sqns 4SP
14th Dragoon Medium horse 4 Sqns 4SP
17th Dragoon Medium horse 4 Sqns 4SP
II Cavalry Corps Artillery  12 cannon 2SP
Total Units (incl command) 62
Total Strength Points 154
Armee du Nord Right Wing, commanded by Marshal Grouchy

If you have read The Portable Napoleonic Wargame, you will quickly have noticed a departure from the author's scheme of Strength Point (SP) allocation.  In these list, I made no SP adjustment for troop quality, and assigned 1 SP per battalion of infantry, 1 SP per squadron of cavalry, and 1 SP (very roughly) per 8-10 cannon.   I have to admit to a certain unease with these allocations, particularly in respect to the cavalry.  For the sake of 'play balance' - not that this action was so very 'balanced' anyhow - every unit was classed as 'average'.  I could have made the landwehr units 'poor' (according to the Bob Cordery nomenclature), but felt that as things were their prospects were problematical at best.
Mid afternoon, 18 June 1815.  III Corps about to assault
Wavre, II Cavalry Corps close by;  IV Corps marching up the
road.  Pajol and Teste Divisions moving west towards Limal.

There were a few other issues that cropped up that I would like to address here.

1. Map and Time Scale.  
This ground scale for this battle indicates that 10cm - the width of the hex-area across the flats - represents about 250m - 1:2500.  According to my own scheme of determining time scale, that suggests 1:50 - near enough to fudge it to 1 turn (each player) representing 1 hour.  The game rules indicate infantry movement rate at 1 grid area per turn, cavalry at 2.  During this battle, I stayed with this, but I believe that adding 1 grid area to both would be reasonably in keeping with the time scale - an infantry pace of about 2.4km/h.

Positioning of respective troops at the outset of the action.
2. Orders System:  
This became something of a problem with the army level game, especially when, in one early turn, not one French formation obeyed orders.  Not one.  Even before then, the distant Divisions of Teste and Soult had been proving 'sticky'.  In the end I decided to determine how orders went by proximity to Corps, rather than Army, command.  That didn't much solve the Teste/Soult problem, but at least the other formations began to move with a bit more freedom.  If a whole Corps was under the same orders (III Corps attacking Wavre; IV Corps marching up the road towards that town; Exelmans's Cavalry Corps down the river road to La Motte and Limal), then if the Corps commander were accompanying any part of the formation, it would automatically obey orders.

This might have been a problem, then, for Generalleutnant von Thielmannm, whose four Division-sized Brigades was scattered about in and behind Wavre, not to mention the 'independent' Stengel detachment in and around Bierges.  But as their brief was defence, with only local counter-attacks being ordered, this was less of a problem than it might have been.

This whole idea can have some interesting effects.  Early in the battle, with an Army Corps more or less in a single body, under single orders, one need scarcely roll dice to determine whether orders are carried out.  As time goes by, however, that cohesion is apt to break up, whereat it becomes less certain that orders to specific units will get through. 

Early stages of the Wavre battle.  III Corps attacking the eastern
suburbs of the town, Exelmans's cavalry marching to Limal, IV Corps
waiting for the road to clear to assault Bierges. Soult's light horse (slowly)
 nearing La Motte; Teste's Division hasn't moved.

3. Combat system:
Having already run into some problem with the combat system, methought an amendment was indicated.  Let's begin by stating the problem, as I saw it.  I first observed this in connection with cavalry, but it applies I think to all 'close combat' in the Army Corps game.  I haven't checked with it applies to the other two game systems (though they are very similar).

In combat, the two sides roll a die each to determine their own combat unit's response.  Let's call the 'initiator' of the combat 'RED' and the 'respondent' 'BLUE'.  Let's take an example of a RED cavalry Division of 3 elements in column, accompanied by a General, moving into contact with a BLUE cavalry Brigade in line (two stands side by side in the same grid area, also commanded by a general).  RED attacks the right hand element. Both sides roll a die.
RED rolls '1', BLUE a '2'.  Dreadful rolls.

RED: Die roll = 1, +2 (1 each for supporting elements), +1 (General with), -1 (enemy's supporting element to a flank) = 3.  No effect.
BLUE: Die roll = 2, +1 (supporting element), +1 (general with), -2 (for each enemy supporting element = 2.  BLUE takes a hit (Die score modified to 1 or 2 results in a 'hit').

That BLUE takes a knock seems reasonable, but what this combat shows is that RED was completely invulnerable.  I'm fairly sure Bob didn't mean that to happen, but I think I can see why he added for own supports and subtracted for enemy supports. What I wanted to do was to ensure that all close combats however advantageous, involved at least some risk, but with as small an amendment as possible.  At this point, I've decided against the idea I put forward a few days ago.  I believe the following proposal is as close to Bob's intention that doesn't leave formation invulnerable.

What I propose is this.  Supporting elements impose a negative upon the enemy die score.  Instead of adding to their own die score, however, supporting elements also cancel the negatives due to enemy supporting elements.  Surplus supporting elements add nothing to own side's combat score, though still subtracts from the enemy. Taking the example above:

RED: Rolled '1' + 1 (General with) -1 (enemy support element) +1 (one of own support elements cancels the negative due to enemy support element): Modified score = 2.  RED takes a hit.  A roll of 2-6 would have had no effect.
BLUE: Rolled '2' + 1 (General with) -2 (enemy support elements) +1 (own support element cancels one negative due to enemy support elements: Modified score = 2.  BLUE takes a hit.  A roll of 3-6 would have had no effect.

Note that had BLUE no supporting element at all, a roll of '1' by RED would still have cost RED a hit.

Let us add one support element to both sides:

RED is a Division column of 4 regiments, moving into contact with an enemy (BLUE) line of 2 elements side by side, with a third element behind, all in the same grid area.  Generals accompany both formations.

RED: Rolls '1':  +1 (General with) -2 (enemy support elements) + 2 (2 of own support elements cancel enemy support elements): Modified score = 2.  RED takes a hit.  

BLUE: Rolls '2': +1 (General) - 3 (enemy support elements) + 2 (own 2 support elements cancel 2 negatives die to enemy support elements); Modified score = 2.  BLUE takes a hit.

I used this system throughout the Wavre battle, and it seemed to work quite well.  I must admit, though, that I would like a 1-point bonus for linear formations, such as BLUE's in the above examples - probably as a negative for opponents.  A three-element deep column vs two-element wide line would be an even match.  It's  a thought.

Next time: the Battle narrative - and anything else that comes to mind!
To be continued...

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Portable Napoleonics: Army Corps Battle of Rosiere

Looking westward from the Ardennes Forest behind
Grand Rosiere.
Driven from the town of Perwez du Pahaux, the 2nd Division of the North German Army Corps drew off eastwards from which direction the main body was expected to arrive.  Despite heavy losses, Generalmajor von Mueller's command retained its good order, the Kurprinz battalions successfully holding the road open that the remainder make their escape.
Grand Rosiere and the main German line.
Arriving in the late afternoon (15 June) at the town of Grand Rosiere, von Mueller received word that the Army Corps main body was not far distant to the east.  On the strength of that intelligence, and in view of the resolve to continue the westward march if possible, he placed the twin towns of Grand and Petit Rosiere in a state of defence.  He would hold there until the rest of the Corps arrived to sweep the enemy from the field.

The battlefield comprised a fairly dense network of roads, and although there were plenty of bridges crossing the river and its tributary stream, the watercourses were everywhere fordable by horse and foot, though not to vehicles and cannon.  The gentle hills rose to no great heights, more casual rises in the ground than eminences of any real significance.
Grid map of the Grand Rosiere battlefield.

The Prussian command comprised:

North German Federal Army Corps, 1815:

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

1st (Hessian) Brigade; Generalmajor Prinz zu Solms-Braunfels (Average 3SP)
     2nd Grenadier Battalion von Lassberg   (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 (Poor SP2)
     Hussar Regiment (Poor SP2)
Corps Artillery; (Average SP1)
Placing the Kurprinz Regiment in Petit Rosiere as a strong flank guard, von Mueller drew his main line south from the Rosiere south river bridge to Grand Rosiere, the gun battery hard by the bridge itself, flanked by the Kurfurst Regiment, and Grenadiers von Haller in Gross Rosiere itself.  The cavalry would cover the left flank south of the town. 
3rd (Anhalt-Thuringen) Brigade, advancing along the
Chemin des Ramillies
Meanwhile, the 1st and 3rd Infantry Brigades (Division strength) were marching hotfoot up separate roads from the east. [Which Brigade took which road was decided by die roll.  First Brigade taking the northern route, Avenue des Deportees, 3rd Brigade took the other.  How far along the road the heads of the columns had reached as the battle opened was also determined by die roll, the pip-score determining the number of grid-hexes marched.  Both had, in fact, made very good time.  Along the Avenue des Deportees, 1st Brigade was about to enter Gerompont village; whilst 3rd Brigade, chivvied along, no doubt,  by their impatient commander, had almost reached the Chemin des Ramillies bridge.  The Brigades had rolled 4 and 5 respectively.
1st Hessian Brigade, approaching Gerompont village.
Such was the North German situation as the French appeared to the west.  They had available:

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)
Corps Artillery; (Average, SP2)

There being three roads available, each was taken by an infantry Division, 1st to 3rd, north to south.  This was determined by a die roll, and just happened to turn out that way.  The cavalry and artillery rolled for the northern or southern half as separated by the wooded ridge, both rolling to appear on the southern wing.   The overall situation as the sun began to peer over the distant forested hills of the Ardennes, may be seen in the following pictures.
The battlefield, looking south.

3rd French Division, cavalry and guns.

Looking north along the French line.
Before continuing the narrative, I should mention here some topics that came to mind during the course of the action.
1. The order system.  I used my dice version of the Bob Cordery system of determining who and what moves.  My version disallows more than two consecutive moves (turns) by the same side, the two alone having a considerable impact as will be seen late in the narrative.  Having said that, whilst formations (Divisions and Brigades) were under command, the whole force of each side was, until near the end of the action, well able to move and act within the constraints of even a poor (below median) 'activation' roll.  This made much of the game simply IGoUGo, but with occasional switches as to who 'I' and 'U' were.

2.  I had simply (and regrettably) forgotten the 'order system' within the Army Corps level game.  It seems to me that it ought to work for solo play, though one would have to roll pretty much for each unit - possibly a source of frustration for the impatient player (me!).
1st Division (nearest viewer) and 2nd
Division, approaching Petit Rosiere.
The action began with the French general advance.  The plan was clearly to erase the flank guard in Petit Rosiere, force the river crossings and envelop the German line.  The rapid onset of the marching Brigades rather complicated that plan, as you would expect.  First Brigade was making the best speed it could to reinforce the Kurprinz Regiment in Petit Rosiere; whilst the numerically strong Alhalt-Thuringen Brigade was, along with the light horse, to form the basis of a strong defence line about Grand Rosiere town.

German reinforcements hurrying to the sound of the guns.
At first there was little action on that sector.  In the north, 2nd Division marched directly towards Petit Rosiere, whilst 1st Division appeared to be aiming to seize Mont St-Andre, at the extreme north of the battlefield.
3rd Brigade, crossing the river at Grand Rosiere

French horse, pushing forward.

1st Brigade still have a distance to reach Petit Rosiere betimes.
Upon reaching the crossroads, the General Merlot's objective became clearer, as the column veered sharply to the right.  The Petit Rosiere garrison was about to be assailed by more than six times their strength.
Where is 1st Division going?  To Petit Rosiere, you say?
On the southern flank, Graf Kleist gave full rein to his own impatience and von Warburg's impetuosity by permitting the cavalry to attack the French horse.  This bold decision was partly motivated by a need to make room for 3rd Brigade to join the line west of the river, but also in the awareness that the German cavalry had given a very good account of itself over the last couple of days.  Bold this decision was, moreover, in the light of the presence of 16th Dragoons.
The cavalry battle begins...
In the above diagram, the counters used were from my old Command Decision stuff.  The red-spot counter was to indicate 'formation change'.  In connection with that, I am a little unclear as to the point of making the change, as it doesn't seem to make any difference what formation Brigades or Divisions adopt as far as resolving close combat is concerned.  This issue, though simply dealt with in the rules, proved rather bothersome throughout the action.  More of this combat in due course.
Storming Petit Rosiere.
Long before their fellow Hessians could intervene, the Petit Rosiere garrison came under heavy assault from French columns to the north and west of the village.  The French scored an immediate success, within a short time reducing the garrison by half its strength (the above rolls tell part of the story: the green {French} die leaving 2nd Division unscathed; the blue {Prussian} die indicating a hit, and a subsequent further roll {1,2, or 3} led to a SP loss).
Relief for the Kurprinz Regiment is still distant...

....but Kurprinz Infantry holds out...
Any support that Petit Rosiere might have got from the guns beside the creek were disappointed by the latter having important targets elsewhere, namely, the French 3rd Division, distant yet, but closing.  However, the attack by the more powerful 1st French Division was met stoutly by the weakening garrison, and failed to gain an entry into the village (both sides rolled 6s).

... for a time...
In the cavalry fight, it has to be said, that the undertrained German horse belied, as they did the day before, their 'poor' reputation, and held for a very long time.  Nor was this the swirling combat of charge and countercharge, but a trampling scrimmage of thrust and counter-thrust.  The French dragoons and chasseurs, in column,  met and halted the German line, neither side able to inflict much hurt upon the other.
The 9th Hussars join the cavalry battle.
Then the French hussars joined the combat.  Here's where certain issues arose.  First of all, lets examine the combats, as initiated by the French.  The hussars' charge was resolved first, the Germans rolling 6 and the French 4.  The Germans had no negatives to take off ; the hussars' roll reduced to 3 on account of the German flanking support.  This resulted in no loss, but the hussars had to take a hit a turn later.
The French dragoons and light dragoons have the edge -
but not enough to force a result.
In the main fight, the French outrolled the Germans, but not enough to cause a loss.
The French Hussars take a hit!
It was about this time it occurred to me that the poor old hussars - 'elite' light horse in this battle - had no real chance of hurting the enemy, as a roll of  '1' for the latter would increase to 3 what with the supporting unit and the presence of Generalmajor von Warburg.   That the North Germans were consistently rolling high combat dice tended to obscure this.  In the event, the hussars were forced eventually to break off the action temporarily, and the dragoons even broke and scattered.  The melee carried on.
Huge battle erupts around Petit Rosiere - two French
Divisions against one Hessian and a gun battery.
On quite the other wing, the battle for Petit Rosiere was not yet over.  To be sure, the remnants of the garrison were quickly overrun.  As Merlot's Division entered the village, Malbec's pressed on to the south bridge crossing flanking the German gun line.  Just then, storming over the east bridge, came 1st Hessian Brigade, led by the Lassberg Grenadiers.  To protect the guns, the Germans clashed with Malbec's Division - only to be promptly thrown back, minus the Grenadiers. [The dice rolls tell the story, here: the Hessian '1', modified up and down by supports and the presence of Generalmajor Prinz zu Solms-Braunfels himself, led to the Hessians' taking a hit, and, though the Grenadiers counted as elite, a SP loss.  The Grenadiers, as a single battalion, SP=1, was eliminated.]
This is not going well for the Hessians - the grenadiers
destroyed, and eventually the rest of the Brigade falls back.
By this time, the 3rd (Anhalt-Thuringen) Brigade was across the river and deploying south of Grand Rosiere.  At this point, the Germans were getting the better of the artillery duel.  The French gunnery had so far proved ineffective - abysmal dice throws - but the Hessian gunfire had caused 32nd Line Infantry to retire, reducing the divisional column to just 4 battalions (2 regiments).  His cavalry holding on - maybe even getting the better of the enemy horse, and now with 15 infantry battalions (15SP) against barely 6 (6SP), the pugnacious Graf Leist von Nollendorf bethought himself to a major counter-attack.  Success here, provided 1st Brigade could hold off the two French Divisions north of the creek, might well mean the winning of the battle.
General view: the 3rd (Anhalt-Thuringen) Brigade has arrived.
Having said that, things were not looking promising on the northern flank.  The combat dice a turn later proved identical to the previous: 5-1 in favour of the French.  This time, the Hessians had the option to withdraw to the opposite bank of the river.  Having shaken off 1st Brigade's attack, Malbec's Division was at liberty to storm the south bridge onto the flank of the Prussian battery.  At this point French gunnery discomfited the Grenadier battalion garrisoning Grand Rosiere, that they perforce reired to the eastern half of the town.  There they remained, under Graf Kleist's own hand, as a final reserve.
The cavalry fight roared on all the while, the French dragoons scattered and the hussars reduced, but the Chasseurs-a-cheval beginning to assert their superiority at last.  Both German regiments were becoming worn down; though very lucky so far, it was surely but a matter of time before they should be driven from the field.  So intense was the fighting that Count Cabernet-Sauvignon added another minor wound to the collection of contusions gathered the day before.
The French horse is starting to gain the ascendancy,
but it cost them their dragoons.  The Division commander
has taken a sabre edge, but retains his seat.

As Merlot's Division prepared to follow up the retreating 1st Brigade across the east bridge, Malbec's flung itself across the south bridge in the teeth of the Prussian battery.  At once, the leading battalions of 41st Line took heavy losses, without at once shifting the gun line.
Malbec's Division tries to storm the bridge and the battery beyond.

With heavy engagements on both flanks, Graf Kleist ordered forward his 3rd Brigade against the oncoming French lines.  Seizing a momentary initiative, the French battalions advanced so far forward, angling across 3rd Brigade's front, that the Lippe, Waldeck and Oldenburg battalions had only the French artillery before them - and an extra distance to go to reach them.  The Saxon, Alhalt and Schwarzburg battalions struck 32nd Line Infantry, flanking the French Divisional line.  The Division commander, General Viognier, had placed himself in the middle of the line, with the unreliable 103rd Regiment, whilst the left of the line, the 70th, pushed on towards the North German guns.
Graf Kleist orders a general advance in the centre...
Now the action was general, right across the front, the issue very much in doubt.  Still giving an astonishingly fine account of themselves, the German light horse for the second time forced back the French hussars - there seemed to be no end to their tenacity and determination.
The German counter-offensive under way.  
A terrific combat had developed about the Petit Rosiere bridges.  Split into two columns, Merlot's Division set about forcing the east crossing and driving Solms's Brigade from the field.  Malbec's Division was now being assisted by 70th Line Infantry advancing eastwards along the far bank.  That assistance was cut short as the Kurfurst Infantry advanced to meet them, inflicting some loss.
The fighting has become general along the whole front.
Graf Kleist's counter-offensive proved remarkably successful against the French infantry, but could make no head whatever against the enemy cannon.  The 1st and 2nd Provisional regiments flung back 32nd Line into the woods, then turned upon the luckless 103rd and crushed it in minutes.  General Viognier was lucky to escape uninjured and uncaptured, eventually rejoining 32nd Line.  Meanwhile, the Hessians of 2nd Brigade flung the 70th line into and over the stream near Petit Rosiere.
The Hessian cavalry starts to crumble...
As the North Germans were beating back the French centre, the roles were reversed on the wings.  Rejoining the cavalry battle, the hussars helped to scatter the German dragoons, and now only a depleted light horse unit faced them.  On the other flank, Malbec's Division finally forced their way across the stream, where the Prussian guns had hastily to be hitched up by prolongue and drawn back towards Grand Rosiere. General Merlot had drawn up his whole Division into a column and set about the pursuit of Prinz Solms's command.
French 32nd Line forced back, the 103rd routed, and 70th
driven across the stream.  But the German gun battery has been
forced to withdraw.
Even though his army was still well in hand (well short of its exhaustion point) the situation was such as to persuade Graf Kleist that a general withdrawal was indicated.  So went out the order.  It was about this point that the gradual disorganisation of both army corps - owing to units being split from their parent formations - was becoming a consideration.  That was why Merlot elected to reform his Division into a single bloc.  But 3rd Division was minus 103rd Line, and General Viognier had joined the 32nd.  The 9th Hussars had linked up with the remains of the rest of the Cavalry Division.
Only the Prinz Solms Regiment remains of 1st Brigade...

It was going to be touch and go whether the Anhalt-Thuringen Brigade would be able to extricate itself.  A battle developed between the German 1st and 2nd Provisional Regiments and Malbec's Divisions, both sides facing their own lines of communication.  The French by this time had been the more worn down, the equivalent of perhaps 4 battalions facing 6.  Though the latter were nominally of indifferent quality, they were buoyed up by past success (a plot device to explain the further narrative of events - not the game mechanics!). The presence of the Divisional commander, Oberst von Eggloffstein kept them on their mettle.

Part of Eggloffstein's 3rd Brigade - 6 battalions - give
Malbec's Division a mauling.
Forty-first line were driven back to the stream, and the 'Terrible' 57th were also depleted. It was the reemergence of 70th Line, across the creek and into the left rear of  his command that finally forced Egloffstein to make good his escape - if he could.
The German tide rapidly recedes, and von Egloffstein
appears to be almost surrounded!
Failing to effect anything against the French guns, the other two regiments of Egloffstein's command were also pulling back towards the town.  Just at that moment, the German cavalry at last disintegrated and freed the French horse to pursue the retiring infantry.  They were not to be hustled, however, and rebuffed the tired French horse without trouble.
The French 1st Division forcing the bridge at Gerompont.
The German ebb was now quite pronounced.  First Brigade had fallen right back almost to Gerompont, and well away from rendering any help to the main body apart from drawing off the French 1st Division.

The German guns had withdrawn as far as the Grand Rosiere river bridge, the von Haller Grenadiers had been ordered to cross to the east bank, and Kurfurst Infantry regiment had already fallen back to town itself.  The regiments Landgraf Carl and Prinz Solms tried to make a stand at the east end of the Gerompont Bridge, only to be once more flung back into the town.

Prinz Solms Regiment can not hold the bridge for long...
Attacked in front and rear, General Egloffstein's 6-battalion band, though somewhat reduced (both regiments down to 2 SP apiece), successfully cut their way out from encirclement (inflicting 'retreat' hits upon Malbec's Division and 70th Line, both.  The Prussians might be beaten, by Wotan, but not before handing out a few licks of their own!).
Von Egloffstein has broken clear, and the German army
begins a general withdrawal.  The man himself has taken
a minor chest wound.

The rest of the action was the North German attempt to disengage, and the French attempted pursuit.  If this action is anything to go by, it is a ringing endorsement of the Cordery rule set, for the ensuing action was quite interesting in its way.
The beginning of the German retreat, still under effective
Partly owing to disorganisation, but mainly on account of drawing a timely initiative roll giving them two 'moves' in a row, the German 2nd and 3rd Brigades managed to distance themselves from close pursuit by the French foot.  By disengaging somewhat before their exhaustion point had been reached, the Germans also reserved the option for a quick counter-attack should the opportunity present itself.  The last few pictures show the successful withdrawal of the North German Federal Army Corps.
Von Egloffstein commands the rearguard in the town as the
main body of the Corps, such as remains, draws off.
There could be no doubt about it: a French victory.  Judged by the 'butcher's bill', it was decisive enough: 14 German SP lost; just 9 French.  But though defeated, the Germans were far from destroyed.  In days to come, the Berlin Blatter, the Hamburg Hautboys and other popular journals would tell and retell the story of the gallant fight by the light horse against overwhelming odds, and the manner in which Oberst von Eggloffstein led his men out from the midst of the French army.
Having broken clear of the somewhat disorganised French,
the Germans 'steal a march' (win the right to move twice in succession)
to put some distance between themselves and possible pursuit.
This was quite a fun and exciting action to play out - interesting too - but it did lead to some issues concerning how the close combats involving multiple units and columns are to be played out.  This became most apparent during the course of the cavalry fight.  That the thing lasted as long as it did was due to the German cavalry consistently rolling high combat dice for several turns on end.  But the other had to do with how the supports work.   One is tempted to look to DBM conventions, or maybe Memoir '44.
Prinz zu Solms-Braunsfels's bad day continues -
and Gerompont falls. But what is left of his Brigade
is still in hand.

Let's go back to the combat pictured here:
The Hessian Horse began the combat the previous turn, but this turn, the French have the initiative, and the hussars have joined the fight.  Had there been room, by the way, the hussars could have looped around to strike the Hessians in their left rear, but the exigencies of the terrain prohibited such a move.  The Hessian we hit in front and flank-front. No flank or rear strike here.

The respective dice rolls for the dragoons and chasseurs vs Hessians, call them 'G' and 'B'  would be both modified by +1 (General with) +1 (supporting unit) -1 (enemy supporting unit) for a 'G+1' score.  A hit would be incurred in G=1 or B=1.  In any given round of combat the odds of at least one side taking a hit is 11/36 - slightly less than 1/3.  Then one has to determine whether the 'hit' determines a fall back or an SP reduction.
German Army files off covered by 1st and 2nd Provisional
Infantry in the town.
The problem with the hussars, was that without in-hex supports and absent a general officer, they had no positive modifier, nor did their enemy a negative.  So when the Hessians rolled B=1, it was modified (+1 general with; +1 supporting unit) to B=3 - no result. On the other hand, suppose the Hussars rolled G=3 (-1 for enemy supporting base in attacked grid area) = 2.  The Hussars take a hit.  Although elite, the hussars rolled a '1' for their first hit, and went down a SP.  During the course of the game, I felt sure I was doing something wrong with the game mechanics, but now I think there is an issue there that needs to be looked at.
What is left of 1st Brigade abandons Gerompont.
Apart from that, and perhaps the overlong cavalry combats, I thought the thing played out very well.  It looked (to me) and felt like a battle - something moderately large scale, but not quite whole army level.  That will be the next step, perhaps.  Having played out the operations of the Army of the Meuse and the North German Federal Army Corps  to a conclusion, I'm thinking of taking a look at the Battle of Wavre as the next 'logical' step.  This involves an action between a single Prussian Army Corps (III Corps) of 4 Divisions (called Brigades) together with a reserve of horse and guns;  against roughly 2 French also with horse and guns added. 
Finally: a word on how I use my hex grid table.  
Roads:  When laying these out 'against the grain, I have taken to placing them to one side of the hex long axis, right and left alternately.  This is clearest in the early map, especially the Chemin des Ramillies.  This makes the layout job a whole lot easier.

This brings me to unit facing.  The Cordery rules make facing a grid edge mandatory, but I think there is something to be said for permitting the facing towards the grid area points (corners) also - especially on the hex-grid.  It does make a difference to what constitutes flank and rear facing, and the shooting arcs would need to be revisited, but I already have some ideas about that.
Rivers:  I'm beginning to adopt a convention of laying small rivers close to grid edges as much as I can.  This allows the use of the clear part of a 'river hex', say, as if it were altogether clear terrain.  River crossing penalties would apply if crossing the river to an adjacent hex, and vice versa.  No penalty would apply to moving from a river hex to an adjacent river hex if no river crossing is involved.  Of course, this does not apply to large waterways, which span the whole hex (or square) grid area.
Close of the action.  Graf Kleist's Corps is beaten, but far from broken.

To be continued...