Monday, April 27, 2015

Battle of Raab - 1000-1100

Seras probes Austrian positions
Two volunteers stepped forward to take command of the two armies at Raab.  While the game will be conducted as a solo adventure, each non-player commander will issue orders to their respective commands.  For a solo replay, having pre-programmed orders for troop movements and reactions set a more objective tone to the game.  Of course, as the "Hand of God" in this replay, I will attempt to carry out non-players intentions. 

With orders in place, let the game begin!

The battle opens with the two battle lines facing off.  Eugene sets the French right into motion.  Two French light cavalry brigades under Montbrun and Colbert strike off for the Upper Bridge spanning the Pancza Brook.  Grouchy's heavy cavalry brigade, for now, remains in reserve.  On Grouchy's left, Seras' division steps off towards the Austrian positions defending the brook.  The remainder of Eugene's army awaits orders with little activity outside of the division guns being brought up ahead of the main battle line.
French general advance on the right
Montbrun, with the 2nd Chasseurs a Cheval (CaC) in the van, makes a dash for the bridge and begins to cross.  On his right, Colbert's light cavalry reaches the banks of the Pancza and searches for a suitable place to cross.
French light cavalry force a crossing
With French light cavalry pressing on the Austrian left, Mescery redeploys his vast cavalry wing to better defend the Upper Bridge.  While large in number, Mescery's horsemen, spread across three brigades, are comprised largely of Insurrection cavalry of suspect battleworthiness.  Most of Mescery's troopers are green with only a few Austrian regular hussars.  Hadik's cavalry guns open the battle with fire against the 2nd CaC with no noticeable effect.
View of the Austrian left
Showdown at the Upper Bridge
Austrian hussars lay in wait
Of Colbert's command, only the 1/20 CaC and 2/9 Hussars manage to negotiate a crossing of the treacherous Pancza.  Both formations come up out of the ravine in disorder.

As the 2 CaC crosses over to the east bank of the brook via the bridge, Hadik's guns open up and insurrection cavalry counter.  Before the Hungarian cavalry can close, Hadik's battery does its work efficiently.  The 2 CaC takes heavy casualties and becomes shaken.
First clash!
In the following clash of steel, the weakened French light horse is scattered but not before getting in a few licks on the insurrection horse.  Zemplin's Insurrection cavalry breaks off to recover.

Next to attempt the crossing is the 2/7 Hussars.  As the 2 CaC before, the 2/7 reaches the east bank of the brook and, in turn, is countered by Insurrection cavalry.  Without artillery fire to soften the French cavalry, the hussars cut a swath clear through the Hungarian horse and crash into the supporting 2nd Heves Insurrection cavalry.
2/7 Hussars attempt a crossing
2/7 Hussars breakthrough
The 2nd Heves becomes shaken in the impact and falls back in disorder.  The 2/7 Hussars breaks off and recollects back at the banks of the Pancza, shaken from its exertions.

With no respite to collect itself, the 1st Heves Insurrection cavalry is passed through by the 1/7 Hussars as it clears the Upper Bridge.  Having been cut through a second time the swirling masses of Hungarian horse become shaken as they wonder what has hit them.
1/7 Hussars attempt a crossing
Overrunning the Hungarians at the bridge, the French hussars plunge on to contact a supporting Hungarian cavalry formation.  Surprised by their sudden position on the front line, the Insurrection cavalry quickly succumb and fall back as many of their comrades lay down their arms.
French hussars overrun the hapless Hungarian cavalry
Disorganized from their successes, the French hussars break off and regroup back at the banks of the Pancza.

With French cavalry holding the bridgehead in disorder, Gosztony launches a powerful counterattack in an attempt to denude the east bank of French horsemen.  As the shaken 1st Heves Insurrection scurries to the rear, Gosztony's large brigade descends upon the crossing.
Austrian counterattack
All French horse are caught against the banks of the brook as they are reforming from their earlier efforts.
The Clash!
In the clash of horseflesh and steel, the 2/9 Hussars tumbles back across the brook demoralized as their east bank compatriot, the 1/20 CaC repulses its attacker.  In the whirring fight, the 1/20 CaC becomes shaken while their adversary, 1/5 Ott Hussars breaks off the attack and returns to its lines.

With Grosztony attached, two waves of insurrection cavalry catch the French horse artillery limbered on the bridge.  The Hungarian horsemen capture the guns and continue, pell-mell, on across the bridge.
Insurrection cavalry take the guns
Finally, Pesther Insurrection cavalry plows into the already demoralized 1/7 Hussars as it reforms near the bridge.  A number of French hussars surrender with the remainder scattering back to the west bank of the Pancza to reform.  The momentum of the charge carries the Hungarians into the reforming 2/7 Hussars but the French, although now demoralized, stop the insurrection cavalry.  The Hungarians break off and fall back to reform.
2/7 Hussars halt the Hungarian horse
Hungarians driven off
After the whirlwind of cavalry clashes, the crossing at the Upper Bridge witnesses a flurry of cavalry attempting to reform and rally before the next wave comes crashing down.  The Hungarian cavalry in the zeal following the capture of Montbrun's artillery look dangerously overexposed to counterattack.  
French tenuously hold bridgehead
With the cavalry crescendo on the French right, Seras' infantry division reaches the banks of the Pancza and begins a probe at the foot of the Austrian held positions. 
Seras probes ahead
The dash across the Upper Bridge by Montbrun was a bold move that resulted in almost wrecking Hadik's purely Insurrectio command.  Montbrun's command did not fare much better, though.  Losing a battery of artillery may be sorely missed later.  Neither Hadik nor Montbrun panicked but both cavalry formations are badly battered.

One note regarding Green troops; once a green cavalry unit reaches a demoralized morale state, it can no longer recover.  Even in Shaken or Disordered state, Green troops may have difficulty rallying quickly.  Given that, French cavalry may be able to take punishment and recover while Mescery's mostly insurrection cavalry likely will find recovery very difficult.  

While the over zealous actions of Insurrectio cavalry to continue on across the bridge may appear quite foolhardy, it may actually provide Mescery the time to reform his cavalry before the French can clear the bridge.  This may be a worthwhile sacrifice.

From his vantage point on the church heights, Johan can see the action at the Upper Bridge.  Of course, Johan can also see Seras' division bearing down on his position!  Eugene, in the valley, only hears the clash a few miles to the south in the distance.


26 comments:

  1. Hurrah! for the insurrection cavalry! job well done over the French! :o) well sort of...... one of the problems with militia cavalry is that they cannot come back to continue fighting after launching one good "punch"

    great report Jonathan!

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    1. Yes, the Insurrection cavalry fought back the first French wave. Can they do it again? Quite a trick to be overrun twice and live to tell about it. That is a lucky cavalry unit.

      Mescery still has one more cavalry brigade to commit if needed.

      Glad you enjoyed the report!

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  2. What a great Bat Rep, great table and figures too

    Ian

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  3. Nice report, nice pictures and nice looking game...excellent!

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    1. No clever animations but happy you enjoyed it.

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  4. Rooting (not routing) for the Hungarians!

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    1. Andras! I wondered if you might be rooting for your countrymen in this clash.

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  5. Great battle report, you have a lovely collection Jonathan!

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  6. Good to see this game start out. It'll be interesting watching the battle develop.

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    1. Hi Dean! When I mentioned I would fight this at a leisurely pace, I guess I meant it. Besides, I was away from home last week so this was the first chance I had to dive into battle.

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  7. Really nice looking game Jonathan. Interested to see where this goes.

    Christopher

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    1. Hopefully, the battle will continue to be interesting. I thought the attacks at the Upper Bridge were quite engaging with a lot of interesting episodes in the first hour of conflict.

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  8. Excellent report and game Jonathan!

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  9. That was good fun Jonathan. You can't beat a good cavalry scrap over a bridge. I have Usagre in mind to do something similar.

    I don't know if you have read "Prince Eugene at War" by Robert Epstein. It is a great read, illustrating how Napoleon coached his step son through a series of letters outlining potential strategys. It really shows how the great man thought.

    cheers
    JJ

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    1. Hi Jonathan! I picked up Epstein's book earlier this year and it provided a perfect complement for piecing together a scenario.

      With any luck, perhaps the game will continue to provide entertainment?

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  10. Game looks really good. I like the idea of CinC:s setting up the orders an let someone else play according to the orders. Thought of similar thing once and perhaps it should be done at some point.

    You really have excellent painting.

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    1. Thank you!

      For solo gaming, having third parties set the orders really helps reduce my meddling in the decision cycle.

      Give it a try sometime!

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  11. First of all, compliments for that impressive collection!
    Nicely dramatized ARR - It almost felt like listening to a battlefield documentary. Very interesting setup for a game, with third parties issuing overall orders. Might give that a try, reminds me of these cool old school newspaper chess games, where you'd write in with your next move.

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    1. Thanks for the kind comments regarding both the collection and the AAR!

      Perhaps, after the game, the non-player commanders will chime in to voice their experience with this "hands-off" approach. I hope they do!

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  12. Beautiful figuress and table. Although a Francophile. it's good to see the Insurrectio troops have some success!

    It's hard to beat Raab for color!

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    1. Thank you, Peter. While the Insurrectio had initial success, I would not put my money on that rabble to carry the day!

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  13. Finally catching up with this Jonathan. A desperate fight for the bridge, what is to follow...?

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    1. James, I hope you persevere and enjoy the journey.

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