Napoleon’s 6 Days In 1814 (7) Simple Prusso-Russian Orders of Battle

Assisted by an excel army builder (see below) for my favourite Napoleonic wargame Blücher, I created a fictional but plausible 200-point 1814 Prussian-Russian army and an Austrian army.

Again, no historical OoB but a quick setup for casual play.

Campaign Overview

After the La Rothière battle (a chaotic snowstorm fight east of Troyes, 1st February 1814, Coalition victory) the impatient Prus-Russians, overconfident, with Blücher in command, wanted to rush to Paris. In the process, Blücher separated his force from the main Austrian force.

Napoleon skilfully positioned himself between the two armies and defeated and pursued the Prusso-Russians first (10-14 February, Champaubert, Chateau Thierry) and then tried to strike the Austrians in the flank (Battle of Montereau, 18 February 1814). After a rearguard battle the Austrians retreated to the east.

Blücher fell back to Chalons, reorganized and moved northwest again either to capture Paris or to unite with a third main force, the northern Russian-Swedish army near Laon. Again Napoleon pursued him but couldn’t prevent Blücher to join forces with a fresh Russian corps. Napoleon narrowly escaped a crushing defeat at Laon (9/10-3-1814).

Napoleon retreated to the east, captured Rheims (12-3-1814) and threatened Austrian supply lines. He captured a bridge and attacked the Austrians at Arcis-sur -Aube (20/21-3-1814) with 30.000 men. He assumed that he had encountered only a small rearguard. However this was the main 100.000 men Austrian army which counterattacked the second day. Napoleon quickly retreated, Berezina-style, ferociously defending the last bridge.

He hoped that the Prussians and the Austrians would halt or retreat to secure their supply. However the Coalition had received news that Paris would revolt against Napoleon if the capital was captured.

So instead of retreating they placed a Russian cavalry shield between their main forces and Napoleon’s force (Battle of St Dizier, 26 March 1814), formed a junction and rushed towards Paris, a move Napoleon hadn’t expected. Paris surrendered after the Battle of Paris (March 30-31, 1814), Ney and Marmont gave up and Napoleon abdicated.

The OoB below reflects the composition of the Russo-Prussian and Austrian army before the decisive Coalition march on Paris during the last week of March.

Prussian Army

Blücher commanded a Prussian army reinforced with Russians. Unlike the French, Prussian ‘brigades’ were mixed. A battlegroup consisted of high quality, medium and low quality troops, cavalry and artillery, Mustafa recommends 4-5 units. The Prussians had no designated Guard Corps. Artillery was integrated with the infantry.

Ist Silezischen Korps (Blücher)

  • Line regiment ‘Von Klopp’
  • Reserve regiment ‘Aus der Reihe’
  • Landwehr regiment ‘Von Tatort’
  • Light cavalry
  • Landwehr cavalry

IInd Brandenburger Korps

  • Line regiment ‘Herzog von Bauernbecke’
  • Reserve regiment ‘Lewandowski’
  • Landwehr regiment ‘Graf Schmeichel’
  • Light cavalry
  • Landwehr cavalry

IIIrd Russian Allied Kiyev Corps (subcommander Rayevski)

  • 1st Kiyev Russian Infantry Regiment
  • 2nd Kiyev Russian Infantry Regiment
  • 3rd Kiyev Russian Infantry Regiment
  • Russian Cossacks Volga

IVth Russian Allied Moskva Corps

  • 1st Moskva Russian Infantry Regiment
  • 2nd Moskva Russian Infantry Regiment
  • 3rd Moskva Russian Infantry Regiment
  • Russian Cossacks Don

Artillery Support

  • 4 foot artillery
  • 3 horse artillery
  • 3 heavy artillery

Total 218 points.

  • The Prusso-Russian troops were mediocre and slow in 1814 compared to the Emperor, battling away fron home. To reflect this I upgraded Napoleon’s 1814 profile with the Excellent Staffwork trait. You can give the Prusso-Russians more handicaps, but that might be unfair.
  • The Prussian guard saw no major actions until Paris, apparently. So I wouldn’t add them to a standard setup.
  • The Prusso-Russians had enough artillery pieces, often as many or more than the French, so the artillery support is maxed out in this Blücher-rules army composition. I recommend to attach 2 artillery to the Ist Korps and 2 artillery to the 2nd Korps.
  • Russians corps were generally smaller than those of other nations. They had more artillery than other armies. Their infantry was stubborn. Thus the Russian corps have one unit less than the Prussians, can form a heavy artillery battery and/or a horse artillery battery, and have Rayevski (who gives the steadfast +1 defense bonus to one of his batallions) as subcommander. Russian artillery batteries have one extra ammo so a Russian heavy artillery unit could be useful.

This army has roughly the same point strength as their French counterpart. If you want to reinforce this army, for example because they are the attacker, think about adding a Prussian corps (5 units as above = 44 points). Plus you can give a few units the mixed trait. You can also upgrade Russians to a guard corps with Russian cuirassiers, who saw action at La Rothière.

I wouldn’t add an extra commander to a reinforced Prussian army. In Blucher, commanders add qualities to their corps. The Prussian Oberkommando was not at their best this campaign: Blücher was reckless and ill at several crucial moments: the allied subcommanders were discontent and arrogant. At Laon the Russo/Prussians missed the opportunity to crush the small French army.

Houssaye:

Sacken lost all self-control, and said to Müffling: “Listen, General, up to now I have always respected the Field-Marshal’s decisions, but for the last four days he has lost his head.

Yorck at a certain point quarreled with Gneisenau and was unhappy with the quarters Gneisenau alotted to his corps.

this order was more than the old general could bear; he issued his instructions as to the march and cantonments, and then, without warning a soul beyond his aide-de-camp, he got into a carriage and started for Brussels. Blücher’s officers wished to have York brought before a council of war, but they did not dare to suggest this to the Field-Marshal.

Personal letters from Blücher and the Prussian Crown Prince finally persuaded him to return.

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