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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Aspern-Essling and an Unhappy Bonapartist

The battle was reconvened Sunday morning to fight out the conclusion of the battle started the week prior.  In command of the Austrian left and poised to deflate the expansion of the French bridgehead across the Danube, I was eager to continue.

With one town block of Essling in Austrian hands, the Austrians are in position to challenge control of the second town block. Would the French present a defense of this real estate or withdraw before the hammer falls?  That decision may hinge on who takes the initiative.  With Napoleon present, the French hold the initiative and choose to move first. 
Austrian Left poised to drive in the French
By moving first, the French are able to begin a disengagement from both Aspern and Essling while trying to consolidate the exposed center.  On the French left, French forces contract back toward the bridge.  On the French right, defending brigades badly damaged in first assault against Essling fall back beyond the town.  Two brigades remain in garrison in an attempt to slow the Austrians.
Situation after Austrian movement
In the Austrian turn, three brigades converge upon Essling while the Austrian Reserve batteries and grenadiers advance to fill the gap between the two towns. Austrian cavalry press deep into the French positions before contacting French cavalry.  The French cavalry, still reeling from earlier efforts, are destroyed in the clash.  The path to the bridge lays open.
Austrian cavalry attack!
Austrian Reserve advances
With Austrian troops prepared to assault Essling, Napoleon can tolerate no more senseless killing.  Urged by his staff to seek safety on the far side of the Danube, Napoleon quits the field.  Victory to the Austrian Army!  The battle is over before it barely begins.
Assault on Essling
This day, there will be no happy Bonapartist.
An Unhappy Napoleon 
The conclusion of the game lasted less than 30 minutes after we began.  With a day of gaming planned, what is Plan B?  We decided to pull out Commands & Colors: Ancients and continue play with Scott's beautiful 28mm Punic Wars collection.  After a quick transition, troops were arrayed to refight Cannae.

To complete the gaming session, the Battle of Cannae was fought four times. The Carthaginians were victorious twice as were the Romans.  Cannae is a tough fight for the Romans but Scott managed to pull out two victories commanding the Romans.  Kevin and I each fell to defeat at the hands of Scott's Romans.  We vow to tackle Cannae again and see if Scott can be beaten by the Carthaginians.     




38 comments:

  1. Blimey, that was over even before it had begun so to speak! I think Napoleon did the sensible thing in living to fight another day, but very happy that the Austrians won:).

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    1. Over before it began was our thought as well! Had we known it would end so quickly, we could have finished the battle in one session. As it was, getting a quartet of CC:Ancients' games in was fun. Napoleon made the sensible choice but it would have been fun to drive him into the river.

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  2. Aspern Essling is a tough battle for the French. I staged it many years ago in 6mm using Volley and Bayonet rules which gave a much longer battle but the same result. It just showed me how over confident Napoleon had been at the real battle and how he was let off by the Archduke. Still a good game, well done.

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    1. Thanks, Robbie! Did you see Part 1 of the battle fought the week prior?

      I think there is still a lot of play in the Aspern-Essling battle and worthy of another attempt. Could Napoleon do better? I would like to find out.

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  3. Well that was quick! Yes a tough one for the French, some overconfidence but based perhaps on some reasonable guesses about state of the Austrians at this time. Cheers Jonathan!

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    1. Very quick, indeed! A great day for Archduke Charles fighting on the banks of the Danube.

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  4. An unhappy Napoleon is never a good thing.
    (He does look a little like Rod Steiger in that pic too - 'where is Grouchy?').
    Time well spent though - the C&CA game looks superb.

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    1. Kevin does resemble Rod Steiger, doesn't he? It was a very enjoyable day.

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  5. waterloo is one of my favorite movies and rod steiger does an amazing job as the emperor. i have always been a napoleon fan and am amused by the comparison.

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    1. "Waterloo" is a favorite of mine as well. To me, Steiger IS Napoleon. Now, you are too!

      Thanks for the comment, Kevin!

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  6. Great result in the first game, you didn't let the French off of the hook! The ancient game looks lovely too!
    Best Iain

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    1. Nope! We did not let Napoleon off the hook. Hooked solidly and reeled in with little chance to fight his way out!

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  7. 'Napoleon can tolerate no more senseless killing' - doesn't sound like him at all! Good to see the game conclude with an Austrian victory. And nice to see the C&C Ancients out with those lovely Punic Wars armies.

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    1. No, it doesn't sound like Napoleon! Perhaps, Kevin is a more pragmatic commander?

      Aspern-Essling is worth another look. I have fought this battle many times with at least three diffeent boardgames and never have the Austrians seen such success.

      As for the Punic Wars' armies, Scott is a very fine painter. It is always a pleasure to push his beautiful troops across the gaming table and to victory.

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  8. indeed Napoleon ;( looks sad but all those emotions will change next time/game with a victory smile and laughter
    lovely looking CCA game painted miniatures too!..
    Oh..by the way Jon, I will be in your town Dec 20th to 27th ;o)
    cheers

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    1. Phil! It was great fun pushing the 28mm figures on the CCA board after handing a defeat to N. If you have time for a game during your stay in Spokane, let me know and I will set one up.

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  9. A very interesting battle! Read with pleasure!
    Love Waterloo movie too ;-)

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  10. Something of a shock after part 1 ended with a sense of there still being a game to play for. Certainly a scenario that is worthy of a replay. Good old C&C to the rescue.

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    1. A surprisingly quick end to the game, indeed. The French player had a week to consider his prospects and decided enough was enough. The earlier capitulation allowed us to switch gears and get in a quartet of exciting CCA games before adjourning. Good ole C&C, for sure!

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  11. Napoleon is sad...but we are happy to look at such wonderful looking games Jonathan, looks beautiful and intense!

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  12. So much for the French holding on for two turns!

    Love the way that you quickly pumped out four Cannae in your spare time! :)

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    1. Indeed! Napoleon threw in the towel before reinforcements could arrive. He did not want to waste His Guard in a lost cause.

      Four games of Cannae in rapid succession were great fun

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  13. A fine Austrian victory, although it did appear to be heading that way in part 1. The Cannae pictures look great.

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    1. The result looked almost certain but Napoleon had guard formations arriving as reinforcements but two turns was two turns too long to wait for them.

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  14. So that old saying that the Austrian army only existed to provide victories for other armies is proven wrong...great resolution to your previous report.

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    1. While often a doormat, the Austrians DID manage a victory at the historical Aspern-Essling too!

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  15. Looks like it was a great day of gaming despite the early result!

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  16. Two great looking games.
    Hoping to start playing some Command and Colours myself soon.

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  17. C'est la Guerre Jonathan, and poor Napoleon.

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  18. A sharp but decisive ending; it would seem that even had French reinforcements started to arrive on turn 6, victory would have likely proved elusive at best!

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    1. I think you are correct! Reinforcements arriving on Turn 6 would have found great difficulty in debouching from the marshy ground.

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