AK01 Raab (14 June 1809)
Raab - 14 June 1809
Dispite direct orders that John received from Archduke Charles to march his forces through Pressburg in order to join the main army of Austria as soon as possible, he defered to act accordingly. Severely underestimating the strenght of French forces following up his army, John was seeking a battle instead. On 13 June after the arrival of the Hungarian Insurrection under the command of Archduke Joseph, Palatine of Hungary, the 35.000 strong Austrian army took up position next to the hamlet of Szabadhegy near the city of Raab (Győr) preparing to attack the next day.
On the next morning Viceroy Eugéne outpaced his opponent again deploying his 40.000 Franco-Italians for battle. He ordered Grenier's VI. and d'Hilliers's XII. Corps to engage the center while Grouchy, under the cover of artillery, were moving towards the extreme right to outflank the Austrian lines. The Austrian infantry repulsed three attacks in the middle but John did not allow them to pursue the retreating French who in return were able to recover and renew their assault. Under constant pressure the raw troops of landwehr started to waver. In the same time General Mecséry commanding the cavalry on the Austrian left finally realised the threat of Grouchy's manoeuvre.
He ordered the Insurrectio’s cavalry which had endured heavy artillery fire for more than two hours by that time to engage. The valiant but ill-coordinated advance collapsed when Grouchy’s dragoons countercharged the squadrons crossing the Viczay ditch. His left wing in flight and the center faltering John gave up and ordered a retreat. Failing to receive this message Major Hummel and his battalion in the Kis-Megyer Manor made a heroic last stand behind the walls.
In order to veil his incompetency John blamed the poor performance of the Hungarian Insurrectio in his reports later on.
The defeat near Raab hindered John providing any significant support for Charles at Wagram...
The stage is set. The battle lines are drawn and you are in command. Can you change history?
Archduke John of Austria and Archduke Joseph, Palatine of Hungary
5 (4) Command Cards* - see Special Rules below
2 Tactics Cards (Optional)
Prince Eugène, Grenier and d'Hilliers
5 Command Cards
3 Tactics Cards (Optional)
- The two town hexes and the Church hex of Szabadhegy form a Temporary Majority Victory Banner Objective worth 1 Victory Banner (Temporary Majority Victory Banner)
- The Kis-Megyer farm is a Walled Farm and a Temporary Victory Banner Objective for both sides, worth 1 VB (Temporary Victory Banner)
- Any ordered French unit (regardless of strength) that exits the battlefield from the hexes marked with blue in the Austrian Left Flank section will count as a Victory Banner each.
- The Viczay ditch is represented by 3 tiles of Sand Quarry. Players will need two extra pieces in order to be able to set up the map !
- To illustrate the irresolute leadership of Archduke John during the battle, the Austrian player starts with 5 Command Cards in hand but does not draw a new one at the end of the first turn !
- The troops of the Hungarian Insurrectio are using blocks from the British and Portuguese set. Also the same stats apply.
- Pándzsa stream is fordable for infantry only !
first of all thank you for your time dedicated to play this scenario. I really appretiate it.
Let me try to respectfully reflect on some of your concerns:
Lowering the number of Victory Banners from 10 to 9 is a viable option. 8 seems to be too few for me.
VICTORY OBJECTIVES: Making the walled farm and the hamlet a victory objective for the French only would severly limit the available tactical options and chance to grab victory for the Austrians even with smart play and wiseful use of reserves. Therefore I respectfully disagree with your suggestion.
ON THE NEED OF REBALANCING ARTILLERY:
My setup is quite close to the historical OoBs. As a historical note there was two adittional Hungarian Insurrectio HA, one is on the Austrian right covering the bridge, and the other next to the hill near Kis-Megyer manor but both were dispatched by French canonade in the opening phase of the battle.
Gamewise: the battlefield is pretty crowded already, so I have chosen to remove these pieces from the setup to safe playtime.
It is true that the French have a 2:1 superiority in artillery but do not forget to apply the commbat dice modifier -1 for artillery for fireing into the walled farm and walled garden, and the block line of sight effect. This way I have experienced it to be a real challange for the French to bring their artillery pieces within effective range and optimal position without risking an Austrian countercharge.
Hypotethically I might agree adding a single Insurrectio HA to the Austrian right for better balance but that most obviously would strenghten the static artillery duel aspect you mentioned in your AAR. Therefore I respectfully disagree again.
Using Portuguese and British pieces are for the reason to distinguish the Hungarian Insurrectio's forces from of the Austrian Army's as well as enabling the players to play the battle using the Core Game & the Austrian Expansion.(The Austrian Army has only 3 Militia units in the box for example.) The characteristics of the 3 block strong LC units are IMHO quite accurately depicting the valiant but ill-disciplined nature of the Hungarian Insurrectio's cavalry. Dont forget that there is quite a difference in the adoptable tactics if you would replace the more numerous 3 blocks units for fewer regular 4 blockers. Static or dynamic use of the Hungarian HA are totally up to the commanding general.
TERRAIN & REFERENCE
You can find a detailed Map & Order of Battle (Viczay-ditch indicated on the map as Viczay-árok)
For further reference here is the Military Map of Győr synchronized for GoogleMaps.
Viczay dich is the thin brown line dividing the Viczay-meadow (Viczay-rét), Marshland is depicted all around the stream near Kis-Megyer.(Be aware that the rail lines were not present at 1809.)
The Viczay-ditch and the fact that otherwise fine studies and articles lacking any reference of such an important terrain feature sheds some light on the significance of battlefield research IMHO.
Though the two links you provided contain some 'hidden' hints about the manouvre and performance of Mecséry's cavalry:
"Deducing that the three Austrian cannon defended the best crossing point over the Pándzsa, Grouchy ordered up his 12 guns. French cannon fire soon silenced the opposing artillery pieces, allowing Grouchy's horsemen to begin fording the stream. When the French cavalry charged, covered by a cannonade, the Insurrections Hussars soon took flight. Only the Ott Hussar Regiment # 7 and the Archduke Joseph Hussar Regiment # 2 put up serious resistance and both units suffered heavy losses. Grouchy wheeled his troopers to the left to roll up John's left flank."
"The key to the eventually French victory came on their right, where Montbrun and Grouchy managed to get across the Pandsza, placing them on the Austrian flank. Mecsèry attempted to wheel his inexperienced horsemen to the left to face the new threat, but this caused chaos, and the Austrian left began to collapse. Heavy French artillery fire and the threat from their cavalry completed the rout."
I would really suggest checking this excellent book as it provides many contemporary Austrian, French and Hungarian sources offering a more detailed view of the battle of Raab:
Again, thank you very much for time and effort playing and commenting my scenario.
It would be an honor to be able to play it against such experienced opponents as Mark and Michael.
My main issue with the scenario was the duration, and the general inaction of both sides where a good part of the first hour was essentially an artillery exchange. Michael pointed out that the best French option is withdraw the infantry, and whittle away the Austrians with the numerous French artillery (4 units). 10 banners is a long battle.
This battle is similar in size and composition to Sacile, between the same protagonists. So I'm considering the relation between the two in these suggestions.
My suggestions here are;
1. Make it 8 banners
2. Make the village and farm French Victory banners only.
3. remove the French HA on the Left, and the French FA at the centre rear.
4. is the Portuguese Militia any different to an Austrian Militia?
5. the Insurrection horse mostly bolted at the first French charge, they seem redundant, and requiring an extra rule. Replace with 2 Austrian LC on the Left and 1 LC on the Right.
6. Replace British HA with Austrian FA (or HA, but it seemed fairly static)
7. Reduce French Command to 5.
The main struggle seemed to happen around the Farm, whilst our play had virtually none until the end. The main combat was the choke point of the ditch, of which I have read no reference, though there was a reference to March protecting John's southern (Austrian Left) flank. Should these be Marsh?
There is no reason for the French, to cross the river to early. They can bring there superior number of ART to the front, out of range of the INF and embark then to an ART duell, which they should win.
At last, after they have weaked the Austrians, they can cross over.
So i think, remove 1 ART on French side, so the Austrian have still an little disadvantage because of the less (only 4 after first turn) Command Cards.