Monday, 28 November 2011

Prussian 3rd Division, von Schmettau - Jena Auerstadt 1806

Corps of the Day

Today we travel back in time to the town of Auerstadt, 1806 ... and put together all of the forces of von Schmettau's ill fated 3rd Division.

Lets see how these units form together as a combined arms force under the command of GM von Schmettau.

Whats in the box ? A collection of regiments, making up the 3rd Division of the 1806 Prussian Army at Jena. Using the OOBs from Republique, this creates a decent sized force, just at the right scale to represent the distribution of regiments and supporting assets within a Divison.

Label on the inside of the box shows the various regiments (with their facing colour details for recognition,), and some coloured labels to represent whether they are green, average, veteran, etc.  All off these troops are sadly 2nd rate (Green), with the exception of the Cavalry.

Deployed on a corner of the field, the command radius of the general is 25cm, or roughly 1km. So at best, this Division can cover a frontage of around 2km.

The artillery stick ruler seen on the edge of the table is just under 1km in length.

Still, this force offers fairly decent coverage for the whole front of it's deployment area once the regiments are deployed in line.

Artillery support is provided by 2 Medium Foot bases - around 4 batteries of cannon.

GM Von Schmettau himself !  Looking quite dapper in his embroided yellow Kurrassier jacket - a treasured item of clothing that he won in a pistol Duel at Magdeberg.

Achtung ein Dieb !  Das bockenwurst, it is being geschtollen !

In some of my earlier Divisions here, I have added a Divisional supply wagon. Not a cheap thing to do, and not required as part of the rules, but I like them so much that I might continue that trend.  Maybe at the Corps level for some of the later / larger armies.

Working on some Divisional level tent camps out of canvas sheet .. that might be a cheaper alternative.

The supply wagon is from Museum miniatures, available from Eureka.

Here we go - the real fighting power of the Prussian Division - a very large and impressive force of heavyweight cavalry.

Both the Dragoons and the Kurassiers seen here are unmatched by their 1806 French opponents. Difficult to employ well though, given the cumbersome command radius.

Von Schmettau in the center, reviews the front line once again with the assistance of his most able adjutant.

2 small contingents of Grenadiers anchor the left flank. The village beyond that is clearly outside the command radius of this Division.

A commander's eye view of the whole Division now. The whole front is covered with regiments in line, Grenadiers cover the approach from the Town, artillery hold the center, and a large mobile reserve of heavy cavalry await to cover any breakthroughs.

A very nicely balanced combined arms force, quite capable of taking on the all-conquering French, as long as they coordinate their actions.

An optional rule in Republique is to denote some earlier revolutionary period armies (such as this one), as having 'Grand Tactical Incompetence'. In such a case, battalions (or bases here) which are part of a larger regiment continue to maintain formation with the regiment, but fight 1:1 against enemy in bases contact, without the numerical modifiers for overlaps and outnumbering.

Enemy elements with Grand Tactical Competance do employ these bonuses.

So a French column of 3 bases (frontage of 1 base) hits a Prussian line of 3 bases ... the French count as locally outnumbering the Prussians 3:1. Ouch !

To make up for this, the Prussians do receive a +1 for well drilled  troops fighting in line, and a possible additional +1 if deployed with battalion guns as well. However the 3:1 modifier of -5 is a killer.  As a result, the Green tactically incompetant Prussians will hold their line against better French columns, about 30% of the time .. but mostly it is a losing proposition in a protracted fight.

The Prussians must make better use of their cavalry in order to beat the French consistently - it can be done !  Cavalry are extremely deadly in Republique - they operate on a different combat results chart, either having their attack blunted, or ripping through the enemy formations. With good planning, a cool head, and decent dice rolls, the Prussian commander can defeat the French in detail.

In response to this, if the French player makes better use of his superior movement and flexibility on the battlefield, he can usually force the Prussians to fight at a disadvantage, and roll his flank up.

It is a great period to game, balanced forces with each side having certain advantages over the opponent, skill and planning can overcome luck and reward the players with an interesting game.


  1. I like seeing the whole Corps laid out! Are you using small blocks of foam in the bottom of your storage box to keep the troops in place during transport, or just for organization, or whatever?

  2. Yes, its good now that these regiments are starting to form into Divisions and Corps, certainly starts to bring it 'to life' (as much as little pieces of cast alloy can be called 'life' .. LOL)

    The little dots in the storage boxes - 2 fold. They are self adhesive squares that there to hold the bases in place, the actual bases jam in pretty tight, and dont move around at all during regular transportation.

    I havent been game to try the upside down test on it (It wouldnt work if I did try it), but I would be happy to put these boxes in the boot of the car and do a long trip without worrying about the figures getting messed up.

    It works very well for that.

    Also - This is the first one I did in this way, and went a little overboard with the tiny squares. Took forever. I found it is quicker now to use the larger self adhesive felt tiles that you put under the legs of furniture and things ... and cut these to shape.

    Once they are stuck to the plastic, after a day or so for the adhesive to dry, they hold on to the plastic extremely well.