Napoleonic Wargame Club

058 Dennewitz: The Cauldron
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Author:  Christian Hecht [ Fri Sep 08, 2017 10:33 am ]
Post subject:  058 Dennewitz: The Cauldron

Here some feedback.
General feedback that can be applied to all Dennewitz scenarios:
- 1 Bat. of 25th French Division is not on map, on purpose?
- Change the Wesphalian chevauxlegeres in French XII Corps, they seem to be the infamous Wesphalian lancers that did not move on Neys order. Either remove them or maybe fix them so they only react when they are in themselves in danger, whatever is done the quality should be lowered too.
- It must be noted that the Prussian troops of Kleist at Jüterborg that could make a flank move aren't in the scenario and so there is no threat to the French right wing. Should there be something done to compensate this? Maybe a very low probability that the Prussians show up or maybe fixing some French for covering the flank?
- The Strength of the VII French Corps has to be checked, not only for this scenario but for all Dennewitz scenarios. In the game we have 15k men at least 25% below the +20k that can usually be found as strength for the VII Corps. Some sources say 24k(Napoleon, His Army and Enemies. webpage) others 21k(Osprey Campaign 25). Especially the Saxon troops are much weaker than what seems necessary to withstand the Prussian assaults at Göhlsdorf that still have to come, such weak Saxons could not have conducted such a heavy fighting. So the problem seems to be alone the strength of the two Saxon divisions(24th & 25th). Under "Napoleon, His Army and Enemies"(webpage) they are set at 8500 & 8000 men what at first seems too high especially as the Saxons had casualties at Großbeeren, but Ney had received 6000 Saxon troops as replacement at Wittenberg before the Battle of Dennewitz so the high strength may be correct.
Osprey Men-at-Arms 90 p.20 gives the Saxons 18.344 men of all ranks(including sick & wounded) for 1st August 1813 and the French 32nd division 8000 men, that the 32nd was now after Großbeeren down to about 5500 while the Saxons still seemed strong enough to attack at Dennewitz confirms that Ney had received reinforcements for the Saxon troops.
Hard numbers are a problem, I tried to calculate them of Nafiger strength & casualty figures, I took strength from 15th August and applied casualties from Großbeeren, then I took strength from 17th September and added back the casualties from Dennewitz, the difference shows that least 3245 men were added to the Saxon infantry units after Großbeeren and before Dennewitz. As the Saxon force surely shrunk further after the defeat at Großbeeren just like it surely shrunk further after the defeat at Dennewitz, I lowered the Strength after Großbeeren by 10% and raised the strength for Dennewitz by 10% and filled the missing number with average values, that gives about 5757 men difference not taking possible artillery and cavalry replacements into account. That confirms that Ney likely got around 6000 Saxon replacements taken up at Wittenberg.
Long talk short conclusion, the Saxon battalions at Dennewitz are far too small. Numbers I suggest are:
24th Division
1st Brigade
841 Guard Gren.
754 1/1 Light Regt
759 2/1 Light Regt
745 1/Maximilian IR(many numbers missing, used figure of 15th August, likely unit was bigger)
711 2/Rechten IR
106 Jäger Co.

2nd Brigade
840 Spiegel Gren.
726 1/Fred. Aug. IR
616 2/Fred. Aug. IR
763 1/Steindel IR
719 2/Steindel IR

25th Division
1st Brigade
737 Kleist Gren.(named Anger in Nafizger OOBs)
674 1/2 Light Regt
587 2/2 Light Regt
557 2/König IR
600 1/Niesemeuschel IR

2nd Brigade
677 1/Pr.Anton IR
569 2/Pr.Anton IR
296 1/Löw IR
296 2/Löw IR
The 2 Löw battalions are a prime example, according to the casualties at Großbeeren they should be at least down to 132 respectively 105, but at Denenwitz they have almost 300 men per battalion, were should they have come from if not from considerable replacements of Saxons at Wittenberg.

Specific feedback for "058 Dennewitz: The Cauldron" only:
- 27th French Division missing, it has the famous Polish Uhlans in it that broke through the Prussian lines and rode behind it overrunning the Prussian ammunition column, and it also has 4 line bat. of Polish Infantry.
Nafziger gives at Dennewitz:
27th Division: Général de division Dombrowski
Brigade: Général de brigade Zoltowski
1/,2/2nd Polish Infantry Regiment(Attached to 32nd Division)
1/,2/4th Polish Infantry Regiment
18th Light Cavalry Brigade: Général de brigade Krukowiecki
1/,2/,3/,4/2nd Uhlan Regiment
1/,2/,3/,4/4th Chasseur à Cheval Regiment
It seems from other OOBs that this division might have been spread across the Army for whatever reason. Zoltowski brigade is often attached to 32nd Division while Krukowiecki's brigade is attached to III Cavalry Corps, this spreading would also explain why the 27th doesn't show up in many OOBs or on many maps.
- French right flank seems too strong because the heavy fighting that the French, Italian and Württemberger had already done, they are(including the missing 27th Div.) at a strength of 23k what is their starting strength for the battle but they should have less men and fatigue added to them as they already had combat behind them. In the combat until 3:30pm Prussian Landwehr cavalry broke several Italian battalions, Lorge's cavalry including Bertrand's baggage train was also carried away by Prussian Landwehr cavalry. Other Prussian cavalry crushed the French 10th Horse Chasseurs and captured an Italian battery. Later the 2nd Polish Uhlan Regiment and a handful of French chasseurs from Lorge's cavalry made a daring attack, they passed the Prussian skirmish line then attacked five or six battalions formed in squares, they pressed forward passing between the squares of infantry and engaged General Tauentzien's landwehr cavalry. When the Prussian 1st Life Hussar Regiment got into the action they tried to disengage and rode South-West overrunning a Prussian ammunition column before passing the Prussian line again to get back to the own line. Later the Italians and Wurttembergs were driven back, 2 Wurttemberg battalions formed in squares were broken by canister fire and suffered horrible casualties, of it 1 square lost 531, only 70 escaped.
- The position of forces around Gohlsdorf should be reconsidered. I haven't read anything that indicates that the Prussians were in Gohlsdorf before the Saxons. AFAIK the Saxons took position in and on each side of Gohlsdorf and the Prussians attacked them several times.
The Prussians were at first there with Borstell's 5th Brigade that joined the battlefield about 4pm, its first attack was repulsed by the Saxons. Oppen's Reserve Cavalry must also been there as it was driven off by Saxon artillery. The currently there positioned 3rd Brigade under Hesse Homburg was ordered by Bülow to Gohlsdorf to support Borstell's 5th Brigade.
From the morning to the afternoon the 3rd & 4th Prussian corps formed a line from Wölmsdorf over Niedergörsdorf to north of the woods north of Dennewitz. The later arriving reinforcements, starting with Borstell's 5th Brigade arrived West of Göhlsdorf, so extending 3rd & 4th Prussian corps to the South of Wölmsdorf seems unnecessary.

Author:  Bill Peters [ Fri Sep 08, 2017 11:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 058 Dennewitz: The Cauldron

Lets email more about this. Scott Ludwig bought my Nafziger books on the campaign and I dont have the "Napoleon and Berlin" book anymore either.

Together we may be able to come up with some answers on this.

I need to look into this more before I increase the French strengths.

I would love to create "treffe" for the 3rd Korps. I dont think that the 4th Korps had enough battalions to form treffe but I would love to find out if there is more information on them.

Basically, for the treffe there would be three of them (optimally) in each brigade with the first being formed of the light battalions.

The 3rd Prussian Korps is my fav. of their army. I would love to paint them in 15mm eventually, my eyes permitting.

In the meantime, check out this link: ... 813IAG.pdf

That is the French/French-Allied OB I used for the battle I believe.

Author:  Christian Hecht [ Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 058 Dennewitz: The Cauldron

The Saxons numbers I came up with are based on the note in the "French Forces Battle of Dennewitz 6 September 1813 " 813IAG.pdf.
The note to the 24th division states:
"The date and organization of this division are subject to some question. The original
archival document, French National Archives, Carton AF IV*-1344, states that it is a 1
September 1813 organization, but Napoleon's correspondance indicates that this
organization was established on 17 September."

So if the organization is from the 17th September, what is very likely because all Saxons units are now on in the 24th division only instead of the 24th & 25th divisions, I think that the strength numbers are from the 17th September too. That is why I took these numbers and added the casualties from Dennewitz to get numbers that should show the Saxons before Dennewitz.
Of course that can be wrong and that I'm wrong is already indicated by the fact that one can find all the Saxon units in the OOB for Leipzig, but there all are down to 1 battalion from the 2 they had at Dennwitz and before. Still there is the possibility that the Saxons, after 2 failed campaigns on Berlin, were of low moral and that there numbers were considerably lowered by desertion and that this was the reason why the Saxons regiments were amalgamated into single battalions.

What I want to do is compare the various PDFs from before Grossberren till the casualties at Dennewitz, that should give a better clue if my Saxons numbers can work at all.

Author:  Bill Peters [ Tue Sep 25, 2018 10:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 058 Dennewitz: The Cauldron

Can you help me figure out a location for Dombrowski's 27th Division in this scenario. I am going to place them in reserve near hex 39, 27 for now.

I am not really looking to increase strengths at this point and yes, I used Nafziger's OB but I deducted from it for straggling, illness, etc. After having played the scenario many times I really don't think it needs changing. Usually it turns out to be a good fight. You have to realize that if I increase the French-Allied strengths that then it becomes unbalanced. It was basically the Prussian 3rd and 4th Corps plus a few Allied units vs. the entire French army. Yes Oudinot arrived very late. His corps usually is not the main threat in the game. Its the IV Corps and VII Corps. Along with the cavalry that they have the give the Prussians a good fight.

Dennewitz will remain as is except for the Polish division which for some reason was left out of that "Cauldron" scenario ....

Author:  Christian Hecht [ Thu Sep 27, 2018 5:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 058 Dennewitz: The Cauldron

Well for the Cauldron scenario it would surely be no strengthening of the French but rather a shift in men power as the right is too strong and the left too weak in the Cauldron scenario.
By the time the Cauldron scenario starts there had already been fighting North of Dennewitz. If you simply apply some casualties and fatigue to those units and then put the amount of men removed there to the weak Saxon battalions it would surely not alter the outcome but depict the course of the battle closer. The French right wouldn't be so strong and couldn't act so aggressive anymore while the left would be able to defend itself and maybe even be acting offensively like it did.

Just a milkmaid calculation for this suggestion, applying an average 10% casualties to the 4th corps(excluding artillery) would mean removing about 2333 men. Those added to the Saxon battalions of 24th & 25th divisions(overall 18 battalions) would raise each battalions strength by about 130 men. That means the current average size of the Saxons battalions of 370 would go to 500 men, that is at least closer to the smallest Prussian battalions that are at 585 in that area but the Saxons are still way outnumber by some of the big Prussian that are 775 men strong. This raise would allow the Saxons to operate offensively & defensively like they did. Currently they are too weak to even hold on the defense because not only the manpower is way too low but they are mostly rated with D while the Prussians in that area are rated mostly with A/B. The Prussians can send the Saxons running already at the start not to speak of the situation when the reinforcements show up later in that area.

As for the placement of the 27th, that's a problem as some OOBs have it spread to other formations, what maybe makes sense as that division originally wasn't part of any of the corps in the Army of Berlin. Anyhow if you want to keep it as division it is part of IV French Corps and so I would place the cavalry North of Dennewitz because what is known is that the Polish Uhlans(part of the 27th Div cavalry) acted there, and the infantry South of Dennewitz(close to the 2 bridges there) as part of it could have been attached to 32nd division who is South of the river.

BTW they 4th Polish UR is likely the 4th Polish chasseurs-a-cheval regiment that was armed with lances. Would be a nice if you could give them the chasseurs graphics(unit box & 3d) but give the lances as weapons, would that work? Would be a nice surprise for those that just see chasseurs and are then surprised by them carrying lances and being way more effective.

Author:  Christian Hecht [ Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 058 Dennewitz: The Cauldron

Following up to the Saxon manpower problem at Dennewitz in general.
Even if I take the numbers from Nafziger's 813IAG.pdf (French Forces Battle of Dennewitz 6 September 1813) as those of 1st September it would mean a size of 8749 men with an average bat. size of 482(excluding the jäger company). As that PDF has the 1/Maximilian IR missing you need to add the average 482 and end up with 9231 men. Apply to this 5% decline for the time from 1st to 6th September(what I think is more than enough) and you end up with 8769.

Be aware that I excluded the officers that I would usually keep as they surely add to combat power at least as much as every normal solider in terms of firepower & melee even if not directly contributing to it.
With them added the numbers would be:
9446 infantry strength
apply 5% decline
8974 minimum infantry strength.

Fun fact, the milk maids calculation in the post above shifts the Saxons to 9000, almost to the same spot.
Long speech, short sense, taking Nafziger's numbers for the Saxons and applying 5% decline should bring them to the absolute justifiable minimum strength, all other calculations would make them even stronger up to 13k men.

Again the overall outcome will surely not be changed by the addition of less than 2000 men to the Saxons, but that the French left can hold out till Oudinot arrives behind them is crucial or it has a rippling effect on the rest of the French battle line and that could alter the outcome.
Last but not least, the addition of some men to the Saxons is already justified by the fact that way more Swedes show up and can be used than the usual 2 units that are often mentioned.

Author:  Christian Hecht [ Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 058 Dennewitz: The Cauldron

BTW, for the Cauldron scenario the Saxons and not the Prussians should sit in Gölsdorf. AFAIK the Saxons kept Gölsdorf from the start of the battle till finally being driven off. This map shows some of Mellentin's bat. still in Gölsdorf with some placed behind it at 3:30, so when the scenario starts at 3:00 the Saxons should sit in Gölsdorf and not the Prussians:

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