Club Event: 19-20 November 2022
For many years now at Durham Wargames Group we have occasionally played large scale multi-player Napoleonic games using 15mm figures – trying to refight some of the great battles of the period. For rules we have used both Napoleon’s Battles and Sam Mustafa’s Blücher, excellent sets. We have fought part of the Battle of Leipzig – the largest battle of the wars – but never attempted the full thing. Well, the time has come to change that.
The plan is to use all of the tables in one of our large rooms giving a playing area of 168 square feet. We will be using about 5,400 figures in total organised into 18 French corps and 23 Allied corps (including the Swedes – if they ever arrive), so plenty of commands to go around.
A game of this size presents numerous logistical challenges including having over 100 foot of road and 50 foot of river ready to go. For the rules I decided to go for a home brew set to try to keep it relatively simple. There is enough complexity in the orders of battle without adding too much more.
Allied officers trying to understand the orders of battle.
Alexander Sauerweid Battle of Leipzig 1844 Wikimedia Commons
Players’ Briefing for Leipzig
It is Saturday 16 October 1813. The summer campaign in Germany has not been decisive. Napoleon’s army occupies a central position in Saxony, concentrating on Leipzig. The French have around 110,000 men around Leipzig and 53,000 marching to join them from the north.
Three Allied armies are converging towards the city: the Army of Bohemia under the Austrian Prince Schwarzenberg, with the Russian Emperor Alexander, to the south; the Army of Silesia under Marshall Blücher, ably assisted by General Gneisenau, to the north; and, the Army of the North, under the adopted Crown Prince of Sweden, Bernadotte, somewhat tardily advancing from the north west. If all do arrive in time, the Allies will have as many as 360,000 troops – enough to destroy the French and end the war.
The Army of Bohemia is the first allied force to take the field to the south of Leipzig and the enemies brace for battle. The early morning mist begins to lift. This will be the greatest clash of arms of the Napoleonic Wars. Can Napoleon capture his old glory and crush the Allies or will his army once more be ground down by the superior numbers enjoyed by the enemy?