Using the same approach with our Invasion of Bohemia of 1757, this Russian campaign will focus on the activity between Oudinot’s I Corps and Wittgenstein’s II Corps and not the entire invasion. Further, the campaign will limit itself to the 18 week period from the crossing of the Niemen River in June 1812 to the capture of Vitebsk by the Russians in October/November of that year.
Events occurring on the periphery would serve as benchmarks to influence on the movement of both participants, that is, the success of the Grande Armee as it marches toward Smolensk and later Moscow, would force Wittgenstein to maintain his line of communication with the main Russian army, gradually forcing the Russians to fall back.
Movement on the campaign map will follow the standard DBA nodal system, but each turn will represent a week of activity. The area depicted should be large enough to follow the course of the Grande Armee, display Riga and the magazines along the Dvina River and have an entry points for reinforcements from Finland and St. Petersburg.
The photo shows a preliminary sketch of the area to be covered.
I found Nafziger’s “Napoleon’s Invasion of Russia” an excellent source for the Northern Campaign and would recommend it highly for anyone wishing to duplicate this part of the Russian campaign. I am halfway noting key dates and positions of the actual campaign as a reference tool.
Like our Bohemian campaign of 1757, both sides strive to excel their historical counterpart to gain prestige points. In this case, Oudinot and Wittgenstein will gain prestige by taking their campaign that “one step” further than was done historically.
Bringing greater destruction to Oudinot’s command, might hasten the arrival of St. Cyr’s Bavarians, whereas the destruction of Wittgenstein’s command would mean the road to St. Petersburg would be clear for the French.
These are points that will need fine tuning and further reading.