- Mar 17, 2010
The taking of Landshut..........since I have started a Campaign game - I may as well post a bit about it- but not today -Ha Ha !
I am always drawn to this Campaign for a unknown reason. I think it is because of the interesting strategic situation and of course the heavy involvement of Davout. He is again, as at Auerstadt outnumbered, and has to rely on his own wits, until the eventual arrival Of Napoleon and additional forces. The main difference now being, that he has control of 4 infantry divisions and 2 cavalry divisions in support. (A small army in itself).
The Campaign map is very long from top to bottom and is deceptive to a newbie who may not grasp the distance between say, Regensburg and Abensberg, and mistakenly look at the Campaign map and assume that the town of Saal is actually Abensberg , which could cost you a few hours of movement, especially if you are too slow to react in moving Davout's divisions. I have decided to play the Austrians against the A.I. for the simple reason that if you play the French- the A.I. has difficulty in crossing the Isar river. With the Ezjax download , the Austrian units look really good; my favourites are the dragoons and grenz grenadiers.
The battle begins at 2.00pm with the lead units of the Austrian 5th corps arrayed in the southern section of the town of Landshut, with most of them strung out along the road to the rear.
The opposition consists of troops of Siebein’s 1st Bavarian brigade who have a battalion and skirmishers deployed to block the bridge. As you have an unlimbered gun battery already deployed at the other end , it is a simple process of blasting until the skirmishers rout and then quickly moving across. You should note that you have a pioneer company in lead position which is arrayed in battalion formation , which fools you into using it as a combat unit. It is an engineer and should be used to repair the bridge further to the west. You should not worry too much about French opposition as the A.I., unless unduly provoked will retreat all of Deroi’s division away to the north. It will of course leave some skirmisher units, ridiculously , under the command of the general himself and even a supply wagon unit for you to mop up. Kill the skirmishers but let Deroi go. It makes sense in the long run.
After Landshut is taken – it is an easy walk up the road to Pfeffen hausen. You can send some Austrian cavalry to chase down the rear elements of Deroi’s 3rd Bavarian Division, but be aware that it turns dark at 6 in the evening with a 1 hex visibility. Unnecessary loss to close enemy fire is not wise especially as the Austrians are quite weak in the cavalry arm at this stage of the battle. If you were playing against a human opponent , it would be suicidal to walk into a single rearguard deployed battery with infantry support. More so , than in other campaign games- your Austrian cavalry should be used as primarily your eyes and ears – it is very woody and ravine filled terrain. I am currently on game turn 38, with the advance guard, headed by Archduke Charles himself about 1200 metres south of Pfeffenhausen itself. It is possible to arrive earlier, but I chose to stop all elements of the Austrian army to rest until 5 in the morning. I do not know how it would play against a human opponent , but on average, the French army generally stopped at between 10 and 11 and then started moving again at 5 or even 4 o'clock, depending on season. Apart from that, it gives the A.I. a bit of a chance to organise a defence of Pfeffenhausen- which is probably a moot point. Pfeffenhausen is worth 100 victory points, so it is good to take it. Unfortunately the A.I.'s linear script also knows this and will move everything towards this position.
Napoleon addressing his Bavarian troops...........
Now is the time to dispense with the A.I. and start making it’s defensive positioning for it. Deroi’s and Wrede’s divisions should be enough to make a reasonablecontainment battle. You need to move Prince Ludwig’s 1st Bavaruian division back to cover the approaches to Abensberg. It is pointless using all 3 Bavarian divisions to defend Pfeffenhausen as Hillers 6th corps is snaking it’s way up the east side of the Ilm river and from the east. Rosenberg’s 4th Corps is moving inexorably forward. They can both reach and flank a strong Bavarian position in 6 to 7 hours. The result would be catastrophic, unless of course , you are a Bavarian military Genius.
Once you have deployed the 2 Bavarian divisions properly and to your liking, you can then switch on the A.I. again and play out the battle. It is also a good idea at this stage to help the A.I. move Morand’s division over the Danube, otherwise they will be pointlessly dancing around there for the whole of the campaign. The battle for Pfeffenhausen should be only a delaying action, so when you see that the Bavarians are beaten, which should be in the late afternoon- pull back and let them back-off and then turn off the A.I. and retreat one of the divisions to hold Rottenburg ( VP’s ) and the other to join the fresh 1st Bavarian division, defending the routes to Abensberg.
Now you see – why I have whinged before about a unit movement inhibitor, where you can stop the A.I. from making stupid moves- like leaving Abensberg unguarded and throwing all 3 Bavarian Divisions into one initial battle. A improved A.I. is , I think, is not possible in campaign terms, but you could have a relatively interesting game solo with a bit of tweaking.
As it stands ,I am going to thrash the Bavarians, but allow them a small to medium loss depending on my mood..................
Letter sent early on the 17th by Deroi to Lefevre..
General Deroi, at 9 o’clock in the morning of April 16, received a demand from the enemy to rebuild [de faire retablir] the bridge at Landshut. On the refusal of the general commanding the 3rd division of the Bavarian corps, the enemy commenced to attack the town. In the suburb Entre-les-Ponts (properly Zwischen-den-Brucken, but probably translated by Lefebvre for the benefit of Napoleon and his staff) where our soldiers found good cover, they engaged in a lively firefight, but at the other bridge called Pont du Suburb where all the ground was clean shaven(sic), skirmishers could not hold their position, and amongst the cannons with which I tried to reply the [enemy] fire was so telling on my gunners, that I had to abandon that plan, allowing the enemy to rebuild the bridge and menace my flank with a strong sortie. On the other hand, noticing a considerable corps which had crossed the Isar on the bridge which they had rebuilt [qu'ils avaient fait retablir] at Moosburg and was advancing by my left towards my rear, and knowing nothing of General Saint-Hilaire, I disengaged and made my retreat to Pfeffenhausen, where the division arrived between 4 and 6 o’clock this morning.
My troops being harassed, under combat from 9:30 until night-fall and then marching all night, I am resting them until 1 this afternoon, when I will retire on Rottenberg and there await the orders of Your Excellency [Lefebvre, le Duc du Danzig].
[signe] Deroi - 3rd Bavarian division.