A blog about miniatures, wargaming, and the people driven to ruin by them....

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Napoleonics: Lutzen May 2 1813


This is a little late... but last month our club held what for us was the largest Napoleonic battle we have run, Lutzen.  We used Age of Eagles to game this.  With the new club, we were able to keep the table set up, and gamed the scenario through over the course of 3 evenings.  Some players came and went, but I remained the steadfast nominal commander (Wittgenstein... though in this role I mostly made suggestions to the other commanders), but specifically remained in control of Blucher's powerful Prussian Corps.

We used a scenario from the Power is My Mistress folder on the AoE yahoo group, using Age of Eagles rules, and a vast variety of 15mm miniatures.  We ended up short in some key areas, so had to make do as best we could, sometime using inappropriate miniatures in places.  Hey, with all of us 40+ somethings, and a few stiff drinks later, all these little guys start looking alike anyway.

I only have pictures showing the mid part of the battle, so I will try to only give a brief description of events as they took place.

We started the scenario with Blucher surging forward (on the Allied right, French left)  to inflict as much punishment as possible on Ney's conscripts.  However, my Prussians became entangled in the close setting villages, bogging down, and being unable to follow up quickly enough.

At the same time, the Russians on the Allied left moved forward to contest the more open region mid field.

The French began forming on the central hill position, eventually building a Grand Battery over the course of several turns.

The Prussians on the right acted aggressively, as did their French counterparts.  Most of the French cavalry on their left were killed off by the superior Prussian cavalry.  Blucher rashly sent the Guards forward, overrunning two batteries and inflicting some infantry casualties... but they were surrounded and entirely eliminated!  This was a heavy blow, and it was entirely my own (Blucher's) fault.

And then, the Young Guard (and others) began to emerge from the far Allied left flank.  This would have been worse for us, except that the Prussians had not extended themselves as far as they would have liked (being bogged down in those villages), so the massive flanking attack did not fall on our flank, but to our fore.

The problem for the French was the lack of cavalry.  A large number of Russian cuirassiers on the Allied left forced the French to protect their flanks with squares.... and in fact, the Russians were able to break a square at one point!

The French massed artillery, and some really elite Guard cavalry, inflicted heavy casualties on those Russians, but the Russians won a number of engagements, and inflicted almost equal casualties on the French.

We played the game to its full conclusion, ending with nightfall, where the Allied cav were able to cover the retreat of the Allied infantry and artillery (as the French had so little cav to start with, and so much less at the end of the battle!).

We tallied up the cost of the battle.... the French lost 25,000 infantry, 2,000 cavalry, 24 guns, and 1 division commander.  The Allies lost 22,000 infantry, 4,000 cavalry, 48 guns, and 2 division commanders.

The Allies lost slightly more than they historically did at this battle... but so did the French.  It was still a close result, but as an Allied commander, I think we did fairly well in the face of a French army that had us significantly outnumbered.

And... we will march again!