Sunday, August 2, 2015

Battle of Raab - End of the (Austrian) Line

Returning to battle, French cavalry on the right wing finally succeeded in driving Mescery's mix of regular and Insurrectio horsemen back from the bridge crossing the Upper Panzca brook.  With Pully's heavy cavalry division arriving in support, the Archduke's ability to hold this flank is in peril.

On the Austrian side of the Panzca, Mescery's cavalry is in disarray and falling back quickly from the upper bridge and ford.  In the center Austrian troops remain in place, lining the brook intent on thwarting additional French attempts to cross.
Situation 14:00
In the center, Seras still has a toe-hold on the east bank of the brook clinging to his position anchored by the church.  At present, the divisions of Seras, Durutte, and Severoli are under defend orders.  Recall, Severoli had been bloodily repulsed in the previous 30 minutes. Having joined Severoli's division, d'Hilliers and Severoli both get down to the business of rallying their shaken troops.  Fortunately, the majority of the division rallies back into good order. 
d'Hilliers rallies Severoli
At Eugene's HQ, a stream of dispatches arrive from his infantry divisions in the center.  With no dispatches from his right cavalry wing,  the Viceroy busily sends orders to his infantry divisions.  Durutte is to launch another assault against the Kis-Megyer complex.  Durutte makes no delay in moving back into the hornet's nest.  Will this assault see success when all previous attempts have met with failure?

Having received confirmation that Severoli was not as badly mauled as first suspected and that Eckhart was streaming back from the Middle Bridge in great disorder, Eugene orders Severoli, through d'Hilliers, to assault the middle bridge.  In an attempt to relieve pressure from Durutte's assault, Severoli is to maintain contact with Durutte.  Seeing Durutte's division advance towards the Kis-Megyer Farm, Severoli accepts his orders and, likewise, moves back towards the brook.
Durutte attacks!
From their positions on the Szabathegy Heights, the Reserve artillery continues to pound Seras and the 1/53rd Line at the church.  The 53rd takes heavy casualties in prolonged bombardment.

Out on the French right, French cavalry have fulfilled their orders of securing a bridgehead over the Pancza and driving off their opposition.  With no orders arriving from Eugene, the French must act on their own initiative if they are to take advantage and finish off the remnants of Mescery's cavalry.  While Colbert cautiously brings his command over to the east bank of the brook, Pully, Montbrun, and Grouchy all snap into action. 
French cavalry in pursuit
Acting under their own initiative, Pully targets the Szabathegy Heights and the Archduke's Reserve.  Grouchy pursues Andrasy's command while Montbrun's light cavalry bear down on Hadik's broken command.
Montbrun attacks!
Grouchy poised to attack Andrasy
Only Montbrun's light cavalry succeed in reaching their targets as the 1st Chasseurs, led by Montbrun himself, catch the fleeing 2/Heves Insurrectio.  With the French 2/2nd Hussars in support, the chasseurs destroy the weakened Hungarians and breakthrough to hit its sister formation.  Shaken and at 50% effectives, the 1/Heves meets the same fate.  Hadik's command is destroyed.  Shaken from their exertions, Montbrun recalls his command to recover.
Montbrun rides down Hungarian cavalry
Montbrun breaks through
and destroys Hadik's command
Durutte's assault goes in against the north end of the Kis-Megyer Farm.  Led by the 22nd Legere followed closely by the 2/102 Line, French infantry reach the northern walls of the farm.  Defended by IR27/2, the Austrians hold as the French are repulsed.  The French fall back across the brook.
22nd Legere attacks Kis-Megyer
In the second attack, the 62nd line, disordered from crossing the steeply banked brook, reach the shaken IR61. 
French 62nd attacks IR61
Having suffered casualties and wavering, IR61 is overcome and retreats from its position, demoralized and having suffered heavy casualties.
IR61 retreats with heavy casualties
Flushed with success, the 62nd breaks through to contact Lutz' guns deployed along the brook.  Surprised with seeing French coming from Kis-Megyer, Lutz' battery is dispatched quickly.
Lutz' guns targeted
and quickly destroyed
Having lost his guns and the demoralized IR61 in retreat, Lutz takes a panic test.

Lutz panics!
Lutz falls back in panic
As Lutz' command heads towards the rear, a huge gap appears in the Austrian defensive line.  With first Eckhart in panic on his right and now Lutz in panic on his left, the only formation along the eastern bank of the brook standing firm is Sebottendorf.  Assessing the situation, Sebottendorf panics and joins the race back to safety.
Panic of the Austrian right
 and ending troop dispositions
Having only the Kis-Megyer Farm in his control and French cavalry bearing down on the Szabathegy Heights, Archduke Johan orders a withdrawal to salvage the remainder of his command.

History repeats itself and Viceroy Eugene emerges victorious.

For me, that was an exciting battle recreation with many a tense moment.  Fought out on the table at a leisure pace over three months, this exercise gave me a chance to revisit 15mm Napoleonics and reacquaint myself with the rules.  After a few years of inactivity, it was pleasing to see the collection back in action fighting across the table.  This replay also gave me the chance to re-examine the rules and make a few clarifications and minor changes.  Even after a long hiatus, the rules worked well and mechanisms came back to me quickly.

Most importantly, I want to thank Phil (Archduke Johan) and Michael (Viceroy Eugene) for sticking with the game over the last three months and issuing orders when needed.  Without their input, this exercise would not have been as enjoyable.  The exploits of this game with remain as pleasant memories.

For those who have persevered in following this lengthy replay, I hope it has provided some enjoyment.

Thanks fellas!

With the 15mm troops put away until their next battle, the table looks quite barren, no?
What should be next?

16 comments:

  1. Nice to see this game come to a definitive conclusion, Jonathan. I'm sure all the participants enjoyed their part in it too.

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    1. Dean, I enjoyed the experience. This exercise forced me to be disciplined in my reporting approach. I needed to provide enough details (but not everything) to the commanders so that they could make decisions. Lengthy, for sure. Writing BatReps is not such an easy task.

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  2. An excellent end to the game, and its always great to get a proper result, unlike my recent game!

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    1. Thank you, Ray! It was a long slog but appreciate you sticking through it. Was the journey worth the end result?

      As for your latest game, a win on points is still a win!

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  3. A fine end to a great series, Jon. I am thinking of returning to 1809 for Historicon 2016, and another go at Raab is a definite consideration there, along with the action at Klagenfurt and the 2nd battle of Berg-Isel in Tyrolia.

    What rules are you using?

    I'd vote for a Great Italian Wars action next myself...

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    1. Thanks, Peter! It was a long series but a fun and worthwhile undertaking.

      Raab is an interesting battle that hinges so much on the French cavalry attacks on the right. In a convention game, a quick breakthrough on this front could end the game quickly. That possibility might require some consideration.

      The rules used is a hybrid of www.wtj.coms's Republique. The author might barely recognize it after got through with it but it can still be identified as the basis for much of the foundation for my later work.

      As for Great Italian Wars as the next offering, well, that would require the use of Jake's excellent collection and Jake himself!

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  4. An enjoyable read, thank you for sharing the action reports. Very interesting dynamic of having players offer up their command decisions for you to game out. Kriegspiel like.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the play-by-play!

      For solo play, having others make the major command decisions helped reduce any of my own bias in the decision cycle. It was like Kriegspiel.

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  5. Awesome! Thanks for hosting/running a great game Jonathan, I had fun taking part :o) congrats to Michael (Viceroy Eugene)

    Next Game? - Battle of Sacile on 16 April 1809 :o)

    cheers,

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    1. Thank you for taking on the command of the Austrians and congratulations to both you and Michael for sticking with it!

      I know more than once your left wing cavalry gave your opponent many a case of heartburn and anxiety. Same occurred with the stalwart defense of Kis-Megyer.

      Very good to hear that you enjoyed participating. I certainly enjoyed your participation!

      I will look into Sacile but I am considering letting a different collection see the light of the gaming table. As of yet, no decision.

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  6. A very nice looking game to end a super series of games!

    Christopher

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    1. Thank you, Christopher. That was a marathon.

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  7. What a great finish to the series, Lutz surprisingly proved to be the weak link in the chain. Its been an enjoyable read for sure, framed by a nice and innovative format for blog posts. Looking forward to the next battle!

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    1. Thank you so much, Soren! I appreciate that you stuck through the whole series and enjoyed it.

      With many green troops, the Austrians just did not have the backbone to stand up to repeated assaults. Like a small crack in a dike, French pressure was too much and a small crack became a torrent when the dam broke.

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  8. Hello Jonathan:
    Imagine my surprise to read this after a month of distractions and to discover that my cunning plans as the French worked! All during the morning turns it was nail-bitingly close and I wasn't sure I'd ever get across that bloody creek. I think Grouchy emerges as the star of the game, surviving almost certain death and winning glory for finally turning the Austrian flank. I predict a stellar career for him. At a key moment in the future, Napoleon will entrust the fate of his empire into Grouchy's hands, and he will save the day!!! ;)
    Many thanks for running this game, it was most exciting and a terrific achievement on your part. Glad I was a small part of it.
    Cheers,
    Marshall Michael

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    1. Mad Marshall, it was a pleasure having you participate! With the two of you writing orders, I was left with trying to carry them out in a reasonable way. Great fun for me!

      Had Grouchy fallen in battle on this day, history may have been rewritten.

      Thanks again for participating in the game!

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