Battle of Halle 1806 Revisited

At the recent President’s Day weekend  at the Strategicon – OrcCon 2018 convention, Daniel and WR re-staged the Battle of Halle 1806 historical scenario. To avoid repeating text, details on this historical napoleonic scenario can be read on previous WR articles posted here on Wargamerabbit:  Battle of Halle 1806 background  and  Battle of Halle 1806 AAR

Set up and opening movements for the French followed the previous Halle 1806 game. But this time the Prussian Advance guard… or Rearguard brigade in reality, retired quickly into Halle and defended the last bridge crossing. French light cavalry movement quickly triggered the release of one Prussian reserve command by crossing the Saale river early, threatening the Prussian left hand infantry division in reserve, Shortly after releasing the Prussian left hand infantry division, the entire Prussian Reserve Corps was released by French 1st division infantry entering Halle proper, thus being the second French command to cross the Saale river. Unfortunately, the “early” release of the entire Prussian Reserve Corps allowed them to march northward unimpeded while the French 1st then 2nd Infantry Divisions were delayed within the town walls of Halle. Small Prussian reinforcement (brigade size) fed into Halle proper, joined the hard pressed Prussian fusilier battalions and hold the French infantry in check. By containing the French in Halle, the bulk of the Prussian infantry and, more importantly their military trains and baggage, reaching the critical crossroads outside the Steinthor town gate without incident. At that point the French, except for two weak cavalry regiments, had little in the path of the massed Prussian northward movement and ability to prevent the exit of all Prussian trains. A Prussian victory was declared unlike the historical result.

Halle scenario map drawn to each map square is 12″ on tabletop or 600 yards (50 yds to inch scale).

French OOB with unit size (battalion. cavalry regiment or detachment, or battery / train). The Combat Morale Rating (CMR) on 1 to 10 scale, with 10 being the highest rating.

Following is a quick WR report, using photos, of the OrcCon convention napoleonic Halle 1806 scenario game. Daniel, Don, and Alex had the French side. Braden and WR played the Prussian position. Each turn is 20 minutes and three turns per game scenario hour.

1000 hours: I Corps, 1st Division (GD Dupont) approaches the covered bridge causeway with I Corps light cavalry brigade under GB Tilly. 2nd Division lower left corner and Prussian Advance Guard (von Hinrichs) at bridge entrance.

Rest of Prussians rest in their encampment area under Reserve orders. They cannot move north past the Liepziger Turm without French commands actually crossing Saale river to eastern bank.

French 1st Division (Dupont) approaches the Prussian outposts (hussar detachment) while the other Prussian units slowly retire across the covered bridge causeway into Halle.

1020 hours: Sending the hussar detachment outpost back across the bridged causeway, the Prussians only have a fusilier battalion skirmishing in the marshy ground on Saale west bank.

1040 hours: Pressing slowly forward, the massed French ranks have scattered the Prussian fusilier skirmisher screen with loss, now routing towards their escape over the bridges.

1100 hours: Having no Prussian defenders to contend with, the French battalions reach the first covered bridge crossing the Saale river. Prussian 4 cannon battery fires at the massed French.

1120 hours: After seeing the massed French crossing the first covered bridge, the Prussians retire their small 6 pdr. foot battery leaving a 2 rank fusilier battalion to delay the French column.

1140 hours: French assault the fusilier linear battalion, sending them running for Halle. The rest of the Prussian Advance Guard have positioned themselves at the entrance to Halle.

1200 hours: The French column, led by a French 9th legere battalion approach Halle. French losses mount from the small 6 pdr. foot battery covering the secondary bridge entrance into Halle.

Meanwhile, the French team has light cavalry brigade crossing the Saale river above and below Halle.  This movement threatens the stationary Prussian left division into early deployment.

1220 hours: French infantry, led by the legere battalion assault into Halle.

French win their assault and break into Halle. This triggers the release of the entire Prussian Reserve Corps for movement northward (2nd French command across the Saale river).

1240 hours: Delay the French into Halle. The hussar detachment charges across the open Marketplatz to impact the French column, as fusilier battalion seek buildings to resist.

As the Prussian Reserve Corps marches northward, leaving three squares to contain the French hussar regiment, the Prussian commander send one brigade into Halle to support their fusiliers.

1300 hours: North of Halle walls the two other French cavalry regiments have crossed the Saale and approach the critical crossroads. Prussian cavalry rides forth to engage with countercharges.

The bulk of the Prussian Reserve Corps is on the move northward. One brigade enters Halle to support the pressed fusiliers delaying French. French cavalry temporary hold the crossroads.

1320 hours: Charging Prussian dragoons send one French hussar regiment in rout then impact the Chasseurs a’ cheval regt. With French GB Tilly, the chasseurs repeal the Prussian dragoons.

General situation. The massed Prussian two infantry divisions are forming up to seize control of the crossroads, giving them free march northward with their military and baggage trains.

1340 hours: Inside Halle the French 1st Division assaults building to clear a path for the arriving 2nd Division. the battered Prussian fusiliers grimly hold key buildings limiting French movement.

Seeking to outflank the Prussian defenders, French battalion column enter the southern part of Halle. Pictured is assault on another Prussian defended building.

View from the west as massed French battalion columns cross the Saale causeway bridges and enter Halle. Can be seen the Prussian Reserve Corps at top passing by Halle on the eastern wall.

1400 hours: With only the two French light cavalry regiments (one hussar, one chasseurs) above Halle, they cannot stop or delay the Prussian Reserve Corps advance nearing the crossroads.

Inside Halle the Prussian fusiliers are still holding key buildings as French battalions clear the Halle northern town gate for the arriving 2nd Division in march column.

Passing the Sheinthor  Halle gate the Prussian Reserve Corps has a clear march to the northern road exits. Looks like Prussian win this time as military train and road-bound baggage roll north.

East view of the passing Prussian infantry and baggage trains while inside Halle the Prussian defenders keep the French occupied.

At 1400 hours the Tesskow regimental column detachment marches onto the tabletop near Nietleben village. No Frenchmen to greet them?

1420 hours: By now except for a few building near the Steinthor town gate, the French infantry control Halle.  Still, Prussian defenders resist the French advance.

The Prussian dragoons countercharge into the French light cavalry. They will throw back both regiments and clear the final path for the Prussian Reserve Corps to exit via the north roads.

Scenario is called after the French light cavalry was cleared from blocking the Prussian Reserve Corps advance and soon exiting the tabletop. A clear Prussian win for this game. French had early luck advancing into Halle and threatening the exposed Prussian left division with a cavalry charge, but in the end the delaying tactics of the Halle defenders slowed the French to allow the Prussian Reserve Corps a quick march north.

Summary: Unlike the first running of the Halle 1806 scenario played last year, the Prussian Reserve Corps was triggered too early by the French second command crossing the Saale river. Thus the scenario in general became a march for the Prussian Reserve Corps and eventual exiting the tabletop. The big secret is delaying the French 2nd command from crossing the Saale river until the town of Halle is partially cleared of Prussian defenders using the French 1st Division. Then the French light cavalry and the French 2nd Division cross the Saale …. the infantry division via the causeway and turn north to exit the northern town gate screened by the 1st Division, while the light cavalry swim the Saale river and ride across the northern open ground. Since only one Prussian command has been triggered for northern movement, the two other commands and all the trains are still stuck southeast of Halle. Once the second French command, upon crossing the Saale river, triggers the Prussian Reserve Corps northern movement, it become a race to the crossroads area. The French 2nd Division marching out the northern gate with cavalry support while the French 1st Division battles in Halle near the Steinthor town gate.

Cheers from the warren.


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