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 westwards.
"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 file)
The present day Kösen (GoogleEarth)   Game map
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 fixed:  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 EXCEL spreadsheet designed as outlined in the Utilities for Napoleon's Battles page.

DESTROYING THE BRIDGE (From American Kriegsspiel p. 124)
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 turns, an 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, 1996
Smith, D., 'The Greenhill Napoleonic Wars Data Book', Green-Hill Books, London, 1998
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, 1882
Grant, C.S.. ”Programmed Wargames Scenarios”, Wargames Research Group, Goring-by-Sea, England, 1983



Scenarios for NB