AAR – Linear battle

Recently there was an occasion to put DSLB on a table and have a go on a regular linear battle between French under quite good command and Austria with regular plodder. Both sides had relatively small number of troops, arranged in two brigades. Both terrain and numbers favored Austria, and French only had advantage in better command and skirmishing capacity. Total forces of France were following, and they operated under commanders that had Q3:DSLB line battle - 2

6 Battalions of line infantry (Q4 C4 SK2) 
1 Medium Artillery Battery (Q4)
2 Regiments of Dragoons (Q3 C5)

Austria on the other had a mixed bag of troops but nevertheless, better in both quality and bigger numbers. Austrian commanders were Q5 except of the cavalry commander who was Q4:DSLB line battle - 1

4 Battalions of line infantry (Q4 C4 SK1)
2 Battalions of Grenadiers (Q3 C5 SK0)
1 Hussar Regiment (Q4 C5)
2 Dragoon Regiments (Q3 C6)
DSLB line battle - 3

French columns advance, tightly packed against more loose order of Austrians who wanted to be able to establish defensive lines.

DSLB line battle - 4

Austrians hiding behind the square…

DSLB line battle - 5

Lines versus columns. Austrians trusted the olden ways – and paid the price.

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French stand to keep the Austrian hussars away. Only incompetence of the Austrian Grenadiers prevented disaster.

DSLB line battle - 7

Cavalry standoff.

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Hole is punched to the Austrian lines, but not before Austrians routed one battalion and caused significant disorder to others.

Austrians were to set up first (rolled a die to determine both the setup side and who were to set up first), which did give some slight advantage to France because Austrians attempted more or less control the whole edge and meant that if French were striking fast and with concentrated effort they might just win the day. So, French were to concentrate the forces on the seemingly stronger right flank of Austrian line, and almost ignoring the left that had the Hussars and the Grenadiers – both, if fast enough would be able to roll the unprotected flank.

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French battalions in grave state of disorder and incapacitated (black cubes).

It was interesting matchup because of the subtle disparity of forces – and especially the difference of command structure. Where Austrians rarely received benefit of the plodding commanders, French were much more likely to do so.  This in turn meant that at any given time significant proportion of Austrian wide spread army was eating lunch while French advance was quicker and more coherent.DSLB line battle - 9 DSLB line battle - 10

So, how did it turn out?

The end result was total, and utter catastrophe for Austria. But not as far from French disaster as the end result may suggest. Yes, it is true that French lost one battalion routed, and from Austrian side, losses were four battalions routed, one Dragoon regiment and cavalry commander that led the final charge. Only moment before however, French took significant battering and three of the five remaining Battalions on the centre and both Dragoons were incapacitated. It was only because of the gallant push from the remaining French infantry columns against the firm Austrian lines that changed the outcome. One could argue that it was a lucky strike, but in fact some of the Austrians were charged repeatedly and if there was luck, it was in the persistence of the French columns.DSLB line battle - 14 DSLB line battle - 15 DSLB line battle - 16

Such a repetitive strike in columns was necessary because the Austrian Hussars and one of the Grenadiers (another was stuck in traffic jam) were turning French unprotected flank and there was nothing capable of stalling them. Cavalry fight in the right was fought to effective stalemate so the resolution lay in the middle. Wold Austrian commanders be more capable and the outcome would have been completely different. Root cause was too quick an advance and lack of coordination between the forces. DSLB line battle - 17 DSLB line battle - 18 DSLB line battle - 19Furthermost Austrian Grenadier battalion on far right could not practically participate when everyone else rushed forward. Out of commanders reach, the Hussars apparently had no idea what they were to do, and waited several long whiles for opportunity until finally got stuck in traffic jam caused by the advancing grenadiers. All that added to the fact that artillery kept on hitting the French square that blockaded Hussars advance inefficiently, when there were much more vital targets close by.

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2 Responses to AAR – Linear battle

  1. Prufrock says:

    That’s a beautiful table and figures. Superb!


  2. Tichy says:

    Thanks for your comment. Table is still work in progress – and have to admit that the state has not rally improved for a long time due to general hiatus (it is however very much playable, yes). Weight of lead pile is also shrinking very slowly now and continues to do so at least until late spring I presume.

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