BH03 Landshut (21 April 1809)
Landshut - 21 April 1809
At Landshut the Isar river was spanned by two bridges with a small island in the center. Hiller had positioned cavalry outposts to the north of the town. His main force was deployed in Landshut and to the south on higher ground. Early in the morning Hiller was informed that a French force (57,000 men) had crossed the Isar upstream at Moosburg. Masséna led this force.
Hiller realized that he would be unable to hold his position for long, as Masséna was trying to block him from escaping. At this point his cavalry were forced back by Lannes’s troops and the Austrians were pushed back into Landshut. The French now quickly seized the northern bridge over the river, and the Austrians withdrew into the main part of the town to defend the southern bridge. The Austrians tried to set fire to this second bridge, but owing to the rainfall over the previous days, this was only partially successful. However the Austrians did manage to close the gates at the end of the bridge. The French were
now faced with attacking across the smoldering bridge. Napoleon ordered his aide General Georges Mouton (later comte de Lobau) to assume command of the attacking grenadiers of the 17th Line. In the face of heavy Austrian fire from all sides, Mouton ordered his men to attack without firing their muskets. The grenadiers reached the gateway and broke it down, allowing Bavarian troops to quickly reinforce the breach.The fighting now continued in the streets of Landshut itself. However the French had crossed a bridge immediately to the west of the town and were now entering Landshut from the south.
Many of the defenders were captured, but Hiller was able to retreat with the bulk of his force toward Neumarkt am Wallersee. Landshut finally fell to the French just after noon. The Austrian force had suffered around 10,000 casualties as well as losing 30 cannon, but more importantly they had lost a large number of caissons, a pontoon train, and thousands of supply wagons. The victorious French forces spent much of the afternoon ransacking these supplies.
The stage is set. The battle lines are drawn and you are in command. Can you change history?
General: Johann von Hiller
Battlefield Generals: Hiller, Hohenfeld, Hoffmeister
5 Command cards
2 Tactician cards
General: Marshal Jean Lannes, 1st Duc de Montebello
Battlefield Generals: Mouton, Morand, Gudin, Jacquinot
5 Command cards
5 Tactician cards
Landshut makes up a Temporary Majority Banner Objective (turn start), worth 1 victory banner for each side. If the French player is unopposed in the city they earn 2 victory banners instead (Temporary Majority Victory Banner Turn Start)
Castle Trausnitz is a Temporary Victory Banner Objective (turn start), worth 1 victory banner for the French player (Temporary Victory Banner Turn Start)
Rivers are not fordable except where marked
The Austrian player may play a scout card for 1 victory banner instead of playing it for its printed effects. This may be done once per section during the game, which represents movement of command and supplies from the area towards Neumarkt. The Austrian may therefore gain 3 victory banners in this fashion per game.
Had we played something along these lines though in the game Mark describes, I would have had to shift my forces to the right flank and press home the attack there instead of playing a waiting game on the left. As it was I had an artillery cannister card ready for any sortie the Austrians might have made out of Landshut itself. It seemed impossible for me to lose in the long run.
Lannes started 5 Tactics cards, Hiller 2 Tactics cards.
The initial French attack in the Right was repulsed for the loss of a French cavalry, and lucky not to lose both cavalry. The French then withdrew back across the river on this flank, which remained mostly dormant for the rest of the game.
On the French left, the Austrians tried to evacuate their units to Landshut, which was mostly achieved, but the Lancers were trapped and destroyed. By this stage the Austrians had played Scouts on Left and Centre, and led 4-1. Shortly after the Scout Right card was played (5-1) and the time pressure was off. The French artillery was then brought up and conducted a prolonged (about 1 hour of game time) battering of any visible Austrians, eventually killing 1 Austrian artillery and 1 Austrian Line, and reducing several other units. Any attempt by either side to cross the river and bring matters to a head resulted in casualties, and the French were luckier in converting losses to banners. (2 banners, the Austrian Light and the remaining cavalry).
With no mobility, the Austrians were on a certain, slow path to loss, and a final push from Landshut across the bridge to try and achieve victory was finished by Artillery Cannister. Whole game ran for over 2 hours, much of which was artillery fire. Without any time pressure, the French can just plink it out, and the Austrians have little in the way of offensive mobility to take the fight to the French. French win 7-5, with only 1 French unit lost.
Seemed to me that Exp.5 has significantly changed the game for this scenario, though the underlying problem of no time pressure was always there.