Monday, August 22, 2016

OSG's The Last Success: Eckmuhl - Early Afternoon

Lefebvre's corps attacks Unter Laiching
Things are happening much earlier in this game than happened historically. During the actual battle, the Allied forces waited through the morning for Napoleon and Lannes to arrive from Landshut, while the Austrians waited until early afternoon to give Kolowrat's II Corps time ti recuperate from a night march. That could have happened here - the Austrians drew a "Late Start" mode card at the beginning of turn 1, which should have kept all of the Austrian commanders in bed until they rolled a "1" on a D6 or until an enemy unit engaged an Austrian unit within 10 hexes of the commander. Interestingly, they also drew the "Early Arrival" mode card, which, having a higher number than "Late Start", and which puts all units on the map in command on turn 1, immediately cancelled the "Late Start" Effect.

Lefebvre's attack is thrown back!
So, the Austrians, rather than not getting started moving toward the French until early afternoon, are moving by noon. They are also getting lucky with their command roles, placing nearly all of the Austrian corps in command. The outcome is that the Austrians are closing on the Allied positions as Napoleon and Lannes push north toward Eckmuhl. Most of the Austrians are north of Eckmuhl, and the only thing on that flank for the Allies right now is Davout's somewhat depleted corps.

To make things even more interesting, the weather has turned from frost to rain, closing down LOS to just one hex range. Into this driving rain Lefebvre's VIII Corps of Bavarians launches an attack on Stutterheim's mixed infantry/light cavalry force at Unter Laiching.  A stout Austrian defense quickly throws back the Bavarian attack!

Ominous Austrian movement to the north
Further south Vandamme and the Wurttemburgers, having pushed the Austrians out of Buchausen the previous turn, goes Out of Command with a flubbed initiative roll and sits rather than following up and pursuing toward the Grosse Laaber.  Allied heavy cavalry and the Allied main body under Lannes stack up along the road.

Napoleon, Lannes, and Vandamme strung out on the road to Eckmuhl
Rosenberg is also Out Of Command (OOC) in the vicinity of Eckmuhl, so his forces sit on the Vorberg, where they would probably stay anyway. Vukassovitch's division from the Austrian III Corps is not only OOC but also out of supply since their commander and baggage train are too far away.

The exposed Allied left flank
The Austrians are far from idle, however. Their I Reserve, II, and III Corps are converging north of Eckmuhl, towards Dinzling and Abach. Some heavy cavalry and horse artillery from I Reserve Corps come in contact with Pajol's light cavalry from Davout's corps, and the French horsemen wisely pull back from the encounter. Davout is going to have to move to block the advancing Austrians, which will keep him out of any attack against Rosenberg.

Finally, the Austrians played a "Destroyed Bridge" card during their card play phase, with the net result that Marulaz's cavalry reinforcements, expected at 1PM, have now been delayed for two hours.

It's taking me a while to get up to speed, but I'm really starting to like this system. I wasn't too keen on the cards at first, but when combined with the command system and variable weather, it all makes for a pleasingly variable system that adds a lot of interest to solitaire play and bodes well for replay value. More importantly, the game narrative really feels Napoleonic. Time to head to the game room and knock out another turn!