a bridge too far or the crossing point
kösen (october 21, 1813)
A "programmed wargames scenario" ADAPTED for divisional napoleon's battles
This scenario is an adaptation of the C.S. Grant’s ‘Crossing
Point’ scenario of his book ‘Programmed Wargames Scenarios'. I
hesitated whether to run this Scenario or to run the Tabletop Teaser
No.1 "The Bridge Demolition" (from the same author) but I think that
the Scenario is best adapted to the real engagement.
Napoleon has been defeated at Leipzig and the Grande Armee is retiring
"On 21 October Napoleon sent General Bertrand with a strong force to
attack and destroy the bridge by Kösen [on the Saale River], in an
effort to cover the French withdrawal from attack by the allies via
that avenue. On the left bank, where Neu-Kösen lay, the road crossed a
nearly unclimbable ridge, an important tactical position to seize as to
stop the allies, who were advancing through Naumburg in their pursuit
of the French” (G. Nafziger, 'Napoleon at Leipzig. The Battle of
Nations 1813’. The Emperor Press, Chicago, 1996).
This engagement involved elements of the
Austrian 3rd Armeeabteilung under FZM Gyulai and the rests
of the Bertrand’s polyglot IV Corps
(comprising French, Wurttemberg and Italian units). The O.O.B's were
modified and adapted from the Nafziger's book cited above as well as
from “The Greenhill Napoleonic Wars Data Book” (Greenhill Books, London,
1998) of Digby Smith. The Napoleon Series web-site (Allied OOB at
Leipzig and French OOB at Leipzig) provided the names of the brigadiers.
I have also added a division of French Young Guard Cavalry under
Lefebvre-Desnoettes to add some color to the French units.
NBd Scenario for Kosen (pdf
|The present day Kösen (GoogleEarth)
The French arrival road
The Austrian deployment
The deployment and subsequent actions from both sides, are strongly
depending from the die rolls proposed by the Scenarios's designer.
Austrian force (Elements from Gyulai's III Corps)
Mission: “to hold the crossing point” allowing to outflank the Grande Armée. The Vanguard
(Light Infantry) is deployed at “north and south
of the river” making “a flexible defense with
the ability to respond to attacks, follow up and counter attack. Well
ordered and controlled withdrawal if required”.
Reinforcements may enter 2 hours after the start: “A single dice is
thrown for each unit to determine whether any reinforcements appear. A
6 will indicate that a unit has arrived. A second dice for that unit
will indicate the entry point with 1 or 2 being F, 3 or 4 being G and 5
or 6 being H. Each unit should have a plain card with its number
written on one side. The cards are shuffled and one drawn -that unit
number being the one which will appear as a reinforcement. This whole
procedure is repeated for every move, until the arrival of all the
Austrian units”. All the Austrian reinforcements will “rush
exuberantly into the battle”
French force (Elements from Bertrand's IV Corps)
Mission: “to seize and destroy the crossing point". All
force enters trough the point L after 8.40 h. The order of march is
1/12 ; 2/12 ; 3/12; 38; 15; GLC.
Battle plan: “Advance to medium range and concentrate on
defeating and cutting off all forces north of the river before
attempting to take the crossing itself”. The arrival of Austrian
reinforcements "will cause varying stages of increased urgency in his
attempt to achieve the objective. A single dice throw for each enemy
unit to appear will provide a gradually accumulating score which will
reflect the response of the Red (French) Commander" (See the
Scenario pdf file for details ).
Many die rolls were made with an ad-hoc
designed as outlined in the
Napoleon's Battles page.
DESTROYING THE BRIDGE (From “American Kriegsspiel”
The sapper detachment accompanying the French force must be in
contact with the bridge. Then, 4D6 are thrown and their sum is the
number of turns that sappers must be
in contact with the bridge to demolish it. If the contact is lost for more than 3
additional D6 must be thrown.
From the book ”Programmed Wargames Scenarios”: The winner is that
side which has achieved its mission. If the result is a stalemate with
both sides bogged down and facing each other across the river then Blue
(the Austrians) will have won. For Red (the French) to have won the
crossing must be with his troops on the south side to hold a bridgehead
in order to blown the bridge.
Bertarnd attacked with his habitual indecision when far from the
Emperor, so the Austrians were able to maintain the bridge in their
hands and to use it to pursue the Grande Armée towards the Rhine.
Nafziger G. ‘'Napoleon at
Leipizg. The Battles of Nations 1813”, The Emperor Press, Chicago,
Smith, D., 'The
Greenhill Napoleonic Wars Data Book', Green-Hill Books, London,
The Napoleon-Series Forum. The
French OOB at Leipzig
The Napoleon-Series Forum. The Allied OOB at Leipzig
Livermore W.R. “American Kriegsspiel”, Houghton, Mifflin, New York,
Grant, C.S.. ”Programmed
Wargames Scenarios”, Wargames Research Group, Goring-by-Sea,
THE BATTLE IN PICTURES
Scenarios for NB