Saturday, April 11, 2015

Battle of Raab - Eugene vs Johan

Battle of Raab - Center of Austrian line
Troops have been rousted from their boxes, OBs checked, and commands placed onto the game table.  For a battle on the periphery of the 1809 campaign, Raab was a rather large affair with both combatants roughly equal in numbers.

The French, under Eugene, had recently received French reinforcements to augment their army.  The Austrians, under the command of Archduke Johan had received reinforcements too.  Unfortunately for Johan, many of his troops consisted of Hungarian Insurrectio troops of suspect quality.

Johan took up an excellent defensive position centered on the Szabadhegy Heights south of the fortress of Raab.  His center was anchored by the fortress-like farm of Kis-Megyer.  Johan's right was protected by the Fortress Raab, itself, and his left by the impenetrable Pancza Marsh.The Pancza brook had steep and marshy banks which could only be crossed by cavalry and artillery at fords near the Upper Bridge.
Initial dispositions
With Victory Points clustered in the center of the Austrian line, to win Eugene must assault the Szabadhegy Heights and push Johan from his fine, defensive roost.

In the center of the Austrian line, the prominent terrain features are illustrated in the photo below.  Whomever controls the center on the east bank of the Pancza controls the outcome of the battle.
Key terrain objectives
The combatants are arrayed for battle as shown in the photo below.
Initial troop dispositions
Note that the Austrian defensive line is sprinkled with a number of either Green or Militia rated Insurrectio formations.  These Insurrection troops will likely have great difficulty standing toe-to-toe against the higher quality French and Italians unless in good defensive positions or well supported.

In past games, the key to French victory has relied on getting the better quality cavalry across the Pancza on the French right, driving off the inferior Hungarian cavalry and turning Johan's position.  Making a bridgehead across the Upper Pancza has sometimes been difficult to accomplish in a timely manner.
Battlefield viewed from NW
As an aside, during game preparation, labels had to be affixed to each stand.  Many of the troop stands still carried the labels from the 2009 Raab replay.  Shocking!  Cannot believe it has been six years since these figures have seen action on the gaming table.  Clearly, it has been far too long since the Austrians have been out of their storage boxes.  I must make an effort to rotate them into games with greater regularity.

Since my plan is to refight this battle as a leisurely, solo exercise, if any reader is interested in taking command with respect to battle planning, order writing and implementation, and personal battlefield heroics, drop me an email via the Contact Form as shown below and declare any preference.
I will then carry out your orders on the tabletop and keep you apprised of the results and when personal intervention is warranted.  

Who knows, perhaps your leadership will make the difference between victory or defeat?


  1. Nice set up and unit ID's, Jonathan. Although I'd love to join in in-person, I'll refrain from virtual commanding as I'm quite impetuous when it comes to moving troops about. That is, I have to be there and feel the flow of the game. Not like the end results are any good.

    1. In this game, your main task would simply be to issue orders to your troops. I would then try to translate your intentions into movements on the table. If there are bad results, I am your scapegoat!

  2. What a fantastic set up, beautiful pictures here! I'm afraid I've got not enought time to join us, but I will follow your moves and fights!

  3. Oddly enough I was just reading about Raab in Frederick Schneid's Napoleon's Italian Campaigns. Looks fantastic. I sent you an email about this, I am significantly less distracted these days.
    Cheers, M

    1. Before setting up the game, I pulled a number of volumes from the bookshelf to read up on the battle myself.

      Expect an email...

  4. Very nice setup Jonathan. The French certainly have enough push on either flank to pull any Austrian reinforcements in two directions. Best wishes for the game, six years are too long for such a nice collection to be parked off table!

    1. Sounds like you have a battle plan. Interested in putting it to the test?

      A six year hiatus is definitely too long!

  5. Great looking set up! What rules are you using, Jon?

    1. Thanks, Peter! The rules used will be my heavily amended version of Republique.