pass clearance
horselburg (october 26, 1813)
A "programmed wargames scenario" ADAPTED for divisional napoleon's battles


This fictional scenario is an adaptation of the C.S. Grant’s ‘Crossing Point’ scenario of his book ‘Programmed Wargames Scenarios'. I hesitated whether to run this Scenario or to run the Tabletop Teaser No.1 "The Bridge Demolition" (from the same author) but I think that the Scenario is best adapted to the real engagement.
Napoleon has been defeated at Leipzig and the Grande Armee is retiring westwards.
"On 25 October, at 3.00 a.m., Napoleon ordered his army westwards once again in order to reach the passes by Eisenach, before the Advance Guard of the Army of Silesia. This effort was yet another inevitable force march ... On 26 October, in yet another rearguard action, Oudinot and Mortier engaged Yorck’s Corps around H÷rselberg. Their four weak divisions of Young Guard totalled about 14,000 men and suffered about 2,000 casualties” (G. Nafziger, 'Napoleon at Leipzig. The Battle of Nations 1813’. The Emperor Press, Chicago, 1996).
This fictional engagement (Horselberg+Fryeburg) was fought between elements of the Yorck’s I Corps of Prussian Army of Silesia (Advance Guard and 7th brigade) and the re-organized (at Erfurt) Young Guard Corps under Mortier (1st and 3rd Divisions). The O.O.B's were modified and adapted from the Nafziger's book cited above as well as from “The Greenhill Napoleonic Wars Data Book” (Greenhill Books, London, 1998) of Digby Smith.  I have also added a brigade of French Young Guard Cavalry to add some color to the French units.


 NBd Scenario for Horseburg (pdf file)
Vanguard and Advance Guard Table map
French engineers at work The rearguard deployment The Prussian vanguard


The deployment and subsequent actions from both sides, are strongly depending from the die rolls proposed by the Scenarios's designer.
French delaying force (Elements from Mortier's Young Guard Corps)
Mission: “to prevent Prussians securing a passage for his main army through the pass in the hours of daylight”. No deployment is allowed in the western side (beyond Z). The defence will be “in depth. Deploy 1/3 of force across the front between X and Y, 1/3 between Y and Z and 1/3 between Z and the eastern side of the battlefield”. Troops may be concealed in woods or houses. The troops on or at east of line Z must be deployed “spread across the whole front with centre on town”. The orders are “The army will be based on a number of defended areas sited in depth which will be used to delay the enemy and cause casualties. These localities will withdraw as they become threatened. A final defensive position will be formed at the far eastern end of the pass if this is required to fulfil the mission. Uncommitted troops, for example the rearmost third of the army in the initial stages, will form the defence. The line will conform to any reverse falling back accordingly”.
Prussian force (Elements from Yorck's I Corps)
Mission: “To secure the pass during the hours of daylight so that the main army may pass through it unmolested by night ". The forces will appear in march column on the central road on move one and will deploy off road in the second move but “if units come under small arms fire as they deploy, the attack will begin immediately”. The force will “attack down both the northern and southern sides of the pass with light troop in the centre linking the flanks” and “pockets of enemy resistance will be bypassed”. The order of march appears the Scenario pdf file and is based on 19th century's tactical manuals located throught Google books (See the full history in the Project Leipzig blog).
All the die rolls were made with an ad-hoc EXCEL spreadsheet designed as outlined in the Utilities for Napoleon's Battles page.

Use the O.R. 13.3, modified by the scale: 60 men (2 figures) will spend 30 min (3 turns) in a BUA element to improve the unfortified combat modifier to fortified. In our case, the sapper detachment (8 figures) will improve to fortified status until 4 BUA’s of Horselburg in three turns. It will require another additional 90 min (9 turns) in the same conditions, to raise the fortified modifier by ‘+1’ modifier, until a ‘+4’ maximum.

From the book ”Programmed Wargames Scenarios”: ”The victory conditions for this scenario are closely related to the situation at last light, if no clear victor has already emerged. The victor will be who has achieved his mission. There can be no draw”

All Prussian attempts to dislodge the French rearguard after Leipzig, were unsuccessful. Napoleon outdistanced all his pursuers, and routed “en passant” the Bavarians at Hanau.

Nafziger G. ‘'Napoleon at Leipizg. The Battles of Nations 1813”, The Emperor Press, Chicago, 1996
Smith, D., 'The Greenhill Napoleonic Wars Data Book', Green-Hill Books, London, 1998
Grant, C.S.. ”Programmed Wargames Scenarios”, Wargames Research Group, Goring-by-Sea, England, 1983
Compute Sunrise, Sunset & Twilight (



Scenarios for NB