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Category Archives: Orders of battle

Battle of Möckern AAR

The other week we finally got to give the Battle of Möckern another try. Before I start with the AAR I shall show you the force compositions, so know which forces faced one another:

French OOB Battle of Möckern Republic to Empire rules

French OOB
Battle of Möckern
Republic to Empire rules
[EDIT: Please note there is a typo in the name of Maréchal Marmont]

Prussian OOB Battle of Möckern Republic to Empire rules

Prussian OOB
Battle of Möckern
Republic to Empire rules

Deployment was quiet straight forward. The French Troops under Lagrange were deployed inside the village of Möckern, with the Légère being deployed behind it as reserves. They could only be released after the first Prussian assault on the village itself. The troops under Buquet were deployed on the fields east of the village. The French artillery was positioned in between these two formations.

The Prussians under Klüx were deployed opposite the village, with the Leibgrenadierbattalion being kept back as reserves. They could only be released after the first unsuccessful assault on Möckern. The Second Detachment was deployed on the fields east of Möckern opposite the French lines. The Prussian 6pdr. batteries were deployed between the two formations with the cavalry behind them. Th horsemen would stay in reserve until von Yorck saw the moment fit to unleash them. At the earliest this could happen on the fourth round (they would be released on a roll of 6+ on a D10 with each previous attempt giving them a +1). The 12pdrs. were not deployed on table but off table and would start firing on the fourth round.

Möckern (French side)

Möckern (French side)

The Prussians won the first initiative (they would actually did so each round) and began a general advance. On their right the Gardejäger had deployed the whole unit as skirmishers and it was behind them that the Landwehr advanced, with the Ostpreußisches Infanterieregiment to their left, both in line. On the fields Two regular and the reserve battalions were at the front deployed in Collums of Attack with the Landwehr battalions advanced behind them in line. The artillery opened up on the closest French infantry on the fields, without doing much damage.

Prussian Skirmishers advancing on Möckern

Prussian Skirmishers advancing on Möckern

Initiative passed over to the French. While the troops inside Möckern naturally stayed put and those in the fields advanced slowly in line. The two French batteries split their fire between the Westpreußisches Grenadierbattalion on the fields and the Ostpreußen near Möckern. They too only inflicted moderate damage.

French Artillery firing at the Prussian lines

French Artillery firing at the Prussian lines

Now it was the Prussians turn once more. The troops opposite Möckern continued their advance with the Gardejäger opening fire at the defenders doing the first damage. On the fields there was a further advance with the 12te Reserveinfanterie preparing to charge. But before they could do so it was the artilleries turn. The left battery had to shift its fire to the French artillery on account that part of the Prussian lines now obscured the French and managed to put the crew for two of the French guns out of action, while their companions still created more damage for the infantry. Now the reservists charged the French to their front. The French fired a defensive volley at point blank range, but still they went on. Both sides already inflicted heavy casualties on the other, but not enough to send one running. But after continued heavy hand to hand combat the French broke and ran, never to return. But at a heavy price with the reservists having lost more than half their number. But still they stood fast.

First contact

First contact

On their next turn the French in Möckern still just held their ground. The troops on the fields contented with just firing at the Prussians to their front without doing much damage or with sending some infantry to re-crew the French guns. Only the French battalions from the second line (now front) opposite the 12th Reserveinfanterie charged them. The Prussians were still disordered from their own attack and while they managed to get some defensive fire off they were unable to break the French impetus and after short combat broke themselves. They would still be retiring at the end of the game. Again the French artillery fired at both the Grenadierbattalion on the fields and the Ostpreußen near Möckern inflicting more damage, having found their range.

Battle on the Fields near Möckern

Battle on the Fields near Möckern

Back to the Prussians the action went. Near Möckern they advanced further, but the Ostpreußen now decided to deploy as skirmishers to lessen the effects of the incoming artillery, which would work out, but at the same time meant they would be less effective assaulting the village.

On the fields the 14te Schlesische Landwehr got into position to charge the French who had just broken the reservists, but faild to get their morale up for the charge. Unfortunately the same happened to the Brandenburgisches Infanterieregiment. The Grenadierbattalion decided to fire at the regiment to their front, since the second artillery battery could now longer fire at the french infantry either. And their fire proved effective enough. With the second Prussin artillery battery now shifting its fire to the French artillery as well, they caused impressive damage, killing all the infantry replacements for the crew plus the crews for another 4 guns!

Landwehr vs. French Infantry

Landwehr vs. French Infantry

Now the French defender inside Möckern remembered that they could fire back, which they did causing minimal damage ion the Gardejäger.

On the fields most of the French proved happy firing at the Prussians with moderate effect and sending yet more infantry to help redrew the French guns. The French who had previously dispatched the reservists now decided to charge the Landwehr in position to charge them. Their superior numbers and quality proved decisive and after heavy losses of both sides the Landwehr pulled back.. The French artillery virtually did nothing this turn. One battery was in no state to cause much damage and the other failed to make an impression on the dispersed skirmishers of the Ostpreußen.

Advance on Möckern

Advance on Möckern

On their next turn the Prussians did extremely well. Both the line Regiments on the fields charged their French opposites causing both to break and run. Together with the previous losses and those troops send to help the artillery this only left a nucleus of French on the fields. While the Gardejäger caused some further damage on the French defenders of Möckern the real star was the artillery. One of the Prussian batteries shifted their fire to the next French battery taking out the crew for one gun. But the other one annihilated the mauled French battery taking out the remaining crew and damaging the guns before the French infantry even got a chance to redrew them. To make matters worse for the French the next round would also see the Prussian cavalry released. At this point the French player decided to call it a day.

Opposing lines crash

Opposing lines crash

All in all one very entreating game and we more than happy to pal it out this time without too much discussing of rules. Having read them again before the game really helped there! 😉

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The bad, the good and help required to make plans for 2015

Delay of service (the bad):

So far June has been slightly disappointing for me. A couple of weeks ago, we decided to have the wooden floor in our flat redone, do some other remodelling work and get some new furniture. So we trashed a lot of the living room furniture, painted the living room, moved the furniture from the bedroom as well as what was left in the living to the kitchen and bathroom (including everything that was stored in those rooms), slept on an old pull-out couch in the attic for about a week while the floor was done, set up the new living room furniture (we still lack a new couch table and rug) and moved all the other furniture back where it belongs. To top everything off we had a second run of “do we really need this or can we throw it away” when putting everything back in place. We took our sweet time here. With the sudden hearing loss earlier this month, we did not want to take any chances of the situation returning (especially since doctors are still not sure yet what caused it) and made sure any stress was avoided. Under these conditions I was unable to put a single drop of paint to a mini for almost the whole of June so far, which naturally pushes my preparations for the Möckern game back from “well ahead of the timetable” to “I should still be able to pull it off”. 😦 I really hope, I can make some progress on the French infantry and push one unit out by the weekend and another before we leave for a long weekend in Edinburgh in the middle of next month.

The good:

The positive thing about this so far? Well previously we had furniture in the living room that took a lot of space, but offered little space to store things. This has now been replaced with library style cupboards. So all the novels we had stored in three rows, one behind the other, in a cupboard in the bedroom have now been moved to the living room, but more importantly… my military history library has moved from my hobby room in the cellar to our living room. Previously I often found myself too lazy to go to the cellar when I wanted to look something up, so this should be a real improvement.

2015 plans:

But with the Möckern project nearing the end, I think it is time to look at the next one… Waterloo or rather the Hundred Days for 2015. Now this has been giving me some headaches for a while now. Obviously a bicentennial is too good to pass, so I have to do something to commemorate it, but what?
The original plan had been to do the French Cavalry charge at Waterloo, but I have given up this idea since I think it would mean too many new minis (and especially cavalry which I hate to paint) and would turn the next two years into a chore instead of fun. So I am still contemplating what to do.

Mercer´s Battery (Series 3, Waterloo Collection) © http://www.waterloo-collection.com/

Mercer´s Battery
(Series 3, Waterloo Collection)
© http://www.waterloo-collection.com/

I am leaning a bit against the Prussians. This game is meant to take place at Crisis in Antwerp, too and I want to avoid the appearance that I just recycled the minis from this years game. So it will most likely be the Anglo-Allied contingent.
So what are the other parameters I am looking at?

It should obviously be an interesting (or decisive) part of either the battle at Quatre Bras or Waterloo. No more than eight to twelve units per side. It could be virtually any Allied unit, since I have enough unpainted minis for British, Dutch-Belgian, Hannover, KGL or Nassau Usingen lying around. British 5th Division (or at least 9th Brigade) would be nice bit not a must. I am also intrigued by the Black Brunswickers and Ompteda´s Brigade.

Ompteda´s Doom (Series 3, Waterloo Collection) © http://www.waterloo-collection.com/

Ompteda´s Doom
(Series 3, Waterloo Collection)
© http://www.waterloo-collection.com/

I think my wish to use the 5th Division / 9th Brigade is complicating matters for me right now. I think at Waterloo they were too much in the thick of things and would feel strange in a game of my scope and going larger would break my timetable. Same applies to Ompteda. Quatre Bras should work out for the former formation, but I feel I am not really getting a feel for that part of the battle.

So… what do you think? Would the 5th Division / 9th Brigade at Quatre Bras fulfil my needs and how could it be done. Any other part of either battle that would make a good game within my scope?

La Haye Sainte (Series 4, Waterloo Collection) © http://www.waterloo-collection.com/

La Haye Sainte
(Series 4, Waterloo Collection)
© http://www.waterloo-collection.com/

In case anyone wonders… the images on this page were used with the kind permission of Stephen Stanton from the Waterloo Collection. I think his paintings are some of the nicest renditions of the battle of Waterloo. So if you are interested go and drop by. All his paintings are available as prints and some even still as originals!

 
 

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Orders of Battle for Möckern (16th October 1813)

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!