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Orders of Battle for Möckern (16th October 1813)

16 Apr
Orders of Battle for Möckern (16th October 1813)

After all those posts about my Möckern / Völkerschlacht von Leipzig project, I felt that now it is time to go into some detail. In the fall of 2010 the only thing I knew was that I wanted to start with some Prussian forces for the Völkerschlacht von Leipzig (Battle of Nations). The books I had read so far did not really give me an idea what would make a good wargame or not. So I approached Martin Kelly (http://befreiungskriege.wordpress.com/) about some suggestions. His first idea was Möckern (and reading up on it afterwards a good one, too). It is not an obscure part of the battle, but rather one that many historians say was decisive for the whole battle. It featured a nice mix of units for the Prussians and some interesting ones for the French. The battle for the village itself and adjacent fields had a small enough footprint, but can easily be expanded. And if you only start with the first two attack waves it means a manageable amount of minis.I decided to depict just the action inside the village and east of it and only the first two attacks, which took place between roughly 1300h and 1500h. If I should find the time to paint the minis from 2nd and 7th Brigade (1st Prussian Army Corps) in time for Crisis 2013 I might replay the whole battle, but I doubt I shall.

Prussian Infantry at Möckern

Prussian Infantry at Möckern

Finding the basic numbers and units involved was easy enough, especially with the Nafziger Collection (Nafziger Collection at the United States Command and General Staff College) being public domain these days. What proved much more difficult is finding out the command structure of the Prussian units involved. The Prussians practiced something that would be the hallmark of any German army till the present day… the ability to form battle groups as need be, which would be led by the most capable officer for the job regardless of rank. In this sense a unit commander would at times command the whole brigade while the commanding officer on paper would command units outside his command or just part of his command. In this case it was aggravated by the fact, that the units involved came from von Yorcks Advanced Guard, which was a huge body of troops (ten infantry units, five cavalry units and two artillery batteries) nominally under the command of a Oberst (Colonel). This confusion only improved a couple of weeks ago when I got into contact with Wolfgang Meyer, who is doing research on the very same part of the battle as part of the Croebern Project (www.croebern-1813.de / this is one massive diorama of the Battle of Nations that you really must check out if you have not already seen it!!!). He was able to provide me with the after action reports of the units involved. Reading those gave me a clear idea how units were subdivided and who commanded what.

A few words before I go on to show you the “rosters”. The number of miniatures refers to the number of men in the unit divided by 20 (we will be using the Republic to Empire rules which work with this ratio). You will notice that sometimes these numbers have been rounded up or down to create units without odd numbers of mins where possible. Within a brigade  or detachment this equals out.

The number of skirmishers is dictated by the rules. Some units are too small to deploy skirmishers, so they have none. Neither do the Prussian Jäger or French Légère, since they are allowed to deploy the whole unit as skirmishers if they like. Numbers underlaid in green denote units that are already painted and finished (still a lot to do :-/).

I have not assigned unit qualities yet. If you read accounts from either side, you will find that they all praised their own units and those of the enemy (although the French were not always too kind with their own officers). Since I do not want superman battling each other, this will be ironed out in a few test games later on.

So on to the Prussians:

Prussian OOB at Möckern (1300h - 1500h)

Prussian OOB at Möckern (1300h - 1500h)

The units above are grouped together as they were during the battle. The detachment (not an official term, but the way I chose to call it) under Major von Klüx was involved in the first assault on the village. For the second it was reenforced by the Leib-Grenadierbataillon.

As you can see the official commander of the whole Advanced Guard chose to lead the cavalry during this battle.

I am not sure if I will paint the Ostpreussische Nationalkavallerie. Right now there are no suitable minis from either Calpe or the Perrys on the market. If it remains like that, the scenario will have to make do without them or see them replaced by the Lithuanian Dragoons from the cavalry reserve. Not that it really matters since the cavalry did not take an active part in the battle at this stage, but was kept in reserve. As a result players will only be able to make limited use of them in the game.

For those interested… I was also able to find out who commanded which unit for most of the formations involved:

Prussian Commanders at Möckern

Prussian Commanders at Möckern

Now on to the French:

French OOB at Möckern (1300h - 1500h)

French OOB at Möckern (1300h - 1500h)

As you can see… a much simpler command structure. Although both Générals de Brigade have to command pretty large formations (seven and six battalions). So I might have to add sub-commanders to make them manageable.

For the Marines from the 2nd Brigade I will use normal infantry units as stand-ins. As you have seen in earlier posts, these men had pretty special uniforms and I can not see painting another 136 minis on top of the 66 I already have, that will only be useful for this game. I hope this can be forgiven!

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21 responses to “Orders of Battle for Möckern (16th October 1813)

  1. The Angry Lurker

    April 16, 2012 at 12:11

    Still a good amount of figures but good research and good reading for those who knew little like me!

     
  2. John Michael

    April 16, 2012 at 13:10

    Well done, why do you not tell us a little about the battle and give us a sketched terrain.

    John

     
    • Burkhard

      April 16, 2012 at 13:17

      Do not worry… there is more to come. Maps are giving me a bit of a headache right now. They are either poor or copyrighted. Once I find one I can share I will do it.

       
  3. Monty

    April 16, 2012 at 21:14

    Top notch research Burk! I’ll be following this closely!

    I was telling one of my Ancients buddies that the beauty of gaming & painting Ancients is that we have a LOT of flexibility in painting and gaming because of the scarcity of facts, research materials and such. You Napoleonics guys have no such luxury!

     
  4. BigRedBat

    April 16, 2012 at 22:21

    All very interesting Burkhard, will follow with interest!

    Personally I eschew careful planning of armies, and instead accumulate random lots from eBay. 😉

    Simon

     
  5. Burkhard

    April 17, 2012 at 06:14

    Thank you guys!

    @Monty and Simon:

    The historic research is actually part of the fun for me. I just love reading up on these things… Makes you imersed in history instead of just pushing the minis around. Maybe I feel it is an obligation to history or it just feels good to use the research methods I learned at university for something that is fun. I can not honestly tell! 😉

     
    • BigRedBat

      April 17, 2012 at 07:32

      Leipzig is a battle I really want to learn about, what with the anniversary and all, so it’ll be interesting to follow!

       
  6. Dave

    April 21, 2012 at 01:05

    Great job, I’ll be following with interest. You have put quite some research into the project.

    regards
    dave

     
  7. paul

    October 9, 2012 at 12:43

    great research, helps someone like myself understand the Prussian oob better

     
    • Burkhard

      October 16, 2012 at 09:06

      I guess this one is even more confusing than usual. The advance guard at Möckern always apears like one huge “pile” of troops, far to big to be handled just one commander withoutmsud-divisions during that day an age. So it felt good for me to work this one out.

       
  8. DadExtraordinaire aka Marcus Maximus

    November 6, 2012 at 22:58

    Fantastic Blog you have here, and I too am looking at starting a project in this year 1813 as well as 1809. I like the Orbat tables how did you create them? Thanks in advance.

     
    • Burkhard

      November 7, 2012 at 09:04

      Thank you a lot!

      The basic OOB comes from the Nafziger collection. Obviously he covers the whole battle of Leipzig, so first up it was reading a couple of books to find out, which part to concentrate on. Möckern came out top (with a little advice from Martin Kelly as well) and the books enforced my decision to concentrate on the battle for the village as well and not to expand it to the adjoining villages right now.

      For the French you can virtually take the Nafiziger OOB, add the numbers for officers, NCOs and men up and you are done. For the Prussians he just gives the advance guard as one block of troops, far too large to be handled by just one officer. So I read the Prussian after action reports (which was obviously helped by the fact that German is my mother tongue) to find how the advance guard was sub-divided and which officers led which part. This also led to the information, that the Prussian heavy guns took a much more active part in the battle for Möckern itself, than the OOBs indicate, so I included them here as well.

      Hope this helps. If you have any more questions… Just feel free to ask!

       
  9. Bob Kolbeck

    November 14, 2012 at 20:22

    Really enjoyed reading your research here. I have found a number of the Nafziger OOBs and find it fascinating how the Prussian 1st Corp continued to be shuffled around to accommodate making the Army of Silesian’s Advance Guard. One quick question since you mentioned the two 1st Corp 12 pound batteries being involved in this action. When reading the OOB for 1st Corp in August of 1813, the 1st 12 pound battery had eight 12 pound cannon and two 10 pound howitzers. The 2nd 12 pound battery had eight 12 pound cannon and no howitzers. Both are a little off the Prussian standard of six 12 pound cannon and two 10 pound howitzers. Just wondering if after the campaign got going into the fall if the composition of these batteries changed to the standard six 12s and two 10s which would accommodate splitting off the howitzers into a half battery?

    Lastly just a comment… When I first saw the OOB of the 1st Corp just prior to the Battle of Nations, it was heart breaking. After the armistice in August 1813, these battalions marched off to war usually with over 800 men. By Leipzig, most were down to 300-400 men left. The cavalry was just as bad having whole regiments down to squadron strength.

    Again, thanks for your posting!

    Bob

     
    • Burkhard

      November 14, 2012 at 21:32

      Hello Bob,

      Glad you enjoyed reading this!

      The information regarding the 12pdr. Batteries comes from the artillery after action report from Oberst Leutnent von Schmidt. He is very detailed in his report (up to the exact number of shots fired), so I have no doubts about their correctness. He goes on to say that the howitzers from both batteries were taken to form a 4 gun howitzer battery. So I am pretty sure they both had two howitzers. I can not say when this came about though. It is often quiet hard to find this information. AARs can be found if they were published in books. Everything that is in between the battles, like quartermasters return are hard to find since they were often just stored in army and municipal archives. And a lot of those were destroyed during the last world war. Which is not to say they do not exist anymore, but they are virtually impossible to find unless you have the money and time to research this full time.

      I agree it is heartbreaking… Although it is nice I do not have to paint that many minis! 😉

      Any more questions… Feel free to ask.

      BTW: It is funny if you read the original OOBs, you find that Nafziger had most of these translated and just lined paragraphs from various of them up to create his text. Which is why it can be hard to comprehend the flow of the battle from the Nafziger books at times.

       
      • Bob Kolbeck

        November 14, 2012 at 23:30

        That is very interesting and useful. I had notice something similar in a document I had recently seen. Where one of the 12 pound batteries was split for deployment but the howitzers remained in the Artillery Reserve. I had assumed it was just two howitzers, but it would make sense to combine with the other 10 pound howitzers available and make a provisional battery out of it.

        I also have been trying to raise parts of the 1st Corp on and off for many years with limited success using 25mm MiniFigs. Lots of figures, so little time. I haven’t finalized the 12 pound batteries and could adjust it by adding a howitzer and taking out a 12 pound cannon from the 2nd battery, thus getting the flexibility to deploy a heavy howitzer battery if needed. Excellent.

        I also often wondered what the feelings were on having the only 3 pound field battery in the entire army. Useful? Useless? Maybe they parked it next to an understrength Landwehr regiment to give moral support. It seems to have been in the field for the whole 1813 campaign.

        As far a painting minis, I have used the OOBs that I’ve seen for the 1813 campaign to back off the volume of Landwehr battalions from the full strength as listed in August 1813. The 6th Silesian Infantry Regiment being the most glaring example. They must have had a terrible engagement or two because, into the fall there appears that only one battalion out of four remained on active service! Since this seems to have been the state of affairs for the entire fall and into 1814, I’ve decided to only paint one battalion for this regiment. The rest will always be “reforming” in the depot.

        Regards,

        Bob

         
        • Burkhard

          November 21, 2012 at 12:47

          Hi Bob,

          Sorry for taking so long to reply… For some reason your answer passed me by completely!

          Anyway… I have often wondered at the sense of mixing regular guns with howitzers within a battery and why it was practiced by so many nations during the Napoleonic wars. In my oppinion the use for either is so different, that it would always make the best sense to fire them at different targets. But then you would always have less guns to make an impression, than you would if you had regular gun and howitzer batteries of the same size. So from the perspective the Prussian decision here is very appealing to me.

          Regarding the painting… I took on a new job in October and it is draining so much of my tome away, that I hardly find the time to paint anything. Very dissapointing. Plus if it goes on like this the amount of unpainted minis I have is not just good for 15 years (as I had estimated) but for 45+… which would be a nightmare!

          I think the Prussian units in general had a very hard time in 1813/14. lots of fights, lots of marching and limited equipment. So it would not be unsensible, if not all (sub)units could stay in line. One other thing often forgotten is, that they also had to garrison places. While today a lot of the region they liberated from Napoleon is German it was separate kingdoms back then that only later became part of Prussia. So for the local populance it was just a different occupation army (even though it now spoke the some language [if this can be said withnthe vast differene in accents]). In turn I guess a lot of the allied comanders will have felt that the population needed to be guarded by troops. But this is my take and not based on reports or anything.

           
          • Bob Kolbeck

            November 27, 2012 at 15:02

            Hi Burkhard;

            Have to laugh at your painting dilemma. Seems all of of us at one time or another “over purchased”. I think I still have 15 years worth of troops to paint in the Prussian 1st Corp and I’ve been selling off “extra” unpainted figures and units for years.

            I am definitely changing out the 12 pound cannon for a 10 pound howitzer in battery number 2, just to facilitate the provisional howitzer battery. It’s a great idea.

            Now to questions. I noticed in your order of battle an Austrian Jager unit in with one of the Landwehr battalions? Did I read that right? My German is not very good. When I first read it I though it was a Jager detachment from one of the East Prussian Infantry Regiments. If it is an Austrian unit it really seems out of place.

            Second is the enigmatic East Prussian National Cavalry Regiment. I have been trying for years to piece together information on these troops. Two things have been puzzling me. First, the Elites with the busby headgear. When I first read of this unit I assumed this was one of the four squadrons. After re-reading everything I can find, I now think they had a troop of Elites in each of the four squadrons. Wondering if anyone knows for sure. Second is the Jager detachment. I saw one drawing that was suppose to include an East Prussian National Cavalry Regiment Jager, and he had what looked like a Russian shako, a carbine or rifle, and a regular dark blue uniform as the rest of the East Prussian National Cavalry. I would have thought it would have been in dark green, but the unit was raised early on, perhaps before it was standard for the Jagers to be in dark green. Anyway, Information on this unit always seems hard to find.

            Best Regards,

            Bob

             
            • Burkhard

              December 3, 2012 at 09:06

              Hi Bob,

              Well I guess most of us are typical wargamers and overpurchase all of the time! 😉

              But I am glad I could shed some light into those heavy batteries. Now let me try to do the same with the Austrians. Those really are Austrians. You might remember that there were Austrians on the Prussian right flank separated by some swampy terrain. Those Jäger (one company) were separated from their parent unit during the march and ended up stumbling through said terrain and emerged on the wrong side of it shortly before the Prussian assault. The Prussians did not know how to get them back to their parent unit on a direct route and could only offer to send them back to the rear and then on to their formation or offer them to take part in the Prussian assault. They chose the later and were attached to the Landwehr which is actually part of some of the AARs. Unfortunately, none of the histories tell which unit they came from or what happened to them after the battle (although I suspect they were send back to their formation the next day).

              Regarding the National Kavallerie… I have to say I have not done too much research on them yet, since there are no suitable minis right now, but I remember I found a good entry on a German forum… I will try to see if I can find it!

               
  10. Bob Kolbeck

    December 4, 2012 at 20:44

    Hi Burkhard;

    This is really excellent material. You have to commend the Austrian Jager for stepping up to the battle when they had a opportunity to contribute. I can only imagine that the Landwehr officers and men were happy to have some additional light infantry capabilities.

    I am interested if you have heard as to how units were chosen to serve in the Advanced Guard. It seems the same Grenadier Battalions were always around, but the mix of line/reserve Musketeer Battalions and the Fusilier Battalion seem to change from time to time. It also seems that the 13th, 14th, and 15th Silesian Landwehr Regiments are the only ones that ever contributed battalions to the Advanced Guard. I never see Landwehr from the 4th, 5th, or 6th Silesian Landwehr Inf. Regiments.

    As far as the East Prussian National Cavalry Regiment (EPNC), any information would be so helpful and appreciated. I am currently trying out swapping headgear from one of the Mini-Fig 25mm mounted Landwehr figures with a busby from a British Hussar figure to see if that has a decent look. It won’t be exact because the busby has cords on it and the one for the EPNC didn’t. As far as the cording on their uniforms, I will have to try painting it on which will be a real challenge. In addition to all that, they also had a plume on the busby that the British hussar figure lacks, and then there is that writing board/message pouch thing (unfortunately the name escapes me right now) that hangs off the belt next to the saber. For the non-Elite troopers the regular Mini-Fig Uhlan in Overcoat (really a Landwehr figure) figure has a decent shako so that will be the starting point for those squadrons. Another concern is how to get a barrel sash around the waists. The saddle and blanket combination at least for the Elites and Jagers is also not really available in the Mini-Fig 25mm line. Lastly, I don’t have a real good idea as to what an officer would look like for a unit like this. They are rather unique. So… lots to do for on regiment. I hate to do it, but if I can’t make a credible figure for these, I may just move the Newmark Dragoon Regiment over from the Second Corp to the First…

    Thanks again,

    Bob

     
  11. Remy

    September 3, 2013 at 17:52

    very well in deed,
    I’ve two question : What about the Freiwilligent Jäger some units have ? You don’t mention it why ?
    You present a group of Austrian Jäger with prussian landwehr, it’s very surprising, no ? In my data, no austrian were with the first prussian corps !
    Thank for your answer

     
  12. Burkhard

    September 3, 2013 at 20:02

    Hi Remy,

    Lets see if I can shed some light.

    Regarding the Freiwillige Jäger. The numbers for the units stated include Officers, NCO’s, soldiers and specialists. As such they also include the Freiwilligen Jäger. One of the official records state how many of them were in a given unit, so one can not tell how many there actually were. Plus under the rules we use, it does not make a difference, except in those cases where the whole regiment was armed with rifles, so I did not need that kind of info. If you look at the photos of the units you will see Freiwillige Jäger mixed in on some of the bases, so I have not forgotten about them, but in game terms I did not need a figure for them.

    Regarding the Austrian Jäger, I think it is best to take a look at my reply (3rd of December 2012) to Bob Kolbergs question. I hope that this should answer your questions!

     

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