Welcome to Marauder Moments - a chronicle of the Mortimer Street Marauders; the games we play, the rules we use, the figures we play with and the scenery they fight over. Hope you enjoy these pages and maybe call back to catch up with our escapades.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

1809 - Campaign update The Capitulation of Passau

Tony L has been doing sterling work on this endeavour and finally brings us the first campaign update. This has necessarily taken ages as it might give something away to the opposing players. We are several battles along from this point so there's plenty more to come.

Tony L has highlighted umpires notes in red and will in time reveal more of the mechanics. Over to Tony, here goes...

9th April to 15th April 1809

As dawn broke on the 9th, the Imperial Austrian army broke camp and prepared to cross the Inn river and enter Bavaria.
Archduke Charles had the night before issued strict instructions to all his corps commanders. He wanted to seize the morale high ground and been seen as a liberator from the oppressive French yoke. All Bavarian civilians were to be treated as friends and their property was to be respected. Looters would be punished immediately.

Charles immediate objective was to isolate then capture the fortress city of Passau. Sited on the confluence of the Inn river and the mighty Danube, Passau was a medieval city well defended with high stout walls built behind the natural barriers of the two rivers and a long deep ditch on the western land approaches.

A view looking north east over the wooded flood plains towards the walls of Passau. 
                     Note the “Emergency Exit” sign pointing ominously in the direction of Vienna!!
To achieve this aim, Charles designated General Rosenberg’s IV Armeekorp to invest and capture Passau.

The overall Austrian plan was to invade Bavaria along three axis of advance.  
1.       In the south General Hiller and his VI Armeekorp ( less Jellacic’s Division stationed away further South towards Munich ) was to cross the Inn at Brannau and head west as rapidly as possible towards Landshutt on the river Isar. He would be followed by General Hohenzollern’s III Armeekorps who was to co-operate with him.

2.       General Rosenberg’s IV Armeekorp would cross the Inn with 2 divisions at Schaerding turning North towards Passau. He would be followed by General Leichtenstein’s I Reserve Armeekorp who would march north west and make for Vilshofen.

3.       Finally Archduke Ludwigs V Armeekorps would advance north on the east bank of the Inn towards Passau, where army engineers would bridge the Danube so Ludwig could cross over to the north bank before turning north west. His mission was to link up with General Bellegarde and the I and II Armeekorps in the vacinity of Regensberg.

Charles established his headquarters east of Passau to supervise the bridging operations and the investure of Passau from the east. With him was Kienmeyers II Reserve Armeekorp.

Facing Charles was Marshal Berthier, commanding a scattered army composing French and Bavarian Allies. The Bavarian Army of 3 Divisions was positioned along the Isar river. General Wrede’s Division in the North at Straubing, General Deroi at Landshut and the Prince Royal’s Division out of theatre in the south west not expected until mid April. Around Regensberg was General Friant’s French Division from Davout’s veteran Army of the Rhine.

Thus the Austrian offensive began. With vast numbers concentrated at just two crossing points over the Isar, congestion through the towns of Schaerding in the north and Branau in the south soon  slowed the Austrian advance to a trickle.

The opening positions in the southern sector along the Isar river.

Those Bavarian customs officer’s that could, sped off west to raise the alert. Berthier’s response was to immediately order General Wrede’s Bavarians forward with all haste to reinforce Passau. He determined that this advanced post would be crucial to the Emperor’s plans once he arrived in theatre. He also ordered General Deroi to establish defensive positions at the crossing points over the Inn north of Landshutt, providing thereby a covering force east of Regensberg. With Regensberg nominated as GHQ and his centre of operations, Berthier intended to concentrate Davout’s Army of the Rhine here. With rumours abounding of Austrian troop movements he also sent a small screening force North from Regensberg  to Cham. Aides were sent out post haste to summon Davout’s scattered formations, and urge on all the other formations already on route to theatre.


Umpire’s Note – I decided at the outset that in order to generate a table-top battle as soon as possible, I would not introduce the effects of seasonal weather at this stage of the campaign. So unlike history, our campaign kicked off in glorious spring sunshine with bone hard dry roads! This meant I could ensure maximum daily marching distances for both sides.

Whilst in the south Hiller and Rosenberg maintained steady if uneventful advances towards the river Inn, Rosenberg and Leichtenstein’s Corps were about to execute a cunning trap! By the 11th April Rosenberg had arrived west of Passau with his Advance Guard and one line division and was preparing to invest Passau from the landward side. General Leichtenstein’s Reserve Corp meanwhile had continued to march north west towards Vilshofen. Charles, east of Passau, was co-ordinating the planned assault on the city with V Corps and the building of pontoons across the Danube.

General Wrede’s Bavarian Division had by 10th April reached Vilshofen, having despatch one of his cavalry regiments north across the Danube to look for any Austrian troop movements. Unaware of what was before him, he continued his advance to Passau early on the 11th, arriving to the west of that city at 10am. There before him, though not yet facing him, were the two divisions of Rosenberg’s IV Armeekorps. Unbeknown to him, Leichtensteins I Reserve Armeecorps had arrived behind him at Vilshofen around 1pm. With clear signs of large troop movement through the town heading east to Passau, Leichtenstein soon determined that an enemy force had slipped by him.

The position at Passau 11th April 1809.
Umpire’s Note – The situation west of Passau provided the first opportunity for use of the Strategic Command rating given to all General Officers. Here, Leichtenstein had to decide whether to simply occupy Vilshofen and thus cut off Wrede’s supply line, or turn east and trap him between his force and those of Rosenberg. As Charles was to far away to know what was happening, this was not a decision for Chris (Charles). So I determined that a strategic commands roll would be necessary at 2pm on the 11th to determine if Leichtenstein would march to the sound of the guns at Passau. I had given Leichtenstein a command rating of 8 ( a little above average). On a 2D6 die roll, on 8+ Leichtenstein would march back east to Passau with his whole command. On 7 he would march with half his force, leaving the remainder to occupy Vilshofen. On 6 or less he would send a brigade of cuirassiers and 4 battalions of grenadiers under General von Siegenthal to Passau where they would arrive around 5pm.

Thus on the morning of the 11th April, the Austrian forces had successfully surrounded Passau south of the Danube. Rosenberg sent emissaries to the garrison commander seeking his surrender, but this was politely rebuffed. He therefore positioned his two divisions to attempt to storm the western walls and gate. His Advance Guard Division occupied the ground south from the banks of the Danube, whilst the Line Division of General Dedovich deployed along the edges of the woods to the south. However, before the assaults could commence, the head of General Wrede’s column appeared on the Vilshofen-Passau highway. Urgently turning his troops about, Rosenberg prepared to face the Bavarians. Battle was joined!

The Battle of Passau 11th April 1809
The Austrian Forces

General Rosenberg commanding

Advance Guard Division – General Somariva
Brigade Stutterheim
3 battalions line infantry
8 squadrons Chevauxleger
4 squadrons Hussars
6 pdr cavalry battery
Line Division – General Dedovich
Brigade Grill
3 battalions line infantry
6 pdr brigade battery
Brigade Neustadter
4 battalions line infantry
4 squadrons Hussars
6 pdr brigade battery
6 pdr position battery

The Bavarian Forces

General Wrede commanding

Brigade Minuzzi
1 light battalion
4 line battalions
Brigade Beckers
4 line battalions
Cavalry Brigade Preysing
Konig Chevauleger Regt
Divisional Artillery
2 x 6 pdr foot batteries
6 pdr horse battery
Passau Garrison
Combined line infantry battalion
Passau Militia battalion
12pdr foot battery

Umpire’s note – For this game I considered that all Bavarian troops were ENTHUSIASTIC. This gave them a +1 morale modifier. I justified this on the basis that they were defending their motherland against Austrian aggression.

The Game

This was to be an 11 turn game commencing turn 1 at 10am campaign time. General de Brigade rules to be used.

The Bavarian objective was to enter Passau. If this had not been achieved by turn 11, then Tony (Wrede) would have to make a Strategic Command die throw. On 2D6 a score of 5 or less he could act as he wished. On a score of 6+ he would surrender.

On turn 5 Chris (Rosenberg) would make the strategic command die throw for Leichtenstein as discussed above.

Battle commenced with Wrede gaining the initiative, clearly having caught Rosenberg by surprise. Both sides frantically started deploying. Rosenberg placed his cavalry across the highway approaches to Passau, whilst ordering Dedovich to send one of his brigades through the defile in the woods to the west to attempt to come in on the deploying Bavarian’s southern or right flank.

Austrians turn to face the Bavarians.
Dedovich marches off to flank the Bavarians.
Unfortunately for Wrede, despite some local success’s with his one cavalry regiment and his infantry on his right flank he could just not break through the Austrian lines.

Wrede’s fate was sealed on turn 5 when the strategic roll determined that Siegenthal would deploy to Wrede’s rear on turn 8.

The Bavarians arrive, text book deployment.

Wrede deploys artillery to protect his right flank.
Bavarian cavalry charge home.
Austrian reinforcements move up through the woods.
Davodich flanking force deploys.
The flanking attack goes in.
Hussars charge Wrede’s artillery, just as the Austrian Cuirassiers arrive in Wrede’s rear!
The trap is closed as Austrian Grenadiers & more heavy cavalry arrive.
Wrede is surrounded and surrenders.
Victorious Austrian staff – it must be a novel feeling for Austrians…
Umpire’s Note – The battle of Passau, whilst small in terms of numbers engaged, was deemed a critical battle in campaign terms. This was because Wrede lost all 3 brigades in his command and Passau capitulated. As Rosenberg lost no brigades on a 1D6 roll a result of 3 or less would move the Vienna morale marker 1 point in Austria’s favour. A 2 was rolled!
Next post  -  12th to 14th April and the Battle of Landshut.