Sunday, August 07, 2005

Austerlitz 2005

The Attack on the Pratzenberg Heights pitted Soult’s two main attack divisions upon the Allied held Pratzenberg and Stare-Vinhorady. The game was played on a 12 foot table with ten players and numerous battalions!

The game started in true Austerlitz form with both St Hilaire and Vandamme charging straight into “La feu”! St Hilaire’s men stormed the Praztenberg in style despite vigorous attention from Kollowrath's Russian artillery. Heavy casualties and the loss of one brigade did not prevent St Hilaire taking the Russian gun line and cresting the Pratzenberg. Austrian reinforcements sent in piecemeal were soundly despatched as St Hilaire now turned left and slowly but surely rolled up the Allied flank.

However Vandamme’s brigades initiated their attacks in clumsy columnar formations with no preliminary skirmisher or artillery support and soon fell foul of Austrian artillery, at one stage even being outnumbered by allied skirmishers! French attacks stalled as ever increasing casualties forced the deployment of both skirmishers and linear formations. This lull allowed the allied command to initiate a flanking manoeuvre, which the subsequent French attack literally walked straight into as they closed upon Stare-Vinhorady. Two out of three French bridges were utterly broken by the allied fire and sent tumbling back down the slope.

The arrival of the both Imperial Guards saw Russian grenadier attacks upon the village of Prazte bloodied and checked by Vandamme’s remaining brigade, now supported Drouet's men. The guard cavalry of both emperors clashed on the Pratzenberg and despite the French Horse Grenadiers literally ridding over the first wave of Russian chevalier guards, the greater Russian numbers told and eventually the French guard horse were forced back down the slope.

The defeats suffered at Stare-Vinhorady (the allies had literally swept Vandamme’s broken brigades from the field) and at the hands of the Russian cavalry meant the French, despite St Hilaire’s gallant advance, were too exhausted to launch further attacks to secure entire Pratzenberg, and the allies claimed victory! (Orbats to follow.)