Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Franco-Prussian War campaign

Here's a re-post of the campaign I proposed:

I'm thinking the following will make a manageable 4-battle campaign.

We will pit 1 French Corps vs 2 German Corps - historically we can use the units from the French 5th Corps and the two corps from the German First Army (VIIth and VIIIth Corps), which clashed at the Battle of Spicheren.

This gives the French 3 Infantry Divisions (39 battalions), a Cavalry Division (4 Regts), and a Corps Artillery Regiment (8 batteries). The infantry Divs have a total of 6 gun and 3 MG batteries.

The Germans will have 4 Infantry Divisions (48 Battalions), a Cavalry Division (8 Regts), and two Corps Artillery Regts (12 batteries). The infantry and cav Divs have a total of 18 batteries. The Germans have bigger battalions (5 bases to the French's 4) and so have an overall 1.5X advantage in infantry, and have double the artillery, which also outclass the French guns.

For the operational situation I envision the Germans advancing along a 3-prong fashion towards a French fortress, which the French Corps is hoping to fall back on. The the preliminary battles represent the battles along the three prongs, and the final battle the battle at the fortress. Each player decides how much of their forces to commit along each prong - the French can sit some of his forces at the 4th table to avoid them becoming casualty. 3 standard battles (7 x 5 grid) are then fought, with each side using the number of units they have committed to each table. At the end of each battle, the attackers recover 1/3 of their lost bases. The defender recovers 1/2 of their lost bases for the units that have exited the table, or can trace a clear line to their Line of Communications - i.e. units which are surrounded by Germans are totally lost. Other than the usual timing, the game also ends if there are no French units left on the table.

The final game can be fought on a 9 x 6 grid table with bases counting as double strength, and with the Germans having 3 points of entry - one for each prong. The timing for the start of arrival of each prong depends on the time their brevious battle ended - so a German force that fought until 80 on the clock the previous game will arrive at clock 40, while one that ended at 60 will arrive at clock 20, and those that finished before 60 at clock 0. If at the end of the final game the French hold their fortress, it's a victory for them.

To add variety to the 3 preliminary games, we can have one prong involve a river crossing (French player may place river sections in the second and third row, German player places 2 bridges), one involving a railhead (German player may place a Clear column from one edge to another), and one standard board.

The final battle will allow the French player to place a small fortress grid (ignore 3 hits).

The players must decide how many units to deploy at each table from the very start - so it's a matter of guessing whether the other player will decide to put more forces at the difficult table (river for the German and railway for the French), or choose to throw that table away, hoping to delay and attrite the enemy at the table where the advantage is his. At each table there is also the decision for the defender to whether extricate more forces but accept faster German arrival at the final game, or to sacrifice numbers to delay them at the final game. Enough operational decisions to make it fun, I think.


Marcus J said...

Love this period... Did the campaign work out? How was to the last gaiter button?

captain arjun said...


You can clikc on the FPW label at the bottom of the post to see all the related posts.

It went quite well and I think it's a workable formula for late horse-and-musket campaigns.

The rules recreate what I imagine the FPW to be like, but I am not sure how it may apply to other periods where the weapon ranges do not fall so neatly into 500m bands.