Unterphalen Campaign – Part 2

Part 1

It is April the 2nd 1813 as the campaign kicks off with a messenger looking for General-Feldmarshall Von Ahrenfeld in Stammberg. The Generall-Feldmarshall is at the parade ground an aide points out. Minutes later and the messenger stands at attention in front of the general sitting down on a chair in the middle of parade ground. Old age shows in the face and demeanor of the Prussian. The Prinzregenten Cuirassiers regiment is lining up as this happens, getting ready for inspection. Von Ahrenfeld reads the delivered report, further aging with each line as it seems:

General-Feldmarshall Von Ahrenfeld,
it is my duty to inform you about a French army marching on Unterphalen. 60,000 to my estimation, moving in three columns from Saint Michals to the border. Without provocation from my men. their scouting cavalry attacked us and beat us off. I will do my best to relay further scouting reports in the coming days. But there is no doubt in my mind about the hostile intention of the French.
Leutnant Gehradde
28th of March south of Saint-Michals moving to Irl.

“Gather the staff”, the general whispers barely audible to his officers, “we are at war.”

Prussian Mobilization

With a random roll I determined mobilization will start 3 days after the French reach the border of Unterphalen. Three possible mobilization plans are devised with one randomly chosen:

  1. Lanzerat plan: All forces are ordered to move to the closest of the three major towns Regensbach, Laichs and Esslach with the troops from Stammberg staying there as garrison.
  2. Von Ahrenfeld plan: All troops west of the river Wepper are to concentrate at Stammberg. All troops east of it are ordered to Esslach.
  3. General Prussian mobilization plan: All troops are concentrated at Sternental. The road from Sternental to the north leads to Berlin. This simulates a mobilization designed for the greater Prussian state and ill equipped to deal with a direct southern invasion.

And with a roll of 1 the Lanzerat plan is the one that has been issued to the troops beforehand. This means the following troop movements:

Regensbach
Troops from Mühlenbach arrive on 5th of April
Troops from Sternental arrive on 5th of April
Troops from Wennefeld arrive on 10th of April
Troops from Dornfelde arrive on 6th of April

Laichs
Troops from Ergenloh arrive on 5th of April
Troops from Irl arrive on 6th of April

Esslach
Troops from Goppau arrive on 5th of April
Troops from Prünthal arrive on 5th of April

Initially troops would arrive a day earlier but as occasional heavy rain on the 2nd-4th of April slows things down. Every unit loses a day on the march.

The Lanzerat plan in action

For now Von Ahrenfeld will stay back in Stammberg as well and write further orders to form the available troops into an organized army.

A coin flip is made for the Hussar units at Irl, Goppau and Sternental whether the local leadership decides to use them for scouting or to stay in their areas of concentration during the first days. Only the Sternental Hussars will be used for extensive scouting after they arrive at Regensbach.

The French Plan of Attack

With the Prussians taken care of, lets determine the general plan of attack for Marshal Essault. Again three plans are formed and one randomly chosen. This type of decision making will go on throughout the campaign. It is one of the best solo mechanism for me learned form the Solo Wargaming Guide (and older classic wargaming books before it). Striking a perfect balance between unpredictability, realism, elegance and decision making.

  1. Plan blue: Two prongs of attack taking major cities and meeeting at Stammberg.
  2. Plan green: A main thrust to take Regensbach as jump off point for further operations towards Stammberg. Either via Sternental or the eastern road.
  3. Plan orange: A flanking maneuver towards Ergenlog. from there the forces split up towards Stammberg via Laichs and Esslach (to cover the flank).
The three possible attack routes of Essault’s Army of Invasion

The decision falls on plan green. Further decisions how and if to divide the forces near Dornfelde will be taken care of later. As the invading army is moving in a single column the French will use their Hussars for scouting.

Due to heavy rain the army only arrives at Irl on the 4th of April. Forward scouts discover some isolated regiments on the road towards Ergenloh but the weather makes pursuit not feasible.

Marshal Essault leaves the 12th Line regiment at Irl and proceeds towards the crossroads south of Dornfelde where he arrives 3 days later on the 7th of April. He decides to send the 55th Line regiment to occupy Dornfelde to keep intel on his flank. The rest of the army marches east via the dirt road towards the next crossroads in the center of the Regensbach, Dornfelde, Laichs triangle. He arrives there during the 9th of April. A decision is made how to split forces and it is decided that Marshal Bessard with the majority of his X Corps will probe in the direction of Laichs. The 55th is on guard duty and the 96th Grenadiers are shifted to IX Corps. If the enemy is too strong there he is under orders to retire back to the crossroads to keep the line of communication save. Bessard will arrive at Laichs on the 12th.

Bessard’s reduced X Corps expedition force:
40th Light
22nd Line
23rd Line
54th Line
34th Hussars
Foot Battery #64

The bulk of the forces move on to Regensbach to arrive around early morning of the 12th.

Prussian Scouts

Let us rewind a bit for the Prussian side of things. A detachment of the Sternental Hussars (the only scouts operating far from their base) spot the entire French army at the crossroads. A coin flip determines that they also detect “some forces” splitting off towards Laichs. The report arrives at Regensbach on the 10th and at Stammberg on the desk of Von Ahrenfeld at the 12th. The army composition looks like this on the 9th after all Korps have been organized. Note that Von Ahrenfeld ordered his namesake regiment, the Ahrenfeld grenadiers from Goppau to Stammberg to strengthen the garrison and decrease the size of the already unwieldy 4th Korps.

Army of Unterphalen

@ Regensbach
1st PROVISIONAL KORPS General-Oberst Naurenburg (Command Rating 7, Diffident)
1st Wennefeld Landwehr
2nd Wennefeld Landwehr
1st Sternental Line
2nd Sternental Line
3rd Wennefeld Fusiliers
Dornfelde Line
2nd PROVISIONAL KORPS General-Oberst Gifferd (Command Rating 7, Diffident)
1st Regensbach Line
2nd Regensbach Line
1st Mühlenach Landwehr
2nd Mühlenach Landwehr
Foot Battery No 3
Sternental Hussars

@ Laichs
3rd PROVISIONAL KORPS General-Oberst Scharenau (Command Rating 7, Hesitant)
Irl Grenadiers
1st Ergenloh Grenadiers
2nd Ergenloh Landwehr
1st Musketeers of Laichs (Line)
2nd Musketeers of Laichs (Line)
Foot Battery No 1
Foot Battery No 2
Irl Hussars
Scharenau Cuirassiers

@ Stammburg
ARMY RESERVE General-Feldmarshall Von Ahrenfeld (Command Rating 6)
1st Stammburg Line
2nd Stammburg Line
Ahrenfeld Grenadiers
Prinzregenten Cuirassiers

@ Esslach
4th PROVISIONAL KORPS General-Oberst Lanzerat (Command Rating 8, Aggressive)
1st Goppau Fusiliers
3rd Goppau Landwehr
1st Esslach Line
2nd Esslach Line
1st Prünthal Line
2nd Prünthal Line
Hussars of the Watch
Stammburg-Goppau Hussars
Horse Battery No 1

Prussian Reaction

So here is the situation the Prussians are dealing with:

9th of April scouting and possible Prussian counter moves

The blue arrows denote secure information. The French have split their army in some form to move east and north. Laichs will be under attack before any response can be mustered. The orange arrows show the possible routes the other force can take. It will either attack north at Regensbach, be the second prong of the Laichs attack or go straight for Stammberg. The last option seems remote as this would put the French line of communication in grave peril and Von Ahrenfeld does not judge the French as fools. In any way, Lanzerat’s 4th Korps is needed and Von Ahrenfeld will order it to move west (green arrows). The die roll decides to give the order to head for Laichs. The order will reach Lanzerat on the 15th. He will depart a day later and reach Laichs on the 21st.

The next decision is regarding Regensbach. The decision falls on being aggressive. Head out and attack or pursue the French towards Laichs but keep a force at the crossroads between Regensbach and Laichs to secure the flank. The order will arrive on the 14th.

Von Ahrenfeld himself weighs on the options of his own position. As he is old a weighted random table will be used.

1-3: Stay at Stammberg
4: Move to Regensbach
5: Move to Laichs
6: Move with the courier to Esslach to personally command the flanking move by Lanzerat

The choice is 5. It is a good one but the route has to lead via Goppau because the direect route could be swarming with French soldiers. He therefore takes the Prinzregenten Cuirassiers as guards and leaves all other troops at Stammberg. He will arrive at Laichs on the 15th.

Situation on the 12th of April with two battles developing

Battle in the Area of Regensbach

Well, finally. With both Prussian commanders rated as timid I decided that they are waiting on orders instead of seeking the enemy. But as we know the enemy seeks them. Regensbach is not fortified so battle will commence in the early hours of the 12th of April.

French OOB

HQ Marshal Essault (Command Rating 8)

IX CORPS Marshal Lumiere (Command Rating 8, Decisive)

45th Light
46th Grenadiers
66th Line
47th Line
52th Line
53th Line
Foot Battery #63
96th Grenadiers (lend from X Corps)

XI CORPS Marshal Le Contre (Command Rating 8, Headstrong)

57th Light
58th Grenadiers
59th Line
71st Line
73rd Line
39th Hussars
Foot Battery #65

CAVALRY RESERVE General Sivet (Command Rating 8)

8th Cuirassiers
9th Cuirassiers
10th Cuirassiers

Prussian OOB

1st PROVISIONAL KORPS General-Oberst Naurenburg (Command Rating 7, Diffident)
1st Wennefeld Landwehr
2nd Wennefeld Landwehr
1st Sternental Line
2nd Sternental Line
3rd Wennefeld Fusiliers
Dornfelde Line

2nd PROVISIONAL KORPS General-Oberst Gifferd (Command Rating 7, Diffident)
1st Regensbach Line
2nd Regensbach Line
1st Mühlenach Landwehr
2nd Mühlenach Landwehr
Foot Battery No 3
Sternental Hussars

Battle in the Area of Laichs

As Bessard carefully approaches Laichs, enemy forces at greater strength are scouted. Before the French general can decide what to do, the Prussians sally forth for an attack at midday on the weaker opponent. What happened? The Prussian general is hesitant and would usually prefer to stay in his positions. So I made a command roll for him 2d6 on 7 or lower to do exactly that. He failed so I deemed this as an attack as he has superiority in numbers and retreat would make not much sense.

Similarly I made a command roll for the French to react to the enemy. With this roll failed as well I decided that Bessard fails to react quickly to the threat and a meeting engagement ensues.

French OOB

X CORPS Marshal Bessard (Command Rating 8, Timid)

40th Light
22nd Line
23rd Line
54th Line
34th Hussars
Foot Battery #64

Prussian OOB

3rd PROVISIONAL KORPS General-Oberst Scharenau (Command Rating 7, Hesitant)
Irl Grenadiers
1st Ergenloh Grenadiers
2nd Ergenloh Landwehr
1st Musketeers of Laichs (Line)
2nd Musketeers of Laichs (Line)
Foot Battery No 1
Foot Battery No 2
Irl Hussars
Scharenau Cuirassiers

Jump to the next post here.

6 thoughts on “Unterphalen Campaign – Part 2”

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