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A Walk-Through Tutorial (Austerlitz 1805)
Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 4:19 pm
Austerlitz Campaign 1805 A Walk Through Tutorial
The purpose of this Walk-Through tutorial is to familiarize new players with concepts and game play mechanisms at work in Napoleon’s Campaigns. Since much of what occurs during the course of a game turn is hidden from players or not readily accessible, I’ll be pointing out what I believe are important aspects of game play that go largely unnoticed by first time players.
The Austerlitz campaign is a good scenario to use as a demonstration/tutorial of Napoleon’s Campaigns. The unit density is not overwhelming and the strategy (on both sides) is relatively straightforward. Although the two sides are roughly equal in overall numbers, this scenario features a French army at the height of its power. French units march faster, have better morale, and are led by Division and Corps-level officers with superb leadership ratings and extraordinary abilities. The two Coalition nations, Austria and Russia, are simply outmatched by Napoleon and his Grande Armee in 1805. For this reason, I will use the French side as the basis for this tutorial.
Let’s start by discussing the Victory Conditions in this scenario to get a better idea of what we need to do in order to win. Essentially, the game is won on points—whoever has the most at the end of the scenario is the winner. Winning the scenario on points is only a Minor Victory regardless of the difference between the two totals. Yes, winning by having 200 points more than your opponent is better than only having 100 points more than your opponent--but it is still only a Minor Victory. A Minor Victory is good, but it’s not the same as a Major Victory. Napoleon would never settle for a Minor Victory, neither should you.
There are three ways to win a Major Victory in this scenario; achieving an Automatic Victory by reaching a National Morale threshold of 200 or by achieving a Sudden Death victory by holding twelve (12) of the fourteen (14) Objective cities listed on the Ledger. (Press the F5 key to view this portion of the Ledger.) The third way to win a Major Victory is by causing your opponent’s morale to collapse by driving it below the Automatic Defeat threshold. In this scenario, Coalition forces have an Automatic Defeat threshold of 30 National Morale Points.
The fourteen French Objective cities in this scenario (and the National Morale points gained or lost) are: Wien (15), Metz (10), Venezia (5), Munchen (5), Strasbourg (5), Milano (5), Prag (5), Mainz (3), Torino (3), Zurich (2), Ulm (3), Mantua (5), Brunn (3), and Olmutz (3). These are the values for the French player only. The Coalition player has the same Objective cities on his Ledger display but the value of these cities is different. What is means is that some cities may be more valuable to you (as a French player) than they are to your opponent.
As you can see on the French Ledger, you begin the scenario with a National Morale Level of 100. The Coalition player starts out with a National Morale level of 110—ten points higher than yours. The French want to reach a National Morale level of 200 points—a level that triggers an Automatic Victory. This means that we will need to gain 100 National Morale points either through combat (winning battles) or by capturing Objective cities.
There are eight (8) Objective cities that begin the game as Coalition possessions. Taken together these eight cities are worth forty-four (44) National Morale points. Therefore, assuming that the French player keeps all of the Objective cities that he starts with and captures all of the Coalition Objective cities, the most his National Morale is going to increase is 44 points for a National Morale total of 144. This is far short of the 200 NM points you need to trigger an Automatic Victory. The French will have to gain 56 National Morale points through combat—a very tall order in this scenario.
Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 4:26 pm
Now that we have a better idea of what we are aiming to achieve in this scenario, let’s take a look at the forces we have at our disposal. As you can see in this annotated view of the scenario set-up, the hard work of concentrating your forces has already been done. Napoleon stands poised to crush the Austrian army under General Mack at Ulm. Seven French Corps plus forces from three minor German allies (Bavaria, Baden, and Wurtemburg) are concentrated along the banks of the Rhine between Strasbourg and Mainz. Poor Mack doesn’t stand a chance.
Initially, the French player should be concerned with driving the Coalition National Morale below 100 as soon as possible. Remember, the break-even threshold for National Morale is 100.
* For every two NM above 100, a unit’s maximum cohesion total is increased by 1%. For every two NM below 100, a unit’s maximum cohesion total is reduced by 1%.
* For every two NM above 100, the amount of supplies produced by a supply source is increased by 1%. For every two NM below 100, the amount of supplies produced by a supply source is reduced by 1%.
* For every two NM above 100, the amount of money received is increased by 1%. For every two NM below 100, the amount of money received is reduced by 1%.
Since the Coalition starts out with a National Morale of 110, this translates into a 5% bonus in maximum cohesion, a 5% bonus in supply production, and 5% additional money. As the French player, you will want to eliminate these bonuses very early in the scenario. There’s no need to rush, however. This scenario “locks” the Austrians under General Mack in Ulm for the first turn of the game. Nine times out of ten, the Schulmeister Spy event will be triggered which locks the Austrians in Ulm for an additional turn. Basically, he’s stuck for at least two turns. This gives us plenty of time to get our forces positioned for a massive assault on Ulm.
Looking over the Corps of La Grande Armee, we see that Bernadotte (1st Corps), Marmont (2nd Corp), Ney (6th Corps), Murat (Cavalry Reserve Corps), Augereau (7th Corps) and Deroy’s Bavarian Army are all “Inactive”. This means that in addition to the movement and combat penalties assessed to Inactive Forces they will not be able to assume an Offensive or Assault Command Posture during the first turn.
Before you go any further in this tutorial, take a moment to change Deroy’s army affiliation. Notice when you left-click on Deroy’s Force marker, his troops are assessed a 24% command penalty. This is because his Bavarian Army is incorrectly affiliated with the Army of Italy. Left-click on the Detach Corps button located to the left of the Unit Panel. Once the Corps is detached, it can be immediately reattached to Napoleon’s Grande Armee headquarters. Do that now. Notice that the 24% command penalty is gone.
Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 5:36 pm
Okay, now that we’ve taken care of the Deroy affiliation problem , let’s continue. The French Army in this scenario is divided into two Army commands; Napoleon’s Grande Armee north of the Alps and Massena’s Army of Italy, south of the Alps. If you left-click on either one of these Army commands (Napoleon or Massena) you see that Corps attached to these Armies begin to flash red. This red flashing prompt lets you know that the Corps are part of the respective army and thus, eligible to receive bonuses and penalties based on the Army commander’s ratings and abilities.
Let’s look at Napoleon’s Grande Armee headquarters located in Strasbourg at the start of this scenario first. Each Army headquarters has two separate radii that effect subordinate Corps commands: the Attachment radius and the Command Radius. The Attachment Radius is the distance that a Corps can be attached (i.e., affiliated) to the Army. This distance is equal to twice the Army Commander’s Strategic Rating. Napoleon’s Strategic Rating in this scenario is six (6). This means that Corps can be attached to Napoleon’s Grande Armee HQ up to twelve (12) regions away. That’s quite a distance. A Corps that is located beyond the Attachment radius of its Army HQ is assessed an Out of Command Chain penalty (otherwise known as an OCC penalty).
The OCC Penalty
If a Force is neither a Corps (within the Attachment Radius of its parent Army) nor an Army, it is considered to be an Independent Force. (Units left behind to garrison cities and depots usually fall into this category.) An Independent Force by definition is one that exists outside the normal Army/Corp command hierarchy. Being ‘Out of Command’ causes the total number of Command Points generated by the Leaders in the Force to be halved.
For example, a 2-star Leader in a Corps that is within the Attachment Radius of its parent Army provides six (6) Command Points. This same Leader, if present in an Independent Force, would provide only three (3) Command Points.
The Command radius, on the other hand, is much shorter. The Command Radius for Army commanders is:
* The Command Radius of an Army commander with a Strategic Rating of 1 is limited to the region in which the Army HQ is located.
* The Command Radius of an Army commander with a Strategic Rating of 2 through 5 is limited to the region in which the Army HQ is located and all adjacent regions.
* The Command Radius of an Army commander with a Strategic Rating of 6 or greater is limited to the region in which the Army HQ is located and up to two (2) regions away.
Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 5:53 pm
The Command Radius is the distance at which an Army Commander is able to pass on bonuses to Corps commanders. These bonuses are based on the Army commander’s Strategic, Offensive, and Defensive Ratings as follows:
Command Point Bonus: Corps Commanders receive a number of Command Points equal to the Strategic Rating of the Army commander minus two (2). For example, if a Corps Commander was located within the Command Radius of an Army commanded by Napoleon (with a Strategic Rating of ), he would receive a bonus of four (4) Command Points (i.e. 6 − 2 = 4).
Strategic Rating Bonus: Eligible Corps Commanders receive a Strategic Rating bonus from their Army commander. The amount of bonus that Corps commanders receive is calculated individually and based on the Army commander’s Strategic Rating. Generally, the higher the Army commander’s Strategic Rating, the greater the bonus he is able to pass on to his Corps commanders (up to a maximum bonus of four ). Army commanders with a Strategic Rating of 1 or 2 have the potential of passing on a negative Strategic Rating bonus (up to a maximum bonus of negative two [-2]).
Offensive Rating Bonus: Eligible Corps Commanders receive an Offensive Rating bonus from their Army commander. The amount of bonus that Corps commanders receive is calculated individually and based on the Army commander’s Offensive Rating. Generally, the higher the Army commander’s Offensive Rating, the greater the bonus he is able to pass on to his Corps commanders (up to a maximum bonus of four ).
Defensive Rating Bonus: Eligible Corps Commanders receive a Defensive Rating bonus from their Army commander. The amount of bonus that Corps commanders receive is calculated individually and based on the Army commander’s Defensive Rating. Generally, the higher the Army commander’s Defensive Rating, the greater the bonus he is able to pass on to his Corps commanders (up to a maximum bonus of four ).
The bonuses that an Army commander gives to his Corps commanders is shown on a tool-tip. Army commander bonuses are never displayed on the first turn of the game or on the turn that a Corps is created or affiliated with an Army HQ. Allow a turn to be resolved before checking for Army bonuses in these cases.
Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 8:42 pm
Now that we understand the difference between Attachment radius and Command Radius, we should have a brief discussion about Command Points and Command Costs.
Essentially, each Corps or Independent Force commander is allowed to command a certain number of units before he becomes overwhelmed with all that responsibility. Having too many troops has an adverse effect on a commander’s ability to use them effectively. When this happens, a commander is penalized.
Each Leader in a Force provides Command Points (CPs) according to his rank. When multiple Leaders exist in a single Force, the Command Points they provide are cumulative and applied to the Force as a whole. (The overall Force commander is considered to be getting 'help' from other officers in his Force.)
Command Points Summary
* A 1-star Leader provides three (3) Command Points to units in his Force.
* A 2-star Leader provides six (6) Command Points to units in his Force.
* A 3 or 4-star Leader provides nine (9) Command Points to units in his Force.
Each unit is given a Command Cost which reflects the difficulties a Leader would have in ‘leading’ it efficiently (large formations are unwieldy). Each Force has a Command Cost equal to the cumulative number of Command Costs associated with its component units.
Command Cost Summary
* Artillery battery: one (1) CP
* Brigade, Regiment, Squadron: from one (1) to three (3) CPs
* Division: three (3) CPs
* Army HQ: three (3) CPs
Brigades, Regiments, and Squadrons have Command Costs based on the number of elements they contain, although these costs are sometimes elevated for overly large units. Increased Command Costs are also used to represent cultural differences in command and control methodologies between nationalities.
A 2-star Leader, for example, could command up to six (6) Command points worth of units without penalty. These units could consist of two (2) divisions of three points each, or one division and three artillery batteries, or any combination equaling six command points.
You are not prevented from giving a Leader excess units to command but you are penalized for doing so.
Each turn, Leaders have their CP allowances added together to produce a sum total of CPs that can be applied toward the command and control of the Force they belong to. A Leader does not have to be the commander of a Force in order for his CPs to be counted. Every Leader in the Force, whether he commands units or just happens to be there, is eligible to contribute Command Points up to an unmodified maximum of twelve (12) CPs per Force.
The twelve (12) CP per Force limitation may be raised by the following cumulative modifiers:
* +2 CPs: if a Signal support unit is present in the Force,
* +1 CP: if a Reconnaissance support unit is present in the Force,
* + (Variable) CPs: Leader Special Abilities
* (Strategic Rating of parent Army commander + [−2]) CPs: if Corps is within Army HQ Leader’s Command Radius
All of these modifiers are cumulative so you could, for example, have a Force with Leaders contributing twelve (12) CPs, a Signal unit providing two (2) CPs, and a Leader with a Level 2 ‘Gifted Commander’ Special Ability adding four (4) CPs for a grand total of eighteen (18) CPs.
But let's look at a real world example. St Cyr's Corps is attached to Massena's Army of Italy. It consists of 16 units as you see here and is assessed a 35% command penalty (the red 35%) on the Unit Panel ID line.
Okay. Why is St Cyr being assessed that penalty?
First, St Cyr is a 2-star leader so he generates six (6) Command points. His four Division cdrs (Lecchi, Reynier, Montrichard, and Valence) are all 1-star leaders that together add twelve (12) command points for a grand total of eighteen (18) command points for the Force. Remember though, Leaders can only generate a maximum of 12 CPs (unmodified) in a single Force.
Therefore, St Cyr and his division commanders are limited to twelve CPs. St Cyr, however, is a Gifted Commander. This adds two CPs for a total of 14. (St Cyr is also Quickly Angered. If he was an Army Cdr instead of a mere Corps cdr, the -4 CP penalty would apply.) He gets no bonus from Massena (the Army cdr) because this is the first turn of the scenario. Otherwise Massena would influence the amount of CPs St Cyr generates.
St Cyr is leading a force made up of 16 units (St Cyr leader unit, four infantry divisions, two horse artillery batteries, six artillery batteries, a Pontoon unit, a Sapper unit, and a supply wagon. This gives a total of 22 command points that St Cyr needs to generate.
* One St Cyr Leader unit at NO COST = 0
* Four (4) infantry Divisions at three CPs each = 12
* Eight artillery batteries at one CP each = 8
* One Pontoon and one Sapper at one CP each = 2
* One Supply Wagon at NO COST = 0
So.... 0 + 12 + 8 + 2 + 0 = 22
St Cyr has 14 Command Points to allocate but his Force contains 22 CPs worth of units. He has exceeded his allowance by eight (8) CPs and is assessed a 35% movement and combat penalty.
Actually, the penalty for exceeding a Commander's CP allowance is roughly 5% per CP over the allowance. In this case, the penalty should have been 40% (8 x 5%). The penalty is capped at 35%, however.
I say that the penalty is roughly 5% per CP because the actual formula for assessing command point penalties is: 100 − (100 x [CPs Generated/CPs Needed]). You are free to calculate this formula for yourself or just take my word for it that the penalty is roughly 5% per CP over the allowance.
For those of you interested in testing the formula, the equation applicable to a Force containing 21 command points worth of units but leaders with only 16 command points would be:
100 − (100 x [16/21]) = 23.8% (rounded to nearest % or 24%).
Okay, so we know how the command penalty is assessed—but what does it actually mean and what can we do about it?
Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 11:08 pm
Command penalties reduce the movement speed and combat values of each of the elements in a particular Force. Not only does St. Cyr’s Corps now move 35% slower than it would without the penalty, it is also 35% less efficient in combat. Now, I realize that there are many of you out there thinking, “35%, so what. I’ll just factor in that 35% reduction. If I had a 1000 man regiment before the penalty, I now have 650 men with the penalty.”
The problem with this thinking is that the penalty doesn’t work like that. It doesn’t represent a straight-forward 35% reduction in the strength of a Force as you might think. What the penalty actually does is reduce the Fire and Assault values of individual elements by the stated amount. Those of you that are used to playing war-games are familiar with having unit values reduced prior to resolving combat and so once again, you’re thinking this is no big deal.
Wrong again. Combat is resolved in Napoleon’s Campaigns differently from other war-game resolution sequences. The values themselves are NOT used in a comparative ratio formula to determine a result. Instead, Fire and Assault values are used to calculate the percentage change of scoring a hit on an enemy unit. So instead of having 650 men at full strength, you have 1,000 men with only 65% of their normal chance of scoring a hit.
Trust me. Mathematically, this is a big deal. The equation for resolving combat magnifies the effects that even little bonuses and penalties have. It absolutely rips the heart out of Forces that are assessed big penalties. Even Napoleon stands a better than 50-50 chance of losing a battle with a penalty of 35% around his neck.
The short answer to the Command penalty issue—Try to avoid them wherever possible.
There are several ways to avoid command penalties. One is to reduce the overall number of units in a Force by leaving them behind or giving them to someone else to command. Another is to add more Leaders to a Force as long as you’re not bumping into that artificial 12 CP ceiling. The best way, however, is to get creative and restructure your Force so that it fights more efficiently.
Using our poor over-worked St. Cyr as an example, let’s reduce his command penalty with a little restructuring magic and get him ready to pounce on Mantua on the very first game turn.
No wonder St. Cyr has a command penalty. In addition to four infantry divisions to worry about, he has two horse artillery and six foot artillery batteries running around loose. That would be a lot to keep up with on a parade ground back home, much less in combat.
Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 7:05 am
Fortunately, this is one of the easier restructurings you’ll probably do. We only need to reduce the Command points being used from 22 to 14 (St Cyr’s CP allowance) in order to eliminate this penalty. We can do this any number of ways but since we have eight loose batteries of artillery, our problem is solved if we assign these artillery batteries to one or more of St Cyr’s division commanders.
As you see, at the outset, St. Cyr’s Corps consists of 16 units with a PWR rating of 271. This PWR rating is essentially the same thing as saying it has a combat efficiency of 271. Watch what happens on the Unit Panel when we start to restructure the Corps by placing all those artillery batteries inside Divisions units.
Personally, I think it’s a waste to assign horse artillery to infantry units. I realize this is just a personal preference of mine and that others may see it differently. Because Massena’s Army of Italy HQ is in the same region as St Cyr’s Corps, we can transfer the two horse artillery batteries to the Army of Italy HQ right away. (The Army of Italy has a cavalry division that can use these two batteries.)
To do this, simply select the horse artillery units by left-clicking on them and dragging them to the Armee d’Italie tab above the Unit Panel. Release your mouse to drop them into the Army d’Italie tab. You can do this by selecting and moving the two horse artillery batteries individually or by CTRL-left-clicking to make a multiple unit selection and dropping them collectively.
Once you have moved the two horse artillery batteries to Massena’s Army of Italy, you notice that St. Cyr’s Corps now has a PWR rating of 276 and a command penalty of only 30%. Notice that we actually decreased the number of units that St. Cyr’s Corps contains and yet its combat efficiency increased. Now let’s do the same thing with each of those six foot artillery batteries.
Left-click on Lecchi’s Division (it’s the unit counter just to right of St. Cyr on the Unit panel. Hold the CTRL key down and left-click on the 2nd Artillery Battery. As you can see in the image, a gold-colored border appears around the two units when they are selected and the Add Units button is now highlighted. This means that there is room inside Lecchi’s Division for this battery.
To combine the two units, left-click on the Add Units button. Notice that the artillery battery no longer appears on the Unit Panel. It has been moved inside Lecchi’s Division. Also notice that the Add Units button is no longer highlighted. St Cyr’s Corps now has a PWR rating of 295 and a command penalty of only 25%. We’re almost there.
Repeat the procedure for adding units for each of the five remaining foot artillery batteries. You are free to place them in any of St Cyr’s four infantry Divisions. Once you’ve finished, you’ll notice that St. Cyr’s Corps has a PWR rating of 394 (up from 271) and no command penalty. That’s pretty good for just spending a minute or two moving units around.
We actually gave away units to another command and still St. Cyr's PWR rating went up. This restructuring made St. Cyr's Corps a faster moving, more formidable force. Take a few more minutes to look over Massena's Army d'Italie Force. What can be done to improve upon its efficiency?
As a side note, there's a Restructuring tutorial posted separately on this forum that deals with the Austrian troops facing Massena in this scenario.
Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:07 pm
Having moved those artillery batteries and eliminated St. Cyr’s command penalty, it’s important to remember that small things sometimes have big consequences in this game. Because of the way combat is resolved, artillery batteries at the Division level only fire at enemy units that are engaging friendly elements belonging to their Division. Artillery batteries left at the Corps level are free to fire at anyone, usually enemy units that pose the biggest threat. For this reason, there’s ample motivation to keep at least a couple batteries outside of Divisional structures. One thing you don’t want to do is load up a single Division with all your artillery while making others do without. Spread the wealth.
You’ll notice that this tutorial has gone on for some time now barely talking about tactics or strategies with regard to this scenario. This is because there are a number of things to take into consideration before you start dropping troop markers all over the map and picking fights with the Austrians. I promise we will start looking at actual strategies very soon. In the meantime, one thing we very definitely need to look at is Leadership, especially with regard to Activation.
Napoleon’s Campaigns is an excellent simulation of how leadership and command actually works in the real world. Having spent a number of years in the US Army as a Private before working my way up to Sergeant, I can tell you from first hand experience how it feels to be the low man on the totem-pole.
In other words, some General somewhere makes a decision and it can take days, even weeks, before word filters down to Private Russell’s foxhole. Getting troops to go where you want them to go, even in peace time, is a little like herding cats. Mathematically, the equation would be something like:
[Serendipity] / [Murphy’s Law X Fog of War] = Present for Duty − [the 10% who didn’t get the word].
Leadership has its limitations. There are literally hundreds of historical Leader figures represented in game—everyone from Napoleon down to relatively unknown Brigade commanders. The design team looked at the resumes of each Leader and then evaluated their capacity and ability to exercise command. The result of this time consuming process was the creation of a hyper-detailed database giving Leaders individualized skills. Let’s take a moment to look closely at those skills and how they are applied during play.
Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:16 pm
THE BIG THREE
No—I’m not referring to Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill. Every Leader (including spies, surgeons, engineers, etc.) has been given three ratings that correspond to his—or her in the case of Queen Marie-Louisa—real life leadership abilities. With regard to Leaders in Napoleon’s Campaigns, the “Big Three’ refers to a Leader’s Strategic Rating, Offensive Rating, and Defensive Rating.
Strategic Rating and Activation
A Leader’s Strategic Rating (SR) is used primarily to determine whether or not the Leader is considered ‘Active’ during the upcoming game turn. Each point of Strategic Rating increases a Leader’s chance of becoming Active by 16.6%. For example, a Leader with an SR of three (3) has a nearly 50-50 chance of becoming active. Napoleon, with his SR of six (6) in most scenarios, is almost always activated.
Activation Rule: Activation is determined by a simple computer-generated six-sided die roll (DR6). If the DR6 is equal to or less than the Leader’s SR, the Leader is considered Active during the upcoming game turn. If a Leader was Active during the previous game turn, one (+1) is added to his Strategic Rating (i.e. an SR of 4 becomes a 5). Therefore, a Leader who was active during the previous game turn has a better chance (equal to 16.6%) of becoming active in the current game turn.
Nothing is ever this certain in warfare, however. If the unmodified DR6 is a six (6), a second DR6 is made. If this second DR6 is also a six (6), the Leader is considered to have suffered a catastrophic command failure and is not ‘Activated’ during the upcoming game turn under any circumstances. This means that even though Napoleon has a Strategic Rating of six (6), there is always a slight chance he'll become InActive (about 5% on any given turn).
A Force that is Inactive because its commander failed his Activation Check is seriously penalized. Inactive Forces have a 35% penalty assessed on their movement speed and a 35% penalty assessed on their combat values if they engage (or are engaged) in combat in an enemy-controlled region. This means, in practical terms, that Inactive Forces should refrain from moving into enemy-controlled regions where there’s a chance of being attacked.
One thing to keep in mind regarding Activation is that every Leader is checked at the beginning of each turn. This can lead to instances in which a subordinate Division commander is Active while his Corps commander is Inactive. Here’s where you, as supreme commander of your faction, earn your pay. Faced with this situation; do you:
Option A: keep the Inactive Corps intact and allow all of its subordinate units suffer the penalties associated with being Inactive,
Option B: strip the Inactive Corps commander of Active Division commanders and let the Division commanders move on their own?
There are a couple of considerations that come into play. First, once you remove the Division Leaders from their Corps, each one instantly becomes an Independent Force. Independent Forces are subject to the Out of Command Penalty—a penalty that halves the number of Command Points (CPs) the Leader generates. This halving of Leader CPs prevents you from, in effect, creating a new Corps by combining only Active Division commanders into a new multi-Division Force.
Now there’s nothing to keep you from moving and attacking with each of the Active Divisions as separate Independent Forces. However, the Divisions will engage (or be engaged) in combat individually instead of in one collective formation. This creates a situation in which the Divisions are committed and exposed to combat in a ‘piece-meal’ fashion. (Remember that there can be a delay of several rounds before individual Forces engage in their first round of combat.)
Did I tell you this was a complex simulation to master? The Activation dilemma is just one of the reasons why you can’t approach this game casually.
Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:57 pm
Strategic Rating and Attachment Radius
The Strategic Rating is further used to determine an Army commander’s Attachment Radius. The Attachment Radius is the range at which an Army commander may attach (i.e. affiliate) a Corps to his Army. The Attachment Radius for Army commanders is equal to twice (2x) their SR. For example; Napoleon, with an SR of six (6) in most scenarios, could attach Corps or Independent Forces as far away as twelve (12) regions. This, of course, is an extreme example. Most 3 or 4-star Leaders (and other mere mortals) have an Attachment Radius that covers considerably less territory.
The question of whether it’s better for a Corps to be part of an Army or act as an Independent Force is an easy one to answer. There’s simply no reason for a Corps NOT to be part of an Army. A Corps that moves outside the Attachment radius of its parent Army HQ is subject to an Out of Command penalty which halves the number of Command Points the Corps commander generates. This penalty is exactly the same as the penalty applied to Forces for being Independent—the downside remains the same. However, a Corps that is affiliated with an Army gains the full benefit of its Corps commander’s ability to generate Command Points as well as the abilities and bonuses it receives from the Army commander.
Offensive and Defensive Ratings
Offensive and Defensive Ratings are used to provide Fire bonuses to subordinates units. The effect that these bonuses have on combat calculations is substantial and you are well advised to pay close attention to these values—they can have a snow-ball effect.
First, Army commanders provide Offensive/Defensive Rating bonuses to Corps commanders that are part of their army (i.e. in their Chain of Command). The amount of bonus Corps commanders receive is variable but it is based on the Army commander’s Offensive/Defensive Ratings. The higher the Army commander’s rating, the greater chance that a bonus will be passed on. The potential bonus is also greater—up to a maximum increase of four (4).
Corps commanders provide an Offensive/Defensive Fire bonus based upon their Offensive/Defensive Ratings. This bonus is applied directly to the Offensive/Defensive Fire values of the units (elements) under their command. For each Offensive/Defensive Rating point, the Offensive/Defensive Fire value of their units (elements) is increased by 5%.
Example: An element of Austrian infantry (a typical two-battalion Austrian line infantry regiment) has an Offensive Fire value of ten (10). If the element is in a Corps belonging to a Corps commander with an Offensive Rating of three (3), the element’s Fire value is increased by 15% [3 x 5% = 15%]. If the Corps commander received a bonus of two (2) to his rating because of his Army commander’s Offensive Rating, the element’s Fire value would instead be increased by 25% [5 x 5% = 25%].
In addition to the Corp commander’s Offensive/Defensive Rating, elements also receive increases to their Fire values based upon their Division commander’s Offensive/Defensive Ratings. For each Offensive/Defensive Rating point belonging to the Division commander, the Offensive/Defensive Fire value of the units (elements) is increased by 3%. The Division commander’s bonus is cumulative with the Corps commander’s bonus.
Example: An element of French infantry (a typical two-battalion French line infantry regiment) has an Offensive Fire value of eleven (11). If the element is in a Corps belonging to a Corps commander with an Offensive Rating of six (6), the element’s Fire value is increased by 25% [6 x 5% = 30%]. If the Corps commander received a bonus of three (3) to his rating because of his Army commander’s Offensive Rating, the element’s Fire value would instead be increased by 45% [9 x 5% = 45%]. If the element’s Division commander had an Offensive Rating of four (4), the Fire value would be further increased by 12% [4 x 3% = 12%]. In total, the element would have its Fire value increased by 57% [45% + 12% = 57%]. Instead of a Fire value of eleven (11), the French element would have a modified Fire value of 17 [11 x 57% (rounded down) = 17].
As this diagram clearly illustrates, Offensive/Defensive Ratings have an enormous impact on combat. An element in Morand’s Division has its Fire and Assault values raised by nearly 60% in this leadership configuration. Wait… that’s not right. It’s not AN element in Morand’s Division—it’s EVERY element in Morand’s Division—it’s the entire Division. Other Divisions in Davout’s Corps would enjoy similar increases based upon their Division commanders’ individual Offensive ratings.
Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 1:26 pm
In fact, the single most important variable that gets factored into the combat resolution equation is leadership in the form of bonuses and abilities. The combat values of the elements themselves come in a poor second. For this reason, it is essential that you pay attention to the Leader’s ‘Big Three’ ratings. Having good leadership will win more battles for you than having the bigger Army.
Because Offensive and Defensive Ratings are passed down and calculated similarly, they have thus far been grouped together for purposes of discussion. It’s time to look at these two ratings separately from a tactical standpoint.
The Offensive Rating is used when a Force has assumed an Assault or Offensive Command Posture. The Defensive Rating is used when a Force has assumed a Defensive or Passive Command Posture. Most of the time Leaders have Offensive and Defensive ratings that are relatively close to one another, if not equal. If this is the case, from a bonus standpoint it makes little difference whether they are attacked—or are doing the attacking.
Some Leaders, however, have Offensive and Defensive Ratings that are different by more than just a few points. Russian General Peter Bagration, known to his men as “The Eagle”, is just one such General that comes to mind. In some scenarios, Bagration has a ‘big three’ rating of (3-2-5). What this means essentially is that Bagration is a far more effective leader when the units under his command remain defensive. Simply put, you are better off allowing Bagration to be attacked rather than letting him do the attacking—far better off.
Now this is not say that you can never use Leaders like Bagration as part of an overall strategic offensive. What is clear, however, is that rather than initiate combat with a Force under Bagration, you should engage in maneuver warfare. By this I mean, move and position Bagration in such a way so that his Force dominates the ‘battle space’ and compels the enemy into doing the attacking.
Although the disparity between Offensive and Defensive ratings is not as great, the Duke of Wellington (5-4-6) is another Leader who is better on the defense than he is on the offense. His strategy during the Waterloo campaign is a good example of dominating the battle space and forcing the opponent to attack on British terms. Wellington was able to make the best use of his men by remaining on the defensive. This is a lesson that you should remember and take to heart when playing the game.
Looking at the example of an element in Morand’s Division illustrated above, it’s easy to miss the real significance of the 57% increase in values. The increase doesn’t indicate that the unit is stronger, only that when it comes to Fire and Assault combat it has a 57% better chance of scoring a hit. As a practical matter then, increases that get applied to Fire values are extremely relevant in the context of First Fire.
In other words, when Fire combat is resolved, one side is picked to shoot first based on its Initiative rating. The side that shoots first gets to inflict casualty and cohesion damage before the enemy gets a chance to return fire. Obviously, the more damage that can be done to the enemy on this initial fire, the weaker the return fire will be. The dynamics of First Fire set the tone for the entire battle. Inflicting casualties first is a huge advantage that is magnified by any bonus which improves on the chance to score a hit.
Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 2:29 pm
Note: You will see losses referred to as Hits in both the game and the manual but this term is slightly misleading. When a unit is ‘hit’ in combat, the actual damage it suffers from that ‘hit’ may vary from between one (1) and three (3) losses depending on the type of enemy unit that scored the ‘hit’. Therefore, I will refer to physical damage done to units as step-losses rather than ‘hits’ to avoid confusion.
But before I start talking about scenario strategies, it’s important to take a look at how the combatants compare to each other. We know, of course, that French units are better than their Austrian and Russian counterparts. But how much better are they?
Let’s start by considering the plight of one Marcel Montagne—an impoverished peasant conscript caught up in the levee of 1805. Marcel is a Private in the 36th Regiment Infantrie de Ligne. He carries the standard Model 1777 .69 caliber smoothbore musket known as a ‘Charleville’. The Charleville was named after the Armory where these muskets were manufactured by the thousands. It’s a familiar firearm to Frenchmen. The musket is just over 5 feet in length, weighs around 10 pounds, and has an effective range of 100 yards. Private Montagne also carries a 15 inch tri-cornered socket bayonet in case he finds himself uncomfortably close to the enemy.
Marcel has been with his unit only a few months and everything he has learned about soldiering he has picked up from fellow soldiers along the way. His chain of command starts with his Company commander, Captaine Silvane—a rather portly fellow with an outrageous moustache. Next in line is his Battalion commander, followed by his Regimental commander until it reaches Brigadier General Thiebault—the Brigade commander.
Thiebault’s Brigade is part of Brigadier General Louis de Saint-Hilaire’s Division, which itself is part of Marshal Jean Soult’s 4th Corps. Soult’s 4th Corps is part of Napoleon Bonaparte’s Grand Armee. For the next few years, every facet of Private Montagne’s life—what he eats, when (and where) he sleeps—will be decided by Napoleon and passed back down the chain of command until it finally reaches him.
It’s October 1st 1805 and at the moment, Soult’s Corps is located in fortress of Landau on the left bank of the Rhine River. If we left-click on Soult’s Corps, we can see St. Hilaire’s Division. If we left-click on Hilaire’s Division on the Unit Panel, we can see an infantry icon representing the 36th Ligne on the Element Display Panel.
The 36th Regiment Infanterie de Ligne is typical of French line infantry regiments in 1805. Consisting of two battalions, the 36th Regiment has a maximum troop strength of 1,800 men. During the battle of Austerlitz, this unit, along with its sister regiments, is destined to retake the Pratzen Plateau at the crucial moment. The 36th will be hit hard at Pratzen, losing 220 Grenadiers out of 230. Poor Marcel will barely survive being struck by a Russian bullet early on in the battle. He will be sent to the rear to recuperate for several months, then later rejoin the 36th Ligne to take part in the Prussian campaign of 1806.
Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 3:44 pm
The 36th Regiment, a two-battalion regiment, has the following unmodified statistics:
The numbers and values assigned to these units are essentially meaningless without some basis for comparison. We can see right away however that the 36th Regiment can take 18 step-losses (either from attrition or combat) before it is eliminated, with each step of loss representing 100 men.
In addition to the two-battalion regiments like the 36th, there are three and four-battalion line infantry regiments in the 1805 and 1806 campaigns as well. The firepower values for these larger regiments show only a modest increase and you may wonder why this would be the case. This is due, in part, to the fact that no matter how large a unit is in terms of actual manpower, only a percentage of these men are able to employ their weaponry.
Larger units have a greater depth, however. Accordingly, their Assault values show a significant increase—a benefit derived from their increased mass. This increased mass also puts weight behind regimental melee attacks, causing a greater impact at the point of contact. In fire combat, larger units do little additional damage over smaller units; but when it comes to Assault combat, size does matter. An infantry regiment consisting of four battalions inflicts three times the physical damage on an opponent that a two-battalion regiment does.
Beginning with the typical Austrian regiment consisting of two battalions, we can immediately see some inherent disadvantages when the Austrian unit is compared to its French counterpart. In terms of firepower and Assault strength, the two opposing units are roughly matched. The real distinctions to be made lay in those intangible areas of Initiative, Discipline, and of course, Cohesion.
What this says at the outset is that Austrian infantry has the manpower and equipment to ‘give’ as good as it ‘gets’; but only if the men obey orders and hang around the battlefield long enough. In a combat lasting more than just a couple rounds, and certainly one that drags on to a second day, Austrian line infantry will be hard pressed to maintain itself in the firing line—but at least it will go down shooting.
Most of the Austrian infantry regiments that the French initially encounter during the Austerlitz campaign are not two battalion regiments; but the monstrous four (4) and five (5) battalion regiments of 3,700 and 4,500 men each. Fortunately for the French, the majority of these cumbersome regiments find themselves locked up in Ulm with Mack and subject to scenario restrictions which preclude them from being used effectively.
Russian Musketeer regiments are raised from peasant huts from all over Russia. The men are used to living in what others would call harsh conditions. As a result, these men make for hardy soldiers who, lacking initiative, follow orders out of habit. The surprising thing is that their assigned combat values aren’t that bad. They compare favorably to Austrian and Prussian infantry in all respects save for their Fire values.
The biggest advantage these Russian Musketeer regiments have is that there are a lot of them and that every bullet that gets fired at a musketeer is one that isn’t fired at something more valuable. Musketeer cohesion is not great but it is slightly above par with Germanic infantry on both sides of the lines. If these regiments are led by capable officers with good Offensive/Defensive Rating values, they will perform adequately.
The elite soldiers of Russia’s infantry arm are undoubtedly its Grenadiers. Having said this, Grenadier units are only moderately more effective than Musketeers. In terms of firepower, they are equivalent; and only slightly more effective in Assault combat. Initiative and Discipline are higher, as might be expected, but hardly up to the elite standards of France’s Old Guard units.
The most useful advantage to these elite soldiers is the additional ten (10) Cohesion points they are given. These additional points give Grenadiers a Cohesion that is marginally greater than the standard French infantry regiment. This means that Grenadiers can hold their own over multiple rounds of combat and makes them especially difficult to drive off the field—especially when given orders to ‘Hold At All Costs’. Combat with Grenadiers is usually bloody because neither side will break and run prematurely. Like Napoleon’s Old Guard units, Grenadiers would rather die than run away—this makes them exceedingly dangerous.
Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 5:29 pm
Keep in mind that my walk-through shows just one way to approach this scenario. I’m not claiming that my strategy is foolproof. Your results and your strategy will vary somewhat depending upon the weather. What I will do over the course of the scenario is explain my strategy and justify my decisions as best I can. I’ll leave it up to you to come up with strategies that better suit your command temperament.
The first turn of the scenario is crucial. Coalition forces are limited by scenario restrictions that ‘lock’ General Mack in Ulm so we’ll take advantage of this and use the turn to position our Corps. My opening move is designed to bypass Ulm and time the decisive blow so that it lands on a subsequent turn. I want to get between Mack and the oncoming Coalition forces hoping to link up with him. In order to do this, it is important to control the Augsburg junction at the start of turn 2.
Since Davout is “Active”, his Corps is able to reach Augsburg in five days. Once in Augsburg, Davout can either press the advance eastward toward Munchen or reinforce the assault on Ulm. Accordingly, Davout’s Corps should be given an Assault or Offensive Command posture that allows his troops to engage any Coalition forces moving through the region (in either direction).
Marmont and Bernadotte are both Inactive on the first turn. For this reason, these Corps are used to defend the area between Ansbach and Wurzburg. The depot at Rothenburg is a tempting target for Coalition forces early on. Two divisions from Bernadotte’s Corps should be detached in order to garrison the Wurzburg and Rothenburg depots. Deroy’s Bavarian Corps should detach a Division to protect Nuremburg and move the remaining units eastward to seize a foothold in Cham on the second turn. This move puts pressure on the Coalition to defend Regensburg when they should be sending every swinging musket elsewhere.
The Rhine river presents a major obstacle to Napoleon and the Corps in Strasbourg. On turn 1, these Forces are put in motion across the river in order to reach Ulm late in the second week. Augureau’s Corps is locked in place so he’ll remain behind to garrison the city while the rest of the Grande Armee begins its march. Soult’s Corps should cross the Rhine at Mainz with the goal of eventually reaching Stuttgart.
This leaves two Corps (Ney and Murat) to advance on Stuttgart, secure the depot and prepare to engage the Austrians on the next turn. Both of these Corps are Inactive so they cannot undertake offensive operations. That’s fine. They will hopefully Activate on the second turn and form the backbone of our Ulm assault. Murat’s Corps contains the Cavalry Reserve. Although I would prefer not to use my precious cavalry units in this manner, having them occupy the Stuttgart region puts them in position to intercept any Coalition cavalry units trying to disrupt our supply lines.
South of the Alps, Massena’s Army of Italy is used to support St.Cyr’s assault on Mantua. Because the Coalition is strongest in the south, if Mantua doesn’t fall on the first turn, the chances of taking it once Archduke Karl’s army arrives are slim. Combat will be bloody. Both sides are fairly matched and the French will be hard pressed. One division should be detached to capture the Coalition supplies in Trento while the remaining units join in the Mantua operation.
Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 5:54 pm
As expected, the assault on Mantua was exceedingly bloody. General Lecchi was among the first to fall. While French troops managed to take the fortress, Archduke Karl’s Austrians arrived on the scene to promptly force a withdrawal to Verona. Although casualties among St. Cyr’s Corps were heavy, French troops managed to inflict heavy damage on the Austrians as well.
Ouch. The results of this first battle are not encouraging. St Cyr men, particularly his cavalry were roughly handled by Austrian fire. The death of Lecchi at the outset of the battle is further evidence of how intense this fight was.
In the north, the French opening move went off as plan. Davout’s Corp reached the Augsburg region and is equally well disposed to advance on either Munchen, Regensburg, or Ulm. The remaining French Corps have reached positions on all sides of Ulm and are prepared to launch a decisive attack.
As predicted, the Schulmeister Spy event has ‘locked’ Mack in the city for another turn. This gives us the luxury of delaying our assault until turn 3 if necessary. The Schulmeister event is noted in the turn log. If you miss seeing it mentioned in the log, the appearence of Schulmeister in Ulm is another clue.
Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 9:19 pm
Thus far, the war north of the Alps has been won at the cost of shoe leather. Napoleon’s Grande Armee has been marching divided—this turn they will fight united. Mack’s Army in Ulm will be attacked by Ney, Soult, Lannes, and Marmont’s Corps backed up by Napoleon’s Grande Armee HQ and the Imperial Guard. Success in this attack is almost a foregone conclusion. The only question will be how many casualties these Corps will suffer before Ulm falls. I am prepared to accept relatively high casualties in this battle because I am interested in driving Coalition National Morale levels below 100 prior to the arrival of Russian forces in any great number. For this reason, I will rush this attack even though I could wait until Turn 3 when the odds would be better.
Davout’s Corp is going to press its luck by attempting to capture both Regensburg and Munich. The chances of success in this venture are merely fair but the operation will pin Coalition troops in this region and prevent any reinforcements from reaching Ulm. Bernadotte’s Corps is tasked with clearing the north bank of the Danube in the Ingolstadt region and blocking any cavalry raids from being mounted against the Bavarian depots. Likewise Murat’s Cavalry Reserve is ordered to move to Regensburg in support of Davout.
The strategy of sending Deroy’s Bavarian Corps into Cham is validated by the fact that Deroy is able to further strengthen Davout’s move on Regensburg. The other German allies, Baden and Wurtemburg have had little part in the operation so far. I have intentionally kept these troops out of harm’s way in an effort to deny the Coalition some easy Victory Points. Over the next few turns, these forces will be assigned to secure the French supply line against the Cossack raiders I know are on the way.
In the south, St Cyr’s Corp will be reinforced by Divisions from Massena’s Army of Italy. I am betting that the losses that Archduke Karl’s forces suffered previously will cause them to spend the turn consolidating. With luck, a renewed assault on Mantua may just take the city. It better work. I’m counting on superior French leadership to win the day in the south. If St Cyr’s Corps fails in taking the city this turn, the Army of Italy will be forced to go on the defensive for the remainder of the game.
Turn 2 Resolution
After a turn of very heavy fighting, both Ulm and Mantua have fallen. Casualties among French units have been moderately high but so far Napoleon has been lucky. The weather has remained favorable to swift operations. Mack’s army in Ulm has been utterly defeated and disbanded after suffering losses of nearly 50,000 men. Napoleon’s Grande Armee is consolidated in Ulm in the aftermath of the battle and this will make a general restructuring possible.
Part of what made the attack on Ulm so successful is the use of the Synchronized Movement command. This command allows Corps and HQs in the same region to time their movement so that their attacks are coordinated rather than executed piecemeal. As you can see from the Battle Report, Napoleon directed a six Corps simultaneous attack of over 170,000 men on Mack’s 90,000 Austrians. The result was devastating. Napoleon eliminated the Austrian threat in Bavaria in exchange for less than 15,000 men.
East of Ulm, Davout’s Corp and Delroy’s Bavarians captured Regensburg along with a depot full of supplies. Their move on Munchen has been halted by Russian troops that entered the city at the last moment. A quick look at some of Davout’s units shows that most have lost nearly a third of their cohesion. Davout's Corps hasn't been involved in much combat yet; these cohesion losses are due to movement.
Remember, Forces lose about 1 cohesion point per day simply by moving around. This is why you should let troops remain in place whenever possible. Not only will they not lose cohesion, they actually recover lost cohesion and will eventually regain their maximum allowance. In Davout's case, it might be worthwhile to allow them a turn to rest before attempting to drive the Russians out of Munchen.
South of the Alps, St. Cyr’s Corps captured Mantua and held the city in the face of repeated Austrian counterattacks. Though they hold the city, St. Cyr’s men are now besieged by Archduke Karl’s Austrians. The presence of red-shaded regions indicates that St. Cyr’s Corps is blocked by Austrian besiegers. Massena has moved behind the Adige River to regroup. The situation in the south has reached a stalemate. St. Cyr is not strong enough by himself to lift the siege and Archduke Karl’s force is not strong enough to retake the city.
At the end of the second turn, French National Morale has climbed to 121. This will increase their maximum cohesion by 10 points across the board. Austrian National Morale remains at 110 despite my efforts to reduce it below 100 early on. No matter. French losses number less than 45,000 in contrast to more than 110,000 casualties inflicted on the Austrians thus far.
As a side note, with the victory at Ulm has come the spoils. French forces have captured a variety of artillery pieces and supply wagons. Be careful that you do not combine these captured units into your Forces without first checking their mobility. Siege artillery is notoriously slow-moving. Putting one of those units into a Corps has the effect of slowing the entire Force. You'll wind up surprised that your Corps takes 30 days to enter an adjacent region.
Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 1:33 pm
Before moving on, let’s discuss a couple things that I have yet to touch on in any great detail. The first thing we should consider is the weather.
This scenario starts in early October. A late autumn start date means that the weather will soon be turning harsh (i.e. Mud and Snow). As we enter November and December, the chances of very harsh conditions (i.e. Frozen and Blizzard) increase dramatically. Essentially, weather does three things. It slows movement, increases movement attrition, and reduces the initial range at which combat takes place. All of these things are bad from the French perspective. We want to move fast, lose fewer men doing it, and engage the enemy at ranges that maximize the effectiveness of our artillery.
While there’s nothing we can do to change the weather, we can at least take steps to minimize the effects of attrition on our Forces. If you play with the Hardened Attrition option enabled, be prepared to lose a lot of men due to bad weather. Otherwise, the three things you can do to lessen the effects are: don’t move unless absolutely necessary, keep your men inside structures whenever possible, and keep at least two fully-loaded Supply Wagons with each of your Forces to absorb attrition hits.
The second thing we should look at is the issue of replacements. Replacement chits are created each turn from two sources; the production of conscript companies and the return of combat/attrition losses suffered in previous turns. The production of conscript companies is fixed according to the scenario. Certain regions produce conscripts and money. These are identified by a notation on the region’s tool-tip display. A portion of attrition and combat losses suffered in the field is also returned to the Replacement Pool. This represents, in part, injured soldiers returning to duty and stragglers rejoining their units. The number of conscript companies returned to the Replacement Pool is as follows:
* 33% of combat losses is returned to the Replacement Pool as conscript companies,
* 66% of attrition losses are returned to the Replacement Pool as conscript companies.
Strength points that are lost in combat as Prisoners of War are not returned to the Replacement Pool. They are gone for good. Therefore, there is a real value in taking POWs above the simple elimination of enemy units. This is one reason why the destruction of Mack’s army at Ulm is such a monumental event. Every Austrian that gets taken prisoner is out of the game for good.
This is also why the number of casualties you see listed on the Ledger (F5 key) may seem high during the late stages of the game. The casualty count may be reflecting strength points that have been eliminated, returned to the Replacement Pool, and been eliminated a second time.
The last thing to discuss before proceeding is Leadership special abilities. A number of Leaders have special abilities that effect game mechanics. These abilities are easy to overlook in the rush to move units around the map and engage in combat but they are extremely important. When it comes to special abilities it is sometimes difficult to determine exactly when and where they apply. Some abilities apply only to the elements of a particular unit, some apply only to a particular Force, and some can apply to every Force in a particular region.
Essentially, most abilities apply only if the Leader is in command of a Force (i.e. an Army HQ, Corps, or independent Force). Most abilities are not cumulative. In other words, if a Force contained three 1-star Leaders with the Brave special ability, the Force would only get the benefit of one Brave ability bonus. On the other hand, if a unit of Legere infantry possessing a Skirmisher ability was commanded by a Leader with the Skirmisher ability, the unit would get the Skirmisher ability bonus twice. This is because abilities given to units are cumulative with abilities given to Leaders. In most cases, determining special ability bonuses is a matter of common sense.
Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 3:45 pm
Thus far, Napoleon has had a fairly easy time brushing aside the Coalition forces arrayed against him north of the Alps. With the destruction of Mack’s Austrians in Ulm and Davout’s capture of the Regensburg depot, the first set of French objectives has been accomplished. Russian troops should start to make an appearance over the next couple turns along the Munchen—Linz—Wien axis. Napoleon’s goal will be to engage these Forces as they arrive, one after another, rather than allowing them to consolidate.
In the south, Massena and St. Cyr have played a tag-team game against Archduke Karl’s men and were extremely lucky to have broken into Mantua when they did. The difficulty of reinforcing French troops in northern Italy prevents these two from exploiting their gains. Holding on to Mantua is enough for right now as far as my long term strategy in the south is concerned.
Overall, I’m very pleased with the progress the French have made so far. We’ve fought and won two major battles and have blocked any attempts by Coalition cavalry to strike at our supply lines. Bavaria has been cleared of Austrian forces and we are well-positioned to further exploit our initial successes. All this has not come without cost, however. Corps belonging to Ney, Soult, and Lannes have borne the brunt of the fighting; and it shows. Many units in these Corps have suffered multiple step-losses and a severe loss of cohesion.
This turn I want to accomplish two main goals. First, I want to clear the major road network leading from Ulm to Regensburg by forcing the remnants of Mack’s army and the Memmingen garrison back toward Innsbruck. Augereau’s Corps, which has so far seen little action, will be given orders to engage the Austrian detachments in this area and sweep them eastward toward the Isar River. Corps belonging to Soult and Murat are ordered to Regensburg in order to reinforce Davout’s men. Davout and Deroy will remain stationary in Regensburg. These two Corps need to recover some measure of cohesion before proceeding toward Munchen. Unfortunately, this means that the Coalition has an opportunity to strengthen their Munchen defenses. Napoleon and the Imperial Guard Corps will remain in Ulm this turn in order to rest and recover.
Bernadotte’s Corp is tasked with defending a line from Regensburg, north along the Naab River, to Bayreuth. His Corps has been stripped of much of its strength for use in garrisoning the Bavarian depots in this area. Kellerman’s 1st Cavalry Division is ordered to march toward Pilsen. This move is intended to judge the strength of Coalition forces east of the Naab and take the Pilsen depot if possible. Although I foresee this being a secondary theatre of operations, I want to be on guard against a Coalition flanking maneuver north of the Danube.
The second thing I want to accomplish this turn is the lifting of the Mantua siege. I’m betting that once again Archduke Karl’s forces will be happy maintaining the siege in a Defensive posture. If I can coordinate a move by Massena over the Adige River with a sortie by St. Cyr from inside the fortress, I’m trusting that their combined strength may be enough to drive Karl back on Venezia.
Turn 3 Resolution.
Surprise! Surprise! It seems my crafty Coalition opponent has decided to make a major move on my supply lines by attempting a flanking maneuver north of the Danube. My decision to send Kellermann’s cavalry to Pilsen has revealed the presence of three formations of Russian troops marching toward Bayreuth. Bernadotte’s weakened Corps is going to have a fight on its hands very shortly I fear.
South of the Danube, Soult and Murat were unable to reach Davout who, along with Deroy’s Bavarians, is hunkered down in Regensburg. This tells me that the Coalition is attempting to hold onto the road network east of Ulm. Fortunately, Soult’s men were able to reach Augereau despite the opposition of units belonging to the Austrian Tyrolean Army led by Archduke Johann. This is good news. I was concerned the Johann’s Tyrolean Army would attempt to cross the Alps and link up with Karl’s men in an effort to retake Mantua. Now that they have been engaged north of the Alps, I can relax a bit. The Tyroleans are now in a very bad spot, having advanced between Augereau (and Soult) and Napoleon’s Corps in Ulm.
South of the Alps, my effort to lift the siege at Mantua has been successful. After fighting a major battle with Archduke Karl, Massena and St. Cyr have affected a link-up. As you can see from the battle report, both sides suffered heavy casualties (9,000 to 10,000).
The French, though they outnumbered the Austrians by nearly 40%, were lucky to win this battle judging by the number of units that fled the field. This indicates that Massena’s men have lost a significant amount of cohesion over the last few turns and are in desperate need of a rest.
Interestingly, Karl’s army was able to muster only 68,000 men and was forced to retreat northward to Verona. Karl’s retreat to the north is potentially fatal. My troops in Mantua are now able to reach Venezia more quickly than the Austrians. With so few men remaining in Karl’s army, I’m left with a decision as to whether it’s worth pushing my bone-tired Frenchman into making a move on Venezia.
Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 6:19 pm
The discovery of a Russian offensive north of the Danube has caused me to rethink certain assumptions I’ve been making regarding the defense of Munchen. I had originally held the opinion that the Coalition would throw everything it could into a defense of the city. Now it appears that at least two Russian Corps, and possibly as many as four, are taking part in this strategic counter-offensive in Bavaria. With this much Coalition strength positioned north of the Danube, I question how much is left to block my advance along the south bank. Orders have therefore gone out to Davout’s Corps to make an attack on Munchen.
To counter the Russian move, Napoleon along with Ney, Lannes, and the Imperial Guard, will march to Ansbach as a preparatory move against Munchen or the Russians west of the Naab River. Murat’s cavalry is given orders to hurry north to reinforce Bernadotte. With the weather about to turn harsh, it’s in my interests to engage the Coalition as far west as possible. Let the enemy burn up his cohesion points marching toward me rather than vice-versa. Moreover, the Russian offensive takes them farther from their sources of supply and allows my forces fight closer to mine.
In the south, St Cyr and Massena will spend the turn recovering cohesion and absorbing replacements. Karl has shown little aggressive intent and remains rooted to his position at Trevisa. As much as I would like to move on Venezia, French troops in Mantua are in no condition to conduct offensive action.
Turn 4 Resolution
More information is becoming available about the Russian counter-offensive. The advance elements appear to be primarily Cossack and light cavalry units as expected. Their presence effectively screens the main weight of the attack from my view but all indications lead me to believe that the bulk of this attack is still east of the Naab.
Davout’s attack on Munchen was only partially successful. The attack kicked off under muddy conditions and failed to develop the momentum needed to dislodge the Coalition defenders. After suffering nearly 10,000 casualties, the Coalition force withdrew into the city. A significant number of Coalition units were routed in the battle leading me to conclude that their cohesion levels are low.
Johann’s Tyrolean Army remained in place this turn. With Napoleon now moving to the north to engage the Russian counter-offensive, Johann represents a threat to the road network near Ulm. Whether this force will be able to remain in this position once its supplies run out is an open question.
French National Morale: 119
Coalition National Morale: 110
French Victory Points: 348
Coalition Victory Points: 168
Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 8:02 pm
The more I look at the Russian counter-offensive in Bavaria, the more I see this attack as either a feint or very ill-considered. If Bernadotte was ever really threatened in his position along the Naab, that time has passed.
Murat’s cavalry is under orders to sweep Coalition cavalry back over the river and it appears as if he will face nothing more than a few motley Cossacks. Just in case I'm wrong, the Wurtemburger contingent has taken up position in Wurzburg as an additional measure of security for our depot.
Having concluded that the Russian attack is probably not going to amount to much, Napoleon and the three Corps with him have been ordered to march on Regensburg. Davout and Soult will renew the attack on Munchen this turn. Having come close to capturing the city last turn, I’m of the opinion that one more push will do the trick.
Marmont and Augereau will attempt to drive Johann’s Tyroleans back on Innsbruck. Once this threat to our supply lines is removed, the road network to Regensburg will be free of Coalition interference. This is a necessary preliminary to my attack along the Danube toward Wien.
Overall, I am pleased with the general direction the campaign is taking. Although casualties have been high, I have taken steps to maximize the absorption of replacement steps. The pace of the advance has been somewhat disappointing but with every passing day the Coalition seems to be getting increasingly weaker.
If the Coalition counter-offensive into Bavaria fails to materialize, it will mean a disastrous retreat through inhospitable terrain in harsh weather. In short, I would rather be fighting them in Bavaria than on the doorstep of Wien. The longer the Coalition persists in hanging around the Naab, the better as far as I’m concerned.
Turn 5 Resolution
As expected, Munchen fell to a combined assault by Soult and Davout. With the capture of Munchen, the Coalition is left with no depots west of Salzburg and Prag. It appears that the Russian drive into Bavaria has gone into reverse. Fortunately, Napoleon’s main body of troops shifted to Regensburg in anticipation of this eventuality. A few Russian cavalry units remain in the vicinity of Wurzburg but they are being shadowed by Murat and represent little threat to the city.
My strategy over the last few turns has been to block the Russian counter-offensive while simultaneously prepping for a rapid advance toward Wien. Now that the offensive has been blocked and Munchen has fallen, Napoleon’s main body is poised to conduct an advance along the Regensburg—Linz—Wien axis. Coalition casualties have been so high, a credible defense of the capital will be practically impossible. Bad weather now becomes the Coalition’s strongest ally.
In a surprising move, Archduke Karl crossed the Adige River in an effort to isolate the French forces in Mantua. In doing this, he has placed a fortified city along with a very powerful body of French troops directly astride his supply line back to Venezia. This is a risky gambit. My impression is that Karl intends to move on Milano before turning back to face Massena and St. Cyr. If it works, Karl will be hailed as a brilliant strategist. At the moment, I'm of the opinion that this move will ultimately allow Massena to bag his entire army. Time will tell.
The game has finally reached a point where Coalition National Morale is starting to deteriorate. The loss of Munchen has precipitated a general downward trend that will be difficult to turn around. In addition to the loss of the city, two Coalition officers (Werneck, a 2-star and Kerpen, a 1-star) were killed in action.
French National Morale: 125
Coalition National Morale: 103
French Victory Points: 458
Coalition Victory Points: 183
Posted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 11:47 am
One of the things I’ve failed to mention thus far is the ability of Leaders to earn battlefield promotions. If a Leader distinguishes himself on the field of glory he sometimes becomes eligible for promotion. In order to become eligible, a Leader must earn a minimum of four (4) Seniority points and occupy a slot in the command hierarchy that allows room for advancement.
Early in this campaign, Brigadier General Louis-Gabriel Suchet, an infantry Division commander in Marshall Lanne’s 5th Corps, earned himself a promotion on account of his participation in the battles around Ulm.
Once you have moved Suchet’s Division so that it is an Independent Force, the Promote Leader button becomes highlighted. Hold your mouse over the Promotion Leader button to view the tool-tip information regarding this potential promotion.
As you can see, promoting Suchet would bypass Brigadier General Oudinot. In this case, you are required to lose 1 National Morale point and 20 victory points—not an inconsequential sum. Think carefully. Do you really need another 2-star General?
My answer is usually yes. Promoting a 1-star General to a 2-star General rank increases the number of Command Points he generates from three (3) to six (6). In addition, once Suchet becomes a 2-star General he is eligible to command a Corps, rather than just a Division.
Left-click the Promote Leader button to promote Suchet. The promotion does not take place until the following turn.
Shown here on the following turn, you’ll notice that Suchet now has a 2-star icon on his Unit Detail panel. A message in the Message Log will indicate that the promotion has taken place and that the prerequisite cost in National Morale and Victory Points has been paid.
It is important to be aware of Promotion messages when they appear on the Message Log. You must decide whether or not to promote a Leader on the turn the promotion opportunity is made available. If you do not promote him on the turn he becomes eligible, you lose the ability to promote him on subsequent turns.
Posted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 7:37 pm
After the heavy fighting over the last couple weeks, French forces could do with a rest and a few turns of gathering replacements. Unfortunately, with bad weather on the horizon, I need to hustle the French troops into Wien as quickly as possible. This operation requires a none-too-subtle advance straight up the middle, from Regensburg to Wien along the south bank of the Danube. This is muscle work. Napoleon needs to bull his way over two minor rivers and through the fortress of Linz. Coalition forces know this and the Linz bottleneck is a perfect place to mount a defense. It reminds me of El Alamein in World War Two, when the British made use of the Quatarra Depression before Alexandria. Coalition troops will be thick as thieves in this region if I don’t reach it before they do. The aborted Russian offensive into Bavaria is in reverse, I’m sure of that much. Now it’s a race to see who will beat who to Wien.
This turn will be used as an organizational turn. I’ve assembled the Grande Armee HQ, Ney, Lannes, Deroy, the Imperial Guard and Murat’s cavalry in Regensburg. All of these units are in relatively good shape and have ample supplies on hand for a sustained operation. Davout and Soult’s Corps will stay at Munich for the next few turns. These two Corps have suffered significant losses and require a good deal of rest.
The remaining French forces, Augereau’s Corps in particular, will attempt to secure the road network between Ulm and Regensburg. A massive four wagon supply train is moving from Mainz to Regensburg. Once in Regensburg it will be in position to support the drive on Wien.
In the South, Archduke Karl’s move across the Adige has left his army isolated and vulnerable. Karl is a decent commander so I can only suspect that he is up to something that I’m not aware of as yet. As it stands now, he is nicely cornered between St Cyr’s Corps east of Milano and Massena’s men in the Mantua citadel. This turn, French forces in Italy will remain on the defensive and hope that Karl’s army does the same. The last time I battled Karl, a significant number of French units broke during combat. This tells me that cohesion levels need to be raised before initiating any further offensive action in the South.
Turn 6 Resolution
Not much happened this turn other than both sides are repositioning for the upcoming battle along the approaches to Wien. In the south, a detachment of French infantry captured the depot at Trento further isolating Karl’s army in Bergamo.
Posted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 9:01 am
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