The 1814 has now kicked off with the first 4 days of map movement and there has been plenty of action, not much shooting, but surprises a plenty. We start the campaign with frozen ground and no snow, for now……
The Army of Bohemia, with it’s starting point of Chaumont, decided to strike north towards Joinville and a contingent from Army of Silesia, perhaps to narrow the gap between them and provide mutual support should they run into the Small Chap. It should also be pointed out that the Army of Bohemia relies on Chaumont for it’s point of supply and reinforcements, important fact as our story progresses.
The Army of Silesia starts the campaign at Bar-le-Duc which operates as the point of supply and reinforcements for the Prussians. Our Blucher, Jose, has split his force pushing one command towards St Dizier and the other NW towards Revigny
The French Have commands all over the map so I’ll only discuss those that are relevant to my tale. A large French force was concentrated around the vicinity of Bar-sur-Aube and looking to join battle with Schwarzenberg and the Army of Bohemia marched toward Chaumont. Encountering no enemy and a little confused Napoleon (yes the great man in person) ordered an extended march on Chaumont expecting to find Schwarzenberg heading towards him or at least a cavalry screen. Encountering no resistance the fist Divisions of French cavalry reached the outskirts of the town by mid afternoon finding only a small garrison, the supply base for the Army of Bohemia, and wagons heading north!
The only other French move of note was a division of cavalry probing towards Bar-le-Duc. The French found what they were expecting this time bumping into a large Prussian force. As the Prussians kept advancing and French orders were to fall back if advanced upon the French cavalry find themselves falling back towards St Dizier.
The tale of Chaumont
I’ll conclude the first half of the nights map action with the mysterious tale of Chaumont. The French on finding Chaumont lightly defended did what any Frenchy would do in such a situation, took the town. With more and more French cavalry and infantry divisions arriving and a chance of new boots and vodka, the town, or more correctly the supplies, errupted, literally.
Schwarzenberg on hearing the French were in his rear and cutting of his line of communications, Bavarian brattwurst and Austrian pastry supplies immediately halted his northwards thrust. Clearly rattled by the ferocious push on Chaumont by the French Schwarzenberg issued new orders, he wasn’t going to let that sneaky little frog oik get away with all that sausage and light flakey morning tea treats. The next morning would see his Army advance south on Chaumont and give Bonnie a bloody nose
Napoleon, smelling a rat (which simply didn’t exist) ordered the destruction of the supplies, the mining of the the Bridge (thus hoping to sever supply to the Army of Bohemia for some time) and a withdrawal back to the west, quick as you can please. So with every knapsack in the French army heavier by the weight of a bottle of vodka and a stick of brattwurst the French army began marching back towards Bar-sur-Aube.
Poor old Napoleon was blissfully unaware Schwarzenberg was marching back to Chaumont to give him the battle he craved, while he himself was leaving the town because he suspected Schwarzenberger was out executing a cunning plan skirting around to his rear. A plan that would involve Schwarzenberg leaving his Austro-Bavarian-Russian rear and supply lines fully exposed, but cunning plan none the less.
So at the mid point of our first night of map movement we leave Schwarzenberg staring gloomily at smoldering supplies an a half dozen barrels of unexploded gun powder strapped to the Chaumont bridge pylons. Napoleon, on the other hand, is simply looking dazed and confused. Dazed by the contents of a half empty bottle of vodka sticking out of his coat pocket and confused as to why he hasn’t heard the sound of a bridge blowing up by now?
Next post more (better) map shots and I will wrap up the first nights map moves, and be prepared, Schwarzenberg is stalking Napoleon.
More on the campaign via the 1814 button on the menu bar