Dearest brother Francis,
The 6th July will forever live in the memory of your great Holy Roman Empire for your Haupft Armee have defeated the Corsican invader on the fields of the Marchfeldt. Over 2 days your brave army have for the second time defeated the armies of France. Though outnumbered, the brave men of your Empire, led by your brothers, Ludwig and John along with your other commanders were truely magnificent leading men again and again into battle. Our losses have been great, but Europe now knows Napoleon and his armies can be beaten and are sure to rise up against him at last!
I will make no apologies, but this report is going to be a wee bit biased, I was Archduke Charles(and Ludwig) after all and as happens in such a large game, I did lose track of what was happening a tad.
My plan for the Austrians was fairly straight forward. On day 1(saturday) we were to hold the line and inflict as many casualties on the French as possible, particularly targeting their artillery as I felt by eliminating as many batteries as possible whilst preserving our artillery, we could then move troops from the Russbach Heights on day 2 combined with the arrival of Archduke John on our left flank and Wiessenwolf on our right flank to take the attack to the French.
So the initial orders for most of the commanders was to hold the line, use your artillery and where possible eliminate smaller French formations. Kolowrat was ordered to advance and take Breitenlee to his front as fast a possible and deny it to the French. This would then provide an anchor for the southern flank. Klenau was to advance , sweep away the small French force to his front and then turn and attack around Breitenlee the flank of the French forces fighting for Aderklaa.
These orders lasted…hmm…nope…didn’t even make to end of turn 1!
The first action of the day was for Massena to give orders for Ct Cyr’s exposed bttns who had charged straight through the village, chased out the defenders and then found themselves under fire from 3 sides! They decided to rally back.
The Austrians then gave their forces orders….Kolowrat ordered his divisions to advance on Breitenlee…they decided not to follow that order….Klenau went charging across the open fields to his front….he was going so fast he went right past Brietenlee and the exposed flank of Massena and headed for the small division of Boudet between Aspern and Essling. Idiot.
Elsewhere the Austrians held the line, Lichtenstein made preparations to attack Aderklaa, a critical part of the line that the Austrians had lost.
I positioned Charles on the Russbach plateau as he started the game with the Hohenzollern Cuirassiers in tow along with a landwher bttn, moving them to support Rosenberg. Ludwig was behind Bellegarde’s corps.
One concept I had adopted for the game was to marry players up to match commands and game rolls that suited their individual styles of play. The French right of Montbrun and Davout were aggressive players, Oudinot and Eugene steadier players, Massena plays like Rommel(there is only attack!), Marmont is aggressive and Napoleon likes his guard so I did not expect it to be wasted. The Austrians were similar, Nordman/John would be aggressive(exactly what I wanted), Rosenberg vastly experienced using Austrians and I expected to hold the critical flank, Hohenzollern would hold the plateau for ever, Bellegarde was steady, Lichtenstein was aggressive, Kolowrat normally was an aggressive player…his dice deserted him and Klenau was perfect for his role(he was just to perfect in the end!). As for me, give me cavalry and ‘Follow Me’ orders and am a happy man….couldn’t wait for day 2 when would be in thick of it as Bellegarde!
I will report on the battle by sectors.
Davout/Montbruns attack on Markgrafneusiedl.
And so ended the battle on the French right flank. Rosenberg and Nordman held off Davout and Montbrun long enough for Archduke John to make an appearance and start to roll up the French flank. The French were not helped by coming out on the wrong side of most cavalry combats and then Grouchy’s Dragoons refusing to obey any orders.
The neighbouring conflict was for the Russbach Heights…..that will be part 3.