Sunday 3 December 2023

Austerlitz 1805


Last wednesday I went to see the napoleon film, which if not at all an accurate history portrayal of his life, its nonetheless an appealing and enjoyable movie. Needless to say it motivated me to put some napolenics on the wargaming table again, and given that we had never played Austerlitz before I thought that it would bee a cool battle to refight
The battle starts at 4:00 A.M. with a massive column of austrorussian troops marching on the french left
Solidly entrenched in the villages of Sokolnitz and Tellnitz waiting for Davout's reinforcements
Napoleon himself takes a central position to control his troops
The game begins with the allies, who get the initiative and reform in attack columns
On the other side of the battlefield Lichtenstein unleashes a massive cavalry charge supported by the russian imperial guard

The french answer by attacking with their own riders led by Murat
And soon the first charges smash into the imperial troops
Only to be met by deadly canister fire and an infantry square
Both sides cuirassiers clash in the left with the russians pushed back
Meanwhile, in the center the frenchmen have crossed the Goldback and taken Puntowitz
Murat's charge mets with its first success when his dragoons run down some russian backline guns
Below the Pratzen heights the allies form in line and advance on the enemy village
With the enemy flank on the back foot the Old Guard moves into the fray
Easily repelling the assault of the enemy uhlans while Bagration's division reaches the field
Not so much combat on the right, where the allies are keeping back from the fortified villages

It is now 8:00 and the soleil d'Austerlitz shines on the battlefield removing the fog, time for the big guns to play their lethal music
Ravaged by musketry and impaled on the guard's bayonets the uhlans beat the retreat
An auspicious sign for Napoleon, who sees Davout arrive now on the field with his divisions and decides that it's time for the offence
In a rapid series of movements the french proceed to wipe out most of the opposition starting by the russian guard, caught in square and bayoneted by the veteran grognards

The russians try to stem the tide by charging over the Goldback only to be beaten back
Even the cuirassiers fall to the fusillades of the valiant Guard

Davout and his men soon join this slaughter by cutting to pieces an isolated austrian division
With most of the enemy right destroyed Napoleon proceeds to turn the flank and pushes the allies towards the iced ponds

No place is safe for the allies, french shots fall all over killing a cavalry division next to the Tsar
Davout by from right and Napoleon from the left make a pincer move against their trapped foes
Running down two artillery batteries
Only Bagration still stands firm, but outnumbered by the foe his fate is certain
With this last act of futile defiance battle comes to an end
And the outcome is a marvelous napoleonic victory, with 45.000+ dead allies for no french loss

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