For my third game I spent a week painting to increase the number of French. So by the time this game took place there were 3 btns of Legere, 5 Ligne, a foot battery of 8 8lb/How and a horse battery of 4 4lb. I also managed to paint up the 5e Hussards which balanced out the cavalry. In terms of staff I had not made much headway, there was still only GdeD Friant, GdeB Gilly and two staff officers.
I elected to have a very simple battle between these French and whatever Austrians I could muster. This amounted to 3 battalions of IR3, one battalion of IR8, a Landwehr battalion, the 2nd Moravian Freiwillige btn and the 1er Jagerbattalion. In terms of cavalry there were two units of 12 UlR2 and 6 HusR10, and in terms of guns a foot battery, a horse battery and a small section of two howitzers. In terms of staff FML Klenau was in overall command with one ADC, with the force split into three brigades: the Uhlans, cavalry battery and Jager under Oberst Hardegg, the 3 battalions of IR3 and the howitzers under Oberst Steininger and the remaining infantry and guns under GM Grill. Klenau had the hussars with himself as a mobile reserve. Oh, and I took no pics of this so I can only illustrate it with pics from other games.
The Austrians were deployed on a slight rise, with Grill on the left, Steininger in the centre and Hardegg on the right. The French, again attacking, elected for a heavy punch on their right launching their 3 Legere battalions and 2 battalions of the 48e Ligne and the horse battery under Gilly against Grill. The 3 battalions of the 33e Ligne to hold the centre with the foot battery under one staff officer, whilst another held the left with the two cavalry regiments.
The French right hook got off to a good start, the 5 battalions deployed into attack column and gave each other good support. One of the Legere battalions formed a screen for the other four and the horse battery accompanied.
Then it all went wrong. The French horse battery was small. It soon got into a duel with Grill’s foot battery and was driven off in disorder. This meant the Austrian guns switched their attention to the attacking infantry, and loosed off a fearful cannonade against 2/33e Ligne, not only stopping it but driving it back too. That left 3 attacking battalions. The French screen was unable to penetrate the Austrian screen formed by the Moravians but Gilly needed to launch his attack before the Austrian guns turned their attention on other units. So he launched his 3 battalions at Grill’s line.
French attack repulsed
As the skirmishers on both sides evaded out of the way the two Legere and single Ligne battalion ploughed forward, with Gilly himself attached himself to one of the Legere battalions. The Ligne battalion was aimed at the end of the Lieb/IR8 and the foot battery, the 2/15e Legere smack in the middle of Lieb/IR8 whilst 1/15e Legere plus Gilly were charging the end of Lieb/IR8 and a small Masse of the Moravians. The Austrians were fresh and undisrupted, and the results were almost a foregone conclusion.
The Ligne battalion charged, got canistered by the Austrian battery and lost 5 figures. This routed them. The 2/15e Legere was volleyed at point blank range by four companies of IR8 which blew away 4 figures. Carrying a level of disorder already they rolled poorly and routed as well. That left 1/15e Legere. With Gilly attached it had a slight morale bonus (he is not a great General) and attacking where they did they could only be brought under fire by one company of IR8 and one company of Moravians. So they lost 2 casualties, and although they had lost some previously from the howitzers and skirmishers plus some disorder the remnants made their morale (being B class and with Gilly attached) and actually breezed through the volley. IR8 was not particularly phased by this so a melee developed.
It turned out to be a draw, both sides taking one casting casualty each. The Austrians took theirs as a disorder putting them at ‘shaken’. The French, knowing a morale check was coming due to friendly routers, took the casting casualty. The morale check was a catastrophe, having two friendly routers in the same brigade, no supports, casualties and disorder the French dissolved into rout.
The rest of the battle was effectively an Austrian gradual ‘pursuit’ by Grill. Klenau waved his hat and the Austrians rolled ponderously forward in line. The truth was that the French were going backwards faster than the Austrians could go forward, even despatching his 6 hussars under his ADC they were unable to get forward fast enough before the French fled the table.
The Austrians lost virtually nothing. The French lost 5 battalions plus some from 33e Ligne that were shot up by the Jager screening an advancing IR3 at the end of the game. It was a good example of how not to attack. The Austrians were fresh, undisturbed and in a strong position. Any attack was going to struggle, and in this case the total Austrian casualties it inflicted was one casting and a bit of disorder. But, again, it was a quick and realistic result. In the Peninsular with more aggressive British leaders a bayonet charge after the French attack would have been the norm: indeed the French collapse was so total that and charge would not have caught them. But, if they had simply halted with disorder a charge by the defenders the next turn would have seen them off anyway.