Sunday, 7 December 2014

Guest blogger (6): Leipzig Day One, 16th October 1813

A re-fight of the Battle of Leipzig is a daunting prospect for most wargamers, but not Phil, our good e-friend and dedicated solo wargamer. He is working his way around the battlefield recreating key sections of the Battle of Nations.

Last time we posted a report of his re-fight of the combat around Wachau on the first day of the battle. This time we move to the west and slightly north for the allied attack on the French right flank in the southern sector.

Before I had over to Phil, here's a map of the battle, to help readers to orient themselves.

Extract of the Battle of Leipzig from The Public Schools Historical Atlas (1905) (Accessed


16th October 1813; South of Leipzig. It’s 10 am and the opposing forces are moving into position.

General situation from the allied positions: Connewitz on the left, Probstheida in front and Holzhausen on the right. As with my Wachau refight the ground scale has been reduced so I also reduced the movements only to find out at the end of the game that this had already been done (in my version of Volley & Bayonet) so everyone moved much slower than they should have in this game.

Aerial view of French left around Holzhausen showing MacDonald’s XI Corps & Lauriston’s V Corps.

Zieten’s Prussian’s march towards Holzhausen while Zucchi’s Italian’s prepare to defend the village.

On the Allied left Hesse-Homburg moves up.

To counter, units of the Young Guard start to arrive to support Poniatowski’s Poles.

I got engrossed in the game so there seems to be a bit of a gap here. According to my notes a stiff fight developed around Holzhausen in turn 3, with the Russians (Württemberg) storming Probstheida and Augereau being forced back from the sheep pens. Hesse-Homburg took Connewitz.

(Turn 4) French counter attack on Holzhausen is driven off though they remain in possession but they are successful at Probstheida retaking the village and driving off the Russians.

A Polish cavalry charge routs Austrian Landwehr and Connewitz is retaken by their infantry.
An Austrian attack on Holzhausen stalls but to the west it is a bad turn for the French as II-6 rout and lose a brigade and east of Connewitz IX-5-2 is taken in the flank by Austrian Cuirassiers and destroyed.

More Guard units arrive and the fight around Connewitz intensifies with the Grenadiers of Hesse-Homburg’s reserve and Nostitz’ Cuirassiers clashing with the Poles and eventually pushing them out with heavy casualties.

Meanwhile in the centre the Russian II Corps attempts to push Victor out of Probstheida but are repulsed with heavy losses.

Kleist’s Prussians take the sheep pens in the left centre after a fierce battle, severely mauling Augereau and eventually the Austrians take Connewitz. Things are looking good for the Allies.

The Austrians finally get into action on the allied right; launching an assault on Holzhausen.

French cavalry and infantry reinforcements move up in the centre to mount a counter-attack as MacDonald & Marmont commit their reserves. But is it all too late as Bennigsen's Army of Poland is seen in the distance?
Allied reinforcements allow the offensive to be renewed across the whole front.

Austrian troops establish a toehold in Holzhausen and in the centre the Russians are back in Probstheida.

All of the front line villages are now in allied hands.

Schwarzenberg and his staff overseeing the battle...

The problem with this scenario is that at this point Bennigsen should be attacking in the east but the table just isn’t big enough! The scenario stipulated that Holzhausen had to have been taken by now for them to be deployed so we will have to imagine they are conducting a flank march.

In the meantime; the Austrians are fighting hard around Holzhausen as the French counter attack goes in.

In keeping with the historical scenario (rather than game situation) the French begin to draw off towards Leipzig and Bennigsen’s army appears in force in the east, throwing back French counter-attacks and taking control of Probstheida.
This is the killer blow for the French are already losing ground in all areas except just east of Connewitz where the Young Guard are counter-attacking. The French still seem to have large cavalry forces uncommitted – I feel this may be a fault with my scenario as following losses in the campaign to date they would not have been so strong by this point.

The French infantry is however on its last legs and has suffered from poor dice luck throughout.
The allies hold all the main positions and I don’t see that changing (especially with Bennigsen’s troops arriving).

I had thought my game too cramped but read that Napoleon had little room for manoeuvre in the real battle so I guess that’s right...


Last desperate French attack achieves nothing with the final allied attacks pushing them back towards Leipzig.

There was to be no reprieve for Napoleon in this battle.


  1. Great looking game and a most entertaining report Phil.

    As you note yourself, I would not be worried that it was a bit 'cramped' at the front. You had plenty of space in the back areas!
    The French cavalry at Leipzig were pretty powerful. Don't forget that the largest cavalry action of the entire wars occurred two days' previous!

  2. Great photos! Where did you get the buildings from? I'm thinking of making a village or two.

  3. Looking Epic and something to emulate for sure, best wishes, jj

  4. Beautiful work. Worthy of a chapter in Peter Young's "The Wargame"!

  5. Fine action rep[ort and pictures - a wargamer's battle!

  6. Thanks fellas! It was great fun! John, the buildings come from a range of sources. Some are Hovels, there are some old Ian Weekly Models, some holiday tat from a gift shop and some from Magister Militum that I think may have been made by Architectural Heritage.

  7. Stunning. It's games like this that make me want to do Napoleonics in the grand manner. Bravo to all involved in this madness.