Thursday, May 30, 2013

Campaign Summary – 6th September 1813

The long anticipated battle for the southern wing was fought at Vockabruck.

Marshal Oudinot had hoped to join 9th corps with the army reserve before the Austrian’s attacked, but it was not to be.

Archduke Charles was also intending to add his reserve to 3rd Austrian corps, but General Lederer ordered the attack before they arrived.

The battle opened with a prolonged artillery barrage.   Lederer held his infantry and cavalry out of range of the heavier French guns until his gunners could manhandle their lighter guns into range of the enemy infantry.

The Austrian gunners proved the better on the day, and broke the French centre.

The French won a cavalry melee on the northern flank, but lost an infantry skirmish for a farm on the southern flank.  But it was the artillery which decided the day.

Vandamme ordered his corps to abandon Vockabruck and retreat west before the Austrians could close and cause even more damage.

Further north 7th and 8th French corps regrouped and resupplied

1st and 2nd Austrian corps slowly retired as ordered by Archduke Charles.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Battle of Vockabruck – 6th September 1813

Tactical Map at start of battle

Left – 9th French corps have orders to hold Vockabruck
Right – 3rd Austrian corps have orders to attack Vockabruck

Table at start of battle

Top left is an unnamed village
Centre left is the town of Vockabruck
Centre is an unnamed farm
The road north leads to Raab
The road west leads to Frankenburg
The road east leads to Wels

Both corps are full strength, each has
6400 infantry
800 cavalry
800 gunners
Move 1 – 0800 to 0900

Left – French
Second line retire 4” to avoid artillery overshoots
Corps commander changes 4th division orders from Hold to Engage

12 pdr artillery open fire on Austrian gunners, no casualties

Right – Austrian
Artillery advance to long range
Cavalry form line on the flanks
Corps commander changed 5th division orders from Attack to Engage

Move 2 – 0900 to 1000

Left – French
All artillery fire on Austrian gunners, no casualties
Infantry redeploy to meet Austrian advance
4th division cavalry move forward behind cover of farm
Corps commander changes 12th division orders from Hold to Engage

Right – Austrian
Artillery unlimber within long range of enemy infantry
Infantry form column of attack
Corps commander changes 6th division orders from Attack to Engage
Move 3 – 1000 to 1100

Left – French
Baden cavalry (top) move forward on flank
French artillery fire on Austrian gunners, no casualties
Infantry brigade (bottom) moves towards farm

Right – Austrian
Artillery fire on infantry, 80 casualties on Baden infantry near artillery
Jager brigade moves towards farm
Infantry form line in column of attack
Cavalry melee

Baden cavalry charge, and rout, Austrian dragoons.
Austrian infantry form square, except Grenadier brigade
Grenadiers advance and skirmish shaken Baden cavalry
Due to high dice (6!) Grenadiers route enemy cavalry with 10% casualties

Move 4 – 1100 to 1200

Left – French
Baden division (top) have lost their cavalry brigade
Corps commander changes their orders from Engage to Hold
French division (bottom) still on Engage orders
Infantry brigade enters farm
Cuirassiers move forward on right flank
Artillery continue to fire on enemy gunners, all others out of range

Right – Austrian
6th division (top) have lost their cavalry
Infantry have formed square prior to rout of Baden cavalry
Artillery continue to fire on enemy infantry, now 20% casualties on Baden brigade
Jager brigade enters farm to engage French infantry

Move 5 – 1200 to 1300

Left - French
Artillery fire on approaching infantry, causing light casualties
Baden division (top) rally their cavalry
French division (bottom) are losing the skirmish for the farm

Right - Austrian
Artillery concentrating on enemy infantry, and causing moderate casualties
Gunners continue to manhandle their guns towards the enemy line
6th division cavalry brigade (top) have failed to rally, and routed from the field
6th division infantry advance towards Baden position
5th division jager brigade (bottom) are winning the fight for the farm.

Move 6 – 1300 to 1400

Left – French
The centre of the line has broken
Artillery casualties caused one Baden brigade to break and run
Nearby French brigade failed their morale and joined them
French gunners in turn failed their morale and joined the rout
Attack on farm cancelled and light brigade withdrawn
General Vandamme orders a general retreat

Right – Austrian
6th division (top) continue to advance towards the Baden position
5th division (bottom) have taken the farm, and are ready to advance


With most of 4th French division in rout, General Vandamme has no option but to order a general retreat.   He does so before the enemy have closed with his position.  Despite the heavier infantry casualties, he still have his two cavalry brigades, against the single Austrian brigade, who can cover the withdrawal.

Austrians have lost 160 infantry and 40 cavalry, with one cavalry brigade in rout
French have lost 480 infantry and 40 cavalry, and have two infantry brigades in rout

Casualties on both sides were light

The French have suffered a major setback.