Tuesday 6 June 2023

The Battle of Landshut 1809

About a month ago I travelled to Chris Gregg's for a game, this time to help playtest some Napoleonic rules he has been developing with his friends, based upon Keith Flint's excellent Honours of War. Being a tad green behind the ears for this 'period', I was quite happy to be given command of the Austrian forces who were still somewhat 'linear warfare' in their approach. The game had the added bonus of being set during the 1809 Danube Campaign, which you now know is the focus of my tentative foray into Napoleonics. This game certainly helped tip the balance for sure. Richard would be my Bavarian opponent which was nice, as he is an excellent sport and we always have a good game. Chris did have to rein in my propensity to chat and waffle during the game, but in my defence I don't get out much!

Both sides had their own orders, victory conditions etc, which added a lovely Fog of War to the proceedings. Chris as is often the case was the umpire and rules arbiter and kept things moving along at a good and steady pace. But more on that later.

I took photos during the game at various points when I remembered, when we had a natural break or something memorable happened, of which there were many of the latter. I will try and give an idea of how things panned out via the captions and some thoughts at the end, so without further ado.

An overview of the battlefield, as viewed from the Austrian positions. The main objective was to have control of the BUA as seen top left.

Bavarian troops cross the bridge. I think the buildings were 3D printed? They looked rather good to say the least.

The church on the edge of the town, defended by artillery that was to be a constant thorn in the Austrian left flank. No other troops are visible yet.

The Austrian left flank ready to advance.

The Bavarians wait on the hill.

A view down the table with Chris checking something or other.

The Austrians push forward.

The left flank closes in on the churchyard, after the Light Infantry have already been repulsed.

The Austrian right flank struggled to get going by having an iffy commander, forcing the C-in-C to help him out as it were. The Austrian artillery is limited to the road and is slow to move up in support. The Bavarians have a rather effective gun line on the hill.

Fighting rages in and around the churchyard.

Bavarians move up in support.

A very nice mountain river/stream that neatly delineated where the river was impassable.

The Austrians have been repulsed and an infantry unit is broken.

Austrian Grenzers force the Bavarian artillery to limber up, but are then caught by the Grenzers and destroyed. This happened twice during the game!

A good old fashioned cavalry charge!

The Austrians are forced to retreat...

... and so are the Bavarians (top of picture).

The Austrians still push forward. I loved the Bavarian limbers that seemed more like something you would see in a Jane Austen film!

As the Austrian artillery finally can leave the road, the Bavarians are slowly withdrawing towards the BUA (I think!).

Arch Duke Charles arrives with his BIG guns.

The Austrian right wing, somewhat strung out, is doing all the heavy lifting, as the left cannot get close to the church and BUA.

A confused picture, with both sides light troops attacking the artillery, with the Austrian Grenzers being charged in the flank by Bavarian cavalry.

Suddenly Austrian light infantry appear on the Bavarian left flank, but still far away from the action (a scenario option).

As the Bavarians charge into the Grenzers, which are routed, they then carry on into the Austrian Line Infantry ...

... who don't have time to form square and are destroyed.

A case of cavalry MAD destruction I think...?

End of the Game
So after some 6 hours of playing time, we reached the end of the road, with both sides having achieved their objectives IIRC, effectively an honourable draw. The Bavarians were slowly withdrawing and the Austrians didn't have the strength to pursue them, especially as they were out of cavalry by this point.

Post Game Thoughts
Well what a wonderful days gaming! I'll try and sum things up as follows:
  • Chris came up with a really, really good scenario, with neither side knowing the others objectives. It is rare to have an umpired game like this but it really does bring a lot to the table. So thanks to Chris for all his hard work.
  • Richard was as ever an excellent opponent and we had lots of fun with the usual badinage going too and from across the table, which is one of the joys of FtF gaming.
  • The rules worked well and I think there was only one query during the game, which Chris and friends are going to consider. Certainly everything flowed smoothly and nothing felt 'wrong'.
  • The 15mm-18mm figures were lovely and there was loads of space to manouevre the armies, which really added to the joy of the game.
  • Initially by around Turn 3 I thought it was all over for the Austrians, but how wrong could I be. They got back into the game and after that the front lines ebbed and flowed nicely, with some memorable moments throughout.
  • The heroes for the Austrians were with out a doubt the Grenzers who KO'd two Bavarian batteries and certainly punched above their weight.
  • The terrain really limited the Austrian ability to bring their guns into play, hampered as well but the initial Bavarian numerical superiority in artillery. I'm certainly looking forward to reading about the actual battle in Gill.

So there we have it. Chris is putting on another game in July and as yet I'm not sure if I can make it as it's too far in advance for me to plan. Fingers crossed I can attend, but we shall see.

I increased the pixel size of these photos so I'd be interested to hear whether this improved the images you can see and if it affected loading time at all. For years I've gone with 800 x 600 ones, but this time went with 2,400 x 1,800. I'd not noticed but Chris pointed out that my images do appear rather pixelated when he views them, so any feedback appreciated.

In Other News
The garden is now pretty much sorted, which frankly is a bit of a relief! Now it is really a case of feeding, watering and dead heading to keep things in tip-top condition. this means that my mind is certainly moving very much back to gaming mode. I'm taking a few days break from things to re-charge the batteries and then it's onto 18thC India. I'm sure my finger will be fine but certainly not fully functional just yet. At least it will initially be basing so not too tricky, famous last words!