Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Battle of Likezig.

This past week we saw the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Leipzig, also known as the Battle of Nations.  This was a massive battle of the Napoleonic wars fought by forces of Russia, Prussia, Austria, and other smaller allies against Napoleon's Grande Armee of 1813.  Napoleon's army in itself was something of a miracle since it had been completely rebuilt following his disastrous foray into Russia the previous year.  This wasn't Napoleon's cadre of veterans that had marched from France through all of Europe and back again.  This was an army of near boys with a core of survivors.

With one of our members off to Europe to join in the reenactment at the actual battlefield, we thought we'd create something similar at home on the tabletop.  Now, Leipzig was massive.  To recreate the whole battle would require renting a hall, and more troops than even we had.  Instead, I laid out an approximation of the terrain that would fit on my table, and we'd use the forces we had, along with the Empire Napoleonic rules.

There's that phrase though about best laid plans...

The day of the game one of the guys wasn't feeling well.  He was also the one bringing 2/3 of the troops.  Another had to work.  A third got tickets to the Packer game.  In the end we had four players, and two corps (one Polish, one Austrian).  So, it was time to modify on the fly.  We cut the game down to the center third of the table centered around the village of Wachau.  The Poles deployed with their right flank anchored on Leipzig, and stretching down the main road toward Gross Posna.

The Austrians deployed behind the hill on the slopes facing Wachau. 

The battle opened with a cavalry clash to the east of Wachau.  Polish Kuirassier made a valiant effort to turn back the tide of two brigade of Austrians led by the 2nd Uhlans.  They held for half an hour, but after turning back the Uhlans and four squadrons of the 5th Chevaux Legere the other four squadrons of the 5th drove them off.  The followup charge by the De Este Kuirassier routed away their supporting hussars.

The Polish infantry, facing cavalry unsupported formed square in an attempt to hold until the second brigade of Polish cav could come to their aid.

Meanwhile on the Austrian right, four batteries (including two 12 pdrs) begins blasting holes in the squares.

The situation on the Austrian right at the end of the first impulse.  The Polish cavalry has been driven back from Wachau.  Reinforcements can be seen maneuvering in the upper left to drive back the Austrian cav.  The survivors of the first charge are resting at the lower left.  To the right, an Austrian infantry division begins its advance to begin the attack on the Polish infantry that is now fixed by the need to cover itself from the cavalry.

The Polish commander redeploys some infantry to meet the attack while the Austrian cavalry drives off the rest of the Polish cav.
That was the end of the first hourly turn.  Sadly, due to one player missing an exit, and waiting for another who didn't make it we had a late start.  At this point we stopped due to time.  It was a good game though with time taken to introduce a new player to Empire.  I am not sure exactly where things would have gone from here, that's why we use dice, but the tactical edge at this point was definitely with the Austrians.  The Austrian left was intact and defending.  It would take the Poles some time to organize an attack there.  The Austrian right had things going its way.  The Polish cavalry MEs were largely broken, and would take time to rest and rally.  That would have given the Austrians a couple of hours to work with to get things rolling.
I look forward to playing some more Empire in the future when we can have more people there and have our more experienced rules guys with us.


  1. Good to see the troops out. I wouldn't want to be Austrians and try to deploy in that cool overhead shot. Might not even be enough room to form square. But in 1813 French cavalry usually isn't one of your concerns. Certainly tons of Austrians at the reenactment.

  2. Thanks for the report. Even if the game wasn't as big as planned, it still looked good. Looking forward to the next one.
    Best wishes,

  3. Nice report. It still looked pretty big!

  4. Very nice table and great report!