Back in August 2015 WR wrote up his 1809 napoleonic scenario on the Battle of Raab, featuring Viceroy Eugene and his Armee d’Italie vs. Archduke Johann & Joseph and their Insurrection army of Hungary. Planning for this scenario last year, WR painted up ten Insurrection battalions (10×10) and ten Insurrection hussar regiments (10×8) required for playing Raab, mostly from old Brunswick casting. Definably not the typical napoleonic unit fielded or painted for the tabletop and really a “one use” collection of miniatures for playing historical battles. So with miniatures painted, banners affixed, and based, it is time to play out the Battle of Raab 1809.
Joined by five local gamers, the player side teams are formed. Team Franco-Italian-Baden played by Dan, Andy, and Luis. Team Austria to be commanded by John, Rob, and Daniel. WR positioned himself as the GM with spare pair of hands. Early in the scenario proceedings, Rob had to exit the field and Luis never showed for reasons unknown. Daniel was pulled for race car prep duty by his brother….. thus four final gamers nobly carried out the duties of miniature commanding. Dan and Andy on the Franco-Italian-Baden team and John and WR for team Austria, Special mention must be made for the culinary team Raquel for finishing the Hungarian stew, setting out the gamer snacks, and various drinks for mid game meal.
After a brief player orientation for the scenario and command / miniature identification, the scenario commenced about 10am and played into the early evening hours, finishing eighteen turn of lively action and rendering a decision. WR has broken this AAR into two parts due to the shear length and photos. Part I to cover the tabletop action up till 1420 hours scenario time, and the second part will be posted to WR, for the balance of the scenario, next week.
Wooden block tabletop use is covered in this earlier WR blog posting: Wooden blocks
Tabletop terrain is flat in most areas with two hills or heights on the Austrian side. The heights of Szabadhegy is a low rise overlooking the lower open plain, with a smaller hillock towards Raab. Local farms and fields dot the tabletop, single buildings and symbolic fields. The village of Szabadhegy and Kismegyer farm have special Austrian rules for retaining control. The entrenched camp and Raab fortress are just off the northern map corner. Lastly, the two streams which cause movement difficulties for the French curve across the tabletop. Both are terrain disordering for close order formations and for cavalry the Pandzsa has special crossing rules.
French and Allies OOB, placement on tabletop or reserve arrival time and starting orders. Additional specific unit details found in the Raab 1809 scenario notes file (.doc):
Army of Italy HQ (Eugene) D6 with HQ attachments
Italian Guard Division (Fontanelli) enters 1400 hours D6 with Strategic March order
Sahuc Lt. Cavalry Division enters 1200 hours A6 with Strategic March order
Baden Division (Lauriston) enters 1200 hours B6 with Strategic March order
2nd Dragoon Division (Pully) enters 1240 hours A6 with Strategic March order
Cavalry Corps HQ (Grouchy) F6 with Advance position order
Advance Guard Cavalry (Montbrun) F6 with Engage order and in Battle mode
1st Dragoon Division (Guien/Grouchy) enters 1200 hours F6 with Strategic March order
Left Corps HQ (Baraguey d’Hilliers) C6 with Advance position order
Italian Division (Severoli) C6 with March order
Pachrod Division C6 with March order
Center Corps HQ (Grenier) E6 with Advance position order
Seras Division E6 with March order
Durette Division E6 with March order
Right Corps HQ (McDonald) enters 1600 hours H6 with Advance position order
Lamarque Division (Lamarque) enters 1600 hours H6 with Strategic March order
French Army supply train enters 1300 hours A6 after 2nd Dragoon Division
Austrian OOB placement on tabletop or reserves and starting orders:
Army of Inner Austria HQ (Johann) E3 (12lb batteries, Pontoon train & Pontooniers detached)
Jellacie Division B2, C2 and D2 with Defend order
Colloredo Division D3 and E3 with Defend order
Left flank cavalry (Mecsery) F3 and G3 with Engage order
Reserve Division (Frimont) D1 and E1 with Reserve order
Right flank cavalry (Besan) A2 with Engage order
Entrenchment Camp Detachment* (Mesko) F3 with Engage order
1100 scenario start turn: The Raab scenario starts with the 1100 hour turn and potentially can last till nightfall at 1800 hours. That time period gives the Franco-Italian-Baden (French) player team 21 scenario turns to clear the Austro-Hungarian Insurrection (Austrian) army from the tabletop and secure a major victory. Prior to 1100 hours, the French side basically marched several rear-area divisional commands nearer to the battlefield (off table) before battle commencement. While the French marched closer, the Austrians spent the morning hours transferring several Insurrection cavalry “regiments” from their right flank (in the entrenched camp off table) to their open left flank as the infantry battalions prepared to meet the French assault.
About 1100 hours, the forward on-table French cavalry and infantry divisions started to advance across the open board plain and approach the Austrians behind the Pandzsa stream. Seeing their exposed forward HQ position, the Austrian trains and headquarter staff beat a quick retreat toward the rear area of Szabadhegy village, no doubt heckled by the nearby Austrian and Insurrection battalions.
1120 and 1140 hours: Little happens while the French marched forward, closing the open gap between the armies. Austrians await the French attack in place behind the Pandzsa stream. Finally, about 1140 hours, the leading French cavalry division under GD Montburn nears the Austrian left flank cavalry command under FML von Mecsery. Both player teams place their miniature regiments upon the tabletop per the wooden block deployment rules.
Note: Basically, wooden block commands are placed upon the tabletop in their respective grid square(s) when commands enter adjacent grid squares, or the command can threaten by long-range firepower (12 pdr. for example) or cavalry charge. Scouting and spotting / visibility rules extend the distance for information collection which is forwarded to the senior HQ teams (and owning player side). The wooden block system allows players to move large miniature armies on the tabletop, without physical miniature movement, till the miniatures are within normal combative ranges for artillery and cavalry. They also provide hidden movement, false information (dummy), and size of force information denial.
In the center GD Durette’s French infantry division approaches the Pandzsa stream and the Kismegyer farm position with GD Seras’ division slightly behind and to their left. Across the stream, the center wing command under FML Colloredo watch the French divisional approach.
Note: Miniature ratio is 1:90 for this scenario or one miniature represents ninety men. WR’s historical scenarios have a floating miniature ratio commonly between 1:80 and 1:100. Basic units are battalions of infantry (4 to 10 miniatures), regiments of cavalry (3 to 12), and batteries of artillery (cannon miniature with crew on variable width size bases). Infantry, and to a limit degree cavalry, can deploy individual miniatures as skirmishers before their parent units. Screening in our rules is a big thing….and the lack of ready available Austrian skirmishers later in the scenario created Austrian difficulties.
Near Szabadhegy, FML Jellacie’s right-wing command sees the nearing GD Pachrod infantry division followed by GD Severoli Italians in their white coats.
1200 hours: Battle is joined with the first cannon shots booming across the open Hungarian plain. On the French right GD Montburn’s light cavalry has reached the Pandzsa stream and start to deploy and shift southeast seeking open crossing while watching the swirling Austrian cavalry mass on the opposite bank. GD Durette and his infantry division likewise march near the Pandzsa stream and the well-fortified Kismegyer farm.
Note: Pandzsa stream has special rules for crossing, especially for cavalry. Close rank infantry costs 4″ of their movement, double our typical stream movement cost. Specifically for cavalry crossing, if the regiment starts the Movement phase adjacent to the stream felt edge, they pay 6″ of their movement ability and end their movement in morale disordered status after crossing. Normally cavalry units just pay a movement cost but retain good morale status after crossing. Artillery batteries or train units can only cross the stream at one of the four bridges. Open order formations, both cavalry and infantry, pay zero movement cost while crossing, they have no need to maintain ranks or formation per se. The nearby Viczay stream is simply a 2″ movement cost for all closed order formations. Pandzsa and Viczay streams are terrain disordering if the unit miniatures are positioned on the stream felt if engaged in shock combat.
1220 hours: French light cavalry (chasseurs a’ cheval), with GD Montburn, cross the Pandzsa stream. With the special Pandzsa rules in play, the chasseurs end their movement in morale disorder but no Austrian cavalry was positioned to charge home. During Austrian movement, the Vezprom Insurrection Hussars arrived before the stationary French chasseur regiment across the Viczay stream. Later on, before the next French movement, they tried a charge…. and failed to charge.
In battle center and left flank, more French battalions approach the Pandzsa stream bank. Infantry divisions under Durette, Seras, Pachrod, and Italians under Severoli are under long-range cannon fire from the Austrian batteries. French batteries return with round shot into the screened Austrian ranks.
While the three leading French divisions and one Italian arrive at the Pandzsa stream bank, the start of charge and countercharge action develops along the Pandzsa and Viczay streams. French light cavalry (chasseurs and hussar regiments) cross the Pandzsa with difficultly, before the slowly arriving Austrian cavalry, mostly insurrection hussars, achieve good position. Only two regular Austrian hussar regiment form the backbone of the Austrian left flank cavalry command under FML Mecsery. Good French cavalry vs. limited Austrian hussar regulars and poorly trained insurrection hussars, behind a great defensive position, will be the cavalry story on this battlefield.
On Austrian right, FML Jellacie and Obert Besan’s Reserve cavalry command form along the Pandzsa stream. 1st Banal Grenzer #10 sets up skirmisher positions along the stream bank. Few Austrian regulars in this front sector, mostly insurrection hussars, insurrection battalions, or landwehr. The grenzers are the best infantry or unit and only two battalions of them.
1240 hours: While French or Italian infantry battalions march and position themselves before the Austrian main battle lines, the French 20th Chasseurs a’ cheval sound their trumpeters and charge across the Viczay stream. Before them the Vezprom Insurrection Hussar quickly fall into morale disorder. Testing the Ott Hussars with FML Mecsery next, they fail their morale test, another regiment in morale disorder. Only the Heves Insurrection Hussars hold ranks to receive the charge.
Note: Declaring a cavalry charge has two stages: First determine if the unit actually starts their charge (morale test), then the enemy units not in square formation, need morale tests to pass. The closer distance to the declared charging unit, the worse the charge morale Combat Morale Rating (CMR) adjustments. The number of testing units to receive charge is limited to the number of charging miniatures… a five miniature unit causes up to five receiving charge morale tests. For the photos, a red short charge arrow labels a unit as charged in the Declared Cavalry Charge phase, or offensive charge. A blue short arrow marker determines all other charge formats; opportunity charge caused by enemy movement within 4″ of frontal facing, enemy cavalry in state of charge again within 4″ frontal, or enemy cavalry charging and defensive cavalry charge ordered.
Vezprom Insurrection Hussars put up a short fight but soon are routing rearward past the supportive (but morale disordered) Ott Hussars. During the stream bank melee, the French 20th Chasseurs a’ cheval morale disorder themselves from the combat so wisely pull up their charge before impacting the stationary elite Ott Hussars.
Arriving behind GD Montburn’s light cavalry, Grouchy’s own dragoon division in regimental columns of march. Will take a turn or two to form into battle and support the growing cavalry fight along the Pandzsa stream. Several other French cavalry regiments have crossed the Pandzsa stream further down away from the Austrian cavalry (7th & 9th Hussars with 7th Chasseurs). French battalions form into linear formation while waiting for the orders to assault across the Pandzsa stream, their voltigeur companies skirmishing with Austrian grenzers. Behind the French leading divisions, more French cavalry (Sahac) and the Baden brigade enter the open plain on French left flank. Seeing the growing French deployment, Frimont’s Reserve division advances behind the chapel and FML Colloredo’s tense infantry.
1300 hours: Two game hours completed on the tabletop has both armies in firm embrace of battle. On the southern front, having rallied the 20th Chasseurs standing in the Viczay stream, GD Montburn orders more charges across the forward French light cavalry line. French sabers drawn, the French 20th Chasseurs and 9th Hussars charge forward into the Austrian cavalry. Breaking into overly enthusiastic Zemplin Insurrection Hussars, the 9th Hussars break through and send the insurrection hussars rearward. Nearby Austrian countercharge sends the Ott Hussars into the 20th Chasseurs just as they exit the Viczay stream with GD Montburn forefront. Both sides are terrain disordered, but the elite Ott Hussars break the 20th Chasseurs fighting spirit. Reining their wet horses around, the 20th Chasseurs retire past the exposed flank of the arriving 7th Chasseurs a’ cheval, taking Montburn with them for the moment.
Note: Shock phase morale testing creates individual units Combat Morale Rating (CMR) adjustment of a natural 1 or 0 rolled (d10). A natural “1” raises the CMR +1 (controlled determination in combat) for the remainder of the current Shock Phase. A natural “0” lowers the CMR -1 (men are overly enthusiastic, wild etc). Any CMR adjustments rolled are removed once the Shock phase is completed. For the photos, a light green hexagonal marker +1 CMR, a red hexagonal marker -1 CMR. Only used during a Shock phase then removed.
Zemplin Insurrection Hussars, while being over enthusiastic, still inflict loss on the 9th Hussars and morale disorder, before being forced to retire and rally.
Having broken the Zemplin Insurrection Hussars, the 9th Hussars continue their disordered charge forward into the Heves Insurrection Hussars, which promptly counter-charges with “extra wild gusto” again. Seems to be a trait for the insurrection troops this game.
Seeing the exposed 7th Chasseurs a; cheval open column flank, and still morale disorder from just crossing the Pandzsa stream, the Ott Hussars crush the 7th Chasseurs completely from the French battle order.
Continuing their successful charge, the Ott Hussar next encounter the flank of the 7th Hussars. But with tired horses and terrain disorder from the Viczay stream, the Ott Hussars are repulsed after strong sword play.
Austrians have dragged their two 12 pdr. positional batteries into the front lines besides the chapel. French voltiguers and legere skirmishers still trade shots across the Pandzsa with the token Austrian grenzer presence. The lack of good Austrian skirmishers at Raab soon starts to become a major Austrian problem.
1320 hours: French skirmishers start to cross the Pandzsa stream, while the supporting battalions gingerly head for the stream waters. Flank cavalry action and charges erupts again as the French cavalry seek lodgment on the eastern Pandzsa bank.
Note: In the scenario notes there is an hourly morale fatigue adjustment (MFP) for the Austrians if they control the Kismegyer farm building and all the buildings of Szabadhegy village from 1400 hours onwards. So the French side is sort of pressured to assault early (historically) and try to seize the farm and one Szabadhegy village building vs. a strategy of stand-off to artillery bombard the Austrian Insurrection and landwehr battalions to ruin.
Austrian reaction to the French 7th Hussar charge is swift. The Ott Hussars about-face and form ranks to counter-charge. More insurrection hussar regiments ride alongside and a larger cavalry battle is brewing. FML Mecsery is riding about keeping morale up while engaging the skillful French light cavalry.
Note: Offensive cavalry charges are declared just before the other side’s Movement phase. So in effect there is opportunity to react with half speed movement and counter the forming charge if regiments pass their receiving morale test for being in the declared angular charge zone.
Cavalry charges can have the charging horsemen movement go the entire distance of 12-16″ (depends on weight), and additional 6″ for extended charge. So a cavalry regiment can fight, win, and continue new engagements out to their charge distance. So, after winning the Zemplin melee, the 7th Hussars continue the charge movement and crash into their battle tested opposite, the Ott Hussars. Personally, FML Mecsery leads again from the front, and the Ott Hussar are victorious over the 7th Hussars while the nearby Heves Insurrection Hussars look on.
Since most of the game photos so far have been taken from the Austrian side, WR walked around to the French viewpoint and scenario perspective.
Italian division under GD Severoli arrives before the Pandzsa stream, soon joined by the French light cavalry division under Sahac. Italian Queen’s Dragoons (Regina) charged forward… to clear the bridge of Austrian skirmishers, then pulled up after a brief movement distance, after seeing the Austrian gunners.
1340 hours: The comical charge. The single squadron of Kienmayer / Liechtenstein Hussars closed ranks and called a charge at the 20th Chasseurs. Seeing the onrushing squadron, the 20th Chasseur skirmisher screen quickly retired to the parent’s regiment support. Then, after a brief trot forward, counter-charged the sole Austrian squadron. Losing the outnumbered fight, the Liechtenstein Hussars retired to uncover the waiting Elsenburg Insurrection Hussars, who promptly counter-charged. Clash of swords left the Elsenburgers the worse, as they retired being chased by the 20th Chasseurs a’ cheval.
Entering the Pandzsa stream, GD Durette’s division comes under Austrian artillery fire. Several batteries, including two 12 pdr., draw aim on the advancing French infantry columns. Before them, the weak and only 1st Szulin Grenzer battalion screen before the French masses.
1400 hours: Three hours of game time completed and the French haven’t assaulted either Kiemegyer farm or Szabadhegy village yet with a hasty attack. Austrians gain some needed MFP relief (10 points) against their running army fatigue total but know the next hour of game time will face serious French divisional assaults in massed formations. While the French infantry divisions of Durette, Seras, Pachrod cross the Pandzsa stream, the northern front near Raab fortress faces new pressure from the Italian division and arriving French light cavalry under GD Sahac. As mentioned before, the Austrian Reserve cavalry division is composed mostly of Insurrection hussars (two large regiments) and backstop by much reduced campaign stressed regulars from different Austrian regiments. Team Austria is not looking forward to those future encounters.
Back to the southern open plains…. the cavalry of both sides seek advantage on the other side. Opening the turn the Zemplin Insurrection Hussars are back, declaring a charge to force back the disorder 20th Chasseurs a’ cheval positioned within the Austrian lines.
Seeing the flanking charge in time, the 20th Chasseurs a’ cheval slowly retire to a better position, basically out of the charge distance of the Zemplin Insurrection Hussars who perform a classic “pump fake” charge after 4″ of movement. Meanwhile, the first dragoon regiment (7th) has crossed the Pandzsa stream and moves forward to engage the Austrian cavalry. Seeing the advancing dragoons, the Vezprom Insurrection Hussars again counter-charge. After clearing away a chasseur screen, the sword fight with the dragoons was short…. for the Hungarians, as they retire forthwith to the rear.
Note: Any charging cavalry regiment, at the minimum, must move forward 4″ or fight in a melee combat. They can move up to the full charge distance or reduced distance at player whim…. but at least 4″.
Having completed the French half of the game turn, the next phase is French Declared Cavalry charges… and off they go. Both hussar regiment declare charges (7th and 9th) as directed by GD Montburn nearby. Montburn’s division has reached 20% loss level… so -1 CMR for divisional morale tests hereon, but for now the elite hussars don’t care.
While the cavalry charges about down south…. the center has become active. All three French divisions have battalion columns crossing the Pandzsa stream. GD Durette crossing near Kismegyer farm, GD Seras above the farm, and GD Pachrod near the Szabadhegy bridge. Even the Italians under GD Severoli support the effort to enter Szabadhegy village by sending in supportive columns. Serious heat is now on the Austrian forward battle line formed with FML Colloredo and Jellacie’s commands backed by the arriving reserve under FML Frimont.
Sahac’s light cavalry division forms along the Pandzsa, one enterprising Chasseur regiment (25th) sees an opportunity to cross under the inattentive eyes of the Szala Insurrection Hussars. Oberst Besan sees the problem and rides over to join his troopers as a French horse battery send shot into their ranks.
Note: The Szala and Sumegh Insurrection Hussar regiment were huge at Raab… 11 and 12 miniatures respectively. So WR had to draft in some Austrian uhlan miniatures to size up the regiments since he painted all his insurrection hussar with eight miniature sized regiments.
Back south. The French first hussar wave (7th) crashes into the Heves Insurrection Hussars. Another wild overly enthusiastic response from the Hungarians, who counter-charge but are quickly sent flying to the rear but not before inflicting French hussar loss. Death by a thousand Hungarian sword cuts….GD Montburn’s cavalry is bleeding miniature strength with exchanges.
By crossing the 4″ frontal arc of the Ott Hussars, the French 7th Hussars triggered a counter-charge opportunity trigger. With the Austrian shock option up, the Ott Hussars charge into the rallied by battered 20th Chasseurs a’ cheval. Not this time will they retire. The 20th Chasseurs are determined to win and they repulse the elite Ott Hussars with FML Mecsery attached.
Note: Shock options is a simple way to have both sides “ping-pong” the movement or selection of shock combats. Players can elect to perform a charge movement into miniature contact (with cavalry), perform infantry shock action (already marched last movement phase into base to base contact), or deny the shock option aka “pass”,which then reverts option to the other side. Neither team side can “double deny”…twice in a row. On second option opportunity or round, the player must perform a shock action if capable of. If only infantry shock combat involved, only the Phasing Shock player side has the shock options unless counter-charging cavalry opportunities are triggered or created by unit movements.
Seeing the massed French columns crossing the stream near the bridge, the Austrian forward infantry advance to normal musketry range. Musket volleys roar out and miniatures start to drop (removed) from play. Additional losses mount nearby from the French line batteries sending round shot and canister into the insurrection ranks… causing morale disorder.
Note: We represent morale disorder status by turning one miniature around within the unit. Routing units are moved and have the bases slightly stacked, in mass formation, facing (running) away from the enemy.
Gd Durette, while leading his men across the Pandzsa, is hit and seriously wounded. Several Austrian batteries rain shot and shell into his division’s ranks, struggling to secure a firm lodgment on the eastern bank.
For the midday lunch, WR had prepared a Hungarian stew dish (Porkolt) for the attending players that morning. This continues his scenario matched lunch theme for his larger monthly warren games. The Porkolt recipe: Hungarian Stew Porkolt (.doc). As the gamers munch down the Porkolt stew, this makes for a convent break point in the AAR narrative for the Raab battle. The next installment for the WR blog will cover the final half of the Battle of Raab 1809 (1420 hours turn to conclusion).
Cheers from the warren for now. Raab 1809 AAR part II in the typing pool.
Update: Part II of Battle of Raab AAR posted and linked: Battle of Raab 1809 AAR Pt II