Monday, July 2, 2012

Leipzig: Napoleon's Battles
The battle for the Kolmberg on the first day of Leipzig is one of the best and most balanced scenarios for Napoleon's Battles.  I have played it a half dozen times and its always a hotly contested game, usually decided on the last turn.  This occaison proved no exception to the rule.
The Austrians and a command of Prussian cavalry start the game entering from the south edge of the table.

A polygot French Allied Army with everything from Neopolitan Cavalry to Polish Infantry march onto the board from the two western roads and race toward the low hill pictured in left center of this picture, the Kolmberg.  Victory points are achieved for control of the hill and the town to its rear, behind the small woods to the the south of the hill. The French are in march column to increase their speed, a trade-off between speed and ability to defend as units in march column are very exposed.

Scott Monteith is a talented gamer and always a challenging opponent.  He is moving forward the Austrians and Prussians as fast as possible.

The French continue to race toward the Kolmberg. The artillery is limbered and the infantry is in march column.

The Austrian horders with light cavalry in line leading the advance are approaching the other side of the Kolmberg seen at the left of the picutre.  Note the Grenzers in Brown uniforms with blue pants heading toward the wooded area.
The French change formation in order to better contest the hill.  They have changed into column from march column.  Cavalry reinforces can be seen entering from the northwestern road.  (top left)
The Austrians start up the eastern side of the hill.  The Grenzers anchor one flank on the woods and the other is anchored on the town adjacent to the hill.  The Prussian cavalry remains on the eastern flank with reinforcing Austrian infantry approaching the rear to form a second line of battle.

The French also dress their lines and allow their supports to get closer to the fray, which will commence very soon.

Battle is joined.  The two Austrian hussars charge forward forcing a Baden and Hessian Guard unit to form square.  Note the French Dragoon unit with the yellow marker, its on react which means it can countercharge if it chooses.  This attack allows the austrians to move their artillery, jagers and grenzers onto the southern half of the hill.
Another Auustrian Hussar changes in order to pin the French Dragoons.  One of the hussar units contacts the Baden Square.  The other hits the Hessian Guard unit.
One Cavalry unit takes three hits and routs to the rear of the reinforcing Austrians.
Meanwhile to the north the Prussian landwer Cavalry forces a French infantry unit to form square, slowing their advance.  Both sides take a casualty.
The battle continues on the hill with the French Dragoons following up their victory over the Austrian Hussars by charging disordered into a limbered austrian gun and a Currasier unit. 
The battle swings back and forth, with the dragoons routing and the successful Austrian Curraisiers charging disordered into a column of their French opposite numbers - Heavy Cavalry versus Heavy Cavalry. Note the Neapolitan and French Squares formed to the north.

The Fench are victorious and pursue their retreating counterparts riding over the Austrian gun in the process. 
The Italians, Hessians and French infantry move into column to exchange fire with the Grenzers  and Jaegers to the south of the hill.
Classic Napoleon's Battles strategy, disorder your opponent with fire, then charge in the following turn.
The Grenzers pull back in hopes of averting this approach. 
Meanwhile, to the north of the hill the Prussian Cavalry and its supporting battery are assaulted by French Cavalry in column on column action.
The assualt is repulsed with casualties.  The battery has its fire effect halved.
The French cavalry routed to the rear await a commander to rally them or they may well bolt from the table.

The action heats up on the Kolmberg, with the second line of Austrians surging onto the hill.  The Austrian batteries and units seem to outnumber the French for the moment.
But the battles momentum swings again as the French push up additional units and the Hessian guard send the Austrians back off the hill.
The Prussian cavalry strike at the left most French column and are in turn hit by reacting French cavalry.
Once again fire combat leads to an assault on a disordered unit.  The French units on the southern side of the hill hit the disordered Austrian line. 
The French cavalry charges the disordered Austrian battery, forcing the supporting infantry to form square.
Finally the reinforcing Russian cavalry unit arrives and cossacks countercharge the French draggons which have just ridden down the Austrian guns.  The French have pushed the Austrians back to the edge of the hill. 
South of the woods the rallied Austrian hussars stand off the charging French cavalry to hold the town to the south of the hill.

The final scene on the Kolmberg.  The Austrians cling to the eastern edge of the hill.  The French have cleared the balance.  Russian Cossack and Russian Hussars have arrived at last but don't appear to have the opportunity to play a role in the outcome. 
The final scene from the French perspective.  They may well have cleared the balance of the hill.  But they are not in any position to maintain it.  A close fought game ending in a minor Austrian victory. 

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