Sunday, 11 February 2018

Trycziner Hof, 11th October 1812: a Shako scenario

This week's game returned to the Napoleonic period, but is something a little unusual.  The main protagonists are the Russians and Austrians, two armies which are usually allied against the French.  However, during the Russian campaign, the Austrians were required to provide a corps of troops to form the force guarding Napoleon's southern flank.  As autumn drew on the Austrians began to withdraw westwards, 'encouraged' all the way by the Russians.  The Austrians, with their Saxon allies, made a stand at Trycziner Hof, blocking the crossing of the Muchavietz river by the road from Brest Litovsk to Kobryn.  The area near the bridge is swampy and there are two fords, passable to infantry and cavalry but not artillery.


At Klinicky on the western bank of the Muchavietz, Frimont (3 battalions of Grenz, 2 skirmisher units, a regiment of Hussars and a horse gun) had failed to destroy the bridge, but had erected a barricade to slow the expected Russian attack.  Near Pecky, Rosenberg, the Austrian commander, had two divisions, Weiss (6 battalions and a foot battery) and Meyer (6 battalions and a foot battery).

Across the river Kamensky (8 battalions and a foot battery) was preparing to attack Frimont..  Osten-Sacken, the Russian commander had two further divisions arriving, Berg (8 battalions and a foot battery) and Glukov (2 regiments of light cavalry and two of cossacks).

The objective for both commanders is to hold at least two of the crossings.  In the case of the bridge this means control of the village of Klinicky.  At the start of the game the two commanders have the decision of where to commit their two on-field divisions.  In addition, both could have additional forces arriving depending on dice rolls.  A roll of the dice allocated command of the Austrians to Steve, meaning that I commanded the Russians.   We each decided on the orders for our two arriving divisions and then placed them on the table. 

The view from behind the Russian position.  Kamensky's division are ready to attack across the bridge.  The white threads show the deployment areas for the arriving divisions.  I opted to send Berg's division to the right and Glukhov to the left.  Steve sent Weiss to oppose Glukhov and Meyer to the other ford.

As the attackers, the Russians had the initiative and began to move forward.  I had hoped that the cavalry would win the race to the ford on my left, but Steve managed to get Weiss's men there first.  Faced with a solid infantry line, supported by artillery, it was obvious that I was not going to make much progress without infantry support.  Therefore the cavalry fell back screened by the cossacks.

In the centre, the first attack, by both battalions of the 26th Jaeger  charged over the bridge.  The 1st battalion  was hit by artillery fire and then  sniped at by Frimont's skirmishers.  nevertheless they prepared to charge.  Behind the barricade, the Deutsch Banater Grenz prepared to repel the Russians.  A close range volley stopped the jaeger in their tracks.  A second volley ripped through the ranks and then a third, which completed the units destruction.  Swept up by the fleeing ruin of the 1st battalion, the 2nd fell back over the bridge to regroup.  Osten-Sacken reinforced Kamensky's divisional artillery with a 12lb battery and ordered the artillery to 'soften up' the defenders before another attack was launched.

The defences of Klinicky
On the right, a foot race developed between Berg and Meyer's divisions.  Berg won by a whisker, but the initial attack by the Bielevski regiment was repulsed with heavy losses.  Soon volleys were being exchanged across the waters of the  Muchavietz and losses began to mount for both sides.  Berg had the advantage of a 12lb battery which soon began to cut a swathe through the Austrian ranks.  Meyer was determined to seize the initiative and ordered 3rd battalion Deutschmeister to attack.  The Austrian veterans stromed across the ford and made short work of the 2nd battalion New Ingermanland regiment.  However, their success isolated them.  Suffering volleys of canister at short range and then charged by a fresh battalion the Austrians were all but destroyed.  Their supports, the 1st battalion Lindenau were also subjected to close range artillery fire and destroyed as a fighting force.

The Austrian attack across the ford
In the centre, the Russian artillery was pounding away at Frimont's position.  Casualties were being inflicted, but on the supporting units not the grenzers manning the barricade.  A second attack, led by the jaeger, but supported by the Suzdal regiment, again reached the defences, but was repelled by the gallant grenzers.  

More troops now began to arrive.  Rosenberg received Reynier's Westphalian division (7 battalions and a foot battery) and Hessen's grenadiers (2 battalions).  For the moment he held these in reserve.  Osten Sacken also received reinforcements, Neverovsky's division (8 battalions) and Raevsky's grenadiers (4 battalions).  Neverovsky was immediately sent to the left to support Glukhov, whilst the grenadiers were held in reserve.

The Austrian grenadiers advance
On the Russian right, Berg sensed the initiative was moving in his direction.  Two of Meyer's battalions were Landwehr and they were struggling to maintain their place in the line.  1st battalion Deutschmeister had taken heavy casualties and had to fall back.  He ordered forward the fresh battalions of the Alexopol regiment and they surged over the ford.  The attack was preceded by artillery fire which destroyed the Viennese Landwehr and drove back the remaining Deutschmeister battalion.  Meyer's command was disintegrating and he began to fall back towards the village of Pecky.  Rosenberg immediately ordered Reynier and Hessen to the right to contain Berg's attack.

Berg's decisive attack
Kamensky now ordered a third attack on the defences of Klinicky.  This made no more progress than the preceding attacks, but it did maintain the pressure on the Austrian centre. 

At this point, time caught up with us.  The Austrians were awarded a victory  They held two crossings and even if Berg did break through the new defensive line it would take too long to be decisive.    

1 comment:

  1. A very nice scenario with much going on and one that looks like it could go either way.