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The 1809 campaign in Germany "generated" by the Kevin Zucker game 1809 from last century.
An old dream, unfortunately so far mostly solo.

I do have the board game with counters et all, but for ease of play (for cat patrols too) for use here on the site too and as I created units, I will use the Cyberboard module on the computer. A sort of what-if campaign too as I can't stand Bernadotte so exit the rat. Vandamme will have a Saxon and a Westphalian division, the only ones I have without borrowing. A sort of north German addition to his Württembergers.

More important the Austrians, I think, historically hardly stand a chance, weaker in command flexibility, barely adequate in numbers and weaker in cavalry. So I helped them a bit in a plausible way. The Hungarians got enthusiastic and they have a division of Insurectio cavalry, more Landwehr and bits taken from the silly attempt at Warsaw.. Not so much but well, I am not to go fantasy after all! I might even play the Italian battles to see if Eugène does manage to come. This is also an ambitious test to see how to manage the combo map and table battles. Might be trying to have someone to at least play the strategic part on line one day. Then 1807, 1812, 1813 are waiting for the same treatment, 1815 maybe ..

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Cyberboard screens

Now when you have a battle, what about the terrain? You do have an idea from the map, hexagons of 3.2km. Then one can use another of Zucker game the 3days of 1809 concentrated on the Abensberg-Eckmühl part with more details, then his battle games. The thing is, there is a high possibility that battles won't happen where they did. So I searched and found a way. Three sites do the job. One is the world in a very clever interactive topographic map that gives you heights in a vivid way. Mostly these would not have changed much in the countryside, whatever was constructed on top. Then another gives Maps of Germany around 1848. So take away the first trains, shrink a bit cities in case of need, and off you go. Detailed maps, that can be crossed with the preceding ones. Once one gets in the depth of Austria towards Vienna, unless Charles performed miracles, the third site gives you a stunning view of the place in absolute details at about the right time. Another one can be useful too. relatively accurate terrain can now be done for each engagement. Do think deeply about use of terrain by both sides and what can likely happen. Nothing different from usual scenarios though, not to spoil the game by having for example most defensive positions too close to the end of the world, wasting table space and generally making the game silly. (that absurd secure flank?).

Then don't be carried away with thinking that what you see on the strategic map is so close to reality! In the first trials, I optimistically thought my Bavarians would do a delaying action around this Landau an der Isar. Looked possible. then I looked for the real terrain. Well it would work nicely if... the sides were reversed. Heights and obstacles are all on the south bank of the river, on the Austrian side! and the town itself was not much to defend. A bit of work but worth it..

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Do it before you waste time on it!

On to battle...t
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GT 5 Davout tries to delay Charles
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Leading to the action at Rickhofen

The first major encounter of the campaign, completely different from the historical narrative, probably because I started before Berthier could mess up everything... So here we go with a fight between Davout and the Austrian masses coming on the Danube side. I tried to have them go in a more linear, dispersed way through the center of the map, but it ended up being so slow that I re started with them using the good red road instead. Here you go the battle of Rickhofen (pdf with the battle AAR). The event so far told in a completely non partisan, accurate, fact checked way:

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Already at that time the official news were spot on true.

  • Napoleon is there; he pushes the main forces to barrage the way to Regensburg. A small force is helping the garrison there. The sneaky Austrians put a bridge east of the city and a big division was passing there but then retrograded on the other side not being sure how many of those French arrived. I did this with dice and confrontation of the vedettes scout for which I use a table, different from the blunt results of the game. Vedettes and screens can also push the other back, or not. It is still a bit generic as I did not embark into figuring out who is going into these vedettes counters, that'd be too fiddly.
  • On the south west along the Isar river Hiller big corps pushed away Lefevre bavarians trying to secure the roads there and the connection to the north near Landshut. Lefèvre sent a division north to help the Corsican (orders, much complaining). -he got the small division of Dupas to help, force marched from its entry point. Contrary to expectations Hiller got the bug despite his recon giving him very little but "all Bavarians ahead", he attacked impulsively. Lefèvre tried to avoid it, but failed. So I got myself a sort of rear guard/ denial set up there. As it is rather small I will keep it to play against my player, later. Again the real terrain makes it far worth trying to fight for Lefèvre, well just about.
  • Napoleon waited a couple of days after recon results to attack the Austrians, and not do funny moves as the enemy was quite able to attack himself. It allowed for more concentration and the guard to rush in, at the cost of many AP points from the game system. Charles concentrated, taking what came to be a nice position (again the actual historical map gives far more than the boardgame.)-This position could not be easily turned without splitting the French army too close. On the other hand it more or less leaned on the Danube, making a left collapse a bit scary as they could, in case of disaster be pinned on the river.
  • Then we go to the big battle of Gieselhoering, May 1st 1809: short of the off table right flanking force of Austrians (made of some the troops I don't yet have hummm) 150000 Austrians vs. 140000 attacking French. Here on pdf. about 3500 minis on the table!
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From campaign map to tabletop map.

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After the defeat Charles tries to regroup south east, getting back his two isolated corps. He succeeds to escape, at the cost of some troops attrition on the march. Using some dummies he  stole a march. then Napoleon chose to wait one day to get his center of operations closer to the action. Davout and Lefèvre were sent to trap Hiller and nearly got him but he slipped away. Here get  (24/10-23) the next possible fights and terrain analysis for them. 
Charles would be motivated to escape but to have a stop if he can find a good "Austrian" position. A cordon defense with a river and nice villages/ towns etc. I studied the positions of the Inn then Traun rivers. The last one with the infamous Ebelsberg. None fitted. 

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Passau on the Inn was in French/Bavarian hands which provides for a dent in the deployment (I discovered this fortress, on the other side of the Donau!).
Left Passau area 1775; right around 1809-1818. Down in 1870.
Lots of woods, on both sides; far too many patches on the "Austrian" side for easy manoeuver and control. That big one on the Bavarian side can hide the whole French army.
It is still there today. Actually, it all shows it is not a  defensible position for an Austrian army. It would end up with disconnected fights in wooden areas with little warning for multiple crossings. Napoleon could also march fast south without them knowing so and turn the whole thing.
It looks the Austrians should not make a stand here after all. 

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Menawhile...

On the other side of the Danube I. Korps under FML Bellegarde is trying to come to join the main army. He got in trouble with Massena sent to destroy him, and then The Westphalian and Saxon divisions arriving from the North. 

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He tried to escape North, worked once as moved first but then got trapped. I considered deeply this battle to play it, as usual with maps, pictures et all. In the end I "played it with dice" as it looked this was not going to be so interesting. At least not so much to play with my guy who could come, oh miracle, for two afternoons. Better keep this chance for a big fight. The first turns are where  a real opponent beat all solo systems, playing with orders and hidden troops. Orders, don't be afraid are just counters for attitude and an arrow. So I scrambled for the next major confrontation.

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Situation May the 16th

It ended up the next (and last befor Wien) position would be the Enns river. The Austrians arrived a couple of days ahead (Napoleon moved the center of operation much closer) so can have a bit of lousy earthworks.

report 14-12-2023
The Attack on the right by Lannes (seen from French POV)went half well. It did pin down a lot of Austrians but was severely counterattacked. The main power there was Saint Hilaire elite division who got stuck after initial gains around GT 11 as confronted by 2.5 divisions. Demont's conscripts had a hard time being engaged by numerous excellent Jäger seconded by Uhlans and artillery. The arrival of the Bavarian division plus the local grand battery then the cavalry brigade unstuck the fight for a while. I assumed the Austrian, after his initial counter attack was repulsed wanted to be able to free troops (from the arriving 3rd division of III. Korps from outside of the table) to go help the center. Combination of difficulties facing Lannes, delays and distances did not allow for it.

On the left, Vandamme  did his job, engaging and damaging parts of two Austrain Korps. Got lucky when the D class little Saxon division manged to repulse the big divisional attack from V. Korps with the help of the Württemberg cavalry. The Wüttemberg infantry suffered , as did the supporting D class Westphalians, but then a second Cuirassier division decided yhe outcome (the first got exhausted trying combined arms attacks and countering Austrian horse then some of the cavalry reserve. Massena grinded down the Austrian VI corps, the best one. Long  see saw fight with not enough space (note for future scenarios) to  deploy all  the French, especially the cavalry. The decisive factor was then around turn 15 when Davout corps was starting to get in position on the center right to  fully exploit the split in the Austrian line with this big center wood, opened by Massena plus the hammering of two grand batteries (total 86 guns).
When he saw this coming,  Charles decided to disengage while he still had time and  use his  heavy cavalry to keep the french infantry quiet while most of the French cavalry had no time nor space to deploy. The limits of the bridges were quite strong. Twice routing French troops even jammed one.

Again I got a bit overwhelmed and tired of the battle after days of doing a few hours, beside it was more or less set by turn 15, but I did not go to  the very end as I should have done for a campaign. .It would have been interesting with two players and the full fog of war. This frontal crossing with a more or less prepared enemy in front is a bit preposterous. I might have had the Austrians too defensive, but when I rolled dice for decisions for Charles, he went a couple of time to  "sleep", then the extended battlefield did not help him coordinating. I went to  the simple way (from earlier version which attempted to consider the situation but proved to be too much)for rolling local initiative. Most Austrians , not surprisingly having low chances for it, ans the simple deterrent, is a badly missed attempt  gets the enemy to  give a new order/attitude.  I think I might simplify things on this campaign , now and go  directly to  a Wagram as I have the proper mat for it, which I never used. Not sure the fidgeting game along the crossings, bluff and decoys will be interesting in a solo game.

Losses 9000 infantry 24 guns and 1400 horse for the Austrians
6000, 6, and 1600 for the French. Nearly half of the troops were not engaged or very late. 

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