Because the battlefield extends over 2 hexes, and the expected numbers of troops involved, the umpire has decreed that the battle be fought with 6mm figures. Our Hail Napoleon variant of Hail Caesar is to get its baptism of fire with 6mm figs here. We would have liked to have had a practice battle in 6mm before a major engagement, but the campaign moved too fast so we had to jump straight into slightly unfamiliar territory – not unrealistic at the start of a war. But our experience of our other extensions of HC has always been good and the changes required for 6mm are not that great. Hail Napoleon is structured so battles can at different ground and figure scales depending on the scale of the action. Our intention is to fight army sized actions with 6mm figs, corps sized actions with 15mm figs and divisional sized action with 28mm. Our 6mm system has a ground scale of 8”=1km and the units are brigades of about 2400 infantry or 1200 cavalry, or batteries of 16 guns. This makes our 10’x6’ table about 15km x 9km - about 2 hexes. For 15mm figs the ground scale is 16”=1km and the units are demi-brigades of 1200 infantry, regiments of 600 cavalry or batteries of 8 guns. So we would fight a 30,000 man a side battle with 15mm figs on a 7.5km x 4.5km area, or a 60,000 men a side battle with 6mm on a 15km x 9km area – each with the same number of units, so either can be fought in an evening. Our 28mm figures could be used for small actions of 15,000 men a side, with units being 600 man battalions, 300 man half regiments of cavalry & batteries of 6 guns on a 4km x 2.5km area, but we don’t expect the campaign to produce any such actions.
Pic taken from the southwest corner. Gera is at the north edge. A French Corps has marched onto the table on the Plauen road on the east edge. The 9th Saxon division is in the centre of the table. The 5th Prussian & 8th Saxon are on the road behind them.
The French have a command rating of 9 to the Prussians 8. It doesn't sound like a lot of difference, but it is very significant. The relative speeds of the French & Prussian infantry on the battlefield was very obvious. The Prussian system of having their cavalry split up among mixed divisions has been much criticised, but on this battlefield, Murat's cavalry corps was nowhere to be seen while the Prussian penny packets of heavy cavalry were where they were needed to slow down the French advance and buy the time needed to surround and retake Gera.
It was a long and exhausting evening - going on to 11.30. It was a big battle to be the first test of Hail Napoleon for 6mm, but as always with our Hail Caesar variants it did the job. There were about 160,000 men in this battle, but we got through almost all of a 16 turn day in about 4 hours.
The umpires will translate the battle losses in broken, shaken & damaged units into permanent losses for the campaign. The Prussians had the infantry of the 6th broken & the 8th Saxon. The rest had few casualties. The Saxons took a few with them, but nothing serious. Soult's force had only a couple of units broken, but the rest had heavy casualties and were mostly shaken. Soult might have held out in Gera, but he also might have lost his entire corps if he'd tried to hold out. Napoleon wasn't going to get there before nightfall, and the Prussian ring was tightening and 144 guns being brought up.