Thursday, 30 April 2015

Black Powder: Battle of Gorodeczna

We continued our 1812 campaign last Saturday with the battle of Gorodeczna. In this battle a Russian army had to fight a holding action to keep a combined Austro-Saxon army at bay long enough to withdraw their army intact. The Austro-Saxon army outnumbered the Russians 2:1 and had surprised the Russians with a flanking manoeuvre, so the task was not an easy one.

The battle unfolded nicely, with the flanking attack by the Saxons forcing the Russians to redeploy their forces into a dangerously thin crescent. The attacking Austro-Saxons had some trouble with coordinating their moves and getting their men into position, which hampered their attack. The frontal attack by the Austrians across the river was launched perhaps too soon and took heavy casualties. Meanwhile the Saxons were taking too long to engage the Russian flank.

In the end, the Russian right flank held its own admirably whereas its left took a bad beating and was forced to withdraw in disarray. The Russian centre - engaged from three sides - suffered the worst punishment and was essentially destroyed. At the close of the battle (turn 10 - roughly 16.00 historically) the Russians had managed to hold the French back, but their situation was rapidly deteriorating. The Russian right was strong and the centre could hold its own due to large Russian cavalry reserves being committed there. However the Russian left flank was disintegrating so the remainder of the army would have to hurry if they wished to avoid encirclement. Losses were roughly equal, with approximately 10 battalions broken on either side and perhaps 5 more shaken per side (out of some 40 Austro-Saxon battalions and 20 Russians).

Our (= my) assessment of the situation is that the Russians had suffered proportionately far worse than the Austro-Saxons, yet were in a position to withdraw their army and regroup a still battle worthy force. The Austro-Saxons had failed to destroy the Russians or prevent them from withdrawing, yet they had put the Russian position into such dire straits that the Austro-Saxons can justifiably be hailed as the victors of this battle.

A view of the battlefield from behind the Russian "crescent". Our gallant generals engage in lively academic debate.

Austrian cavalry attempting to force a crossing

Stoic Russian infantry holds firm

Saxon troops (being represented by Austrian miniatures) outflanking the Russians

Russian cavalry on flank-guard duty

The remnants of the Russian centre attempt to extricate themselves

Austrian cavalry routs the remnants of the Russian centre

Massed Saxon artillery


  1. Nice looking battle, love your Austrian and Saxon figures...

  2. Thanks Phil. I can't take any of the credit for the minis, but I'll pass the praise.