I wrote this short introduction for a presentation I will be making at the Poldercon convention on February 12th. They asked for a presentation on the 1815 campaign, and the theme of the convention seems to be the rear guard action, so I decided to combine them.
"The rear guard: the most thankless job in war. Risking your life to save that of others. Not seldom it ends in total disaster, without a Chanson de Roland to make you immortal. The best you can hope for is to be forgotten.
On the other hand there are many more rear guard actions than pitched battles. It’s the small clashes that determine who has the most advantageous position during the big battle. And it’s the rear guard actions that determine whether a defeat is decisive, or the loser can salvage his force.
Time for some more love for the rear guard action!
I will be taking you through the Napoleonic Wars and in particular the campaign of 1815 using these small but important combats. From the Prussian rear guard at
on the morning
of June 15 to the retreat of general Rapp. What are the secrets of a successful
rear guard action and how to bring them to the wargaming table?" Charleroi
For the presentation itself, I'm thinking of
- a short introduction on what the role of a rear guard is
- followed by a number of examples from the Napoleonic wars (eg 1806 post Jena/Auerstädt, 1812 Russian retreat, 1813 and 1814)
- Then delve into the 1815 campaign: Charleroi/Gilly, Frasnes, Gembloux, Namur, Oise crossings, Rapp's retreat
- Try to derive some factors for success and failure
- Translating it into wargames in the form of scenario's or campaigns
Since this is a 90 minute presentation I'm still thinking hard how to make this an interactive experience.
Anybody got further suggestions for this presentation?