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 Post subject: Victory at Leipzig
PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2021 6:36 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 25, 2001 5:00 pm
Posts: 217
Location: TN, USA
Gents, raise your glasses to Général de Brigade Ed Blackburn. Once again he and I have crossed swords in one of the epic battles (really a campaign converted to a battle file). After 111 turns Ed offered his sword. Not to be cowed, however, he has taken up the challenge to switch sides and play the Allies at Leipzig, where patience is rewarded.

The second day was quite a mess with the weather conditions. We experienced how effective and dispiriting the Cossacks can be when French infantry cannot even fire upon them due to heavy rain. This allowed the Cossacks to block the French infantry withdrawal unless closely supported by artillery, and isolate units that were unable to remain with the main formation.

Looking ahead at the approach Ed has opted for in our new game, it may be quite the challenge playing the French, as I have not played the Eilenburg option for many years...

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Feldmarschall Jeff Freiherr Mathes von Krain
50th (Stein) Infantry Regiment
Dritte Brigade
Austrian Korps


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 Post subject: Re: Victory at Leipzig
PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2021 9:48 am 
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Joined: Tue May 29, 2001 9:12 am
Posts: 1329
Location: United Kingdom
Ah yes, I prefer that campaign converted to .bte format. It allows for some uncertainty. And the Victory conditions are somewhat more achievable as I recall.


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 Post subject: Re: Victory at Leipzig
PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2021 9:45 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 10:18 am
Posts: 5755
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We always welcome game files so we can review to see how we can better the victory conditions. Realize that its VERY hard to balance a battle scenario the size of Leipzig.

I have a plan that I would love to try out for what has been called an unbalanced scenario. Its the big long one where the goal is for the French to exit the map, basically. I believe that with a patient Allied plan they can block most of the French army from escaping.

So little time to go around ....

But feel free to email me your game files or send them to Rich Hamilton at the Support email. I am always open to looking things over and changing the victory conditions. I am doing that now with The Battle of Golymin from CEF. Jim P. is helping me out .....the problem was reported to me by Bill Cann and Alexandr Zaytzev. The new version will play out closer to how it all worked out historically. The Russians will have to hold a wider perimeter than what we were seeing in the games. The ole "Snow March" slows the French down considerably and the Russians can do a good rearguard fight to slow down Davout's forces.

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Bill Peters - Prussian civilian observer
Scenario Designer for John Tiller Software "Napoleonic Battles" and "Panzer Campigns" series games


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 Post subject: Re: Victory at Leipzig
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2021 12:01 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 25, 2001 5:00 pm
Posts: 217
Location: TN, USA
Bill, this scenario was not a case of the French playing defense or the Allies playing offense on the first day. The French attempted to engage the Allies, both in the north (Halle) and southwest of Leipzig (Markrandstadt and surrounding area), and eventually in the southeast (the bridge and ford at Rotha, and the ford at Grossdeuben). What follows is the Allied after action report perspective.

In the north, the Prussians and Russians defended against a determined French attack at Halle extending east to Sagisdorf. The Allies’ plan was to use the terrain to their advantage along with their eventual large advantage in cavalry. The large fields east of Halle were a perfect killing ground for artillery with limited avenues of advance otherwise. While Halle was abandoned by the Allies, the ground north of Halle had to be defended until the Russian left wing had fully arrived. The Prussians were assigned to the Halle sector as far east to include the woods near Buschdorf initially, but augmented by Russian artillery and a supporting Russian infantry brigade. The Russians held the ridge where the pike ran from Halle to Sucheisdorf and most of the woods northwest of Sagisdorf; it was in these woods where the some of the heaviest action occurred, with the Russians eventually holding against repeated French infantry assaults supported by light cavalry. This action finally concluded with dusk on the first day with the French still holding Halle. The Allies, with the remaining Russian left wing units having arrived, began maneuvering to the east with the plan to unite with von Bulow’s arriving Prussians on the second day.

In the southeast, two Russian line divisions and a large number of Cossacks were part of a ruse to keep the French attention focused on this sector after observing the French II and VI Corps and a large contingent of cavalry were still present. With the Cossacks screening the Russian infantry advanced on two separate routes ensuring the French could catch glimpses of their progress. This feint was to allow the remaining Russian and Austrian corps to cross the Pleisse and also the Elster, leaving a large part of the French army isolated in the south, more than a day’s march from Halle. The two Russian divisions and most of the Cossacks escaped by a hair back across the Pleisse before the French could catch up to them, blowing the bridges. One sharp action was fought at the ford at Grossdeuben where the French attempted to cross in force, but a division of Russian grenadiers supported by artillery was awaiting this anticipated move and pushed them back across the river.

The action southwest of Leipzig began unexpectedly when the Austrian 1 Korps was marching north from Markrandstadt to seize a crossing over the Elster. In route, a large number of French Guard cavalry was observed moving west along the pike that runs somewhat parallel to the Elster, likely in route to Halle. Anticipating infantry would be following the cavalry, 1 Korps swung west toward Pissen and Witzsherdorf with the French cavalry in pursuit. I Korps managed to escape with all its supply wagons after crossing the stream that runs by these two villages and the French cavalry made haste for Markrandstadt where a larger confrontation was brewing.

I Korps had detached a battalion and a light battery at Markrandstadt to keep any wandering cavalry scouts at a distance, but when a column of Young Guard was sighted marching on the pike toward them they departed to the west. What the French did not know was that two brigades of Prussians plus the Prussian Guard were concealed in the low ground around the villages of Quesitz and Dohlen, but could see some approaching Austrians arriving from the south. Those Austrians eventually arriving were the I, II, III, Reserve, and Cuirassier Korps. The Young Guard attempted an attack down the pike but without supporting cavalry the odds were too great. As the day wore on, the Guard Cavalry and VIII Corps cavalry arrived. The Old Guard also arrived to support the Young Guard and managed to stabilize the situation, but with the arrival of two additional Austrian Korps on the French left flank attacking in the direction of the woods east of Markrandstadt and the village of Gohrenz the situation looked dire. The Prussian Guard cavalry came within a hex of capturing Napoleon and his staff in the action near Markrandstadt. But just as the French Guard was finally withdrawing with significant losses in men and artillery, more French Guard cavalry arrived east of Markrandstadt. This began the big cavalry battle as the entire Russian heavy cavalry corps plus a division of hussars that had been battling along the Pleisse river earlier moved to engage the French cavalry. Again, the numbers were too great for the French to win. Finally, late in the day, the French V Corps arrived as well as Kellerman’s cavalry corps to cover the withdrawal east to Leipzig during the night.

The second day continued with fighting in the north where the French XI Corps was surrounded by von Bulow’s two Prussian Corps, thanks in part to the heavy rain and the inability of the infantry to fire their muskets. Further west, the action continued as the French III Corps attempted to regain the initiative against the Russians and Prussians. In the south, two Russian corps defended the Elster River crossings while the Russian Guard turned back another attempt at crossing the ford at Knauthain. At this point the game was called.

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Feldmarschall Jeff Freiherr Mathes von Krain
50th (Stein) Infantry Regiment
Dritte Brigade
Austrian Korps


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 Post subject: Re: Victory at Leipzig
PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2021 1:48 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 20, 2002 9:01 am
Posts: 1364
Location: USA
Jeff asked me to add some commentary to his AAR so here it is. First off, congratulations to Jeff. He is a masterful player of the game. We both were actually play testers for the game back in the day. I never played this particular scenario nor did I look at before we started, which as you will see helped in my downfall. I made some flawed assumptions based on all the Leipzig scenarios I have previously played. In all of those scenarios the French start the first day with a bit of a manpower advantage as well as interior lines. I assumed I would find Blucher and Sacken to the north (top of the map) Klenau and the Austrian reserves in Lindenau and to the southwest (bottom) of the map and the rest of the Allied army with the monarchs to the south and east of Leipzig, all nicely separated by the various rivers. My plan was to reinforce the north, send the Guard east to attack the Austrians and advance to the south of Leipzig to see if the Allies would run or fight there. As expected the Allies fell back south of Leipzig and eventually crossed the Pleise and set up a defensive line there while continuing with the cavalry to the west to face the Guard. I should have noticed that the map ended at Wehlitz for its western border and that Halle was on the map. This would have been a clue that much more of the Allied army was present than suspected. I sent three corps converging on Halle followed eventually by two more and an additional cavalry division to follow. I expected the Allies to retreat once my troops arrived in strength near Halle but as Jeff described they did not but rather setup a defensive line and fought. I mistakenly thought I had a manpower advantage and attacked and after heavy fighting lost a good portion of guns and infantry from two of the corps. In the west the Guard preceded by the Polish Corps headed for Merseberg and Makrandstatd. The Poles had no issue on their issues on their march, but the Guard hit a buzzsaw. Jeff described the fighting at Makrandstadt quite well so I won't go into that. In the north as the reinforcement corps were heading for Halle they spotted a large force of Allies and after spending the night in place began retreating on Leipzig. At that point the weather turned to heavy rain and mud and the pursing Cossacks raced down parallel roads and cut off the retreating columns of one of corps. This is where I threw in the towel as the 700 man battalions could do nothing about 20 man platoons of cavalry blocking the way with their zocs while the rest of Allied army caught up. After putting in the termination bid and looking at the Allied final dispositions I was rather shocked to learn that the Allies already had a 50k manpower advantage and I had been outnumbered everywhere I tried to attack. Now some of that was the result of good positioning by Jeff but my conclusion is this a very difficult scenario for even a good player (which I do not claim to be) to win as the French. It has also changed my feeling about playing with weather on.

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General de Brigade, Ed Blackburn
3er Brigade, 1er Division,
5eme Corps d'Armée,
La Grande Armée


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 Post subject: Re: Victory at Leipzig
PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2021 7:36 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 25, 2001 5:00 pm
Posts: 217
Location: TN, USA
Thanks Ed for adding your perspective. I agree the odds are against the French in this campaign, but not just from being outnumbered. Look at the French command and control structure. Ney controls most of the French army as the ‘Reserve’ commander, even the Guard, but he has the command radius of a corps commander (20 hexes). This seems completely wrong to me and I’m not sure how this command structure was arrived at. I looked at the notes but it doesn’t mention Ney commanding the ‘Reserve,’ just III Corps which is now commanded by Souham. I doubt Napoleon would have entrusted Ney with the Old Guard or Guard Cavalry, much less that percentage of the French forces. The Army of the Bober (MacDonald) and the Army of Berlin (Oudinot) also have only a corps command radius of twenty hexes and are dependent on Napoleon’s command radius. This seriously impacts the French army as a whole and makes a bad situation worse. Compare this command structure to the Operational Leipzig battles where Ney is in command of the Northern Front while Murat is in command of the Southern Front. Both command multiple corps but with only a corps command radius with both dependent on Napoleon’s command radius distance. Neither, however, command the Guard.

So, with that said, I’m really looking forward to playing the French now that our roles have been reversed…

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Feldmarschall Jeff Freiherr Mathes von Krain
50th (Stein) Infantry Regiment
Dritte Brigade
Austrian Korps


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 Post subject: Re: Victory at Leipzig
PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2021 2:54 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 10:18 am
Posts: 5755
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Well done, Ed!!! You did what I had planned to do (in part ... not taking credit for your win .. just saying my plan all along has been to NOT move Blucher forward but rather help block the French army from escaping.

Ed - you should challenge Colin Knox to a game .... he claims that the French cannot lose the "Unleashed" scenario. I differ ... Your plan could be the one that plucks the feathers from his plumage!

:frenchlol:

Anyway thanks, Jeff, for posting this after action report. This is the "default" strategy for the Allies. They cannot expect Napoleon to do the historical strategy. The Allies in the south have to play to get across the river and join up with the blocking force SW of Leipzig. Blucher has to pull back almost from the beginning of the game. St. Priest, arriving from the west, should "backstop" the Austrians blocking the western exit from Leipzig with Blucher keeping them in command control range ....

I loved working on that game. Its nice to see it still being played 10 years after it was released.

I imagine that once the map editor is finally released for the series (once other series are finished) that gamers will make more maps for actions I didn't have time to add in.

Almost makes me want to jump back into the club and pick up a couple of big battle matches! ROFL (NOTTTTTTTTT)

:russianveryhappy:

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Bill Peters - Prussian civilian observer
Scenario Designer for John Tiller Software "Napoleonic Battles" and "Panzer Campigns" series games


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