Napoleonic Wargame Club

The Battle of Amberg - 24 August 1796
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Author:  Bill Peters [ Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:35 pm ]
Post subject:  The Battle of Amberg - 24 August 1796

I have been really tearing up the work list this month. I finished off the Battle of Neuburg (1800) and Ostrach (1799) this week and am now working on the Battle of Amberg, 24 August 1796.

The French commanders, Jourdan and Moreau, having failed to link up were forced to retreat. Jourdan was to the north along the Main River and escaped with much effort. Moreau had a much simpler retreat down the Danube valley.

At Amberg, the French were pulling back from their positions to the east, south and west. Bernadotte had lost at Neumarkt - Charles having brought forces from the south to defeat his force - and Wartensleben was moving in on Jourdan, secure in the knowledge the Charles was in support range. Jourdan could have attacked Wartensleben before he made a junction with Charles but the Austrian commander would have just fallen back as was his way throughout most of the campaign.

With Wartensleben moving in on Jourdan's position at Amberg, and Charles just to the west with forces pursuing Bonnaud's cavalry division which had failed to link up with Bernadotte, the French held their own when the two Austrian armies linked up. However, the pressure from the flanks caused the French army to retreat to the north and like a cork out of a bottle they made a mad dash for safety.

During the rearguard action, Ney did his best to extricate the 23rd Ligne from isolation but to no avail and they were cut down by Austrian guns and cavalry. What followed then for the next several days was one lost opportunity after another for Charles to trap Jourdan's army. Finally, at Wurzburg, the initial success of the French in attacking the left wing of Charles' army, was met with almost disaster once the rest of the Austrians arrived on the second day (3 September).

If Amberg was the end of the dream then Wurzburg sealed the deal and the Austrians chased both Jourdan and Moreau back across the Rhine.

It was to be Charles best and last victory as an army commander in Germany. His gains later in 1799 (vs. Jourdan yet again at Ostrach and then First Stockach) were negated by the typical Austrian high command which sent his force to the north and away from Massena's army in Switzerland. With Charles gone the Russians and Hotze' Austrians were defeated. Charles would fight again in 1805 in Italy against the French but he would withdraw to Austria after Caldiero. Back in command again in 1809, his most famous campaign, he would inflict the first battle defeat on Napoleon at Aspern-Essling.

Charles would always be known to Warren Bajan as "our favorite Archduke." It was Warren that prompted me to work on the Wurzburg battle. While in actuality he did very little scenario design work on the battle his prompting of the work ended up causing me to consider the many other battles of the early period of the wars. FYI: Warren was a tank platoon commander in a US Army unit stationed to the southeast of Wurzburg and knew the area well. He became fluent in German and lived there for a time after he left the military. He commanded first a platoon of M55 Sheridans and later his unit received the M60 tanks. I always enjoyed talking tanks with Warren. He knew his stuff!

Author:  Christian Hecht [ Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Battle of Amberg - 24 August 1796

As always very enjoyable informations, thanks.

Author:  Jim Pfleck [ Fri Aug 11, 2017 3:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Battle of Amberg - 24 August 1796

I am glad this is getting added in. Archduke Charles had a brilliant stretch that has largely faded into obscurity and is masked by his mediocre operational leadership in 1809...

Author:  Bill Peters [ Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Battle of Amberg - 24 August 1796

Battle of Amberg is done and finished up Ettlingen pretty quickly this morning.

For Ettlingen ... it was actually fought over a broader area than I cover but I just have to stay on schedule and mapping out all of that area just didnt seem to be a productive use of my time.

Instead I used the (already finished) Ettlingen map that has the village of Malsch on it. That village was the main area where the fighting took place. There was some cavalry action to the west - the cavalry for both sides guarded the flank and neither was able to get the better of each other.

Up in the hills to the east, St Cyr's troops were able to draw the Austrians out of their excellent defensive position and hidden French units sprang the trap. The Austrians had to retreat once their left flank fell back. Hard to see that as a good action for us ... I mean who would come out of a position where you had about 32 guns and a commanding position? So I passed on mapping that section of the battle and instead we get a nice medium sized action.

Tomorrow I will work on Limburg (1796). After that its Emmendingen (again, 1796) followed by Aldenhoven (1794). Two battles from the 1799 Noord-Holland campaign follow after that. Biberach 1800 will be last.

If I feel up to it I will finish off the Tourcoing-Tournay map - it would be used for a large operational level battle of Tourcoing scenario.

We have only two more artwork groups for the Units.bmp file for Joe Amoral to do. Then he moves on to doing the 3D artwork.

I have one more image to add in - its of the Royal Allemande Emigre' cavalry regiment. Someone on The Miniature Page (TMP) posted the link to the image for me. Very helpful group there.

I must say that many gaps in my knowledge of this period have been filled in. As Jim P. mentioned its nice to see the 1796 campaign get coverage. You all can thank Warren for that. Of all of the campaigns covered it has the most battles or actions represented. I found some units during the work on the smaller battles that were not in the campaign OB. I plan on adding them in as bonus units. I did not use them in the campaign scenarios but I could do so for "Bonus" scenarios.

Finally, I plan on doing two huge battle scenarios where every unit of the early period (1792-95) is used in the first one and then every unit from the later period (1796-1800) is used in the second scenario. Might be comparable to the "Twin Peaks" scenario from NRC. Probably something like 150k per side. Might call them "Monster Revolutionary Wars Mash" :russianveryhappy:

Author:  Bill Peters [ Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Battle of Amberg - 24 August 1796

Quick update: Jeff Kulp has agreed to playtest this one with me. We are on turn 4 of the scenario. His Frenchmen are falling back on Amberg rather than stand and fight for the outlying villages.

Jeff gave Jim Pfluecke a tough game in the rearguard action at Winterthur, 1799 (a small rearguard scenario) and I thought I would see how well he can play. So far Jeff is not giving up any units. I did bump into two of his Chasseur squadrons this last turn. Waiting for his response now. :frenchhappy:

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