The Austrians' retreat had become more desperate as troops sought to find a way over the last major river before the Danube and avoid being cut off by the pursuing French. The bridge over the Traun at Ebelsberg was over 500 meters long and the storming of it by the French and the valiant defence of Ebelsberg by the Austrians is one of the epic but lesser known battles of the 1809 campaign.
|The battle of Ebelsberg showing the French storming the bridge and the burning chateau on the other side.|
To make this more interesting and adapt it for the wargaming table I simplified it with three Austrian infantry brigades and one cavalry brigade which composed both a rearguard and units withdrawing through the crossroad of Klein Munchen. Their objective was to hold off the French and prevent them from seizing the crossroads while at the same time getting one or more brigades across the bridge (i.e. off the table) by Turn 6. The French objective was to seize the crossroads and prevent as many Austrians as possible from getting away by Turn 6. To do this the French have two cavalry brigades and three infantry brigades converging from three directions. All Austrians start on the table and to speed things up we decided all French forces on the table by Turn 2.
With Doug as the pursuing French, the game started with a predictable traffic jam at the crossroads as Austrian brigades from the left and right flanks tried to negotiate the narrow road through and out of the town to the bridge. Getting Austrian commanders to direct their troops proved to be as difficult as ever with one managing to get all his brigade on the road heading in the right direction and the other getting half marching and the other half, well, going nowhere or milling about aimlessly outside the town. Fortunately for the rearguard I put a useful general in charge (Radetzsky - who was actually there historically), leaving his cav bde commander to cover the western road while he directed the rest of the rearguard units (battalions of Warasdiner Grenzer, Hungarian IR 51 Splenyi & 2nd Jaeger with the Erherzog Karl Uhlanen and Lichtenstein Hussars attached) who barred the main road to the north and formed an arc to protect the withdrawing troops on the roads. The French have initiative so go first in this scenario and Doug immediately launched his veteran Chasseurs-a-Cheval at the Grenzer barring their path, with his hussars behind in close support.
|Marulaz' Chasseurs start the game facing the Grenzer at the end of the forest defile|
|Troops jam the road into the town as the hussars provide a covering screen|
|Hungarian rearguard bar the road north to allow the retreating units time to negotiate the narrow streets of the town|
|The main part of the Austrian cavalry with mobile artillery, cover the western approaches. The French allied Baden cavalry has made an appearance opposite.|
|French cavalry smash into the redoubtable Austrian Grenzers|
|The last of the 3rd Bde - its artillery train - clear the town and make it to the bridge. In the distance opposite the hapless Austrian cav, the entire Baden brigade has deployed!|
|With the help of the Austrian Uhlans, two French cavalry regiments are destroyed/driven off the field. Result!|
|Meanwhile confusion reigns on the road into town with one unit blundering off left (to nowhere) and another unable to even get on the road|
|The Baden brigade menaces the thin screen of the diminished Austrian cavalry brigade - note the limber finally moving to deploy on the hill. Yeh, yeh I know - they all LOOK just like Bavarians!|
|One of the few successes on that side of town - the Baden Jaeger certainly copped a pasting - shaken and disordered but still stayed in the field. At least it gave me an excuse to use one the the Perry's Austrian 'running man' casualty markers!|
|The plucky Uhlans about to get rid of the last of the French cavalry - and yes, that is Murat posing as the French cav commander Marulaz!|
|The crack French light infantry come on - the Jaeger skirmishers wisely withdraw but remain within rifle range|
|The French come on in force faced by a thin screen of Austrian cavalry|
|Courageous Jaegers meet the French onslaught|
|The French (in column) actually charged the hussars - who counter-charged of course - then won the combat!|
|The Vienna Volunteers about to die horribly!|
|The final French assault|
|Brigade commander Coehorn urges his boys for the the final push into the town|
|Despite heavy casualties their numbers eventually prevailed - the Grenzer , now unsupported, are about to die!|
|The Italian Tirailleurs de Po break into the town and take the crossroad, effectively cutting off the hard pressed Austrians on either side of town|
|The situation at close of business - a pretty convincing victory to the French|
It was a lot of fun and with a few tweaks, the scenario could be a good one for the next demo game. Until I paint some more, it uses up just about my entire collection of Napoleonic armies (minus the Russians and a few Italians & Poles) so it was a worthwhile exercise but I'd better get some more lead painted up!