Battle of Gorodetchna (July 1812/Aug 2012)

A couple of weeks after the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Gorodetchna between the Russians and the Austro-Saxons on the southern wing of Napoleon's invasion of Russian, the Jackson Gamers fought an engagement loosely based on that battle.

Jackson Gamers refight the July 1812 Battle of Gorodetchna.

A good web site on the battle is: . In map at the start of the article, the top is west.  Our battle was loosely based on the Saxon-Austrian outflanking movement depicted along the left part of that map.  We didn't have the exact order of battle so had to make so with Lord Sterling's Austrians and Russians and Col Campbell's Saxons.

On battlefield was 16′ long and 5.5′ wide with ridges down both long sides and a gentle valley between.  The Saxons and Austrians set-up some of their forces on the western half of the ridge down the south side of the battlefield while the Russians did the same along the north side of the battlefield.  Additional units entered the battlefield as the Austro-Saxon flank attack developed and the Russian defensive countered their moves.

The Austrian commanders were Lord Sterling (Feldmarschal Schwarzenburg), Arkansas John, and Marshall (a new player and co-worker of Bill).  Their Saxon Allies were Sean (son of Col Campbell) and Bill.  The Russian commanders were Electric Ed (General Tormasov), Phil, and two new players, Chris and Jody, both co-workers of Phil.  Col Campbell was the game master.

The pictures are by ColCampbell, Electric Ed, and Arkansas John.

The Russian commanders pose before the battle begins. Later they would be joined by an additional player.

The Saxon (left two) and Austrian (center and right) commanders pose before the battle begins.

The initial Russian set-up with infantry and artillery in the center and a light cavalry brigade on the left (distance).

The Saxon and Austrian commanders have deployed their troops with the Saxons on the right flank (left side of picture) and the Austrians in the center and left flank (right side of picture).

The stoic Russian commanders look over the Austrian advance.  The fourth commander (right) has joined the Russian line-up.  We had three new players this time.  All of them are co-workers of two of our regular members.

The Saxons (left) and Austrians (right) advance to attack the Russians.

The massed Saxon and Austrian battalions advance as the game master draws an Austrian movement card.

The Russian dragoon brigade of 4 regiments has now entered the battlefield, extending the Russian line even further to the left to protect their line of retreat.

The Austrian left wing division, commanded by a new comer to our group, slowly advances against the Russians.

The Austrian cavalry has now made an appearance, coming on in the center of the line. The Saxon and Austrian infantry continue their slow march across the valley against the Russian defenders.

A view from the rear of the Austrian center as it advances against the Russians defending the ridge.

The Austrian cheveau-leger and uhlan light cavalry regiments trot towards the Russians. A couple of Austrian dragoon regiments are slowly moving down the slope to support them.

Another view, from the Austrian lines, as the Austrian cavalry develops its attack against the Russians.

Several turns into the game, the Russian cavalry has firmly established itself on the left flank, protecting the Russian line of retreat. But the Austrian cavalry has gathered to engage them.

Supported by three batteries of Austrian artillery, the Saxon and Austrian infantry continue their advance.

The heavily reinforced Russian defenders stoically await the Saxon-Austrian onslaught.

The six Saxon battalions advance in perfect order against the Russians.

After some poor morale rolls resulting from Russian artillery fire and a little bit of cavalry combat, the majority of the Austrian cavalry has fled back behind the Saxon infantry.

Supported by a battery of horse artillery, Russian dragoons, hussars,and cossacks attack the Saxon cheveau-leger and Austrian dragoons.

In the center, the Saxon infantry is closing on the center of the Russian line. If they can penetrate the Russian defenses the Saxons may be able to cut off the Russian left wing.

Two Russian hussar regiments, supported by a cossack pulk, attack an Austrian line battalion. Even though the left hand hussar regiment didn’t close and the Austrians emptied a number of Russian saddles, the right hand regiment handily won its melee and sent the Austrian scampering in panic to the rear.

The victorious Russian hussars followed up and scattered the Austrian battalion. Now they are behind the enemy gun line (Saxon and Austrian artillery) – just where dashing light cavalry like to be!

The center and north end of the fight. The Saxons in the center and the Austrians on the (north) left wing close with the Russians.

Although many of the units in the Russian center are routed or falling back (lower right corner), there are still enough Russians in place to handle the Saxons. In the left background, most of the Austrian units clustered along the table edge are routed.

A close-up of some of the defeated Austrian units as they cluster in the Austrian rear.

A view of the entire battlefield lokoing from the north, with the Russians on the left and the Austro-Saxons on the right. Most of the Austrian units clustered along the right hand table edge are routed units from previous Austrian attacks against the Russians. Many of the Russian units clustered in the left hand distance on the table edge are also routed units. In the center far distance, the Russian dragoons are successfully blocking the Austrians from advancing and cutting the Russian retreat.

So, who won?  The game master ruled that the Russians had succeeded in holding the Austrians and Saxons at bay long enough for their forces along the stream (off the west edge of the battlefield) to march past the rear of the defenders and further east into Russia.  With four dragoon regiments and three light cavalry regiments intact, plus a fourth light cavalry regiment in the enemy rear, the Russians had plenty of forces to cover their withdrawal.