Sunday, 11 March 2012

Battle of Jenastaedt 1813 - Inital Deployment

Battle of the Day

Just setup for the next battle, in this one I want to test out my new Command and Control HouseRules to allow my Allied forces to engage in a limited pinning attack on the main French position

All going well, the pinning attack in the centre should not be too bloodily contested,  so the lower quality Russo-Prussian mob in the middle should survive the action without running off the table in panic.

Hopefully the French will also get delayed long enough to allow the main hammer blow to fall. (Austrian 1st Corps on the right wing)

Geographical situation prior to the action.

The City of Jenastaedt sits on a juntion of a major river, and is surrounded to the North by rolling hills, some woodlands, and a number of farmyards and villages.

Being a large well stocked city on a bridgehead, Jenastaedt is strategically important in the campaign.

The French currently hold Jenastaedt, and Allied scouts have setup camp to the NorthEast.

Between Jenastaedt and the Allied camp there are a number of important villages and farming communities such as AchtzenHeiligen farm.

These are populated (yay - railway civvy figures !!), and offer class B defense bonuses for combat.

The view from the Allied camp, about 2km from Schimmelpfennig Village, and 5kim from Jenastaedt in the distance.

All routes to Jenastaedt from here are mostly open ground, with the occasional wooded area, and are mostly uphill through rolling terrain.

This approach offers good line of sight communications  to extend a very large front to deploy in a line of attack with an undisturbed frontage of 6km.

Both sides are aware of each other, and Allied scouts have spent the night scouting the French lines. 

French units begin the battle fully deployed.  

As dawn begins to break, further details such as roads and prominent hedge lines are now apparent. 

For the French deployment, we have an understrength Corps on the table, with a decent Cavalry reserve, and a detachment of heavy artillery.  

The cavalry reserve is placed on the left flank, in dead ground on restage orders. 

The Heavy Artillery in the center forms the main point of defence, and these are dug in with orders to hold the ridge line at all costs. 

A Corps ADC has been assigned to this 'Grand Battery' as an independent artillery commander. 

In the center, an understrength Division of mixed ligne and Legere are to conduct a mobile defence. 

On the far right, a very small token Division of battered troops (known in the Corps as les Invalides), are to conduct a loose and mobile defensive line guarding that approach. 

During the night, word has been sent back to Army HQ about the developing situation, and Army HQ has given orders to hold Jenastaedt for 48 hrs, to allow a relief force to consolidate the position. Word has also arrived from General Wrede that his Bavarians are marching on the double to relieve Jenastaedt, but no idea yet how long that may be. 

A request sent to Marshall Bernadotte for assistance has not yet been answered either.

French scouts have also been active in the night.

A rather large combined Allied force has got itself in position, and starts the game fully deployed on the table.

The Allied plan of attack is somewhat more mature than the previous attempts at fighting the French.

The Allied general has at his disposal a large mass of Russian and Prussian troops of dubious quality,.

These have been lined up in the center, and given orders to pin down the French center.

On the far left, some 4km from the Allied main position, a collection of even more dubious light troops such as Grenzers, Charles Legion, and Landwehr are to be sent racing up the flank on a mission to distract the their right wing (les Invalides).

The main hammer lies on the right flank, being a full strength Corps of experienced Austrian regulars.

Austrian light troops on the left to try and put in an un-opposed flank march, hopefully drawing off the French defenders on the hill to pursue them in a wild goose chase.

This group has its own Divisional commander, with orders to avoid engagement, and draw off to the left.

Main Russian force in the centre, with its own Divisional command.

Orders are to advance to contact (probe). The intention is to escalate this order to 'Engage' once contact has been made,  to draw the French into a firefight with the Russian artillery  and pin them in position for a good old Russian pounding.

Alongside the Russians is another Division of Prussians.

Mostly a mob of low grade troops here .. but they do have their own Divisional commander.

Orders are the same as the Russians - advance to contact, with the intention of escalating this into a harrassing firefight and pinning attack.

Bit of a risk with the lower quality troops if they do get heavily engaged in melee combat - they are susceptible to panic, which on its own is not a big problem, but unit panic can trigger Divisional panic, and Divisional panic can spill over to affect adjacent Divisions as well.

So for this group, its a matter of maintaining contact and harrassment of the French, but hold back with the bayonet until the right moment.

Final part of the deployment - the first wave of the Austrian 1st Corps on the far right flank.

Orders are to sit back for a while to let the battle develop. At some point, when the French are fully tied down with the pinning attack, 1st Corps should be activated to advance forward, sweep left, and then put in an agressive assault on Jenastaedt.

Although solo, I will be playing this from the Allied position, and see if the additional rule variations to attacker intensity do the job.

As far as the plan goes, I think it is a reasonable plan ... simple enough, risks are mitigated and there is some tactical flexibility built into the plan in case of extreme good luck and opportunity.

But will it work ?

For the French commander, I will keep his forces fairly mobile, and avoid serious engagements in all areas except for the Grand battery position. Knowing the deployment and weakness of the Allied troop quality .. I think if I can allow them to destroy one of those central Divisions against the Grand Battery, then the whole lot might just have to call off the attack.

Also with the French left wing, if there is a glaring opportunity to race forward with the Dragoons again and take out the Austrian commanders, then I will let the French do that as well.

Part 2 is now online :

Part 2 - the Advance to Contact


  1. I love the names - "The Forrest of the Saxon songs of Joy!"

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks David,

      Just had a look at your Austrian vs French batrep as well - excellent game !