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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

9 March 1813 – Battle of Brunswick

Tactical map of battle area

Background to battle
All four French and four Prussian corps have orders to attack
Prussian – 54000 infantry, 4000 cavalry, 120 guns
French – 53600 infantry, 3900 cavalry, 120 guns

Redeployment prior to battle

This is a very difficult battle to wargame.
The two armies are not facing each other squarely
Each has one corps facing open ground
The wargames table is not large enough to deploy this formation
Flank marches are not possible during the wargame itself
So the army which has its four corps on the table has an advantage

To overcome this problem I have allowed the Prussian army to redeploy
During the night of 8/9 March 1st, 2nd and 4th Prussian corps have redeployed
They have marched one square to their right
At first both armies have three corps facing each other, and one in reserve

3rd Prussian and 13th French will both arrive on the table at the start of move 1
Table at start of wargame

Each army has three corps on the table at the start of the game
They are shown on blinds, which enables hidden movement
When they come within 20” they are in sight, and the blinds are replaced with figures
Each side has one corps off table, who will both arrive at the start of the game.
Both armies advance and deploy out of sight of the enemy
The leading corps deploy into column of attack
3rd Prussian and 13th French corps arrive in column of march
Both armies advance into 20” range and sight each other
The blinds are replaced by figures
Napoleon orders 4th corps to engage the farm and 1st corps the woods in the centre
The rest of the French army wait for orders
Blucher orders 1st corps to engage the farm on the right
The remainder of the Prussian army wait for orders

All artillery open fire
4 Prussian ordered to engage woods in centre
1 Prussian enter woods on right
1 French artillery hit infantry, who pass morale
3 French ordered to engage right hand woods
13 French ordered to advance in centre between woods
1 Prussian artillery hit infantry, who fail morale and are shaken
1 Prussian cavalry charge French dragoons, melee is a draw both disordered
2 Prussian ordered to engage farm
1 French artillery hit Prussian cavalry, who pass morale
1 French infantry skirmish in woods in centre, no casualties
4 French in farm receive artillery casualties, pass morale
2 Prussian attacking farm receive skirmish casualties, pass morale
1 French (Old Guard) cavalry charge artillery, receive 20% casualties and rout
1 French (Old Guard) in woods receive skirmish casualties, fail morale and shaken
4 Prussian attacking woods receive skirmish casualties, fail morale and shaken
13 Polish shaken infantry fail morale and rout
3rd Prussian do not have sufficient space to deploy
3 French and 1 Prussian cavalry break melee contact and retreat
3 French and 1 Prussian infantry skirmish for control of woods
At the end of this round Napoleon orders the Old Guard to attack through woods

Guard fight for woods
Guard cavalry charge Prussian artillery to the left of the woods
They start with 10% casualties, and receive another 10% from artillery fire
Fail morale, fail to charge home, turn and rout
Nearby Guard infantry in woods pass morale test for nearby rout
All four Guard infantry brigades are in the woods
The leading left hand brigade has won firefight and Prussian infantry are shaken
The leading right hand brigade has lost firefight, failed morale and is shaken
Both reserve infantry brigades started the battle with 10% casualties
At this point Napoleon orders the guard to attack.

4th French garrison farm and force 2nd Prussian artillery to retire
2nd Prussian infantry skirmish with garrison, but no casualties
1st French (Guard) attack through woods and rout shaken Prussian brigade
4th Prussian artillery shaken by rout and forced to retire
4th Prussian infantry continue to skirmish for woods, no casualties
3rd Prussian artillery hit Polish lancers, who make their morale with 10% casualties
13th Polish continue to skirmish for woods
1st Prussian cavalry charge and rout French dragoons
3rd French corps skirmish for woods, Prussian infantry hold despite 10% casualties
Blucher orders 4th corps to Hold due to casualties
Napoleon orders 3rd corps to attack woods
4th French infantry skirmish for farm, result draw
2nd Prussian shaken infantry faill morale and rout
1st French infantry continue attack on left of main road
1st French infantry lose melee on right of main road, two brigades rout
4th Prussian have two brigades and gunners in rout
4th Prussian infantry win melee for right hand woods
13th French continue skirmish for woods, result draw
3rd Prussian cavalry charge and rout gunners
3rd French infantry attack woods on right, result draw
1st Prussian cavalry charge gunners, who evade into nearby square

Both armies have suffered heavy casualites and have multiple brigades in rout
Neither are in any condition to continue the battle
Both commanders order a cease fire and reorganisation
French have 5600 infantry, 300 cavalry and 200 gunner casualties,
Prussians have 6000 infantry and 100 gunner casualties

The battle is a draw
On 10 March both armies will spend the day regrouping and reorganising
The French will hold Brunswick
The Prussians will withdraw to establish the “no mans land” square

Battle Summary
The battle opened with both armies just outside artillery range of each other
All corps required orders to engage or attack
As a Gifted commander Napoleon was able to issue orders faster than Blucher
Consequently the French corps advanced first
They occupied the farm on the left, and the woods centre and right
The three forward Prussian corps were soon contesting all three features
3rd Prussian corps found it difficult to advance through the high ground and deploy
Napoleon ordered the Guard to attack the woods in the centre
The division on the left of the road routed the Prussian defenders
The division on the right were themselves routed by the Prussians
The Prussian artillery proved superior to the French gunners
The two flanks held, but both were badly mauled.
Throughout the battle Napoleon had left the garrison in Brunswick
He now ordered his army to retreat to the city and regroup
Blucher was in no condition to pursue, he also ordered his army to regroup
The French have lost 6100 casualties and have five brigades in rout
The Prussians have lost 6100 casualties and have five brigades in rout

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