grenade grenade

La Grande Armée: 1806

by Oberstlieutenant Gary McClellan
Kaiserlich-Königliche Osterreichische Armee, I Korps

If you aren't familiar with it, La Grande Armee:1806 (hereafter LGA) is a somewhat different kettle of fish than most of the games that we are used to. Where the Battleground/Campaign series is basically tactical in nature, with each unit representing a battalion at the most, LGA is operational in scale. Each unit is a division, though really, the unit of command is the corps. There are 4 turns per day, though it may appear as only 1/day, as you have to prompt the game to get in and enter the orders in any but the morning turns.

The focus of the game is based around several elements: maneuver, logistics and command. I decided the best way to introduce everyone to this somewhat different game is by playing a sample game and recording my comments and a few screen shots as I go along.

Morning Oct 7, 1806

The Prussian provocations must be ended! So, the young officers (which in Prussia is anyone under 65) have been sharpening their swords for war eh? Well, we shall see how they deal with the force of La Grande Armée.

Game start window

Intelligence reports indicate that while the Russians are too far away to be a threat, the Prussian corps of L'Estocq will appear near Berlin.

Our overall plan will be to try to pass along my left flank along a line Saalfeld-Weimar. This is perhaps a bit longer than heading further east towards Leipzig, but I haven't tried this approach before, and hopefully it will allow me to isolate the Prussian Armies on the flank and defeat them in detail.

This first phase, I have several main objectives. The first thing is to get my supply situation taken care of. At the moment, all my units are well supplied, and close to their depots, but I will create a wagon train for many of my corps to give them supply as well, just as a form of insurance. So, I click on Napoleon's HQ and then order a number of trains of supplies out.

Lannes is at Coburg, and I'm going to take a bit of a risk with him, and order him to run a course to Arnstadt, along the far western road. Soult and Ney (at Bayreuth) will swing through Hof to Ebersdorf, with Soult in the lead, and Ney to support him if he's in trouble. The rest of the army is concentrated between Bamburg and Kronach, and I will push them up the center, through Graftenthal.

The First Battle

Soult has contacted a force of Prussians near Hof. The Prussians didn't pressure me in the battle, so it's just the first small skirmish of the war.

Oct 8:

Next orders phase. Things are proceeding apace, though I have managed to create one monumental traffic jam in my center. You have to be careful as you put troops on the same roads or else that will happen. Oh, where is Berthier when you need him?
[Gary: Maybe Berthier would set the movement priority higher for the lead corps, and progressively lower for each succeeding corps on the same road? Ed.]

Oct 11:
The Second Battle

3 days of pitched fighting near Hof. Ney and Soult have taken the measure of Hohenlohe, though I will need to rest them for the forseeable future.

Bit of a problem though, he's snuck some cav behind Soult and Ney at Hof. As they are primarily a flank guard, I'll have them backtrack and hold there.

Oct 13:

The Prussians are trying a forward defense, so I expect it to be a fairly quick game. As soon as I get my supply issues sorted, I'll be able to assault him at Graftenthal, and that should be enough to put me over the top if the battle goes well.

Oct 18:
Situation, October 18

Well, Soult and Ney are the MVP's of this war, as they are merely supposed to be my "shoulder" but the Prussians keep slamming into them at Ebersdorf, and they keep standing firm. Jerome is coming up through Hof to give them a hand as well. I have Lannes north of Saalfeld, and hope to use him to trap the Prussians ahead of my main force.

Oct 20:

A day of major battles. An all day fight near Saalfeld, and while I took some serious losses, I've pretty much shattered the Prussian armies ahead of me. The end isn't that far away. While I haven't played this game terribly well, it seems I'm winning anyway. A very impressive list of corps surrendering and divisons surrendering.

Oct 23:

I'm resting Davout and Lannes, and sending Murat forward to harry the few remaining Prussians in their retreat. You can give "rest next day" orders, which is very important, or else you will put your own troops in the ground.

Oct 24-31:

Just pushing forward, and waiting for the final turn. Victory! Not a perfect performance on my part, but interesting to say the least. The Battle didn't work out really to my plans, largely being fought not too far from my initial positions, but that's part of the game, the ability to adapt to events.

A few notes on the game as a whole. The armies play somewhat differently. The French are much more flexible, and are able to outmaneuver the Prussians. However, I let this battle get bogged down into a positional battle, and that is actually harder on the French, as one of their major assets is the ability to forage supplies in nearly every town they capture, so they can keep their momentum going.

I hope this short introduction gives you some idea of this game. While you can't play the game pbem, you can play it through an internet connection, and that takes the game to a much more interesting level. At $15 it's a very interesting and worthwhile addition to your collection.

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