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Seelmeister

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In the Shadow of Greatness – Etienne's War​


Joint Second Place in the 2013 Second Half AARland Choice Awards! Thank you to all those who voted for Etienne.

Nominated as the Weekly AAR Showcase, 2-9 February 2014. Thanks Zorro!

Contents
Chapter 1 - Etienne's Portugal
Chapter 2 - The First Franco-Prussian War
Chapter 3 - The Emperor's Hour of Need, Venice 1807
Chapter 4 - Stabilising the Austrian Front
Chapter 5 - Baltic Ports and Southern Winds
Chapter 6 - War of the Fourth Coalition - The Catalonian Campaign
Chapter 7 - The German War
Chapter 8 - An African Adventure
Chapter 9 - The War of Polish Liberation
Chapter 10 - Dealing with the Archduke
Chapter 11 - The Russian Menace and the Plight of Poland
Chapter 12 - A Summons to Vienna
Chapter 13 - The Duke of Wellington and the Plains of Spain
Chapter 14 - The Battle of Ponferrada



Welcome to my next AAR with March of the Eagles. I've decided to take a different approach this time, and will try to tell you the story of one general's experience in the wars between 1805 and 1820. My intention is not to ignore the wider game-play, but try to only discuss events are they are relevant to our general. I chose France as I haven't yet tried them in MotE, and I also thought that as the country is likely to fight most of the major powers at one point or another, it would mean I'm not struggling for opportunities to battle!

The General I have chosen it Etienne MacDonald, who has been given command of the Cavalerie Italie – although the army composition has been changed during the first five months of the game. The reason I have chosen this name is that it lept of the screen at me. Etienne's father was from South Uist, one of the many islands off the west coast of Scotland. He fled to France following the failed Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, and was a close relative of Flora MacDonald who famously helped Bonnie Prince Charlie escape.

General Etienne was born in Sedan, in the Ardennes. During a post as aide-de-camp to General Dumouriez, he distinguished himself at the battle of Jemappes and was promoted to colonel in 1793. Following Dumouriez's desertion to the Austrians, Etienne became a general and was involved in the revolutionary wars in the Netherlands, Switzerland, around the Rhine and in Italy.

In game terms, Etienne is a manoeuvre 5, offensive 4 and defensive 4 general.


Order of battle for the Cavalerie Italie under General Etienne MacDonald.

The above image shows the order of battle, following my reorganisation and some recruitment.

The Left Flank will be led by Jean-Francis Carteaux, and is comprised of 2 Chasseurs, 1 Line Infantry, 1 Cuirassiers, 2 Artillery, 1 Light Infatry and 1 Horse Artillery.

The Centre, led by Dominique Klein, is comprised of 3 Guards, 2 Line Infatry, 2 Artillery, 1 Horse Artillery and 1 Corsican Sharpshooters (Light Infatry)

The Right Flank, commanded by Joseph Souham, is comprised of 2 Line Infantry, 1 Horse Artillery, 2 Dragoons, 2 Chasseurs and 1 Cuirassiers

Finally, in reserve I have 3 supply wagons, 1 Dragoon, 2 Cuirassiers and 1 Line Infantry.

I've begun the first update and played around 5 or 6 updates into the game, so I hope to get the first chapters posted over the next few days. Hope you all enjoy!
 
Last edited:

Stuyvesant

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Good luck! The limited timeframe of MotE should lend itself well to this character-focused approach. I look forward to following the adventures of Frenchie McScot. ;)
 

SAS

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Love it! Great idea focusing on the man.
 

Seelmeister

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Interesting approach. Looking forward to learning from this.
Thanks very much, I'm hoping to gain a better understanding of the military myself through a greater focus on it.

Very interesting idea!
Thanks, it has been an interesting game so far.

Good luck! The limited timeframe of MotE should lend itself well to this character-focused approach. I look forward to following the adventures of Frenchie McScot. ;)
Definitely, the shorter timeframe does mean that the game won't take too long to finish, giving me more time to write this up.

Love it! Great idea focusing on the man.
Thanks very much!
 

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Chapter 1 – Etienne's Portugal


As far as targets go, it was hardly the most attractive. While the Emperor was taking the fight to Sicily, and others repelled the British attacks in Germany, Etienne was to provide support to Massena as he conquered Portugal. Massena had departed a number of weeks ago, but reports had arrived calling for support while the fortress at Almeida was dealt with. The Emperors orders were to advance into the north of Portugal and draw soldiers away from Lisbon, while capturing the town of Porto. Still, there were some advantages. With no prospect of reinforces reaching the distant theatre, the Cavalerie Italie has swelled by some 15,000 men, and had also secured two extra supply brigades. Far more than was required for such a short campaign, but good to have nonetheless.

On the 7th May, the swelled ranks depart from the French border fort at Bayonne. Supplies will last long enough to cover the march and a few weeks activity in the field, so the capture of Porto must be a priority. The Spanish, although allied, appear none too happy about two French armies amrching through their land. Although allied, there is a mutual distrust between our peoples it seems.

The march proceeds without any incidents of note, and the army arrives at Zamora on the Portuguese border on the 24th May. Wes till have a few weeks of supplies remaining, while Massena's army are running low while the siege of Almeida continues without a breakthrough. The Portuguese army have been sighted around the towns south of the fortress, and it is agreed that Etienne will lead the Cavalerie Italie south in a fast march to quickly strike at Porto and the Portuguese army, before they can meddle with Massena's supplies.

The Cavalerie's route to Porto​

The route to Porto lies through the town of Braga, which surrenders without a fight to our army on the 3rd June. A few small scuffles follow the occupation in which we lose a few infantrymen. In one particularly unsavoury incident, a drunken riot breaks out late into the night. Several drunk soldiers commandeered an inn, and as the owner attempted to make himself understood provokes an assault which leaves the family dead. Neighbours response by torching the inn, killing 12 of the 15 soldiers involved in the incident.

Etienne is beside himself on being informed. Not only have lives been wasted, but he will be required to take action which has slowed the advance. If the Cavalerie Italie are to made an impression during this war, they must advance before Massena's army take Almeida and resume their advance. As well as the inconvenience, Etienne is also frustrated by the lack of discipline being shown by his force, particularly the more recent recruits which joined just before the campaign.

A court martial is hastily convened, and the five arsonists as well as the three surviving soldiers appear before it. Not in the mood to compromise, Etienne sentences all 8 to hang, and the army marches out of Braga.

On the 6th of June, our soldiers approach within eyesight of Porto. The town is far larger than Braga, a major source of commerce and recruits for the Portuguese. The city is also fortified, and will require a siege. There are at least 1,000 soldiers defending Porto, although these are not crack troops.

Etienne gives the order for an assault, just a few hours after arriving at the city walls. A cavalry charge from our right flank prevent any of the garrison leaving the fort, while our artillery concentrate their fire on the northernmost tower where many of the defenders have gathered. With the defence pinned down, our dragoons dismount and begin to storm the gate. Within a few hours, or men are in possession of the city.

The assault of Porto​

Following the capture of the city, our scouts report Portuguese troop movements in the south. Principe Joao has combined all Portuguese soldiers into the Exercito Real, other than a few brigades who are pinned down in the siege of Almeida. The Exercito have marched north and taken up a defensive position at Coimbra, blocking our route to Lisbon. We must cross the river Douro to engage with the Portuguese, but despite this Etienne orders the advance.

On the 10th June we engage with the Exercito. Souham orders an immediate cavalry charge from the right, which very quickly causes a panic in the Portuguese lines. The cavalry attack reels round behind the Portuguese infantry, striking hard at the supply lines and encircling much of the left flank. Souham orders the remaining cavalry to join the charge as the Portuguese infantry continue to waver. The Corsican sharpshooters are ordered to advance at the head of the French infantry, and sustain a high intensity of fire against the Portuguese. The Exercito, finding itself hemmed in between the French cavalry and infantry, begin to collapse and the panic quickly turns into a rout.

The battle lasts just 17 hours, and is a slaughter. Almost 17,000 Portuguese are killed or captured, while French casualties number just 250 men. Three of the French commanders gain traits from the battle; Etienne gains 'fast marcher', Carteaux gains 'careful planner' and Souham gains 'massed tactics'. The most active regiment in the battle was the 24e/30e Dragoons, who captured two flags in the cavalry charge which broke the Portuguese.

Flags captured by the 24e/30e Dragoons during the battle of Coimbra​

The battle of Coimbra has opened the road to Lisbon, and Etienne orders the advance soon after the end of the battle. The survivors in the Exercito Real are retreating south towards the Algarve, and their losses ensure that they will not trouble us for a few months. Our scouts inform us that Almeida has fallen to Massena, so there is a second French army marching south now.

On the 18th June we capture the town of Santurem, and are just two days outside of Lisbon. The Exercito continue to retreat south ahead of us, and so Etienne continues the march on to the capital. We arrive on the 20th June and begin the siege. The Marques de Alorna commands a garrison of almost 10,000, over 2,000 of whom are artillery, which means even Etienne's impatience is not enough to force an early assault.

Throughout July the siege continues, with no signs of a breach despite our large number of artillery. Rumours reach our lines of a great victory over the British in Hanover. Details are thin on the ground, but it seems that a major confrontation has taken place at Bremen. This hardens Etienne's resolve to finish the Portuguese campaign as soon as possible, the real conflict is taking place elsewhere. The fields of Germany are where glory is to be won.

At the end of July, our scouts detect Principe Joao's army returning north from the Algarve. They have replaced some of the losses they have sustained, but they are still a smaller force than the one we faced at Coimbra. We have enough supplies to continue the siege, even while Principe Joao retakes Santurem and disrupts our supply lines.

The breach made in the fortress at Lisbon​

Finally on the 31st August we have finally made a breach in the fortress at Lisbon. The large size of the garrison makes any assault remain risky. If we want to participate in other theatres we will have to conserve our soldier numbers, not throwing away lifes on an assault. Finally, on the 22nd September the garrison surrender after 94 days and the capital is in French hands. Rather than give up their arms, the Marques de Alorna instead choses to engage our forces. His exhausted and starved men are routed on the 23rd without any French loses.

Klein improves his deployment of artillery and gains the Artillerist I trait. The Brigade Sobieski, a unit of line infantry, capture 6 Portuguese flags in the rout, becoming our most decorated unit.

Flags captured by the Brigade Sobieski​

Etienne turns his attention to the Portuguese army which continues to roam the occupied country. Principe Joao marched north, but was thrown back by a Dutch army which had been sent by south to speed the occupation. Following this battle, the defeated Portuguese march straight into the waiting Cavalerie Italie at Setubal. Klein opens with a concentrated bombardment which saps the will of the weakened Portuguese. Cavalry from both flanks are ordered to assault the Portuguese infantry. The Portuguese break immediately, and quickly offer their surrender.

The Battle of Setubal​

Although the battle did not last long, Etienne gains the 'careful planner' trait, Souham gains 'entrencher' and Carteaux gains 'cavalryman I'. Massena has marched south to capture the remaining Portuguese towns, but with the armies defeated Etienne is ordered is ordered to return to France. The march to Metz will take several weeks, but will offer an opportunity for the Cavalerie Italie to replace the losses sustained in the Portuguese Campaign.
 

Stuyvesant

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Successful war so far. And you have managed to give Etienne and his army valuable experience. Redeploying to Metz... I wonder who your next adversary will be.
 

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do you think at the end of each campaign we could get an overview in terms of casualties,traits,flags,thoughts,etc.?

good start by the way
 

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It's a shame that Wellesley or another similar British expeditionary force didn't arrive to complicate matters. Does the AI in MotE regularly do that kind of thing? I'll be along for the ride of Etienne's story.
 

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Nice start. The brigade level detail is making me fan of this title. Hmmm. Etienne vs. The Iron Duke. Now that would be interesting.
 

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Successful war so far. And you have managed to give Etienne and his army valuable experience. Redeploying to Metz... I wonder who your next adversary will be.
Yeah it was always going to be a straight forward conflict, but a good opportunity to introduce General MacDonald and bleed in his soldiers. Russia have just joined Great Britain's coalition, which was the rationale behind my deployment, but in the end there was no sign of any Cossacks in Europe. Rest assured that there will not be a shortage of opponents in the near future.

do you think at the end of each campaign we could get an overview in terms of casualties,traits,flags,thoughts,etc.?

good start by the way
Thank you. This is an excellent suggestion. I have already played ahead - I have screens for about the next 4 or 5 updates at this stage, but I'll do my best to give some more details and then next time I play will take some more notes.

It's a shame that Wellesley or another similar British expeditionary force didn't arrive to complicate matters. Does the AI in MotE regularly do that kind of thing? I'll be along for the ride of Etienne's story.
There were a few British landings while Etienne was busy in Portugal, but they were all in Hanover. The great victory I mentioned in the last update was against a landing of 55,000 men, so the AI certainly seem to manage an invasion. They have not yet coordinated with my continental rivals, but there will be plenty of time for that.

Nice start. The brigade level detail is making me fan of this title. Hmmm. Etienne vs. The Iron Duke. Now that would be interesting.
Absolutely, I hope that I will soon be bringing news of some more illustrious opponents. In my first game of MotE, I just played as if it was a very aggressive game of EU3 without infamy, but in taking the time to analyse the make up of your flanks I've really appreciated the differences between MotE and other Paradox titles.

Thanks for all your comments, I'm always happy to hear suggestions, feedback and criticism of any aspect of my AAR's, so please do not be shy. I can only improve as a writer if you all tell me when I mess up :)
 

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Chapter Two - The First Franco-Prussian War


The rumours were spreading through the ranks – Russia had declared their support for Great Britain, and France was pulling troops north to face them in Germany. The Emperor himself, fresh from his conquest in Sicily, was said to be heading north to lead the charge.

Etienne was personally delighted to be leaving Portugal. The campaign had been a short one, on the periphery of Europe, but the move to Germany would surely offer opportunities to test the Cavalerie Italie against some of the finest armies in Europe, and offered Etienne the opportunity to test himself against the most capable generals. His orders were to march to Köln, which would allow the losses sustained during the Portuguese campaign to be replenished. In total, around 10,000 men had been lost in combat and through attrition, just under 20% of the fighting strength of the army.

On arriving in the Rhineland early in 1806, Etienne, Klein, Souham and Carteaux hold council in the city. The reasons for the new deployment remain far from clear. The anticipated Russian hordes have never materialised, and following the heavy defeats of three invasions, Great Britain appears to have little appetite for land war. Over 100,000 are said to have been killed or captured, while French losses have been minimal. Napoleon has kept the Grande Armee in Italy, with Austria making increasingly bellicose noises towards the Empire.

“Monsieurs, I cannot explain why the Emperor commands us to take up a position in Hanover. However, such a location is infinitely more desirable than Portugal, which offered little prospect of action following the fall of Lisbon. It appears likely that we will face the Austrian Empire again on the field of battle, and although we are not to be in the front line, we will surely see action is such a conflict.”


Map showing the French deployment in Hanover. The Cavalerie Italie are the eastern-most army.

From Köln, the Cavalerie Italie march north through the Netherlands, arriving in Hanover by the end of February. They are the largest of four armies in the region, with 51,000 out of a total of 145,000 men. Weeks pass without incident, and impatience grows as there is no news from the Austrian frontier. Finally, on the 14th April, Etienne summons his commanders to an urgent briefing.

“Monsieurs, I have just received a dispatch which informs me that a state of war now exists between France and Prussia. It seems the Germans have joined the British alliance, and there are rumours of a combined invasion being imminent. We are to attack the Prussians before they can link up with any forces the British can muster. We march this evening.”

The Cavalerie Italie are to be supported by one of the other French armies in the region, to aid with the occupation of Prussia. Etienne marches north to Lüneburg, and on the 17th crosses the border and meets 34,000 Prussians under the command of Ernst von Rüchel.

The battle I joined in the early hours of the day, with the Prussian cavalry launching a raid against Carteaux’s left frank. The raid is supported by a massed bombardment from the Prussian right, which pins down Klein in the centre and prevents any support reaching Carteaux. French casualties quickly mount. Klein responds with a massed bombardment of his own, which is followed by a strong cavalry charge from Souham’s right. This forces the Prussian centre back, and causes the cavalry raid against Carteaux to be withdrawn. Seeing the Prussians reel from the assault, Souham orders an all-out attack along the Prussian left, which is soon joined by Klein’s guards who hit the Prussian centre with devastating force.

The Prussian infantry fought furiously, and did not fold, but the combined assault was taking a heavy toll. French reinforcements, in the form of the Fourth Corps who have followed Etienne is his invasion, are soon sighted on the horizon. Klein orders his Corsican Sharpshooters to assume an advanced position on the field, and their targeted fire saps the organisation of the Prussian lines. As the Prussians respond to this new threat, Klein orders a second all-out assault from the elite Guards, and the first signs of panic appear in the Prussian lines.

With the French reinforcements approaching, von Rüchel is left with no option but to order the retreat. However, at this point Souham’s cavalry charge into the rear, cutting off the Prussian retreat. Casualties mount, but eventually von Rüchel manages to slip away with just 6,000 survivors. The battle has been a huge victory for Etienne, with just 4,000 men lost compared with 28,000 Prussian casualties. Many of the French losses were sustained by Carteaux on the left flank when faced with the initial Prussian charge.


The bloody battle of Stendal. A total of 12 flags were captured during the battle, and Prussia’s capacity to resist the French advance was dealt a heavy blow. Up until this point, this is the largest battle Etienne has participated in.

A good many flags are captured by the Cavalerie Italie to add to honours gained from the Portuguese campaign. The Corsican Sharpshooters collected four, Brigade Sobieski added another to their haul, the Brigade Conti captured their first two, The Bordeaux Guards captured four and the horse artillery captured an unlikely first. All flags were captured by regiments from Klein’s centre, who lost only a few hundred men in the battle.

In the aftermath of the battle, Etienne receives more news from Paris. The Austrian’s have also joined the British coalition, which means no further reinforcements will be available for the Prussian campaign. Etienne is to take overall command of the 80,000 in the theatre, who must defeat Prussia and Saxony.
From Stendal, Etienne orders the Fourth Corps to begin the siege of Magdeburg, while the Cavalerie Italie will continue the march to Berlin. In the town of Burg, 12,000 Prussian reinforcements are intercepted and put to the sword. The battle lasts only a few hours, with the Prussians crushed by an artillery bombardment followed by a cavalry charge. Souham gains the ‘fast marcher’ trait, and a further 11,000 Prussian’s are killed with French casualties numbering only a few hundred.


The Battle of Burg was a much smaller engagement. The isolated Prussian’s had little chance of resisting the near full strength Cavalerie Italie, with predictable results.

In the final week of April, we receive more positive news from the regional command in Hanover. The anticipated British invasion has failed to materialise, and so three further armies have been made available for the campaign against Prussia. Etienne will command a total of three armies who are to defeat the Prussian army and occupy Berlin.

On the 13th May, the Cavalerie Italie arrive at Berlin and begin a siege. Ernst von Rüchel attempts to lift this with 12,000 men, but is defeated in a short battle with a similar outcome to Burg. Again it is a rapid cavalry raid which defeats the smaller force. Carteaux gains the ‘massed tactics’ trait, while Etienne gains ‘logistics’. It transpires that von Rüchel was intending to link up with two larger armies to relief Berlin, but a breakdown in communications meant that his army arrived alone. A total of 80,000 Prussians have taken up a defensive position at Neuruppin.


Map showing the French armies advancing into Prussia and Saxony, prior to the siege of Berlin. The siege at Madgeburg lasted some 6 weeks, meaning that the French were actually outnumbered as they advanced, at least on the front line.

The Prussian’s do not move against the siege of Berlin while the smaller French forces are close by, but Etienne will not risk an assault in case this should provide an invitation for Prussia to attack. On the third of July, the garrison surrender and Berlin is in French hands. Etienne forms columns for the march north, where the 80,000 strong Prussian army under von Blücher. He has gambled, correctly, that the presence of such a force will prevent any further advance into Prussia. However, Etienne resolves to punish his for his lack of aggression. The Garde Imperial and the Armee du Hanover, comprising a total of 62,000 men, are to support the Cavalerie Italie in the offensive.

Battle is joined on the 7th July. Souham executes a managed retreat with the French right, hoping to lure the Prussian cavalry which proved so effective at Stendal into the sweet spot for the French artillery. Carteaux orders a cavalry charge from the left, and to head off any threat of being flanked, while the Prussian left has ordered their skirmishers into action. In response to these manoeuvres, the Prussians launch an artillery barrage and their infantry form columns to prepare for an assault.


The Prussian assault puts Etienne’s forces in the centre under severe strain. Prussian guards successfully force the French back. Von Ziethan, on the Prussian left, detects the signs of hesitancy ion the French lines and orders a massed cavalry charge.

Unable to bring their artillery to bear, and subject to an intense rate of fire from the Prussian lines, the French lines continue to be pushed back. Discipline remains high however and there is no sign of a break in the line. Some of the Prussian infantry are withdrawn to form a screen for the cavalry charge, but this offers the French artillery the opportunity to concentrate their fire, taking the sting out of the charge. The slight lessening of pressure on the French centre allows Klein to order an assault by the French guards, pushing the Prussians back.

As the two armies continue to bleed each other, the French as slowly gaining the initiative and the upper hand. The Prussian lines, themselves subject to an intense rate of fire, begin to show signs of fatigue. Carteaux and Souham batter the Prussian flanks with cavalry charges, while the French artillery prevents the Prussian flanks and centre from coordinating effectively.

As the day progressing, it is clear that the Prussian’s cannot hope to triumph. The superior French numbers and firepower are slowly carrying the day, but still the Prussian lines remain firm and do not yield. Etienne orders both flanks to launch a final cavalry charge, while the centre prepares an assault spearheaded by the guards. The combined weight of this assault, which strikes along the length of the Prussian line, eventually breaks their spirit as the battle enters its third day.

A total of 89,000 men have been killed or captured over the three days, but the Prussian ability to fight has been mortally wounded. Over 65,000 men lost, including all 7,000 of the supply chain who were captured by Souham’s cavalry. Only 85 Prussian artillery and 34 cavalry survived the fight, from 14,000 and 18,000 which had begun the battle. French losses are not insignificant however, 23,000 lost is one of the heaviest tolls suffered so far in the wars. Almost one third of the French cavalry are lost, and around a quarter of the artillery and light infantry. Etienne’s forces capture seven flags in total.


The Battle of Neuruppin, which effectively ended any meaningful resistance from Prussia.

Not wanting to allow the Prussian’s an opportunity to recover; Etienne chases the defeated army the fort at Stettin, where the Garde Imperial will keep them pinned down. The Cavalerie Italie then swing south to the fortress at Kustrin. On the 13th August, following an uneventful siege, the garrison surrender at Kustrin. Etienne holds his position to allow reinforcements to arrive, and to wait for the sieges at Stettin and Magdeburg to be completed. However, on the 20th August von Blücher’s battered survivors sally from the fort and inflict a heavy defeat on the Garde Imperial.

Although the Cavalerie Italie have only 32,000 men ready to fight, Etienne immediately orders the march north to intercept this new threat. The remainder of the Garde Imperial retreat to French Hanover, reduced to under 10,000 men, but the Fourth Corps have finally captured Madgeburg and arrive just in time to join Etienne at Stettin.

The battle opens with a raid launched by Carteaux’s flank, which allows the French time to link up their forces while keeping the Prussian’s pinned with their backs to the fortress. A massed bombardment from the Prussian lines forces the French cavalry back, but the exhausted infantry are unable to follow this with an assault. Klein orders the French guards to attack along the length of the Prussian centre, which quickly punches a hole in their lines. Light infantry and line infantry pour into the gaps created by the guards, and soon the Prussian resolve breaks. The hand to hand fighting is bloody, but after 28 hours the Prussian’s again retreat to their fortress.

Of the 46,000 men who sallied from Stettin, only 12,000 will return to defend the walls. French losses are not insignificant though, with almost 15,000 men dead or wounded.


The last battle against the Prussian’s at Stettin. Losses on both sides were heavy, largely due to exhaustion.

Etienne concentrates his forces on the siege at Stettin to prevent a further offensive by the remainder of the Prussian army. Manpower losses have been severe though, and all the armies will require a period of rest to replace their losses. On the 7th January 1807, with much of western Prussia and Saxony overrun, word reaches the Cavalerie Italie of an armistice with Prussia. The siege of Stettin is abandoned, and Etienne orders all armies to return to French territory. Although in urgent need of rest, word has reached the French lines that Napoleon’s Grande Armee has suffered a heavy defeat in Venice.
 
Last edited:

unmerged(703992)

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This is great stuff! I think the whole absence of news other than through dispatches is a fantastic touch, a little claustrphobia and paranoia never did any harm :)
Definately subscribed to this.
 

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This is great stuff! I think the whole absence of news other than through dispatches is a fantastic touch, a little claustrphobia and paranoia never did any harm :)
Definately subscribed to this.
Thank you very much. I'm getting engrossed in Etienne's story myself, always slightly disappointed when I remember I need to look to my other fronts, and once or twice I've missed opportunities due to the focus on one army! It's good fun though, I'd recommend trying a game with this approach.

Push Etienne Push! Show Lebrecht what for!
The Prussian commanders have proved the most able so far, and their losses against the Cavalerie Italie have likely granted enough idea points for at least one idea. I'm sure I'll find myself at war with Prussia again before long, and it will be interesting to see how much of an improvement there is in their troop quality. Perhaps Lebrecht will be Etienne's first major rivalry? I really hope I can find a few opponents who continue to stand in Etienne's way, will add a lot to the story if so.
 

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Chapter Three – The Emperor’s Hour of Need, Venice 1807


Napoleon’s defeat by the Austrian’s in Veneto shattered the aura of invincibility which had surrounded the Grande Armee, emboldening her foes.​

Following the end of hostilities in Prussia, the Cavalerie Italie had suffered heavy manpower losses. Fresh recruits were at a premium, as the depleted armies competed for the meagre numbers available. Regional recruiting centres and depots were filled with commanders petitioning for recruits and supplies, and the readiness of the French armies in Germany generally remained low. On arriving in Ansback, Etienne held council with his generals.

Gen. MacDonald: Monsieur’s, I understand that our forces are far from ready for further action, but we are ordered to march into Austria and hold the line in the Tyrol. However, I propose that instead we march through the Alps…

Souham: But Etienne, our forces remain depleted from the Prussian campaigns, and the men have not been rested, they are exhausted.

Carteaux: Indeed, I have less than one third of my full complement of men available just now.

Gen. Macdonald: I understand this, but let us not overlook the opportunity in front of us. Our Emperor has been defeated at Padua, and a large Austrian army dominates Venice. The Grande Armee’s earlier triumphs could be wiped out. I do not doubt that the Emperor intends to meet the Austrian host again, and it would be foolhardy to doubt his competence.

Were we to arrive before the engagement our forces, such as they are, would swing the balance of power decisively in our favour. We would not necessarily need to play a major part in the fighting – the Emperor after all will want the glory, but we could be seen as the heroes who rescued the pride of France from its current predicament.

Finally, in the current climate, we would be waiting many weeks for fresh recruits. I would happily choose for our current experienced men, who have proven themselves capable, over five score there number in fresh recruits who have not spent even a minute under a hostile barrage, and have never faced the charge of cavalry. Our men, depleted and tired as they are, still have much fight in them.

Klein: Much of the Alps have already been occupied by French armies, so although the terrain is hostile we would not become bogged down in the occupation.

Carteaux: Very well Etienne, but we must not take any further risks. I will hold you to your word that we will limit our involvement in the Austrian campaign to a supporting role.


In early April 1807, the Cavalerie Italie departed from Ansbach and marched south through Bavaria and the occupied Austrian lands. Attrition continued to sap the strength of the army, although it remained at a manageable level while traversing occupied land.

Map showing the route of the Cavalerie Italie through the Alps​

By June, the army has reached and occupied the town of Treviso. 61,000 Austrians under Johann Radetzky defend the fortress at Padua. Napoleon’s Grande Army, reduced to fewer than 20,000 men, had withdrawn to Venice following their defeat in the first battle of Padua. French reinforcements have since flooded into the area, with the total number of men under Napoleon’s command standing at just over 70,000 men.

Radetzky, following his victory over Napoleon, had opted to consolidate his position at Padua. He knew that the proud Emperor would have to push for his revenge, and he also knew that the French still enjoyed a numerical advantage in Austria from earlier victories. His plan was to draw the French into another bloody battle at Padua, and force them to drop their demands and settle for a peace with Austria. He had set about throwing up improvised defences, and with the river Sile making the approach to Padua difficult, the Austrian’s occupied an exceedingly defensible position.

Napoleon has split his three armies and surrounded Padua, preventing any Austrian move north, and there are no Austrian reinforcements in sight. On the 10th June, the Cavalerie Italie arrives in Treviso to find a short message from the Emperor waiting for them. Etienne is commanded to participate in the attack, scheduled to commence in four days’ time. The Cavalerie Italie will be held in reserve on account of their long march, but the Emperor has requested that the artillery be made available to the front line immediately to help soften the Austrian defences.

Battle begins, and as expected Napoleon takes overall command. Etienne positions his men as requested in the rear, with the artillery in an advanced position to aid the attack. Souham’s flank and Klein’s Guards, the most battle ready of the Cavalerie, are positioned close to the right flank in case an opportunity to participate presents itself.

The sound of the French guns, which number over 20,000, is ferocious as they pummel the Austrian defences throughout the first few hours. The battle appears to be going well, and the Emperor is calm, if a little cautious in deploying his forces. After ten hours of skirmishing and bombardment, the French infantry begin their attack. Klein’s Guards are welcomed into the French centre, and inflict heavy casualties on the Austrian line infantry. Radetzky, sensing that the battle is lost, withdraws his forces to the fortress and the day is won.

Napoleon gets his revenge at the Second Battle of Padua.​

A few hundred guards are lost, out of around 14,000 French casualties in total. The Austrians lost over half their force, over 33,000 are killed or wounded before they can complete their withdrawal. The Emperor, grateful for Etienne’s assistance, offers to leave him in charge of the three armies and to supervise the siege of Padua and the surrender of Radetzky. The Grande Armee then departs to assist in the advance to Vienna.

Napoleon’s victory at Padua​

Seeing the departure of the French army, the Austrian’s attempt to break the siege and leave their defences on the 21st June. Johann von Klenau leads the Austrian cavalry in a desperate charge. Etienne orders a cavalry charge of his own to meet the Austrians and prevent their charge gathering momentum. Carteaux orders concentrated and steady artillery fire on the gate, which prevents the Austrian infantry from taking to the field to support their cavalry.

The Austrian’s, not expecting such a firm resistance, quickly abandon the attempt and pull as many survivors back into the fortress as possible. The concentrated artillery fire, landing amongst congested infantry as they attempted to squeeze through the gate, has taken a heavy toll on the Austrian’s. Almost 10,000 men in total are lost in the abortive attempt to lift the siege, whereas French casualties numbered just 379. Etienne also gains the ‘Artillerist I’ trait.

The Austrian attempt to sortie had clearly underestimated the strength of Etienne’s besieging forces​

The Austrian’s make no further attempt to break the siege, and Etienne settles his forces down for a long siege. The French advance east appears to have encountered little resistance, and there are no signs of any Austrian forces coming to relieve Padua. By the 17th August, a breach is made in the Fortress walls. Although tempted to end the campaign, Etienne is mindful of his promise to his generals, and instead opts to wait for the garrison to capitulate. Finally, on the 30th August the cities supplies have been depleted and the half-starved defenders surrender. Ferdinand von Bubna-Littitz, however, attempts a futile resistance.

On sighting the Austrian’s taking to the field, Souham executes a limited retirement on the French right, hoping to draw the Austrians in. The Austrians advance and attempt to put a screen between them and the French cavalry, but the French ‘Army of Italy’ force the light infantry to flee. Klein leads his Guards in an all-out assault from the French centre, which shattered the Austrian will to fight and sends their men into chaos. As the ranks break and attempt to flee the field, they are chased by the remaining French cavalry. A further 16,000 Austrians are killed, with French losses numbering just 665.

Etienne records another large victory against the heavily weakened defenders following the fall of Padua.​

Over the three battles at Padua, France has lost around 15,000 men, while Austrian casualties number around 56,800 men.
 

roplox

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This is looking promising. Very promising.
 

BPM

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Beautifully written!

Really rather enjoying this one!

Keep it up Seelmeister
 

Seelmeister

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  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Semper Fi
  • Sengoku
  • For The Glory
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • 200k Club
  • 500k Club
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Pride of Nations
  • Victoria 2 Beta
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Commander: Conquest of the Americas
  • Ancient Space
  • Arsenal of Democracy
  • Hearts of Iron II: Armageddon
  • Cities in Motion
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Deus Vult
  • East India Company
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
This is looking promising. Very promising.
Thanks very much, this game has actually been far more enjoyable than I had expected!

Beautifully written!

Really rather enjoying this one!

Keep it up Seelmeister
Thanks for the kind words, glad you are enjoying this as much as I'm enjoying playing and writing it!