Monday, 23 December 2013

Game 20 : Wagram

This is the largest Napoleonic game to date, the battle of Wagram. Certainly in size, it ranks in the top three of largest of all Napoleonic battles. This battle was fought with a constriction of the front line, otherwise the table would have been too small. The battlefield extended from Baumersdorf on the Austrian left flank to some way past Anderklaa on the Austrian right flank.
The set up was fairly historical. The French were deployed historically with the same objectives as in the actual battle. This included the retaking of Anderklaa, previously vacated by Bernadotte against orders. Massena was given the task to retake it. The French would win by holding the battlefield and punching through the Austrian centre over the river Russbach stream.
Forgive me if I assume that you have a good idea of the actual battle. The Austrians were deployed historically with one major exception in that the reserve, although starting behind I Corps, could be ordered as the Archduke saw fit. Most of these pictures come from our second game as we managed to play it twice. As to the outcomes, wait until the end.


This shows a Division of I Corps in the background advancing on Anderklaa, in the foreground, which has been re-occupied by St Cyr from Massena's Corps. Village fighting is protracted and the fight for Anderklaa would see Divisions from both sides severely mauled and depleted before a result was obtained.

This is a picture of the French reserve, deployed near Rassdorf, their main line of communication. Rassforf is the strategic target of the Austrian flank attack by III Corps under Kollowrat. The reserve you can see consists of the following : 6 regiments of Cuirassiers in 2 Divisions, 3 regiments of Guard Cavalry, 6 batteries of Guard Artillery, 2 batteries of Line horse Artillery and 12 battalions of Guard Infantry.

This is taken from the eastern end of the battlefield. Baumersdorf is immediately to the right off camera. In the far distance you can see the Austrian columns advancing on the French flank with the 2 smaller divisions of Massena's Corps, plus Lasalle, facing them off.

Same shot but with the camera moved northwards to show the front lines. Baumersdorf is in the foreground, Anderklaa is way down the table and the Russbach is to the right of the picture. This was at set up and the Austrian formations would thin out as they deployed to occupy and contest the front line.

This is from the rear of Baumersdorf looking south. The Austrians would defend the village on both banks of the Russbach and French columns can be seen in the background preparing to attack.

This shows a division from I Corps bearing down on Anderklaa and immediately behind them are 2 reserve divisions of Grenadiers.

Playing with the camera, the next major investment. The picture shows a General with his various ratings used throughout the rules.

This is later in the game. The Austrians still hold the main line and the French are now sending all the reserve cavalry along with the Italian division of Lecchi from MacDonald's Corps to reinforce the left flank which has been shattered at this point.

At the same time, French Guard foot artillery has been released to  pound the Austrian mail line which now pulls back to the far side of the hill to try and get some relief from the fire.

Anderklaa has eventually fallen to the Austrian I Corps, which although looks like it is preparing to advance, would actually halt to rest and lick its not insignificant wounds.

This is general action along the whole front line.

The French Young Guard have been committed to the centre as all previous French assaults have failed to punch a hole in the Austrian centre.

At the same time on the French left, the Austrian flank attack has been reinforced by a 2 reserve Cavalry divisions and a reserve Grenadier division. At bottom left can be seen French Cuirassiers form the French reserve cavalry. The clash is imminent!

This is just south of Wagram where having cleared Anderklaa, the Austrians are now beginning to role up the French centre with the Russbach stream to their left.

This is a continuation of the tactical situation going south. The reserve cavalry from both sides would clash, most importantly the Austrians were set up to give effective support fire. The result would be the throwing back of both French Cuirassier divisions as they could never get their weight of numbers to deploy.

Just before the charge, Austrian Cuirassiers attacking French Cuirassiers at the bottom of the shot.

Not all the Austrian infantry in Kollowrat's corps were as confident. Prudence was the order of the day

More general action, but you can now see how the French centre is being shortened by the advancing Austrians. Not long after this, the French attack would be called off before large elements of the French army became trapped.

The French did manage to take Baumersdorf late in the day. The Austrians eventually ran out of men to throw into the fray. The French would still try to advance across the stream around Baumersdorf until the battle was called off.

As usual, the gallery picture of the reprobates that played. There is another, Paul, who played earlier in the week, but he had to leave early. More next year. The rules will also be published, hopefully by Easter. Victory was assigned to the Austrians in that they forced the French to halt their assault and lick their wounds until another day. So, until then!