Wagram 1809 – more than just a refight! Part 1

On the weekend of August 5 – 6 2017 the Garage Gamers and friends staged over 2 days a refight of the Battle of Wagram at the Wellington Warlords(our local club) annual convention, Call to Arms. The infinitely  insane Mr Paul Weakley made terrain boards for the battlefield(a separate article will follow on them). A month earlier we had staged a practice game on a club day at Warlords all be it on a smaller table as some of the terrain boards were not quite ready as well as some of the Austrian units.

On the French side Russ repised his role as Napoleon with the able assistance of Brian Smaller(Montbrun), Rhys Jones(Davout), Paul Weakley(Oudinot), Alan Hollows(Eugene), John Hutton(Massena) and Graeme Henderson(Marmont). Russ also parceled out commands to various players as the game progressed.

The Austrians were myself(Terry) as  Arch DukeCharles(and Bellegarde on sunday)with Steve Thompson(Nordman/Arch Duke John), Paul Goldstone(Rosenberg), Peter Haldezos(Hohenzollern – saturday), Ray Hutchinson(Hohenzollern – sunday), Keith Gates(Bellegarde – saturday), Daniel Jones(Lichtenstein), Brian Trott(Kollowrat) and Mark Conroy(Klenau).

Why Wagram? This battle is one that has always fascinated me as a possible ‘What if?’ scenario.

  • What if Archduke John had actually marched to the sound of the guns and arrived hours earlier?
  • What if some of Reuss’s corps was committed to the Austrian southern flank?
  • What if the Austrian Commanders showed a bit more aggression?
  • and the biggie…what would a group of veteran wargamer’s do!

The table played on was 24 foot long on its Northern edge and 6 foot deep. On the western edge it would extend 18 foot and on the south 12 foot so the table looked like an inverted J. Additionally the French reserves would be on a small table separate from the main table, and a small extension was made to allow for the cavalry battle north and west of Markgrafneusiedl.

The battle would commence at approximately 10.30am on Day 2.

Battle of Wagram, second day at 10.30am

The armies of both sides had been scaled down to match the space they would cover on the battlefield.

The French commands are as follows:

Napoleon CR10(Russ) – Dorsenne, Curial, Lauriston,Walthier, Nansouty, Von Wrede and Dupas

  • Dorsenne CR8 –  2 Old Guard btts
  • Curial CR8 – 3 Young Guard bttns
  • Lauriston CR9 – 3 Guard foot batteries, 1 Guard Horse battery
  • Walthier CR7 – (Guard cavalry) Chasseurs a Cheval, Empress Dragoons, Grenadiers a Cheval and Polish Chevaulegers
  • Nansouty CR7 – 2 Carabinier regts, 2 Cuirassier regts, horse battery
  • Von Wrede CR8(Bavarians) – 4 bttns, 1 light cavalry,battery
  • Dupas CR8 – 2 bttns, 2 Saxon bttns

Davout CR10(Rhys) – Friant, Gudin, Puthod and Arrighi

  • Friant CR9 – 5 large bttns, 2 batteries
  • Gudin CR8 – 5 large bttns, battery
  • Puthod CR8 – 4 unreliable bttns, battery
  • Arrighi CR8 –  2 Cuirassier regts

Montbrun CR9(Brian S) – Montbrun, Grouchy and Morand

  • Montbrun CR9 – 3 light cavalry, horse battery and large bttn
  • Grouchy CR8 – 3 Dragoon regts
  • Morand CR9 – 3 large bttns, battery

Oudinot CR8(Paul W) -Tharreau, Frere, Grandjean and Colbert

  • Tharreau CR8 – 6 bttns, 2 batteries
  • Frere CR8 – 5 bttns, battery
  • Grandjean CR8 – 5 Elite bttns, battery
  • Colbert CR8 – 2 light cavalry

Eugene(Alan) CR8 – Brousier, McDonald, Grenier, Durutte, Pachtod and Sahuc

  • Brousier CR8 – 3 bttns
  • McDonald CR8 – 4 bttns, battery
  • Grenier CR8 – 4 bttns, battery
  • Durutte CR8 – 4 bttns, battery
  • Pachtod CR8 – 3 bttns, battery
  • Sahuc CR8 – 2 light cavalry

Massena(John) CR9 – St Cyr, Molitor, Boudet, Legrand, Lasalle and St Sulpice

  • St Cyr CR9 – 3 large bttns*, 2 Hessian Bttns, battery.   *2 started on 3 wounds
  • Molitor CR8 – 4 bttns, battery
  • Boudet CR8 – 3 bttns
  • Legrand CR8 – 2 bttns ,2 Baden bttns, battery
  • Lasalle CR9 – 3 light cavalry, horse battery
  • St Sulpice CR8 – 2 Cuirassiers

Marmont(Graeme) CR8 – Claperede and Clauzel

  • Claperede CR8 – 3 bttns
  • Clauzel CR8 – 3 bttns

There were special rules for the troops directly under Napoleons command on the reserve table. On turn 1 Russ could order 2 commands onto the main table. There after each odd turn Russ could order another and towards end of game the remaining 2 were ordered on. On the the second turn after the order, ie order on turn 1 on turn 3 command arrives on main table. Russ could chose to command the command himself, or hand command over to one of his players.

Both Walthier and Nansouty put in petulant performances on the day after Besseries was wounded so they are reduced to CR7 with a -1 on charge orders.

The Austrian commands were as follows:

Arch Duke Charles CR8 and Arch Duke LudwigCR8(Terry)

Nordman CR8(Steve) – Vecsey, von Frelich and Nostitz

  • Vecsey(CR8) -bttn Grenz, regt light cav and cav battery
  • von Frelich(CR8) – bttn Jager, 2 regt light cav
  • Nostitz(CR8) – regt Dragoons, 2 regt light cav

Rosenberg CR8(Paul G) – Hohenlohe, Rohan and Radetzky

  • Hohenlohe CR7 – 4 large bttns, bttn landwehr and battery
  • Rohan CR7 – 2 large bttns, 2 elite bttns, 2 bttns landwehr and 2 batteries
  • Radetzky CR9 – 2 bttns, bttn landwehr , 1 light cavalry and battery

Hohenzollern CR7(Pete on saturday and Ray on sunday) – Brady, Ulm and Siegenthal

  • Brady CR8 – 5 large bttns, 2 landwehr and 2 batteries
  • Ulm CR7 – 5 large bttns, 2 landwher and 2 batteries
  • Siegenthal CR8 – bttn Jager, bttn landwher and light cav

Bellegarde CR7(Keith on saturday and Terry on sunday) – Fresnel and Dedovich

  • Fresnel CR7 – 4 large bttns, Jager bttn, regt light cavalry, 2 batteries
  • Dedovich CR8 – 5 large bttns, 2 batteries

Kolowrat CR7(Brian T) – St Julian and Vukassovich

  • St Julian CR7 – 3 large bttns, 1 bttn and 2 batteries
  • Vukassovich Cr8 – 2 large bttns, Jager bttn, landwher bttn, regt Uhlans and 2 batteries

Klenau CR8(Mark) – Hohenfeld, Kottulinsky and Vincent

  • Hohenfeld CR7 – 2 bttns, Landwehr bttn , battery
  • Kottulinsky CR7 – 2 large bttns, 2 bttns, Landweht bttn, battery
  • Vincent CR7 – Grenz bttn, Landwehr bttn, 2 light cavalry, cav battery

Leichtenstein CR8(Daniel) – Schwarzenberg, Hessen Homburg, D’Aspre and Prochaska

  • Schwarzenberg CR8 – regt Dragoons, 2 regts light cavalry
  • Hessen-Homburg CR7 – 3 regts Cuirassiers, cav battery
  • D’Aspre CR8 – 4 regts Grenadiers, battery
  • Prochaska CR8 – 4 regts Grenadiers, battery

From V Corps – Weissenwolf CR8  -3 bttns, Grenz Bttn, Landwehr bttn, regt Uhlans and battery

Archduke John CR7(Steve) – Jellacic, Frimont and Collerodo

  • Jellacic CR7 – 2 bttns, Grenz bttn, battery
  • Frimont CR8 – Grenz bttn, regt Dragoons, regt light cavalry
  • Colloredo CR7 – Grenadier bttn, 2 bttns, Grenz bttn and regt light cavalry

The Austrians had a special rule a special rule for ‘Follow Me’ orders. To represent commanders grabbing units and rushing them around the battlefield in support or to combat, they get a +1 on any ‘Follow me’ order. In addition Archdukes Charles and Ludwig can do a ‘Follow me’ order on any 2 units within 12 inches with a +2 modifier. These units can only move and cannot end the move in combat. The standard +1 for an order into combat still applies.

The Austrians had 2 off table forces which would hopefully arrive on day 2. Weissenwolf from V Corps would approach from the west and Arch John and the Army of Italy would approach from the east.

Below are some pictures of the set up at the start of turn 1.

French right flank with commands of Montbrun, Grouchy and Morand facing Austrians of Nordman.

Village of Deutsch-Wagram on western edge of Russbach Heights looking to Aderklaa . French across stream are Eugene and Massena , Austrians Bellegarde and Lichtenstein.

The combatants in the background! Table shows how great the Russbach Heights looked. French from right to left are Davout, Oudinot and Eugene in distance. Austrians are Nordman, Rosenberg, Hohenzollern and Bellegarde in distance.

The force in centre around Aderklaa. Massena holds it but St Cyr has pushed to far and Liechtenstein is about to punish them.

Oudinot facing the Russbach Heights with Hohenzollern awaiting him on the ridge line.

View from Rosenberg’s command post at the French hordes approaching!

Kolowrat’s corps opposite southern part of Massena’s corps.

Massena and Eugene massed opposite Bellegarde around Aderklaa.

The French right flank juggernaut that is Davout’s corps along with Oudinot opposite Rosenberg defending the lowest point of the escarpment of the Russbach Heights.

Klenau on the southern flank rushing for Boudet’s small isolated division of Massena’s corps. This flank had wide open spaces.

Here ends part 1 of the battle as the players are poised for turn 1.

Part 2 to follow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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