Wednesday 13 April 2016

Battle of Luckenpaint 1809

The latest game at Reject HQ (AKA the Shed-o-War) saw four of us squaring up in a Napoleonic battle that tested our metal as well as our wits. Postie presented us with the closing stages of the north of the Battle of Eckmühl (also known as "Eggmühl") during the War of the Fifth Coalition of the Austrian Empire and the United Kingdom against Napoleon's French Empire and Bavaria.

The entire battle took place on the 21st April and 22nd April 1809 but we focused just on the action near the town of Luckenpaint on the 21st. Posties version of this action brought together the two sides in a non linear encounter battle which quickly developed into a cross between a complex and cerebral chess game and a blood soaked slugging match.

Order of Battle
1st reserve Corps - c/o Gen Luchtenstein     (Me!)
   1st Brigade (Advance Guard - General Kecsey)
      5th/6th Jagers - 2 Regiments
      21st Line (Rohan) - 3 Regiments
      5th Chevaulegers - 1 Regiement
      Horse Artillery - Light Gun
   1st Division - General Von Lunclenau
      2nd Brigade - Gen Reinhard
         2nd Line (Ferdinand) - 3 Regiments
         33rd Line (Graf Sztaray) - 3 Regiments
         Light Gun Battery
      2nd Cavalry Brigade - Gen von Svegenthal
         2nd Curassiers
         3rd Curassiers
      3rd Cavalry Brigade - Gen von Schneller
         1st Curassiers
         6th Curassiers
2nd Reserve Corps c/o Gen Kunmayer     (Richard)
      Grenadier Brigade - Gen d'Aspre
         German Grenadiers - 3 Regiments
         Hungarian Grenadiers - 2 Regiments
         Light Gun Battery
      1st Cavalry Brigade - Gen von Clary
         3rd Dragoons - 1 Regiments
      Reserve Artillery
         Heavy Guns - 3 Batteries

3rd Corps c/o Marchal Davout     (Ian)
    4th Division - Gen St Hilare
       1st Brigade - Gen Lorencez
           10th Legar - 3 Regiments (Elite)
           3rd Line - 3 Regiments
           57th Line - 3 Regiments
           Medium Gun Battery
       2nd Brigade - Gen Destabenrath
           72nd Line - 3 Regiments
           105th Line - 3 Regiments
           Medium Gun Battery
   1st Cavalry Division - Gen Nansouty     (Surjit)
       1st Cavalry Brigade - Gen Defrance
           1st Carabiniers
           2nd Carabniers
       2nd Cavalry Brigade - Gen Doumerc
           2nd Curassiers
           9th Curassiers
       3rd Cavalry Brigade - Geb st Germain
           3rd Curassiers
           12th Curassiers
   2nd Cavalry Division - Gen Montbron
       4th Cavalry Brigade - Gen Pafal
           5th Hussars
           7th Hussars
           Horse Artillery Battery
           11th Chasseurs 'a' cheval
       Reserve Artillery
           Heavy Guns - 2 Batteries

The Action
Postie explains the opening deployment to Richard
The French are marching fast towards the Austrian positions. Off table the French 2nd Cavalry Division under Gen Montbron is hastening towards the battlefield. Across the table the Austrian Advance Guard the 1st Brigade is partially in position with the 2nd Brigade marching up the road towards the position. The Second Austrian Reserve Corps under Gen Kunmayer is at the far end of the battlefield with a long march ahead of them. Behind the hills on the right of the picture the Austrian 2nd and 3rd Cavalry (Curassier) Brigades remain hidden.

The French take advantage of their +2 bonus on initiative to move quickly towards the Austrians. Meanwhile the Austrian advance guard quickly take up position to hold up the French.

Richards 2nd Corps starts it long march across the battlefield towards the enemy. 

With the Austrian Advance Guard holding the central hill the 1st Division turn off the road and line up behind the ridge, ready to change formation into line if the French dare to advance.

The French close in quickly on the Austrian positions. The French 1st Cavalry Division turn and also head towards the main ridge, ignoring the clear valley before them and the slowly advancing Austrian 1st Division. The French have decided to focus all their effort on the ridge, effectively keeping a third of the Austrian forces out of the battle.

Meanwhile the French 2nd Cavalry Division under Gen Montbron arrives. 

The Austrian advance guard have taken position in the hill and in the narrow gap across the road. They look terribly outnumbered as French units converge on their position from all sides. 

Surjit continues to concentrate his forces on the gap but things are looking very confusing he gets some of his units mixed up! The mistake is quickly rectified but lack of space to move continues to be a problem for the French for the rest of the game. 

The Austrian 2nd and 3rd Cavalry Brigades - 4 regiments of heavy Cuirassiers - moves to threaten the flank of the French Elite French 4th Division which is sweeping in from the top left. Meanwhile the Austrian 2nd Brigade remain beside the main road behind the hills guarding the army's main lines of communication.  

Another shot of the same scene with the Austrian Cavalry on the nearest hill ready to move in on the French flank. On the next hill the Reserve Corp have started to fall back slowly in an attempt to slow the French advance at minimal cost to themselves. The 2nd Brigade are lines up beside the road and in the far distance the 2nd reserve Corp are moving up. By this stage it is clear the French are concentrating on the main hills in an attempt to defeat the Austrians piecemeal before the rest of the army can intervene. 

In response to the unfolding French plan the Austrians (Myself and Richard) are working towards falling back and realigning the battle diagonally across the road (roughly from top right to bottom left in this picture). Our Heavy guns are slowly moving up towards the fight but will only play a significant part in the battle right towards the end. 

The fight for the gap becomes congested as French regiments push back the Austrians and exchange fire. So far the French seem to be suffering the most casualties as my dice rolling proves to be above average for a change. 

A wider shot the same scene showing the mass of French units crowding the gap and seemingly ready to pour across the ridge at any time. 

The Austrian Cavalry sweep down around the flank of the French but a hail of well aimed volley fire brings both Brigades to a juddering halt right under the French guns. 

Only one Cuirassier regiment manages to complete its charge on the French who have time to form square. In the end the Austrians thunder into the square and are only just rebuffed by the French. Both sides take significant casualties but the Austrians are now a spent force on this flank. 

The French have now forced themselves onto the ridge forcing the Austrian advance guard back into the valley by the road. Austrian Jagers continue to skirmish around the fringes of the French picking off troops a little at a time. Most of the French units now have at least one casualty or more. 

As well as the Jagers the Austrians also pick off French casualties with a Horse Artillery unit seen on the hill on the bottom right of this picture. The French have pushed through the gap but at a cost.

Its getting congested around this gap...

Seeing on opportunity the Austrian 5th Chevaulegers charge the disordered French in the gap. 

Some exceptional dice rolling later the Chevaulegers have won their first melee and forced the French to retreat back through the supporting units behind them. With a surge the Chevaulegers follow through and hit another disordered unit sending that fleeing as well. In one turn the 'gap' has been cleared of Frenchies! 

A wide shot shows the slow realignment of the Austrian lines diagonally across the battlefield. The gap is temporarily clear but the Austrians are now falling back on the left flank. 

The game has reached a critical point and the Austrian Advance Guard have now been forced to make a Brigade Check. They fail the check but ironically this is the best result as they get a full move (plus d6 inches) back facing the enemy. In one moment the whole Austrian left flank has swung backwards in alignment with the as yet undamaged 2nd Reserve Corp. A strong and remarkably unbroken line now stretches across the table. Now the Austrian big guns begin to open up and focus on a single French unit occupying the central ridge. The unit is wiped out in a single turn! 

With a strong position, and fresh troops now ready to do battle (and time running short) it is decided to call the game to an end. By mutual agreement we call the game a Draw and all agreed that if we had had time we have effectively positioned ourselves for a second and new battle on the new alignment.

Even taking into account my deplorable handling of the Austrian reserve cavalry I was very happy with the way the Advance Corp handled themselves. Both sides had taken a severe mauling but it definitely felt that the French had had the worse of the battle so far. Despite concentrating their whole army on a narrow front they had not been able to sweep the Austrians away without a tough fight.

To my surprise Postie awarded me a special prize for the spectacularly successful charge of my Chevaulegers against the French in the Gap. 

A couple of Happy Wargamers! 

Everyone had a great game and despite the tough fight we all felt that the battle was one of the best we had played for a long time. The French had cleverly decided to concentrate their attack on a small section of the Austrian lines but stubborn resistance by the advance guard had blunted the hammer blow. Even the failed Divisional Morale Check had played into the hands of the Austrians allowing them to fall back in good order to their pre determined second line of defence.

An excellent game enjoyed by all the players on both sides. A pretty good result for all concerned. 


  1. Well done.
    Actually doubly well done on beating Ian as well.

    1. Our delaying action worked well and falling back to a rear line of defense sort of worked but only because the advance guard failed their moral check. Such are the vagaries of war I guess. Luck was with the Austrians this day.

  2. Sounds like a fantastic, spectacular and bloody game! Congrats for the report...and for the prize!

    1. I'm not really a Napoleonic fan but even I enjoyed this game. Every turn was a conundrum for both sides...what to do for the best was a constant question on everyone's mind.

  3. that was a real Napoleonic bash, great minis and terrain with plenty of command conundrums thanks for posting

    1. Gutted I missed the game, it looked excellent!

  4. Fantastic, epic game. I put it on my list of the week's best:


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