Goldie’s birthday bash war-game has come and sadly gone. The good news is that Prince Poniatowski had some sketches drawn and left some notes of his battle …
Above: looking down the table very early on in the game with the Allied forces starting to appear on the table on the right. The birthday man Goldie himself is seated to the right with Garage Gaming Terry showing a distinct interest in something. Both were honorary Austrians for the day. Rob playing Murat in one of his less flamboyant uniforms can be seen making adjustments to some of the French to the left.
The three urban areas that can be seen are Dolitz (nearest), Dosen and Probstheyda (furthest away).
Poniatowski‘s Polish command can be seen in the foreground of the photo arrayed in accordance with Emperor Russ’s general instructions. Lining the edge of the swamp in skirmish order is a battalion of Poles (dressed in French issued uniforms!). Behind them in line is another Polish battalion – the 1/2nd Polish Infantry who were tasting battle for the first time. The artillery besides the village are the very recently completed 1st Saxon Foot battery (6pdr) “Dietrich” likewise participating in their first battle. The static grass etc had been added to their bases the night before the game. More to come on the battery later. Inside the village of Dolitz were two battalions of the Vistula Legion who don’t show up to their best in this photo! To the rear of Dolitz are two regiments of Polish Uhlans one of which is the 2nd regiment also seeing battle for the first time. So many new units. Would they follow the generally held old wargamers tale of new units breaking and routing at the first opportunity in their first game? Poniatowski certainly hoped not.
The scenario was loosely based on the Leipzig: The Battle for Dolitz Napoleonic scenario from the Scenarios 6: Imperial Sunset book.
Above: a little after the prior photo. A menacing horde of Austrians seem intent on claiming Dolitz to enhance their property portfolio. The rest of the table contained additional hordes of Austrians, Prussians and Russians appearing to be likewise in the middle of a frothing property acquiring extravaganza.
Above: Prince Poniatowski managed to find the perfect command post for much of the battle. Nice and safe and as an accidental bonus fairly central to the whole of his command! Sadly the Austrians slow but inexorable acquisition of Dolitz made the nice safe command post much less so and a move to the open battlefield became necessary.
Above: the Austrian property magnates have concluded negotiations with a battalion of the Vistula Legion and taken possession of the far half of Dolitz. The expelled Vistula battalion can just be made out at the back of the far side of Dolitz. Not happy with half of Dolitz the Austrians have opened negotiations with the second Vistula battalion for the acquisition of the near half of Dolitz with one of the large Austrian battalions banging on the front door. These negotiations were to prove just as successful with the entirety of Dolitz soon to be part of the Austrian property portfolio. With the transfer of Dolitz to the Austrians looking highly likely the Polish lines have commenced a tactical withdrawal.
Did you know … the round “N” counters denote hits or casualties on a unit as did the square counters for the Austrian units. Most units could sustain three hits before becoming “Shaken”. The Polish infantry were deemed to be tough SoBs and were able to sustain four hits before becoming shaken as were the large Austrian battalions. The smaller rectangular counters denote that a unit is disordered. The independent Polish casualty figure was for decorative purposes only.
Sadly the sketch artist contracted dysentery and so not all the sketches that should have been available are. A quick reading of various regimental histories reveals that …
- as recounted above both battalions of the Vistula Legion were evicted from Dolitz in a battered state. Yet one of them bravely charged back into Dolitz to support a French battalion charging in from the side. A vicious multi turn melee involving two battalions from each side ensued that turned out quite well for the by now embarrassingly voracious Austrian property magnates.
- this left both Vistula battalions battered and outside Dolitz. In the last Allied turn a single battalion of Austrian grenadiers spurred on by their leader via a “Follow me” order stormed out of their brigade across seemingly kilometres of the table to melee one of the Vistula battalions. The Poles lost and fled the table. Their supporting Vistula battalion liked not what they observed at all and likewise fled. When the state of the rest of the infantry brigade was assessed – hint: like the fish in Fish & Chips it was well battered – it was considered to have broken.
- the cavalry brigade stayed on over watch protective duties. Particularly watching out for any Austrian cavalry shenanigans. Poniatowski had reasoned that any offensive cavalry action would pay limited returns. The swamp was impassable to the cavalry and the large Austrian battalions in the area were a challenging prospect even if they didn’t form square. And if they were forced into square there was no offensive capability in the Polish infantry to take advantage. Perhaps Poniatowski was wrong! With this in mind one of the uhlans regiments was sent off to support the Emperor Russ while the other remained on local overwatch duties to survive the battle without a scratch. The uhlans despatched to the Emperor Russ were not so fortunate … but were surely glorious in their demise.
Above: end of game. The battered but defiant 2 remaining battalions of the now broken Polish infantry brigade. The Saxon artillery battery is still plugging away … even scoring the occasional hit. The edge of the bases to the rear of the artillery belong to the surviving uhlan regiment still on protective duties.
Just like the real Battle of Leipzig in 1813 the Allies had managed to scrape a win across the table … … … by quite a large margin.
As for the new units:
- the 1st battalion of the 2nd Polish Infantry Regiment received quite a pounding from Austrian artillery and musketry but had survived all Break Tests asked of it. The battalions was still on the table at the end although it was shaken and the brigade broken!
- the Polish 2nd Uhlans were calmly standing their ground at the end of the game. Their brigade was still in good order, ie. was not broken. Although to be fair they had done nothing other than move about a little and no one had actually tried to harm them. But a regiment can only do what it is asked to do so an official “well done chaps” to them.
- the 1st Saxon Foot battery (6pdr) “Dietrich” had likewise survived the battle unscathed though they at least had come under enemy fire. An ugly rumour that the novice gunners ran in fear from the noise every time they fired their cannons was never actually proven and really Poniatowski should not be saying such things about his own troops! 🤣 They even managed to hit the Austrians intermittently.
So all up the new units had proved the old wargamers adage of new units running at the first opportunity to be wrong. At least this time around.
As The dear readers have possibly noticed Poniatowski’s sketch artist never did get to travel far from Poniatowski’s command. Fortunately Garage Gaming Terry is expected to provide an overall – if potentially biased as he was an honorary Austrian for the day! – view of the battle. If it’s not available yet it’s probably not far away.
The game was played during a Wellington Warlords club day using the Black Powder rules.
PS. Prince Poniatowski had the great honour of being played by von Peter himself in the battle! 😃
Until we meet again …
von Peter himself