Monday 4 August 2014

Battle of Bayreuth 1809

A couple of weeks ago I joined some of the Rejects in Posties Shed-o-War for a Napoleonic game. It was good game (even though my side lost badly) and as usual I shot loads of photos. Since then I haven't had time to sort through the pictures and write up a Battle Report until now. 

The 1809 campaign has started and the French and Austrians are all advancing towards various objectives and positions with both sides awaiting the big showdown that will soon erupt. Further North two reconnaissance forces (one French one Austrian) are looking for any sign of enemy activity in the same area. As they stumble upon each other the scene is set for a clash of empires.

Both forces are fairly strong, especially in cavalry. All units start the game in March column and all artillery is limbered. At the very start of the game no enemy units have been sighted by either side. Are the French and Austrian forces alert? And can the commanders react with calm and professionalism on the field of battle?

Order of Battle
Austrian C/O - Smiffy (2iC Surjit)
1st Infantry Division 
  1st Brigade   8th Line 2 Battalions 
                     18th Line 2 Battalions
                     Light Gun
  2nd Brigade  8th Jagers 1 Battalion
                     Grenadiers 3 Battalions
2nd Cavalry Division
  1st Brigade   3rd Dragoons
                     4th Chevau-Leger 
  2nd Brigade  2nd Uhlans
                     3rd Hussars 
                     Horse Artillery (Lt Gun)
  3rd Brigade   2nd Curassiers
                     3rd Curassiers

French C/O - Clint (2iC Lee)
1st Infantry Division
   1st Brigade  3rd Line 3 Battalions
                     30th Line 1 Battalion
                     Medium Gun
   2nd Brigade 15th Legene 3 Battalions
                     10th Legene 1 Battalions
2nd Cavalry Division
   1st Brigade  5th Hussars
                     16th Chasseirs 'a' Cheval
                     Horse Artillery (Lt Gun)
   2nd Brigade 7th Dragoons
                     23rd Dragoons
   3rd Brigade  1st Curassiers
                     5th Curassiers

The Action
The French side of the battlefield. Note the fog of war screen so neither side cold see the others deployment of initial moves.

French infantry and Cavalry marching for the left flank. I would have liked these to stop here but they had to continue on their lines of march until the enemy were spotted

Clint's Cavalry head for the hill and hopefully a view of the enemy positions

Clint surveys his command while Postie chuckles evilly in the distance

The French forces become more dispersed as we seek out the enemy

Clint's Cavalry crest the hill before them

Postie raises the divider and we get our first view of the enemy dispositions

Clint moves his cavalry around the flank. 

French and Austrian cavalry prepare to charge at each other while Austrian infantry try to deploy off of a road running through a wood. 

My infantry form a line and watch the oncoming enemy 

Prussian Austrian troops march towards the French while Prussian Austrian cavalry move either side of them. I'm now looking at cavalry on both sides.

Contractual Postie shot.

Prussian Austrian players Surjit and Smiffy were calm and collected and played a steady and careful game. 

My lack of movement means gives Surjit time to form up his own lines unmolested. With hindsight I should have moved my Infantry forward at this stage.

Clint redeploys cavalry from the center to see off a Prussian Austrian cavalry unit that has broken through our lines. While this was necessary it did weaken my own lines and stopped us from launching a cavalry counter charge against the advancing Prussian Austrian

Clint's cavalry make short work of the Prussians Austrians and then moves them to the right flank of our line

On the left flank our cavalry prepare to clash with more Prussian Austrian cavalry. Ultimately this didn't work out well for us.

One french cavalry unit is seen off while the other tries to move into position. Meanwhile Prussian Austrian infantry take the hill and start to move around the French flank

My French infantry form squares to deter the Prussian Austrian Cavalry in the center. Thus works, but also ties up these units for the rest of the game. Now the Prussian Austrian infantry start to bend back our left flank.

One of my Battalions fires at the advancing Prussians Austrians and this was the result. Five kills out of five dice! Needless to say the Prussian Austrian unit that took this hit was forced to retreat. 

More Prussian Austrian infantry form line on our right flank...and stop. Surjit was almost pulling his hair out as his commander seemed to lack the will to attack. Smiffy was just waiting for his moment and when it came his attack was devastating. 

A close up of the Prussian Austrian infantry

Clash of Cavalry

Through the smoke of battle the French and Prussian Austrian battle hard and the French fall back

With the French flank turned the end was in sight.

Man of the Match, Surjit. He did most of the hard work for the Prussians Austrians and played a very good game.

So Clint and I lost. Its hard to put a finger on what did it for us but I think we were not aggressive enough and simply didn't control the battlefield. We were slightly wrong-footed in the first turn because we had initially planned on a defensive battle but then had to move along our initial march lines until we encountered the enemy. This meant we moved much further forward and were more dispersed than we had wanted when the screen went up and we saw the enemy for the first time. Having said that we should have redeployed our forces in the first few turns before we engaged the enemy. Once we had contacted the French we found it very hard to move without tearing our own lines apart. As the infantry commander I think I should take most of the responsibility for defeat because I lined my troops up but left their flank dangling in the air. This let the Prussians Austrians shift their positions and turn our flank as the battle progressed. 

Despite the heat in the shed-o-war, and despite the defeat, it was still a good game. Thanks as always to Postie for setting the game up and umpiring. And of course a big thank you to our opponents Surjit and Smiffy for thrashing us back to the stone age and giving us a master class in Napoleonic tactics. 


  1. Smithy said you played like a girl, just saying!

  2. Looks like a good fun game and glad to see someone winning with the Prussians


  3. Lee, it is no wonder the French were defeated. They were confused! The French could not tell the difference between Austrian and Prussian uniforms!

    1. Poor Lee! Get down the opticians then change the word Prussian to knob!

    2. Austrians/Prussians... their all the same aren't they? Lol

      OK, duly corrected. I told you I wasn't much of a Napoleonic's guy!

  4. Very impressive looking game. I would love to play a game that big, especially with the curtain and the sudden reveal of the enemy force. I love the shot of Postie doing his dance of the seven veils as the sheet came down. Great post.


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