The Battle of Dennewitz, 6th September 1813: A Scenario for ‘Napoleon’s Battles’

A question that’s often asked on wargame forums is “What is your favourite Napoleonic battle to wargame?”  My answer to this is a fairly obscure one; the Battle of Dennewitz in 1813.  It’s an interesting and exciting encounter battle between two armies on the march and the cosmopolitan nature of both armies (Prussians, Russians, Swedes and a single battery of British Rocket-Artillery on one side and French, Saxons, Bavarians, Würrtembergers, Hessians, Italians, Poles and Westphalians on the other) makes it a very colourful spectacle and fairly easy to set up if you have a club with lots of small armies.

I’ve played it five times now (all with Napoleon’s Battles 1st Edition) and the honours have been fairly evenly split: three French victories to two Allied victories.  However, I haven’t played it recently and have no photographs of games in progress, but here’s the scenario, anyway.

OK, it involves the Swedes and in 35 years of wargaming, I’m the only person I know with a Swedish Napoleonic army… However, if it were me I would simply substitute another army (e.g. Austrian) using the Swedish stats and crack on with the scenario – it’s a great one to play.

Historical Background

Marshal Oudinot

When the Campaign of Germany recommenced in August 1813 following a two-month armistice, Napoleon created a new ‘Army of Berlin’ under Marshal Oudinot with three army corps (IV, VII & XII Corps), with the mission of recapturing the Prussian capital city of Berlin, thereby keeping the Allied Army of the North busy while Napoleon concentrated his efforts in Saxony against Blücher’s Army of Silesia.  However, Oudinot was suffering from ill health, the weather was atrocious and his three separate columns failed to maintain effective communication with each other.  Added to all this was a distinct lack of enthusiasm among the German contingents in the army, particularly the Saxons of General Reynier’s VII Corps.

Crown Prince Charles John of Sweden (Bernadotte)

This all played into the Allies’ hands, as they had already agreed a strategy, the Trachenberg Plan, whereby they would weaken Napoleon by avoiding battle when he was personally present, while concentrating against armies commanded by his marshals.  Consequently, as Oudinot’s ‘Army of Berlin’ launched a piecemeal attack against General von Bülow’s Prussian III Korps at Grossbeeren on 23rd August, Crown Prince Charles John of Sweden (the former French Marshal Bernadotte) quickly brought the rest of his army to Bülow’s aid and threw back Oudinot’s army, which retreated to Wittenberg.

Marshal Ney

A furious Napoleon dispatched Marshal Ney to take over Oudinot’s depleted and demoralised command, with orders to once again march on Berlin; an appointment that Oudinot deeply resented.  However, no fresh troops were able to be spared, so Ney would have to make do with the exact-same troops who had already been defeated once in this campaign.

Ney’s Army of Berlin this time advanced in a single column, instead of Oudinot’s previous and problematic disposition of three columns.  Advancing on the town of Juterbog, they soon encountered elements of Bülow’s Prussian III Korps.  However, the outnumbered and poor-quality French cavalry were soon driven back by numerous Allied cavalrymen and the French were once again advancing blind into enemy territory, just had Oudinot had done in the previous month.

Generalleutnant von Bülow

Bülow was content to shadow Ney’s advance for the moment, as he lacked sufficient strength to attack.  He knew that Ney would eventually run into General von Tauentzein’s Prussian IV Korps, which was guarding the southern approaches to Juterbog and Berlin.  The IV Korps consisted almost entirely of Landwehr militia, but would hopefully hold Ney in place and delay him long enough for Bülow to move against Ney’s flank, closely followed by Winzingerode‘s Russian Corps and von Stedingk‘s Swedish Corps.

Generalleutnant von Tauentzein

Very soon after commencing the advance, on 6th September Ney’s leading corps (Bertrand‘s IV Corps) encountered Tauentzein’s IV Korps just to the north of the village of Dennewitz.  Bertrand deployed his corps into battle order, intent on sweeping the Landwehr away and resuming the advance on Berlin.  However, Tauentzein’s hard-pressed men held on long enough for Bülow’s III Korps to relieve them and re-take the critical high ground that had been lose to Bertrand’s men.

Général de Division Bertrand

As reinforcements arrived on both sides (first Reynier’s Franco-Saxon VII Corps, then Winzingerode’s Russian Corps, then Oudinot’s Franco-Bavarian XII Corps), the situation swung back and forth until a key moment in the battle, when Marshal Oudinot was ordered by Ney to withdraw his forces from the front line to form a reserve for the army.  The Allies saw this retrograde movement as a retreat and their assault suddenly increased in tempo and ferocity.  This renewed assault coincided with the arrival of Stedingk’s Swedish Corps and Ney’s demoralised army was finally routed.

Generallieutenant Winzingerode

The Battle of Dennewitz resulted in around 10,000 to 11,000 casualties per side, though more crucially, the French defeat pushed them firmly back behind the river Elbe and threatened the northern flank of Napoleon’s entire position in Saxony (Napoleon was already reeling from the destruction of Vandamme’s corps on the southern border of Saxony).  The Bavarians, already wavering, now abandoned Napoleon altogether and returned to Bavaria.  In a further attempt to divide Napoleon’s German allies, the Crown Prince of Sweden, already a popular figure in Saxony, appealed to the Saxons to turn against Napoleon.  This they would finally do a month later, during a critical moment at the height of the Battle of Leipzig.  General von Bülow, who had commanded virtually the entire battle, was honoured with the title of Graf von Dennewitz.

Game Length and Sequence

1100hrs to 2000hrs (19 turns).  The French have the first turn.

Victory Conditions

The objective of this scenario is simply to break the opposing army.

Terrain

All buildings have a defensive modifier of +1.

The Agger stream is extremely muddy due to recent torrential rain and is impassable to all troop types.

Each square on the map represents 12 inches on the table, or 1,200 yards.

Terrain Map

Deployment Map

Marshal Ney

French Order of Battle

The French Army of Berlin

Marshal Ney, Prince of the Moskwa and Duke of Elchingen
12”E(10)+3
[7 Free Rolls]
[25M]

IV Corps – Général de Division Bertrand
8”G(5)+1 [6F]

12th Division – Général de Division Morand                                           5”E(8)+2
Blair’s Brigade (8ème Légère – veterans)                                                             16 FrVLT [8D]
Toussaint’s Brigade (13ème de Ligne)                                                                  24 FrLN [14D]
Hulot’s Brigade (23ème de Ligne)                                                                         24 FrLN [14D]

15th (Italian) Division – Général de Division Fontanelli                   4”A(6)+1
Martel’s Brigade                                                                                                        20 ItLN [11D]
Moroni’s Brigade                                                                                                       24 ItLN [14D]
St. Andrea’s Brigade                                                                                                 24 ItLT [14D]

38th (Württemberg) Division – Generalleutnant Franquemont   3”G(5)+1
Stockmayer’s Brigade                                                                                                16 WtVLN [8D]
Spitzenberg’s Brigade                                                                                                16 WtVLN [8D]

IV Corps Cavalry Reserve – Général de Brigade Briche                     4”A(5)+0
Von Jett’s Württemberg Cavalry Brigade                                                             12 WtLC [6D]
1st Württemberg Horse Battery                                                                              Wt6#

18th Light Cavalry Bde – Général de Brigade Kruckowiecki*         4″A(5)+0
Kruckowiecki’s Polish Cavalry Brigade                                                                12 PdLC [6D]

IV Corps Artillery Reserve
24/2nd Foot Artillery                                                                                               Fr12#
26/2nd Foot Artillery                                                                                               Fr12#
8/4th Horse Artillery                                                                                               Fr6#

5th Light Cavalry Division – Général de Division Lorge†                 3”G(6)+1
Jacquinot’s Brigade (Chasseurs)                                                                           16 FrLC [10D]
Merlin’s Brigade (Chasseurs)                                                                                 12 FrLC [7D]
1/5th Horse Artillery                                                                                                Fr6#
5/5th Horse Artillery                                                                                               Fr6#

VII Corps – Général de Division Reynier
8”A(5)+1D [7F]

24th (Saxon) Division – Generalleutnant Lecoq                                  4”A(6)+1
Saxon Guards & Grenadiers                                                                                   16 SxGD [6D]
Von Brause’s Brigade                                                                                              16 SxLN [11D]
Von Mellentin’s Brigade                                                                                         16 SxLN [11D]

25th (Saxon) Division Generalleutnant von Sahr                               3”A(5)+0
Von Bosch’s Brigade                                                                                                16 SxLN [11D]
Von Ryssel’s Brigade                                                                                               16 SxLN [11D]

32nd Division – Général de Division Durutte                                        3”G(6)+1
35ème Légère (veterans)                                                                                        16 FrVLT [8D]
36ème Légère (veterans)                                                                                        16 FrVLT [8D]
Jarry’s Brigade                                                                                                          20 FrLN [12D]
De Vaux’s Brigade                                                                                                    16 FrLN [10D]
Menu’s Brigade                                                                                                         20 FrLN [12D]

VII Corps Cavalry Reserve Oberst von Lindenau                               4”A(5)+0
Saxon Hussar Regiment                                                                                         12 SxLC [6D]
Saxon ‘Prinz Clemens’ Chevauxleger (Uhlan) Regiment                                 12 SxLC [6D]
1st Saxon Horse Battery                                                                                         Sx6#
2nd Saxon Horse Battery                                                                                       Sx6#

VII Corps Artillery Reserve
5th Saxon Foot Battery                                                                                           Sx12#

4th Heavy Cavalry Division – Général de Division Defrance†       4”G(6)+1
Avice’s Brigade (Dragoons)                                                                                   16 FrLC [10D]
Quinette’s Brigade (Dragoons)                                                                             12 FrLC [7D]
4/6th Horse Artillery                                                                                              Fr6#

XII Corps – Marshal Oudinot, Duke of Reggio
9”E(5)+2 [5F]

13th Division – Général de Division Pacthod                                         3”G(5)+1
Bardet’s Brigade                                                                                                       16 FrLN [10D]
Cacault’s Brigade                                                                                                     20 FrLN [12D]

14th Division – Général de Division Guilleminot                                 3”A(4)+0
18ème Légère                                                                                                            16 FrLT [10D]
Gruyer’s Brigade                                                                                                      24 FrLN [14D]
Brun de Villeret’s Brigade                                                                                      24 FrLN [14D]

29th (Bavarian) Division – Generalleutnant von Raglowich         3”A(4)+0
Von Beckers’ Brigade                                                                                              24 BvLN [14D]
Maillot de la Traille’s Brigade                                                                               24 BvLN [14D]
1st Bavarian Foot Battery                                                                                      Bv12#

XII Corps Cavalry Reserve – Général de Division Beaumont       4”G(6)+1
Bavarian, Westphalian & Hessian Cavalry Regiments                                    16 BvLC [8D]

XII Corps Artillery Reserve
1/4th Foot Artillery                                                                                                 Fr12#
18/4th Foot Artillery                                                                                               Fr12#
3/5th Horse Artillery                                                                                              Fr6#

6th Light Cavalry Division – Général de Division Fournier†         3”A(5)+0
Mouriez’s Brigade (Chasseurs & Hussars)                                                        16 FrLC [10D]
Ameil’s Brigade (Hussars)                                                                                    12 FrLC [7D]
2/1st Horse Artillery                                                                                              Fr6#

III Corps (Elements)

27th (Polish) Division – Général de Division Dabrowski*              4”E(7)+1 [1F]
Zoltowski’s Brigade                                                                                                16 PdLN [8D]
Zwiecki’s Horse Battery                                                                                         Pd6#

* Kruckowiecki’s 18th Light Cavalry Brigade was actually part of Dabrowski’s 27th Division, but was deployed forward with Bertrand’s IV Corps.

† The Cavalry Divisions of Lorge, Defrance and Fournier, were actually part of Arrighi’s III Reserve Cavalry Corps.  However, Arrighi had been sent to be the garrison commander at Leipzig and his corps had been split up between the three corps of the Army of Berlin.

Duchy of Warsaw Infantry

Saxon Foot Artillery

French Deployment and Reinforcement Schedule

Général de Division Reynier

Note that all French and French-allied reinforcements will arrive at Poinx X, Y or Z (player’s choice) in March Column formation.  Corps Reserve Artillery batteries may arrive at the rear of any infantry division; either en masse or split between divisions.  Horse batteries may alternatively be assigned to a cavalry division.

I find that it’s more fun to use the Variable Arrival Time method, as described in Rule 10.1 of the Napoleon’s Battles 4th Edition rulebook.  Roll separately for each Divisional Commander and Corps Commander.

1100hrs (Game Start)Ney, Bertrand and Reynier are on table at the start.  The entirety of Bertrand’s IV Corps is also on table, deployed as shown on the map.  Most units may be deployed in any formation, but two of Morand’s brigades, one of Franquemont’s brigades and the entirety of the Corps Artillery Reserve must be placed in March Column formation as shown on the map.  Any other IV Corps artillery units may be placed on the map deployed or limbered, in any location within 2 inches of one of their divisional units.  Reynier’s VII Corps (minus Durutte’s and Defrance’s Divisions, which have yet to arrive) is deployed in March Column as per the map.

1200hrs (Turn 3)Durutte‘s Division (VII Corps) arrives.

1230hrs (Turn 4)Defrance‘s Division (VII Corps) arrives.

1300hrs (Turn 5)Oudinot (XII Corps) and Pacthod‘s Division (XII Corps) arrive.

1330hrs (Turn 6)Guilleminot‘s Division (XII Corps) arrives.

1400hrs (Turn 7)Raglowich‘s Division (XII Corps) arrives.

1430hrs (Turn 8)Beaumont‘s Division (XII Corps) and Dabrowski‘s Division (III Corps) arrive.

1500hrs (Turn 9)Fournier‘s Division (XII Corps) arrives.

2000hrs (Turn 19) – Last Turn.

Duchy of Warsaw Horse Artillery

Allied Order of Battle

The Allied Army of the North

Crown Prince Charles Bernadotte of Sweden
(not present)

Acting Commander-in-Chief
Generalleutnant von Bülow
13”E(10)+1
[6 Free Rolls]
[27M]

Prussian III Korps (Bülow) [9F]

3rd Brigade – Generalmajor von Hessen-Homburg                         4”G(6)+1D
4th (3rd East Prussian) Infantry Regiment                                                      16 PrLN [8D]
4th Reserve Infantry Regiment                                                                           16 PrLN [8D]
3rd East Prussian Landwehr Infantry Regiment                                             16 PrLW [10D]

4th Brigade – Generalmajor von Thümen                                              4”G(6)+1
5th (4th East Prussian) Infantry Regiment                                                       16 PrLN [8D]
5th Reserve Infantry Regiment                                                                            16 PrLN [8D]
Elbe Infantry Regiment                                                                                         16 PrLN [8D]
1st (Leib) Hussar Regiment                                                                                  12 PrLC [6D]
4th 12pdr Foot Battery                                                                                           Pr12#
Russian 7th Position Battery                                                                                2x Rs12#

5th Brigade – Generalmajor von Borstell                                               4”G(7)+0
2nd (1st Pommeranian) Infantry Regiment                                                      16 PrLN [8D]
2nd Reserve Infantry Regiment                                                                           16 PrLN [8D]
2nd Kurmärk Landwehr Infantry Regiment                                                     16 PrLW [10D]
5th (Pommeranian) Hussar Regiment                                                               12 PrLC [6D]

6th Brigade – Generalmajor von Krafft                                                    3”G(6)+1D
9th (Colberg) Infantry Regiment                                                                          16 PrLN [8D]
9th Reserve Infantry Regiment                                                                             16 PrLN [8D]
1st Neumark Landwehr Infantry Regiment                                                        16 PrLW [10D]
5th 12pdr Foot Battery                                                                                            Pr12#
Russian 21st Position Battery                                                                                2x Rs12#

Reserve Cavalry Brigade – Generalmajor von Oppen                        4”A(7)+0
1st (Queen’s) Dragoon Regiment                                                                          12 PrLC [6D]
5th (Brandenburg) & 4th (2nd West Prussian) Dragoon Regiments            12 PrLC [6D]
Landwehr Cavalry Brigade                                                                                     12 PrLWC [7D]
5th 6pdr Horse Battery                                                                                           Pr6#
6th 6pdr Horse Battery                                                                                           Pr6#

Prussian IV Korps – Generalleutnant von Tauentzein
9”G(8)+1 [3F]

1st Brigade – Generalmajor von Dobschütz                                             3”A(5)+0
3rd Reserve Infantry Regiment                                                                              16 PrLN [8D]
1st Kurmark Landwehr Infantry Regiment                                                          16 PrLW [10D]
1st Silesian Landwehr Infantry Regiment                                                            16 PrSLW [10D]
Landwehr Cavalry Brigade                                                                                      12 PrLWC [7D]

2nd Brigade – Generalmajor von Lindenau                                             4”A(5)+0
5th Kurmark Landwehr Infantry Regiment                                                         16 PrLW [10D]
2nd Neumark Landwehr Infantry Regiment                                                       16 PrLW [10D]

IV Korps Artillery Reserve
11th 6pdr Horse Battery                                                                                            Pr6#

Russian Corps – Generallieutenant Winzingerode
7”A(4)+0 [6F]

Advanced Guard Division – Generalieutenant Voronzov                  4”G(7)+1D
Kniper’s Jäger Brigade                                                                                              16 RsJG [8D]
Beckendorf’s Cavalry Brigade                                                                                  20 RsLC [10D]
Melnikov IV’s Cossack Brigade                                                                                12 RsCLC [8D]
Brandel’s Cossack Brigade                                                                                        12 RsCLC [8D]
11th Horse Battery                                                                                                      2x Rs6#

21st Division – Generalmajor Laptiev                                                          3”A(5)+1
Rosen II’s Brigade                                                                                                      20 RsLN [10D]
Rudinger’s Brigade                                                                                                    16 RsJG [8D]
31st Position Battery                                                                                                 2x Rs12#

24th Division – Generalmajor Vuich                                                           3”A(4)+0
Zwarkin’s Brigade                                                                                                     20 RsLN [10D]
Maznev’s Brigade                                                                                                      20 RsLN [10D]
26th Position Battery                                                                                               2x Rs12#

Temporary Division – Generalmajor Harpe                                           3”P(6)+0
Tula & Navajinsk IRs                                                                                               20 RsLN [10D]
Converged Grenadier Brigade                                                                               20 RsCGN [8D]
13th Horse Battery                                                                                                   2x Rs6#

Cavalry Division – Generalmajor Orurk                                                   4”G(6)+0
Manteuffel’s Brigade (Dragoons & Hussars)                                                      20 RsLC [10D]
Pahlen’s Brigade (Hussars & Chasseurs)                                                             12 RsLC [6D]
Zagriajski’s Brigade (Dragoons & Hussars)                                                        16 RsLC [8D]
Illowaiski IV’s Cossack Brigade                                                                             20 RsCLC [14D]
1st Horse Battery                                                                                                      2x Rs6#
4th Horse Battery                                                                                                     2x Rs6#
5th Horse Battery                                                                                                     2x Rs6#

Swedish Corps – Generallieutenant von Stedingk
8”A(6)+1D [4F]

1st Division – Generallieutenant Posse†                                                     3”G(5)+1
1st (Schutzenheim’s) Brigade                                                                                24 SwGD [10D]
2nd (Lagerbring’s) Brigade                                                                                    24 SwLN [12D]

2nd Division – Generallieutenant Sandels                                              3”G(6)+1
3rd (Brandstrom’s) Brigade                                                                                   24 SwLN [12D]
4th (Reuterskjold’s) Brigade                                                                                  24 SwLN [12D]
6th (Boize’s) Brigade                                                                                               24 SwLN [12D]
Heavy Battery, Svea Artillery Regiment                                                              Sw12#

Cavalry Division – Generallieutenant Sköldebrand                           3”A(6)+0
Guard Cavalry Brigade†                                                                                          16 SwGHC [6D]
Hussar Brigade                                                                                                         16 SwLC [8D]
1st Horse Battery, Wendes Artillery Regiment                                                  Sw6#
2nd Horse Battery, Wendes Artillery Regiment                                                Sw6#
British Rocket Troop, Royal Horse Artillery                                                      BrRHA

Generallieutenant Stedingk

* The Prussian command structure of this period is complicated.  Prussian ‘Brigades’ were actually Divisions in anyone else’s language and while they were sometimes confusingly sub-divided into brigades (particularly in Reserve Cavalry formations), the Regiment was usually the basic tactical unit.

† The Swedish Guard Cavalry Brigade was attached to Posse’s 1st Swedish Division during the march to the battlefield.  This unit may therefore be commanded by either Posse or Sköldebrand.

‡ As Crown Prince Charles John of Sweden (Bernadotte) did not arrive until very late in the battle, Bülow is the de facto C-in-C for this scenario.  However, as Bülow does not arrive immediately, Tauentzein will be acting C-in-C, with an Activation rating of 10 until Bülow arrives on the table, whereupon Tauentzein will revert to his own Activation rating of 8.

Prussian Elbe Infantry Regiment

Prussian 5th (Brandenburg) Dragoon Regiment

Allied Deployment and Reinforcement Schedule

All elements of Bülow’s III Korps will arrive deployed for battle, in any formation, with artillery limbered.  The constituent regiments of each ‘Brigade’ (i.e. Division) may be deployed up to 6 inches either side of their arrival point (Points A, B, C or D).  All units of Winzingerode’s Russian and Stedingk’s Swedish Corps will arrive in March Column formation at Point A.

I find that it’s more fun to use the Variable Arrival Time method, as described in Rule 10.1 of the Napoleon’s Battles 4th Edition rulebook.  Roll separately for each Divisional Commander and Corps Commander.  Note that on Turn 1 you can roll twice for the reinforcements scheduled to arrive on Turn 2 – once to see if they arrive an hour early (on a 1) and again to see if they arrive 30 minutes early (on 1, 2 or 3).  In our last game, Bülow persistently refused to arrive until around Turn 6, despite repeated re-roll markers!  The French also successfully made us re-roll our one early success in rolling for him… Bah!

1100hrs (Game Start) – Only Tauentzein’s Prussian IV Korps is present on table and is deployed in any formation in the area shown on the map above.  The corps may be completely redeployed as the Allied player sees fit, provided that it stays on the area of high ground.  Note that Tauentzein acts as C-in-C until Bülow arrives.

1130hrs (Turn 2)Bülow (C-in-C) and Thümen‘s Brigade (III Korps) arrive at Point A.

1200hrs (Turn 3)Krafft‘s Brigade (III Korps) arrives at Point B.

1230hrs (Turn 4)Hessen-Homburg‘s Brigade (III Korps) arrives at Point C.

1300hrs (Turn 5)Oppen‘s Brigade (III Korps) arrives at Point D.  Borstell‘s Brigade (III Korps) arrives at Point A.

1330hrs (Turn 6)Sköldebrand‘s Division (Swedish Corps), minus the Guard Cavalry Brigade, arrives at Point A.

1400hrs (Turn 7)Voronzov‘s Division (Russian Corps) arrives at Point A.

1430hrs (Turn 8)Winzingerode and Laptiev‘s Division (Russian Corps) arrive at Point A.

1500hrs (Turn 9)Orurk‘s Division (Russian Corps) arrives at Point A.

1600hrs (Turn 10)Vuich‘s Division (Russian Corps) arrives at Point A.

1630hrs (Turn 11)Harpe‘s Division (Russian Corps) arrives at Point A.

1700hrs (Turn 12)Stedingk, the Swedish Guard Cavalry Brigade and Posse‘s Division (Swedish Corps) arrive at Point A.

1730hrs (Turn 13)Sandels‘ Division (Swedish Corps) arrives at Point A.

2000hrs (Turn 19) – Last Turn.

Prussian 1st Kurmark Landwehr Cavalry Regiment

French Unit Labels

Allied Unit Labels

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6 Responses to The Battle of Dennewitz, 6th September 1813: A Scenario for ‘Napoleon’s Battles’

  1. Doug Smith says:

    Good to meet you last sat. Hope you had a good day and decent trip back.

    • jemima_fawr says:

      You too Doug! Yes, I had a great day and we did eventually manage to play through a few turns, thanks to some mates who turned up and wanted to play. 🙂

  2. Norm says:

    Lovely presentation as always.

  3. Richard Turner says:

    Thanks for this. I’ve always wanted to play this battle.

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