Leipzig Refight – Nov 22nd, 2008

Well, the big fight has come & gone.   Jeff kindly arranged to rent the banquet room at the Levee Cafe in Hastings, and eight gamers showed up to duke it out.

The game represented the battle on the first day (Oct. 16th) of the Battle of Nations.   Forces were from the Napoleon’s Battles scenario book with the red cover.   The French were represented by Fitz (Ney), Jimbo (Murat), Joe (Napoleon I) and Joe’s friend Dave.  The Coalition forces were manned by Jeff (Schwarzenberg), Elliot (Kleist), Crow (Blucher) and yours truly as Wittgenstein.  

There were at least 1,000 miniatures on the table… it’s nice to know there are enough Napoleonic forces for any one rules set to do the largest battle of the period.   The only things missing were some cossacks and some Russian light (6-pdr) foot artillery.   Obviously I have some things to work on for next time.

Not having played NB in 4-5 years, I was a bit rusty at first, though things came back fairly quickly.   Taking the part of Wittgenstein, I was put in charge of two corps of Russian Infantry, a small cavalry corps of Russian Guard Lights, and Platov’s motley band ‘o’ cossacks.    Both Russian corps had massive amounts of artillery, and I was deployed in a fashion that set up a massive grand battery covered by the GLC.   I was facing Jimbo, who was running Victor’s and Lauriston’s infantry corps, supported by one of the French cavalry corps.

The armies deployed close to each other, so there was little room for maneuver.   About all I was able to do was move my main line forward maybe 500-700 yards, freeing up the main east/west road for Platov’s Cossacks to march up and deploy on the far right flank of the army, where they were able to screen Klenau’s arrival and pull off a French cavalry corps from the main reserve.

Overall, the battle on the southern front was a meat grinder.  Kleist attacked Poniatowski’s VIII Corps and got locked into a fight for Markleeburg & Dolitz.  Victor and Lauriston attacked in the jaws of the Russian Grand Battery several times, being beaten back but causing casualties among the Russian Artillery each time.  After a few turns Meerveldt’s Austrian corps started snaking up the road on the west bank of the Elbe and eventually became engaged in a struggle for Connewitz, with the village being the ultimate loser.   Eventually Klenau came on the board and executed a long march around the French left flank, getting ready to square off with Augereau’s corps.

On the northern flank, things got going more slowly but got interesting nonetheless.  Blucher came marching on in a very aggressive fashion and paid for it, with Ney launching an attack that managed to catch several of Blucher’s units in march column with the expected results.  It was not a good day for the Army of Silesia from the looks of it.

We called the game at about 13:00 time on the 16th.   Blucher had gotten his nose bloodied and was looking at a long afternoon squaring off with Ney and the northern flank.   On the southern flank, both armies were in tough shape.  KIeist’s II Prussian Corps was permanently fatigued, with only one functional brigade left.  My two Russian corps had lost most of their artillery, but the tough Russian infantry was still in pretty good shape, though Eugene’s Corps was down to one working brigade.   On the French side, Lauriston’s and Poniatowski’s Corps were on the brink of permanent shutdown, each with two combat-worthy brigades left.  Victor was in slightly better shape, but had lost a division on infantry and much of his artillery.  Most of the cavalry on both sides was either shattered or severely depleted.  The Allied corps in the best shape were the Austrians, but one of them (Meerveldt) was on the wrong bank of the Elbe and the other (Klenau) was too far away from the main action to influence anything.

The Allied reserves were about to come on, and they most likely would have been able to crush Poniatowksi and push in to the French line some, but the French Guards were heading our way as well, so it would have been another round of grinding down.   Both sides agreed that the day was probably a draw, which worked to the Allies’ advantage.  The reasoning behind this was that the French would have to seriously maul the Allies on Day One to avoid being bottled up inside the same perimeter that they historically fell back to, with all of the complications (threatened supply lines & line of retreat) that entailed.  

The battle was a fun time.  I think it would have moved faster had more people showed up, but it’s the start of cold season and the MMGA Recon was rescheduled on the same weekend.  It happens…

Here are some highlights of the battle:


  • Elliot’s Prussian Landwehr cavalry brigade covered itself in glory, single-handedly routing much of Poniatowski’s Corps early in the day.   
  • One of Platov’s Cossack brigades survived being charged by French Light Cavalry, beat them, and the lost control and charged into a second brigade who beat them down.   It was the only successful action for the cossacks all day… for a while I had three of four brigades swirling around Platov in a broken mess while he tried vainly to rally them.  I was rolling lots of 8’s & 9’s, which is no good.
  • One of Poniatowski’s surviving brigades held the town of Dolitz in the face of Kleist’s Corps for several hours before finally being ejected.
  • Napoleon deciding to arbitrarily strip Ney of a cavalry corps to try and plug a hole on the southern front.  
  • Russian infantry failing square rolls several times and still beating back French Light cavalry… gotta love that ‘5’ rout number.


All in all it was an enjoyable time.  We will be doing another big brawl sometime in the spring.


4 Responses to “Leipzig Refight – Nov 22nd, 2008”

  1. 1 Jeff November 25, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    There were slightly less than 1000 stands of figures pulled for the game. Putting about 4000 figures available.

    We did not put the Army of Bohemia Reserve and Two Corps of Russians from the Army of Silesia (and what ever else Fitz forgot to put out for the French). That puts us at about 3700 Figures give or take a couple.

  2. 2 Bart November 25, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    Fair enough… I was trying to avoid over-stating the number of figures on the table… it was a grand sight at any rate!

  3. 3 Joe November 25, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    “Napoleon deciding to arbitrarily strip Ney of a cavalry corps to try and plug a hole on the southern front. ”

    Arbitrarily? I was simply trying to steal back one of the four Corps that Ney kept for himself and did not have have historically. 🙂

    No wonder Blucher got creamed. heh.

    Great game, I look forward to the next one. Excellent recap BJ.

  4. 4 Bart November 25, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    Sorry… I should have written “Napoleon ordered Ney’s reserve cavalry south, as was his imperial right.” 🙂

    Thanks for your kinds words. 🙂

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