Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Battle of Colbitz - Set Up


Campaign background

On the morning of 3 May 1813 Marshal Reynier led his 4 French corps out of Halbeck on the road to Colbitz. He had orders to attack Colbitz, which guarded the northern bridge over the river Elbe.

At the same time General Yorck was inspecting the 1 Prussian corps in Colbitz. The previous evening he had received orders to march west and attack Halbeck. Satisfied with the condition of his corps he ordered the advance. He was unaware of the approaching French corps.

As the Prussians marched along the dusty road they spotted an approaching dust cloud. A hussar patrol from the advance guard confirmed the approach of a large body of French. The battle of Colbitz had begun.

Campaign Map

The campaign map shows the position of both armies immediately prior to the battle. The outlined area on the map will be the wargames table. It should be noted that Colbitz not only protects the northern bridge over the river Elbe, but also prevents an attack on Magdeburg from the north.

Wargames Table

The photograph of the wargames table is taken from the south. Colbitz is the village on the cross roads on the centre right of the table. The Magdeburg road enters bottom right and leads to Bismark (not on campaign map). The Prussians are in Colbitz and the French will approach on the Halbeck road, which is the one on the left.

The terrain is hilly to the north, with the Halbeck to Colbitz road running through a broad valley. There is a small hamlet on the left.

Game Setup

This is an encounter battle with both sides marching towards each other, each unaware of the other. The wargame therefore starts on “blinds”. This means that each side is represented by one skirmish stand. This represents the front of a corps in column of march one brigade wide. Each move they are allowed to extend by one base only. This indicated that the corps has started to deploy, and they are now two brigades wide and in column of attack.

When they come within 24” of each other they can be spotted. Each time a brigade moves within this range the other player rolls a D10 to see if he has spotted them, he needs 7 or better depending on range. If the enemy is spotted they must put their figures on the table, but can do so in any order they wish – providing they do not exceed the frontage of the blind.

If the other player fails to roll a high enough D10, blinds are automatically spotted when they come within 16”. The player who moves within that range puts his figures on first, then the other players (as they are both within 16”)

The player who puts his figures on first is at a disadvantage, as his opponent can then take advantage of his deployment.

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