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Metatron
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Metatron (Prussia) vs Lindi (Austria): The Battle of Herzberg-Jüterborg

Fri May 09, 2014 4:02 am

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I finally decided to (and got the time to) post this report, not of an entire game between me (prussian) and Lindi (austria) but just the last decisive battle of that duel. The game ended in February with a quite interesting massive battle I called battle of Herzberg-Jüterborg which decided the war. I'll first describe the main events of the game leading to that final battle, than I'll describe the initial set up, my troops and my operational planing, to finally come to the 7 battles which decided the war.


Prologue

The game actually went not that well for Prussia, after a first strike into Bohemia and Moravia were Friedrich II couldn't force a decisive battle and a severe defeatof the Prussian allies against the French at Münster, the prussian army had to regroup. The prussian army with it's allies decided to destroy the French army while the Austrians and Russians advanced. Despite a important victory the French were not defeated and the Austrians took Magdeburg, thus taking away the pivot point of the prussian defence. Luckily for Friedrich II. the French army was shocked into a slow advance, after regrouping, making sure Bremen and Stade had fallen before advancing again towards Hannover and the Prussian Army giving the Prussians time to strike somewhere else. After an encounter battle north of Magdeburg the Prussians won the Austrians had to retreat south towards Torgau. At that time the russians arrived at Stettin and joined forces with the Swedish army. With the Austrians in Saxony the combined Prussian army took advantage of it's speed and went to fight the Russian-swedish army at Schwedt. Despite the coalition troops being surprised the battle wasn't as decisive as Friedrich II had hoped. 18 985 Prussians died for 34 145 russians/swedes, a respectable 1 for 1.8, but not what the Prussians had envisioned since only one russian army corps was destroyed while the rest of the russian-swedish army managed to escape south towards the main Austrian army which entered the Lausitz to join up the the retreating russians/swedes. The map below gives a view of the situation at eve of battle:

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Lindi had actually played quite well and I had only be able to go from one front to another to keep the different armies to merge together. I had won some important battles so I had a good advantage in NM. I also had some veteran units, especially my Kavallerie Korps with the veteran 6 7 7 Moritz von Anhalt-Dessau (which I call Panzer Moritz since I always use him in that role) Moreover Lindi had failed to conquer Silesia, meaning he didn't got to control Frankfurt an der Oder and Küstrin, meaning then he's russian/swedish troops joined up with his main Austrian army he had an supply problem. The slow methodical progress of the French also gave me the time to operate on the east. On the long run I wasn't in a good situation, Silesia would fall sooner or later, the north was lost to me, the Austrians well established in Saxony and now joined by the russians/swedes and the French were about to get to Hannover. I had only my massive army around Friedrich II. to counter one move at a time so on the long run I'd be stuck between Berlin and Magdeburg. So I had to win a decisive battle or probably loose. Since I could not reasonably leave the massive austrian-coalition army around Torgau there to go defeat the French without abandoning Berlin or/and Magdeburg I pretty much didn't have a choice but to go on the offensive right now.


The Army and operational concept

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A pretty classical deployment for me, the Elbe Armee around Friedrich II. has most of the artillery, reserve officers and a few infantry brigades as buffer and reserves. The prussian army corps are full infatry with one cavalry brigade for screening. The three main corps are commanded by Heinrich von Preussen (a solid officer with good abilities), Friedrich Franz von Brunswick (you get him by sending Ferdinand von Brunswick as a 2 star general to Hannover, a great general, very good if you need a lone corps to operate away from Friedrich II since he has the speed ability) and James Keith (just a excellent commander). For the readers who don't use a cavalry corps in RoP the Kavallerie Korps of Moritz von Anhalt-Dessau my come to a surprise but in my opinion it is one of the most decisive strengths of the prussian army, it provides a fast reacting force against smaller enemy columns, capable of dealing massive casualties, especially the more you gain in experience (at that point Mortiz was a 6 7 7 commander and some of my cavalry units had 8 or 9 experience stars), and is great to destroy fleeing troops. A cavalry corps can be a invaluable tool, but wrongly used it can also be the death of your cavalry. Finally the Hanoverian troops got their own corps command while the rest of the british, hessian and brunwsickian troops were assembled under Ferdinand von Brunswick.

In total I could field about 193 867 men while the austrian-coalition arm was about 198 000 men strong with 22 000 Frenchmen reinforcement arriving from the west.

My main operational plan was pretty much the historical one of Friedrich II., meaning defeating each army individually, unfortunately against the French managed to pull back after initial losses when I went for them, then against the russians my encirclement failed and despite destroying a Russian corps the rest of the enemy army managed to flee south to join up with the Austrians. So at this point I pretty much had failed to win the war while winning a lot of battles. I figured I had only one last try to force a decisive battle before going over to a more grinding strategy, trying to force the enemy to attack prepared defences in the Magdeburg/Berlin area.


The Battle

After the battle at Schwedt were the russians/swedish were beaten I immediately relocated my entire army around Berlin to rest and see what Lindi was going to do and have a central position and have as many options as possible. The Austrians army around Brandenburg moved east to join up with the Russians; this produced an very interesting situation:

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I chose to show the supply layers here because it shows the entire story, Lindi had to reach Torgau or at least Herzberg to have a secure supply chain. He's troops were already low on supply in guessed, especially the Russians, so the best bet was to attack towards Herzberg to try to cut Lindi off the Torgau supply route. So I sent the Kavallerie Korps, Gardekorps and the I Armeekorps to Herzberg to take up position there, while the rest of the Elbe Armee would go for Jüterborg to try to force the Austrians to fight instead of moving towards Togau. The following battles resulted:

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The first battles were still quite balanced but the corps of Soubise at Herzberg was defeated and pushed south into Torgau, leaving the Kavallerie Korps, Gardekorps and the I Armeekorps in control. At Jüterborg the situation was not as clear and the main battle would happen there.

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As you can see I actually didn't move that much, the magnitude of the coming victory wasn't all that clear at that point. I sent the Kavallerie Korps to try to encircle the coalition army or at least deal some massive damage against weaken enemies. The Gardekorps and I Armeekorps didn't move to make sure the coaltion troops couldn't go towards Torgau, they would join with the main Elebe Army by marching to the sound of guns anyway. That produced the following:

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That time the coalition troops broke into pieces. You can see the huge amount of prisoners I made. The lack of supply plus the losses of cohesion just wrecked the enemy army. I totally didn't expect that much of a disaster for the austrians although that was what I had planned and wished for. Within 2 turns the bulk of the austrian-coalition army had been utterly destroyed. The last battle being the Kavallerie Korps smashing into the defeated Austrians forcing them into the last region they had military control.

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Only about 50 000 troops were left in a small pocket without supply while the 22 000 reinforcement French troops were suddenly pretty lonely in face of the entire Prussian army.


The Result

Prussian Losses: 56 131

Austrian Losses: 90 160 and 53 600 prisoners

A 1 : 1.6 ratio without prisoners, a 1 : 2.5 ratio with prisoners, and a 1 : 3.4 ratio if the encircled troops are taken into account

Lindi had basically lost 143 760 soldiers in two turns and had 50 000 more pretty much condemned in pocket without supply !


Lindi capitulated at that point, he had only about 100 000 french and 30 000-40 000 miscellaneous austrians/saxon/russian/swedish troops left. I had only something about 130 000-140 000 troops left but Lindi had only 33 NM left and I had ended up with several 6 6 6, 6 6 7, 6 5 4 and 6 4 4 generals.

So that is my greatest victory in RoP, it turned the game completely around in a shocking fashion. Rarely has a plan worked that well for me. Lindi played great until he got himself into that trap. The quickness of the Prussian army allowed me to take immediate advantage of it.

Thanks to Lindi for being the unfortunate recipient of that carnage and a very fun game, a revenge game with switched side is under way so maybe he will be able to get some pay back ;)

Jagger2013
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Mon May 12, 2014 4:09 am

Impressive victory! But Ummmm...bad, bad... really bad Karma!! :turc: Although it sure feels good till the Karma kicks in.

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loki100
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Thu Jun 12, 2014 8:36 am

really impressive. I've always thought the Prussians are at their most dangerous just when you have forced them into a small area but before the various allied armies can start to operate with mutual support.

One thing, looking at even the early rounds, it seems as if your opponent has managed the replacement process all that well as he started to lose elements very quickly. Presume this was linked to the supply problems you mention?
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Lindi
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Thu Jun 12, 2014 4:42 pm

This fight... xD

My must important defaite. White a good begin.

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Metatron
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Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:11 pm

loki100 wrote:really impressive. I've always thought the Prussians are at their most dangerous just when you have forced them into a small area but before the various allied armies can start to operate with mutual support.

One thing, looking at even the early rounds, it seems as if your opponent has managed the replacement process all that well as he started to lose elements very quickly. Presume this was linked to the supply problems you mention?


Several factors came into play I think to explain the instant losses in elements:
- russians and swedes had been engaged in the battle of Schwedt just 2 or 3 turns earlier.
- lack of supplies weakened cohesion and probably inflicted damages, as did retreat from one battle to the next
- no depot or city meant no reinforcement during the turn between the battles
- HRE elements are destroyed really fast
- a cavalry corps in plain terrain is a damage dealing machine, the first three battles at Herzberg are mostly the cavalry shredding the french corps of soubise, and the last battle at Zossen is again the cavalry corps shredding weakened retreating troops. The cavalry charge is really deadly against weakened units (a 6 7 7 corps commander, the best brigade generals and some 4 to 9 star experienced cavalry elements do help with the deadliness)

But overall I was also surprised of the magnitude of the carnage. Both I and Lindi had had time to build replacement in the period before the battle since there was a lull between major fights during winter.

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