"All resources will be used to make the army ready for war." - Napoleon, 1813

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Eine kleine Kriegsmusik...

"Music is the voice that tells us that the human race is greater than it knows." - Napoleon

Looking for a nice compilation of Napoleonic music for your next battle, club meeting, or just to listen to during your next hobby session.  Well, look no further!  Someone on YouTube has already done one for you (See below).  So I thought I'd pass it along!

Napoleonic Wars Music (29 video playlist)

"Music of all the arts has the most influence on the passions
and the legislator should give it the greatest encouragement." - Napoleon

Music and War have always gone hand in hand together.  Be it classical, folk, country, rock n roll, or whatever.  It rouses the passions of both the populous and recruit, marches armies to battle, and is still used to pump up soldiers for combat today.  Makes sense then that we have a bit of theme music to go along with our hobby.  :-)

Although not technically part of the 1813 Campaign in Germany, included below is another playlist covering the Waterloo movie soundtrack.  At least it has some French and Prussian tunes.

Waterloo Original Sondtrack (12 video playlist)

Blog update:  Things will slow up a bit as I am finishing up a number of projects, but I hope to have some miniatures to share (both WIP and complete) in the second half of September.  I've decided to spread out the battle history posts more throughout the year.  Trying to post them on the actual anniversary date creates quite a logjam for August and September.  Also, I'd like to have more time write up a final section for each that is more relevant to wargaming.

The "Timeline" and "Basic Training" pages have been updated a bit.  The next Back to Basics type post will cover the different 28mm miniature manufactures for Napoleonics.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Battle of Dresden (26-27 August 1813)

From Wikipedia

The Battle of Dresden, fought on 26–27 August 1813, resulted in a French victory under Napoleon against forces of the Sixth Coalition of Austrians, Russians and Prussians under Field Marshal Schwartzenberg.

Prelude: On 16 August, Napoleon had sent Marshal Saint-Cyr's corps to fortify and hold Dresden in order to hinder allied movements and to serve as a possible base for his own manoeuvres.  He planned to strike against the interior lines of his enemies and defeat them in detail, before they could combine their full strength.  He had some 300,000 men 800 cannons against allied forces totaling over 450,000 and 1200 cannons.  But the Coalition avoided battle with Napoleon himself, choosing to attack his subordinate commanders instead according to the Trachenberg Plan.  On 23 August, at the Battle of Grossbeeren, south of Berlin, Crown Prince Charles of Sweden (formerly French Marshal Bernadotte, Napoleon's own Marshal) defeated his old comrade Marshal Oudinot.  Also on 26 August, Prussian Marshal Blücher defeated Marshal MacDonald at the Battle of Katzbach.

 French Emperor Napoleon and Austrian Field Marshal Schwartzenberg

From Historyofwar.org

The Battle of Bresden was the only French victory of the Leipzig campaign and Napoleon's last on German soil.  Marching against Napoleon the Allies had massed 80,000 men at the gates of Dresden by 25th and if they had moved quickly they could have re-taken the city from the French, instead as often throughout the Napoleonic wars politics hindered the Allies, slowing them.  The Allies halted for a council of war, this was a multinational army with all three Allied Monarchs present (Emperor Francis of Austria, Tsar Alexander of Russia and King Frederick William III of Prussia) each with their own objectives in the campaign.  The Allied commander Marshal Prince Karl Von Schwarzenberg would often have his hands tied during the campaign.

The Town of Dresden was fortified to some extent with outlying areas being prepared with loopholes and firing steps and barricades. That said the defensive line was 8 km long and the French commander St Cyr had too few men to defend it, fact he had only one man per ten paces in most areas. Had the Allies acted quickly they would have overwhelmed the French but they were slow to act and lacked any real leadership. The attack began at 5 am on 26 August as Prussian troops advanced through the Royal gardens despite tough French opposition. As the Allies attacked it became obvious from the shouts of Vive l'Empereur that the French garrison was being reinforced, Napoleon had arrived. His mere presence spooked the Allies who now called for a withdraw (except Frederick William of Prussia), their attacks continued throughout the day on the 26th August and just as the Allies were on the verge of entering the town Napoleon ordered his 70,000 troops to attack.

The fighting that followed was bloody and slowly the French drove the Allies back.  That night the Allies could reflect on their failure to enter the town as without clear leadership coordinating their attacks on an 8 km front his proved impossible.  The next day Napoleon attacked the now demoralized Allied flanks with a 6 am attack lead by two divisions of his Young Guard.  The Allies planned to counter attack but several of their commanders were either injured or hesitated and their chance was lost.  By 3pm the Allied left flank was beaten and they struggled to disengage in the thick mud, by 4pm the Allies were retreating not only away from Dresden but back to the safety of Bohemia leaving behind 38,000 killed, captured or wounded.  General Dominique Vandammme tried to pursue the fleeing Allies but Napoleon failed to support him and he was cut off at the Battle of Kulm two days later.

Further Reading and Resources:

The Battles of Dresden and Kulm 26-30 August 1813 by Martin Gibson

Napoleon, His Army, and Enemies - Battle of Dresden

Orders of Battle:  French OOB, Allied OOB

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Battle of Katzbach (26 August 1813)

Battle of Katzbach

From Wikipedia:

The Battle of the Katzbach occurred during a heavy thunderstorm at the Katzbach river between Wahlstatt and Liegnitz in the Prussian province of Silesia.  The engagement pitted the French Army of the Bober under Marshal MacDonald and a Russo-Prussian army of the Sixth Coalition under Prussian General von Blücher.

The two armies, roughly equal in size, stumbled upon one another after MacDonald crossed the swollen river. In the midst of the confusion and heavy rain, MacDonald seemed to recover first. Although his orders were to defend the flank of Napoleon's main force from Blücher, MacDonald decided to attack. He dispatched two-thirds of his army, about 60,000 men, in an attempt to flank the Russo-Prussian right. But confusion reigned again as the French columns found themselves too far apart to support one another.

French Marshal MacDonald and Prussian General von Blücher

Meanwhile, the remaining 30,000 men of MacDonald's force, who were supposed to hold down the Coalition forces, were met by a heavy counter-attack by Prussian cavalry. Without support or reinforcement, the French were soon forced to withdraw with many men being forced into the river to escape and thousands drowning. MacDonald's casualties numbered 13,000 killed and wounded with another 20,000 captured. Blücher's losses were some 4,000.

Aftermath: Beyond the battle losses, the French strategic position had been weakened. This, coupled with the defeats at Kulm, four days later, and Dennewitz on 6 September, would more than negate Napoleon's victory at Dresden.

For his victory, Blücher received the title of "Prince of Wahlstatt" on 3 June 1814.

In Germany there used to be a now obsolete saying "Der geht ran wie Blücher an der Katzbach!" ("He goes forward like Blücher at Katzbach!"), referring to Blücher and describing a vigorous behavior.

Blücher at the Battle of Katzbach

Further Reading and Resources:

The Battle of Katzbach 26 August 1813 by Martin Gibson

Grande Armée Scenario & short History

Note:  The Battle of Dresden fought on 26-27 August 1913 will be covered tomorrow.

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Rules of War

"But Sire, you cannot possibly read all those rules before your game tomorrow morning."

Back to Basics: The Rules

Update:  The focus of this discussion (like this blog) is on currently available tactical rules using 28mm miniatures.  Battles would mainly involve about a Division on each side, although a Corps/Wing level commander could be present on the tabletop in larger games.

*  *  *  *  *

This post is the first in a series that are targeted at someone visiting or directed to this site who is thinking about entering the Napoleonic miniatures wargaming hobby.  These posts are then placed on the "Basic Training" page (found above under the site banner) for future reference.

Below is a quick rundown/intro of some of the rules currently available (i.e. In print and available to purchase)  Not a complete list, but all the rules mentioned can be used for the tactical Division/Corps level of command that we are planning for our games.

VETERAN GAMERS!!  Where you come in is in the comment section below.  Please leave a comment about the set of rules you prefer and some reasons why.  Please keep your remarks limited to POSITIVE things about your rules of choice.  Do not leave negative comments about or run down other rules systems.  Thank you.

*  *  *  *  *

I give special mention to the first three on the list:  Black Powder, General de Brigade, and Republic to Empire.  Mainly because these are the rule sets that are commonly used by the Napoleonic wargamers/bloggers that have been the most influential and inspirational to me.  Regardless of whatever set of rules you end up using, there are always useful bits/ideas from other sets that you can incorporate into your games.

Black Powder

This is the set of rules we will be using.  It's easy to learn and quick to play (2 to 4 hours).  It handles larger multiplayer games very well.  While playability is its main strength, the lack of more detailed period rules/flavor can be addressed by using various special rules to tweak the scenario and units involved.  There are two Napoleonic specific supplements available, with a third soon on its way.  Player support can be found HERE.

One other bonus is that BP establishes a common set of rules for any horse and musket periods we may play in the future:  American Civil War, Seven Years War, Franco-Prussian War, American War of Independence.

Rules overview.

General de Brigade

Definitely a more detailed set of rules that represents the period very well on the table top. The 1 to 20 figure ratio makes for a lot of miniatures to paint for each battalion (Our 24 fig battalions could always scale up to 36+ by adding more bases)  This is a set of rules I'd like to play every once in awhile in the future once we get things going.  Player support can be found HERE and HERE.

Rules overview.

Republic to Empire

Unfortunately I don't know too much about RtE as I don't own a copy yet.  At a glance, it seems like they are another detailed set of rules like GdB, but remain flexible in their basing requirements like BP.  Player support can be found HERE.

Rules overview. 

Some other rule sets to consider:

Age of Eagles

"Age of Eagles is the... only officially sanctioned Napoleonic variant of Richard Hasenauer's popular Fire & Fury American Civil War rules. This is truly the miniatures game you and many others have been waiting for. Huge battles are now possible with a system that balances both realism and playability." 

Rules overview.

Grand Manouevre

"...a new and exciting set of rules for large scale Napoleonic wargaming."

Rules overview.


"The game is small-scale and tactical in nature, focusing on the movement of individual battalions and regiments of cavalry. The player will manage a small force of roughly a dozen units as he tries to complete some specific mission assigned to him...  Lasalle is ideal for a small gaming table, and it plays in real-time with most battles lasting 2-3 hours. It is perfect for pick-up games or tournament play."

Rules overview.

March Attack

"March Attack are a set of Napoleonic Wargame rules that were created to allow players to field approximately a Corps a side and to be able to complete a game of that size within a few hours." 

Rules overview.

Rank & File

"Rank and File are a set of horse and musket rules that cover the period from 1740 through to 1900. The basic game mechanics are designed to be simple and easy to learn with the aim of being able to play large games within a reasonable time frame.  While the game itself is easy to pick up there are extensive optional and advanced rules as well as period specific rules that allow the game to cater for all tastes as well as being flexible enough to cope with lots of game sizes, scales, figure availability and numbers of players." 

Rules overview.

Honorable mention:


Although this rulebook from the now defunct Warhammer Historical is out of print, I wanted to include this exceptional tome.  Like other Games Workshop large format rulebooks, it is very comprehensive.  Aside from the rules and army lists themselves, it includes a full Napoleonic timeline and history section, inspirational artwork and photos of battlefields, terrain tables, and painted miniatures (mostly taken from the Perry Brother's personal collection), as well as a introduction to the hobby and "how to" modeling and painting section.

This makes it an excellent book to introduce players to Napoleonics.  Well worth the effort to get a copy regardless of your experience level.  I am lucky to have mine.  You can find author Mark Latham's blog HERE as well as new army lists for the Austrians and Russians.

 Note:  Special thanks to www.deepfriedhappymice.com for writing all the nice rules overviews.

Up next is the Battle of Katzbach and Dresden and another "basics" post on miniatures manufacturers.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Battle of Großbeeren (August 23, 1813)

Rain having rendered small arms fire impossible, Saxon infantry (left) use musket butts
and bayonets to defend the churchyard at Großbeeren against a Prussian onslaught.

From HistoryOfWar.org:

The first major battle of the Leipzig campaign.  Grossbeeren lies about 10 miles south of Berlin.  Marshal Oudinot commander of the French Army of Berlin had been ordered to quickly take Berlin and to disarm and scatter its militia, destroying the city if it resisted.  To do this Oudinot had three corps, his own plus Bertrand and Reynier's (Including Saxons) and a force of cavalry (9,000 strong) totaling about 70,000 men and 216 guns.

Unfortunately Napoleon had underestimated his enemy and Oudinot's forces were not strong enough to take Berlin either in quantity or quality being made up largely of raw recruits.  Against them were about 98,000 Prussians defending their own homes.  Legend has it that the crown Prince of Sweden, the former Marshal Bernadotte wanted to retreat and leave Berlin to the French but evidence from the time shows this to be untrue.

Prussian General von Bülow, Crown Prince of Sweden Charles John, & French Marshal Oudinot

Oudinot continued his master's mistake and believed the Prussians to be much weaker than they really were and poor intelligence meant that on the morning of 23rd August his troops blundered into the Prussian forces and a scattered battle began as the French started to engage.  Heavy rain added to the confusion and made firing difficult, soon the Prussians took the offensive although with clumsy frontal assaults rather than attacking the French flanks.

The battle ended after the final French column encountered Prussian Lifeguard Hussars about 8pm and a confused cavalry battle took place in the dark.  The next day the French continued to retreat having lost 3,000 men and 13 guns to the Prussians 1,000 causalities.  Although a small battle it was the Prussians first victory over the French since 1806 and it raised morale for the upcoming battles.

From Wikipedia:

Aftermath: Unknown to both Napoleon and Oudinot at the time, the strategy played right into the Coalition's hands.  In accordance with their Trachenberg Plan (formulated during the truce) they would avoid any large, main engagement with Napoleon himself until after they had gathered overwhelming strength and weakened the Emperor by defeating his marshals in separate, smaller battles.

The defeat at Großbeeren, combined with continued ill health, had shaken Oudinot's confidence, and he continued the general retreat to Wittenberg.   Napoleon was furious with Oudinot, not so much for his defeat, but for his withdrawal to Wittenberg instead of back to Luckau.  He fumed, "It is truly difficult to have fewer brains than the Duke of Reggio!".  Napoleon then appointed Marshal Michel Ney to lead a second drive on Berlin with the same three, now reduced and demoralized, corps and the ailing Oudinot as Ney's subordinate.  The result would be the Battle of Dennewitz.

Further Reading and Resources:

The Battle of Gross Beeren 23 August 1813 by Martin Gibson

Nafziger Order of Battle

Campaign Booklet from Westfalia Miniatures

Memorial tower in Großbeeren

Note:  This the first in a series of posts covering the post armistice battles of the 1813 Campaign in Germany.  This is the main time frame and OOBs that our project is based on.  Out of completeness, I may cover the spring battles next year.

Next up is the beginning of another series of posts covering the basics of Napoleonic miniature wargaming.

Thursday, August 20, 2015


Or at least Thunderstolen...  :-)  I definitely have to figure out how make videos like this, but it perfectly sums up the excitement level I feel sitting at my hobby desk this morning.  This was lifted from Les Grognards on Facebook who in turn got it from Kurtus Brown on Youtube.  Enjoy!

Not feeling it yet?...  OK, bonus video!!

2CELLOS - Thunderstruck [OFFICIAL VIDEO]


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Armistice of Pläswitz is over!

Napoleon crossing the Elbe.

On 4 June 1813 the Armistice of Pläswitz was signed pausing the hostilities of the 1813 Campaign in Germany for about two months.  Things kicked back into full gear mid to late August (See Timeline) with four battles being fought before the month was over.  The action continued into September with five more conflicts, and the German campaign reached it's final climax at the "Battle of the Nations" at Leipzig on 16 to 19 October.  From there the French retreated west of the Rhine River, and Napoleon was never to enter Germany again.

Well this project has been stalled about two years, so it's high time the we break the armistice and get Immer Vorwärts! rolling forward again.  The brief two month window between mid August and mid October is really what our armies are initially based on.  Sure we'll be able to flex back to 1812 and forward to 1815 just fine, but it's during this period that our guiding OOBs are taken.

 Campaign of 1813

Don't expect to see painted minis to come popping out the woodwork right away.  I have a few projects to finish up before I really get back to business with my Prussians.  Not sure who will end up coming with me, but I'm determined to keep the project going in one way or another.  In the mean time I have completed the campaign "Timeline" page found under the banner with the OOBs.  I also have little summaries scheduled for the days each battle was fought.

This blog was created to not only chronicle the progress of our project and showcase our armies, terrain, and battles, but also detail the how's and why's for every step we take along the way.  Hopefully what we leave behind here is a useful guide for those getting started in the hobby as well as those that may want to try something similar in their own club.  Or even for folks may want to join our local group.

Battle of Katzbach

With that in mind I have created a "Basic Training" page that will continue to be updated as we go.  Everything helpful in one spot.  It also helps those that are new to the blog "catch up" with what we've done.  I have few posts planned that will cover some of the basics like rule sets, miniature companies, recommended reading, resource links, and anything else that might be useful to someone starting out.

So now that Immer Vorwärts! has been officially "rebooted" I look forward to sharing my hobby efforts into the fall and well beyond.  Thanks for stopping by and for your continued support.  It's great to get going again!  :-)

Immer Vorwärts!