Napoleon’s 6 Days In 1814 (6): A Simple French OoB For Wargamers

I made a fictional but plausible order of battle based on the guidelines in Sam Mustafa’s Blücher rules and my sources, Henri Houssaye (Napoleon and the Campaign of 1814, Henry Houssaye, Perrin 1888) and Petre (Napoleon at Bay, Francis Loraine Petre, John Lane Company, 1914).

Napoleon had his Guard units and conscripts. The armies were quite small, twenty/ fifty thousand soldiers. Although I recommend historical OoB I also prefer quickplay and fast setup. So my plausible French order of battle is:

Guard Corps (Napoleon)

  • 1 batallion Old Guard
  • 2 batallions Middle/Young Guard
  • 2 Guard Cavalry

Corps I (Ney)

  • 4 conscript infantry batallions

Cavalry Corps

  • 1 heavy cavalry unit
  • 3 light cavalry units

Artillery support (Drouot)

  • 6 foot artillery
  • 3 horse artillery
  • 3 heavy artillery

For Blücher players the artillery choices are clear. Artillery is in Blücher a +1 modifier to the unit strength (if attached), but instead every 3 units can be combined in batteries. Drouot is an artillery officer whose presence gives bonuses to artillery. I recommend:

  • 6 attached guns (Corps I and the Middle/Young Guard)
  • 1 horse artillery battery
  • 1 heavy artillery battery

The artillery is relatively strong, in some of the battles the artillery was undermanned or not available. But Napoleon was an artillerist and the locals helped him. For example, at Craonne he needed directions. So what happened? Houssaye:

The postmaster of Berry-an-Bac said that M. de Bussy, the Mayor of Beaurieux, who had formerly served as an officer, was the very man for the purpose; Napoleon, who had a marvellous memory for names, remembered that he had had, in the artillery regiment of La Fere, a comrade of the name of De Bussy; a cavalry escort was sent to the Mayor of Beaurieux, and he arrived in the middle of the night. (…) De Bussy pointed out that the route laid down for Ney’s column was too much to the eastward, and that the proper direction of his attack was through the village of Ailles. The Emperor agreed, and sent fresh orders to Ney. De Bussy was reinstated in the army with the rank of colonel of artillery, and was directed to guide Nansouty’s cavalry (Houssaye, Henry. Napoleon and the Campaign of 1814)

A small army with Ney as close combat commander and Drouot as long range artillery specialist appears to be balanced, and with Napoleons Guard, relatively strong. This is a 230 point army. Napoleon has the Legend status (his army can suffer more losses) and I added the Excellent Staffwork bonus (lower movement cost) because the Emperor was truly the battlefield emperor in 1814.

If you want less artillery, more infantry:

  • replace the 6 foot artillery units with a veteran infantry unit
  • and/or replace the 3 horse artillery with a conscript unit
  • and/or replace the 3 heavy artillery with a conscript unit
  • and get st Cyr (infantry bonus) instead of subcommander Drouot

You can easily make changes yourself with Mike Nagel’s excel army builder. mpnagel@me.com, see below. If you want a larger army, think about a second infantry corps, Marmont as subcommander instead of a cheaper general and more heavy cavalry and a maybe one veteran unit.

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