Firstly, many thanks to Richard for all his hard work in organising the mega game; it was much appreciated by all who took part. Also thanks to Les for his help in preparing the terrain.
The game itself played out fairly historically with Rosenberg’s IV corps attacking on the right, surprising the French having breakfast, before being driven back after having inflicted heavy damage on some of Davout’s brigades. The Austrian advance guard ably supported this attack with their cavalry proving their superiority over the French routing an entire cavalry division in an hours fighting. However, Davout’s men proved stubborn and a fierce firefight began all along the Russbach stream.
On the left flank the Saxon army excelled themselves storming Aderklaa and repelling attacks from the elite Austrian Grenadier and retaking the village twice. The Saxon cavalry then dealt with their Austrian counterparts in short order securing this vital area for the French. In what was to be a day for the underdogs the army of Italy ably supported them forcing back Bellegarde’s I corps and opening a dangerous gap in the Austrian line. Whilst the Austrians attacking on the left continued to be held with little progress by Massena and Bernadotte, Oudinot’s Second Corps was free to assault the Austrian centre. Once again the poor quality depot troops making up much of the corps excelled themselves, destroying much of what remained of the Austrian IV Corps with the Portuguese legion being first to cross the Russbach stream.
Seizing his moment Napoleon now freed up the central reserve with the guard and heavy cavalry ordered forward.The Austrians having little available reserves began to waver with the largely untouched II corps in the centre now facing an onslaught from Oudinot and the Reserve cavalry and the Guard. As Oudinot’s grenadiers stormed Baumersdorf, Archduke Charles’s advisers urged him to retreat as he was becoming isolated in the centre of the field.Reluctantly he agreed; with the advance guard cavalry delaying Davout’s Corps and the II Corps fighting to delay the French central attack he reluctantly quit the field. Even as he did so, Arch Duke John was approaching from the Austrian right but only arrived in time to be met by troops of the retreating Advance Guard.
In a twist on history Wagram had turned into a classic battle of the central position at which Napoleon had excelled. Instead of Davout rolling up the Austrian right he had pinned it whilst the centre had been broken. With the Austrian army split in two it is likely that historical precedent would ensue and an armistice result.
All in all it was a great game and everyone enjoyed themselves immensely. It is hoped to hold another game next year and your suggestions are welcome. Eylau and Dresden have been mentioned.
It was a difficult fight for the Austrians but in hindsight they could perhaps have committed II corps to support one or other flank. However, honours of the day must go to the Saxons who fought off the elite of the Austrian army (take a bow Wesley) despite taking horrendous casualties doing so.