Continuing with the second part of WR’s Battle of Raab 1809 Part II AAR. To read the Raab 1809 Part I, please click on this link: Battle of Raab 1809 AAR Pt I. For the prior WR background article on the battle click this link: Battle of Raab 1809.
1420 hours: After the Hungarian lunch served on the warren patio, the Franco-Italian-Baden players set to work mounting several divisional assaults along the Pandzsa stream defense while slowly winning the open plain southern cavalry fight. Dense columns of French infantry cross the Pandzsa and impact the defending Austrian formations, consisting mostly of weak landwehr or large Insurrection battalions.
Note: Mentioned in first article part, the 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 on base with crew miniature, width of base determines number of cannon). 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.
On the open southern plain, the French light cavalry has earned a firm lodgment against the best efforts of FML Mecsery and his left flank cavalry. Like the infantry up north on the Szabadhegy heights, the majority of the Austrian cavalry regiment are insurrection hussars. More French dragoon regiments (Grouchy’s division) cross the Pandzsa stream and join the weary light cavalry of GD Montburn.
Northern sector sees the daring 25th Chasseurs a’ cheval reforming on the exposed flank of the Szala Insurrection hussars. Pinned in place, the disordered Szala hussars cannot face both direction against the threatening French cavalry while being shelled by the French horse battery across the Pandzsa.
French assaults…. first the battered but determined 22nd Legere, backed by a column of supportive battalions, clear the Hungarian IR #62 Franz Jellacie battalion holding the gateway. French 8 pdr. batteries across the Pandzsa stream fire repeatedly into the high walled enclosure causing Hungarian losses to mount.
Further up the Pandzsa, the combined Franco-Italian assault forces back the initial Austrian defensive line composed of insurrection and landwehr battalions. A second Austrian line forms, with battalions of Frimont’s Reserve division, behind the crumpled first line containing future French advances. Meanwhile, French foot batteries pound another insurrection battalion into bloody ruin and rout. GD Seras rides about leading and commanding additional battalions to march up the Szabadhegy slope. Suddenly he slumps in the saddle, shot in the chest.
As the French attack the Austrian Pandzsa front positions, their southern flank cavalry regiments trot forward to increase the Austrian discomfort with charges across the open plain.
1440 hours: General Seras is taken away to met the senior surgeon. His battalions, forming several battalion in line, follow each other up the Szabadhegy slope. Leading the grand column is the 1st Legere. Ahead two insurrection battalions (Komorn & Szala) stand in linear formation, backed by landwehr forming another line. French foot artillery batteries redoubles their effort to bombard the Austrian front line battalions. Nearby Austrian positional 6 pdr. battery rakes the column before another French battalion covers the battery’s front with musketry smoke.
Northern cavalry action starts with the light cavalry of GD Sahac. A long narrow column, formed of the 8th Chasseurs, forms to charge over the post-house bridge. The French horse battery shifts position to engage the Austrian kavalry battery covering the bridge while the 9th Chasseurs a’ cheval cross the Pandzsa stream, thus joining the 25th Chasseurs already across. Austrian response… retire quickly with the forward exposed Szala Insurrection sub-unit detachment, and ride forward with the 2nd half sub-unit Szala detachment. The 3 pdr. kavalry battery unlimbered to cover the bridge, and sees the forming 8th Chasseurs effort to charge.
Note: Large cavalry regiments of eight or more miniatures can spilt into two sub-units, with the 2nd half sub unit -1 CMR for morale tests. For this scenario, the large Szala and Sumegh Insurrection regiments were spilt in half to make the large regiments more manageable.
Southern front has 30th Dragoon, a large regiment of eight miniatures, declaring their charge while the 7th Hussars ride forward on their right. Austrian Zemplin Insurrection hussars quick try to hold their position but fall into morale disorder. The resulting shock combat is quick…. Zemplin hussars written off from the Austrian roster.
With Seras marching up the slope, French cavalry wiping another insurrection hussar regiment from the tabletop, GD Pachrod’s division changes out to line and advances to blast the weak landwehr and Freicorps screen. GD Severoli sends an Italian column against the first building of Szabadhegy village.
Quickly, the forward insurrection battalions of Szala and Kormorn dissolve in front of the approaching French column. The musketry battle was short-lived, both sides suffered but the trained French pushed on. Only a thin line of landwehr battalions and the IR #61 St Julien battalion stand in their way. Archduke Johann rides up behind his landwehr and consults with FML Frimont, ordering the Reserve division forward.
Austrian Movement phase completed, time for the French Shock phase to commence. First the French charged the 8th Chasseurs a’ cheval over the bridge toward Raab. Raked by the 3 pdr. in passing, the 8th Chasseur column charges home. Szala Insurrection regiment 2nd sub-unit counter-charged led by Oberst Besan. Sword play ended with the 8th being repulsed and retire back across the narrow bridge.
Remains of two French battalions, led by GD Durette himself, clear the last defenders of Kismegyer yard. Austrian pioneer detachment garrisoning Kismegyer knows they are next for French attention. At Szabadhegy village, the leading Italian battalion charges into the forefront building and seized the building from the 1st Bruck landwehr battalion.
1500 hours: Seeing a Hungarian columnar counter-attack to retake the Szabadhegy building (IR #19 Alvintzi), the Italians form another column prepared to assault the same building again if the defenders fail to hold and garrison. Welcome to the world of town fighting… assault followed by assault. Musketry rages outside the village as several French battalions seek to force back the skirmishing freicorps and Oquilin Grenzer battalion.
The “grand column” of Seras’ division advances to assault the last Austrian landwehr line. French trained regulars vs. Austrian landwehr…. guess the result. Austrian Oqulin #3 Grenzers skirmish to protect the linear IR #19 Alvintzi formation positioned to the landwehr’s right. FML Frimont prepares to march his reserve grenadier battalions forward to counter the advance of Seras’ division.
French cavalry trot forward on the southern open plain. Austrian Ott Hussars close rank to stem the French charge. Trumpeters sound the pace…. the 20th Chasseurs in column, the 7th Hussar in line, their horse quicken the pace.
Two cavalry lines charge home…. the 7th Hussars led by GD Montburn and Ott Hussars led by FML Mecsery. Both elite cavalry, both have fought several combats today on the battlefield. Dice please….
Note: WR’s has collected sets of nationalistic naploeonic era dice for use on the tabletop. The d6 dice come from Dice of War based in Australia. Link to their website: Dice of War
Currently the Dice of War company produces napoleonic, WWII, and some modern era dice. The napoleonic era has:
France (2 versions), Duchy of Warsaw, Russia, Scotland, Prussia (2 versions), Austria, Spain, Bavaria, Wurttemberg and Britain (union flag).
Seeing the approaching massive French column come up the slope… the landwehr battalions fired one volley then took to their feet rearward. Archduke Johann was ready, along with FML Frimont who ordered the four grenadier battalions to form line and hold the center. Trying to stem the landwehr exit rush, FML Colloredo was wounded in the leg. Meanwhile, one French legere battalion broke from the massive column and marched towards the nearby Austrian 12 pdr. batteries. Seeing their peril, the battery commanders shifted target and wheeled about to engage the legere battalion. Weak musketry peppered the crews, who calmly charged the hot cannon with canister.
More trumpeters sound on the northern sector. Sahac’s light cavalry form and charge home near the post-house. Front rank has the 9th Chasseurs a’ cheval, followed by the 25th Chasseurs. The small Italian Regina Dragoons cross the stream to threaten the 3 pdr. kavalry battery flank. WR rolls his receiving charge morale tests….. poor luck as several regiments fail their test and become morale disordered. The 3 pdr. crew become morale disordered. WR senses a looming disaster…. we just plugged the center Szabadhegy heights, the southern open plain has roaming French cavalry, and now the northern sector has major morale status problem.
Seeing the Szala Hussars rout past, the small converged chevauleger regiment (Hohenzollern / O’Reilly) is thrown into morale disorder. Oberst Besan is besides himself, as he sees the other sub-unit of Szala Hussar behind the chevaulegers also become morale disordered. The French charge is going to break open this sector…..
The Austrian northern flank has dissolved. Seven units of cavalry are in a state of rout. The flank now consists of a battalion of grenzer and several insurrection battalions. A big problem…. landwehr and insurrection battalion cannot form a proper square formation to protect themselves.
Trying to hold the center and tie up French battalions, the Austrian players elect to play their “Heroic unit” special card for the Kismegyer garrison. Hopefully this will make taking the farmstead building a lot harder for the French line grade infantry.
Note: Heroic card increases one unit’s CMR by +2 for duration of the scenario.
Austrian morale is sinking…. the battle is becoming a desperate battle on the flanks. The center is holding with commitment of FML Frimont’s Reserve division. Archduke Johann is riding up and down the line of grenadiers….. as volleys range out from both infantry lines. Suddenly, Archduke Johann is hit in the arm, a light wound but forces him to retire for two complete turns. Worse, the entire Austrian army CMR morale is stepped down one notch (-1) till he returns to command.
Lastly, the Italian column successfully reoccupied the front Szabadhegy building and kicks out the IR #19 Alvintzi battalion. No Austrian counter-attack in the offering, the Italian battalion settles in to garrison their prize, taking pop shots at nearby Austrian battalions.
1520 hours: Grouchy’s dragoons chase away the last token insurrection cavalry near the center Pandzsa bridge, leaving only the surrounded EH Josef Hussars to deal with positioned at the bridge.
French artillery sends round shot after round shot into the Kismegyer farm building. Even being rated class III (solid stonework), the shattered brickwork / failing timbers cause loss on the pioneer detachment. The Austrian “Heroic” unit is wilted down to one miniature.
After sending the insurrection hussars back into “Hungary”, the EH Josef Hussars are charged into their rear flank and scattered. Only four surviving miniatures bolt for the Szabadhegy heights, chased by French dragoons with blood stained swords.
Southern flank cleared, the tabletop scene changes to the embattled center and collapsing northern sector. French movements are subdued as they rally their cavalry and rest blown horses. The Italian skirmishers sortie forward to pepper the Austrian exposed ranks…landwehr and Insurrection. Not often we see the Dalmatian regiment (battalion) on the tabletop. Controlling one Szabadhegy building, the Italian massed column turns and marches a short distance to clear the defending battalion (Vezprom Insurrection) near the bridge.
For team Austria, time to take stock of the situation. Quickly the 1st Banal Grenzer battalion forms a square to “anchor” the northern front line, really only partially block French cavalry that threatens the insurrection and landwehr battalions with a flank charge. Next the 1st Elsenburg Insurrection battalion forms linear formation to present a “bold” front…the Austrian team chuckle is heard across the table, but they cannot form a proper square with their poor training. Combining two weak IR #32 Esterhazy battalions, another small square is formed to blunt any breakthrough charges. Scatter a linear landwehr battalion here and there, and the Austrian front line is restored… for this turn.
Now for the central Szabadhegy heights battle. French linear battalion formations chase away the forward Oqulin Grenzer screen with massed volleys and cold bayonets. Several French battalions retire, the Austrian grenadiers are sending sheets of musketry into the packed French ranks, while receiving the same back as miniatures drop and are removed on both sides. Local Austrian success… but more French march up the bloody slope.
1540 hours: With Archduke Johann wounded, the senior Austrian army command structure is offline for now. Some of the routing northern flank cavalry (Obert Besan’s) regiments rally and present a “force in being” look. The French northern cavalry can smell the victory…but keep clear of the table edge as they reform to threaten the exposed FML Jellacie’s infantry. Raab fortress bastion cannon fire a salvo of heavy round shot to remind the French. Baden brigade prepares to cross the Pandzsa bridge near the post-house, still occupied by the sole 9th Jager miniature.
Near Szabadhegy village, the IR #19 Alvintzi sent in another battalion, clearing the Italians from the forward building. But outside, the Italian massed column impacts the Vezprom Insurrection battalion (guarding bridge) in flank, sending them running for the rear. French line battalions engage in musketry from Szabadhegy to the heights with the Austrian regulars. Both sides are losing miniatures at a steady clip and the MFP total is climbing.
Grenadiers vs. Seras’ French line battalions. Neither side is giving ground and the carnage continues. Several divisional commands have reached 20%+ loss levels, denoted by the round markers near their commander miniature. FML Colloredo’s Center wing division reaches 40% loss level. More French battalions march up the slope to reinforce the raging firefight. FML Frimont and his Reserve division try to hold the Austrian center together while Archduke Johann and FML Colloredo have their wounds attended. Kismegyer farm still occupied by the last pioneer detachment miniature as French artillery blasts the walls apart, brick by brick. GD Durette’s division in columns, having crossed the Pandzsa stream, march up the slope toward the Austrian 12 pdrs. and the garrisoned chapel.
Note: 20% loss equals -1 CMR for morale tests, 40% -2, and 60% -3 CMR. Hard for regulars to stand their ground in good order when facing -2 CMR (40%) morale tests unless fresh unit. And there are few “fresh” units up on the Szabadhegy heights.
The southern plain is quiet… several routing battalions of FML Colloredo’s command rout towards the rear. FML Mecsery’s Left flank cavalry command is over 40% losses. Several units rally… but the worn but victorious French cavalry is approaching.
Northern flank…. just gets worse from the Austrian viewpoint. FML Jellacie sees the reformed French cavalry (Sahac) trot forward. The 9th Chasseurs a’ cheval and Italian Regina dragoons form the front line. Both regiment sound the charge, French swords have recent Austrian or Hungarian blood staining the blades. Knowing what is coming, he watches as his infantry is cut down. The French horse battery sends shot into the disordered 1st Elsenburg Insurrection ranks, routing the battalion. Then the Italian Regina (Queen’s) Dragoons charge home on the grenzers in square. Seeing the routing Elsenburgers, the grenzers fail their morale test and become disordered. Before the Italian dragoons impact, the grenzers form line to given maximum firepower. One good volley empties one miniature saddle and the following shock melee kills the last Italian dragoon by exchange result. Receiving a second morale disorder, the grenzers to rout towards the rear. Now the 9th Chasseurs have a clear path to saber routing Austrian infantry….
1600 hours: There is really no good news for the Austrians. Their center on Szabadhegy height is holding but both flanks are gone or crumbling. In the north, the only good news is several intact Austrian cavalry regiments have rallied and reformed. Szabadhegy village is still Austrian controlled, along with the Kismegyer farm outpost behind French lines. With that oral report to Archduke Johann in hospital, the French start their next movements.
French reform their battalions around Kismegyer farm, in preparation again to seize the farm and evict its reduced pioneer detachment garrison. GD Durette also sends two columns uphill against the exposed 12 pdr. battery, positioned in front of the chapel. Musketry rages along the front fronts as Austrian grenadiers and line regulars face off against the French battalions of GD Seras. Both divisions have exceeded 20% loss, in fact the majority of commands on the tabletop have reached 20% losses if committed to battle. Only the French reserves…the Baden brigade, Pully’s dragoons, Italian guard, and the arriving corps of GD McDonald are fresh. For the Austrians, only the optional commands off tabletop are fresh, and only one has successfully been summoned to appear this turn (Tittus).
Note: Scenario has three optional Austrian commands held off table and, if used in scenario, require a d6 die roll (do every game turn) to be summoned. If a 6 is rolled, then the Austrian Archduke Johann successfully sent a timely messenger to a detachment listed below. Roll another 6D to determine which detachment command was summoned and mark Time Record sheet for arrival time. Once that detachment arrives on scenario tabletop, the Austrian senior player can resume rolling for another detachment command.
1-3 Flank detachment (Tittus) arrives after three hours delay, at J1, with Strategic March order.
4-5 Entrenchment Camp (Mesko) crosses Raab River, arrives after one-hour delay, at A1 or A2 with Engage order.
6 Raab Garrison (Pechy) exits fortress, arrives after one-hour delay, at A1 with Engage order. Fortress bastion cannon now inactive for scenario.
Austrian response to French actions by retiring the two 12 pdr. batteries. Touch and go, the batteries had to pass through several weak French opportunity fires before escaping the French assault. More musketry along the battlefront, French and Austrian locked in the deadly firefight.
Note: When units change formation or facing within a minimum fire zone… 2″ for musket armed infantry, 4″ for artillery, the changing or retiring unit suffers an additional enemy firepower (doubled). In most cases, the minimum fire zones pin units until one or the other retires from failed morale test as opportunity firepower is generally deadly to close order formations Artillery and skirmishers can retire somewhat easier due to their open order formation.
Out in the open southern plain, French cavalry regiments ride forward. After clearing away the rallied EH Josef Hussars again, only two weak insurrection hussar regiments are left. The 7th Hussar see retiring Austrian battalions to their front, running from the advance of Durette’s division. Further to the southeast, not shown in photos, the arrival of Major Tittus’ small detachment doesn’t even concern the French. With the same turn arrival of GD McDonald and GD Lamarque’s strong division, the Austrian detachment eventually will face GD Lamarque and any French cavalry chosen to stare them down. They are going nowhere fast… and hide near the farmstead for reports from Archduke Johann.
1620 hours: Archduke Johann recovers from his light wound and immediately orders “Army General Retreat” to his army. Time to retire, with fighting rearguard, and save the army for another day. Before the Austrian withdraw is completed, several additional turns of fighting. GD Durette assaults the chapel, Kismegyer farm quickly was overrun with a strong French column, and the French southern cavalry (7th Hussars) charged and destroyed two weak battalions from IR #27 Stassaldo. In the center or Szabadhegy heights, the remains of FML Frimont and Colloredo’s divisions disengage from the musketry battle and suffer additional loses in the process. Several battalions of Austrian line routed… but the grenadier battalions held morale and marched away. Seras and Pachrod’s’ battered infantry divisions didn’t contest the Austrian retirement having reached 40% and 20% loss respectfully assaulting the Szabadhegy heights. The two Austrian reserve 12 pdr. batteries never unlimbered… they kept marching east screened by units retiring. In Szabadhegy village, the Italian battalions let the hungarian infantry retire without much aggressive response since their division are at 30% loss. Up on the northern sector, the Baden brigade cleared the 9th Jager from the post-house, then covered the Raab fortress, preventing any sortie from the entrenchment camp or the fortress garrison. For Sahac’ light cavalry, they were stopped cold from pursuit by the rallied Austrian Reserve cavalry (Oberst Besan). Holding or charging, they held their front and somewhat redeemed Austrian honor by preventing the French northern cavalry pursuit. Finally, when GD Pully’s dragoon division arrived, their dragoon regimental charges cleared the last stubborn Austrian cavalry, and units, from the Raab battlefield at 1720 hours. Scenario over.
In summary: The French won their victory after nineteen turns of play. Austrians in full retreat and left the battlefield. Results somewhat matched the historical events, sectors of victory, and losses for both sides. Call it a “Minor victory” for the French due to the sustained losses in the Army of Italy. French generals Seras, Pachrod, and Sahac wounded. All will return to service. Austrians had FML Colloredo wounded and importantly, Archduke Johann was nicked by a spent bullet.
French loss level markers (all causes; killed, wounded, and missing/captured): Montburn 40%, Grouchy 20%, Durette 20%, Seras 40%, Pachrod 20%, Severoli 20%, Sahac 20%. The remaining French commands have no loss or minor in nature. Austrian loss level markers: Mecsery 60%, Colloredo, 50%, Frimont 40%, Jellacie 40%, Besan 40%. The three off-board commands have no losses.
Thank you Andy, Dan, John and Rob for attending the Raab scenario. The commissary trains still has more Porkolt.
WR comments: Scenario seemed to work well. Gave the historical result and the losses on par for the actual battle for the same commands. French strategy was to clear the Pandzsa crossing and then threaten the southern side of Szabadhegy heights. Meanwhile keep the bulk of the Austrian infantry in place with assaults along the Pandzsa stream. Wasn’t clear to the French team till mid game about the Austrians weakness in the north. With few regulars, even mostly insurrection cavalry, the gap between the post-house and Szabadhegy was the Austrian jugular unless reinforced. Once seen… the writing was on the victory column with the two French cavalry divisions (Sahac and Pully) engaging and defeating the Austrian Reserve cavalry command.
Team Austrian had two major problems… hold that northern unit quality gap and also defend the open plain south of Szabadhegy height. The southern plain is a simpler task if the French cavalry can be prevented from crossing the Pandzsa in mass. Agressive play and covering the Pandzsa steam line should hold the French for a longer turn count period… we didn’t execute well that task. So the French cavalry, being better in all regards, won the southern flank in short time. For the northern sector, mixing the FML Jellacie and Reserve cavalry command (Besan) would stiffen both commands. Hard for the French to cross the Pandzsa with nearby Austrian battalions able to fire upon them immediately upon exiting the stream. Even insurrection and landwehr can perform that simple task. FML Jellacie and the Reserve cavalry commands would control from Szabadhegy village to the post-house. This leaves the center Szabadhegy heights controlled by FML Colloredo and reinforced by FML Frimont Reserve division quickly. Thinner on the tabletop but those grenadiers battalions are a real stopper once the primary French assaults are determined.
Cheers from the warren.