Friday, May 1, 2015

Battle of Raab 11:00-11:30

Austrian grenadiers step off in support
French HQ 1100:
As Eugene strains to see what is transpiring out on his right flank at the Upper Bridge, a courier arrives from Seras.  He unfolds the message and begins to read,

1030:  Sire, my division has reached the Pancza and has begun a probe on the east bank. Kis-Megyer heavily garrisoned and formidable but church held only by Hungarian militia and isolated from support.  Church should fall without committing the entire division.

Eugene finishes reading the missive, provides additional instructions for Seras and sends the ADC back to his division.  A second order is quickly dashed off to Durutte's division and a courier is released to deliver his instructions.

He mounts his horse for a better vantage point but still cannot make out the results of the clash on his far right.  Grouchy's heavy cavalry brigade remains motionless as Durutte's division steps off towards the Kis-Megyer farm.

Turning to his ADC, Eugene states,
If Montbrun and Colbert required support, certainly Grouchy would respond, no?
Troop dispositions 1100
At the Austrian HQ in the churchyard to the southeast of the Kis-Megyer farm, FML Colloredo turns to the Archduke and says,
Your Excellency, Mescery has thrown the French back across the Pancza and appears to be exploiting fortune! Our fine troopers bent but did not break!
With Seras' division bearing down on our positions, brave Marziani will not be able to resist for long. 
While the Archduke continues listening to Colloredo's assessments and suggestions, the conversation is overwhelmed by the sound of musketry along the Pancza as the French probing action expands into more than a probe.
Seras probes Austrian center
With a directive from the Archduke, Colloredo mounts his horse and sets off in search of Lutz.  Before riding away, he turns back to the Archduke and says,
The militia defending the churchyard may not withstand such an overwhelming assault.  May I humbly suggest you head to higher ground up on the Szabadhegy Heights before the church is overrun?
Opposite the church, Seras' division crosses the Pancza bearing down on the Archduke's position and begins threatening the church, itself.  Heeding Colloredo's advice, Johan climbs the heights in search of Frimont and for troops to stiffen this flank.
Seras crosses Pancza in force
Out on the French right, Montbrun attaches himself to the 2/7 Hussars who find themselves precariously clinging to the bridgehead on the east bank of the Pancza.  The demoralized hussars' morale only improves moderately despite the general's inspiration.  On the west bank, 1/7 Hussars rally and navigate across the brook to join its sister squadrons on the east bank.  Montbrun's remaining cavalry, the 1st Chasseurs cannot find a suitable path across the brook.
French cavalry expand bridgehead
With Montbrun busily putting his brigade back together all the while peppered by the ineffective fire from Hadik's battery, the responsibility of expanding the bridgehead falls to Colbert.  While the bulk of Colbert's command searches for a ford across the steep banks of the Pancza, the 1/7 Chasseurs clash with the over-extended Insurrection cavalry at the bridge.
French chasseurs counterattack
Disordered from their earlier success at the bridge, the Insurrection cavalry cannot withstand the impact from the French light cavalry and tumble back from the bridge.  With their retreat path partially blocked, the Insurrectio become demoralized as they rout.  Many Hungarian troopers are captured in the rush.  In the clash, Gosztony is injured but is rescued and carried from the field.
Insurrectio cavalry rout
Having lost its commander in the rout back from the Upper Bridge, Gosztony's brigade panics.  Gosztony's entire command melts away to the east.
Gosztony falls and brigade panics!
With Gosztony's brigade put to flight and Hadik's brigade faring not much better, Andrasy launches attacks against both the Upper Bridge and the French near the church in hope of stabilizing the situation and buying a little time.
Andrasy counterattacks
To stem the tide of fleeing cavalry, Hadik joins Heves Insurrectio while Mescery hurries back to halt the flight of Gosztony's brigade.  The 1/5 Hussars, 2/Pesther Insurrectio, and 1/Bacser Insurrectio rally and redeploy in a way that covers the retreat of the remainder of Gosztony's wavering brigade.  
Gosztony's troops rally to cover retreat
From Andrasy's cavalry brigade, the 2/2 Hussars lead the Eisenberg Insurrectio cavalry into the 1st Legere as it clears the Pancza.  Surprised by the sudden appearance of Austrian cavalry on an exposed flank, the legere withdraw back into the safety of the stream banks.  Not wishing to pursue into the brook, the Austrian cavalry break off and return to their lines, disordered.

In an attack on the precariously held bridgehead, the 1/2 Hussars, with Odenburger Insurrectio cavalry in support, pass in front of Grouchy's light horse artillery deployed along the banks of the Pancza.  Grouchy's guns are ineffective as the Austrian light cavalry charge home.  Their target; the 1/7 Hussars that are reforming in the bridgehead.
French 1/7  Hussars destroyed
Caught reforming, the French cavalry has little chance.  Already weakened in numbers, the 1/7 Hussar Regiment is destroyed.  Momentum carries the Austrian horse into the 2/7 Hussars in which Montbrun is attempting to rally.  The 2/7 narrowly avoids the same fate as its brethren.  A large number of the demoralized French troopers are captured as the hussars retreat back across the brook.
French 2/7 Hussars falter
Finally, Zemplin's Insurrectio cavalry contacts the disordered 1/20 CaC at the bridge.  Even disordered, the French are able to repulse the Hungarian troopers.  The Insurrectio falls back leaving many of its comrades dead on the field.
Zemplin's Insurrectio repulsed at bridge
Frimont, waiting in reserve, sees the threat to Marziani and acts under his own initiative to set Kienmeyer's division into motion.  Also brought up are the two 12 lb Reserve batteries as the Archduke reaches Frimont on the heights.
Kienmeyer comes up in support
Due to losses, both Hadik and Montbrun are forced to make panic tests.  Both cavalry commanders hold up to the pressure but Montbrun just avoids panicking.

Battlefield from Austrian left
That was an action-packed half hour!  On the French right at the Upper Bridge, the situation is still very much in doubt.  With charge and countercharge the Upper Bridge has become a very dangerous place on the battlefield.  Luckily for the French, Hadik's battery has been ineffective.  The green, insurrection cavalry cannot win a battle of attrition with the French.  In the center, Seras has cleared the brook and fighting there will likely escalate.  With Seras' threat, Johan has had to commit his reserve early in the battle to shore up his defenses.

Will ex-Gosztony's brigade be able to sort itself out and return to action before the battle on that wing is decided?  Montbrun's command is quite spent and may not be able to sustain any additional offensive action.  Until Montbrun panics or his objective is fulfilled, his orders will remain in effect.

31 comments:

  1. Huge and intense! French chasseurs counterattack's picture is nice, very nice...

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    1. Phil, it is a deceptively big battle. In scale terms, the game table represents an area about 10 miles by 5 miles.

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  2. And the cry goes up, "Where is Grouchy? I need Grouchy!"

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    1. Grouchy is eating strawberries and still looking for other fords to cross over? hehehe.....

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    2. We know where he is but why is he not reacting?

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  3. wonderful report and step by step eye-witness account by the New-York Journal newspaper Reporter Jonathan Freitag! We Americans here at Washington DC are waiting patiently for your pigeons to arrive with your dispatches!

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    1. Phil! Glad you are enjoying it. I think you may find yourself in a tough dog fight very soon.

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    2. I'm not surprised regarding to "tough dog fight" :o) against the French/Allies. I have played this great historical battle with miniatures,board and PC games before, usually the French win the day! ;o)

      I would be very interested to read the causality report after
      the game....

      cheers,

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    3. oops that should be "casualty" :oP

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    4. Phil! I had no idea you were such a seasoned veteran of Raab. I hope this version holds up well to your expectations.

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  4. Greetings from Hungary! I live just 36km from Raab, I studied there for 9 years. :)
    Very good report, nice to see our one and only Napoleonic battle (from the Hungarian point of view), as a wargame topic.
    In the Hungarian history books, the hole Napoleonic affair is just a side show unfortunately, we used to celebrate all of our rebellion against the Austrians, and ignoring the ages of the cooperation. The Napoleonic wars are not exceptions.
    As a natural observers what do you think about the Hungarian Insurrectico? I read so many Hungarian opinion, almost all was negative about them. I think they was far away from the French standard, so blaming them, for the result instead of the professional generals, is not fair.

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    1. Greetings and thank you for stopping by and commenting! For me, it is quite rewarding to have a native of the region chime in on the game.

      From the books I have read in English, the Insurrectio troops to not get much respect nor sympathy. My sense is that they were poorly trained, poorly motivated, and poorly led. Of course, those histories were written by either adversaries who showed them little respect or allies who did the same.

      I am very interested in seeing more of your thoughts.

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    2. Thanks very much your answer! I am not an expert of the period, I used to play WW1 and Hungarian War of Independence 1848-49. So you know much more about this battle and campaign, than I.
      As I remember, the Insurrectio was poorly equiped as well. 40 years later during the rebellion, the Hungarian army was much more motivated and led, so the Austrian Emperor went to beg for the Russian Tsar, for some support. Unfortunately the Tsar was very helpful, so an army of half a million Russian arrived and steam roller-ed down our country.
      I used to live in London, until 2013, so we played this period, my Hungarians against an Imagination Serb army. Sometime you must be very flexible to find an opponent. :) My friend has a blog, and some article about our games in English:
      http://novobyzantium.blogspot.hu/p/trans-syldavia-1848.html

      I am planning to play this battle, later on with the Command and Colors Napoleonic system. I already have Austrian Napoleonic figures, and one of my friend is a loyal servant of the Emperor, so we are mustering the armies (in Hungarian, but you can see the pictures):
      http://hadijatekos.blog.hu/2011/07/10/south_london_warlords_klub_elet_julius

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    3. Janos, your figures are beautiful! As for Commands & Colors, that is a favorite system of mine as well. When you play this out on the gaming table, be sure to post pictures.

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    4. I agree, beautiful figures. Are those Albanians, Szeklers, or what in the white gowns and red ? fez...

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    5. Thanks very much! I have a sample collection from a very talented figure maker and painter, and I just copy the master pieces. :D
      They are Serbians, (I used the Perry Sudan range Bashi-Bazouks) that time the Serbs lived on both side of the Hungarian-Ottoman border, the Austrian Government was in trouble, they had a war in Italy plus the rising Hungarian Independence power. The Hapsburg did, the old trick divide and conquer, they promised everything for the other minor nations, if they rebelling against the Hungarians. So they all did, the Croatians, the Romanians and the Serbs.
      The Serbs like the Szekelys and the Croatians lived on the borders, and formed border guard regiments the Grenz. When they started the "small war" they had Grenz troops (Napoleonic war uniform still), and special border hunters, with special traditional uniform, plus irregulars coming across the open borders (Serb marauders from the hills). For the irregulars, all kind of generic Balkan figures are good. :)
      The Szekelys was literally Hungarians, same language, so they fought for the Hungarian cause, all the other Grenz regiments against. So if you have a Napoleonic Austrian collection, just need some extra figures with Hungarian flags, add all the Hussars to the Hungarians, all the other cavalry to the Austrians, and you are almost have both armies. :)

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  5. Continued great pics and narratove!

    Re: the Insurrectio, I thunk it's hard to make a decent assessment. After his initial defeat at Sacile, Eugene has had a pretty much unbroken series of victories over Johan and the other Faustian commanders... the Piave, Tarvis, St Michel, etc., thus the Army of Italy is confident in itself and its leader. The sdame can certainly not be said of the Austrians. The Insurrectio was raised late due to political considerations, and had very little time to train. Given another 2-3 months to train, their performance might have been considerably better. If nothing else, they're colorful!

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    1. Thanks. I think the same, they was not ready for this. And yes they was very colorful, Hussars on foot. :D

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    2. "Faustian commanders" - what a marvelously appropriate concatenation of typo and auto-correct, LOL!

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    3. Peter, great background on the Austrian mindset during the this phase of the campaign.

      "Faustian" commanders?"

      That is, indeed, a marvelous auto-correct foible!

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  6. Superbly written ARR - one of those pieces where you can sit down with a cup of coffee and just enjoy a good read! Very interesting to hear from Janos too with a local angle on the battle and the troops. Looking forward to the next episode :0)

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    1. Soren, regarding Janos' commentary, it is very interesting to hear from a reader so close to the actual battlefield. In this day, we are a global society, for sure!

      Glad you find the BatReps an enjoyable read.

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  7. Again very nice looking game and commentary! It will be interesting to see what happens next!

    Christopher

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    1. Thank you, Christopher! I appreciate you following along to the action. Of course, you may always submit any arm-chair generalling ideas along.

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  8. Well, that did it...I want to play Napoleonics again! Nicely done, Jonathan. I have a fried who bought Blucher so I may have an opportunity to join you in this era. In the meantime, I can't wait for round 3. ;-)

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    1. Monty! Glad you are enjoying the battle!
      I do look forward to seeing your artistry applied to Napoleonics. Will you be doing 15s or 25s?

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  9. Great looking game with a fine play by play action report, Jonathan. Would a great gaming magazine article.

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    1. Very much appreciate your kind comments, Dean!

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  10. You are the master of good battle reports.

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