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Game With The Dragoons => Online Kriegsspiels => Topic started by: JasonPratt on October 28, 2020, 10:25:51 PM

Title: "Death Ride of Lannes" -- Austrian team pre-game 2018 discussions
Post by: JasonPratt on October 28, 2020, 10:25:51 PM
With the game now done, and Cyrano/Jim now posting up videos on what happened since mid-summer 2018 in our play-by-email Kriegspiel, I thought it might be interesting for the French team, and anyone following along at home, to see how we, the Austrian team, developed our operational plans before the game.

This forum engine doesn't seem to provide link-code for particular posts, but the after-game commentary starts about halfway down this page in the main game thread:

The first main post-game article (including first video) by Cyrano as the game runner, can be found here: (This links to a specific thread set up to point to the main article, and for any discussion of it; I didn't want to leave any of that out, though at the moment there's barely any commentary per se yet; moreso in the main game thread.)

There's a little more than 100 pages of pre-game discussion between us on TeamAustria; and while that's at 18-point font (because I'm getting old ;) ), it'll still take me a while to post everything up.

I'll set off portions using asteriks like this *******************. I'll use a larger fontsize to clarify brief notes of my own near those setoffs, compared to actual correspondence text.

Within correspondences, any double fancy brackets, {{like this}}, were added by me recently while editing and posting the notes. Other brackets and parentheses will be original to the emails. Single fancy brackets {like this} typically designate where I was talking Out Of Character.
Title: Re: "Death Ride of Lannes" -- Austrian team pre-game 2018 discussions
Post by: JasonPratt on October 28, 2020, 10:26:28 PM
****************************** opening pre-address, from JRP ******************************

Marshals of the Eastern Reich!

I don't have enough information yet to even begin formulating a plan, and besides I'll probably just harmonize a plan together from your suggestions.

But what I _can_ do is explain what happened previously when that Napkin-Lion invaded Prussia. {{Sabrenote: I’m referencing the previous Kriegspiel which had recently ended, as an example for consideration of what to do or not do in this game. We fought the Jena campaign, where by coincidence of the draw I happened to play Napoleon.}}

At the Grand Strategic level, our Prussian cousins were caught _totally out of place_ on defense, too far from the Thuringian passes, and with too few corps, to seal off the approaches into Prussia. That was no failure to the men in field command (unless some of them were responsible for guarding southern approaches into Prussia through those passes), but it meant that they had to trade Prussian soil for defensive field maneuver.

This problem was magnified by their relatively few corps, and proportionately their relatively few divisions. While substantially larger than the French divisions, the Prussians couldn't expect to maneuver as well on their maneuver-defense, nor seal off all access through the passes -- not without making any such 'seal' so weak that the French could effectively punch through anyway. Moreover, the Prussian corps-command kept all its cavalry divisions inherent to each corps (indeed they might have had cav brigades for each division instead of even any cav divisions), so while they had a little tactical flexibility, they did not have the operational flexibility of the French. On top of this the French quality across the board was superior, both in speed and in fighting power (man to man). It didn't help that Nappy brought along a WHOLE CITY OF ARTILLERY either, even if it seemed like he had no idea it was there during most of his campaign! (Ahem.)

{{Sabrenote: I’m poking fun at myself here for having totally forgotten, during that game, that Napoleon’s grand artillery battery was in the game, following my position around on the map.}}

The Prussians might have been expecting little Nappy to hide himself in the middle of his usual Grand Army, too, uber-stacking his corps into one unstoppable blob of a mobile fortress, with unbreakable interior lines of quick (sometimes instantaneous) communication and centrally protected supplies, devastating on short campaigns like a hike to Berlin, and concentrated to where Napoleon could lend his freakish combat buffs, almost at will, to any part of the battle he desired.

Instead, that dashing and unspeakable genius simply ignored the whole concept of a Grande Armêe, and by the looks of it he almost completely decentralized his command structure so that his marshals could operate with practical independence long distances apart (although Nappy stayed somewhat in the middle of his broad thrust so that he could at least serve as a sort of military newspaper collecting reports and passing information around.) Despite starting, on average, farther from the passes {{than the Prussians}}, Nappy's army broke into pieces and invaded through every single pass, ensuring his line of supply back southward would be protected. Presumably had he met various levels of Prussian resistance at the passes, his marshals had orders to hold up and let the rest of the army penetrate beyond the passes to envelop and strike at the defenders while protecting against a potential Prussian counter-blitz south out of the passes. Apparently Nappy had heard that at least one of his opponents was fond of unexpected counter-blitzes. Fortunately we have such a KorCom on our side, too, this time. {nodding in Hohenzollern's direction!}

{{Sabrenote: Hohenzollern is being played this game by “Barthheart”, who had been on the Prussian side against my French team in the prior game; and I’m alluding to Barth’s penchant for counter-blitzing me with Polish cavalry in our epic multiplayer match of Decisive Campaigns: Blitzkrieg some years ago.}}

The Prussians, unlike the French, suffered from a general lack of an overarching plan, and had a lot of trouble dealing with a schizophrenic mix of centralized command over initially (and at first progressively) decentralized forces. In effect this meant that Napoleon's East and West wings, acting on their own recognizance (but each with conceptually basic plans of advance under various conditions), discovered Prussian outlying divisions and corps, theoretically preparing counter-thrusts southward but not quite in position to defend the passes yet; and so were able to achieve local force and maneuver superiority against the Prussian wings, defeating them in detail. Notably the Prussians on the French East Wing managed to delay their own destruction with exhausting marches and a final good defensive stand, but the French had been under orders to advance without fatiguing themselves once past the passes, and the French East Wing had started closest to the passes anyway, so despite some frustration in being unable to bring the Prussians to battle for a while, once the fighting did start the French were generally in better rested conditions.

Napoleon's careful but decentralized plan for dealing with the natural defenses of the Thuringian passes, allowed the French Wings to secure their sides of advance, to weaken Prussian overall force for the final Prussian defense, and maximized the French maneuver capability to probe for weaknesses, particularly paths for severing the main supply artery. Murat's cavalry corps (yes the French had a whole cavalry CORPS, so large that the marshal could hand off a few cav divisions to help his fellows), following a variation of his original plan, looped around the eventual Prussian defensive stand-line, and was in position to slice the aorta of Prussian supplies when our cousins decided it was time to withdraw to Berlin and give up the area. Basically the Prussians quit the operational field before they were caught and annihilated.

{{Sabrenote: this is how we French players won the prior match. Not everyone from that team is on the Austrian team or vice versa; the players for this new match got randomly assigned.}}

Before then, Napoleon's basic plans of advance had brought his thin but broad front up to a somewhat ad hoc Prussian defensive line running from Naumburg throug Weissenfels to Leipniz, the southwest anchor of which had been exhausted by West Wing's depredations already. Rolling up his still fresh Center Thrust elements (effectively acting as reserve for the operation), and zipping himself around a local road loop overnight to help reduce road congestion, along with one of his corps (Bernadotte's if I recall correctly), Napoleon created a schwerpunkt opportunity at the Weissenfels defense, dooming the whole Prussian line to be enveloped and eroded from the southwest to the northeast. Meanwhile the French East Wing, though somewhat exhausted, took up a daring defensive position just south of Leipniz, fixing the attention of the main Prussian command there and preventing Prussian reinforcements from rescuing Weissenfels -- there wasn't much if any fighting up there, by then, but neither could the Prussians dare leave to go southeast to relieve their endangered forces.

With Nappy himself and his GODAWFUL CITY OF ARTILLERY faithfully trooping behind him despite his apparent total ignorance of them (coughcoughnewbiehack!), committing to the schwerpunkt at White Falls, and elements of his Central Thrust being able to maneuver around the city to prevent tactical withdrawal, the three sections of doughty defense at the city were shredded in detail one after the other (while the Naumbourg defensive outpost was surrounded and neutralized, unable to lend any help).

Thus ended the defense of Prussia a few years ago, and I trust we all know what happened afterward as a result. {vague gestures in the direction of whatever alternate history resulted}

Put shortly, my fellow men: we aren't going to let that happen to Austria.

And that's why we're here.

Let's get to work.

Erzherzog Carl Ludwig von Oesterreich
Title: Re: "Death Ride of Lannes" -- Austrian team pre-game 2018 discussions
Post by: JasonPratt on October 28, 2020, 10:32:36 PM
******************** Fri 13th 2018 from Lance (encal), assigned to play Kienmeyer. Remember my {single bracket} comments are original to the correspondence

My dear Archduke -
Your words are an inspiration to us all. However, I feel compelled to point out that my personal "take away" from the recently completed 1806 campaign that many of us participated in is somewhat different from yours.

I believe the chief cause of that Prussian defeat was less from their failure to defend forwards than it was their failure to concentrate their strength. By attempting to screen all the possible routes of advance through the mountains, the Prussians allowed the French wings to each concentrate multiple corps and defeat separate individual Prussian forces before other Prussian commanders were able to come up in support. The plight of Ruchel's corps in the far west is a perfect case in point, with two of Ruchel's divisions being utterly crushed before Brunswick even seems to have been aware there was a battle developing on that flank.

My point here is two-fold.

First, I believe your highness should strive to keep our army (or at least the bulk of it) concentrated within easy supporting distance of each other. If one element of the force becomes engaged it is vital that the other elements move quickly to support it so that we may achieve a decisive local superiority over the French in that sector.

Second, it is absolutely essential that all of us maintain a lively and robust correspondence with one another, so as to ensure we all have an accurate (and similar) picture of the overall operational situation. In the previous campaign with the Prussians, the complete lack of communication by some parties bordered on treasonous! All our commanders should be required to update your highness of our situations every twelve hours, at a minimum -- even if that update is merely to report that nothing has changed since the previous dispatch was sent. Communications between subordinate commanders are the very life's blood of a successful military undertaking!

Most respectfully,
- General Michael von Kienmayer
  Commander, 2nd Reserve Corps

******************************* Fri 13th 2018, my reply

Honorable Von Kienmayer!

I actually agree that their failure to concentrate strength at the operational level is why they lost the operation. What I was trying to express, in my opening analysis, was that by having not made preparations to seal the passes pre-emptively, before the operation, the Prussians had no hope (given their force composition) of fixing that problem. {OOC: i.e. the Prussian players were dealt a situation of defensive failure which they had to recover from as part of the game.} And yet one each of their precious corps was found, not trying to seal the passes of course but simply scouting, on the far left and right. Having been caught out of position to start with, they stayed or got more out of position.

Also from after action reports both French and Prussian, I have received the distinct impression that practically no Prussians were screening the central passes, so I infer they weren't trying to watch all entry positions: they were trying to prepare for a countermarch opportunity. The Prussian correspondence shows they had no clear idea at all about the corps advancing through the central passes. Ruchel on the French West Wing, especially, hadn't surged his advance division far forward with orders to pull back along a route after contact: rather, Ruchel had parked his whole corps not far back from the Western Passes, and got enveloped when naturally he took a defensive stand. He wasn't preparing to withdraw as part of his plan, and he wasn't preparing to defend exactly or he would have reached those passes first (being much closer than the French West Wing's initial departure points by far).

As I recall, our III Corps Marshal, the renowned Hohenzollern, wrote a paper last year analyzing Ruchel's correspondence and camp notes, so I fully expect he can clarify and correct any mistaken impressions of ours, on this academic point.

{OOC: Barthheart played Ruchel, and most likely remembers his intentions and plans, so I'll defer to him for further commentary there. {g}}

Anyway, I don't disagree with your assessment about the basic Prussian failure. I myself had wondered if the Prussians would not be better served to pull back much farther than they did and concentrate a defense on their supply routes. (Of course I am much disposed to calculated defense of supply points as the necessary factor which should never be deviated from, even though I must confess that my most astounding defensive victories have ignored my own rule, a circumstance I have been unable to reconcile. But I remain sure my theory of defense must be correct.)

{OOC: Archduke Carl was a bit infamous for this inconsistency, and got flamed for it in commentary by his contemporary Von Clausewitz. I have been expecting with some amusement that I'll end up harmonizing a similarly bold defensive strike aimed at crushing the enemy, so that everyone will have fun actively playing the operation, rather in keeping with Carl's historical abandonment of his own defensive principles in his most successful parts of this campaign.}

Moreover: I fully agree that concentrating our forces within easy supporting (and communication) distance of each other, COULD be one successful strategic preparation. After all, Napoleon himself usually uses that on both attack and defense, and I have been reforming Austria's own army along the line of Nappy's Grande Armee for a few years now (although sadly we are still not quite up to standard there despite strong improvements.) I only say COULD, because I am most impressed by Napoleon's willingness to decentralize his attacking force and allowing operational recognizance -- with (this must be emphasized) a clear procedural plan with flexibility for his marshals to adjust to discovered circumstances. This worked out very well for him, in that battle at least; I trust our own generals would not be less competent. The Prussians, by contrast, evidently lacked a cohesive plan built from all recommendations of what their marshals believed prudent and capable.

Still, I am much drawn to the concentrated defense advantages. So don't fear I am dismissing that.

{OOC: honestly, I am, too, personally. Heck my own original suggestion for the previous game was to use HALF THE FRENCH ARMY TO GUARD OUR SUPPLY LINES SOUTH OF THE PASSES! And we were supposed to be attacking! I mention this ludicrousity, in order to stress that I only take some small credit for harmonizing everyone else's plans into a workable whole, not coming up with a good plan myself. {g} So I assure you, I'll be listening to everyone closely.}

I also fully agree that corps commanders should dispatch situational updates, even if only brief ones, with regular frequency. The French Army was much better about this than the Prussians, evidently, even though the width of their advance rendered some of their dispatching quite 'occasional' occasionally. Napoleon himself jokes that he was, for the most part, simply a newspaper editor passing along compiled reports from his position near the middle, during this campaign.

{OOC: and I'm likely to do that again. Especially for KS {{Kriegspiel}} purposes, if I'm the on-map boss I just see my role as supporting the fighting generals once the plan has been worked out.}

I look forward to other opening remarks, although I realize that until our under-officers have finished preparing the maps and such we won't be in position to start theorizing specific strategies.

Carl of Austria (JRP)
Title: Re: "Death Ride of Lannes" -- Austrian team pre-game 2018 discussions
Post by: JasonPratt on October 28, 2020, 10:39:23 PM
************************ from James Sterret, assigned to play Rosenberg’s 4th Corps, Fri 13th

In a terrible scramble of IC and OOC:

I whole-heartedly endorse Kienmayer's second point here...  communications are absolutely essential.  The odd message may fall into enemy hands, but it's far worse if we do not communicate fr fear of that outcome.

I believe the Prussians suffered - partly because of players dropping out - a failure of higher command.

The Army commander needs to communicate a clear vision of how the force as a whole will operate, and what the major parts of it must do to accomplish their goals.  This allows the subordinate commanders to operate without detailed orders and yet still support the overall effort.  Note that this is nowhere as easy as it sounds!   

It is my impression that this communication did not happen on the Prussian side last time.

The second job of the Army commander is to be thinking several days ahead....  because any orders given will usually take at least a day to reach most of the force.  On the French side in the prior game, our plans mostly unfolded as we intended, and for at least one of the major decision points, many of us were co-located - both of which reduced the need to communicate new plans ahead.  If we are defending against an aggressive set of French players then thinking ahead is the only thing that will offset their superior speed and, possibly, concentration.

- Rosenberg ( IV Corps)

************ From Ecnal/Lancer Fri 13th

Excellent points, herr Rosenberg. I would add one bit as emphasis for the edification of any inexperienced commanders: there is no limit (or penalty) to sending out dispatches. The more the merrier!

In one of my other campaigns I ran across a novice commander who believed he was strictly limited to sending no more than a single communique per hour and so husbanded his messages to fellow commanders out of fear that he would "run out" at an inopportune moment. Hopefully none of us will mistakenly operate under such an artificial self-imposed restriction.

- Kienmayer

********* Lance added on Sat Jul 14th

(OOC) Don't get me wrong, James -- I actually think a limit on messages is very realistic and should be a feature in the game, with the actual limit imposed by the "size" of the player's headquarters staff. Army commanders like Charles and Napoleon should probably be allowed 3-4 messages per hour, and an actual Wing Commander (with a real staff) perhaps 2-3, but a corps commander should probably be limited to just 1-2 dispatches (including to the NPC division commanders within the player's own corps).

This could then become a fairly significant issue when a side forms an impromptu Wing Command (which Napoleon often did) by designating a corps commander to take over a major operational sector but not giving him the staff assets to effectively carry out those duties. This would be similar to what happened with Macdonald at the Katzbach, where he was left in charge of four corps (including his own) but not given any additional staff to effectively control that force, such that when Blucher's Army of Silesia advanced Macdonald had a hell of a time trying to coordinate the movements of his army.

- Lance

************ Sat 14th, from JRP

Adding a few more cents, partly to get MarshalNeal and B_C's new addresses into the reply-all mix...

{{B_C is BanzaiCat, assigned to play Kollowrath and the 2nd Corps}}

OutOfCharacter: I tried very hard to keep the number of couriers I myself dispatched, limited to four or five a day on average (ideally less), partly because I tend to be wordy anyway, and partly because it adds to the umpire's workload tracking the couriers, even when there aren't more-or-less real-time factors as in a live game.

Also, I had tried to design a plan that allowed as many players as possible to operate on as much of their own authority (playing the game creatively) as possible, and sending out micromanage couriers seemed antithetical to that goal.

Plus, relatedly, since I was ten or more hours away from extended wing actions, it would have been silly of me to try to manage much of anything. Which (under the circumstances of protecting our LoCs against an ambitious Prussian counter-thrust) fed back into why I thought it was best to decentralize command as much as possible.

I absolutely understand the importance of minimizing communication lag with close-support operational proximity, no question. But I'm keeping my options open, too, until we get a better idea of our win-goals, terrain, resources, startpos, etc. {{Startpos = Start positions}} The historical Archduke scored one of his biggest victories in this particular campaign by some daring maneuvers. We might end up doing the same. But, like the historical Archduke, I have a strong preference for turtling on defense and then striking back on the enemy is worn down.

On the other hand, we should kill Napoleon and, perhaps even more importantly, his nuclear artillery city. That thing is deadly overpowered (as of course it was designed to be). And I love making arty parks in my games, so we might consider haxoring up something similar ourselves, but in the back of my mind I'm playing with a plan of NappyJaegering.

That's purely spitballing. But if it turns out to be feasible....

Title: Re: "Death Ride of Lannes" -- Austrian team pre-game 2018 discussions
Post by: JasonPratt on October 28, 2020, 10:44:01 PM
********** At this point there was some discussion about arty rules, and Jim clarified that although we were using simplified rules, the French did have Nappy’s arty-park division trailing him around -- but Nappy will not have that this time. Jim will be clarifying this again later, including in this next email.

************** Sat Jul 14, Cyrano/Jim sends the in-brief. The campaign map can be seen in his video AAR series now.

And so it begins...

Attached to this e-mail, please find:

1.  The Austrian roster in .xls format -- This lists your corps, the number of men, and their beginning morale.
2.  The campaign map
3.  The Austrian situation briefing
4.  The one-page player aid from "The Flight of the Eagle", vol. I

For those who have not traveled this way before, each corps commander is responsible for his corps.  Initially, after we've spent about a week with you all talking freely amongst yourselves, I will request your dispositions at campaign start.  I may go so far as to go back-and-forth with you a bit via photographs on the map to make sure I get these right.  If you've seen the earlier game, you know I track the divisions within the corps as Daleks so they're not all that precise, not should they be in my mind.

Then I will ask you for your first day's march orders.  The key facts are:  march order and either how far or how long you want to march.  It will be apparent, again if you've not played before, that it can take many hours after the first division steps off before before those behind are permitted to even begin.  The bigger the division, the bigger the problem this is.  And this will determine the availability of troops when it comes time to fight! Factor this into your orders.  The more your men march, the more fatigued they will become and the fewer of them will be under arms should a battle occur.  In this game, unlike the previous, daylight is from 0430 to 2230, considerably longer.  Marching after dark is a tiring prospect best avoided -- unless circumstances dictate.  Do NOT march off road unless you've got a fascinating plan worthy of Charles' best day.  Movement penalties in this game are brutal.

There's a lot of ways to format your orders -- some of you are really creative sorts -- but what I REALLY need is time sent, to whom the order is sent, and the order itself.  Everything else I can pretty well figure out.

As in the previous game we will NOT -- repeat NOT -- be allowing patrols.  Doug and I went back and forth on this and I've thought about it a lot, but, bottom line, the flame isn't worth the candle.  In exchange, the "knowledge radius" for infantry divisions is increased to 5 km and that for cavalry divisions is 10.

You may split your units into nothing smaller than brigade strength.  This is an incredibly risky proposition anywhere near the enemy.

To answer Lancer's earlier questions, we will be using none of the italicized "extra" rules -- guns, supplies, &c.  We used none of them in the earlier game. I  suspect His Charles-ness was referring to the reserve artillery division he had at his disposal at Jena-Auerstedt which did play a significant role at a critical battle or two, but is not present in this campaign.

One particular piece of errata bears mention (all coming from "Flight" vol. II):  Charles has a pontoon train with his GHQ that can be deployed with any Corps HQ at the opening of the campaign.  Location must be shared with the umpire.

The other significant bit of errata is that both Ratisbonne and Passau are level 1 forts.

Finally, it must be said that, after the initial consult, there should be no conversation amongst yourselves and does not pass through Control (me).  I'll tell you when you're close enough to communicate directly.  Honor demands that this radio silence be kept absolute.  It's really the heart of the experience.

Throughout it all, please feel free to ask whatever questions you might have.  The goal is to have fun, wave a sword about, and play the best Napoleonic game there is...

I Embrace You All,

Title: Re: "Death Ride of Lannes" -- Austrian team pre-game 2018 discussions
Post by: JasonPratt on October 28, 2020, 10:52:34 PM
************* Former Soult and Ney from the previous game quip that they won’t be chasing the Prussians to Leipzig this time! -- the Austrians are slow as hell. The baggage penalty is even worse, Cyrano notes. A point of strength in the rules = 1000 men.

************ Sunday Jul 15th from Ecnal/Lance

After a quick read-through of the introductory material, I'd like to make a somewhat unconventional proposal to our glorious leader, the Archduke (Jason), and my fellow Reserve Corps commander (Jack).

I'd like you to consider starting the two of us (Kienmayer & Lischenstein) relatively near one another and having us each swap out one of our divisions with the other (either before, at right at, game start). The result of this maneuver will be that once the swap is complete one of our Reserve Corps will have both of the Grenadier divisions (Fresnel & Rohan), effectively becoming the "Infantry Reserve Corps," while the other will have both the Heavy Cavalry divisions and thus become the "Cavalry Reserve Corps." This in turn will give our army at least one corps that is comprised entirely of cavalry and is thus capable of taking advantage of the faster cavalry movement rate.

I personally don't care which force I end up with (all infantry or all cavalry), so I defer to Jack on that point if he has a preference (assuming that Jason approves of this wacky idea in the first place).

- Lance/Kienmayer

*********** Jim eventually agrees to allow this as a pre-adjustment before the fight. I, Jason, mistakenly think the reserves are four divisions per corps, not two, so this explains some of my subsequent plan/comments/spitballing.

************* Jul 15th 2018, Barth / Hohenzollern, two short emails


In the briefing, in section 2 initial setup it states "You can choose to have some corps coming from Bohemia, one a day, starting on April 20th"

Does this mean we could have a corps appear north of the Danube on April 20th, say on the road going south into Ratisbon or on the road south into Ingolstadt?


Feldmarschall-Leutnant Prince of Hohenzollern


On map, single line roads are normal roads or tracks? Double line roads are very large roads or normal roads?

Feldmarschall-Leutnant Prince of Hohenzollern

*********** Jul 15th John Gill, who is playing Lischenstein, eventually commanding the elite Reserve Cav Corps. Lance/Ecnal's Kienmeyer will be eventually commanding the elite Reserve Grenadier Corps. They each started with one cav and one gren division, but are working out a different arrangement.

Doubtless, control wants to give the Austrian Generalissimus the opportunity to send two corps north of the Danube as Charles did in the actual campaign: 1. and 2. Corps for approx. 49,000 men under Bellegarde, the 1. Corps commander.

*********** Note that Bellegarde and his 1st Corps are being played by Pinetree. 2nd Corps is Kollowrath, being played by Banzai_Cat

Cyrano replies: Correct.  To Hohenzollern, however, I note Bohemia, not the suburbs of Koln.

*********** Jul 15th Jack Gill

Herr Feldzeugmeister Lancerman has a very interesting idea--indeed this reflects the de facto Austrian organization by the time of Wagram:

- a grenadier reserve that could be employed as a body or from which brigades or divisions could be detached to reinforce a key sector. At Znaim, for instance, two grenadier brigades were detached to support the right flank; while at Wagram, the grenadiers were employed more/less as a body.

- a cavalry reserve that was seldom/never employed en masse a la Napoleon, but which could detach brigades to support the cavalry–poor line corps or to conduct attacks/cntrattks as needed (usually on a brigade basis at most).

So, i am in agreement with FZM Lancerman if his K. und K. Highness wishes to implement this suggestion.

Hochachtungsvoll, jack the austrian
Title: Re: "Death Ride of Lannes" -- Austrian team pre-game 2018 discussions
Post by: JasonPratt on October 28, 2020, 10:56:55 PM
*********** Jul 15th, 2018, James Sterrett (playing Rosenberg and 4th Corps) kicks off some more specific and detailed strategizing about options, worth a full post in itself I think!

A bit of mission analysis:

Restated Mission:  Retake Bavaria, defined as retaking Ratisbon and Munich.  Ratisbon is the center of the enemy defense.

Terrain: Favors the defense due to dense woods and numerous rivers.  The Isar can be bridged normally south of Munich, and the Inn south of Branau; north of Munich/Branau they require the pontoon train.
     The terrain between the Isar and the Danube is more mountainous in the SW (Pfaffenhofen) than in the NE (Straubing).

Deployment:  All but 1 corps south of the Isar and south of the Danube.
  --> This implies the Munich is immediately within our grasp as it is on the Isar.
       1 corps can be sent north of the Danube, limit of deployment not clear to me.

Logistics:  Based on Passau and following routes "indicated by our deployment" thereafter.
    --> I'm presuming that, as in the prior game, the logistics flow is abstracted but we need to keep a route to Passau open.

Enemy:  We are finally an army worthy of the name, but we are still sluggish.  This makes us highly vulnerable to the French outmarching us to bring about battles on terms favorable to themselves.  We want to be concentrated, but then our march columns are separated in depth instead of breadth.  We should expect the French to try to take advantage of this.

Implied tasks: 
    Rout or destroy French forces in Bavaria.  These are assumed out of position and lack the guiding hand of Bonaparte.

It would be great to know more about French forces defending Bavaria - their general disposition and strength.  I'm sure the Archduke Charles wanted to know that too.  :)

Enemy COAs:
  Most likely:  Cover the Isar crossings lightly, delay to the Danube, seeking opportunities to bloody us and vector their reinforcements into a fight they hope to win.

  Most dangerous:  Pretend to cover the Isar crossings while maneuvering the bulk of their forces to an area of our weakness, then punching towards Passau, leaving the defense of the Danube and Ratisbon to reinforcements.

Several courses of action present themselves:

Left Hook:   Cover center and right, punch hard through Munich/Freising, converge on Ratisbon.  1 corps moves towards Ratisbon on north side of Danube.
      Advantages: Crosses the Isar early and secures one of our two objectives in force.  Assuming we reach the Danube, gives us several options on where to cross from Ingolstadt to Kelheim.  Concentric advance may confuse the enemy as to the location of our main body if they fight a series of delays to the Danube.
      Problems: Several corps must be detached to form the screen and will be vulnerable to defeat in detail. 

Right Hook:  Cover left, punch up the Danube plain (Landshut and north).
        Advantages:  Short route to Ratisbon, better terrain for the offensive.  Some convergence on Ratisbon.  Direct protection of our LOC.  Short communications routes for better coordination.

        Problems:  Need to detail at least a corps to take Munich.  Will it be enough?   Also, the plan will likely be obvious to the French.  Multiple aces of advance may leave us open to defeat in detail.

Knock on All Doors:  Lots of crossings of the Isar, figure out the main effort later; all forces converge on the Danube and seek crossings.
       Advantages:  This broad front approach may initially confuse the French as to our intentions; if they are truly out of position and not expecting this, it may give us the opportunity to keep them off balance.  Local commander's initiative is maximized to make headway.
       Disadvantages: C2 will be difficult, re-concentration of the Army will occur only by accident, and it presents many opportunities for the French to defeat us in detail.

.....  that's all for now.
Title: Re: "Death Ride of Lannes" -- Austrian team pre-game 2018 discussions
Post by: JasonPratt on October 28, 2020, 11:00:53 PM
*********** Banzai asks where our starting boundaries are. Quick answer, anywhere south of Isar and Danube rivers.

********* James Sterrett Jul 15th

We might speculate that the main fight might be to retain the region south of the Danube once we have taken it.....  Even if we crush the local French forces the Ogre will eventually come.

********* There’s a controversy over whether there are Very Large roads on the map. Cyrano confirms that double-lined roads would be very large, single-lined regular, but there are loads of double-lined roads on the map, quite distinct from single-lined. This unexpected result is not resolved yet.

*************** Barthheart / Hohen Jul 15th

From my short readings, James' Right hook is close to what Charles tried IRL. And managed to catch Davout mostly cutoff from the rest of the French.

I assume the French have as much freedom of setup as we do so we probably can't count on catching Davout flat footed again.

But as James stated it's the area most open for offensive operations.

Could the French concentrate at Munich and just plow straight for Passau along the main route? What is a good estimation of their LoC? Ratisbon-Ingolstadt-Munich line?

There seems to be a dearth of names on the map, especially between the Isar and Danube, so we should establish what we want to call the blank towns/villages asap.
Title: Re: "Death Ride of Lannes" -- Austrian team pre-game 2018 discussions
Post by: JasonPratt on October 28, 2020, 11:01:53 PM
*************** Marshal Neal (forum name) adds some extensive thoughts on July 15th; he’ll be playing Louis and the 5th Corps

This will be fun to learn!

I have not played this game before, but based on my own Kriegsspiel experience, this is my opinion:

I'm uncertain about our initial setup. I have no idea where we will be posted. but I understand there are three or four basic objectives.

1. Take Rastibonne
2. Take Munich
3. Exit the West edge of the map
4. Don't die.

I have no idea what the enemy objectives are, but I might speculate they are to:

1. Hold Rasribonne
2. Hold Munich
3. Fix and destroy as much of our forces as possible

If my speculation is correct, I would expect the French to play defensively, posting strong forces at river crossings and key approaches to prevent being flanked. They will attempt to locate our forces by scouting, harass us with sporadic appearances to keep us guessing and countermarching, while concentrating the bulk of their forces in a mutually supporting disposition. Once accomplished, they will march directly against us. The opportunity is that they are not disposed in this ideal fashion at this time.

We have the initiative.

This is speculation. As such, it should be regarded with some skepticism, and we will have to perform reconnaissance to confirm or invalidate my musings. However, if I am correct, we should not shy from battle, even if the enemy appears strong. In my experience, the value of one or two initial victories is substantial, and even against a superior foe, we can damage their morale to the point they begin fearing our maneuvers and become hesitant.

Overall, it seems to me that Munich may be a good first objective. If the enemy is dispersed, then that means we have the option of taking any ONE objective from him without him being able to stop us. Munich appears to be a major road nexus, and we can approach from multiple directions.

If I were to suggest a strategy, I would propose moving two forces north in a feint to Rastibone, and ensuring those forces are seen by the enemy. At all times, the commanders must be prepared to support one another and to fall back quickly to a defensible position as soon as the enemy appears to attack. If the enemy does not appear, continue to press the advance. Meanwhile, those divisions assigned to Munich ought to remain out of sight, or give the appearance of being a feint towards Munich. Approach from as many quarters as possible, Dachau, Freising, and on the roads from the east.

Once Munich is ours, it will deprive the enemy of a major hub of communications, and provide a base from which to operate North. The hills and river crossings in that corner of the map also appear quite defensible. This is important, because if the enemy goal is to destroy our army, then they will be compelled to fight on ground of our choosing. We can fall back as needed until we reach the crossings and gaps, and let Napoleon's armies dash themselves against the Austrian phalanxes.

This is my thought, and it could be terribly misinformed, but it is my read of the situation given how little I know. I hope it provides good food for thought. If not, the paper can be used in the sinks.

-Neal/Louis V Corps
Title: Re: "Death Ride of Lannes" -- Austrian team pre-game 2018 discussions
Post by: JasonPratt on October 28, 2020, 11:03:30 PM
************** John Gill Jul 15th, 2018 -- note that Jack had actual ancestors involved in this operation historically!

Herr Feldzuegmeister Graf Kolowrat!
Yes, 1. and 2. Corps marched north of the Danube. 1. Corps (Bellegarde) played almost no role in the April campaign. 2. Corps closed the northern access to Regensburg helping ensure the city's fall and then came south of the Danube in time for limited action on 21–22–23 April.
Meanwhile, 1. Corps remained north of the Danube facing all of some 1,200 to 2,000 French troops.
Hochachtungsvoll, Jack, Freiherr von Dingbatsdorf

Much will depend on the degree of freedom Control allows the French.

- the Austrians had the initiative, so it makes sense that we could deploy as we wish (Charles started with most of the army in Bohemia and shifted most of it south of the Danube only at the last minute).
- the French and their German allies were scattered in generally the following location on/about 10 April:
> Davout more/less isolated at Regensburg owing to Berthier's incapacity as interim commander
> the Bavarian corps stretched along the Isar from München/Freising to Landshut to Straubing
> Massena 's 4e and what would become Lannes 2e Corps along the Lech from Rain–Augsburg–Landsberg
> The small Württemberg corps approaching Rain on the Danube
> Saxon 9e Corps and la Garde have not yet arrived (and should not during the course of the game--except as a possible cygne noir events)
- But, of course, we likely will not know how much latitude the umpire will allow N

Your ob'dt servant, Graf von Jack
Title: Re: "Death Ride of Lannes" -- Austrian team pre-game 2018 discussions
Post by: JasonPratt on October 28, 2020, 11:08:16 PM
************** Sun Jul 15th, my collated notes in consideration of correspondence so far. I had not yet realized Cyrano had told us there would be no Artillery City following Napoleon around this time, and so we the Austrians don't have to worry about this tactical nuke threat; but this turned out to be a moot point anyway.

So, pretty much OutOfCharacter (since I've got to talk game technicals):

These ARE DEFINITELY NOT STRATEGIC PLANS! These are just ideas pinging around in my head as I come to them.

0.) I've forgotten but are there character sheets for the player-character marshals? -- with stats? If so, this would seem to be requisite knowledge (but I don't recall getting it last time).

1.) I fully agree with the plan to create a cavalry corps and a grenadier corps from the two reserves. The Cav Corps won't be very numerous, but it'll have some elite heavy punch and might end up winning the game for us for positioning (as was about to happen last time had the game gone one more day). But we should be wary that the French can be expected to have one, too. Or more perhaps. Not counting their hideous ARTILLERY DIVISION which will follow Nap around. (Too bad "Rohan" doesn't command a cav division! -- that would be meta.) Anyway, if the player-character marshals have relevant stats, this should determine which reserve corps gets the grins and who gets the cav. NOTE! -- this plan effectively presumes that we intend to maneuver and punch with the reserve rather than keep them a day or so back to use as "reserves". But that would be boring for their players, so duh. SURGE EVVVVERRRYYYONNNEEE!! (Worked for us last time. {g})

2.) I'm relieved to see that 'my' reforms have gotten far enough along that each corps (aside from the reserves) can field a small cavalry division. They seem too small to count for any punch, and should be used carefully and sparingly for scouting ahead of the advance. Unless we decide to do something zany with them.

3.) Somewhat relatedly, the "third division" in each corps, we're told in the setup, features a mixmash of light and cav troops. Can't tell if Fresnel's division under I Corps fits that category, as it's fully equal in number and morale to the other two infantry divs. The briefing does say "usually" so this may be the exception. Cyrano should be able to confirm this, since divisional composition is something a corps commander would know about!

4.) More importantly, according to the briefing Napoleon (and his arty park?) may not be in theater yet, but rather on the way from Spain. The briefing also indicates that the umpire won't allow the French as much leeway for prior setup as us: they hold Ratisbon but are scattered otherwise, and the army is mostly recruits.

5.) How much reorganization would Cyrano allow us, in shuffling divisions around? Because I'm thinking about taking out the 25 morale divisions and consolidating them into a new corps for my command. (Since I don't have a corps.) This would make 2nd through 5th corps lighter, but would also allow them to operate more strenuously without weak links to cause problems. Relatedly, we could cobble together a second and larger cavalry corps (albeit 35 instead of 40 morale) under one of our marshals if he has decent relevant stats. (i.e. "something zany with them")

(Hey, I'm playing as a reform army-chief. I'm thinking outside the box.)

6.) Someone asked Cyrano a question about the roads and I want a clearer answer. There _are_ two types of roads on the map, and most of them are double-lined. A key single-line road example runs parallel to the Danube on its north bank from Passau through Deggendorf all the way to Ratisbonne; while for example a double-line road runs also parallel on the south bank through Straubing to Ratisbonne (although getting away from Deggendorf to cross the Isar. The difference between those two roads should be that the double-lane road allows 1/2 length to the marching column but otherwise equal speed on each.

7.) Are we allowed to know the enemy line of communication? Or do they have more than one?

8.) Briefing objectives suggest that we're going to score more points for taking and holding Ratisbonne and Munich, and exiting off map-west, than slaughtering the enemy (although that, too, no doubt). Of those goals, only taking Munich would support exiting map-west. Relatedly, we march ass-slow. Even our cavalry. The French, even if they are fresh recruits, will march much faster. But the French should start primarily holding Ratisbonne.

9.) Game-math suggests that our best points will come from taking Munich pronto (since according to the disposition we can start literally on top of it), hold that, defend our LoC to Passau, and then exit troops off the map edge which is less than a day's march from Munich (even by our sorry standards). I don't know if there's a minimum game length but I do know the game triggers a win if the relative score widens too far (which is what happened last time). In theory we could trap or overrun forces in Munich, and blob-score most or all of our troops off the map, within two or three days, before even the swifty French have time to reach our supply line. That would be a cheap and dirty way to win, if the relative score could trigger that way, but presumably Munich would become our new supply depot.

That seems so obvious and easy that I have to suppose the game design has been balanced to avoid that result, right??

10.) A French cav corps can get to Deg from Rat in two days, and from Deg to Passau in another two days, using the north-bank Danube road. That's assuming they march only 8 hours a day to conserve fatigue. Infantry won't be much slower. We have to conservatively expect we've only got five days, maybe less, maybe a LOT less (depending on start-pos leeway and their willingness to gamble being destroyed in detail), before the French are surrounding Passau.

11.) We should probably expect the French to attack us for at least one reason: this is a game and sitting around on defense waiting for trouble is boring, especially on a long-form game like this.

12.) The best places for us to defend are obviously the Isar and Danube river crossings. But we must assume they'll be given at least one pontoon kit, like we've got.

13.) There's too much river for us to defend all the bridges reasonably. The best concentration would be between Laundau and Deggendorf (down to maybe Dingolfing, the next bridge west from Landau). This is also the shortest march to Regensburg (aka Ratisbonne). But if the French take a longer loop around us then we've accomplished nothing.

14.) Everything might depend on identifying the main French LoC, and figuring out how to attack that.

Title: Re: "Death Ride of Lannes" -- Austrian team pre-game 2018 discussions
Post by: JasonPratt on October 28, 2020, 11:12:50 PM
************** Jul 15th, from Barth

Archduke Charles,

0) there are no character sheets, weren't last time either.
1) what plan to form what? I've not seen any mention of this until just now. And no Nappy Arty park according t Control.
4) No Nappy Arty park, see above. Not sure Nappy even brings any troops with him. IRL he hurried from Spain to Bavaria to get control of the mess so probably traveled really light... like with just his staff.
5) wouldn't our Cav divs be better used locally as scouts?
6) control stated he was looking into what roads were what.
14) Agree with this.


************** Jul 15th from Banzai

Would it be safe to assume a direct LoC between Munich and Ratisbonne, say Munich > Dachau and/or Freising > Pfaffenhofen/Abensberg > Ratisbonne?

If that were the case/if they were on the west side of the map, I would assume strong scouting elements as far east as Moosburg if not Landshut, perhaps?

Herbert Sifuentes Ramirez Ignacio Commeleaux Kollowrath III (Sr.)
II Corps

************** Jul 15th, from James Sterret

The Isar seems to be the current frontier, so I'd presume that even if they do not have major forces their, we will be seen as soon as we cross it. 

I suggest leaving the cavalry with their corps unless we have a very clear concept on how we will utilize the corps.  The relative weakness in cavalry was a tactical disadvantage to the French in the last game, for all that the corps itself was doing good work.

Do we know what might make the Germans desert back to Mother Austria?

************** From Jim/Cyrano
There was earlier a question about the "character sheets" for the individual commanders.  Well, there is one...kind of...

At the bottom are your commanders in all their glory.

The strategic modifier is how many divisions he can command without penalty IF he is the overall commander of a battle.  In every case, there's a certain number he can manage before costing his side a precious die.

The tactical modifier is to be used if he is leading in one of the three sectors of a battlefield.  A few very special leaders have this.

This typically factors into battle resolution so I've kept it "under the hood", but there's no reason for you all not to know.


************** The essential points from subsequent emails, are that everyone but Charles takes a 1 die penalty if they’re commanding more than 4 divisions in a fight (Charles can command up to 12 with no penalty). Charles gets two extra dice tactically, Hohen (Barth) gets 1 extra die. There is no information about who is better at infantry or cavalry or anything like that. There is some discussion about whether this means Hohen!Barth would be a good Wing Commander, but it doesn’t really work like that.

*************** Neal, Jul 15th

If we will be seen crossing the Isar, perhaps we should all be seen crossing to the North?

Have two divisions press north and push away their scouts to they can only "see" our vanguards moving North.

Once the rest of our force is thus screened from observation, have them turn back for an advance on Munich.

Just an idea. I am not 100% sure how hard it is to scout, or exactly how it works. We want them to assume anything but what we are doing.


-Neal/Louis V Corps
Title: Re: "Death Ride of Lannes" -- Austrian team pre-game 2018 discussions
Post by: JasonPratt on October 28, 2020, 11:14:08 PM
************** John Gill Monday Jul 16 -- his historical details are worth their own entry I think

Though i come from an aristocratic family of great lineage and our own principality, i am the green recruit in this game setting, so offer the following for whatever it might be worth with the understanding that the Spielmeisters in Kontrolle might alter things (though i doubt they can fiddle with the French side too much without serious historical warp that would destabilize the cosmos).

* N is in Paris, cannot arrive for several days (historically 17 April in Donauwörth). N brings no troops with him, just a few staff officers (and not many of those).
* N knew an invasion was coming, but did not expect Austria to attack this early in April; therefore French and their allies are scattered as outlined previously.

French Army (it is the "Army of Germany" not the "Grande Armée" in 1809)
* French Guard (inf, cav, arty) is still en route from la belle France. Historically, elements do not arrive until near the end of April (25 or 26 or so).
* No French reserve artillery (again, unless Gamemasters shift things, but that would be a real distortion).
* The three French heavy cavalry divisions are split geographically, not formed in a corps (this is probably easiest to change for a game, but will require a day or two for them to come close enough to each other to function as a corps).
* Germans: the game–play may be different, but the German soldiers harbored no love for Austria (second time Austria has invaded Bavaria in four years did not endear Aust to Bavarian neighbors) and efforts to induce desertion fell flat. Performance of all German contingents in the April campaign was excellent: Bavaria, Baden, Hesse–Darmstadt, Württemberg. Unless the game is badly ahistorical, we can expect no help here.

> Most of the above is information the Austrians could be reasonably expected to know. But the Austrians were uncertain of French locations (especially Massena/Oudinot along the Lech).

And on Austria: the enlightened notions of our Generalissimus, His Imperial and Royal Highness, created a "light division" for each regular corps composed of cavalry and (supposed) "light troops" for scouting, screening and recce. Sadly, for the House of Habsburg, the troops who were supposed to perform as light infantry, seldom performed beyond the mediocre.

Hope that is of some interest.
Your humble servant,
Jack von Liechtenstein
(Austrian general even though my principality is part of Napoleon's Confederation of the Rhine)
Title: Re: "Death Ride of Lannes" -- Austrian team pre-game 2018 discussions
Post by: JasonPratt on October 28, 2020, 11:18:40 PM
************** There is some discussion about how the scouting cloud works, at least on simpler rules.

************** Me, Jul 16

Barth (since we're OOC talking game mechanics),

0.) Well there kind of were sheets, as I recalled. But I couldn't recall what information was 'visible' to us on them. Specifically I didn't recall if there was relative skill at infantry or cav command, and from Jim's reply there's a reason for that lacuna in my memory. {g}

Relatedly then, 5.) It kind of depends on how proactive we're planning to be. If we're only moving a couple of corps and not very far (due to sucky march speeds) then we don't need local scouting so much as we might need one or two wide detection nets or LoC blitzers. Good reminder, though, on the relative weakness of the French cav corps last game. And our Austrians might be effectively worse! -- Panzer I mob instead of Panzer II!

Also relatedly then, 1.1) Someone back early in the long list of messages, back before the game info was posted (just our emails), I forget who to credit sorry, pointed out that once the game starts it would be totally legitimate for the two reserve corps to hand off divisions to each other to create a solid grenadier and cav corps reserve. (We handed off divisions to each other on the French side with some regularity, too, the same way, though not with that goal.) So the question was whether Jim would allow us to do that before gamestart. From which I then extrapolated a couple of other re-org ideas.

{{Sabrenote: that was Lance and Jack, who started out commanding identical short but elite Reserve Corps of one Grenadier and one Cav division each. They had immediately hit on the idea of re-organizing their forces to be better suited to an offensive team role rather than reserve.}}

1.2 & 4.) Oh, that's right, Jim did confirm that! "I suspect His Charles-ness was referring to the reserve artillery division he had at his disposal at Jena-Auerstedt which did play a significant role at a critical battle or two, BUT IS NOT PRESENT IN THIS CAMPAIGN."


6.) I think Jim stated that while the rule as questioned was correct he didn't think there were any VL = double-lined roads on this map, regarding them as "very rare"? But I see double-lined roads all over the map, along with some single-lined roads for comparison. Aside from my prior example (parallel roads north and south of the Danbue between Ratburg and Passe {g}), there's also a single-lined road running straight map-north across the Danube out of Passau and into the hills/mountains, by comparison with a bunch of clearly double-lined roads connecting in Passau from other directions. (I've been eyeing that road into the mountains as a potential weak spot to exploit... but I can't quite trace a clear road line back west to Ratisbonne, so there would have to be some overland travel to get 'back to the road' going west once in the mountains. Cyrano may end up declaring that space off bounds anyway for convenience, since it's near/under the ruler.)

JRP (Charles)

************** Monday from me again

Now, having pondered things more (and caught up on other missives this morning):

(um, these numbers aren't meant to connect topically with my prior meanderings, they're just handy topic markers.)

1.) Ecnal's explanation of the 'scout cloud' rules we played under last time, and evidently will again, was very well put. CorComs will want to use their scouting clouds appropriately, typically with cav in the vanguard, although sometimes we would put our cav divisions echelon'd off left or right of our advance if we weren't moving a long way (since cav tires out a lot more easily and echeloning them to an angle of our advance tended to put them off-road).

This however also explains how a CavCorps commander might use his divisions as a detection net to give us an advance-alert across a wide area of the map that we aren't concentrating in. And if we cobbled two CavCorps together, one could be used for that purpose while the other blitzes for the LoC -- but then of course we're sacrificing scout probing on our advances. Or on our defenses if, say, a corps is holding behind a bridgeline: the cav division should be given orders to probe forward beyond the bridge and then fall back upon enemy approaches.

As Jim noted, though, keep in mind that in any case divisional non-player-characters still generate (via Jim/Cyrano himself) reports by courier which take game-time to arrive to the players. But Jim has proven good at keeping some basic NPC command protocols in mind if we send out divisions beyond immediate character range to do this-or-that.

2.) I'm not in position yet to check the player-character stats myself, but I note Ecnal/Kienmayer/Lancer's evaluation of Hohen/Barth as our best potential wing commander. In the previous game I assigned Wing Command based on other factors, not knowing to take this into account; those factors being prior player experience in games like this, and expected positioning of corps relative to each other and to me (in the center passing along notes. {g}) So for example West Wing's corps started out with Murat in command, because as the Cav Corps he was in position to scout the area better and faster, and so to make decisions for the initial assault through the passes; but then once the major town after the passes was captured (from Ruchel, ironically Barthheart! -- our prospective WC this time), West Wing command shifted on schedule over to the infantry player who had a little more experience in this game, so that Murat could proceed (if things seemed clear) out on a protracted clockwise loop behind the enemy seeking the LoC, and the two remaining mostly-infantry-corps  (or three, I forget) could decide whether they needed to hang tough against Prussian counter-attack or (as things happened) prosecute forward toward Weimar.

I harmonized those plans (didn't quite 'make' them, credit goes to the marshals) without knowing about the extended-command factor, and West Wing might have suffered some debuffs consequentially. Or maybe not, I don't know. But I sure want to keep this factor in mind, now that I know about it!

3.) In regard to the excellent discussion of left-hook and right-hook, which I wanted to ponder some more before commenting: the left-hook plan would certainly mesh better with exploiting the game-scoring factors -- take Munich then exit map-west!

On this synthesis, the right-guard near Deggensdorf (where Isar runs into the Danube, iirc, don't have the map handy here), might then synch with the proposed plan of feinting up the shorter LoC path to Ratisbonne while we actually do something else toward Munich! Center Front in that case would perhaps be best spent with the proposed Cav Reserve Corps spread out to detect encroachment, perhaps probing across the center bridges first and then withdrawing back over them rather than being caught.

(At this point, some familiarity with a similar computer game system, CAMPAIGNS ON THE DANUBE, which also features a similar set of 1809 campaigns, leads me to ask Cyrano about any effects of large rivers on the scouting cloud. Can the Cav Corps commander shadow movement along the north side of the Isar from the south, by shuffling his divisions to follow the French? In the computer game, the Danube causes major problems with scouting as might be expected.)

In fact, we might WANT to sucker the French into trying a central crossing against relatively undefended positions, and then killbox them with the backs to the river. (Historical Charles succeeded at least once in something like this during the extended campaign.) If we've already taken Munich, then we're guarding that approach; and on a left-hook plan we're anchoring at the Isar/Danube conflux so that'll be hard for them to get past (especially if we're also forting at Deggendorf on the other side of the river). Logically they'd be looking for a less-defended crossing in the middle. Can we prepare in such a way to give them what they want and then ambush them? Don't know yet.

4.) Worth keeping in mind that on either a left-hook or right-hook plan (although left-hook looks better for scoring points), we are essentially sacrificing any short interior lines. Not necessarily a bad thing, but we _did_ start off reminding ourselves that it's necessarily a _good_ thing!

5.) Spreading out in a left-hook plan of some sort, would maximize our initial initiative positioning while minimizing our problems with sucky marching speed: our relatively fastest troops (CavCorps reserve) would be watching the center; right-wing wouldn't be really going anywhere anyway; left-wing only would have plans for a short scoring march; and whoever's _really_ guarding center would be minimizing maneuver for trapping a French crossing in a kill box. This might get a little boring for whoever's on right-wing duty...? But hard to say.

6.) On a spread-out plan like this, I'd pretty obviously have to be plopped in the center, I guess? -- so as to relatively minimize the average courier time back and forth. But the wings would be given lots of decentralization leeway, too.

7.) I feel like we ought to be at least trying to propose a gang-up advance plan, to keep our LoCs tight and for better mutual support, which might also better exploit initial French weaknesses. In that case, right-hook would clearly be better, but our left-center positions would be advancing, too, and much more closely. We'd be gambling hard that the French wouldn't just send one non-player division of cavalry with bot-orders to try looping around and camping on our supply line back to Passau. And we can't march fast at all, so the speedier French would have lots of time to mess with us -- and with our supply line -- from all sides. But they might panic, too.

If we did try a right hook (offtackle right?!), we'd have to make plans to advance and secure the north-bank road, too, especially so that we have any hope of getting _around_ Ratisbonne. This might also involve seeing how far Cyrano would let us game the map to send a force up, around, through the hills (near/under the ruler!)

I'm not feeling it yet, but I want to be fair about considering it.

8.) If we decided to super-stack on the left... well, clearly the only point would be to take Munich pronto and then blob our troops off the map and hope to trigger an auto-win within two or maybe three days. Otherwise we'd have to expect the French to be all over Passau, and then we're screwed. Unless taking Munich allows us to rejigger supply lines onto the map. Seems unlikely.

Title: Re: "Death Ride of Lannes" -- Austrian team pre-game 2018 discussions
Post by: JasonPratt on October 28, 2020, 11:23:47 PM
************** Lance/ecnal

Jason -
Since you're apparently giving consideration to the possibility of adopting a "take Munich and rush off the west map edge" strategy, it might be helpful/prudent to get a more detailed clarification from Control about how exiting works and what its relative weight is with respect to the overall determination of victory. For example, if we successfully manage to exit 50% of our army to the west, but the other 50% is shattered, how does that balance out? What if we exit a couple corps but lose our base at Passau? If exiting just acts as a sort of "tie breaker," then maybe it's not a particularly viable strategy; but if exiting is the equivalent of cutting the French LOC, then maybe it's worth it.

- Lance/Kienmayer

************** Cyrano replies

This is an instance where I think Didier is quite clear:  Your objectives are Munich and Ratisbonne and IF POSSIBLE exit the map while preserving your own LOC.

Exiting without those two cities in hand cannot be adjudged a victory.

*************** Ecnal/Lance

Thank you for the clarification. That was emphatically NOT clear to me (nor, I suspect, Jason). The wording was ambiguous enough that (for me) it left open the possibility of the Austrians executing a simple "bum's rush" off the map edge for the win. This seemed rather implausible/unrealistic, which is why I asked for amplifying info.

- Lance/Kienmayer

************** Neal (on Tuesday, consolidating topic)

Exiting "right" {{he means left, off the map near Munich, in a blob}} seems a bit too gamey to be viable as a strategy. Not only does it end our game early, it also seems inconsistent with that we are trying to do, which is to play Kriegsspiel.

Taking Munich may be sufficient to compel the French to attack us. I don't know the rules or how this works, since I'm a novice, but I do know forcing your enemy to attack you is solid strategy.


************** Dom

I would think that models historical circumstances/objectives well. our goal is to liberate Munich and Ratisbonne. ... exiting the map seems secondary, and dangerous with French troops in significant towns to our rear. We would then be caught (of map) between potential French armies from the west and forces fortified in towns to the east, and our lines of communication threatened, if not untenable.

2 cents... or francs, or marks... or?

Title: Re: "Death Ride of Lannes" -- Austrian team pre-game 2018 discussions
Post by: JasonPratt on October 28, 2020, 11:36:00 PM
************** Extensive commentary from Lance/Ecnal. He copy-pasted my prior notes to reply to, but I won’t include those here. I’ve added some {{Sabrenotes}} for contextual explanation of what I’m skipping past.

I would suggest being somewhat circumspect about concentrating our cavalry too heavily. In addition to leaving corps commanders who'd be surrendering their cavalry "blind" it's also important to realize that cavalry can be a significant force multiplier in combat resolution (you get to roll an additional die if you have cavalry present in a particular sector of the battlefield).

In our recent 1806 campaign, the French enjoyed the benefit of having a very powerful cavalry corps largely because each individual corps already had its own cavalry attached. Even so, as Murat (the French cavalry commander) I made a deliberate point of detaching and re-assigning about half my cavalry divisions to the infantry corps operating the western wing, and I think it's pretty clear that decision helped us rapidly overwhelm the Prussians we were facing. In this campaign we, the Austrians, are much less robustly supplied with cavalry than the French were in 1806, so again I must urge caution in trying to over-concentrate an already very limited asset.

{{skipping over discussion retracting the mechanics of Hohen/Barth as Wing Commander}}

As I mentioned in a separate communication about an hour ago, I think it would be prudent to get clarification from Control about the whole "exit the map to the west" thing. It's very vague and we don't want to be committing ourselves to a strategy that might not actually be a viable one.

I would be leery of "feinting" towards Ratisbonne while committing the bulk of the army to the south. The lines of approach for the French suggest that it would be relatively easy for them to either entrap the feinting force or simply bypass it and head directly for our LOC at Passau (leaving the rest of our slower-marching army in a desperate race to get there before the French do, and the French will have a shorter distance to march to boot). Perhaps a blocking/intercepting force in the north, operating behind the Isar, would be more prudent?

Given the huge degree of leeway we have in our initial deployment, I have to wonder whether the French might not also have some similar flexibility in their reinforcement schedule. A corps or two arriving directly from the west of Munich, or from the northwest via Dachau, could completely upset the viability of the "Munich-then-exit" strategy. Honestly, it's a bit of a crap-shoot since we don't really have a solid idea of what we're up against...

I know that historically the Austrians chose to go over to the offensive, but there's little in the victory conditions that forces us to adopt that same approach. We *COULD* opt for a more passive/reactive strategy and try to draw the French who begin the game already in the area of operations onto us, hoping to destroy them piecemeal before the rest of the reinforcing French forces arrive. I'm not advocating this, but it's at least something we should perhaps consider... If the French players -- even just some of them -- are overly aggressive, this plan could yield big rewards.

{{On the idea of punching Munich while center and right stay on defensive, then everyone marching north, consolidating in a line as they go.}}

It's not a bad scheme, but does have the potential for a serious defeat if we suffer a communications failure at the wrong moment. If the French strike north or in the center and a few of our couriers get "lost" or are intercepted at an inauspicious moment, we won't even know we're in a trap until it's already too late. Again, not advocating for or against, just pointing out possible issues.

Optimally we want to try and concentrate about 3 corps (one of them being Hohenzollern's corps) with you at our point of main effort, possibly with another corps (the Reserve Infantry being a good choice) in support. Everywhere else, we're realistically looking at individual corps operating in proximity support. Unlike 1806 as the French, the 1809 Austrians don't really have the ability to operate effectively in "Wings."

Unless they get exceptionally lucky, "bot" orders don't typically work. The VdA system is designed so that the NPC division commander will almost inevitably stop at the first sign of enemy forces and await instructions from higher up.

{{On the notion that a right-hook attack needs to secure the north Danube as we go.}}

An intriguing idea, but that'd be a lot of marching in mountainous/heavily forested terrain, mostly on secondary roads. Not sure how effective it would be, or what sort of march attrition (morale loss) we'd suffer attempting it. If the system differentiated our Grenzer and Jager light infantry from regular foot it might be worth a try, but since the VdA system treats all infantry as functionally identical, probably not the best idea.
Title: Re: "Death Ride of Lannes" -- Austrian team pre-game 2018 discussions
Post by: JasonPratt on October 28, 2020, 11:38:42 PM
************** Banzai_Cat, Tuesday Jul 17th (possibly summarizing his email, I don't recall)
The ground around Munich looks very defensible. Is it feasible given the distances involved to concentrate in taking Munich, then send a force eastwards, and if the French come charging down to take Munich, to hit them from the flank or rear - or just harass their LoC?

************** Neal likes B_C’s plan.

************** Ecnal/Lance Jul 17th
We are on the strategic offensive in this scenario. If we're going for a geographic victory (rather than the "destroy half the enemy army" victory) we have to take both Munich and Ratisbon. We can either divide the army and attempt to take both at roughly the same time, or keep the bulk of the army together and try take them sequentially (either by taking Munich first and then sweeping north towards Ratisbon, or taking Ratisbon first and then sweeping south towards Munich).

1) Dividing the army and attempting to take both objectives at the same time is risky. Indeed, due to our leadership inadequacies (outlined in an earlier message), I think it's questionable whether we can actually mount more than a single effective offensive effort (e.g. Charles & Hohenzollern together) at a time. I would recommend against adopting this scheme.

2) A north-to-south sweep (i.e. taking Ratisbon first and then advancing on Munich) presents problems. First, the distances from our initial deployment zone to Ratisbon are fairly long -- roughly a two day march to get near Ratisbon, and then likely another day or two to actually deploy and assault it. This affords the enemy time to detect our movement and react to it. It also exposes our flank as the primary assault force moves against the initial objective (meaning we'll have to detail forces to cover that flank, both weakening the main effort and causing road congestion behind the main advance). Then, because we can expect the bulk of French reinforcements to arrive in the north, it means we need to leave a stronger force behind to garrison Ratisbon as we move to the second phase of the operation and advance on Munich. Finally, if you look at the road network, there are really only two viable routes we could take when marching from Ratisbon to Munich (e.g. Ratsibon-Landschut-Moosburg-Freisling and Ratisbon-Abesnberg-Pfaffenhofen). These routes diverge to the extent that our march columns would be roughly 30-35km apart, and unable to quickly support one another if either is attacked independently due to the limited net of roads crossing between them. While the north-to-south sweep certainly could work, it relies more on luck (good on our part, poor on the French side) than I'm comfortable with.

3)  I believe a south-to-north sweep (i.e. taking Munich first and then advancing on Ratisbon) offers the best potential for success. Because it is so close to the border, we can easily attack it before the enemy have time to react -- if we're skilled and/or lucky we might even envelop and destroy whatever enemy forces are in the area before they can withdraw or be reinforced. Then, as we re-position northwards to attack Ratisbon, the road net works in our favor because it converges (rather than diverges) as it approaches the objective, making it easier for our march columns to mutually support one another as we get closer to where the enemy are likely to be waiting for us. The main vulnerability of this scheme is that it leaves our depot in Passau rather exposed should the French elect to advance in that direction. Accordingly, we would need to leave a few of our stronger corps in the vicinity of Landau and Deggendorf to counter such an eventuality; a third corps, split between Landschut and Moosburg, would provide connectivity through the center. I think this option works best to our force structure and offers us the best chance of success.

4) I would be remiss if I didn't re-state the possibility of the "passive/reactive" option. In this case we simply stay quietly in our deployment area and let the French come to us, using interior lines to (hopefully/presumably) cut off and destroy whichever of their corps are overly-aggressive enough to rush ahead and put their heads into the noose. Again, I don't favor this course of action, but it does offer some interesting possibilities (not the least of which is that it would be totally unexpected and confuse the hell out of our opponents).

- Lance/Kienmayer
Title: Re: "Death Ride of Lannes" -- Austrian team pre-game 2018 discussions
Post by: JasonPratt on October 28, 2020, 11:43:00 PM
**************Neal on Tuesday
It appears to me there is a Munich First consensus developing, for reasons.

If so, and if our leader agrees, then the next we consider that the French calculus will also reach the same conclusion.

The French will ask:

1. Can we stop them?
2. If not, how do we frustrate or capitalize on the Austrian thrust toward Munich? --Do we even bother to defend it?

Then, once we work that out, we might want to consider economy of force. Assuming a competent move against Munich, how little a force do we need to ensure victory? What then, can we do with the balance of our forces? Would it be possible to promote more than one objective at the same time?

I'm thinking aloud...


************** Barth on Tuesday
I've been contemplating the Munich first plan as well. Please see the attached map. {{Sabrenote: not available for posting unfortunately}}

We use 3 Corps, including my III Corps, under Charles' direction to take Munich. Historically it was lightly defended if I remember correctly. From there we move north to Freising or the other village overlooking the river spur to the north, or both and prepare to receive whatever the French throw our way.

The other Corps are positioned along the Isar acting as a screening force so the French move against Munich. They can then move against the French flank and/or march on Ratisbonne with  Lischenstein's 2nd Reserve appearing behind on the 20th.

It does split our forces but I don't think there's any way around it what with having to protect our LoC and having to such far spread target cities.

Just some musings and a fun map to draw. Feel free to poke holes as required.


************** Neal likes this plan, too

************** Dom on Tuesday
I would lean towards Munich as well. 

Munich should be the easier nut for us to crack .. and we should assume the French also think this.
What won't they think we would do in taking Munich?


************** Pinetree on Tuesday
I'm always swayed by nice graphics and this plan looks pretty good. I assume the frogs are restricted to deploying north and west of the Isar? Those marshes north of Munich could cause trouble if they decide to defend there instead of Munich itself, V Corps would have to move quick to cut off the Frog's supply route.


************** Neal is confident he can cut off Munich’s supplies.

************** Dom on Tuesday
In looking at the map of the proposed Plan X .... would a force located opposite Freising at least threaten French LOC to the north... thus either causing him to think twice before sending potential reinforcement to Munich.  I.e., we haven't "bagged" or threatened to "bag" any potential French in Munich.

Anway ... back to training this corps.

Title: Re: "Death Ride of Lannes" -- Austrian team pre-game 2018 discussions
Post by: JasonPratt on October 28, 2020, 11:46:03 PM
************** Gill onTuesday

Some initial observations:
1. The dispersal could be dangerous, but perhaps we could mitigate by holding V Corps back until Munich falls and then have it join the Victorious March to the Northeast on Regensburg after Marching through Munich?

2. What do you have in mind for distribution of troops among R1, R2 and C? (I like Kienlancemayer's notion of reorganizing the reserves into a Gren Corps and Cav Corps.)

3. Quite correct ref history: Munich was not defended at all. Austrians only sent one division (Jellacic of Hiller's corps) who occupied the city but otherwise contributed nothing to the opening campaign. N did not care about Munich; he cared about Regensburg, Ingolstadt, Neuburg, Donauwörth, Rain and similar places strategically because they provided solid bridges over the Danube so he could operate on either side of the river with minimal hindrance; Munich was just a city and could be retaken once the enemy army was defeated.

4. Useful to keep in mind that most of Davout's corps started (9/10 April) well north of the Danube historically; only one division at Regensburg (a BIG division, but still only one). Seems unlikely Control would give the French much pre–war flexibility, but who knows? See attached map {{note: map is copyrighted, thus for personal use of our team only}}

5. N is not yet on the scene, so we will be dealing with Berthier as overall commander for the first few days (he soon found himself completely under water!).

And...Passau Passion? Are we absolutely tied to Passau? That is, is there any reason not to shift our LOC further south (Braunau or even Salzburg)? Just a question to see what flexibility we might have, rules may leave us no choice.

Your servant, Jack von Liechtenstein

**************Jim will confirm later that we CANNOT shift our supply LoC from Passau, under the simplified supply rules.

************** Lance/Ecnal Tuesday

As Jack/Liechtenstein noted in his recent comments, historically the Bavarians barely defended Munich, and honestly I can't envision them doing so in the game either. Any force stationed there would likely be enveloped and forced to surrender. At worst they may try to screen the approaches and delay our taking Munich; at best they'll simply abandon it.

The key to the entire campaign will hinge on our march north towards Ratisbon/Regensburg. This is where the French won the historical campaign, by getting in behind the Austrians as they moved north/west, nearly repeating the same sort of encirclement/trap that they accomplished at Ulm in 1805. To prevent a repeat of that disaster we'll need to coordinate our movements and maintain a strong scouting screen on our left (and behind us) as we advance.

If Jason/Charles is willing to accept some degree of risk, we can simply attempt to take Munich "en passant" with just a single corps (under the assumption that the French will not make a concerted effort to hold the city). This will, instead, allow our main body start further north (e.g. Freising, or even Moosburg), reducing the time it will take for us to reach Regensburg by a day or two. If we find Munich strongly held, this still puts the main body within reasonable striking distance if we have to devote more forces to take it. However, starting our main body at Landschut (or even further north) effectively means a significant delay in diverting forces south to take Munich if we determine that's necessary.

 - Lance/Kienmayer
Title: Re: "Death Ride of Lannes" -- Austrian team pre-game 2018 discussions
Post by: JasonPratt on October 28, 2020, 11:49:11 PM
************** Wednesday Jul 18th, two emails from Barthheart

Good points all. My initial thoughts were that we wanted the French to respond to the show of force at Munich to draw their forces that direction. Only then would our forces move across the Isar in the East. Hence we are trying to envelope them.

With a large force moving north from Munich, I'm hoping the French panic about having their forces coming from the West cut off from any deployed near Ratisbonne and move to keep us south. But they have to move though the hilly terrain to get to us on only a couple of small roads.

But as pointed out this is very risky by spreading out our Eastern forces....


******* Second email from Barth

Great map John, thanks for sharing.

{{Replying to Gill’s analysis of  Plan X}}

1. Yes all other forces stay in place screening until Munich falls and those 3 Corps advance to the Freising line.

2. I had thought to just leave the original troop assignments. R2 is a large infantry force and would be good for a surprise arrival at Ratisbonne to take the city.


************** Some discussion about pre-start local recon; Cyrano confirms we’ll be supplied with some.

**************Wed, next email from Barth

Some further thoughts, sorry about all the emails, trying to have breakfast and get ready for work while planning the downfall of Napoleon is a challenging...

Having a large force take Munich serves 2 purposes:

1. If the French are restricted in their setup the we can take Munich and march north threatening any French force moving to help bolster Ratisbonne. They'll have to respond and come to meet us or risk getting flanked.

2. If the French have a fairly free setup, like we do, then they might actually march through Munich in force for a direct drive to Passau while we're all located north of the Isar.  Or they can continue to let Munich fall and then we revert back to situation 1.

Not trying to hard sell my Plan X, but I wanted to you all to have all my thoughts.

Title: Re: "Death Ride of Lannes" -- Austrian team pre-game 2018 discussions
Post by: JasonPratt on October 28, 2020, 11:56:11 PM
************** Friday Jul 20th, 2018, from Cyrano
Greetings and Good Morning (hereabouts anyway),

I have GREATLY enjoyed your conversations and, as was said, find them very helpful in understanding your thoughts and intentions.  I still won't like conditional orders.

With the week drawing ot a close, may I ask the Emperor to have orders out to his team by the close of business on Saturday.  Remember, there are choices that must be made in this scenario and I will ask that you be clear which of the choices you have chosen.

Once this is settled and the Daleks are up, I will send out a call for day one march orders!

Gentlemen, Today's Fox,


************** Saturday July 21st, from me, JRP. Remember, {{double-bracket notes}} are my current additions

Yeek, thoughts in some kind of sequence....


...phew. Gosh where to even start...

0.) I've asked this before, but (1) is Ratisbonne / Regensburg the French supply source? I figure it is, but want to be sure. Relatedly, (2) could our team change our supply source over to Munich if we take it? If so (WHICH SEEMS HISTORICALLY REASONABLE!) then obviously taking Munich pronto would be our best move, redirecting our supply route there, and moving up with simultaneous defense of our LoC. (3) How important is Munich to French scoring? -- the concept here is whether we can provoke an expected reaction from them and make plans about it. (4) Do the rules exclude between a geographical win OR a half-defeat win? -- or do points scored either way contribute to a sudden death win? (5) Is there a minimum time for the operation, e.g. the game must run at least five game-days?

{{Interjecting a brief Cyrano/Jim email here on these Zero point questions}}

[Jim replies: 1:  You don't know.
2:  No.  Checked this.  This is the "short" system and Didier doesn't allow for that in the short system.
3:  I guess I'll just point back to the brief sheet which says your goals are Munich and Ratisbonne and if possible exiting off the map to the West.  I've taken this as different from the Jena game where army destruction was given as a specific victory condition.  Obviously at a certainly point they can't stop you, that's more subjective this time.
4.  Answered in 3.  Repeating:  this, for the Austrians, is a geographical win scenario.  Implicit in this, though, and this may be what you're driving at, is you've got to prevent them from taking it back.  This will, at the end, require you to fight.Or at least defend...
5.  No.]

{{I don't know these answers yet of course, but this seemed the most reasonable place to include them for topical connection. Continuing my email, I'm NOT referring by points to these, just continuing my own topical point list after '0' above...}}

1.) I'm glad to hear that we can pre-organize a dedicated cavalry corps (and thus grenadier corps), but recent discussion has convinced me that the Gren Reserve should retain its cav division. However, DEPENDING ON ITS MISSION the Cav Reserve may be better off sending its infantry over to the other reserve. (Relatedly, I'm no longer playing with the idea of creating a second cav corps from our other cav divisions If I did, though, I would presume those other corps would be set to local defense.)

2.) Those trash light divisions are going to cause us trouble if we aren't careful. Nominally their best use would be purely as local corps reserve, sending them in only to exploit a local breakthrough or as a last resort to stiffen the line once someone in the front line has weakened down to worse than the light divs' own morale levels!

Creatively, I was thinking about pulling them out to create an ad hoc corps with me as the commander, so that my buffs would make them useful for one short-range fight. Logically that would be taking Munich, presumably as the auxiliary aid to the primary assault (like, blocking escape into our own backfield over the rivers or something, while the main assault envelops Munich, cutting them off from retreat and supply). Then marching those divisions off the map for points! -- especially if they've been scarred while attempting a bridge assault to divide the effective defense of anyone in Munich.

Either way, I want to avoid them acting as morale time-bombs in our corps. (I think a few corps have decent ones.) I realize the rules have been set up to provide JUST THAT KIND OF HISTORICAL RISK: they're useless (even the good morale ones) for their intended purpose, and most of them suck as plain infantry. Some more discussion on this before orders would be appreciated. Default would be their nominal usage as tactical reserve, tho.

3.) If we're going to sweep up from Munich, it makes the most sense for this to be our CavCorps' job. That's the largest march distance, and they would be our fastest corps (if their grenadiers are detached for someone else, either before or after settling Munich.)

I'm not much worried about Munich defenders appearing from the west, clever though that would be (using Munich as bait, and then hitting our besiegers from the rear), since the map ends not far to the west and at best they'd be detected before they could spring their trap.

Hitting our Munich assault from the north-ish would be more likely to work, but would depend heavily on how much leeway the French are given for pre-battle dispositions.

4.) Playing around with an offtackle-right plan, moving up from Deggens generally: should we even care about taking Munich early? As long as we have a nominal blocking force to keep them from counter-blitzing toward Passau, any defenders in Munich will be cut off from supply within a few days. Heck, unless they have pure cavalry there, we could probably cut them off from supply before they could reach Passau from a day one starting march anyway! Blocking corps might position a division to guard the bridges as initial scouting, if it's infantry in Munich then the rest of the corps (screened from detection) heads north to cross the Isar and join up on the left side of the assault blob. If it's cav in the city, the corps commander crosses the Isar and envelop-assaults against cav defending in a city!

I mean, for score purposes I assume we care, but if we take Rattisbone (Rathbone?) they should be a LOT weaker and we can send an expeditionary force to mop them up while we're preparing to receive visitors at and around Rat.

An offtackle-right strategy would, as previously noted, minimize our largest inherent weaknesses.

5.) While I am very much in favor of our enemies having no idea what we're doing, I worry about a purely defensive plan (perhaps with taking Munich), for two reasons: first, I'm not sure how we can win on score that way if the French just chill and maybe accept Munich as a loss. Second, and maybe more important, I'm worried players would be bored with it. Third, we'd be effectively ceding almost all our early-operation advantages.

HOWEVER -- having said that -- the French puppies can run away faster than we can chase them, so I don't know that we can keep them from ganging back up together around Regensberg anyway, if they're determined to do so. And the boredom factor would cut both ways, tempting the other side to do something. Also, boredom on an asynch email game isn't quite the same as at a live game. We can be going about our merry ways in real life while snickering at their consternation. I presume on this defensive anti-plan, we still take Munich off the bat, and (as previously suggested) we leave an apparently weak broad center screened with the cavalry corps's divisions as tripwires, ready to collapse around an invader as a backfield assault force moves up for the hard fighting. Once we've achieved a solid edge in casualties (by Munich win unless the French simply abandon it, and by trapping a counter-blitz), we start the assault from positions of strength on either side of our front.

6.) How would the off-map deep-flank option (allowing forces to arrive from the north after a few days) affect any of those three general option strategies? Seems like it would only work for an offensive right.

7.) Those of us from our previous game will recall I harmonized strategy suggestions around three principles:

a.) protect our LoC.
b.) minimize morale damage.
c.) Malfoy's Bell, and Malfoy's Corollary. (This might be from Machiavelli, but I'm a fan of Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality. {g})

Malfoy's Bell states that you should assume the failure of any plan that requires more than three things to go right for victory. Malfoy's Corollary states that since only fools or the seriously desperate would take the minimum option of victory, the real rule is: only two things at most (ideally one) to go right for victory.

I broke down the strategic parts into two (or one) step goals, with each group or corps assigned those goals in sets. In case of victory, move to the next minimum-step goal; in case of defeat, fall back in accordance of principles a and b, and replot. Each corps had plans which would allow flexibility in case of some other plan's defeat, too.

So I'm going to be looking at how the various general strategies (offtackle sweep left, offtackle sweep right, defensive trap with Munich capture) fit those principles before I make my final decisions.

(And also taking more aspirin. {g})

Title: Re: "Death Ride of Lannes" -- Austrian team pre-game 2018 discussions
Post by: JasonPratt on October 28, 2020, 11:58:54 PM
************** Summarizing a set of emails, Lance/Ecnal ultimately arranges to take command of the two-division Grens, with Jack Gill taking command of the two-division Cavs, effectively pairing the two corps together as an independent strike force.

************** Saturday, from James Sterret
In effect, the territory is the specified task.  Defeating\destroying the French Army is an implied task, as accomplishing it materially contributes to the specified task.

************** Barth confirms from Cyrano that French victory conditions could be different from and not related to ours.
Title: Re: "Death Ride of Lannes" -- Austrian team pre-game 2018 discussions
Post by: JasonPratt on October 29, 2020, 12:03:44 AM
************** email from me Saturday July 21st, 2018

Game will start 16th of April (in-game). Any deep Blitz-loop cannot arrive until April 20th, but might need to be later!

Okay, I'm caught up on all correspondence, and harmonizing a plan.

7:30ish central standard time. I may be rather late sending out the Plan. Need to go eat something and plot.

Remembering that the two Reserve Corps only have two divs each, has fundamentally altered my whole calculus about capabilities.

Remembering that most of us can only march TWENTY-FIVE-HUNDRED STEPS A DAY has also fundamentally altered my whole calculus about capabilities.

I can guarantee that everyone will get action. Someone will (probably) be getting delayed but important action. We're going to hit hard and completely mess with our German traitor cousins. After all, many of them can only march twenty-five-hundred steps a day, too. {g}


****** Incidentally, this turns out to be a wrong expectation, which I just learned this evening from Cyrano, October 28, 2020, more than TWO YEARS LATER! -- all German forces are under French command, and any forces under French command move at basically twice our speed, like the French! Fortunately our operational plans and tactics end up assuming for safety they're all moving at French speed anyway.
Title: Re: "Death Ride of Lannes" -- Austrian team pre-game 2018 discussions
Post by: JasonPratt on October 29, 2020, 12:22:03 AM
************** very late Saturday evening July 21st 2018, I finally finish synthesizing and sending out the operational plan. I thus indulged in some dramatic flair, since I am delivering a speech to gathered commanders.  8)

Operational Plan: MIGHTY GLACIER

Friends! Marshals of the Oesterreich!

The False Emperor took advantage of his alliance with our Rhineish cousins, and of my wholesale reorganization of our army to more modern principles, to sneak some fresh recruits onto our territory, stealing Munich and Regensburg from us among some other places.

I am sure he also took advantage of my famous and, usually, correct preferences for solid defense, expecting that I would fort up at the Isar and Danube, to repel his eventual crossing attempts someday. Consequently, while he has stiffened his occupation forces with French commanders of renown, he has clearly not expected us to throw out his puppies. Rather, he expects to take his time to settle other matters and then come deal with us, planning that I would prefer to finish reorganizing and training our new armies, and to strike back at him once we have annihilated his coming assault.

I have fostered this impression, for the sake of any spies among our courts, by speaking to each of you alone, as it were, through correspondence, asking you to prepare forces for defending our Reich. I have shown him, so far as he can possibly see us, what he expects to see.

Having gathered you together now, I intend to show him that the True Holy Roman Emperor will tolerate his blasphemous presence on our fair continent no more.

Corps Commanders of this Army of the Eastern Reich! We have achieved total strategic surprise!

We admittedly still move too slowly to achieve full tactical surprise, about which I grit my teeth but must accept the reality -- and so I will assume that he will know what is coming, by the time we arrive. But no sooner than that.

I genuinely feel sorry for our Rhinish cousins. But not too sorry for their commanders. They should have known better. And now they will pay.

Each of you will leave here to ride to your nominally defensive corps preparations, and begin immediately to move into assault positions according to the plan which I will detail below. I have allowed plenty of time for everyone to be in place, and rested, for the operation to begin at dawn on April 16th.

Look, friends, at the beloved mountains around us, home of our hearts! See the frozen sheets on the tallest! Those who live in the valleys and who visit from the plains, may think those sheets simply sit all year, as immovable walls. A fine comparison!

Those who seek the Eidelweiss, as a symbol of our manhood, will know that those sheets do move. And that they destroy, implacably, all that they touch.

Similarly, like a sheet of cold iron, we shall descend unstoppably, scooping up our enemies to sear them over the flame of war, until the smoke of their destruction ascends into the centuries of the centuries.

This operation shall so be named: MAECHTIGER PANZER!

[OOC: if we can’t win with a name as awesome as that, we deserve to have our asses kicked.]

If you will allow me a play on words, a Tiger may not be fast, but it will kill you. We shall strike with the hind claws, with the front claws, and with the fangs.

With the hind claws we shall rake the enemy where he is most vulnerable and with the most damage for the effort.

With the front claws, we shall wrap around the enemy and rend his back.

With the fangs, we shall chew through his throat, and end his resistance to death.

Each shall be a heroic effort, worthy of an opera! Before you even leave this room, your glory has been assured!! I feel _actual_ _jealousy_ for your roles! -- for who am I, who am even I, compared to what you shall do!?

More prosaically, we shall operate on the following principles, which I assume you will recognize from my normally defensive strategies.

1.) Protect our supply line. Usually I do this by creating extensive supply depot points and letting the enemy crash against them like foam until they are tired of losing and rout from the field at our laughing counterstrike. This time I plan to do so by finishing our opponent as quickly as our glacier-like marching can feasibly accomplish, and by aiming our fangs the shortest distance from Passau to the enemy’s throat.

2.) Protect our troops’ morale. We need not rush, if we do this correctly. We only need to win. Let our enemies rush around, tiring themselves out, in panic. Or, if they want to scramble for Passau, we shall cut their own breath off methodically with our fangs before they can sever our artery.

3.) Simple steps. Each thrust needs only two things, generally, at most to go right for a sufficient victory. These steps can themselves be broken down to one or two smaller steps in sets. But while this is not schlaeger fighting, where we stand in defense and parry and strike, neither will we be leaping around for our enemies to intercept, unable to change our vector’s gravity. Our feet stay on or near the ground, not sliding exactly but barely lifted as with short steps we force our foes off the fencing strip.

To these main principles can be added the following:

4.) The operational plan should minimize problems from our slow speed, and maximize problems from the mostly-similar slow speed of our opponents. Any French in the mix will, sadly, be faster, but mixed with the Army of Germany they must either operate faster at much lesser strength, or be similarly hampered in speed. {{{Sabrenote: as it happens this expectation was incorrect, but I don't think our mistaken impression mattered anyway.}}

5.) The operational plan should concentrate power effectively. I must confess that my hopes of creating useful light infantry divisions has not borne fruit, yet. I have saddled most of you with liabilities. I will find something very useful for them to do, indeed heroic, and in return your corps will be stronger, with better reserves.

6.) The operational plan should focus on recovering our geography, with efficiency of effort, destroying the enemy efficiently along the way.

7.) The operational plan should, as soon as possible, disrupt the enemy line of supply -- even though we are not yet certain where it is!

8.) The operational plan should provide some opportunity to move forces west into the enemy’s backfield, as a consequence of securing our geography.

9.) The operational plan should minimize interior lines, or else render a lack of interior lines meaningless.

{OC: 10. the plan should also make use of any special abilities allowed to the Austrian side of the game. And 11, it should give everyone something important and active to do, so that the game will be fun.}

This will require some swapping out of divisions among you, but if the enemy knows of our ostensible defensive organizations already somehow then this will catch them by surprise.

Enough of the principles! -- to the Rendings!

To the hind-claw force, I assign Marshals Kienmeyer [Lancer/Ecnal] and Lischenstein [Jack Gill]!

Kienmeyer, you shall have Fresnel’s and Rohan’s Grenadier divisions. Lischenstein, you shall have the cavalry divisions between you, including Ulm’s. Your divisions have the highest morale, and the best equipment and experience. The French may be expecting us to use you as rear reserve, sending your brigades forward piecemeal.

I expect you to take back Munich, and secure that quarter from any Napoleonic opportunism. I do not expect you to come to our aid.

Kienmeyer will have initial wing command, since the infantry must lead in taking the city, but I give you free rein to work out what seems best among yourselves; for example if you decide to advance north (once Munich is yours) into the marshes and then perhaps into the ridgeline roads, you may wish to cede command to Lischenstein who will be presumably scouting ahead and so in better position to make informed decisions.

How you take the city I leave to your preferences, since we don’t know for sure what we’ll find there. I presume the ideal situation, if the enemy doesn’t simply flee the area and let you have the city gratis, is to pontoon over the river not far to the north (but away from city defenders) with the cavalry corps, and envelop them while at least one grenadier prevents them from retreating across the Isar toward, if not both such divisions assaulting over the bridges -- either spreading out their defenses or leaving one side fatally weak.

But that is only a guess; you may adjust things as you will. You may stay in Munich and rest as you will, you may set up defenses in or outside Munich as you prefer, or if you wish to adventure north in pursuit or after resting and regrouping -- all this I leave to your recognizance and judgment. I will send no orders.

If you send me news couriers, they have some real chance of being intercepted at any time during the operation. But all we really need to know is how well things are going. Tell me a story of ducks at a wild pond, use any details you like -- amuse yourself with any imagination! But the key detail will be the weather.

Snow shall mean your plans are going well.

A cold rain shall mean your plans aren’t going well. It should be cold either way, of course.

You may vary weather intensity for emphasis; but don’t spend much effort on that description, it should seem incidental to other (fake) emphases. DO NOT TRY TO SEND US INFORMATION WITH OTHER DETAILS! -- I will ignore them.

If you decide to move north toward Regensburg, change the SNOW to SLEET. (Snow is good, so you’re changing to a different good. Rain stays as signal for trouble with your plans.)

If you must fall back toward Passau for some reason, change the RAIN to WIND. (Snow stays as signal for your plans going well.)

If Napoleon shows up at Munich, or on your way north (if you decide to try that after Munich), add a Troll to your story.

{{Sabrenote: everyone promptly ignores or forgets this code plan.  ::) I have no idea yet, whether the enemy intercepted our couriers and learned anything useful. But I DID TRY to plan ahead for such problems.}}

{{Splitting the email here for forum post length limits}}
Title: Re: "Death Ride of Lannes" -- Austrian team pre-game 2018 discussions
Post by: JasonPratt on October 29, 2020, 12:22:30 AM
{{Second half of the operational plan email}}

I’ll be with the Fangs, as you might have guessed, although naturally any news I can send of our progress or problems will be much delayed. I’ll send you stories of something, I’m not sure what yet, but with the same protocols, except that I’ll change snow to sleet if we’re finished enough at Regensburg to come back south toward you.

{{Sabrenote: I did try to keep to this plan for contacting the Hindclawforce with updates, although eventually I risked some uncoded couriers.}}

Oh, as for initial deployment, obviously you should start as close to the river as you care to for any final plans you devise. {OOC: Cyrano should assume that you’re in direct contact with each other for such purposes, until you actively declare separation for go-position.}

With only four high-quality divisions to manage, you should be able to deal with any relatively minor French/German problems, or hold out in various ways, tying up their precious troops, until the operation has ended. Gross Gott to you!


For the Front Claw Force, I designate Hohenzollen. He will take his corps in a large northern loop through Bavaria to hit Regensburg from the north, in a blitzkrieg.

However, I intend for his 3rd corps to have a somewhat different disposition than the German or French spies may have already heard about.

Take with you Reuss (9000 infantry div); Bartenstein (10000 infantry div); and Klenau (7000 infantry div). You may keep our Slavic ally Vukassov (7000 infantry div).

Total force: 33 thousand, four divisions, which should not be a command problem for you.

You will also notice that these are the worst morale divisions in our current army. They will not be good for fast marching or for more than one fight, and ideally they need to hit from the side or the rear, and God in Heaven knows they will need any skillful command bonuses we can give them! -- and that’s you. (I had toyed with the idea of going myself, but rejected that eventually.)

This will keep them from dragging down the rest of our army, yet give them something important to do within their power, which will not require them to deal with enemy forces before their only real fight. They can be safely shepherded to where they can hit the hardest.

You will of course give up your standard light cavalry division, but you will not need its scouting effects. Admittedly you will have to make do without their local tactical help, but in attacking Regensburg from the north their influence would be minimized anyway.

You must also give up Lusignan, and St. Julien, but we’ll put them to good use somewhere, too, never fear.

Obviously you will be out of contact, and so must operate on your own recognizance, until we can reconnect at a Regensburg siege, and even then you may be out of courier contact at first. I have no concerns: with your experience and skill, I entrust you to sharpen and salt the front claws. They may be weaker than the hind claws and the fangs, but you’ll know what to do with them. Gross Gott!

(Note to self, calculate when they should no-sooner-arrive.)


Our basic plan is to deploy close to the Isar/Danube confluence, and then march upon Regensburg, each corps along a road, eliminating anyone daring to slow us down.

Bellegard’s 1st Corps {OOC: Pinetree} shall take a special vanguard position, racing across the bridge of the northernmost town of the Isar (between Landau and Deggendorf), marching slightly cross country once across the bridge, to cross the Danube at Deggensdorf on day 1. From there you will proceed in parallel along the road (should be no need to get off it) on the main thrust’s march to Regensburg.

We will set up some basic signals and have a cavalry brigade of one of the closest corps’ divisions shadowing as close as possible to the Danube, so that effective (if minimal) communication can be established; you should do the same.

(OOC: considering the minimal distances involved, Cyrano should allow a very minor cav brigade detachment like this, seeing as it should at worst only oblong the detection radius of a division that won’t be at the front of a march anyway.)

{{Sabrenote: to spoil the plot in a minor way here, Cyrano did allow this.}}

If necessary, we should be able to mutually support any digging-out operations near the Danube, on either side: you’ve got the most balanced corps (Vogelsgang, Ulm, Fresnel, and a standard light cav division as your vanguard scout), so even though it’s only a single-lane road you should be potent at dealing with roadblocks until/unless we need to help. I seriously doubt our enemies will have ambush squads waiting in the low mountains north of the river, to amount to anything. Ideally you’ll arrive to help Hohenzollern besiege his side of Regensburg, but you (and perhaps he) may have to root out some forward defenses nearby. Do not combine your commands, however! -- otherwise you’ll get overworked. You may have to operate effectively out of communication as you get closer to Regensburg.

If 1st Corps meets no obstacles, then conservatively we can expect them to be at Regensburg on the afternoon or evening of the 21st. They have the shortest path, except for the corps crossing the Isar behind them which necessarily must be delayed! -- so they are our minimum travel time. We may expect to need more than that for various reasons.

Hiller’s 6th Corps {OOC: Dom Dal Bello} is our biggest puncher, with Kattulinski, Jellacic, Vincent, and a standard light cav division. He will follow 1st Corps over the northernmost Isar bridge, and then take the south-bank road along the Danube to Regensburg, with his light cav division scouting ahead of him of course. 6th will be in the most direct possible contact (under the circumstances) with 1st, and each will be expected to be the first aid for each other, where possible. (Keeping in mind that the Reserve Cav has the pontoon engineers to cross the Isar near Munich.) The basic mission should be sufficiently obvious. However, you may not be able to get much of your corps across the bridge on Day 1, due to 1st Corps going first. I will estimate that, assuming no problems, you can be at the major crossroad southeast of Straubing by evening on Day 2. If there are no roadblocks, though, you should still be pulling up to assault distance from Regensburg on July 20th.

Kollowrath’s 2nd Corps {OOC: Banzai_Cat} will have Brady, Treunen, Luisgnan from Hohen’s corps originally, and a standard light cav div. You should be near the crossroad southeast of Straubing at the end of Day 1, ahead of 6th Corps (who has 1st corps in the way). If there’s trouble at Straubing, you’ll be the first to deal with it on Day 2, and 6th Corps will be your reinforcements (not to say 1st Corps on the other side of the river!)

I’ll be riding with 2nd Corps, where I can lend tactical help on either side of our advance without much delay.

Straubing is basically the Fangs’ first goal. By concentrating force upon it from two or three directions, we should be able to eliminate any opportunistic defenders; or if the situation is sticky but still doable we can send a corps onward toward Regensburg.

The Fangs shall be screened by Rosenberg’s 4th Corps {OOC: James Sterett} and Louis’ 5th Corps {Marshal Neal}. 4th has Dedovic, St. Julien (from Hohen’s corps), Somariva, and a standard light cav division. Louis has Brady, Shustekh, and _two_ standard light cav divisions (one from Hohen), so will work best screening the west side of our advance. [OOC: you’ll have a little more flexibility with the cavalry scouting bubbles. Have fun!]

There are fords or small bridges west of Landau, between it and Landshut. If you can cross there {OOC: if Cyrano says it’s doable without any problems}, each of you take a bridge, Louis westmost, and work your ways up the wishbone road system. Each of you take a leg (Louis may have to go cross country a little) to the town at the crossroad southeast of Regensburg. You have the most distance to travel, so you can pick up a little fatigue along the way, but you may well get there in time to rest for a day or two. Communications with me may be a little limited, but if you get into serious trouble I can come help. Don’t advance on Regensburg until we’re caught up to a similar position on the Danube!

If the flooding has washed out the bridges or the fords, you’ll each have to cross at Landshut, a little more out of communication. {OOC: Cyrano should be able to tell us before game-start positioning what the river situation is for those two tracks across the river, so you should either be both starting at Landshut or at those two closer crossings.}

I presume Louis will go first, with the more cavalry scouting to surge, in that case, and you’ll both trail on the closest road directly north toward the aforementioned crossroad as the forming-up point for our final push, Rosenberg following behind Louis in this case.

This should simplify and amplify everyone’s tasks, allowing for flexibility in meeting and digging out enemy outposts (or defensive stands) where necessary.

In Summary:

Hind Claw Force are the two former reserve corps, now Grenadier and Cav Corps, tasked mainly with taking Munich on their own recognizance, and then operating according to whatever conditions they find.

Front Claw Force is Hohenzollern whose 3rd Corps will be reconfigured to make the best possible use of the low-morale divisions, by blitz-looping them safely around behind Regensburg. All things considered, I recommend you plan to arrive on April 23rd, which will give us some time to deal with problems on the way; but if the enemy wants to assault you across their bridges (or is fool enough to post defense in front of their bridges!) fine, have fun until we get there. Otherwise you can pepper them with some arty fire or whatever you deem fit until we arrive.

Tiger Teeth Force is the rest of us. 1st Corps will secure and move up the north bank road of the Danube, eventually to help Hohenzollern with an eastern front to the city siege-attack.

6th corps will follow 1st Corps across the Isar bridge and stay parallel roughly on the south-bank road.

2nd corps will strike off from Landau, and will probably be in position to scout-attack Straubing before 6th can arrive (6th thus being expected as the reinforcement in effect). I’ll be riding with 2nd corps unless problems develop.

4th and 5th corps will cross the small bridges between Landau and Landshut, if possible, and wishbone the roads up to the crossroad southeast of Regensburg, to wait for our arrival. Or if the bridge/fords don’t allow crossing there, cross one at a time, 5th corps first, at Landshut, and take the same road one after the other (5th corps first) to the forming-up point.

Roughly speaking, we expect to attack Regensburg sometime from the 21st to the 24th, with the Front Claws arriving on the 23rd to prepare for action on the 24th.

Even if the supply route happens to be Ingolstadt, this should mess with their supply status before they have a chance to mess with ours, even if they cross at Moosburg, Freisino or even Landshut. At any rate, we’re going to risk it.

Marshals! Heroes! You have waited long enough! Let us grind these dastards to powder, and hear their wailing for absconding for those powdered French embraces!

Charles of the Eastern Reich
Title: Re: "Death Ride of Lannes" -- Austrian team pre-game 2018 discussions
Post by: JasonPratt on October 29, 2020, 12:26:05 AM
************** Sunday July 22nd from Lance to his fellow Hindclaw commander

General Lischenstein -
In accordance with his highness Archduke Charles' instructions, I have been designated Southern Wing Commander. Your corps and mine are tasked with the capture of the city of Munich and are then to maneuver so as to retain control of that location while protecting, as feasible, the rear of the main army which will be advancing on Regensberg to the north of us.

I will initially deploy my Grenadier Corps directly opposite Munich and, upon commencement of operations, attempt to storm the sole bridge over the Isar River to establish a secure foothold on the western bank. Your corps should deploy immediately to my rear, and once a bridgehead has been established I desire that your Cavalry Corps cross the bridge and swing around the city to the north, behind my corps, and attempt to block the retreat of any enemy forces out of the city. Optimally our immediate goal will be to envelop and destroy any defenders in Munich. If my corps is unable to successfully force the bridge, we will pull back slightly, regroup, and consider alternate options (which, considering our lack of a pontoon train, may be limited...).

Discussion of potential follow-on operations will be discussed after we have secured Munich.

Request acknowledgement of receipt of this message.
- Keinmayer

************* I sent a note asking whether they’re not planning to use the pontoon bridge; and if not to let us know so I can give it to someone else.

************** James Sterret Sun Jul 22

Understood - 4th Corps, with Dedovic, St. Julien (from Hohen’s corps), Somariva, and a standard light cav division, will cross the Isar SW of Landau, no farther than Landshut, and move to the crossroads town SE of Regensburg.

4th is following 5th if we both cross at Landshut.

As a flank guard, should we consider moving towards Kelheim to create a flank threat to the French?

Control - what is the state of our crossings from Landau to Landshut?
Title: Re: "Death Ride of Lannes" -- Austrian team pre-game 2018 discussions
Post by: JasonPratt on October 29, 2020, 12:29:07 AM
******************** Several emails from me, same day, Sunday July 22, 2018

That's very reasonable, but I'm trying to keep our interior lines as close as possible given the road network situation, and our very limited speeds.

However! -- if HindClaws won't be using the pontoon bridge, you might effectively use it to cross the Danube west of Regensburg once we arrive near your forming-up point! This will require some cross-country marching, but we can't all effectively hit Regens from the south anyway. (I assume your corps would have the pontoon bridge simply for better protection of it, but in that eventuality whoever leads the way to the western Danube would need it of course.)

Otherwise we may play it by ear, and have you both go after the crossing at Kelheim. Until we arrive near Regens, though, we should try to not be divided by the enemy. (Another problem with splitting you off like that, however, is that you'll have to create separate fronts for any fight, since your combined strengths will be more than 4 divisions, causing a field commander to lose one die.)


******** Next email, sent to everyone as an addendum clarification of the main operational plan

Oh, also -- I meant to make this more explicit in my operational plan, but I guess I got too tickled at how anime-ish my operational title turned out to be. {G} (It was supposed to be Mighty Glacier at first, but when I saw that one German adjective for "mighty" was maechtiger, I literally could not resist angulating the metaphors around to a WW2 pun. With proper historical context of course, panzer coming from armor chest plating which was nicknamed after the metal of a frying pan.)

(What was I talking about... oh, right. Speed.)

Everyone should _ideally_ march no more than 8 hours a day, and keep to the roads as much as possible. Theoretically this will accrue only 2 points of fatigue a day, but I've arranged things so that we're consolidating the more experienced divisions together, so this should probably allow some fatigue shifts in our favor. (Observe that the divisions most likely to get tired marching have been gathered together for off-map strategic travel and so should arrive fresh! -- a gamey application of the rules, I know, but still.)

The 4th and 5th corps might end up needing to march with more daylight to get to the Forming-up point in time, depending on their river situation, but I've acknowledged that they may need to gain a few more fatigue points than the rest of us.

Of course, fighting any roadblocks along the way will complicate the fatigue and timing factors, but I've tried to keep things flexible. Even in the worst case advancing situation (I mean if we aren't screw-blocked by the French/German side out of the gate), we may have time to rest a full day before advancing to the assault, or we can cycle corps in and out with a full day rest in between (at least on the south side of the assault).

So, in short, most of us (in the Fangs) should only need 8 hours a day marching, maybe a few more hours for our westernmost edge of the Fangs. The game doesn't allow for different marching SPEEDS, really, only TIME.


********** From me, same day, replying to the question about opening start positions

Yes, everyone (on the map) starts up next to the bridges of the Isar we must cross (except for 6th corps naturally, since 1st is in the way.)

HindClawForce has some leeway in how they want to make that work, but seem to be planning to both storm across the Munich bridge at once.

4th and 5th corps may end up starting near the Landshut bridge, depending on weather conditions, and have to cross one at a time.

1st, up next to the Plattling bridge; 2nd up next to the Landau bridge. 6th behind 1st. 4th and 5th, hopefully up next to those small bridges between Landau and Landshut, otherwise 5th nominally starts up next to the Landshut  bridge with 4th behind him.

Note that in the event of storming the Landshut bridge, 4th (with more infantry) should be ready to go first! Send word to us and 2nd Corps will loop around to help, though that'll take some time (including courier travel to me with the news.)

Title: Re: "Death Ride of Lannes" -- Austrian team pre-game 2018 discussions
Post by: JasonPratt on October 29, 2020, 12:30:05 AM
Archduke Charles/Jason -
I did not realize that your highness intended to assign the pontoon bridge to the southern wing for the opening phase of the operation. This will change (slightly) my planned scheme of attack on Munich (far better, obviously, to cross the Isar north of the city and then advance down upon it, rather than assaulting directly over the existing highway bridge, straight into the teeth of any Bavarian defenses). Thank you for clarifying this point. The "Hindclaw" force will make good use of the pontoon train and then dispatch it immediately northwards once Munich has fallen.

Your humble servant, etc...
- Kienmayer/Lance


I mentioned it a couple of times in the operational orders, but not very prominently I suppose.

I like the idea of sending it north once you've secured Munich, since you won't need it again but 4th-and-5th might! If it never gets to the siege base south of Regensburg, that won't be any different than you keeping it after all, so you might as well try and good luck to it!

Title: Re: "Death Ride of Lannes" -- Austrian team pre-game 2018 discussions
Post by: JasonPratt on October 29, 2020, 12:31:00 AM
********************* From B_C
Thanks, JP.

I understand that II Corps is to advance from Landau, just south of the Isar River crossing, and advance to Straubing, a distance of approximately 28 kilometers. At four km/h, that means if you want II Corps there by the start of Day 2, we'll need to march for about 7-8 hours on this first day. I believe the men can handle it.

I'd want to send a small force of cavalry eastwards along the road to Deggendorf, once we cross the river and make it to that crossroads , as well as a small force of cavalry westwards along the north bank of the Isar to ensure no surprises are waiting for us. Further, I'd of course want cavalry screening our move northwards.

Should I find French forces to my flanks in either area, do you wish me to engage or press forwards to Straubing? (I do not know if there are follow-on forces behind me or not that might deal with such a thing. If not I imagine I will need to face them, otherwise I'll have French in my rear area.)

Will further orders come if/once Straubing is secured, or do you wish me to merely deploy around the city to defend it? I'd want to have a small force in a bridgehead to the north of the Danube, but am wondering if the bridge would need to be destroyed there if the French threaten to take it. (I've not even a clue if that's a possibility; I might be thinking far too in the future.)

II Corps

*********************** reply to B_C

Yes my schedules assume a nominal 8 hour marching day, to avoid early fatigue accumulation (though 4th and 5th corps may have to leg a little more to arrive at their forming up point on schedule). You may not quite be at the crossroads after 8 hours, but that's fine. If you want to spend an extra hour getting there to secure it, we shouldn't have problems, but I've assumed you might not quite make it. The key point is that you're certainly going to get there before 6th Corps does, so you'll have priority to avoid traffic jams -- and you'll be the one recon'ing Straubing in force with initial assaults perhaps as you see fit.

Note that your infantry are going to be going 2.5 km/h! So while your cav division may be screening ahead nicely (at 4kph), they'll probably need to wait if there's trouble at Straubing.

I'm certainly fine with the idea of sending out some scouting cav brigades on the road left and right after you cross the bridge, but you need to check with Cyrano about that.

If you detect French/Germans potentially in your backfield, we'll need to do something about that, yep, before you or the rest of us really advance. Otherwise they'll just mess with us (although we'll be cutting off anyone between you and Prattling, too. ..........I realize that's not it's name, but that's now my headcanon. {g})

Relatedly, 1st Corps needs to get across the Danube, but if they can let a scouting brigade from 6th corps across the Isar first to sweep back in your direction on the north side of the river, that would be handy! -- then the brigade can return and link back up with 6th.

I have no idea if bridges can be destroyed in this game, but I suspect not. It would certainly simplify our lives! -- but with the Germans on defense, I'd rather those bridges not be destroyable. {wry g}

I'm definitely okay with you taking Straubing to secure it until 6th and 1st Corps arrive. Once everyone gets together nearby, we'll have to figure out an effective way to share the road south of the Danube. (1st will still be north of the Danube of course.)

It occurs to me that we're talking like who knows where I'll be -- but I'll be with you in 2nd Corps! So you and I will have immediate communications and can email each other directly and freely freely, unless and until our HQs split off. (Though as a safety policy we should keep Cyrano in email addresses to each other.)

This means, among other things, that I'll be available to lend my 2 dice advantage if we find problems at or on the way to Straubling.

Title: Re: "Death Ride of Lannes" -- Austrian team pre-game 2018 discussions
Post by: JasonPratt on October 29, 2020, 12:39:59 AM
And that ends all the pre-game correspondence!

I am very pleased to compile and present this to the audience and opponents of this Kriegspiel, because it illustrates very well how all the Austrian players collaborated together for our operational plan (which really all I did was synthesize together at the end).

Up to this point, we were treated as doing initial correspondence over some period of game-weeks, and then direct conversation at the operational planning meeting.

After this point, NO DIRECT COMMUNICATION WAS ALLOWED unless players were in immediate map proximity. All Austrian players were effectively sent forward to our starting positions, and provided with initial scouting reports of what could be seen across the Isar.

On this basis we sent courier messages to our (npc) divisions, and some local interchanges with nearby marshals, plus couriers sent out to other portions of the starting line letting each other know about our discovered initial conditions.

And from there the game began, which can now be tracked of course by Cyrano's videos. (Although I expect more commentary about the game in the main thread, as linked above.)

One extra detail I'll add here, however (and probably elsewhere), is that Banzai had to drop out early in the game for an extended unknown time (which turned out to be all game), so as Charles I took over direct command of 2nd Corps rather than only riding along acting as the central news routing service. ;) But we kept Banzai in the loop about what was happening with 2nd Corps, in case things cleared up for him to return to the game. I decided where interception was possible, though, to obscure my whereabouts as Charles (with my combat buffs!) by writing in Kollowrath's name when sending risky couriers out.

Thanks to all my fellow Austrian players for a wonderful game, and I look forward to seeing in the videos how it played out after all!  :applause: 8)
Title: Re: "Death Ride of Lannes" -- Austrian team pre-game 2018 discussions
Post by: Barthheart on October 29, 2020, 08:46:32 AM
{{Second half of the operational plan email}}


For the Front Claw Force, I designate Hohenzollen. He will take his corps in a large northern loop through Bavaria to hit Regensburg from the north, in a blitzkrieg.
Obviously you will be out of contact, and so must operate on your own recognizance, until we can reconnect at a Regensburg siege, and even then you may be out of courier contact at first. I have no concerns: with your experience and skill, I entrust you to sharpen and salt the front claws. They may be weaker than the hind claws and the fangs, but you’ll know what to do with them. Gross Gott!

(Note to self, calculate when they should no-sooner-arrive.)

Charles of the Eastern Reich

You forgot to include the email with the result of the bolded statement:

********************************* From JRP July23, 2018
After Neal's request it occurred to me I should send maps.

Hohen-Bart's 3rd Corps of newbies should arrive on-map on the 24th now (instead of the 23rd), to adjust for possible lag by 1st Corps on the lowest-quality road, and set up a roadblocking camp south of the hill, ready to help any assault (on your recognizance) from morning of 25th onward.


{{Note on my map it said JULY 24 not APRIL 24}}

************************ From Barth
Just a small point of order... you keep saying I'm arriving north of Ratisbonne on JULY 24, again written on my map....
I'm just saying that I'm not going to wait until then or I'll miss all of the fun.

I had already sent my orders to Control saying I like to arrive at the village NW of the "Pimple" that's N of Ratisbonne on APRIL 20, soonest I'm allowed. This will give me time to shuffle my newbies into place N of Ratisbonne without any fatigue.

I can delay that, but I think it's best not to.


********************************** From JRP
Since Cyrano is allowing us to chat a bit more after radio silence, on this topic:

My only concerns with arriving and acting as early as possible, are:

(1) You've got the newbie cluster. You won't have cav to help your scouting either. You're the surprise tyke-bombs (or the PzI and II blitzkrieg) intended to travel and hit the enemy with the least problem and most effect from the newbie divisions, while strengthening the other corps from the reorganization so we can hold out longer in a fight.

(2) We're not going to be in range to support you (including opening your supply lanes) on the 20th or probably even the 21st. If anything hinders our advance, it might be a lot later.

However, as long as you've got your situation in mind, then I give you full blessing to arrive and to operate as you will and (!!!most importantly!!!) have fun. {g} We'll help you when we get there.


********************************** From Barth
Archduke Charles

I am humbly at your service.
I shall delay my arrival time to the 21st. I feel that I do not want to delay it further in case there are complications with my own travel to the designated blocking point on the cross roads.
I shall endeavour to stay out of direct conflict until I can hear guns on the far side of the Danube.


{{Glad I didn't wait until the 24th... even of April....}}
Title: Re: "Death Ride of Lannes" -- Austrian team pre-game 2018 discussions
Post by: JasonPratt on October 29, 2020, 01:06:34 PM

Agh, yes! -- I accidentally skipped that in my pre-game notesheet.