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24th November face to face game at LG. The War of 1810

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Post  Martin on Wed Oct 02, 2019 5:53 pm

Sunday 24th November k/spiel - The War of 1810

Our November game is a large late Napoleonic campaign.  If you are interested in attending, please complete the poll here: https://xoyondo.com/dp/tcBzK0T1Q6ZmPi0

Martin J



Background to the war

It is early July 1810.  Having defeated Austria on the Danube last year, the Emperor has felt free to commit large additional forces to Spain.

Seduced by English money, and the prospect of weak French forces in Germany, Russian and Prussia have re-entered the war however.  During the spring and early summer Prussia mobilised three corps, whilst a large Russian army occupied Poland and moved W through Pomerania and Mecklenburg.  There was little to oppose them, save for one Polish corps which has fallen back on Hamburg in the face of superior Russian numbers.

Napoleon has scrambled to catch-up.  Many new French units are being hurriedly raised, and it has been announced that armies are to be formed under the Emperor and Marshal Davout.


Victory

Victory in the campaign will come from some combination of winning battles and achieving geographical and political objectives.  

We are dealing with large armies of potentially 2-300,000 men per side.  You simply cannot operate with a force of that size in one sector because the road system will not allow you to bring all of it to battle, and because geographical objectives are widely separated.


Winning the battles

Nevertheless, the most effective way to win battles is by concentrating more men than your opponent in the right place and at the right time.  The units are corps of infantry and cavalry.

You concentrate troops by so arranging marches that you make good use of the road system, and knowing when to force-march additional corps from further afield.

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Players will have some input into battle itself, but this will be limited, as many battles are unlikely to involve more than 2 of the players, so must be resolved very speedily.  So the focus is on operational skill, rather than tactical decisions involving terrain etc.

Martin

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Post  Maximilian (Punky) on Sat Oct 05, 2019 12:47 pm

Hi, I'm interested in this, can I ask how they are run time wise? I have family in Hertfordshire (and I myself am originally from Hitchin) and would love to attend this or future events. How long does it go on for in the day? Would I need to bring my own food or is there a source in the village? Can I dress up? Am I, a complete novice to historical warfare, be welcome to parttake? Do I need to bring my own models?
Maximilian (Punky)
Maximilian (Punky)

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Post  Martin on Sat Oct 05, 2019 2:19 pm

Hi Punky

You'd be very very welcome to join us for games. Geographically you seem to be a good fit.

In answer to your questions:

1. We start at 10.30 am and finish play at about 4 pm, normally followed by a c30 min debrief where we chat about the game. Sp close by 4.30.

2. There is a village pub, but I'm not sure is does takeaway lunches, and of course it would take you away from the game, so not ideal. We normally just bring sandwiches. We have access to a large kitchen, and provide plenty of tea & coffee for all attendees. Most folks also bring some cake or biscuits which are pooled for common use Wink

3. We don't normally dress-up, but feel very free to do so if that floats your boat!

4. Please don't worry at all about your lack of historical knowledge. We're a very friendly (and non-competitive) bunch, and there is plenty of advice and support for as long as you need it. Also, the nature of our games - which emphasise fog-of-war and communication SNAFUs - means that all players make plenty of mistakes!

5. No need to bring any models. With a very few exceptions, our games do not use figures. The November game for example will be played on a map of northern Germany, and the typical unit will be a corps of 20,000 men, or a cavalry corps of perhaps 5,000. So players will command full-size armies - and often quite large ones at that.

Hope that helps, and can make the game. But please do ask any more questions as they occur.

Martin J

Martin

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Post  Maximilian (Punky) on Sat Oct 05, 2019 2:22 pm

That sounds absolutely fantastic, gives me an opportunity to make a trip down from Sheffield and see the father the day before too Smile Budget permitting, I'll be there for this one then Very Happy
Maximilian (Punky)
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Post  Martin on Sat Oct 05, 2019 3:37 pm

Bravo Sir!

Look forward to meeting you.

Can you fill in the poll here please https://xoyondo.com/dp/tcBzK0T1Q6ZmPi0

Martin J

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Post  Iwein on Fri Nov 01, 2019 10:36 am

Hi guys,

I am new on this forum and interested to participate in the War of 1810.
In the past I have already played a couple of megagames in London and in Belgium/Netherlands. But never a real kriegsspiel.

But first a practical question: Coming from Belgium I want to combine the game with a 4-days trip to London.
Is it quite easy to reach the venue of the game from London by train?

Greetings,
- Ivan

Iwein

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Post  Martin on Fri Nov 01, 2019 3:56 pm

Hi Ivan

Welcome to the forum.  You'll be equally welcome to join us for the game on 24th November!

There are frequent trains from London, St Pancras to Harpenden.  Also from London, Euston to Berkhamsted.  Journey is about 30 minutes.  In either case you would need a taxi or lift to the village where we play.  I would be happy to give you a lift from Harpenden Station.  That's a further 25 minutes drive.

In terms of process, our games are similar to megagames, but tend to focus much more on the military side of things.  We play from 10.30 until about 4 pm, when we stop and have a debrief.

Drop me a PM with your email address if you'd like to know more.

Martin J

Martin

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Post  Martin on Tue Nov 12, 2019 3:29 pm

So far it looks as if there will be 14 of us for this game.  A most creditable performance.  

Here is some more information about the strategic setting.....

Martin J


Strategic geography of the German theatre

At the extreme west and southwest of the campaign area, the River Rhine is the ultimate source for French supplies, reinforcements and replacements.

Prussian men and materiel is much more conveniently drawn from the area around their capital, Berlin.  This of course has the disadvantage that it is potentially vulnerable to French attack.

Russian supplies and reinforcements need to transit Poland, well to the east, before reaching the front.  This has the obvious disadvantage that they take a long time to arrive, but does mean they are relatively secure from immediate threat.

A key feature is the major River Elbe, which could eventually serve as a LOC for the French, provided they hold Hamburg.  The latter is a major port, which can easily be re-provisioned by coastal craft moving east along the coast from French-controlled Holland.  This route is protected from the British Navy by the Frisian Islands.  Until Hamburg is secured however, the French must run any LOCs from the Rhine (ie from Dusseldorf and/or Wurzburg).

The Elbe is a major river, and can only be crossed at certain places, five of which are controlled by fortresses.  Hamburg is currently held by the neutral Poles, Magdeburg by the French, Wittenberg by the Prussians, and Torgau & Dresden by the neutral Saxons.

Other fortresses are variously held by the French, the Allied coalition, or by neutrals.

The region is relatively flat to the east, and also towards the River Rhine in the west and southwest.  The central area immediately west of the Elbe is more forested and mountainous, and the available roads are fewer.  

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Fortresses

Formal Vauban-style sieges in the late Napoleonic period were rare.  Commanders preferred to blockade enemy fortresses, which enabled them to run a LOC past the place, and thus allowed an advance to continue without too much delay.  

A downside was the number of troops which needed to be detached to mask the fortress – typically a corps of about 20,000 men.  If they were aware of the threat, defenders could moreover increase the garrison by adding one of their own corps to it.  In that event, attackers would require two corps to blockade it.  Such blockades could be very lengthy, frequently lasting for many months.

Martin

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Post  Martin Yesterday at 12:04 pm

Neutral states, and particularly Sweden (see map in previous post)

Several initially-neutral states will feature in the game.  Most of these are small (Bavaria, Saxony, Westphalia, Duchy of Warsaw) and have previously been clients of Napoleon.  In the current circumstances however, and with the French on the back-foot, they may be reviewing their options.

Most maintain forces amounting to a corps in strength (c20,000), although the Swedes are potentially much stronger.

Austria is more powerful still, but it was heavily defeated by the French last year, and may not yet be ready to re-enter the fray.

Apart from Sweden, these will not be played by a human but, as the situation develops, some or all will join one side or the other.  They may not all join the same side.  Military success will be the most important factor influencing their behaviour .  They will be tempted to join the winning side, so victories will be a major determinant.    Additionally, it may also be possible to cajole or threaten them into joining you, by moving one of your infantry corps to a town adjacent to their troops.  A third factor in bringing them off the fence, will be the decisions of their fellow-neutrals.  If one enters the war, this may encourage others to follow in a domino-effect.

Here is a brief description of each neutral state.

Bavaria – long-standing French ally, whose troops are some way from the initial area of operations, and far from Allied support.

Saxony – traditionally wary of Prussia.   Nevertheless, their capital Dresden is not far from Berlin, and the Prussians may be in a position to put pressure on them.  They control 2 key fortresses on the Elbe (Torgau and Dresden).  

Westphalia – somewhat artificial kingdom, created for Napoleon’s brother Jérôme Bonaparte.  He is no doubt loyal to the emperor, but are his subjects?  The capital Hanover is likely to be a key point on the French LOC, and is unfortified.

Duchy of Warsaw – Polish troops have fought alongside the French in hopes of an independent Poland, free from domination by major powers, especially Russia.  French victory against Prussia and Russia in 1807 led to liberation, but there appears little sign that Napoleon is contemplating a truly independent Polish state however.  In any case, the Duchy of Warsaw has now been occupied by Russian troops, and the Polish corps has retreated all the way to Hamburg in the face of the Russian advance.

Sweden – during the past few years Sweden has fought wars against both France (briefly) and Russia.  Defeat by France meant the loss of its holdings in N Germany around the fortress of Stalsund.  Defeat by Russia two years ago meant the more damaging loss of Finland - as large in area as Sweden itself.  The real power in Sweden now lies with Prince Bernadotte (one of Napoleon’s former marshals!), who only 3 months ago was elected heir-presumptive to the sickly and childless king.  Bernadotte has worked closely with Napoleon over many years, and the Emperor gave his blessing to the new arrangement.  The Swedes have recently taken advantage of the current uncertainty to land troops at Stralsund and take possession of the fortress once more.  

Unlike the other more minor neutral states, Sweden will be played by a human in our game, representing Prince Bernadotte.  Any other player can send messages to Bernadotte, and (if provided with negotiating authority in their player briefing) can negotiate with him on behalf of their government.  The Swedes will be well aware of their value to either side, and if they enter the current war, will no-doubt be looking for something in return!

Martin

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