Monday, December 20, 2010

Nightfall 4 April 1813

Locations at 2100 4 April 1813


There were two major battles fought on 4 April 1813.

The northern one was at Salzwedel, where the Polish XIII corps attempted to take the town in order to reestablish their lines of communication with the main French Army to the south.

3rd Prussian corps held the town, and at nightfall XIII corps were forced to retreat back to Domnitz. Both corps were disordered and would be non operational throughout 5 April.

The southern battle was at Colbitz. This was a more complicated battle, which involved two French and three Prussian corps. Only one French and one Prussian corps were directly involved.

IV French corps was ordered to hold Colbitz. They came under attack from 1st Prussian corps and elements of 2nd and 4th Prussian corps.

At nightfall IV corps retreated towards Magdeburg. 1st corps entered Colbitz. Both corps were disordered and would be non operational throughout 5 April.

Apart from the four corps involved in the fighting, all other corps would be fully operational on 5 April.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Battle of Colbitz - Move 10

1700 to 1800

4 April 1813

Table at the start of Move 10

IV French Move First

Orders – Hold

Command Points – 6

Artillery fire on nearest enemy infantry, roll 4, miss

Move garrison to edge of farm ready to withdraw

Move square back towards Colbitz

Cavalry about turn and form line

Test morale, total -1, Rout

There are no supports to test morale

1 Prussian Move Second

Orders – Engage

Command Points – 7

2 cavalry brigade still under command

Artillery fire on routed infantry, total 4, miss

Move 3 brigade into farm

Move 1 brigade towards farm in support

Limber artillery ready to move towards Colbitz

Reposition general Yorck

Move 2 and 4 brigades towards Colbitz

4 Prussian (far side of river) Move Third

Orders – Hold

Command Points – 6

No action, no enemy in range

2 Prussian (Reinforcements) Move Fourth

Orders – Attack Colbitz

Command Points – 5

2 corps moves, 16”, towards Colbitz

Rule Notes

It is very difficult to withdraw troops already in contact with the enemy.

This is particularly true for a garrison.

First they must move to the centre of the farm

Then they must move to the edge they wish to exit from

Finally they must move out of the farm

This will take three moves, and allows the enemy to cut their retreat

In this case the French artillery protected the exit

The French cavalry protected the garrison from the enemy cavalry

Table at end of wargame

End of Battle – Prussian Victory

With the loss of the farm, and one of his brigades in Rout, General Reynier orders a withdrawal towards Magdeburg. His cavalry and artillery are well placed to cover the withdrawal.

There are no Prussians in direct contact to prevent this withdrawal.

Battle Casualties

French have lost 4 infantry casualties

Prussians have lost 1 cavalry and 1 infantry casualties

Notes on Battle

IV French corps were left to face three Prussian corps and were lucky to escape with so few casualties.

With three of his corps in combat, Prince Blucher should have moved to the battlefield to take command. He could then have ordered 4th corps to attack across the river Elbe.

2nd Prussian corps was too far away to stand any chance to arriving in time to take part in the battle.

It would have been better to order 4th corps to move on Colbitz on Engage status in support of 1st Prussian corps.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Battle of Colbitz - Move 9

1600 to 1700

4 April 1813

Table at the start of Move 9

4 Prussian (far side of river) Move First

Orders – Hold

Command Points – 4

No action, no enemy in range

1 Prussian Move Second

Orders – Engage

Command Points – 5

2 cavalry brigade still under command

Artillery fire (close range) on farm, roll 11, 1 hit

Garrison test morale for third hit, total 1, fail remain Shaken

Cavalry advance towards farm

3 brigade move towards farm

1 brigade skirmish with farm, roll 6, 1 hit

Garrison test morale for fourth hit, total 1, fail remain Shaken

2 Prussian (Reinforcements) Move Third

Orders – Attack Colbitz

Command Points – 6

3 corps moves, 24”, towards Colbitz

IV French Move Fourth

Orders – Hold

Command Points – 7

Artillery fire on nearest infantry column, roll 10, 1 hit

Infantry test morale, total 3, pass

Retreat garrison into centre of farm

Retreat cavalry towards Colbitz

Manhandle guns back towards Colbitz

Reposition Reynier in centre of corps

Rule Notes

1 Prussian corps have 12 pounder guns which have longer range than 9 pounder

Rule 7 shows ranges and firing rules

Reynier has ordered his corps to pull back to Colbitz.

He can do this on Hold orders, because the “Hold” applies to Colbitz, not the farm

He must do this before the Prussians are in close contact.

He is moving his cavalry to cover this withdrawal

Friday, December 17, 2010

Battle of Colbitz - Move 8

1500 to 1600

4 April 1813

Table at the start of Move 8

IV French Move First

Orders – Hold

Command Points – 6

Artillery fire on nearest infantry, total 6, miss

Reynier orders his cavalry to move to the left out of range of enemy artillery

4 Prussian (far side of river) Move Second

Orders – Hold

Command Points – 6

Artillery unable to fire as enemy moved out of range

Cavalry deploy in line on west bank of river

2 Prussian Move Third

Orders – Attack Colbitz

Command Points – 7

Kleist arrives on the battlefield.

He moves his corps towards Colbitz in column of march

1 Prussian Move Fourth

Orders – Engage

Command Points – 7

2 cavalry brigade still under command

Artillery fire on farm, total 10, second hit

Garrison test morale, total 6, pass

3 brigade moves to left of guns and form column of attack

Reposition Yorck in centre of corps

1 brigade form column of attack from square

1 brigade advances into skirmish range of farm

1 brigade skirmish fire, total 5, miss

Garrison return fire, total 5, miss

Rule Notes

2 Prussian corps are more than 16” from the nearest enemy and can have multiple moves.

It takes 2 CP for each corps move of 6”

They are moving behind 1 corps to attack Colbitz itself

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Battle of Colbitz - Move 7

1400 to 1500

4 April 1813

Table at the start of Move 7

1 Prussian Move First

Orders – Engage

Command Points – 6

2 cavalry brigade now under command

Artillery fire on farm, total 7, miss

Move cavalry forward towards enemy cuirassiers

Manhandle guns closer to farm

Move reserve infantry away from enemy guns

Reposition Yorck in centre of corps

IV French Move Second

Orders – Hold

Command Points – 7

Artillery fire on nearest infantry, total 7, miss

Manhandle guns nearer to enemy infantry

Reposition Reynier in centre of corps

Move square closer to farm

Shaken garrison of farm test morale

Total 6, make morale, become Disordered until nightfall

4 Prussian (far side of river) Move Third

Orders – Hold

Command Points – 6

Manhandle guns to river within range of enemy cavalry

Move cavalry onto bridge

Rule Notes

4 Prussian corps is on hold orders and must remain east of the river

Moving their artillery up to the river they come within range of enemy cavalry

Because their cavalry started the battle west of the bridge they may return there

All of this will make it very difficult for the French cavalry to remain in position

If they are forced to move if will be easier for Yorck to attack the farm

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Battle of Colbitz - Move 6

1300 to 1400

4 April 1813

Table at the start of Move 6

IV French Move First

Orders – Hold

Command Points – 6

Artillery fire on infantry column, miss

Move cavalry to right flank and form line

Test morale for Shaken garrison, roll 2, remain Shaken

1 Prussian Move Second

Orders – Engage

Command Points – 4

2 cavalry brigade now under command

Artillery fire on farm, miss

Infantry form square because of enemy cavalry

Move general to command cavalry

Rule Notes

General Yorck is faced with a difficult decision.

The French now have artillery and cavalry supporting the farm

To attack with infantry only is inviting disaster

Until he can bring his own cavalry to bear he must form square

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Battle of Colbitz - Move 5

1200 to 1300

4 April 1813

Table at the start of Move 5

2 Prussian Move First

Orders – Move to Colbitz

Command Points – 1

Cavalry brigade moves to join 1 corps

IV French Move Second

Orders – Hold

Command Points – 6


Artillery double move and unlimber

Move cavalry to right flank

Shaken garrison test morale, total 2, remain Shaken

1 Prussian Move Fourth

Orders – Attack

Command Points – 6

Fire on farm, miss

Move infantry to wards farm

Change orders to Engage

Rule Notes

General Yorck has four infantry brigades available to attack the farm.

However he is faced by artillery against his right flank.

If he remains on Attack orders he must move all brigades forward

By changing to Engage he can select which parts of the farm he wants to attack.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Battle of Colbitz - Move 4

1100 to 1200

4 April 1813

Table at the start of Move 4

IV French Move First

Orders – Hold

Command Points – 5

Fire on Prussian cavalry, roll 8, 1 hit

Cavalry test for morale, roll 5, pass

Limber gun

Move cavalry back out of enemy artillery range

2 Prussian Move Second

Orders – Move to Colbitz

Command Points – 2

Cavalry brigade arrives on table

Double move towards 1 corps

4 Prussian Move Third

Orders – Hold

Command Points – 5


Move cavalry back across bridge out of artillery range

1 Prussian Move Fourth

Orders – Attack

Command Points – 4

Fire on farm, roll 10, 1 hit

Garrison test morale, fail, are Shaken

Move two infantry brigades towards farm

Manhandle gun towards farm

Rule Notes

The Prussian cavalry brigade belonging to 2 Corps arrives on the table

They will move to join 1 Corps and come under their command

Until they join 1 Corps they will roll an average dice for CP, but deduct 1

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Battle of Colbitz - Move 3

1000 to 1100

4 April 1813

Table at the start of Move 3

IV French Move First

Orders – Hold

Command Points – 6


Artillery fire on cavalry again, and miss again

No further movement required as the rest of his corps are in position

4 Prussian Move Second

Orders – Hold

Command Points – 2

Tauentzien orders his cavalry to withdraw over the bridge.

1 Prussian Move Third

Orders – Attack

Command Points – 5


Yorck prepares his corps to attack.

They move to face Colbitz and deploy into column of attack

Artillery unlimber

Rule Notes

Each commander has a poker chip which is drawn from a bag to determine the move sequence of corps.

Prussian cavalry only have sufficient command points to turn around and form line in preparation for crossing the bridge. This means that they will remain within range of the enemy artillery for another move unless their turn is drawn first.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Battle of Colbitz - Move 2

0900 to 1000

4 April 1813

Table at the start of Move 2

1 Prussian Move First

Orders – Attack

Command Points – 5


Yorck moves his corps into position ready to turn and face Colbitz

4 Prussian Move Second

Orders – Hold

Command Points – 2


Tauentzien continues to hold the bridge with his cavalry brigade

IV French Move Third

Orders – Hold

Command Points – 6

Reynier orders his artillery to fire on Prussian cavalry but miss

He is not allowed to send his cavalry forward as he is on Hold orders

Rule Notes

Command Points normally apply to full corps of 6 brigades.

In this game independent cavalry brigades will have to dice for Command Points

To do so they will roll one average dice and deduct one from the total

Friday, December 10, 2010

Battle of Colbitz - Move 1

0800 to 0900

4 April 1813

Table at the start of Move 1

4 Prussian Move First

Orders – Hold

Command Points – 3


Tauentzien has orders to hold Parey and may not advance his cavalry.

His only decision is whether to leave them on the west bank

They are currently out of enemy artillery range

1 Prussian Move Second

Orders – Attack

Command Points – 6

Yorck moves his corps forward and swings to the left

IV French Move Third

Orders – Hold

Command Points – 6

Reynier redeploys his cavalry to face the new threat from the north

He also orders his gunner to manhandle the guns into range of the cavalry

Finally forms square to protect the guns

Rule Notes

1 Prussian are taking advantage of two rules to approach Colbitz quickly

Rule 3 allows the general and whole corps a full move for just 2 command points, providing that all brigades are within 2” and carry out the same movement

Rule 5 allows multiple moves providing there are no enemy with 16”. This has allowed 1 Prussian to move the maximum 8” three times.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Battle of Colbitz - Set Up

Start 0800

4 April 1813

Wargames Map

Campaign Background

General Reynier has deployed his IV corps to hold the town of Colbitz, and contain the enemy cavalry holding the bridge over the river Elbe.

Blucher has ordered 1st and 2nd corps to attack Colbitz.

General Yorck is unable to use his cavalry brigade, who are in contact with enemy cavalry at Kalbe. The remainder of 1st corps is within striking distance of Colbitz.

General Kleist 2nd corps is at Werben when the battle starts. He is determined to support 1st corps and to this end sends his cavalry brigade ahead and drives the remainder of his corps to arrive on the battlefield as soon as possible.

The French cavalry in contact with Yorck’s cavalry at Kalbe belong to Marshal Marmont’s VI corps. They are under orders to move to Kalbe and engage any enemy found there.

The battle starts at 0800 4 April 1813.


Wargames table at start of battle


Wargames Table

Colbitz is the two section village at the bottom left

The road from right to left is from Parey to Walbeck

The road from top to bottom is from Bismark to Magdeburg

General Reynier has deployed his corps to defend Colbitz

His status is Hold




He has placed two brigades in Colbitz.


A third brigade is holding the farm to the right of the town

The fourth brigade, the artillery and the cavalry are all deployed to defend the bridge

General Yorck will arrive with 1st corps on the Bismark road at the start of move 1

His status is Attack

General Kleist will arrive with 2nd corps in the top right square

His cavalry will arrive on move 4, the rest of the corps move 8

His status is Attack



General Tauentzien has deployed 4th corps east of the river Elbe

His infantry and artillery are positioned to hold any attack over the bridge.

His cavalry are west of the bridge observing Colbitz.

His status is Hold


Game Notes

This the second game of the PBEM Hanover Campaign.

Due to campaign orders 4th Prussian corps must remain in defence.

Orders of battle can be found at Labels 02 and 03 on the right


Rule Note

The rules will be our standard wargames rules.

There have been no special amendments

They can be found at http://napoleonicwargamerules.blogspot.com/