The Battle of Neumarkt 1809 Refought (15mm Napoleon’s Battles)

Last week I posted my scenario for the Battle of Neumarkt (also known as the Battle of Neumarkt-Sankt Veit), which was a rare Austrian victory from the 1809 Danube Campaign.  On Saturday we got to play it at the Carmarthen Old Guard.

The game was originally planned in order to re-acquaint my good mate Andy with the rules, as it’s been some years since he last played them.  But in the event we also acquired Stephen, Chris, Richard and Alan as extra players – none of whom had played Napoleon’s Battles rules before (or indeed Napoleonics in some cases)!  The roles were soon divvied up – Andy would take the role of Hiller the Austrian C-in-C, while Richard took Reuss-Plauen’s 1st Column and Vincents’ Advance Guard and Alan took Kottulinksy’s 2nd Column.  On the Franco-Bavarian side, Chris took the role of Bessières and did most of the heavy lifting, while I took Jacquinot’s cavalry on the right flank.

My apologies once again for my poor photography (the lighting in the club isn’t great and my mobile phone struggles to cope with it), but thanks to Chris W and Lewys for the extra photos! 🙂

 

Above: The scenario map, showing the starting positions for both armies and reinforcement entry-points for the Austrians.  Kottulisnky’s 2nd Column had one more infantry brigade (Hohenfeld’s) and some artillery following him at Point C, plus Kienmayer’s II Reserve Korps, which was a couple of hours’ march behind him.  One of Kottulinsky’s brigades (Weissenwolff’s) had got lost and would arrive at Point B.  Reuss-Plauen’s 1st Column had another infantry brigade (Froehauf’s) due to arrive at Point D.  Hoffmeister’s 3rd Column was due to arrive at Point A.  Lastly, Radetzky’s Flank Guard was being seriously delayed by Bavarian dragoons, though would eventually arrive in the Franco-Bavarian rear at Point E.

Above: The Battle of Neumarkt as it appeared on our table (the troops are in their positions at the end of Turn 1).  I’d made over 100 trees in the last month and it STILL wasn’t quite enough!  The high ground of the Leonberg is in the foreground, the Austrians are on the left, the French are on the right and the Bavarians are hidden amoung the trees along the ridge in the centre.  Someone had lost the steeple for my model church, so I used a thatched farmhouse for the Abbey of St Vitus. 🙁

Above: Marshal Bessières establishes his command post near the Abbey of St Vitus.

Above: At the hamlet of Oberscherm, the Bavarian 13th Infantry Regiment (IR #13) shift their position to the left, seeking the cover of some woodland.  Captain Dobl deploys his 12-pounders to the right of IR #13.  Dobl’s heavy guns would dominate the Scherm valley in the coming battle.

Above: To the east, the Bavarian 3rd Infantry Regiment Prinz Karl (IR #3), bolstered by the 6th Light Infantry Battalion (represented here by a Bavarian Light Infantry unit), also took shelter along the edge of the woods on the slopes of the Leonberg.  Caspers’ 6-pounder Light Mounted Battery was brought down from its isolated position atop the Leonberg, to IR #3’s position, where it would hopefully be safe from marauding Austrian cavalry.  The highly dispersed nature of the Bavarian deployment would give Bessières and Wrede a command-and-control headache in the coming battle, but then the Austrians also had their command-and-control problems to contend with.

Above: Back at Neumarkt, Beckers’ Bavarian Brigade, consisting of the 6th Infantry Regiment Herzog Wilhelm (IR #6) and the 7th Infantry Regiment Löwenstein (IR #7), are already marching forward to reinforce Wrede’s forward position along the ridge.  Wrede directs these men to support IR #13 at Obserscherm.

Above: On the Bavarian’s right flank, near the hamlet of Strass and guarding approaches to the western bridges, is Jacquinot’s French cavalry brigade.  This brigade was very strong and for game purposes is treated as a division.

Above: To the rear of Neumarkt is Molitor’s French infantry division and Marulaz’s French cavalry division.  Molitor’s division was given orders to march east to the bridge at Kinming (visible in the distance on the left); it was then to deploy onto the Leonberg, to support the Bavarian IR #3 and deny that dominating feature to the enemy.  Marulaz’s cavalry meanwhile, would cross the bridge at Neumarkt and would march up onto the ridge, to generally support Molitor’s and Wrede’s infantry.

Above: Near the hamlet of Teising, to the west of Neumarkt, Preysing’s Bavarian cavalry brigade, attached to Marulaz, sits patiently waiting for orders.  Marulaz initially intended to take his two French brigades across the river and then come back to fetch Preysing, but no plan survives contact with the enemy and Preysing would spend the entire battle in reserve, north of the River Rott.

Above: The sound of Dobl’s heavy guns opening fire announces the arrival of the Austrians!  The Hungarian 60th Infantry Regiment Ignaz Gyulai (IR #60) had been split off from Bianchi’s brigade (Reuss-Plauen’s 1st Column) to deal with Bavarian skirmishers in the woods near Freiling, between the 1st and 2nd Column’s lines of march and has become separated from the rest of Reuss-Plauen’s column.  Just visible behind the trees in the foreground is the Austrian 8th Hussar Regiment Kienmayer, which is marching at the head of Kottilinsky’s 2nd Column and is now coming under fire from the Bavarian 12-pounders at Obserscherm.

Above: On the Austrian right, the head of Reuss-Plauen’s 1st Column, consisting of the remainder of Bianchi’s infantry brigade, deploys near the hamlet of Hundham (confusingly there is another Hundham on the River Rott).  Fröhauff’s infantry brigade will also soon arrive on the road behind Bianchi.  Just visible through the trees is Vincent’s Advance Guard, consisting of the 6th Chevauxleger Regiment Rosenberg, which is advancing on the high ground of the Leonberg.  Somewhat controversially, Hiller has taken the decision to personally lead IR #60 out of the woods, which leaves the individual column commanders to act on their own initiative.  Vincent manages to get his cavalry moving, but poor Reuss-Plauen struggles to get his infantry to advance in the face of long-range fire from Caspers’ Bavarian artillery.

Above: Although low in numbers, the Bavarian left flank-guard takes a steady toll on Reuss-Plauen’s white-coated infantry as they struggle to close the range.

Above: Vincent leads the 6th Chevauxlegers along the woodland road and up onto the Leonberg.  His aim is to cut the Bavarian left wing off from reinforcement.

Above: The situation at approximately 0930hrs.

Above: Molitor’s French infantry, with a battery of horse artillery in support, march east to the bridge at Kinming.

Above: Marulaz’s French cavalry emerge from Neumarkt and deploy into open ground near the Abbey of St Vitus.  Marulaz heads back to find Preysing’s Bavarian cavalry, but the sound of trumpets makes him rush back to the Abbey, just in time to see Vincent’s white-coated cavalry emerge from the woods of the Leonberg!

Above: Reuss-Plauen’s infantry (now reinforced) continue to inch forward in the face of stiff Bavarian fire from the tree-line.

Above: Hiller meanwhile, is reliving his days as a brigadier, leading IR #60 instead of commanding the army!

Above: In the centre, Kottulinsky has deployed the 7th Grenze Infantry Regiment Brod into skirmish order and assisted by a battery of 6-pounder cavalry-guns, is starting to inflict losses on the Bavarian IR #13.  In the background, Hohenfeld’s infantry brigade has arrived to reinforce the attack on Oberscherm.

Above: However, Dobl’s Bavarian 12-pounders are taking a steady toll on the Grenzer.

Above: Another view of Hohenfeld’s arrival.

Above: Suddenly, Kottulinsky does something rather rash…

Above: Seeing the approaching Bavarian columns, Kottulisky orders the Kienmayer Hussars to attack them!  The Bavarian IR #6 calmly forms square and prepares to receive cavalry…

Above: Somewhat astonishingly, Jacquinot’s cavalry, despite having re-deployed to face the threat posed by Kottulinsky, seem disinclined to counter-charge the Austrian hussars!

Above: The whole Franco-Bavarian army watches in amazement as Jacquinot remains motionless in the face of the Austrian charge…

Above: Shot to bits by the combined fire of two Bavarian infantry regiments, the Kienmayer Hussars make a ragged charge on IR #6 before being driven off to the jeers of the Bavarian infantry.  Finally, Jacquinot at last draws his sabre and leads the 1st Chasseurs forward to glory against the disordered and weakened Kienmayer Hussars.  Beyond the hussars lies a cavalry battery, a regiment of Grenzer deployed in skirmish order and a brigade of infantry still deployed in march column; surely nothing could stop the glorious ride of Jacquinot’s Chasseurs…?!

Sure enough, the hussars were smashed by Jacquinot’s charge, but Jacquinot then lost control of his battle-crazed troopers, who then launched an uncontrolled charge into the cavalry battery.  Having sabred the gunners, the Chasseurs then milled about in confusion as Hohenfeld’s infantry and two batteries of 12-pounders deployed only a few hundred yards away.  Facing the immediate prospect of seeing his cavalry shredded by close-range Austrian fire, Jacquinot ordered his cavalry to save themselves and flee for the safety of the 2nd Chasseurs, back at Strass!

Above: The rest of Jacquinot’s brigade jeer the 1st Chasseurs as they flee back to their lines… This whole sorry episode had succeeded in eliminating a regiment of Austrian cavalry and a battery of guns, but the French had lost three of their seven Free Roll markers, all to absolutely no effect!

Above: On Kottulinsky’s left, Weissenwolff’s infantry brigade has arrived on the wrong road at Nieder-Bergkirchen, separated by about a mile from Kottulinsky’s main body, thus giving Hiller and Kottulinsky a fresh command-and-control headache… However, while in march column and on road, Weissenwolf can press on without being activated by a general, so he presses on toward Strass.

Above: Kottulinsky gallops over to take control of Weissenwolff’s brigade and use it to threaten the Bavarian right flank (and Jacquinot’s cavalry) at Strass.  Hiller also rides over to this sector to find Hoffmeister’s 3rd Column and direct it against the Franco-Bavarian right flank.

Above: Having weathered the storm of shot from the tree-line, Bianchi’s brigade finally starts to get to grips with their Bavarian tormentors, as Fröhauff’s brigade moves through the woods to envelop the Bavarian left flank.

Above: On the Leonberg, Vincent’s 6th Chevauxlegers rally following a sortie against Marulaz’s cavalry at the Abbey.  For a moment, it seemed as though Vincent was going to catch the French cavalry in column as they emerged from Neumarkt.  However, having emerged from the woods and deployed into line, Vincent hesitated, giving Marulaz time to deploy the 23rd Chasseurs into line and make the first charge!  The Austrians had the slope in their favour, but the quality of the French cavalry, allied to Marulaz’s decisive aggression, quickly routed the Austrians and sent them reeling back up the Leonberg – all except for Vincent himself, who was captured in the melee!

However, the French have become disordered in the woods, and as they emerged from the treeline they are charged by the rallied Chevauxlegers!  This time the combat is more even and both sides withdrew to lick their wounds.  However, the Austrians have suffered heavy casualties during the running combats and are now close to breaking point.

Above: But what’s this?!  It appears to be a fresh body of troops arriving from the south and emerging from the woods behind the French right flank… Hoffmeister’s 3rd Column has arrived!

Above: Hoffmeister’s 3rd Column consists of the 8th Hussar Regiment Liechtenstein, the 6th Grenze Infantry Regiment Warasdin-St Georg, a cavalry half-battery and Hofeneck’s Hungarian infantry brigade.

Above: Alarmed by the appearance of enemy cavalry to his rear, Jacquinot frantically turns the 1st Chasseurs around to face the new threat.

Above: Hoffmeister is already close to linking up with Weissenwolff’s brigade at Strass.  Only Jacquinot’s cavalry stands in their way.

Above: To make matters even worse for Wrede’s Bavarians Kienmayer’s II Reserve Korps has arrived (early)!

Above: The situation at around 1200hrs.

Above: Kottulinsky’s 12-pounder position batteries are starting to make their presence felt on the Bavarian infantry, forcing the Bavarians to pull back from their forward positions between Strass and Oberscherm and leaving the Bavarian 13th Regiment isolated once more.  Kottulinsky’s battery is about to be reinforced by two more 12-pounder position batteries and 6-pounder cavalry guns from Kienmayer’s Reserve Korps.

 

Above: With the Bavarian infantry retiring and with the French cavalry threat diminished, Kottulinsky orders Hohenfeld’s infantry forward to link up with Weissenwolf at Strass and to push the enemy back further.

 

Above: Kienmayer deploys his reserves.  Clary’s dragoon brigade stands ready to counter any unexpected attack by Jacquinot’s cavalry, while D’Aspré’s elite grenadier brigade moves up to assault the Bavarian infantry.

 

Above: Back on the slopes of the Leonberg, Reuss-Plauen finally gets to grips with the pesky Bavarian light infantry!  Bianchi’s infantry, having weathered the storm of Bavarian fire, finally open up on the Bavarians with a devastating volley that disorders their line.

Above:  Seizing the moment, Reuss-Plauen draws his sword and leads Fröhauff’s brigade forward to assault the Bavarian left flank while they are still reeling from Bianchi’s volley.  In the background, the Rosenberg Chevauxlegers make yet another charge against the 23rd Chasseurs.

Above: A few minutes later, Reuss-Plauen’s white-coats cheer themselves hoarse as the defeated Bavarians flee for the safety of Neumarkt, leaving Caspers’ guns behind!  On the Leonberg, the Rosenberg Chevauxlegers have once again fought the French cavalry to a standstill and again rally back on the peak of the hill.

Above: However, a new and much more powerful threat has arrived to take on Reuss-Plauen; Molitor’s French infantry division.

Above: Outnumbered two-to-one, Reuss-Plauen’s men sell their lives dearly and inflict heavy losses on the French 37th and 67th Infantry Regiments.  However, a charge led personally by Molitor himself, breaks Fröhauff’s brigade and an assault by the fresh French 16th Infantry Regiment finally ends Bianchi’s resistance by 1400hrs.  The French 2nd Infantry Regiment meanwhile, finally drives the Rosenberg Chevauxlegers off the Leonberg.  Reuss-Plauen manages to escape by the skin of his teeth and seeks shelter with the Hungarian 60th Infantry Regiment at Oberscherm, which is now the only part of the 1st Column left intact (albeit demoralised by the catastrophic losses on the right flank).

Above: Even though the battle for the Leonberg has been won by the Franco-Bavarian army, Bessières has no time to rest on his laurels.  Most critically, Preysing advises him that Bavarian dragoon patrols have been fighting a rearguard action against a strong Austrian force that will arrive within the hour at the village of Rott, on the north bank of the River Rott (Point E)!  At once, Bessières orders the rallied Bavarian IR #3 to prepare Neumarkt for defence and orders Molitor to likewise withdraw to defend the town against this new threat.

On the opposite flank, Hoffmeister has deployed his column for battle and the 8th Liechtenstein Hussars are already clashing with Jacquinot and the weakened 1st Chasseurs.

Above: The Liechtenstein Hussars make a brave show of it, but once again the quality of the French cavalry tips the balance and the hussars are thrown back in disorder.  Almost immediately, the supporting Austrian cavalry guns open up on the Chasseurs and inflict further casualties on the French horsemen.  The 1st Chasseurs are now dangerously close to breaking and Jacquinot considers his options for withdrawal.  Passing on his concerns to Wrede and Bessières, they agree that the time has now come (possibly belatedly) to withdraw to the west bank of the Rott!

Above: Even though their cavalry has been beaten off, Hoffmeister’s infantry advance to roll up the enemy flank.

Above: Back in the centre of the battle at Oberscherm, the valiant Bavarian 13th Infantry Regiment has finally been crushed by the combined fire of the 7th Grenze, 60th Infantry and several batteries of 12-pounders.  Dobl’s Bavarian 12-pounder battery, finding itself alone, quickly limber up their guns and make for the safety of the Bavarian 7th Infantry, behind Obsercherm.

Seizing the moment, the 7th Grenze rush forward, but are charged by Jacquinot’s waiting 2nd Chasseurs!  The Chasseurs don’t have it all their own way, as their charge is subjected to a hail of fire from Weissenwolff, Hohenfeld and the Grenzer.  However, the skirmishing Grenzer are easy meat for the French cavalry and are destroyed.

Above: However, the 2nd Chasseurs, like the 1st Chasseurs before them, now run out of steam and find themselves milling about, right in front of a horde of white-coats…  Once again, Jacquinot orders the horsemen to save themselves and make for the bridge at Hundham!  Now it’s the 2nd Chasseurs’ turn to endure the jeers and cat-calls of their comrades as they flee for safety… With both his regiments severely depleted, Jacquinot orders a general withdrawal and the 1st Chasseurs also make for the bridge.

Above: However, the Liechtenstein Hussars have rallied and are looking for blood.  Hoffmeister orders them forward once again against the 1st Chasseurs…

Above: In the centre, Hiller again has his sabre in hand as he relives his glory days as a brigadier… This time he’s leading Clary’s dragoon brigade and he inserts them through a gap in the woodland, aiming to cut off the Bavarian retreat.  The Bavarian 7th Regiment forms square in reaction to the cavalry threat and Dobl’s 12-pounders go into action once again as they open fire on the Austrian dragoons.  Marulaz meanwhile, brings one of his cavalry brigades up to oppose Clary.

Above: However, forming square to defend against Clary’s dragoons only exposes the Bavarians to assault by D’Aspré’s grenadiers.  The Bavarian 6th Regiment is withdrawing in good order and can’t hope to save the 7th Regiment from what is about to happen…

Above: The situation at around 1400hrs.  Sadly, as always seems to happens, that was where we had to leave it… Just as it was getting REALLY exciting and the players were getting a firm grip of the rules… 🙁

So would the Liechtenstein Hussars crush Jacquinot before he could escape across the bridge?

Would the Bavarians manage to withdraw safely back to Neumarkt?  Or would they be crushed between the hammer of Clary’s dragoons and the anvil of D’Aspré’s grenadiers?

Would Preysing do anything…? (In fact I was going to allow Wrede to take command of Preysing if Marulaz remained too busy – they were ordinarily part of Wrede’s division, but had been detached to Marulaz on this occasion).

Would Molitor be able to reach the western bank of the Rott before Radetzky arrived? Or would he have to fight his way across the river?

Radetzky’s flank-guard had already rolled for early arrival (1 on a D10 to arrive an hour earlier than planned, like Kienmayer did) and had failed.  On the next turn it could arrive 30 minutes early on a 1-3, so it could potentially seize the bridge at Kinming before Molitor had a chance to return back over it.  It could then arrive on its booked time (1500hrs) on a roll of 1-6, or 1-8 for every turn thereafter.  Radetzky’s column was much the same as Hoffmeister’s – a regiment of cavalry, a regiment of Grenze, a brigade of infantry and a half-battery of cavalry guns, so while perhaps not strong enough to assault Molitor’s division en masse, it was more than strong enough to defend a bridge and generally make an extreme pain in the arse in itself…

Conclusion

The players were unanimous in that while neither side had completed any scenario objectives, the writing was on the wall for Bessières’ command and it was clear that the Austrians had won the day, despite heavier losses.  It was unlikely that the Bavarian 7th Regiment and Dobl’s Battery could be saved and it also seemed likely that Jacquinot’s cavalry, who had suffered heavy casualties, would be crushed.  It was also likely that the Bavarian 6th Regiment would be overwhelmed, or at the very least suffer heavy losses before it reached the safety of Neumarkt.

Of the rest of the Franco-Bavarian army, Preysing’s Bavarian cavalry, the French 2nd Infantry, 16th Infantry, 3rd/19th Chasseurs and horse battery remained intact.  Caspers’ Bavarian battery was also intact, despite having been routed alongside the 3rd Infantry, and was able to recover its guns thanks to the efforts of Molitor’s infantry.  The 23rd Chasseurs had taken light casualties during repeated clashes with the Rosenberg Chevauxlegers and the 37th & 67th Infantry and 3rd Bavarian Infantry had suffered heavy casualties during the fighting with Reuss-Plauen’s column.  The Bavarian 13th Infantry was the only allied unit to have been driven from the field.  Crucially, Bessières had also expended all his free roll markers.

On the Austrian side, most of the army remained intact, aside from Clary’s Dragoons, Hohenfeld’s infantry and the Liechtenstein Hussars, who had taken light casualties.  The Rosenberg Chevauxlegers had suffered heavy casualties.  The 7th Grenze, Bianchi’s brigade, Fröhauff’s brigade, the Kienmayer Hussars and a cavalry battery had been rendered hors de combat and Vincent had been captured.  Reuss-Plauen’s remaining regiment (IR #60) was incapable of taking offensive action due to the losses suffered by the rest of the 1st Column.  The Austrians had only used three of their free roll markers and had three left in reserve, which were probably about to be deployed to increase the chances of an early arrival for Radetzky!

So a bloody victory for the Austrians that potentially might have become a decisive one if Radetzky were to arrive in time to cut off the Franco-Bavarian retreat…

In the post-match analysis, it was clear that both sides were in a difficult position right from the outset, with divisional commanders being unable, due to their restricted command-radii, to command their entire division at once.  Experienced players would probably have spent the first few turns bringing isolated units ‘back to the fold’ (e.g. Reuss-Plauen could have spent a turn or two bringing IR#60 over to the right flank, while Marulaz could have spent a turn bringing in Preysing and Kottulinsky could have gone to round up Weissenwolff.  The C-in-Cs could also perhaps have spent more time ensuring that their divisional commanders were activated… However, all the players were new to the game and valuable lessons were learned for next time! 🙂

My thanks to the players, who certainly seemed to enjoy it, despite the steep learning curve!  The interest is high for some more Napoleonics and perhaps (fingers crossed!) Aspern-Essling as a Christmas game!  In the meantime I’ll try to arrange a scenario without as many technical challenges as this one! 🙂

Thanks also to Richard for providing extra roads and trees.

Models

The models are all from my own collection.  They’re mostly AB Figures painted by me, though my good mate Gareth Beamish painted a few of the units in all three armies.  The Bavarian line infantry and artillery are actually by Battle Honours (sculpted by Tony Barton before he went on to create AB Figures) and the Bessières figure is actually a re-purposed Marshal Murat figure by Sho Boki.

The buildings are a mixture of home-made card buildings by Gareth Beamish and resin buildings by The Drum.

The rubber roads and rivers are by TSS.

The trees (aside from the ones provided by Richard) were made by me from Woodland Scenics plastic armatures, based on Warbases MDF discs.  Most were foliated using Woodland Scenics ‘Foliage Clusters’, while some had Woodland Scenics ‘Foliage’ applied (which is like a sort of miniature camouflage netting).

Austrian infantry trap Marulaz’s cavalry in the streets of Neumarkt

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2 Responses to The Battle of Neumarkt 1809 Refought (15mm Napoleon’s Battles)

  1. Doug says:

    Looking like a great game, a well constructed Napoleonic scenario, with multiple players is hard to beat, albeit you do need a full day for most rule-sets.

    My only query is on the references (several times) to the French cavalry being of superior quality to the Austro-Hungarian mounted. I was under the impression that the AH cavalry was considered the equal, if not the superior of French cavalry at regimental level, (although not accustomed to working en masse). Do you think the rules have it right on this?

    • jemima_fawr says:

      Cheers Doug,

      Yes, that’s always been my impression as well for 1809, certainly. The difference is actually very minor (only a +1 (10%) advantage when in line and the Austrians are actually better at controlling themselves once they rout an enemy in combat), but is amplified when a general is attached to the unit who has a good combat rating (Jacquinot was adding another +1 when attached and Marulaz added +2). It’s amplified again when rolling opposed rolls on D10s. It’s also amplified by my hyperbolic writing and the fact that I was playing the French cavalry. 🙂

      I think the difference stems from the authors awarding stats based on how they performed as a brigade, rather than a regiment. However, this does rather break down where the Austrians field large regiments as part of corps advance guard divisions that basically function as brigades in their own right…

      Some of the supplied stats in NB are indeed nonsense: The Netherlands and Brunswick stats for 1815 being a good case in point; they basically stick to the ‘traditional’ view that the Cloggies were dog-toffee and the Brunswickers were good because they had cool black uniforms, also the Prussians suddenly improve in 1815, despite their rapidly-expanded army being in rags, with many units being considered by their own army to be ‘unfit for combat’.

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