Since WR hasn’t the capability to play out the major battles of Jena and Auerstaedt with his expanding Prussian 1806 miniature army yet, he plans to explore the Battle of Halle 1806 next after this AAR write-up on his recent Saalfeld 1806 game. But first, the opening campaign and exciting Battle of Saalfeld between Marshal Lannes and Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia.
1000 hours: Opening scenario turn. Team France (Daniel and Luis) have first movement so they immediately assault the village of Garnsdorf starting the scenario within striking distance. Two battalion columns from the 17th Legere are sent against Garnsdorf. The separate small 3rd battalion, formed from the converged elite companies, is sent to skirmish and prevent any Prussian counter response. Deploying from road column, the leading 21st French Chasseurs a’ cheval regiment forms line backing the skirmishers. More French hussars arrive trotting down the Grafenthal to Saalfeld road, followed by their attached small 4 pdr. horse artillery detachment under Lt. Simonnet. Prussian Valentini jagers quickly abandon the Garnsdorf village, odds of 9:1 are well beyond their capability to resist. Major Rabenau deploys up his fusilier battalions across the low-rise Lerchen Hugel while the arriving 6th Hussars are directed to threaten the French downslope advance, joining the left flank Saxon Hussar detachment.
1020 hours: The first turn quickly done, the players advance to the second turn. Prussian jagers rally from their retreat. Team France (Dan and Andy) march forward the French legere down the roadway while the other 17th Legere battalion forms square vs. the approaching Prussian 6th Hussars. The 21st Chasseurs a’ cheval trot down the slope to face the advancing Saxon Hussar detachment. French converged elite skirmishers trade shots with the Prussian skirmishers from the fusilier battalions.
Before the Prussian Movement phase, the French have their Declared Cavalry Charge phase. The 21st Chasseurs a’ cheval gather speed to charge the Saxon Hussars.
Seeing the charging French chasseurs a’ cheval, the Prussian fusiliers form a square behind the Lerchen Hugel mound. The half horse artillery battery retires to avoid the pacing charge. Saxon Hussars draw their sabers and countercharge as the French cavalry draws close (4″ frontal trigger zone). After testing morale, the Saxon Hussars roll a “1” (d10 with zero as zero) and become elated with martial zeal. French GB Treillard joins the French ranks leading from the front.
Note: When taking morale tests during the Shock phase, if a natural one is rolled, the testing unit raises their CMR by one for the balance of the current Shock phase. If a natural zero rolled, the unit passes the morale test but become “wildly over enthusiastic” and suffers a minus one CMR adjustment during the current Shock phase. Please note a “0” is a zero on the dice, not a ten, so the dice outcome range is 0 to 9.
Other Prussian and Saxon movement. The Saxon regiments forming their linear battle lines, the Prussian train continues their retreat towards Wohlsdorf. Prussian 6th Hussar half regiment form a line preparing to charge.
1040 hours: Deeming opportunity to slow the French advance, The Prussian 6th Hussars declare their charge. The charge is distant from the French infantry but still within the charge range radius (14″). French skirmishers retire quickly, charging cavalry is a no go zone. The 21st Chasseurs test morale…. and fail to morale disorder. Being already in morale disorder from the prior melee combat with the Saxon Hussars, the French Chasseurs rout back “jeered” by the French 17th Legere infantry. Seeing the Prussian hussar threat. the French infantry battalions hold firm in their squares. French advance is stalled for a turn except for the arrival of the small mixed foot battery near the village of Beulwitz with GD Suchet.
Prussian movement has the Prussian hussar trot rearward at half speed (from the charge). The two Prussian fusilier battalions march to cross the Siechenbach valley stream near Saalfeld town gate. Saxon Hussars ride through the old town while the Valentini jager occupy the out building behind the Lerchen Hugel mound.
1100 hours: More French infantry arrive above Beulwitz village as the 34th and 40th Ligne regiments (four battalions) deploy. GB Reille leads his battalions forward in extended order from the hilly woods. Battery Sibille travels to Beulwitz village to deploy as GD Suchet prepares to change the French advance direction.
Back at Garnsdorf the French wake up and quickly cover the open ground towards the retiring Prussians. The two 17th Legere battalions march fast, keeping pace with the 9th Hussars taking over duty from the shaken 21st Chasseurs.
Before the Prussian turn, the 9th Hussars sound their charge. Hearing the charge behind them, the Prussian 6th Hussar wheel about and trot forward gaining speed. The half horse battery, having crossed the Siechenbach valley stream, unlimbered to fire upon the French advance. Ruhle Fusilier battalion crosses the Siechenbach at the bridge / ford. The Rabenau Fusilier battalion forms square, standing before the stream crossing, prepares to receive the charge.
More swordplay after charging home to contact. The two hussar regiments cut and thrust. Even with the leadership of young Prince Louis, the Prussian 6th Hussar retires back across the Siechenbach. Seeing the formed Prussian fusilier square before them, the 9th Hussars pull up after their melee combat ending their charge.
1120 hours: French continue to advance on all fronts, pressing back the Prussian and Saxon advance guard command (from Saalfeld) and outposts towards their main body of Saxon infantry positioned between Crosten and Saalfled. Having rallied up the 9th Hussars from their last charge, they turn about to threaten the retiring Prussian fusilier squares slowly crossing the Siechenbach stream. French legere skirmisher trade shots with Prussian jager skirmishers. Meanwhile the other hussar regiment (10th), along with the 21st Chasseurs, ride to mass their regiments near the Saxon infantry, at center table, by crossing the Siechenbach stream.
After the Prussian Movement phase, with minor shifting about of Prussian fusilier battalion squares and horse artillery, the French 9th Hussars charge home on the exposed Rabenau Fusilier square. Prussian half horse battery fires, dropping one brave hussar miniature. Smoke from the battery discharge must have blocked the fusilier’s vision as their musketry is ineffective but the wall of levelled bayonets defeat the best efforts of the French hussars to gain entrance. Defeated, the French 9th Hussar retire back to reform their ranks.
As the French cavalry approaches, the 2nd French brigade under GB Reille marches forward and to their left, with the aim to cut off any Prussian Saxon retreat towards Schwarza. This triggers a possible response from the Prussian command stationed at Blankenberg (von Pelet). They fail to react for now…. For the Prussian Saxon main body, their infantry regiment hold a firm battle line as several battalions, led by the Prussian IR#49 von Muffling march quickly westward to secure a possible army retirement path.
1140 hours: GB Reille slowly feeds two battalions into the skirmisher war against the stationary Saxon infantry as two other battalions march westward to counter the Prussian and Saxon infantry shift. The French cavalry (10th Hussars and 21st Chasseurs) form their ranks before the Saxon main body infantry near Crosten village,
Near Saalfeld the French 17th Legere arrives to press the French attack by crossing the Siechenbach stream. They push in the Prussian Valentini jager co. screen with their battalion columns and threaten the Prussian Rabenau Fusilier square with another column exiting from the western gate of old town Saalfeld. French artillery unlimbered and shell the Prussian squares for loss.
Having massed the French cavalry center table, both regiment declare their charges before the Prussian Movement phase.
Prussian movement deploys the 6th Hussars to counter charge the charging French 10th Hussars. Shelled by the French artillery, the Ruhle Fusilier battalion retires in square to avoid the French bombardment. The Rabenau Fusilier change formation and deploy from their square into skirmisher order to counter the French advance from old town Saalfeld. Prince Louis again rides into cavalry combat, leading the Prussian 6th Hussars in their counter charge against the charging French 10th Hussars. Saber flash and spark as the two hussar regiments again fight their combat. Overlapping the narrower French cavalry column with numbers, the 6th Hussar gain the win as GB Treillard is wounded.
Next charge option up is the French 21st Chasseurs a’ Cheval regiment. Seeing the firm Saxon ranks before them, they pull up before impacting the serried Saxon ranks which have quickly formed battalion squares. During the mutual exchange of small arms firepower that follows the Shock phase, a lucky Saxon scores a spent musket ball into the left leg of GB Reille before Crosten village. Out for two turns from his command abilities. A small French success… the Prussian left flank command under Major Rabenau has reached 20% loss level and suffers minus one CMR morale hereon.
1200 hours: Two tabletop hours into the scenario (6 turns completed). Prussian hussars rally from their counter charge before the French Movement phase. Pressing their right flank advance, the exposed 17th Legere battalion forms battalion square as the Prussian hussars try to rally nearby. Boldly advancing in square formation, the Legere battalion forces the Prussian hussars to retire or face close range musketry (opportunity shot as the hussars turn to retire). Another Legere battalion column forces back the Rabenau Fusilier skirmish line as they cross the Siechenbach stream. Major Rabenau’s command is pressured to hold the Prussian Saxon open left flank, and protect the Saxon main body behind them.
While GB Reille lies wounded on the battlefield, his brigade continues to advance in skirmish or linear formation order. Captain Sibille’s battery unlimbered and resumes bombardment on the Saxon lines. Small detachments of Saxon schutzen try to stem the French sharpshooters from their stationary serried massed ranks. Approaching from the rear the French 3rd Brigade under GB Vedel have arrived and march past Beulwitz village.
Major Rebenau’s command retire again to their second stream position, caused by the 17th Legere aggressive actions, French artillery bombardments, and supportive French hussars. Meanwhile, the Saxon battalions must remain in their square formation to counter the French cavalry regrouping nearby.
1220 hours: French assault. While GB Reille recovers from his light leg wound, his divisional commander, General Suchet, rides up to command the brigade (34th & 40th Ligne). Closing ranks to form four linear battalion formations, the brigade marches forward to engage the Saxon battalions. Old fashioned firepower and the bayonet work. Four large French battalions face their Saxon opponents; IR Clemens with two battalions, a small Saxon Hussar detachment, and Saxon 4 pdr. foot battery Hoyer. Alongside the Saxon line is one battalion of IR #49 von Muffling to support their Saxon allies. Seeing the French advance, the Saxon Hussars, in column formation, declare their opportunity charge when the advancing French battalion enters their 4″ CC frontal zone. General Suchet joins the testing battalion then orders the deadly volley of musketry into the Saxon Hussars as they charge home during the Shock phase. Hussars and horses topple to the ground before the Frenchmen, but the hussars wildly charge into the smoke and impact the French bayonet tipped line. A wild melee erupts, both sides become disordered before the Saxon Hussars retire from the outnumbering fight. Still, they did their important job, morale disordering the French battalion in front of the deployed Saxon IR Clemens battalion and the Hoyer foot battery. A murderous canister and musketry firefight begins. Both sides fire into the growing smoke clouds, with the disordered French receiving the worst of the exchange. Then bayonets cross and the French, led by GD Suchet charge into the Saxon line. Morale tests… the Saxon become overly enthusiastic and firmly hold their bloody ground. Frenchmen drop from the final canister rounds in front of Battery Hoyer. It’s too much for French steel and nerve. The battalion breaks and routs to the rear taking GS Suchet with them.
As the French charge home on IR Clemens, the Prussian IR #49 von Muffling battalion advances 100 yards and opens fire on the French battalion standing before them. Prussian Class A firepower and French return musketry sees both sides leaving crumpled bodies on the soil of Prussia. The other von Muffling battalion marches to outflank the French battalion line. Longer range musketry from two other French battalions adds to the smoke clouds rolling across the battlefield while the Saxon musketry reply is increased by their attached regimental cannon.
Note: Regimental or battalion attached cannon increase the battalion musketry by plus 20%. So, for example, a base 60% firepower becomes 80% before adjustments. Having attached cannon also increases the battalion’s minimum fire zone from 2″ to 4″ and the 20% firepower factor can, by itself, fire out to 8″ with no musketry addition. We mark battalions with cannon attached with an artilleryman miniature placed behind the linear formation or in the square. Battalions in open order or column formation cannot utilize the attached cannon while in those formations.
On the Prussian left flank, the French 17th Legere have organized a battalion column assault on the Gibet roadside building. French cavalry remains in position to support the advance but cannot charge the intact Saxon battalions squares. French artillery maneuvers for battery firing positions while skirmisher detachment snipe at targets.
As the French legere seize the Gibet roadside building from some Prussian fusiliers, the nearby Prussian 6th Hussars counter charges to engage the French 9th Hussars directly in front of them. Seeing the Prussian hussars attention occupied by the French 9th Hussars, the squared 17th Legere battalion nearby reforms into linear formation to fire upon the passing Prussian hussar flank. Their deadly musketry volley drops two Prussian hussar miniatures just as they impact the counter charging French cavalry.
Seeing another small Saxon Hussar detachment from von Pelet’s Blankenberg command approach, one battalion from the arriving GB Vedel command forms a flank square to guard the exposed Capt Sibille battery. Gb Reille’s infantry is heavily engaged with the stubborn Saxon infantry from the main body command. Both sides have reached 20% losses in their commands as both refuse to break as losses mount. The support from GB Vedel’s infantry forms up to advance forward to push forward the French attack.
Closing the range while raking the left French battalion (40th) with musketry, the 2nd battalion of IR #49 von Muffling crushes the French infantry before them. GB Reille’s infantry has been hard hit with losses from their assaults to break the Saxon battle line.
1240 hours: Having finally broken one IR Clemens battalion, the victorious French battalion wheels in to flank the other IR Clemens battalion. Several GB Vedel brigade battalion fill the void where lines of dead and wounded Frenchmen lie on the ground. A bit on the defensive, the French brigades have to turn several units to match the small Prussian von Pelet detachment arriving from Blankenburg. This gives the Saxons and von Muffling battalions time to reset their defensive position except for the exposed and flanked battalion of IR Clemens.
On the Prussian left flank, the aggressive 17th Legere continue their attacks. Exiting the Gibet building, the battalion follows their elite converged skirmishers engaging the Saxon token schutzen companies. The other battalion, remaining in linear formation, advances to secure the French flank with the Saale river while pushing scattered Prussian skirmishers back. For the Saxons, their battalions slowly retire in square while eyeing the 9th Hussars for any charge preparation, screened by the battered Prussian fusiliers from Major Rabenau’s command.
Center table battles. The flanked IR Clemens battalion routs from the French battalion’s flanking musketry, exposing the Saxon Battery Hoyer to future French assault. Just rallied, the other Clemens battalion tries to cover the Saxon main body retirement from French interference near Wohlsdorf village. This leaves only the two battalions of the IR #49 von Muffling regiment exchanging musketry with nearby French battalions.
To take up the baton and apply pressure on the French, the arriving Prussian command under von Pelet skirmish with the French flank battalions. This action forces two French battalions (88th Ligne) to turn and face von Pelet’s infantry and the small Saxon Hussar detachment. Both Gb Vedel and von Pelet ride their horses near the front lines, directing and shouting commands over the din of battle. Quickly their presence is noted… and both fall to sharpshooter musketry. So far four generals have been hit with light wounds during this scenario.
Note: For the Battle of Saalfeld the Saxon Hussar regiment created three detachments: One of three sqns. for the Prussian left flank (Rabenau), two sgns. with the Saxon main body command (GM Bevilaqua), and the last three sqns. with von Pelet’s Blankenburg command. That’s why they seem to be everywhere on the tabletop battlefield.
Still retiring, the Saxon main body squares approach Wohlsdorf village. Hard on their heels the French infantry skirmishers and French chasseurs.
1300 hours: A big turn…. with the French side determining that their army has exceeded the army MFP calculation. So hereon the French are down one CMR for morale and shock combat for the next scenario hour. The effects are immediately noted.*
Since the French are basically one CMR higher to the typical Prussian or Saxon unit, they continue the battle to cut off the Saxon main body from retiring from the tabletop. The French cavalry shift again behind the advancing Reille and Vedel brigade battalions. Saxon battalions fail to rally and there is little to stop the French infantry from reaching the Schwarza to Wohlsdorf road. Seeing the future writing on the wall, the Prussian/Saxon team (Dan and Andy) toss in the towel and concede the battlefield. Looking over the situation, the approaching French 10th Hussars and 21st Chasseurs will have little trouble clearing the token Saxon retiring battalions on the road. The rest of the Saxon main body and the Prussian left flank (Rabenau) command still have to reach Wohlsdorf village. Only von Pelet’s command up near the Sandberg will escape from the French trap.
* Note: Exceeding the army Morale Fatigue Points (MFP) causes all the Attack orders to immediately be changed to Engage orders. The restrictions for “Engage” order” prevents voluntary movement into enemy minimum fire zones (2″-4″) or declaring offensive cavalry charges without penalty. The penalty is stiff… lose one miniature from the unit violating the Engage order restrictions. The other major effect is sttarting with the first hour game turn exceeding the MFP level, the army goes down one CMR for all morale tests and shock combat. On the next game turn hour, the adjustment is increased to minus two for all CMR morale tests or shock combat. Each hour thereon, another minus one CMR is applied. Quickly armies over their MFP basically are forced to disengage from active combat, as morale test become risky, and maybe think of retirement from the tabletop unless elite (high CMR) grade formations. In other words, if both armies exceed their total MFP level, the battle generally ends with both electing to remain on the tabletop into nightfall, planning to continue the battle on the next day, or one elects to retire from the battlefield… depending on the tabletop situation.
Scenario end: With the Prussian Saxon side conceding the battlefield, the scenario ends with the 1320 hours turn. Looking at the Prussian Saxon MFP they realize they will surely exceed their level starting with the 1400 hours game turn, since they are losing whole units and MFP points with every routing unit.
With the Prussian Saxon army dissolving before the French battalions west of Wohlsdorf, the battle quickly ended with the Saxon main body and Prussian left flank fusilier battalions cut off from retreat to Schwarza, only the detachment under von Pelet will escape the battlefield intact. Near to the historical result in wargame terms, the Prussian Saxon Advance guard under Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia was broken and in full flight. French cavalry will round-up many prisoners during the waning hours of daylight. Both armies were spent at battle end, both exceeded their MFP level, forcing an end to the fighting. The remnants of Prince Louis’s command will rejoin General Hohenlohe near Jena. History will be changed in one aspect… Prince Louis either becomes a prisoner of the French or escapes with von Pelet. It can be said the French cavalry had several opportunities in hand to hand combat to injure Prince Louis during the battle while leading Prussian cavalry charges.
In summary: The French cavalry brigade under GB Treillard and infantry brigade Reille suffered 20% and 40% loss levels. GB Claparede’s brigade, with all the fighting through Saalfeld and beyond, suffered 15% loss. Brigade Vedel was almost untouched. For the Prussian Saxons at called scenario end: Major Rabenau’s left command reached nearly 60%, the Saxon main body 40%, and von Pelet 10%. Both the Saxon main body and Rabenau’s command still had to force their way past the French infantry and cavalry near Wohlsdorf, so many would become prisoners as their units break up and rout from the battlefield.
Thank you for Dan, Andy, Luis, and Daniel for playing a very enjoyable scenario game.
Cheers from the Warren.