Triumph &Glory Variant: Historical Wagram

Written and researched by Tom Cmajdalka

August 14, 2002

You’ve all heard me wax lyrical about T&G and how the system works especially well with larger battles. After playing Wagram, I thought it would be helpful to put together a variant that would address some of the issues that crop up in the currently published Wagram 1st scenario.

GMT’s Triumph and Glory Wagram gives you a beautiful two map battlefield and all of the units that engaged in the actual battle (and then some). The beauty of the 1st scenario is that it allows the French to take armies across the Danube and maneuver them to where they’d be most effective, and it allows the Austrians to decide how to best defend against Napoleon’s new initiative. T&G gives players lots of room to maneuver. What it doesn’t give you is an opportunity to grapple with some of the pivotal challenges faced by the commanders at Wagram. This variant, "Historical Wagram", is intended to put players face-to-face with the strategic and tactical problems faced by both forces. First, I will list some of the key issues. Then I’ll give you the simple variant rules I’ve developed. Lastly, I’ll spend a bit of time analyzing why the issues are important and how these new rules help.

A. ISSUES:

  1. Napoleon’s troops do not enter the battlefield in the same manner they did historically
  2. Nordmann’s Advanced Guard cannot readily join Rosenburg’s’ 4th Korps
  3. Klenau’s 6th Korps cannot retreat off the map
  4. Davout can be exceedingly more active than the historical record
  5. Kollowrath’s entrance is dependent upon the extent of the French advance
  6. Austria’s commander ratings are too low (and the French ratings are too high!)

B. VARIANT RULES:

  1. Please use the following Reinforcement schedule for the French:
  2. TURN

    HEXES

    UNITS

    July 5, 05:15

    "B"

    IX Corps (20 units)[Only one Activation Marker this turn][c]

    "C"[a]

    IV Corps Infantry (minus units deployed). (27 units) The IV Corps artillery and cavalry enter on the 2nd Activation Marker of that turn.

    July 5, 06:30

    E1644

    II Corps (30 units)[Only one Activation Marker for this turn]

    July 5, 07:45

    "E"[a]

    III Corps (52 units)

    "D"

    The Imperial Guard (11 units)[Only one Activation Marker for this turn]

    July 5, 09:00

    E3244, E3343, E3444

    (Kimmerleinsdorf)

    The Army of Italy (26 units)[d]

    July 5, 10:15

    "C", "D" or "E"

    Cavalry Reserve (18 units)[Only one Activation Marker for this turn][d]

    July 5, 20:15

    "A" or "B"

    XI Corps (13 units), followed by Wrede’s division from VII Corps (7 units)[b][d][f]

  3. Once Nordmann’s Advance Guards have either abandoned or been forced out of Gross Enzerdorf, Essling and Aspern, they may use Extended Movement mode (as per Version 2.0 Rulebook, 7.13) even without Orders.
  4. Klenau may retreat off the western edge of the map. He can only return after the entrance of Kollowrath’s 3rd Korps, using the same entry hex choices. (Klenau can enter only after Kollowrath’s last unit enters the map. This may happen on the same turn.) Klenau does not have to enter the map at this time, and may delay entry as long as the Austrian player wishes.
  5. Davout cannot receive Orders or roll for Orders until July 5, 20:15.
  6. Kollowrath may enter as per the original scenario. However, if Klenau leaves the battlefield, Kollowrath can enter the very next turn (the turn after Klenau’s last unit leaves the map). Lichtenstein’s Grenadiers cannot move further than 3 hexes out of Gerasdorf until one of Kollowrath’s units enters the town.
  7. Variant rules 2-5 compensate somewhat for the low Austrian ratings, but I suggest the following if you’re so inclined:

Austria

Kollowrath: 3,4 instead of 2,3

Klenau: 2,3 instead of 1,2

Bellegarde: 3,4 instead of 2,3

Grenadiers: 5,5 instead of 3,3

Rosenburg: 4,5 instead of 2,3

Nordmann: 5,5 instead of 2.3

France

Davout: 5,5 instead of 5,7

Massena: 4,5 instead of 5,5

Bessieres: 4,5 instead of 5,5

Marmont: 3,4 instead of 4,4

C. ANALYSIS:

  1. French reinforcements: The great thing about this scenario is the French player gets to deal with al the traffic jams inherent in moving a whole army across a river and getting them into the right position, providing much amusement for the Austrian player. Bernadotte never entered the Marchfeld from the northern part of Lobau Island, but putting him there (as the original scenario does) helps create some of the chaos that the French had to deal with in crossing the Danube. The reinforcements in this variant guide the French player toward where troops were actually deployed. Specifically, Prince Eugene’s Army of Italy was originally moved to reinforce Davout’s position near Glizendorf. Only later did Napoleon have them march toward Wagram. Bessiere’s cavalry crossed the Danube east of Gross Enzerdorf. Wrede and Marmont started crossing the Danube at 17:45, but that was to get onto Lobau Island, not off it! Hence the later entry.
  2. Nordmann’s Advanced Guards: Both Nordmann and Klenau were stationed between Gross Enzerdorf and Aspern in anticipation of an advance by Napoleon through the Mühlau salient (hexes W2742, 2842, 2942). This is the place from which Napoleon attacked a month earlier, and continued to harass Charles’ advanced guard with small diversionary attacks. Once Klenau and Nordmann realized that the major force was crossing at the Hansel Grund (south of the Wagram East map), they knew they were out of position and immediately retreated. Some analysts fault Klenau and Nordmann for this quick retreat, but it was actually quite prudent: anyone that could have supported any kind of serious stand (namely Kollowrath and Reuss) were almost 10 miles away near Lang-Enzerdorf (west of the Wagram West map). Of all the commander ratings, those of Klenau, Kollowrath and Nordmann are the most out-of-whack. This will be discussed more in the appropriate section below. However, some of you might be like me, and hate marking up counters with new values: hence this small rule allowing Nordmann to use Extended Movement even though he doesn’t have Orders. This allows the Advanced Guard to take up their historical position (should the Austrian player desire) defending Rosenburg’s flank.
  3. Klenau off the map: The first argument here is that Klenau should be allowed to make the retreat he actually executed in the historical record. More compelling, however, is the argument of how the entire battle is skewed if Klenau remains on the map. Prince Charles’ main concern at the battle of Wagram was how to defend the open apex west of Deutsch Wagram. Napoleon’s strategy revolved around how he would exploit this weakness. If Klenau remains on the map, Lichtenstein’s Grenadiers are not needed to defend Gerasdorf. If Klenau can defend the approach to Gerasdorf, Lichtenstein can deploy his Grenadiers in the open apex, a solution even lesser experienced gamers can see. This creates a battle that may be fought on a map of the Marchfeld and the Heights, but it isn’t Wagram. Allowing Klenau to exit (in order to bring Kollowrath into the battle sooner) forces Lichtenstein to defend Gerasdorf until reinforcements arrive. And it allows players to focus their strategy on the defense and exploitation of the open apex near Wagram.
  4. Davout: Historically, Davout never got orders until late in the evening of July 5, or at least that’s what he claimed. Therefore he can’t until July 5, 20:15. Despite the caliber of his troops, he never really got it together until the late morning of July 6.
  5. Kollowrath’s entrance: The first argument is that the French could play a gamey strategy and stay away from Süssenbrün, Gerasdorf and Leopoldau so that Kollowrath never gets onto the map. More compelling is the fact that this new possibility of an earlier entrance by Kollowrath compels the French to move quickly. It also gives a nod to General Wimpfen, Prince Charles' chief of staff, who proposed earlier action from the right.
  6. Commander ratings: Prince Charles’ at this time was plagued with disagreements. This is partially reflected in the fact that Charles can only give 2 Orders per turn (compared to Napoleon’s 3), and has to roll 5 or less to reassign them (Napoleon doesn’t have to roll to reassign Orders). You would think this would be enough. On top of that, the T&G Wagram Scenario penalizes commanders who actually performed remarkably well in the battle (Klenau, Kollowrath, Bellegarde and (initially) Rosenburg are the most notable). On the French side, Eugene and Bernadotte are accurately represented, but Davout’s morale is almost godlike, unusual given his hesitation in this battle! One could argue until the cows come home whether one commander should be a 3 instead of a 4 or vice versa. (Of course, this is the meat of many a longwinded discussion in some circles!) Based on my reading about the battle, I have suggested values for the commanders I feel haven’t been given a fair shake one way or another.

Finally, PLAY THIS GAME!

I don’t think you’ll ever be able to experience the thrill of this major Napoleonic battle with such a relatively simple system. I strongly suggest using the new Rout rules by Bill Ramsay: it avoids counter congestion, and more important, given the bloodiness of this battle, you’ll run out of Rout counters before you know it!

Tom Cmajdalka

tom_cmaj@hotmail.com

Santa Cruz, CA