The fifth of our Wagram scenario series, as the French attack again at Aderklaa, mid-morning, with the rest of St Cyr’s division, including a big brigade of Hesse- Darmstadt infantry (looking suspiciously French) and with some Saxons (on their left). The Austrian defenders are the grenadiers holding the village itself, with infantry (lots of it) on the left and the cuirassiers still stationed on the right rear after the last time (but suitably reduced in numbers after their terrible losses in game 4).
With the French launching an all out assault, my plan was to hold firm in the centre for as long as possible and counter-attack on the left and right, infantry and cavalry. No sitting back, I’d go forward and get stuck in to aid the grenadiers who could hopefully be relied upon to hold on to the houses for long enough.
|The field of battle, Aderklaa in the centre, Austrians will deploy on the left, French and allies to the right. |
The French didn’t waste any time in moving up, the Germans racing up, four assault columns behind a screen of two fusilier battalions and the skirmishing fire began, which was bad for my ‘skirmish shirking’ grenadiers, the disruption quickly mounted on them. My infantry marched up and deployed their own skirmishers too, whilst the cuirassiers advanced but slowly, because for some reason I’d unthinkingly put them in a line instead of march column for speed, and so they trotted up, whilst taking French/German cannon fire, which forced me to rally them too, all far too slow from them. Oops, my bad!
In the centre, with my grenadiers under heavy pressure, two German columns charged through their screening fusiliers to press the assault, only to both be thrown back by tough old grenadiers invoking the power of big moustaches and bigger bayonets. Hurrah, but one battalion did then break. Still, I had another to feed in to the buildings and try to stop the French from claiming their ‘Take a Strongpoint’ objective. My infantry counter attack did well to start with, routing a Hessian fusilier battalion with musketry and a swift column charge… so far so good, losses on both sides, it was even(ish).
Then it turned, the French allies, having failed to break into the houses sat back and shot them up, and the repeated skirmish and volley fire, despite rally’s broke both my grenadier units, leaving the village empty and a simple advance claimed the first buildings, the mighty moustaches had failed me! A timely whither volley also smashed one of my infantry battalions to iddy-bits and my counter attack on the left was faltering and needed to rally too. The cuirassiers were still struggling to get forwards and didn’t want to face another withering volley, so I held them back. They charge next turn, but by then the French infantry on his left would no doubt quickly form square.
The French scored big in VPs and the Austrians were really up against it. My infantry on the left scored a few more musket hits but refused to counter-charge and get those buildings back. The French on their left, in line, didn’t form square in time and my cuirassiers gleefully charged home, and as the French line tried to run it was ridden down with total carnage, a gory massacre of the battalion from my heavy horse, doing their thing well… hurrah!… the second battalion quick did form square but then almost broke from intimidation anyway. They needed an emergency rally to avoid just running as well. It was all a turn too late though… because the Hesse-Darmstadt Lieb-Guard battalion had advanced clean through the village and emerged to jump my artillery battery by surprise, routing it and taking the guns as prizes. That was it for the poor Kaiserlichs… the French VPs reached 32 against my Break Point of 31 and the Austrians had lost (again - this is becoming repetitive). I had scored just 15 VPs from the French Break Point of 32, so it was a Decisive French win at Aderklaa. It is now 8-0 on battle victory points to the French, who are winning at Wagram unless I can mount a serious comeback, oh dear!
Tbf, a few mistakes by me and some timely cards from the French saved him, plus maximum VPs for the Strongpoint objective (again). My cuirassiers should have done more, and I could have saved the grenadiers with another rally and fallen back, but I didn’t want to let him have the buildings, so stayed and fought and thus exposed them to too much fire (then lost the buildings anyway). A fallback, regroup and counter-attack would have been better in the house-to-house fighting… lesson learnt, because losing 3 grenadier battalions and their guns really cost me the game. For the French (and Germans) it was well played, even if the Saxons did nothing all game, beyond a few long range cannonades. It also didn’t help than in Turn 1 two of my gun batteries were low on ammo, so my cannon fire was very weak throughout… bring more powder and shot next time.
On to game 6 next, and the third Aderklaa assault (in reality St Cyr was pulled back by Massena after heavy losses and Molitor’s division took over the very hot fighting for the village, that’s the next scenario). Archduke Charles need a win badly. Damn these Frenchmen fight hard…
|Austrian right, the cuirassiers, but with a long way to travel to reach the French lines. |
|Austrian left, a lot of infantry, mostly in column for the counter-attack. |
|French attack columns on their left (with starting Disruption due to earlier fighting). |
|First French voltiguers investigate the village and open fire. |
|The centre, Hesse-Darmstadt allies will go in, screened by their fusilier battalions in extended line. Beyond are the white-coat Saxons (the lazy fellows). |
|A massive attack... six German battalions close in, facing just two in the buildings. |
|The assault breaks in to the village and takes the first houses, again... led by the Lieb-Guard battalion. |
|Austrian infantry counter-attack under way to the left of the village. Pressure on the French mounts. |
|At last, the cuirassiers arrive, crushing one battalion in a bloody rout and threatening the next, which must hastily form square and then almost runs anyway. |
enemy have Aderklaa... and the grenadier's command stand is in danger
of being captured. He needs to get out of there... swarming with
|Lesson learnt, the French are now in square, but face multiple intimidation checks, which almost break them anyway. A lot of wobbly knee'd Frenchmen... |
|They have cleared the village and control it, not much left for me to try and retake it. |
|The Austrian infantry counter attack as stalled, fought to standstill in heavy musketry, both sides with heavy losses, but a stalemate isn't good enough for the Austrians. |
|The Lieb-Guards' attack burst through the village and overrun the Austrian supporting cannon battery behind. All seems lost. All is lost!|