Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Jena Refight: the position of GM Tauentzein

Orders from General Hohenlohe

Having come up with his comprehensive military appreciation Hohenlohe then got around to issuing his orders. The preamble, and the element that directly concerned my command are here:

Orders for Prussian Army The enemy is confident and their morale is high. We can expect them to react quickly to any action and march rapidly to the sound of the guns. The ground and the early morning mist should delay their initial reinforcements, but by about 10:30 am I expect significant French reinforcements to be entering the proposed battle area. I expect the enemy to make an initial attempt to break our forward line and surge forward onto the high plateaux. If this initial assault is thwarted they will then attempt to envelop our flanks using the numerous small tributary valleys to gain ingress. Their tactical doctrine calls for close quarter battle and speed of action. Cavalry and light troops will exploit any breaks they are able to make. We can expect them, therefore to press their attacks vigorously. The enemy currently has about 25,000 men able to conduct operations immediately. This could grow to upwards of 85,000 if all French forces concentrate in the Jena area.

Friendly Forces:
Currently our forces are deployed as follows:
von Tauentzein – see ORBAT, forward element between Closewitz and Lutzeroda

von Holtzendorf – see ORBAT, in the area of Rodigen

von Zeschwitz – see ORBAT, deployed south of Isserstedt

von Grawert – see ORBAT, deployed between Isserstadt-Gross-Romstedt-Kotschau

von Ruchel – see ORBAT, in the Weimar area.

Our troops are well trained but lack experience. We have good cavalry and enough artillery. Our lack of battle experience means that we must, where possible, use our men to defend locations, thereby giving them the tactical advantage.
We have approximately 8,000 men able to conduct operations Ground We are situated on a large rolling plain. To our immediate front is the valley of the River Saale . The valley is steep and the river has limited crossing points. The slopes are widely forested and only passable to Light Troops. The plateau is covered in a succession of lines of small villages. Beyond the initial deployment area there are few woods. There are plentiful transverse roads allowing us to move rapidly along any front.

MISSION Our mission is to delay the French Army long enough to allow the King’s army to concentrate in its rear.


This will be a 3 Phase operation. See operations map. (previous post)

Phase1: Vanguard Battle.

GM Tautenzeim will hold the villages of Closewitz and Lutzeroda (Phase Line Alpha). His forces will repel the initial French attacks inflicting maximum casualties upon them. During this phase all other forces will move to position for subsequent phases. The phase will end with the withdrawal of von Tautenzeim’s Division from the villages.

Phase 2: Main Defensive Battle. The Divisions of von Holtzendorff, von Grawert and von Zeschwitz will form a main defensive line utilising the villages along Phase Line Bravo. These forces will force the French to deploy and conduct deliberate operations to take the villages. The divisions will inflict maximum casualties on the enemy by the use of massed firepower. This phase will end when either: a. French pressure becomes too great and we are forced to withdraw. b. French forces are able to outflank one or both flanks c. French forces start to withdraw from the field.

Phase 3: Subsequent Operations. Phase 3 will consist of either: a. Falling back to new defensive lines marked as Phase Lines Charlie and Delta on the operations map. b. Advance in pursuit of retreating French forces.
The correlation of forces is such that Phase 3, option b may be unlikely. However, should the King be able to manoeuvre into the French rear their position may well become untenable. This option allows for us to pursue in support of the King’s actions. In all other circumstances we will organise subsequent lines of battle on the indicated Phase Lines.
Exact orders will be issued by me to Divisional Commanders as required.

GM von Tauentzein

1. Occupy Phase Line Alpha in the vicinity of Closewitz and Lutzeroda.

2. Repel all French attacks on your positions, conserving your forces as much as possible.

3. Withdraw upon either my orders or upon word of a French flanking manoeuvre.

4. When you withdraw send word to GD von Zeschwitz that you are evacuating your forward positions.

5. Form Corps strategic reserve during Phase 2, on Phase Line Charlie.

6. Upon withdrawal to Corps strategic reserve GM von Tauentzein is to report to the Corps commander at the Windmill.

7. During Phase 3 be prepared to undertake any actions required.

My interpretation

So what was to be made of these orders? I cannot say that they were going to be easy. In fact a fighting withdrawal would have been hard enough against one full French corps, but deciding how long to hold on before conducting that withdrawal, well, that was going to be left up to me too. I had also decided that I was going to adopt as close to historical deployments for my troops as possible. For that I had found a German Army map, probably from around 1890, with the forces’ positions on it and it did not look good. With the small command radius of the Prussians having units scattered all over and out of command was not a good thing but I wanted to see just how difficult holding off Lannes was going to be.


Monday, July 30, 2007

The Prussians Plan for victory (cough)

The Plan for the Army

According to the Prussian Orbat there were, in effect, four Divisional formations plus the detatchment of Glt Holtzendorff. These were the commands of Tauentzein, Grawert, Zeschwitz and Ruchel. With Ruchel starting the game on the march from Jena, Hohenlohe had 3 divisions to play with plus Holtzendorff. But this command was not arranged in anything like a battle order. Tauentzein and Holtzendorff were quite exposed in their positions, indeed one of Tauntzein’s brigades under GM Schonberg was simply forgotten about as he moved up and was left in laager. Grawert was some way behind the first two formations and Zeschwitz away on the right in difficult terrain.

To pull all this together was Hohenlohe’s job. In our case Hohenlohe was represented by the substantial figure of Peter Burke, an ex-Royal Artillery officer and not a Napoleonic specialist. But, that said, the dispositions, depth of table and his own mental agility led to a very fluid battle plan.

Hohenlohe’s Plan

I attach here Peters map and pre-battle appreciation of the enemy. If you did not know he was retired army, the terminology is a bit of a giveaway…



Factors • French Imperial Army is concentrating in this area but still dispersed in an arc from west of Jena to Auerstadt.
• French Imperial Army is fresh from a crushing defeat of the Austro-Russian army at Austerlitz.

• French Imperial Army has been campaigning together for years and is vastly experienced.
• French commanders are trained to ‘March to the Sound of the Guns’.

• French Imperial Army has tremendous esprit de corps at the moment.

• Forces in the Jena area are currently very short of cavalry.
• They have perfected a new form of attack, the column.

• French line soldiers are not well trained in the disciplines of fire
• The first major French reinforcements capable of reaching this area should be deployable about 10.30am.
• The closest units to our forward troops are the Divisions Gazan and Suchet plus the Imperial Guard, a little over 25,000 soldiers.

• Napoleon has a tendency to hold his Guard in reserve for the decisive moment.

• If I bring a battle on early I have a chance of defeating the enemy in detail.

• I must make maximum and use of any early advantage as the French commanders will quickly respond.

• Their current shortage of cavalry gives me an opportunity to impede any advance by forcing infantry into square.
• If my cavalry advantage is large I may be able to halt or even drive back the French advance by combined arms action.

• I must avoid infantry combat with this French army in the open where their superior morale, experience and new battle tactics could be decisive.
• Their lack of fire discipline training allows us to inflict casualties on them faster than they can reciprocate.
• I must organise to ensure I can pour the maximum fire into the French as they advance.
• I must ensure my own troops are protected from fire as much as possible to reduce casualties and preserve their morale and so maintain my rate of fire.
• Although of they have high morale, the French are not invulnerable. If I can inflict casualties early their initially deployed troops may be sufficiently shaken as to be rendered useless.
• Early Prussian success would then lead to French follow on faces having to advance through their defeated comrades.

• French deployment represents an opportunity.
• Past action indicates that Napoleon will hold the Guard in reserve.

• This offers an excellent opportunity to break his forward division early if enough fire power can be brought to bear.
• The French dispersion will give us an opportunity to concentrate at least as fast as they can.

• I must bring my forces forward as rapidly as possible to beat the French to the decisive blow.


• Our morale is good
• We lack recent combat experience

• We operate an aggressive tactical doctrine based on early engagement of the enemy.
• All my soldiers are well trained in the maintenance of good rates of fire.

• We are well equipped with lots of good artillery

• My command structure is weak with too many capable commanders committed to leading their personal units.
• The bulk of our army is east and north moving towards Auersatdt.

• Additional elements of my personal force are close to hand and can be easily concentrated.

• I have plenty of good cavalry available.

• In total I have about 45,000 soldiers available,

• I cannot use this column formation to attack with.

• I need to avoid hand-to-hand combat to reduce the effect of our lack of experience.

• I need to maximise the opportunities for fire combat both musketry and artillery.

• I must prevent my troops become aggressive and charging the enemy.

• Defending buildings and obstacles will help control my men.

• I can sweep the early French cavalry units from the field if I am aggressive with my own cavalry.

• I can form a second battle line with troops arriving on the field.

• The second battle line should support the first
• Once concentrated I must keep my force together to prevent officers losing control of their formations.

• No operations at anything below Brigade level.

• Form a grand battery as quickly as possible to maximise the effect of artillery.


• The ground forms a long finger pointing at Jena.
• To each side are fairly deep ravines that are difficult to pass through.

• Several ravines cut into the ‘finger’ reducing its width.

• A number of small villages sit on the finger, several in close proximity to each other.
• Jena is in a steep valley with a river running through it.

• Bridges over the Saale are few and far between.

• Roads run the length of the ‘finger’.

• A few roads cross it, the major one giving great transverse communication for me.

• There are some woods, most noticeably along the west end.

• The village of Closewitz has a large wood shielding its southern edge.

• Lutzeroda has a wood on its northern edge
• The road out of Jena on to the ‘finger’ is narrow and twisting, difficult to navigate.

• The Windhallen feature will allow the enemy to hide his deployment from me.

• It also gives the French a feature to concentrate artillery on.

• There is quite a lot of wide open space between the various obstacles.

• There are other roads up onto the high ground on either flank. It is not clear how well known to the French they are.

• The Dornberg feature dominates the ground between Lutzeroda and Closewitz, my front line.

• The ground in the Closewitz/Lutzeroda area allows only about 1000 metres of clear ground for formed infantry to operate in


• I need to at least screen the other roads up onto the high ground with fire.
• I must deploy at least a guard force to watch them

• The narrow road direct from Jena restricts French deployment.

• If I can stop the French breaking past Closewitz/Lutzeroda then they cannot reinforce the main force quickly.

• If they are held back, any other French force trying to reach the high ground may be vulnerable to a concerted attack on its own, opening up a chance to defeat in detail.

• I must garrison the wood in front of Closewitz with Jaegers to prevent the French getting close quickly.
• I must hold Lutzeroda with good quality troops as they are ‘bare’ to a French attack.
• Artillery in Lutzeroda would have good fields of fire to the front
• Artillery in Closewitz cannot fire to the front but could enfilade troops trying to by-pass
• If I can throw the French off the high ground I will dominate them as they try and fight their way up onto the high ground.

• Dornberg could be used as an artillery location is I can sufficient guns on to it

• The 3 villages Vierzehnheiligen – Altengonna provide a basis for a strong defence line

• This line is not rooted in any other strong features and can be turned to either flank.

• Each flank of such a line will require strong cavalry support plus other forces.
• French deployment may be delayed by the shortage of bridges
• Can I disrupt their crossing of the Saale somehow?

• I would have to expend a lot of cavalry, and probably lose it

• The scattered woods may offer opportunities to hid light troops in that can be choose their moments of attack.

• They may also offer the French routes for their Light Troops to penetrate my lines.

• Hold the major woods with my Jaegers to deny them to the French

• There is insufficient ground available for the French to deploy properly.

• They may well advance with one division behind the other. Hoping to break out past the villages and constricting ground.

• Vigorously holding the front villages will constrict and restrict any French advance.


• The valley should be full of mist early in the morning at this time of year.
• The day promises to be fine otherwise

• Mist may delay French deployment through the valley of the Saale.
• Weather is not going to affect this battle.

• Until about 10/10:30 am the French commanders will not be able to move well as the valley mist and lack of familiarity with the ground will hamper their movements.

• I need to take advantage of this lack of early French reinforcement to inflict maximum damage on the front 2 formations.


Option 1:
Assault the French on the heights above Jena. Advantages • Having beaten them I would then be free to defeat the remainder of the French force in detail. • Will win me glory without sharing it with the main Prussian force. Disadvantages • There are 25,000 Frenchmen holding the high ground, while I have only 8,000 available. • An attack like this will destroy my front forces without inflicting major damage on the French • It would leave me open to defeat in detail. This Option is suicidal and will be discarded

Option 2:
Withdraw now before the French can engage me and pin my forces Advantages • Preserves my force • My cavalry should be able to screen me breaking free Disadvantages • My job is to pin the French so that the main Prussian force can deliver a killing blow. • The ground behind me is open and offers no reasonable place to reform for some considerable distance. • I don’t know where the French cavalry is – it might well interfere with any retreat • I would leave my King exposed as my best retreat route is north east and he is north west This option exposes my King to being outflanked and our forces to being split apart and defeated in detail. It will not be considered further

Option 3: Fight where we are holding the forward villages and forming a main battle line to their rear. Advantages • Pins the French • Does not expose the King’s flank • Allows me to blood the French forces early in the campaign • Gives the King time to exploit the French disposition while I hold them here. • The French are restricted in their deployment by the ground, preventing them from quickly exploiting the situation. Disadvantages: • I could end up fighting the whole Grand Army

Best Option:
I will choose Option 3. Key features: Hold villages Avoid hand to hand combat Light troops to screen/hold woods. Artillery forward in villages Screen possible flanking routes Delaying force holds Closewitz - Lutzeroda Main battle line occupying villages Vierzehnheiligen – Altengonna Screen the flanks of the main line with cavalry Allow cavalry commanders freedom to operate to exploit the developing situation

As you can see, he thought about it. Next, what it meant for yours truly as Tauentzein…


The Battle of Jena refight: 15th October 2006

The tables

The scenario

The whole notion of doing Jena troubled me to start with. I knew a little of the 1806 campaign and in the usual way of a little knowledge being a dangerous thing I assumed theat the vast numbers of French would overwhelm the Prussians and it would not be much of a game. I was very wrong.

According to the research done by the Liphook group it was a lot more phased, with the big wedge of French cavalry only arriving late in the day. So the Prussians, although confused and starting from a really bad position did have the opportunity to at least survive.

This is the summary from the Liphook website:

The French were well organised, well commanded at all levels and the troops were not of the highest quality but they were largely Veterans of Austerlitz.

The Prussians/Saxons were poorly organised, poorly commanded at the higher level, the troops were largely good qualityand disciplined but inexperienced in battle.

To try and represent these differences on the battlefield we made a number of changes to the rules including, reducing the command radius of Prussian/Saxon Commanders, introduced the concept of Veteran, Seasoned and Raw - giving considerable advantages to Veterans and likewise disadvantages to Raw Troops, upgrading the fire effect of the Prussian/Saxons and there discipline and steadiness underfire; but introducing the possibility of them going out of control under some circumstances.

The Orders Of Battle

There is a general myth surrounding this battle that the French significantly outnumbered the Prussians; this is far from the case. Hohenloe had about 40,000 with about 13,000 more by mid afternoon ; the French attacked with an army rising to 54,000 by lunch with another 18,000 arriving mid afternoon (Soults 2nd & 3rd Divs). A headline figure of 96,000 is often quoted for the French but this figure was not achieved until after 6pm and most of them had forced marched so were in no condition to fight, including most of the Reserve Cavalry. Napoleon was in fact woefully short of Cavalry, only 8 of the 20 regts of the Reserve Cavalry were able to fight at Jena.

Things were particularly confusing when it comes to trying to establish the formations of Hohenloe's 40,000; most OOBs out there will give you the state at least before the Battle of Saalfield and sometimes as per more than a week earlier. The first job is to take off casualties for Saalfield and attrition and then try and construct the formations that were hastily put together by Hohenloe in the early hours of the morning of 14 Oct 1806. This latter can only be done by reading the accounts of the battle to see what units actually fought under whose command and doing some educated gessing; some Prssian Infantry Regiments even have battle honours for both Jena and Auerstadt; they are either being economical with the truth or had batalions sufficiently spread out so the IR could be in two places at once. We eventually settled for the OOB that you can download from the link above. We also broke out the Schutzen from the Saxon battalions because, although this was unusual, their separate use was mentioned in some accounts.

The French OOB was slightly easier as the formations are fairly well known; it was just a case of taking off those units that never arrived or arrived too late, or in no condition to play a part in the battle.

Painting 25mm

Captivated as I had been by the Austerlitz game I decided that I would ‘help out’ with figures at the Jena refight. 1806 Prussians would not have been my first choice of army to start with, I admit, but I was not repelled by them. Indeed it turned out that they looked really nice and I am currently looking at expanding them a bit. Clearly getting the figures to start with was a struggle, insofar as I was really limited to Elite for a comprehensive range.

The Zweiffel Musketeers

I had initially wanted to do Ruchel’s command, as it seemed a good size with a nice mix of troops. But research for the game indicated that the advance guard of that division was scattered all over upper Saxony and was not present at Jena. Instead I was persuaded to do the Prussians from Tauntzien’s formation. I had already painted up a musketeer battalion and a fusilier battalion for Ruchel, but saw no harm in changing course.

The Zweiffel Musketeers in line

I had not really done 25mm before and had no idea what to expect from Elite. But, as figures went, they were not bad, and as a starting army I think my Prussians turned out rather well. I am now thinking about getting the Saxons from Tauntzien’s command as well, and I have bought a few bits to add on as they were also pressed into service to play L’Estocq at Eylau. Also, looking at the orbat, I should have had a 3lb battery in the game too, so I am now chasing an appropriate model.

The Pirch Musketeers (from Eylau) supported by a half horse battery

For the next post I will look at the orbats, plans and orders for the Prussians, and specifically what our Hohenlohe wanted me to do.


Friday, July 27, 2007

The Austerlitz refight continued...

The problem with Austerlitz

Continuing the overall Austerlitz theme this weekend I thought that I had better discuss some of the weaknesses I felt within the scenario. In many ways I felt that the scale of the French defeat was too great, or rather the ability of the Austro-Russians to manage the battle was not hindered enough.


My first issue was about the fog. To be honest I do not recall a single Allied formation troubled by this, and I am not sure this was right. Compared to the confusion wrought by the fog in reality we certainly got off lightly. Now this may have been caused by some really good dice rolling but if I had been on the French side I would have felt somewhat short-changed by this.

Command & Control

Put simply, there wasn’t any. Or rather there weren’t any rules for any and it was up to the natural chaos that the players generated amongst themselves to reflect this. Again I am not sure this really reflected the total chaos that was the Allied command structure. As Kienmayer I arguably should have been taking orders from Buxhowden, Kutusov, Kaiser Francis and Liechtenstein. We had two very experienced players in the top roles, one as Kutusov and one as Francis and they did not conflict as they knew this would be disastrous. I am not sure that this really reflected the tension that existed. Certainly a ‘Tsar Interferes’ option would have been possible, as we had umpires (and indeed should be included for all the 1813 scenarios) and should have started as soon as Kutusov thought he had nailed down the Allied deployment. A random intervention of a similar nature could have been made at certain points (either the Tsar, or ‘Buxhowden too drunk to give coherent orders’ etc) to better reflect the confusion that seemed to reign.

In terms of a C2 system now there is one in our new set (Art of Command) but in scenario terms I think, looking back on Austerlitz, we need to do better in reflecting what Dixon calls ‘cognitive dissonance’, especially in Allied command structures but also among competing Marshals. I do not think adding more chaos to the Allies would have saved the French from defeat, but it would possibly have made the defeat less total than it was.

Other Lessons

There were other lessons learned from Austerlitz, the primary lesson being that Newbury Fast Play were actually anything but. So we embarked on our own rules for the Liphook group called Art of Command (AoC). The notion was that commercial rules were just not up to the job of allowing us to fight the big battles that we actually wanted to. So we decided to write out own and see what happened. AoC was used in our next re-fight, that of Jena. Although it did not prove to be perfect (nobody expected that) it did not prove to be unworkable and gave us a better game than NFP.

So development continues, incorporating lessons from our later re-fights of Eylau and Friedland. Things still are left to be done, of course. I am not happy with the charge sequence or the large piles of dead we seem to create in order to get a result, or the use of Cuirassier units as Panzer Divisions against artillery as a weak target, and there are others. But we will sure as not continue experimenting until we get it right, or as right as we can get it.

Command at Austerlitz

Here is a summary of my command at Austerlitz. I have no idea why the Grenz are ‘D’ Class and the line troops under Kollowrat were considered better, but there we are. Life is on occasion shrouded in mystery…

Avantgarde of FML Kienmayer

Brigade of GM Carneville

Vienna Jager C 5 figs
GzIR7 ‘Broder’ C 9 figs
1/GzIR14 ‘1er Szeckler’ D 15 figs

2/GzIR14 ‘1er Szeckler’ D 15 figs

GzIR14 Battalion Guns B 4 Guns

1/GzIR15 ‘2er Szeckler’ D 14 figs

2/GzIR15 ‘2er Szeckler’ D 14 figs

GzIR15 Battalion Guns B 4 Guns

Pioneers C 5 figs

Brigade GM Stutterheim

ChlR 3 ‘O’Reilly’ C 15 figs

UlR1 ‘Merveldt’ C 1 fig
1er Kavallrie Batterie C 5 Guns

2er Kavallrie Batterie C 5 Guns

Brigade GM Nostitz-Rieneck
HusR4 ‘Hessen-Homburg’ C 5 figs

UlR2 ‘Schwarzenberg’ C 2 figs

3er Kavallrie Batterie C 5 Guns

Brigade GM Moritz Liechtenstein

HusR11 ‘Szeckler’ C 10 figs

‘Sysoev’ Cossacks C 4 figs

‘Melentev’ Cossacks C 5 figs

All in all some 105 figures representing 6,349 men and 23 guns at the game’s 1:60 ratio. From memory it was Nostitz-Rieneck who I sent off to support the cavalry offensive in the centre, not that he was needed. Then again his presence was not missed. Stutterheim crossed the Goldbach at Sokolnitz and Liechtenstein at Tellnitz. I also recall that Carneville lost a total of 1 man to enemy action, although both cavalry brigades that got over the Goldbach fought two or three cavalry melees against the French there but eventually drove them back.

The summary on the Napoleon 200 website says it all, really about the battle as a whole:

"This refight proved to be a classic example of the dangers of losing or surrendering the initiative in virtually any military situation. The Allies chose to keep things very very simple (Austrians and Russians are involved here after all) and went for an immediate massive attack on the left Flank (charging straight through the fog) whilst defending in the centre and right. The French decided that they would attack in the centre, but delay things until the situation became clearer. This latter was fatal for two reasons, first it gave the Allies ample time to gain a defensive position on the Pratzen heights and secondly because the Allies attacked the weak French right wing immediately, it threw the French into confusion and tempted them to re-inforce the wing with troops that should have been attacking the Allies."

Next week, the battle of Jena…arguably my finest hour.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Who are these people?

As well as a wargamer I am also a role player. The combination of the two hobbies has meant that whenever I am given a real person to play I always like to find out a little about them. It also helps if you are researching the abilities of the commander, but finding out something of his character is fun too.

So in keeping with the Austerlitz theme, I present

General der Kavallrie, Michael, Freiherr von Kienmayer.

Early Career

This is the character I played at the Austerlitz game. Born in 1755 he was nearly 51 at the time of Austerlitz and at the mid-point in his career as a field officer. He had started life in the infantry, as a cadet in IR12 in 1774, but less than six months later he had risen to the rank of second lieutenant in the Dragoon Regiment DR8 ‘Jung Modena’. By the time he first saw action, against Prussia in 1778 in the War of the Bavarian Succession (or the Potato War) he was already in the Hussars, HR35 ‘Barco’. As an enterprising junior officer he conducted several raids against Prussian outposts, and when the Turkish War broke out in 1787 Kienmayer was a Rittmeister (he had received a field promotion to this rank in 1779) and, once again, showed enterprise and flair against the Turks. By the end of this war he had his own regiment, ChlR 19 ‘Levenehr’ and a strong reputation, backed up by no lesser man than Suvurov who mentioned his name several times in despatches.

When the war against France broke out in 1792 Kienmayer was once again to the fore. By 1793 he was in command of his old regiment, the Barco Hussars, and fought in the Low Countries and in Germany. In 1794 he was made a Generalmajor and continued his career but never was sent to Italy. Again, in 1799, he was in Germany under Charles at Ostrach and went with him into Switzerland. Here he showed that he had lost none of the Hussar spirit, and cut off from the bridge over the river Thur by the French he jumped the river, an event entering Austrian military history as the “Kienmayersprung”. His personal bravery and competence were rewarded some months later by promotion to Feldmarschalleutnant. Although he did reasonably well with his division under Kray he did not do too well at Hohenlinden, one cannot help feeling that he was a bit out of his depth as his command had swollen to over 16,000 men.

1805 onwards

In 1805 he was with Archduke Ferdinand and Mack at Ulm. Refusing to be encircled, like Schwarzenberg he too broke out and made his way home with his men. At Austerlitz he covered the allied extreme left under Buxhowden. He stubbornly covered the retreat of Buxhowden’s columns as the battle ended, but to little avail. He was packed off to be commandant at Olmutz until 1808.

Recalled in 1809 he campaigned along the Danube with his Reserve Division and was at Aspern-Essling commanding a heavy cavalry division under Liechtenstein. Then came the apex of his military career. He was packed off to northern Bohemia to command IX Korps, the main body charged with disrupting enemy forces in upper Saxony. His opponents were Jerome, King of Westphalia and Junot. Learning that the two intended to unite and invade Bohemia, Kienmayer daringly left a small holding force at Dresden and took the bulk of his forces into Bayreuth to defeat Junot before he and Jerome could unite. At Gefrees on the 8th July Kienmayer convincingly beat Junot, who retreated leaving Kienmayer in possession of the region. Intending to settle things with Jerome Kienmayer then began marching on him, but after a brief clash Jerome also withdrew, disheartened by news of Junot’s defeat and feeling he was unable to trust his own men.

Kienmayer had, by the Znaim armistice, taken and held most of Bayreuth, kept hold of much of Saxony including the capital, and foiled any French efforts to break into Bohemia. It was the best result for Austria on all 4 key fronts and clearly played to Kienmayer’s strengths: relatively small forces, rapid movements and sharp engagements. He seems to have been most comfortable at this level or commanding small advance forces, his performances in large armies with big formations do not seem to have been as striking.

After 1809 he was made governor of Galicia and General der Kavallrie. He was not activated in 1813 and the reason seems to be illness. Certainly he would have been a better choice than Hiller, and possibly even Bellegarde, for the Italian campaign but it was not to be. He was made Military Governor of Moravia and Silesia in 1820 and was pensioned off due to illness in 1826, dying some two years later.


Kienmayer was clearly a good general. Personally brave, his victory over Junot and Jerome is testament enough to his abilities as an independent commander in a small campaign but one where he was outnumbered. He was able to defeat his opponents in detail and hold on to his gains. As an Avantgarde commander he also showed much zeal and ability, but in charge of larger formations, such as at Hohenlinden, he appears out of his depth. But a character I knew little about until I had to play him, but one I came to appreciate.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A brief Tour d'Horizon

Ok, so what is the current activity in the House of Chisholm? Well, not as much wargaming as I would like for a start. I have not rejoined my old club at Guildford this year: being without a car is the current limit there and I have been focussed more on starting my new freelancing career than playing around with little men for the first 6 months of this year.

Now, although I am still managing my cash flow (which is still far better than managing my boss) I have started to get back into my wargaming. Another factor, to be honest, was my crushing defeat as Bennigsen at the Liphook refight of Eylau in February (more of this later). I am now getting back into the fold, a nice performance at Friedland at a command level I feel comfortable at (Corps) have had a very salutary effect on my personal morale!

One major consequence of this is that I have been painting like hell. I had a minor stroke back in 2003 which meant that painting 15mm or smaller was very difficult for me. But, the Liphook games have made investing in 25mm seem worthwhile so I am now, after 20 years or so with 15mm, embarked on a new track. My first 25mm formation was to buy and paint all the Prussians for my Liphook Jena command, which was the Division of the rather crusty GM von Tauntzien. All from Elite there are a few pics here for you to enjoy…

Prussian Horse Artillery and Fusiliers

I do mean to get round to painting up the Saxons from his command too, and I realise, looking at the orbat, that I should have had a 3lb battery under a Hauptmann Rose. Not that I think it would have done much good at Jena apart from to impede me. But, I guess it is a fun thing to have if I can find some appropriate 3lb models that fit. I guess a SYW Prussian 3lb is made by somebody after all.

Prussian Musketeers and Horse Artillery

Currently I am wading through Austrians. As you will come to appreciate the Austrians have rather dominated my wargaming interests. They are a fun army; with no show pony units or generals to rely on you are left with some advantages but nothing really marked. You get average artillery and infantry, some good cavalry and dedicated light infantry but nothing really special. So, given that the Liphook group will be doing several Danube battles in 2009 it was time to start early. I bought all of the units from IV Kolonne from Aspern-Essling for Christmas and will probably get V Kolonne next year. It would total 4 divisions, plus I would want some other stuff like Landwehr, of which I already have one battalion.

Inner Austrian Landwehr

But that will come to an end soon. Although I am getting an 18-strong battalion done a week next year for the Liphook group we are doing Bailen. Short of Spanish I have agreed to do the Marquis of Coupigny’s division. Given that we will be doing Peninsular battles in 2010 and 2011 too they will be a good investment.

And the Frogs? Well, I currently have 6 battalions’ worth of lead, either painted or unpainted. The aim is to get to one large division of 15 battalions (12 Ligne, 3 Legere) with a couple of batteries and a couple of regiments of cavalry. But the Spanish, followed by the Austrians, will be priority. I have been informed that as a group we do not have enough Russians to do Borodino. I can see the future, and it has a lot of green in it…


First Post

Welcome to Kannonkreuz, my wargames blog. I have been meaning to start one for some time, although I really do not know how regularly I will be posting I have a lot of material that should keep me busy for a while. But, to start with, here is a document I wrote in February 2006 after the big refight of Austerlitz at Liphook. More of the Liphook games later, but this is a good post to start with as it has plenty of possible pics.

Also visit the Napoleon 200 site at http://www.napoleon200.org/index.htm for other details.

Thoughts of a worried Austrian

On the face of it I felt rather doomed. We had just spent twenty minutes listening to our individual assignments which would make up the allied plan for Austerlitz. To say that I was a little stunned by my role was something of an understatement. I had asked to play the allied Advance Guard of FML Kienmayer, it has often been said of me that inside this Cuirassier’s body there is a Hussar struggling to get out (in my view it is two Hussars but there we are), and by requesting Kienmayer I was playing to type.

I was a more substantial figure than my command...

I looked ‘Kutusov’ in the eye and said: “Let me get this straight: I am to demonstrate across the Goldbach stream, but if the French start draining off troops to the centre I am to attack them in order to pin them, if they attack over the Goldbach I am to hold them, and you want to take away most of my cavalry as well?”

“Yes” was his equally straightforward response.

I was justifiably anxious about this. I had not played with the Liphook guys before and had not used the rules before. What I was aware of was the need to follow whatever orders you are given. Generally the hope by a subordinate is that the CinC knows what he wants to achieve and relies upon you to do your bit in order to make it come together: rather like an orchestral score. It is rare that a CinC has a team that allows him to play Jazz. Having been a CinC in several large wargames I knew that there was nothing more infuriating than a subordinate tearing up his orders and doing his own thing, I hoped that I would not be equally infuriating for my boss at Austerlitz.

On to the Goldbach

So we transferred to the split table. There were rules for advancing in fog and I waited for this to lift before I sent some cavalry off to the centre, but I only decided to send one brigade, mostly Cossacks, and then see what I could spare later. In the meantime the allied army ponderously rolled forward towards the French defensive line assumed to be along the Goldbach. Historically my position had not changed: I was still deployed on the allied extreme left opposite the village of Tellnitz up to the Sokolnitz area: here the 3 Russian assault columns were supposed to break the back of the Grande Armee.

After flitting up to the Goldbach the French did not seem inclined to attack me. They had garrisoned Tellnitz but I was not tasked to take it so the village was screened instead. What puzzled me, and did so increasingly, was the strength of French forces before me: Five infantry battalions, some cavalry and a couple of guns. If I had been tasked to go over the stream then it would have easily stopped me: instead I just lined up my troops and sat there. So did the French. This was fine by me so I sent the bulk of my guns to support the Russian assault against Sokolnitz and Sokolnitz castle.

The Russian assault columns against these two targets were commanded by some very young players. I moved my figure up to them and suggested they check the fordability of the Goldbach. The positive answer from the umpire allowed them to assault on a much greater frontage and, although disordered, they pushed on. It also earned me looks of undying hatred from the French player opposite. So, as my doughty 3-pounders did little damage but made us all feel good, the Russians kept grinding on with the occasional exhortation from me to ‘get stuck in’. Although the French were in a strong position, and the rules meant that units did not have to take a morale test if defending cover, they eventually broke through.

Exploiting the breach

The French in front of my little command still amounted to five battalions of infantry, six units of cavalry and a battery of guns. I was happy enough as they could have been reinforcing Sokolnitz. In a small concession they had abandoned Tellnitz, so my lads occupied it, and I began to think about feeding cavalry through Sokolnitz to cross the stream undisrupted.

The Russians meanwhile had begun to roll up the French in the Pheasant Garden opposing the column of Pryzbyszewski, played by a fellow member of my club. The French, for their part, tried to seal off Sokolnitz to stop Russian advances out of it. But it was clear that the French attempts to hold the Goldbach had crumbled.

It was no better for them in the centre. They had handed the initiative to the allies here too and the Pratzen was now bristling with Russian and Austrian guns as well as Kollowrat’s whitecoats and the Russian Imperial Guard. A French division that should have gone up the Pratzen was diverted towards Sokolnitz to hold the three Russian columns, only to be taken in the flank by Uvarov’s cavalry and blown apart by the guns.

With the fall of Tellnitz, Sokolnitz and Sokolnitz castle the French began to draw back. I threw my remaining cavalry brigade across the stream here with light infantry and the dreaded 3lb guns whilst my larger cavalry brigade crossed at Sokolnitz. A cavalry melee developed but the allied horsemen established a comfortable superiority over their French counterparts, and behind them the guns and Grenz deployed.

The destruction of the Grande Armee

It was at this point that lines of communication became important. The French army had now, in effect been cut into three separate parts, with the allies splitting the French along the Schlapanitz and Kobelnitz axes. It was the French troops south of Kobelnitz that were in trouble: fatally they had abandoned their LoC, a road leading back to the rear, and I took my chance and cut it: soon cavalry, horse guns and light troops barred the way. All French troops in this particular pocket were adjudicated by the umpires to have surrendered: it amounted to at least a third, if not more, of the French army.


The allied plan was brutally simple and it worked. In my opinion the French lacked aggression and flexibility and surrendered initiative to the allies with fatal consequences. An initial lunge at the Pratzen, even by some light cavalry, could have contested it enough to prevent the allies establishing themselves on it. To quote the allied CinC: “Actually, by the 10th move when the Allied Centre had settled into its defensive line with massive gun batteries and no French attack forthcoming, defeat for the French was inevitable.” What I could not understand was the heavy weighting of troops against me that could have been used to reinforce Sokolnitz and Sokolnitz castle. By the time they did swing troops over it was far too late: any assessment would have seen my command as no real threat and a couple of cavalry brigades would have screened me off just as well. In our sector, as was the case along the allied line, it all went disturbingly according to plan: Weyrother should have been so lucky in real life.