Monday, November 23, 2009

The Battle of Muttenz - Part I

We got together on Sunday to fight the first battle in my Napoleonic campaign, the Battle of Muttenz. The battle opened up at 1pm campaign time, with the Austrian army positioned in a defensive position around the village of Muttenz (left side of this photo). Three corps of the French 2nd wing (right side of the photo), commanded by general Rousse, commenced their assault of the town after taking the morning to march to the battlefield and deploy. In the photo you can also see Charlie G. (Napoleon) surveying the battlefield.  From their deployment it was clear that the French intended to attack Muttenz either by driving through or flanking around the large woods to the west of Muttenz.

Here Bob O. (Allied CinC and Austrian commander) deploys his cavalry in response to the French advance west of Muttenz. Allied Aide-de-Camp Mike C., to Bob's left, commands two corps of the Austrians closer to Muttenz and is advancing through some standing crops north of town, trampling them down. Opposite of Muttenz, French Aide-de-Camp Dave B. (out of frame) advances cautiously, preferring to allow the standing crops south of Muttenz to conceal his approach.

Day 1, 15:00 - Napoleon enters the battlefield from the southwest. His column is greeted by a single division of Austrian cavalry that attempt to delay his approach by forcing his column to deploy. Is that the imperial guard with him? In the center the French continue to deploy opposite Muttenz behind the screen of standing crops.

Day 1, 15:30 - General Blutcher arrives from the Northern road. At the head of his column, the Prussian guard!

Day 1, 17:00 - The French have completed their flanking maneuver and deploy a stationary battle line as the Prussians march their arriving troops away towards the eastern portion of the battlefield to meet Napoleon's arriving force. Prussian and Austrian cavalry monitor the French battle line from a safe distance.  In the center the French stay put behind the standing crops while Napoleon continues to march more troops onto the battlefield from the southeast.

Day 1, 18:00 - darkness falls and the French re-deploy within their battle lines (marked in dark cord) under the cover of darkness. The French withdraw their flanking force to a position behind the west woods. In the distance, you can just make out Napoleon getting the last of his arriving troops deployed within his own battle lines. In this photo you can see French ADC, Dave B. redeploying his command.

The allied nighttime redeployment included the arrival of the last of the Prussian reinforcements as well as a continued shift east towards Napoleon's approaching reinforcements. North of the west woods, the Prussians deploy a corps of infantry with Austrian and Prussian cavalry protecting their eastern flank. In this photo you can see Allied ADC, Byron C. who commanded the Prussians on the eastern end of the battlefield.

As dawn breaks, both commanding generals send orders to recall their reconnaissance cavalry to the battlefield. 

Day 2, 10:00 - This view, from behind Napoleon's lines shows the Emperor's forces, deployed ready to assault the Allied positions. In the distance, several allied cavalry divisions press the western flank while French cavalry give ground, waiting for additional French cavalry to arrive.

Day 2, 12:00 - Napoleon strikes, driving a brigade of Austrian curiassers from the extreme eastern flank of the allied line with an attack from two brigades of French guard cavalry. Elsewhere on the eastern side of the battlefield the French continue to advance cautiously while the allies continue to organize their internal lines.

Day 2, 12:30 - After the French curiassers have exhausted one division of Prussian cavalry, a counter-attack by a second Prussian cavalry division routs the French curiassers, dispersing them. On the extreme west flank (right in the photo) two allied cavalry divisions continue to press a single French cavalry division, that is desperate to protect the French supply lines that are marked with the supply wagons at the table edge.

We've suspended the game at this point as it was getting late in the evening. We will be returning to finish the battle in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the campaign troops will continue to maneuver. There could be other battles developing, more reinforcements, supply lines being cut, who knows! Stay tuned for more campaign news as it unfolds. For additional photos, including a series of panoramic shots taken from each side at the suspension of the game, you can visit the Northern Conspiracy's Events Galleries.


Andy McMaster said...

Nice report AJ. Look forward to the next part. Been dabbling with Grande Armee myself but I understand the basing/scale with V&B is similar? Especially with massed formations? Have you tried GA? If so, how does it compare?



AJ (Allan) Wright said...


Your basing does look similar. I haven't played GA so I can't compare the two. We like Volley & Bayonet a lot and use it for almost all of our black powder gaming.