Wagram 2017 – a practice game

Over the past few years the group has organised some BIG games like the Leipzig and Waterloo weekend games with 50+ gamers from around NZ at times joining in.

This year is a more modest event where 10-12 will be refighting the Battle of Wagram 1809. This particular part of the Napoleonic Wars is my personal favourite and one I have pondered for many a year.

Over the past 4 months we have been refighting various parts of the battlefield as we played around with the rules, the terrain, refined the sizes of the commands etc.

The game we played this time was based around Day 2 of the battle, 6th July 1809 and where Massena has completed his march across the Austrian front and is ready to face the corps of Kollowrat and Klenau. The time is roughly 1-2pm in the afternoon.

In the test games we have been recreating the battle as it occurred, however when we game the refight it will be different. I have always been fascinated by the idea of not punishing the Austrians by playing their commanders as they were but allowing, to a certain extent, to allow we as wargamers to be, well, US! And the ‘What if’ of Archduke John making the battlefield, and allowing the Austrians to draw upon Reuss’s 5th Corps and make it a fight to the death. So for this game I randomised one of Reuss’s divisions arriving late in the day.

The map below is from John H Gill 1809 Thunder on the Danube, Volume 3: Wagram and Zaim. The section we would game was from Sussen-brunn to just north of Aspern.

The Austrians were set up as below with Klenau(PaulG) at the far end and Ray(Kollowrat) the near end.

The French set up had Alan(Lasalle/Marulaz and Legrand) at the top, PaulW(Massena, Molitor, Saint Cyr and St Sulspice) in the centre and Keith with McDonald in the near end. PaulW had the 4 batteries from massed batteries.

Turn 1 and the French use a ‘Follow me’ order for to cavalry charge Austrian battery that PaulG had placed in advance of his line.

It seemed such a good idea, a second follow me was made!

However Lasalle was having an off day, the battery saved all 6 hits!

And 3rd Corps waits….. 

McDonald advances, the Austrian Uhlans spent the entire game doing…nothing…they would not charge!   

Klenau’s grenze formed square as French cavalry were hanging around…so the French columns came in.

Below Klenau has infantry blundering forward as the French close in.

Below Kollowrat had blundered off table, marched back on and advanced, only to suffer extreme casualties and only 1 of 4 units remained!

Kollowrat’s remaining Korps forces attack to assist Klenau’s flank.


The French grand battery maintains a no move area for the Austrians.

Not a happy sight, Austrian Hussars attacking a French line unit, and then getting Cuirassiers up their rear.

To the north the Austrian Uhlans are still refusing to move, and there is no one else left!

And that was game called as the Austrians, that remained would have been retiring and the Reuss division that should have arrived Goldie kept failing to get ordered onto the table! Both PaulG and Ray had blunders which removed units from the table, and failed orders to get units to move or charge where as the French were much agreeable to their orders. It was a major influence on the result coupled with the Austrian reserves failing to arrive.

Aspern-Essling refight

On Saturday 21st May 2016 a group of 7 Garage Gamers met for a refight of the Battle of Aspern-Essling which was a 2 day battle fought on 21-22 May 1809 between the Army of Napoleon and the Habsburg(Austrian) Army.

The game was played at our local club, the Wellington Warlords. The battlefield was to be 20 foot long and 6 foot wide with a further table 12 foot long and 3 foot wide where some Austrian formations including the reserve would start the battle. All formations were scaled down and it was of course a 28mm figure battle.

The French forces were:

  • Napoleon : Command Rating 9(CR9). The game is lost if Napoleon dies.
  • Napoleon commanded Curial(CR8) 4 Young Guard, rated reliable, Elite 4+ and HtoH7.
  • Oudinot: (CR8) commanded 2 Divisions, Tharreau and Claparede both (CR8) with 5 Bttns and 1 battery of conscripts each, rated unreliable.
  • Lannes (CR9) commanded 3 Divisions, St Hilaire(CR9) with 7 Veteran Bttns rated as Elite 4+ and Reliable. Boudet(CR8) with 5 Bttns , 1 battery and Lasalle(CR9 and +1 to Follow Me order) with 2 light cavalry rated reliable.
  • Massena(CR8) with the divisions of Legrand(CR8) 5 Bttns and battery, St Cyr(CR8) 6 Bttns(2 Hessiasn being Elite 4+) plus battery, Molitor (CR8) 5 Bttns ,each with 1 stamina casualty and a battery, Marulaz(CR8) with 2 light cavalry, reliable.
  • Bessieres(CR8) with the Cuirassier divisions of Nansouty, St Sulpice and d’Espagne  each of 2 Cuirassier regiments were all rated CR8.

The French commanders were :

  • John:Napoleon and Massena
  • Brian: Oudinot
  • PaulW: Lannes
  • Bessieres was subordinate to Lannes and all 3 players received 1 Cuirassier Division.

The Austrian forces were:

  • Archduke Charles(CR7) with +1 rally.
  • Hiller(CR7) with Nordman(CR7) advance guard with 2 light cavalry, 1 Dragoon, 2 light infantry and battery and Vincent(CR7) with 4 infantry and a battery.
  • Bellegarde(CR7) with Fresnel(CR7) advance guard with 2 light cavalry, 1 light infantry, 1 infantry, 1 battery and  the divisions of Vogelsang(CR7),  Ulm(CR7) and Nostitz(CR7) each of 4 infantry and 1 battery.
  • Hohenzollern(CR7) with Mayer(CR7) advance guard with 1 light cavalry, 1 light infanty, 1 infantry, 1 battery, Brady(CR7) 4 infantry, 1 battery, and Weber(CR7) 6 infantry and 1 battery.
  • Rosenberg (CR8) with Klenau(CR7) 1 Uhlan, 1 Hussar, 1 Grenz, 1 battery , Dedovich(CR7) 6 infantry, 1 battery , Rohan(CR7) 2 light cavalry, 1 Grenz, 1 battery and Hohenlohe(CR7) with 4 infantry and 1 battery.
  • Lichenstein(CR7) with Homburg(CR7), Keinmayer(CR7) with 2 Kurassier each , Lindenau(CR7), D’Aspre(CR7) with 4 Grenadiers each. The reserve had 1 battery.

The Austrian commanders were:

  • Ray: Hiller and Ulm from Bellegarde
  • PaulG: Bellegarde less Ulm and Hohenzollern
  • Pete: Rosenberg
  • Terry: Charles and Lichenstein

The Austrian line battalions were large so they had 8 combat dice, 4 shots and stamina of 4. The also could form battalion masse meaning they countered as being in column, but if charged by cavalry they stood and took it rather than be required to try and form square.

We were playing day 2 from roughly 7am. By this time the French have thrown the Austrians out of the villages in some disorder. So the game commenced on a French turn with the French in control of both villages and the Austrian commands of Hiller and Rosenberg in a state of disorder so they would not be able to move forward in their turns.

a Set Up Main Table 1

Main table at set up. Rosenberg facing Essling. Humans are from left to right, Ray,Pete , John and PaulG. The village in the foreground is Essling which comprises 3 defensive zones. One being the famous grainary which for game purposes contains 1 bttn of French infantry who can fire 1 shot per down out of 3 sides. It cannot be harmed by shooting and it cannot be attacked. On the French baseline behind it the Danube makes a slight appearance and it cannot be be forded or crossed! A road then runs down the table to Aspern. French units to the south(French baseline side) are deemed to be unclear targets to Austrian artillery fire. Aspern also has 3 defensive zones and the church is treated as the same as the villages 2 zones. South of the village is the wooded/swampy area known as Germeinde au.

b Set Up Reserve Table 1

Austrian reserve table.

The game started with a French turn.

The French had Molitor in the Gemeinde Au,Legrand in Aspern and Boudet in Essling. The reminder of their forces between the villages.

St Cyr’s division on the right flank of Aspern advanced towards the Austrians, Claparedes conscripts then blundered and charged forward into the Austrians! Tharreau kept his conscripts back after seeing this. St Hiliare then advances on their right flank to fill the gap in the Austrian lines with the support of Lasalle.

g Brian blunders into a charge!

Austrians reply by Bellegarde advancing on Aspern, Hohenzollern wheels to attack French advance. Around Essling Dedovich turns his battalions to face the French troops moving through the gap in the Austrian lines.

h Lasalle on the charge!

Lasalle send Hussars into Dedovichs guns, destroys them then sweeping advances into a battalion which had failed to turn and face them. Austrian CR7’s even with the +1 for being in masse still not enough get all to pass orderes.

f The French centre!

View from French reserves, Young Guard and massed Cuirassiers.

j Hohenzollern responds to Claparede's blunder and St Cyr's advance

PaulG wheels Hohenzollern to meet advances of St Cyr and the charge of Claparedes conscripts. Paul has units in combat.

k Bellegarde advances on Aspern

Bellegarde advances on Aspern.

m Dedovitch facing St Hiliare and Lasalle, now thats a testing situation!

In centre St Hilaire wheels to face Dedovich supported by Lasalle.

n Hiller on Austrian right charges into Molitors battered troops

Hiller charges into the Gemeinde au to get at Molitors weakened troops.

p French heavies decide to come and play!

Lasalle and 2 Cuirassier Divisions flanked by Claparede and St Hilaire advance into the gap in the Austrian lines.

q French Centre

The bulge in the French lines as they advance through the gap in the Austrian lines.

r Klenau moves to centre

In the Austrian rear Klenau on orders from Charles  moves towards the Austrian centre. Bellegarde detached Ulm’s division for the same purpose but after blunders, and failed orders they never made it past Aspern!

s Hiller attacked Molitor while Bambi watches from the woods!

Hiller sends more troops in against Molitor!

t Lasalle charges flanking guns

Hohenzollern had a battery enfilading the Cuirassiers in the centre so naturally Lassale grabbed a Hussar unit and with a ‘Follow Me!’off they went, unfortunately they suffered 3 casualties and failed their break test and failed to charge home but retired.

u Heavies Time!

The French Cuirassiers charge into the Austrian Kuirassiers who counter charge!

v Hmmm Somethings missing.......

A hint who won the combats…who is missing from this picture!

w When will they learn!

A further French Cuirassier unit now got charged to the front by Kuirassiers and in the flank by Dragoons. They lost the combat but were not destroyed.

x Rosenberg going in

Between the Danube and Essling Rosenberg advances to slug it out with Boudet.

y Dedovich tries get past pesky grainary

North of Essling Dedovich keeps getting slowed by disordering fire from the grainary. In centre can be seen Klenaus troops arriving along with artillery from reserve and Kuirassiers taking on more of Lasalles command.

z Bellegarde takes Aspern Church

Success! Aspern Church has fallen to Bellegarde.

z1 Austrian Cavalry on move

Austrian cavalry advance into the centre of the main table. The French are looking light on troops.

z1a who gave John those cavalry

Who gave John Cuirassiers?  Austrian Infantry masse do not form square but stand and take a cavalry charge. They have a stamina of 4.The left hand unit has 6 wounds showing. That is not good.

z1b PaulG's feeling the pressure!

PaulG’s face says it all.

z1d Massena surrounded by cavalry

View from Massena position. Austrian lines are thinning out nicely he will be thinking.

z1e Young Guard head off towards Essling!

Rosenbergs advance on Essling has the french Young Guard commited exactly where the Austrians want them,away from the centre!

z1f Dedovich charges into Essling gardens

Dedovich launches attack on Essling gardens.

z1g Molitor has enough

Further success for Hiller, Molitors command has fled the battlefield.

z1h Reserves fromboth sides committed to centre

Oops, first tharreau used to plug cente, the French Cuirassiers rally and advance but now the Young Guard get a triple move and rush north of the road. At this stage Terry(me) handed over my commands to Russ who had been playing in a Jutland refight which had just finished.

z1i Where to start!

You would think Austrian Grenadiers would go through French conscripts like a hot knife through butter. You would wouldn’t you. But being surrounded by poncy Young Guard and Cuirassiers they fought like veterans!

z1j The gap appears

Until poof,it was all to much and a decent hole was in the French centre.

z1k The End!

The day was done and the French still held Essling and Aspern was being contested. The divisions of Lasalle, Molitor, Claparede, St Hilaire and St Cyr were gone.

For the Austrians the main loss is Hohenzollerns corps where he faced the French centre. There were 3 intact divisions moving around Aspern to the centre and most of the Austrian cavalry was still combat ready.

Thats this report for now!(am sure to make some changes when ladz alert me to errors!)

Cheers

Terry