Sunday, January 11, 2015

Combat at Eichberg Carnage&GloryII Scenario: Part 3 Gaming Eichberg

As we saw from the Historical Research in Part One de Tolly's spoiling attack resulted in two combats at Konigswartha and Eichberg.  Unlike Konigswartha, Eichberg was a relative slugfest between two advancing forces.   Similar to Konigswartha, the historical details are a bit sketchy, which from a scenario design perspective allows variation and, (relatively) you can't do it wrong!

Eichberg Monument (constructed 1913)
Photos courtesy of Lohsa Town Website

View from the Eichberg


History and Assumptions:
Eichberg begins likely between 2 and 3 p.m., with the Prussians taking up a strong defensive position near Weissig on the Eichberg. From Lauriston's detailed casualties list in his dispatch to Berthier (summarized by Bowden), it appears 16th, 18th, and 19th Divisions were engaged at Eichberg.  (Puthod's 17th Div. is a days march behind V Corps and does not arrive until the second day of Bautzen.)  Approximately 67 percent of the 1,550 casualties and prisoners reported by Lauriston fell on Lagrange's 18th Division; 20 percent fell on Maison's 16th Division.  Based on the casualties I assume that 18th Division was Lauriston's lead division and the first engaged.

At 3 p.m. von Yorck recieved an order from de Tolly to march on Johnsdorf to form a reserve for the Russians engaged at Konigswartha. Yorck responded with perhaps too much alacrity, and retreated from his position on the "heights" near Wessig.  Hofschorer indicates it was Steinmetz's brigade (the East Prussians and Lieb Infantry Regiments) which had held this strong position.  Once von Yorck had withdrawn to Hermsdorf, just under a mile away, a second dispatch arrived countermanding the previous order and directing von Yorck to hold on at Weissig.  With this second dispatch, de Tolly realized the Russians were not in contact with V Corps, but rather the 15th Italian Division from IV Corps.

De Tolly dispatched Raiewski's two Grenadier Divisions to reinforce von Yorck.  Hofschorer states that one division was sent to Hermsdorf and the other to Steinitz.  The second destination, suggests that Raiewski that at least one of the divisions was marching via Konigswartha and not Oppitz. Should the Grenadier division marching on Steinitz have completed this march it would have arrived approximately 1 mile to the rear of the French engaged at Weissig/Hermsdorf.

The fighting continues at Eichberg/Hermsdorf until nightfall and when de Tolly orders a night march and withdrawal via Klix.  The Coalition forces are back across the Spree on the 20th.




Orders of Battle:
Unit Ratings are based upon Bowden's Empire V, translated roughly to C&GII.  Units have been amalgamated to fit our groups basing.  The French are based on Bowden and Nafziger.  The Allies Nafziger, supplemented by Hofschorer.  Note for the allies neither source gives actual numbers for some of the Russian divisions, and were therefore estimated. Estimate Russian Regiments were assumed to have 1 battalion of 480 men.

C&GII generally recommends a ratio of 1 officer per 3 tactical units total.   The Russians are clearly over-officered, but I wanted to show the general structure of the OOB for potential use in other rulesets and have in fact combined a few brigades already. The Prussians Brigade commanders are labeled as Divisions in the OOB. The "brigade" commanders in the OOB are actually regimental commanders, which per the Prussian system of standard deployment were put in charge of one of the "lines" of troops.

France:
Note that most of V Corps consists of Regiments 135-155 which were formed from the "Cohorts", or men called up as a reserve when Napoleon started his Russian expedition in 1812.  Bowden goes into some detail about the formation of the cohorts and their training (or lack thereof).  It should be noted he indicates they do not have elite companies, only center companies and in Empire V terms are only allowed to enter into "semi-skirmish" formation.  To translate this into C&G, I did tick the box for skirmish capable, but these units should not be allowed to skirmish offensively.  This allows for the use of open order, which is somewhat analogous to "semi-skirmish" and needed given the amount of disruptive terrain on the table.


Allies:

Note: Yorck's Corps had a half battery of 3lbers, which I have chosen to distribute as regimental guns.  If regimental guns brings back bad memories of 1806, can always run them as a battery.


Terrain:
 Eichberg/Steinitz/Wessig/Hermsdorf is part of the "Oberlausitzer Heide- und Teichlandschaft"/Upper Lusatian Moorland which is to say there a lot of water (ponds, streams) and wooded areas.  The German Wikipedia page for the town of Weissig indicates the population in 1825 was 128. The Schloss/hunting lodge in the town was present.  Hermsdorf in 1825 had a population 195.


The Red Box is a 12.5ft x 6ft table at 1"=25paces (28mm); the Yellow Box is 1"=50paces (15mm)


The hash marks are every 30 inches (which is the width of a standard folding table in the U.S).
The woods should be medium cover.  The pond impassable.  Weissig should be a single wooden structure.  Hermsdorf and Steinitz the same, but with some light or medium lineal cover outbuildings areas.  The Eichberg is unknown, I'd suggest a gentle slope so no bonuses or as a moderate slope (cavalry cannot charge down slope; infantry charging down slope lose 1/2 movement , infantry and cavalry charging up slope lose 1/3 movement.)

You could also compress try to squeeze in the Kleine Spree, but I would consider it marshy/broken ground in 1813, rather than the channeled backs on the google maps.

Historical Scenario:
I ran this figuring a start time of 2p.m.  

Prussians deploy first with the cavalry in formation of choice, near Weissig; the horse guns limbered on the road south of Weissig.  Von Steimetz's Brigade in march column on the road approximately 900 paces south of Wessig/Eichberg.  Von Horn's Brigade at Hermsdorf in march column.  

For the French, Guyon's light cavalry began in formation of choice one move.  French can deploy between 900-1100 paces from Weissig (thus choosing to be in or out of charge range) of the Prussian cavalry.  The 18th (Lagrange) Division begins just south of Steinitz in march column.  

The first turns can be a swirling light cavalry melee or standoff, and the Prussians deploy into Weissig/Eichberg. The 18th Division should be in engagement range by 2:30-2:45.  You could also skip the precursor movements, deploy the sides as suggested by 2:30/2:45 and begin the slugfest directly.

The French Objective is to destroy the coalition forces to its front and continue its advance towards Klix.  The Prussia/Russian objective is to destroy the French if possible, and after ~3:30 p.m. becomes hold/delay the French until darkness. 

Reinforcements:
How and when the reinforcements come into play is unclear, especially for the Russian Grenadiers as detailed above. For the French 16th Division I would set them to come in around 3:45/4:00 and hit randomize, and add in the 19th Division similarly at approximately 4:45/5:00.   I would assume the Russians do not start marching until 3:30 at the earliest (dispatch to Yorck arrives at 3:00, and must travel back to Johnsdorf/Konigswartha before Raiewski steps off).  Arrival at Hermsdorf randomized from 4:15/4:30 should work. How you treat the other division (arriving in French rear at Steinitz or just reinforcing at Weissig or Hermsdorf), allows for further variation.   

Fatigue:
All forces on table have been marching a significant portion of the day.  The Prussians/Russians since approximately 1 a.m.  For a slower game, I would start all sides at "tiring" or even "tired", as fatigue management will become a significant issue in the opening phases of the game. For a more quick paced gamed I would set everyone to "acceptable".  Given the route the Prussians had to take it is certainly justifiable to start them one level below the French ("Tiring" to a French "acceptable".)

Variations:
Russian Reinforcements: Where the second grenadier division arrives at is unknown from what I can tell.  A game with the second division arriving on the road to the west of Weissig or even at Steinitz would certainly change things, though in the later case the division would be dangerously close to being cut-off by 5 p.m.  Roll a d10, on a 1-5 the second division arrives via Hermsdorf; 6-8 road west of Weissig; 9-10 Steinitz.  To model a flank march on Steinitz, I would suggest the limiting any reinforcement by 19th Division to Lacrois' Brigade and 1 battery.  The rest of the 19th Division is containing or investigating the potential presenece of coalition troops to the French rear.

De Tolly's Withdrawal Order:  How you deal with this, is up to you.  One option is to make the Prussians evacuate Weissig and Eichdorf.  In our play through, I  communicated de Tolly's order and my von Yorck responded in a colorful fashion, (not becoming an obedient a Prussian officer) that he would not disengage and withdraw in the face of the enemy to his front.  On the other hand, von Yorck managed to get cashiered for disobedience earlier in his military career, so not entirely out of character!

Playtest:

2 comments:

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  2. Posted battle report pt1 on TMP: http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=376511&page=1

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