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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 4:31 pm 
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Location: Moscow, Russia
During the last several month I had a pleasure and honor of fighting in a maneuver against Jim Pfluecke in the Battle of Bergen (to be more precise the First battle of Bergen). The whole unfortunate Holland campaign of 1800 is one of the points of interest for me. So can’t help writing a detailed after action report on the battle.

I. Historical accuracy

Most of my knowledge about the campaign as a whole originates from the marvelous book by Milyutin. It’s available for free online at https://www.runivers.ru/lib/book3090/26329/ . It may be 150 years old but I saw nothing that could compare to it as regards the details of description of this campaign. The only difficulty is that the book is in Russian. Most of the statements here are based on the material of the book. I also used several of the regimental histories and bios of the Russian participants. For the British side the “Waste of blood and treasure” by Ball (https://www.amazon.com/Waste-Blood-Trea ... d+treasure) could be of use. For the French and Batavians there are primary docs by Brune somewhere in the Gallica. The Secret expedition by Geert van Uythoven is regretfully delayed one more time and is not awailable at the very least till December this year.

Order of battle

The order of battle for the Russian force involved appears to be incorrect. It includes several units that didn’t take part in the battle, namely the Emme (Pavlovsk) musketeers regiment and squadrons Leib-Hussars. Their absence may be confirmed not only by the oobs in the Milyutins wok but also by the casualties reports published there as well as by regimental histories. On the other hand some of the units are not present, the most important being the Southof (former 1st) Jaegers. It’s presence is confirmed by the casualties report, it has lost about 10% of the initial strength. Similarly some of the units appear to be weaker than they ought to be. Strick and Osipov (not Ostpov as in game) converged grenadiers battalions were apparently twice as strong compared to the game.

But all these inconsistencies rule each other out. Milyutin mentions the Russian strength at 8800. In the scenario it’s 9200. The force in the scenario is a bit stronger in cavalry, but has no light infantry capability.

British, Dutch and French from what is mentioned by Milyutin appear to be more or less correct.

Artillery

The number of pieces and their calibers are form a difficult question. Milyutin does not directly mention neither the number nor calibers of guns that took part in the action. In particular it’s stated that most of the pieces were left behing. It’s also stated that some of the guns did take part in the battle, but no clue how many of them. The number and calibers of the French/Batavian is also not directly stated. It’s clear from the descriptions that the gunfire from the French side was heavy and didn’t allow the Brits to attack successfully. So the number and composition of the guns may be considered as correct in general if not in particular details.

A strange change was made as regards the fire range of both Russian and British 6 lb guns. It was decreased to 7 hexes making them only a bit more useful than regimental 3 or 4 pounders. This change is made in this scenario only and I could find a single reason for it.

Release times

We played the historical battle which tries to simulate the actual course of battle with units being fixed for some time. It correctly leaves most of the Russian force free since the very beginning (4:00). The brits and one of the Russian brigades release only at 6:00 From the allied side everything seems correct and according the historical dispositions and the course of battle.

Unfortunately it’s not the case for the French side. Historically GLt Herman had launched an attack before the planned time at 4:00. Russian force overhelmed the French outposts and reached Bergen. Here the defenders of the town were rather easily driven back from it. And only after that, when most of the forces arrived the French were able to defeat the Russians, mass rout them and chase till the initial positions. As it turned out to be in the scenario the head of the Russian column even with the best will and no delays would reach Bergen only when the main French force is already in the town. Accordingly no chance to successfully attack the town, leave alone occupy it. Apparently in order to increase the historical accuracy the French force needs to be released at least an hour later.

Stacking limitations

The stacking limitations appear to be far too high for the warfare of the era. It was decreased to 1050 infantry and 350 cavalry per hex. The guns were made in such a way that a battery could be deployed together with a large battalion. On the other hand the number of guns was limited to 10 by a house rule.

Overall assessment

The mistakes and drawbacks notwithstanding, the scenario provides more or less accurate figure of the situation in battle and the opposing forces. The mistakes are not very important and compensate each other.

II. Strategy employed

To be continued

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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: Wed Aug 15, 2018 4:02 pm 
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Thanks for the input, Anton. I used Geert's OB for the French-Dutch side. He emailed it to me. Any errors on their side - well I only had Geert to go on along with the Wiki article which I consider to be low quality at times.

For the Russians - I didn't have a lot to go on. The British book I used on the 1799 campaign said very little about the Russians. The British strengths are listed in the book.

Yes, the timing for the releases of the French-Batavians is probably off. I need to look at that again. The main problem is this: how do you portray the Russian rout due to looting? Its almost like I would have to have a French unit arrive in the town of Bergen when the Russians occupy it to cause them to rout! ROFL

Bergen's map was redone by Mark van Hattem. I wish we had had dune terrain. I can only say that the map is about as close as we could get it. You didn't have anything to say about the map but I am guessing that its inaccurate in certain points. Mark is not to blame for any map errors. I take the blame for any of that.

On the Russian 6lb gun: this value (7 hex range) is the same for 2nd Zurich and Castricum. I did note that the British 6lb gun has a 9 hex range. I may be reducing that. I note that the French 6lb gun is also 9 hexes. I will have to discuss this with the team and see if we should make some adjustments. I do know that the French used a better powder so I will be making sure that the French 6lb gun has a longer range than the Austrians and Russians and Prussians.

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General der Kavallerie Wilhelm Prinz Peters von Dennewitz
Husaren-Regiment Hessen-Kassel
Infanterie-Brigade Hessen-Kassel
Königlich-Preußisches Armee-Korps
Scenario Designer for Napoleonic Battles series - John Tiller Software


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:29 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 06, 2013 10:55 am
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Location: Bouches-de-l’Elbe
Bill Peters wrote:
Yes, the timing for the releases of the French-Batavians is probably off. I need to look at that again. The main problem is this: how do you portray the Russian rout due to looting? Its almost like I would have to have a French unit arrive in the town of Bergen when the Russians occupy it to cause them to rout! ROFL

Mh... correct me but isn't there a function that let units disorder if too close to hexes where reinforcement arrive?
If so, why not try to fix the Russian force that attack Bergen around the time it should have conquered the city and let French "dummy" units appear in that area to trigger the disorder of those Russian units. Of course the Russian player has to play a bit along the historical course but if VP at Bergen is high enough he might voluntarily stay there even if he knows that his force gets fixed and disordered.

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La Grande Armée - 3éme Corps d'Armée
"Vive la révolution, vive la france and vive L’Empereur!"


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 10:50 am 
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Hi Christian - sorry to take so long to reply:

No, we have found that "in game fixing" of units, unless done on a turn where we are sure that the unit wont be vulnerable, is difficult at best. And no, there is no Disordering of units when reinforcements arrive. Instead the units are routed.

I used "in game fixing" of units in the Jemappes battle scenarios for the French right wing. I am not sure it will be very popular but I doubt that the Austrians are going to venture out of their redoubts to attack the units so I think I am safe saying that at least my design concept will work there.

I just saw that Geert's book on the Dutch campaign is available on November 2nd and I am going to order a copy of it as soon as I get the funds. I then will read through it and see what I can do.

Comment: It really would promote the Russian point of view better if Russians would work with people like me to translate their books into English. English is just about the only universal language today. This would also apply to WW2.

I have read some of the Russian translations for WW2 and its refreshing to have new material coming from the Russian side of the war. I never will be fluent in Russian. I had help with the French books we used for the game. So maybe in the future someone would like to work with me on translation of the Russian books. Might be a good venture and it would also help people get to know the Russian army better.

Note: I found Christopher Duffy's book "Eagles Over the Alps" very interesting. I am sure it has errors but it was really nice reading about Suvorov, a general that I had not known much about - only a general bio on him from articles I read. Its nice to see more material coming out on the Napoleonic Wars.

George Nafziger has a book that is one of the Russian generals account of a campaign. I had the book at one time but do not have it any longer. While it didn't offer me much information that I needed it was interesting. Its very hard to find good information on battery content so I went with the general structure of a Russian battery at the time.

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General der Kavallerie Wilhelm Prinz Peters von Dennewitz
Husaren-Regiment Hessen-Kassel
Infanterie-Brigade Hessen-Kassel
Königlich-Preußisches Armee-Korps
Scenario Designer for Napoleonic Battles series - John Tiller Software


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