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Wagram Bridge Crossings Part II

The Crossings and Analysing the Austrian Defences

The initial French situation on Lobau Island

A) The above description spells out what needs to be done; the French player needs to cross the Danube River from Lobau Island. As a matter of fact, nearly all of your forces are on Lobau Island with the exception of IV Corps of the Army of Germany (the Muhlau Bridgehead) –however, those units are all fixed for a fair amount of time, and are outside the scope of this discussion. I have elected to go with a historical scenario as those deployments are going to be on readily found maps on the topic anyway, so I am not really giving away too much (or rather I hope that I’m not).

B) Note that some areas have more defences deployed opposite the crossing points than others, and this should be your primary consideration. Naturally, this can be accomplished in different successful combinations. The main thing is that not only does a crossing need to be made, but an organized crossing should be made, and like any solid Napoleonic grand tactical situation, all of the armies’ branches need to cross as quickly and as organized (read that to mean in good command control range), as possible to present an effective and powerful fighting force.

C) What exactly am I talking about here by ‘an effective and powerful fighting force’? Simply this, a Napoleonic army in this scale thrives upon a ‘rock, paper, scissors’ approach, and these functioned using the concept of combined arms (actually in one way or another this has existed for thousands of years, but never mind that right now)… In short, you need to not only get your infantry across, but you also need your cavalry, and your artillery – not to mention your supply wagons.

At the start of the historical scenarios (I have chosen 10H but any historical scenario featuring the bridge crossings work the same) the actual bridges that the French very limited can cross are, and only infantry units can cross – that plus even those bridges are usually pretty weak. At this point it is important to consider the rules on damaged bridges, and what strength level a bridge can be at before the various unit types can use them.

1) Now what does this mean in practical terms? Simply put, it means that as the French player you have some repair work to do, and you need to prioritise where this will be. Your first step is to take stock of your bridge values, and you have a lot of choices. I won’t tell you which ones are which, since that is basically part of the process, and I am not going to do all of the work here ;).

2) My own personal preference is to ignore the bridges that are half gone anyway, and focus on those that are more immediately useable, although at this point it is probably important to consider where the Austrian forces are and what they can plausibly do. I am not sure if the French force release times are all automatic, or based upon a percentage probability (and am not going to look), that being the case just assume that the fixed units release on a probability, so that it might well be different every time.

3) My own personal preference is to ignore the bridges that are half gone anyway, and focus on those that are more immediately useable, although at this point it is probably important to consider where the Austrian forces are and what they can plausibly do. I am not sure if the French force release times are all automatic, or based upon a percentage probability (and am not going to look), that being the case just assume that the fixed units release on a probability, so that it might well be different every time.

Next Time: Working with the French Pioneers