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PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2020 2:23 pm 
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I started in on the Battle of Bergen rework of the historical battle but one look at Geert's strengths for the Russians sent up "red flag" warnings to me. I am not sure how accurate the strengths he lists on page of 400 of his book "The Secret Expedition" are but they seem very high.

From all that I have heard the Russians suffered a lot of losses on the sea journey to Noord-Holland. The strengths I listed in the original "Bergen.oob" file were based on what I had garnered from a source - it might have been Geert or someone else. They seem closer to the mark.

If I go with Geert's strengths I dont see the French holding the left.

One change from the original OB is that I am having the "First Column" of the Right Wing as a division rather than a corps. The simple fact is this: the Russian staff officers lacked horses (per Geert's book) and thus the command ranges would have been limited. That is partly to account for the impossibility in rallying them after they looted Bergen. Plain and simple the Russians were starving.

Can any of the Russian members confirm Geert's numbers from his OB listing for Bergen for the Russians? I plan on updating my original scenario to correct some errors and then I will add in a new historical scenario based on Geert's OB for the battle. You will have a choice of either battle scenario to play.

I trust Geert's OBs usually but this was one case where I am wondering if the Russian numbers are too high.

So I will use his OB "verbatim" for the newer scenario, will update the older scenario and then add in the new and updated files for the RBR update. I dont want to get into a research hunt at this point. I will stick with the numbers I chose for the Russians for the older OB. Those that think Geert was right can play the newer version. That is how I will handle this and thus avoid any dispute on the OB.

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Bill Peters - Prussian civilian observer
Scenario Designer for John Tiller Software "Napoleonic Battles" and "Panzer Campigns" series games


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2020 4:22 pm 
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Dear Bill,

First of all I must say that I did play this scenario you did against Jim Pfluecke and we both enjoyed it enormously. For me it was an important step of better understanding what really took place on that day in September 1799. But these impressions and thoughts need to be placed in a separate thread.

Still the scenario, and most of all the oob for me was a source of criticism. I didn't make that public back then because I remember you asked for help and I was not able to provide it. Now as we are all locked into a quarantine, I have chance to provide the assistance necessary.

Most of what we know about the battle was summed up by Milyutin in his seminal work “History of war between Russia and France in year 1799” or its translations. All of the other publications/books base on it at least what regards the Russian contribution. Even though the book is 170 years old I know no other source that provides such a wealth of primary sources. In particular it represents the monthly return report provided by Herman to Paul on August 3 (15 on new style). In the edition I’m using it’s in reference #26 on pages 339-340 in vol V, the direct link is https://runivers.ru/bookreader/book2868 ... 3/mode/1up This same structure of order of battle and figures is reproducet by Geert on page 398. The difference is that the return report provides numbers of officers and men separately as well as a total with noncombatants and does so but according to the established strength and actual strength while Geert cites only the latter.

For example Benkendorf (Tauria) grenadiers had according to the establishment 49 officers 1482 NCOs and men and a total of 1620 with noncombatants. Present were 46, 1394 and 1516 respectively. Geert gives only the number 1516.

What is important is that this order of battle was administrative only. For the real battle the structure of command was rearranged and described in disposition (reference #32 pages 343-345 in vol V https://runivers.ru/bookreader/book2868 ... 7/mode/1up). From the text the order of battle can be inferred. Plus, there are two omissions, one of them mentioned in the footnote. In Geerts book on pages 400-402 we find exactly the oob that could be inferred from the document published. It also provides the strength as per the previous doc with few minor exceptions.

This oob is very much different from what we see in the game. The most important issues are:
1) Emme (Pavlovsk) grenadiers regiment didn’t take part in battle while in scenario it forms part of the right wing column. It’s absence is directly supported by the regimental history which claims that the regiment did already arrive to Holland, but by the time of the battle didn’t yet join the other troops. And in all the descriptions of the later events it’s emphasized that the regiment Emme was fresh and didn’t suffer in the unsuccessful battle. It’s absence is also supported by lack of casualties suffered (reference #37 on page 347 https://runivers.ru/bookreader/book2868 ... 1/mode/1up ). Both battalions need to be removed.
2) Schtrik batallion is present twice. In the game we find the 1 Conv. Gren Bn as part of the right column while Schtrik Bn is in the center. In Milyutin’s oob after the line with this battalion stands (1) which is a number of footnote, but could be recognized as a unit number. At this epoch units in the Russian army were not numbered. The 1 Conv. Gren Bn need to be removed.
3) Suthof jaegers are absent from the oob. There must be by a skirms coy about 93-95 men strong in the right wing and left wing Russian columns while the rest of them (368+378 – 2*94=558) were forming a battalion in the central column. They need to be added.
4) Regiment Fersen was forming part of the right wing column, not the center. Need to be transferred in command and placed correctly.
5) Russian cavalry didn’t take part in the battle. It’s supported by lack of casualties (1 hussar MIA, 1 cossack WIA, see reference above). Cavalry need to be removed and replaced with British 7th light dragoons.
6) Engineers coy need to be added.
With these corrections made and with unit numbers like in Geerts book the total strength of the right wing and central columns remains approximately the same as in the existing scenario. What does change is the structure of the order of battle and individual units strength.

IMHO these changes are fully justified and ought to be done. But they will not very much affect the course of the battle.
What can affect it is the presence of a huge Russian Arty train. There is no direct indication of how many guns were taken into battle. What is known for sure is that the First column has left 12 pieces behind due to horses being killed etc. Probably these were all what were present but we do not know for sure. I’d suggest decreasing the number of Russian arty. On the other hand I’m puzzled by its range in the game. The barrels are essentially the same as 6 years later at Austerlitz. But there Russian 6 lb fired to 11 hexes and here – only 7. Just like French 4 lb and only one hex further than 3 lb of Batavians. For me it’s a nonsense!

Hope this helps to provide an even better scenario. BTW the idea of using different sources for different oob seems great! I came to it myself deciding that the scenarios ought to be done “according to this-and-that source”.

Also, I’d like to suggest to add the 2nd battle of Bergen (or battle of Alkmaar) which was also very interesting and actually ended in the Anglo-Russian favor. :russianveryhappy:

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Leib-Guard Cuirassiers Regiment's
General-Fieldmareshal Count Anton Kosyanenko
Commanding Astrakhan grenadiers regiment
2nd Grenadiers Division, Russian Contingent


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2020 8:34 pm 
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Hi Alex - I will discuss all of this with you via email. Thanks for the in-depth answers. I just wondered about the strengths as the sea voyage seemed to have been strenuous and then the Russians had to wait until they were deployed to Noord-Holland. If you feel that the numbers are correct then that is fine. We can start working on this during the week and hopefully come up with a better order of battle.

I am going to look at the rest of the OB as well. The British, French and Batavian forces might be different as well. I wish I had had Geert's book when I worked on the game. I was provided an OB for the French and Batavians and I used the OB from the small book on the campaign that was written by a British sub-altern.

RBR was one of those games that I felt we needed to do as time was running out and I had no idea if I ever could find the time work on it in the future.

I know I wont have time to work on 2nd Bergen. For one thing the action took place along the coast and we do not have sand terrain. I left that one out as while it was an interesting situation I thought that the Allies had a huge advantage. In the end the French-Batavian forces just retreated in the face of superior numbers. It was not until the final battle that something like equal numbers takes place.

Anyway, I will write you this coming week about your response and we can work together on correcting the historical errors.

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Bill Peters - Prussian civilian observer
Scenario Designer for John Tiller Software "Napoleonic Battles" and "Panzer Campigns" series games


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