Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Projects - Marking Time

Lately feeling under the weather, I've not felt much inclined to follow up on the Shambattle games the previous posting prepared for. Liverish, or something. Do others get that?  One does all the homework and prep work, but one quails at the thought of setting up the table. As if that were a chore!  It will get done... eventually.

But, rather than this blog spot sitting in silence any longer I thought I would do one, or possibly more, on other projects that have been occupying my time instead of fighting out the battles. This posting will focus upon another 'Map Game' - Napoleonic, the opening campaign of 1809.

Although the thought had occurred to me earlier in the year, this 'Campaign in a Day: Crisis on the Danube' was a further inspiration. These projects, posted from time to time in the Blunders on the Danube blog, make for entertaining reading.

Of course the project I have in mind is a campaign on one table. For anyone new to Archduke Piccolo, here's my attempt at the Hundred Days' campaign. Very much an experiment, the whole concept seemed to add a whole new dimension to miniatures war gaming.

For a week beginning 10 April, the Austrian army, under Archduke Charles, had entered Bavarian territory and faced a disorganised response. Held up in Paris by other affairs of State, Emperor Napoleon did not join the Grande Armee until the 17th. At once taking over the reigns of army command, he set about producing order from the disorder created by his chief of staff, Marshal Berthier. 

The action begins with the Army Corps formations located as shown in this map: 

The small lozenge shapes show where Napoleon and the Archduke are standing at the outset of the action.  The following picture is how the map is supposed to look on my hex-board.

There is a small problem with this map: there's a heck of a lot of river.  Partly to save board space, all the rivers, even the large ones like the Danube and the Isar will be laid out along hex-sides.  I'll probably have to extemporise some rivers with something or other.  There must be at least sixteen foot of river on this table.

Adding in the location of the formations: 
How the table will be set up.

Now for the Orders of Battle:

Austrian Army:

Commanding in Chief: Erzherzog Karl - begins at Rohr

I Corps: Graf Bellegarde - begins off table in Bavaria opposite Regensburg (Ratisbon)
6 foot: 4 line infantry, 1 jager, 1 freiwilliger (1)
2 horse: 2 uhlan light horse,
3 gunners (2)

III Corps: F. Hohenzollern-Hechingen - Rohr
5 foot: 3 line infantry, 1 jager, 1 grenzer
3 horse: 2 hussar, 1 chevauleger, 
3 gunners

IV Corps: Rosenberg - Langquaid
5 foot: 3 line infantry, 1 grenzer, 1 legion
2 horse: 2 hussar
3 gunners

V Corps: Archduke Ludwig - Between Pfaffenhausen and Siegensburg
7 foot: 3 German line, 3 Hungarian line, 1 grenzer
2 horse: 1 hussar, 1 uhlan
3 gunners

VI Corps: J. Hiller - Moosburg
7 foot: 3 German line, 3 Hungarian line, 1 Grenzer
3 horse: 2 hussar, 1 chevauleger, 
3 gunners

I Reserve Corps: J. Liechtenstein -  Pfaffenhausen
3 grenadiers,
3 cuirassiers,
2 gunners

II Reserve Corps: M. Kienmayer - Landshut
2 grenadiers,
2 horse: 1 cuirassier, 1 dragoon
2 gunners
The smallest formation: Michael Kienmayer's
II Reserve Corps.

Totals: 35 foot, 17 horse, 19 gunners = 71 figures, 7 guns

(1) The infantry types are really what I plan on fielding.  They probably won't have any game significance
(2)  Each army corps gets one gun, but 2 or 3 crew members depending on the OOB.

One of the largest formations: Oudinot's II Corps
spread over two grid areas.  Minifigs, except for the 
Hinchliffe cuirassiers.

French Army:

Commanding in Chief: Emperor Napoleon - begins at Ingolstadt

II Corps: Nicolas Oudinot - begin at Au
6 foot: 5 line, 1 light
3 horse: 1 hussar, 1 chasseur, 1 cuirassier
2 gunners

III Corps: Marshal Davout - begin south of Regensburg
('wing') Friant/Montbrun/ St Hilaire:
5 foot: 1 light, 4 line
3 horse: 2 hussar, 1 chasseur
2 gunners
('wing') Morand/Gudin/St Sulpice:
5 foot: 1 light, 4 line
3 horse: 3 cuirassiers
2 gunners

Totals III Corps: 10 foot, 6 horse, 4 gunners serving 2 guns (3)

IV Corps.
Marshal Massena - begin Pfaffenhofen
9 foot: 2 light, 7 line
1 horse: Baden light horse
3 gunners
1 pontonier

V Corps: Marshal Lannes - begin Vohburg
4 foot: 1 light, 3 line
3 horse: 1 chasseur, 1 cuirassier, 1 cuirassier OR carabinier
3 gunners

VII (Bavarian) Corps (4)
: Marshal Lefebvre - begin Neustadt
5 foot: 1 light, 4 line
2 horse: 1 dragoon, 1 chevauleger
3 gunners

Wurttemberg Corps (4): General Vandamme - begin Ingolstadt
4 foot: 1 light, 3 line
1 horse: 1 Chevauleger
2 gunners 

Totals: 38 foot, 16 horse, 17gunners, 1 pontonier = 72 figures, 7 guns (5)

(3) Marshal Davout's Army Corps being so large won't 'go' on a single hex grid space. Hence the split along the same lines as carried out in the 'Campaign in a day' game. I was going to do the same with Massena's command, but decided it was not too big for a single hex space.

(4) My Grande Armee is pretty much exclusively French - no allies. So, with the possible exception of 1 Nassauer figure, we'll have French standing in for Allies of the French...

(5) I believe the Austrian artillery outnumbered the French by a larger margin than I have given. However, as the Austrian artillery - pretty much le dernier cri 50 years before - was fairly overmatched by the turn of the century by just about all major belligerents.  
Preliminary OOB notes for the French Army

As usual for these projects, I'll be using my dice combat system, rolling 1D6 for each figure in combat, plus each arm represented. Corps commanders count as one of the figures, but a +1 bonus will be added to Napoleon, Archduke Charles, Davout, Massena and Lannes in person.

1 = artillery hit
2 = cavalry hit (6) 
3 = cavalry hit
4 = infantry hit
5 = infantry hit
6 = infantry hit and/or commander hazard (7)

Formations attempting a forced crossing of the Danube or Isar Rivers halve their combat dice.  
Garrisons may be detached from parent army corps to hold and defend towns and cities.

The thought occurred that 2 could mean light cavalry hit, and 3 heavy cavalry.
Light cavalry = hussars, chavauleger, light dragoons, chasseurs-a-cheval and lancers
Heavy cavalry = dragoons, cuirassiers, carabiniers-a-cheval and cavalry in the strictest sense of the term

Of course, the corollary is that the dice scores for foot might also be distinguished. A roll of 4 means light infantry hit; 5 or 6 means line infantry, landwehr or grenadiers.  Light infantry might include voltigeurs, chasseurs-a-pied, carabiniers-a-pied, jager, riflemen, tirailleurs, cacadores, tiradores, grenzers, and any freikorps...

The jury is out whether it would be worthwhile making these subdivisions, which really apply only for determining combat outcomes.

Army and Corps commanders at hazard roll 1D6 to discover their immediate fate. 
The simplest method is to give Corps commanders 6 'health points' (I have just got to come up with a better term than this!). Once this is reduced to zero, the commander is incapacitated - KIA or POW depending upon what seems reasonably to have occurred. The Division ('wing') commanders in Davout's Corps have 4 'health points' only. So when a 6 is rolled for combat, roll again, subtracting that score from the commander's 'health'. Of course a roll of 6 will immediately incapacitate the commander (a 4 being sufficient to knock over a Division ('wing') commander).

I should add here that army corps may be distributed over 2 adjoining grid areas. If both sections - call them wings - are in contact with a single enemy in a single grid area, the figures in both are added together in their own turn. If an enemy corps in one area makes contact with both wings, then it may select one wing as the target.

I have finally decided upon the method I used for the Operation Uranus game of 6 years ago for determining rallying and replacement of losses. For each game turn, losses are halved for each arm (exact halves round up for infantry, round down for horse and foot). Then they are returned to formations that have taken losses, on a 'pro rata' basis.  This might involve a certain amount of paperwork to calculate.

To be continued... 


Saturday, November 18, 2023

Shambattle Maps.

This posting is by way of a 'filler', though inspired, if that is the word, by others' blog posts.  Especially Bob Cordery's. Just to be in the swim, methought to create maps for my gridded tables, to see how they would look.  Having seen what others have done in the Shambattle field, I thought I would look to see how it would go on my table.  Three years ago I took a whole different approach, which led to this clash:

A slightly extended Shambattle in a different 
theatre, using very limited forces.

First,  the square-celled grid.

This would be how the thing would be presented on my 10x10 table.  The first thing to observe is that the river would be placed along the sides of the grid cells, and not along a row.  I've changed some of the place names, keeping the chromatic gist, of course!

For both maps, I would use my Ruberian and Azurian armies, of course, though the OOBs would differ in size.  The above map has 100 grid cells, the hex-celled grid has 170-odd.  It would seem reasonable, then, that the army size for the latter to be 50-60% larger than for the former.

OOB Square-celled map:

Commander in Chief, General Sir Arthur Reddesley
9 Infantry stands - Rifle range: 1 grid area (orthogonal and diagonal)
4 Cavalry stands - Close combat only
2 Machinegun stands (Gatlings) - Shooting range: 2 grid areas measured orthogonally
1 Artillery stand - Shooting range 6 grid areas
2 Field hospitals (horse-drawn wagons)
1 Fixed hospital (probably in Redton).

Marshal Andre Azuréna
9 Infantry stands
4 Cavalry stands
2 Mitrailleuse stands (Nordenfeldt)
1 Artillery stand
2 Field hospitals (horse drawn wagons)
1 Fixed hospital (most likely in Cerulean City)

Of the 16 units on each side (discounting the hospitals), 8 would have to deploy at the outset in the towns, each having at least 2 units by way of a garrison.

The Spy...

It is tempting to subvert the adamantine river line by including the possibility of treachery in the enemy ranks.  As I'm playing these games solo, how this is done would have in some way to be programmed. I'm thinking less in terms of 'spy' and more in the way of 'Fifth Column'. The procedure (in broad terms) would go something like this:

  1. Select a stand that contains the snake(s)-in-the-grass.  This might be done at random, or simply selected.
  2. This stand will be liable to standing aloof or turning their coats at some point in the battle. A roll of '6' on a D6 will effect the change of loyalty.
  3. At the beginning of the Army's turn, it will dice to determine whether their Fifth Column will switch sides and (possibly) join them.
  4. The Fifth Column will not return to their former allegiance.


These  go towards restoring Strength Point losses, 1SP per turn, the recipient stand for the whole turn in the same grid area as the hospital, and not engaged in any other activity.  The stand requiring first aid will enter the hospital's grid area, and have 1SP restored at the end of the Army's next turn.

I have a feeling that one of the effects of these establishments is the creation and retention of a reserve, so that depleted units might be withdrawn, and fresh units take their place.  It would be nice to think that this will work, but I haven't tried it yet!


I propose using my own 'Command-&-Colours' combat method.  Shooting or close combat.  A grid area may hold 1 or 2 units, of any type - 2 infantry, say, or 1 infantry and 1 gun).  The following results count only if the target type happens to be present.

1. Artillery or Machinegun lose 1 SP
2. Cavalry retreat 1 grid area, or lose 1 SP
3. Cavalry lose 1 SP 
4. Infantry retreat 1 grid area, or lose 1 SP
5. Infantry lose 1 SP
6. Infantry lose 1 SP, and retreat 1 grid area.  Hazard to Army Command if present.
If Army Commander is in the target grid area, he may be hit.  A separate roll of '6' means the Army Commander is toast (one could roll to determine whether he is KIA, WIA, or POW).

The number of dice rolled is equal to the number of SPs in the fighting grid area, plus an extra one if the Army Commander is present.

On the square grid table rifles may shoot across the river into an adjacent grid area, but close combat can be conducted only at the river crossings.  A force attacking across a defended river crossing count half (rounded up) their combat SPs, before adding the Army Commander's +1 if he is present. Whether shooting or close combat, if the enemy is in cover,  or in towns, woods, up hill, combat SPs are halved (rounded up).  Again, the Army Commander's +1 is added after modifying combat SPs.  The halving for terrain is not cumulative. 
2 units, plus Army Commander, in one square
 grid area - as much as the area can accommodate.

Close combat is initiated by a force attempting to enter a grid area occupied by an enemy force. This is signalled by the front edge of at least one stand being placed slightly over the edge of the target grid area.  Close combats are automatic, both sides rolling, and, if continuing, take place in both sides' turns.  The posture of the respective sides will indicate who is the attacker.

Activation of units: 

The whole game is IGoUGo, but in each pair of turns roll for which side goes first. 
1.  Artillery and Machinegun fire (both sides, count as simultaneous)

2.  Roll for initiative, high roll going first and completing moves and combats for all units

3.  Roll for the Fifth Column: a '6' on a D6 means the '5C' stand changes sides and may be used in this turn

4.  For each unit: 
    Movement (artillery and MGs if not having fired this turn)
    Rifle fire  and outcomes (moving side only)
    Close Combat and outcomes (both sides)

5. Low initiative roll completes moves and combats for all units.


Riflemen: 2 squares, traced orthogonally (i.e. through square sides, not corners) in clear areas or on roads; otherwise 1 grid area only.
Cavalry: 3 squares on roads or clear, otherwise 1 grid area only
Machine guns: 2 squares on roads or clear, otherwise in grid area only.
Artillery: 2 squares on roads, 1 square in clear or in towns, otherwise impassible.

I appreciate I have rather reversed the usual order of tracing out these rules, but I added the activations and movement more for the sake of completeness.

The Hex-celled Grid:

The gimlet-eyed reader will notice that the Vermilion City and Blueburg I have placed, per the original Shambattle map, right up against the river banks. I'm rather taken with the idea of urban fighting being required to force a crossing.  Whether this adds or detracts from the action, we would have to see.

This being a larger game area, a larger OOB is required, and a commensurate change in shooting ranges as well.

OOB Hex-celled Map:

Commander in Chief, General Sir Arthur Reddesley
14 Infantry stands - Rifle range: 2 grid areas
6 Cavalry stands - Close combat only
3 Machinegun stands (Gatlings) - Shooting range: 3 grid areas measured orthogonally
2 Artillery stands - Shooting range 8 grid areas
2 Field hospitals (horse-drawn wagons)
1 Fixed hospital (probably in Redton).

Marshal Andre Azuréna
14 Infantry stands
6 Cavalry stands
3 Mitrailleuse stands (Nordenfeldt)
2 Artillery stands
2 Field hospitals (horse drawn wagons)
1 Fixed hospital (most likely in Cerulean City)

Of the 25 units on each side (discounting the hospitals), 12 would have to deploy at the outset in the towns, each having at least 3 units by way of a garrison.

2 units - infantry, machinegun - and the 
Army Commander in one hex-grid area.


Riflemen: 2 hexes in clear areas or on roads; otherwise 1 grid area only.
Cavalry: 3 hexes on roads or clear, otherwise 1 grid area only
Machine guns: 2 hexes on roads or clear, otherwise in grid area only.
Artillery: 2 hexes on roads, 1 hex in clear or in towns, otherwise impassible.

In the above picture, the MG could shoot out to 3 grid areas; but at 2 grid area range, the rifles can be added.  The Army Commander's presence putting them on their mettle, would add +1 to the units' SPs for shooting or close combat.

Strength Points.

(I'm following Bob Cordery here:)

Square Grid Armies SP values:
10 Rifles @ 3SP: 30SP
4 Cavalry @ 2SP: 8SP
2 MG @2SP: 4SP
1 Artillery @2SP: 2SP
1 Army Commander @6SP : 6SP
Total: 50SP/ Exhaustion Point: -17/ Rout Point -25.

Hex Grid Armies SP values:
14 Rifles @ 3SP: 42SP
6 Cavalry @ 2SP: 12SP
3 MG @2SP: 6SP
2 Artillery @2SP: 4SP
1 Army Commander @6SP : 6SP
Total: 70SP/ Exhaustion Point: -24/ Rout Point -35

Well, we are in 'suck-it-and-see' country here.  It remains to give these games a burl some time...

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Portable Napoleonic Wargames: La Souffel (2)

The Allied forces arriving over the first four turns of the battle, the action developed slowly. The first to arrive, along the Lampertheim road, Palombini's Division was soonest in organising an assault upon the 16th Division river defences. Voyrol stood off the first attacks at Lampertheim itself, but a second drove his brigade back across the stream.  A counterattack recovered the village, which the Division's light infantry garrisoned.  Meanwhile, the garrison at Mundolsheim startled the light horse approaching the town's river bridge by a quick attack across it. The chevauleger scuttling back were replaced by half of Koch's infantry (Hohenlohe and Misany's brigades).  Beurmann retired across the river into Mundolsheim.

Allies close up to the Souffel river line

By this time, Prince Adam's cavalry had pushed down rapidly towards Souffelweyersheim, where von Moltke's dragoons tried to bounce the French skirmishers back from the opposite riverbank. In this they were successful, but at prohibitive cost. The depleted dragoons fell back to the north side of the stream. Passing through Reichstett village, the Division's horse artillery deployed into battery along the southern edge of the place, whence they began a bombardment of Montagnier's brigade standing between Souffelweyersheim and the woods a short distance east of the place. Montagnier shuffled his troops into shelter behind the village. 

Prinz Emile coming up to add weight to 
Palombini's assault

So far, matters seemed to be going well enough for the Allies, though Palombini was not strong enough, it seemed, to be sure of forcing the river line. He was encouraged by the arrival of Prince Emile's elite brigade and light troops, including its skirmishing companies.

(Note: I really have no idea, now, where I got the idea that Prince Emile's command included light troops, nor how I overlooked - I even wrote it down - that Hugel's brigade were all of light infantry. Be that as it may, we carry on. I gave Prince Emile a brigade of grenadiers, represented the 'light' brigade by grenzer, and the skirmishers by a pair of jager. It looked a fine little Division, advancing down the Lampertheim road...)

Prince Emile's Division

Not before time. Czollich's brigade attempted several assaults upon the 15th Division artillery position.  Aided by the flanking skirmishers, the artillery threw back several charges, and maintain a devastating fire upon the hapless Hungarians. Suddenly, Palombini's prospects looked much less rosy.
The Hungarians destroyed by gunfire and musketry
from the French skirmishers

They were not improved when Beurmann's aforementioned transpontine counterattack threw back Palombini's light horse brigade.
Beurmann's brigade sees off the Allied light horse

Such early successes were encouraging for the defenders, but the Allies had hardly begun any serious assault upon their lines.
Beurmann's brigade facing odds of at least three to one

The defenders had not much longer to wait. Splitting Koch's Division in two, Prince Eugene ordered Koch himself to lead two brigades to attack the French still on the north side of the Mundolsheim river bridge, whilst the other two brigades were to cross the river west of Souffelweyersheim, thence to attack that village supported by horse and guns.

(Note: Really, this was questionable - violating the 'unit integrity' rule that ought equally at this level to apply to formations. The whole Division ought to have gone one way or the other.  I didn't even notice until after the action.

Facing Koch's resolute advance, Beurmann quickly fell back into Mundolsheim, there to face a direct assault by more than three times their numbers. What remained to attack Souffelweyersheim seemed sufficient although Merlin's cavalry were to be quickly on the scene, and Grandjean's column could at last be seen trudging up the Strasbourg road.

The arrival of Grandjean's 17th Division

Supported by the depleted brigade of dragoons, Lalance's brigade splashed through the river to assault the western face of the village. They were stopped cold. On the other hand, the Allies scored a measure of success, their counter-battery finally silencing Rottembourg's guns.  

In an effort to keep Merlin's cavalry off his attacking infantry, Prince Eugene ordered forward the depleted chevauleger from Palombini's Division, Kinski's brigade (formation integrity be damned), backed up by the fresh light horse of Jett's Brigade (the uhlans in the picture).  Very quickly braving the flanking fore from Allied artillery, Merlin's cavalry, four times the strength Jett had remaining, attacked.  
Attack and counterattack around Souffelweyersheim

Under cover of the cavalry battle nearby, Hugel's brigade was fed through Lalance's depleted formation to renew yet another assault upon the town. By now, however, the lead elements of Grandjean's Division were already deployed east of Souffelweyersheim, and pushing forward. The signs of anxiety were already beginning to etch themselves across the Prince Royal's visage.

He might have been reassured by events upon his right flank. Following up the French withdrawal across the river into Mundolsheim, Koch's command scattered the garrison's hasty defence, passed through the village, and began an assault upon the rear of Albert's gun line. Just then, Emile's light troops were engaging the guns from across the river.  
The fall of Mundolsheim, and the beginning of the 
end of 16th Division

At this time, French skirmishers were still grimly clinging on to Lampertheim - the Allies couldn't buy a six! - whilst Voyrol waited on the opposite river bank.

Before Voyrol could lend his assistance, the Allied light infantry overran the guns.  In an effort to recover something from the battle, Albert led Voyrol's brigade into a counterattack. Outnumbered eight to one, it was always going to be a forlorn hope, and what remained of 16th Division collapsed. The Allies had taken the whole of 16th Division's defence line, barring the skirmishers holed up in Lampertheim.

Matters were not going so well at Souffelweyersheim. It was gradually becoming apparent that the Allies simply lacked the strength to take the place. Even were the town to fall, the strength General Rapp could call upon was rather greater than the attacking Allies could muster. At about this time, Prince Eugene called off the attack.

At the time, I calculated that the Allies had reached their exhaustion point, but looking at the pictures now, it seems that the Allied total losses amount to 18 SP lost - 9 from both wings of attack. For their part, if you could write off the entire Albert Division except its commander - 8SP, Rottembourg lost just 3SP;  Eleven - 14 if you added in Albert himself.  Fourteen was still (just) short of V Corps exhaustion point.  Eighteen would have left 3 more before the Allied corps reached the same condition.  

How do we assess the result, then?  Until I wrote this up, I was certain this was a French victory - unexpected given the disparity of overall strengths. On reflection it seems to have been something of a tactical draw - the Allied undoubtedly carrying the French left, but taking heavy losses for scant reward at Souffelsheim. 

Situation at day's end.
But really, I made a mess of this action, in many respects. In adapting the polyglot Allied III Corps to my own Austrian collection, I made a couple of bad mistakes, although not, at least, in the matter of respective strengths. I also forgot, twice, the issue of formation integrity. Having said that, even if Koch's Division had remained en bloc to take Mundolsheim, Grandjean's Division would have been on hand to counter any attempt to roll up the French river line. So I'm not going to beat myself up too hard about my slip-ups.

For anyone minded to try out this battle in this format I suggest you take a look first at these sites:



I used the former of these two, but I think the latter, which I discovered only today, the more informative perhaps. The Strength Points I calculated by dividing the Age of Eagles SPs by 3. 

In my next posting I'll see what the respective armies would have looked like, adapted from the second AofE scenario.  Otherwise, apart from a 'List of Postings' or 'Table of contents' posting, that will be the end of this occasional series under the overall title 'Hundred Days'. 

Sunday, November 5, 2023

Portable Napoleonic Wargames: La Souffel

The longtime reader of this blog might recall several articles over time depicting battles of the so-called 'Hundred Days' campaign.  The occasional series began in early 2019 with a 'might-have-been' series of battles between a Prussian 'North German Federal Army Corps' under Graf Kleist von Nollendorf, and the 'Army of the Meuse', commanded by General Henri Count Beaujolais. The one force was based on a real army corps being gathered by the German count; the latter entirely fictitious, a rumour historically made actual.  In June 1815, there was no 'Army of the Meuse'.

The series then continued with the battles of Quatre Bras, Ligny, Wavre and Waterloo, but not in that chronological order.  I began with Wavre (2019) and ended with Ligny (2022).  They began as a play test to see if, on a larger board, Bob Cordery's Portable Napoleonic Wargame could be extended to army level actions. With a few minor tweaks, they certainly could!

Battle of la Souffel, 28 June 1815

There remains, however, one last action, something of an epilogue to the return of Emperor Napoleon's attempted comeback from exile.  This was a smaller action fought in the east of France, some ten days after Waterloo.  Commanding the 20,000-strong French V Army Corps, General Rapp - a very able commander - faced rather superior numbers, some 200,000 Austrians and Allies of the Upper Rhine Army.  So outmatched, Rapp fell back westwards. Rapidly following up, Eugene, the Prince Royal of Wurttemberg, led his 35-40,000 III Corps in hot pursuit.  Upon reaching the line of the Souffel River with the enemy close behind, Rapp halted, took a stand, and offered battle.

Map of the table

As laid out, this scenario s owes a great deal to an Age of Eagles treatment of this action.  Probably a more direct research would have been preferable, but this was at least convenient. It is pretty much a defensive action by the French, the Allies - all of which were represented by my Austrian figures - being tasked with forcing the line of the river.  

Diagram of early developments.  See text infra.

The respective forces were as follow:

French 'Army of the Rhine ' V Corps,

General Jean Rapp ('Good' commander) 6SP

15th Division, General Rottembourg (3SP) 
  •     Gudin Brigade, (Conscript = Poor), 3SP
  •     Monagnier Brigade, (conscript), 3SP
  •     Skirmishers*, Average, 1SP 
  •     Artillery, Avg, 1SP

16th Division, General Albert  (3SP)
  •     Beurmann Brigade, (Regular = Average), 3SP
  •     Voyrol Brigade, (Conscript), 3SP
  •     Skirmishers, Avg, 1SP
  •     Artillery, Avg, 1SP

17th Division, General Grandjean (3SP)
  •     Fririon Brigade, (Conscript), 3SP
  •     Dandlau Brigade, (Regular), 3SP
  •     Skirmishers, Avg, 1SP
  •     Artillery, Avg, 1SP
Merlin's Cavalry  -   
  •      Grouvel Light Horse, Avg, 2SP (Chasseurs)
  •     Favier Dragoons HC, Avg, 2SP

18 units (including command), 43 Strength points
Exhaustion point -15SP; Rout Point -22SP 

View from behind 15th Division at 

Austrian Army of the Upper Rhine, III Corps

Prince Eugene of Wurttemberg ('Average' commander), 6SP

Division, Palombini, 3SP
  •      Count Kinski Brigade, Regular Light Cavalry, 3SP
  •      Luxembourg Brigade, Regular, 4SP
  •      Czollich Brigade, Regular, 4SP
  •      Light Foot Artillery, Avg, 2SP

Division, Prince Adam, 3SP

  •      Jett Brigade, Mounted Jager, Avg LC, 3SP
  •      Moltke Brigade, Dragoons, Avg HC, 3SP
  •      Horse Artillery, Avg, 2SP

Division, Koch, 3SP
  •      Hohenlohe Brigade, Regular, 4SP
  •      Misany Brigade, Regular, 3SP
  •      Lalance Brigade, Regular, 3SP
  •      Hugel Brigade, Regular, 4SP
  •      Foot Light Artillery (6pr), Avg, 2SP

Division Prince Emile, 3SP
  •      Folhenius Brigade, Grenadiers = Elite, 3SP
  •      Gall Brigade, Grenze, Avg, 3SP
  •      Skirmishers, Jager, Avg, 1SP

20 Units (including command), 62SP
Exhaustion Point -21SP, Rout Point -31SP    

Note that this army was not all Austrian - but as my Napoleonic collection has little in the way of minor allies, this action featured my Austrians exclusively.

Turn 4: arrival of Koch's large Division
Before continuing, a word on skirmishers.
Now, Bob Cordery's Portable Napoleonic Wargame calls for skirmishers only for Brigade Level action.  Rule sets of the Age of Eagles variety abstract skirmishers as 'below the grain' of the figure:man scales.
Personally, I see no reason not to have them represented in some way. What I have done is to allow each French foot Division, and Prince Emile's of the Austrians, a 2-figure 'cloud' of skirmishers.

When I played this action out, I hadn't fully realised any special rules for them, they were simply a small 'unit' - probably brigaded light companies - with a single SP.  In effect they were expendables whose purpose was to weaken the enemy if they could.
Allied dragoons attempt to force a crossing 
defended by 15th Division's skirmishers

It did occur to me, though, that rules could be made more elaborate.  What I propose is the following:
1.  Any 'skirmish capable' formation may deploy one stand of/or 2 figures in an immediately adjacent grid area as skirmishing light infantry
2.  This stand of skirmishers is counted as zero strength points (0SP)  They are classed as 'Average', or, in rare cases, 'Elite' (e.g. British 60th and 95th Rifles, on account of their rifled muskets).
3.  The skirmisher stand 'fights' like any other infantry stand.
4.  Artillery firing at skirmishers reduce their D6 die roll score by 1 - other modifiers still applying.
5.  If attacked by enemy horsed troops, skirmishers reduce their own D6 die roll score by 1; other modifiers still apply.
6.  If attacking skirmishers, horsed troops increase their D6 die roll score by 1; other modifiers still apply.
7.  If the skirmisher stand takes a 'hit' - whether a 'kill' or a 'forced retreat', it is removed from the board as the screen having been driven in.  Note that, having no SP value, this comes at no cost to the skirmishers' army morale.
8. If the skirmisher screen has been driven in, an enemy attacking it may advance into the vacated grid area. 

OK, I have yet to play test this scheme, but the actual game, with the skirmishers being treated as just another fighting stand, seemed to work.  The pictures coming before and after this section comes from very early in the La Souffel action.  Austrian dragoons try to force a river crossing defended by the brigaded light companies of 15th Division.  The skirmishers were driven in (i.e. eliminated) but the cavalry failed to secure a lodgment and were driven back across the river. 
The skirmishers driven in but the cavalry take 
too much damage to follow up.

The initial set-up for the French had: 

15th Division in or east of Souffelweyersheim
16th Division in and about Lumpertheim and Mundolsheim
17th Division off table south of Bischheim on the Strasbourg road
Merle's Cavalry between Mundolsheim and Souffelweyersheim.

The arrival of 17th Division would be signalled when an Austrian unit crossed the river anywhere.
Action on 15th Division front.  Genl Rottembourg 
is shifting his artillery from the right flank

The Allied (Austrian) approach to this action begins with the gradual arrival of the four Divisions, according to the following schedule:

Turn 1, Point A (see map)
Palombini Division

Turn 2, Point B or C OR  Turn 4, Point D
Prince Adam Division

Turn 4, Point B or C
Koch Division

Turn 6, Point A 
Prince Emile Division

Allied Divisions of Palombini, Koch and Prince 
Adam closing in along the river line.

Looking at the respective armies, one might be forgiven for supposing this ought to be a walkover for the Austrians: superior in numbers and quality both. The piecemeal arrival of the Allies may be balanced by the absence of the French 17th Division until the Allies have secured a measure of success already.  The extra couple of stands of skirmishers the French have - my own addition - one must recall have just the one strength point.  Surely that won't make much difference?

For the outcome of this action, we'll have to wait until the next posting...

To be continued...