Wagram here at the Wargames Holiday Centre promised to be a real ding-dong of a game. Second only to Leipzig in size throughout the Napoleonic war this was a real clincher of a battle for Napoleon. Archduke Charles had given the French a bloody nose at Aspern-Essling, could he do it again and force them to come to the peace table.
Infantry from VI Armeekorps advance, urged on by their General Rosenberg.
As usual with our weekend games the players all turned up on the Friday afternoon, the sides were chosen, the tiles written and the tactics discussed.
The fight for Aderklaa intensifies, this village changed hands several times during the course of the weekend.
The Austrian deployment was restricted in that two Armeekorps had to deploy to the North and East of the Russbach stream, these were the I and II Armeekorps under Bellegarde and Hohemzollern respectively, supported by a battery of twekve pound guns from the Reserve. The remaining three being the Avant Garde, IV Korps and the Reserve under Nordmann, Rosenberg and Liechtenstein respectively, deployed to the west of the stream, again with support from a twelve pound gun battery. One battalion of Austrians from one of these latter Korps could deploy in the village of Aderklaa if they so wished, it was a little out on a limb from the rest of the Austrian deployment line but it would give the French something to think about.
Austrians of I Armeekorps, move to stop the first crossing.
Austrians of I Armeekorps, close up.
The remaining two Armeekorps (III Kollowrath and VI Klenau) were going to come in from the Austrian right wing, driving a wedge between the French and their supply routes from the pontoons across the Danube from the Isle of Lobau from turn one.
The view of the table before the Generals turn up on Sunday morning.
French Deployment was less restricted, they formed a broad front between the villages of Leopoldau and Leopoldsdorf. There were two Corp coming in as a reserve, Wredes VII and Marmont’s XI, but these would all be on by turn six. The Reserve cavalry was on a slow release of one regiment a turn, while the Guard were to be released on the accumulative roll of three average dice and the turn number totalling more then sixteen. The French deployed Oudinot’s II Corps on their far right, Davout immediately to his left, then Massena, Eugene’s Armee d’Italie and finally the corps of Bernadotte on their extreme left.
The view of the table before the Generals turn up on Sunday morning.
The battle was joined and as always the first turn was performed on tiles, after this anything visible in line of sight was transformed into the respective units on the table.
German infantry advancing in column.
Once all the figures that could be seen were deployed the firing for the first turn was done. Here the Austrians had deployed a battalion of Grenzers in Aderklaa, the French were given a free double in front of Aderklaa (to reflect the insistence of Napoleon to capture the village back after Bernadotte had given it up the night before without a fight). So the Italians of Eugene’s Armee d’Italie advanced full tilt toward the sleepy village, six battalions including the Italian Royal Guard Grenadiers. The Grenzer opened up at effective range and shot down eleven figures with their veteran like fire. The Italians took this in their stride and came on!
Troops from II Armeekorps prepare to stop Davout.
Over on the western flank of the battlefield the Austrian III and VI Armeekorps arrived, storming forward toward Bernadotte’s Saxons. In front of the Russbach, the forces squared up to each other and exchanged artillery fire. Oudinot made a bold move to cross the stream, while Davout demonstrated and began the long process of whittling down the troops on the far bank.
The Cavalry from the Austrian Reserve Armeekorps.
Over the next few turns the Saxons turned some of their second line, along with some of their cavalry support to meet the Austrian flank attack. Meanwhile the French sent their Carabinier and Cuirassier down to the west to hold them off. Oudinot got some of his troops across the Russbach, only to retreat back across, rally and go again. The Austrian Avant Garde pushed forward to attempt to link up with the Austrian III and Vi Armeekorps running into stiff resistance from the Saxons.
The troops of the Armee d’Italie.
In the village of Aderklaa the buildings changed hands several times. The Italian Royal Guard exchanging volleys at close range with the Austrians occupying the buildings. Eventually the Grenzer retreated, the Italians awaited the next luckless Austrians to move in and reformed their lines. Massena’s Corps pushed past the east side of Aderklaa and tried to drive a wedge between the Russbach and the village. The six pounder battery from the Austrian IV Armeekorps cutting swathes in the columns.
Hessians crossing the Russbach stream.
Still, on they came now taking fire from the village of Wagram as well.
The Cuirassier advance to the western flank.
The entire Cavalry reserve heads to the western flank.
As the casualties mounted the Corps of Oudinot and Davout began to test the defenders of the Russbach. Bellegarde and Hohenzollern were both taking a large number of casualties in trying to hold the line.
French troops press Wagram bridge and the defenders of the village.
Turn six and the last of the French reserves had arrived. Vandamme begam to move his Corps from the centre on to Aderklaa while the Old and Young Guard, now released, move west to shore up the Saxons. The Austrian flank attack piled on the pressure, advancing then forming square in the face of the French Heavy cavalry regiments. The French artillery then began to wreak havoc among the dense Austrian formations, with VI Armeekorps taking the brunt of the punishment.
Saxon heavy cavalry melee Austrian Hussars.
Still the Avant Garde pushed on, supported now by regiments of Uhlans, Dragoons and Cuirassier. The Saxons began to give ground.
Austrian Uhlans, dash forward from the Reserve Korps, to close the distance to the fighting around Aderklaa.
Over the next few turns the Corps of Oudinot got a foot hold on the northern bank of the Russbach and Davout managed to get some of his Corps and the supporting cavalry across.
The Hesse Darmstadt Lieb Regiment give fire to the defenders of Wagram.
The Austrian reserve moved up to plug the gap between Aderklaa and the bend in the Russbach. Opening fire on the French troops of Massena’s Corps, then charging into the mass. The resulting melee was huge, over three hundred Austrians in the last round and just a few less in the French columns. The Austrians won through though! The troops of Massena’s Corps falling back on the Guard cavalry that was moving up to support them. The infantry rallied, letting the Grenadiers a Cheval through, while the Austrians quickly deployed int two battalion frontage in line and four ranks deep, these were Elite troops, they would stop the “Big Heels” in their tracks. The resulting charge from the French Guard Heavies was blasted, however, the Grenadiers fired too early, what remained of the Heavies squadrons hit home, smashing through the Austrian lines, breaking the front two battalions.
French troops moving in column of march.
The troops in Aderklaa, blasted the remaining Italians from in front of them and then swapped facing in the village, firing out of the east face into the French Guard cavalry. Stll this was not enough, the second wave of Guard Heavies thundered onto the remaining, unformed Austrian Grenadiers, they broke, pinning the remaining battalions, on came the Grenadiers a Cheval, supported by the Chasseurs a Cheval, cutting their way through the panicked mob!
On the western flank the Saxons finally succumbed, but the French Cuirassier were holding the advancing Austrians back.
Another view of the battlefield before the Generals get here.
Overall the French had crossed the Russbach, protected their lines of communication and pushed the support for Adderklaa back. However the western half of the battlefield was still firmly in the hands of the Austrians, Bellegarde and Hohenzollern were able to withdraw from the Russbach, while the rest of the Austrians would surely live to fight another day.
Dragoons supporting Davout’s corps.
Troops lining out from Davout’s corps.
Davout’s corps advancing early in the battle.
Great game, the whole battle panned out quite historically after all, just with different formations in their place.