BH09 Schöngrabern (16 November 1805)
Russian rear guard action
16 November 1805
The Battle of Schöngrabern (also known as the Battle of Hollabrunn) was an engagement in the Napoleonic Wars during the War of the Third Coalition, fought on 16 November 1805 near Hollabrunn in Lower Austria, four weeks after the Battle of Ulm and two weeks before the Battle of Austerlitz (Slavkov, Moravia - now Czech Republic).
The Russian army of Kutuzov was retiring north of the Danube before the French army of Napoleon. On 13 November 1805 Marshals Murat and Lannes, commanding the French advance guard, had captured a bridge over the Danube at Vienna by falsely claiming that an armistice had been signed, and then rushing the bridge while the guards were distracted. Kutuzov needed to gain time in order to make contact near Brno (Brünn) with reinforcements led by Buxhowden. He ordered his rearguard under Major-General Prince Pyotr Bagration to delay the French.
Murat and Lannes commanded the 4th and 5th Corps and the Reserve Cavalry.
Bagration took up a position about 6 km north of Hollabrunn, on the hill above the small town of Schöngrabern (today part of Grabern). Murat believed that the whole of the Russian army was before him, and hesitated to attack. Bagration then suggested to Murat that negotiations for an armistice should be opened. Murat agreed, and did not attack.
Murat sent an aide to Napoleon to notify of the cease-fire and invited Wintzingerode,Bagration and other Russian officers to his headquarters for wine and polite conversation. Lannes never believed Wintzingerode for a minute, regarding the cease fire. Instead, he had a pretty good idea where Kutuzov was, and thought Bagration on his own, and knew Napoleon meant to fight the Russians, not to negotiate with them. Already annoyed that his corps was at half strength and Murat was telling him what to do, he stood on the edge of the gathering, holding a glass of wine and glaring at friends and enemies alike. he spoke only to Bagration, whom he recognized as a professional soldier, not a buffoon like some in the present company. "If I was onmy own and didn't have to put up with Murat's orders," he told the Russian general, "we'd be fighting, not standing around drinking and talking about the goddamned weather."
When Napoleon was informed of this he was furious and wrote to Murat:
“ I cannot find words to express my displeasure. You only command my vanguard and have no right to agree to an armistice without my orders. You will cost me the fruits of a campaign. End the armistice at once, and attack the enemy. Inform him that the general who has signed this has no power to make it, that only the Russian Emperor has the right, and that when the Russian Emperor ratifies this agreement, I will also ratify it. But it is only a ruse. March, destroy the Russian army. You are in a position to take his baggage and artillery.”
Bagration's troops had built some hasty earthworks north of Schongrabern and deployed behind them when the French attacked the afternoon of 16 November.
Russian artillery covered the road from Hollabrunn, raking the advancing grenadiers and infantry as the cavalry attacked them on both flanks. The artillery pounded the French and Schongrabern - most of the village went up in flames. Murat repulsed the Russian cavalry but Bagration inflicted heavy casualties among the grenadiers and infantry. Though the French suffered, they overwhelmed the Russians by their superior numbers. The fighting continued until after midnight when the Russians finally withdrew, leaving 2400 casualties behind. Lannes escaped injury during the battle but Oudinot was not so fortunate; he was sent to the hospital in Vienna along with many other senior officers.
The stage is set. The battle lines are drawn and you are in command. Can you change history?
Leader: Petr Bagration
Mother Russia rule is in effect
Leader: Joachim Murat, Jean Lannes
The allied player starts the scenario with 1 victory banner. This banner is lost if the French player occupies three hill hexes with units at their turn start (Temporary Group Victory Banner)
Mother Russia rule is in effect.
Bagration: 4 Tactician cards
Lannes: 5 Tactician cards
Murat: 5 Tactician cards
it wasn't playtested with Tactician cards, and the balance seems pro-French. Doubt Tactician cards will do much to change that.
We want to play this scenario.
Can you tell us how much Tactician cards shall we draw ?
Based on other scenarios, I judge 3 Tactician Cards each. Reading the intro it sounds like a bad day for the French command structure but you could give 4 TC for the French if you give them the benefit of Lannes being in joint command with Murat.
Lannes and Bagration: www.commandsandcolors.net/napoleonics/ma...es-vs-bagration.html
Nice AAR, though I assume you executed this retreat not according to the rules, as Leaders Stop Retreats (pg.13.):
Leaders Stop Retreats: A unit without an attached leader may retreat onto a hex that contains an unattached friendly leader
(i.e. a leader alone in a hex). The leader is immediately attached to that unit and the unit’s retreat stops in the leader’s hex. The retreating unit will ignore any additional retreat movement.
First game was very close, French won 6-5
Second game the Allies were up 3-1, when the French played LGM and marched into Russian lines. The Russians had no appropriate response card, and chipped away. The French followed up with Cold Steel, taking 4 banners in the subsequent 5 attacks, and destroying the Russian Left. The final banner fell as the sole survivor attempted to escape, and was killed on the battle back.
A highly successful maneuver, well timed, and lucky. French won 6-3 in a complete reversal of fortune.
The reason it went that way was because the French got the cards AND the dice. As an example, in the first turn, they were able to play a 'Short Sopply' on a 'Mother Russia' enhanced battery at the front of the Russian Right Flank. So from the off, their infantry were pretty free to advance to their own tune on that flank.
On the Allied left, where a group of Austrian Grenzers and light cavalry were situated, the Grenzer advance here turned into a nightmare. Advancing on the French in the hope of taking advantage as the French concentrated on the other flank, the Grenzers only rolled 1 hit against French infantry with their 6 dice that were rolled. Of course in reply on their own turn, French fire proved devastating. One Grenzer unit losing 3 blocks. The other, losing just 1 block but had 3 flags rolled against it. Although able to retreat 1 hex and have a leader ignore another flag, the remaining 3 hexes could not be completed as they were blocked by friendly units. This eliminated that Grenzer unit.
It was all down hill from there as Allied rolls after Allied rolls produced nothing of substance whilst French ones were murderous. Another example of Allied misery was a leadership enhanced heavy cavalry charge against a French battery. 6 dice rolled, no hits and no retreat. French reply with 4 dice, 2 CAV hit and a retreat! The game ended as a 6-1 thrasing by the French and that 1 Allied banner was already allocated to them at the start of the game!! French incursions came on both flanks with their light infantry leading the way supported by artillery fire.
My game was not a good advert for this scenario as it was so perversely lop-sided in dice & card fortune. Therefore, if you are reading as a potential player, I would go on right ahead and play. Do not let the scoreline here put you off. The sceanrio situation itself is interesting. My one question, given the amount of units on the board was whether a 6 banner win score was high enough? I could see this deserving 8 banners or at least 7.