The Weyrother Option: an Austerlitz Variant

Try out Austerlitz using the new rules, this variant & the concealed forces stuff. A great gaming experience.

This is a set of rules for the Allied player in Austerlitz. They attempt to show how the Allied side really was led and are more suited for the historical enthusiast than the player who wants to play a fair game. A streak of masochism and a really bad French player will help as well the Allies. Enjoy.

In this variant the Allied player plays the role of the Austrian Major-General Franz Weyrother. He has managed to become the Tsar’s pet Austrian and has therefore been singled out as the right man to plan the battle that will crush Napoleon’s army once and for all. After all, Weyrother knows about maps and can write long and purposeful-sounding orders. That few Russian officers at brigade level can read German does not worry anyone, nor does the fact that most divisional commanders has no orderlies or that Katusov has slept through the final briefing cause much concern.

Writing the Weyrother Plan The basic problem for the Weyrother player is that once the game begins the dignitaries around him will scatter to the winds and cease to pay attention to him. Hence the player must write orders for the entire battle before the game begins. All these orders are accepted at start of the game. The orders might be in two steps like: “The Advanced Guard is to capture Telnitz and then to move north and capture Marxdorf,” and either of the steps might be conditional in one way or another: “The Advance Guard is to capture Telnitz and then to move north and capture Marxdorf when 2nd Column has captured Sokolnitz.” Since they are the Tsar’s private property, the Russian Guard may not be given any orders.

Set Up Set up “The Sun of Austerlitz” scenario as usual, but remove the Allied Army HQ and let Katusov deploy with his “3” side up. As soon as the scenario starts, Weyrother is out of the game (he was briefly involved in the fighting on the Pratzen, but that was all). The Allied player is now struck with the plan, and any changes to it have to be done by using initiative.

The commanders listed in 3.2b may roll for initiative as per the normal 2.1 rules. Should a Commander suffer a loose cannon the normal rules apply and the command of course loses its order.

Furthermore the Allied player must roll for initiative each turn for at least two of the following commanders: Katusov; Tsar Alexander; Kaiser Franz, or Buxhowden. The Allied player may not choose the same two commanders in two consecutive turns and no commander may roll for initiative three turns in a row. The Allied player may not roll for a commander who has left the map. Unless told otherwise by the results below, these characters may move about as they please and affect troops’ reactions during the game. Note that Buxhowden and Franz are slightly limited regarding what it pleases them to do.

General-lieutenant Friedrich Wilhelm Buxhowden was a brutish, archetypal Russian general, fond of whores and dogs, who went to war with a 139-man household in tow. This anachronism must start stacked with, and therefore in command of the L-1 Column. He may only move with the L-1 column or move to take command of any other of the columns in his command and lead that one instead (all as per the Buxhowden Rule). If Buxhowden rolls successfully for initiative he may issue an order to any division in his command. If he fails he goes on as above, terrorizing his subordinates. If he gets a Loose Cannon result he feels that he needs a rest (ha was according to Langeron quite drunk) and moves of to the nearest town/village hex behind the lines (French player’s choice in case of ties). He is then out of the whole thing until he successfully rolls initiative. He then returns to his command and may also issue a in-person order in the next command phase.

General of Infantry Mikhail Larionovich Golenishchev-Katusov was usually a solid and ruthless general, known for among other things his taste for young women and reading French porn and the fact that through this career he had managed to survive two shots through his head. But he was fed up with both the Tsar and the situation in general and was quite exhausted as well. He may move about at will over the field. When Katusov rolls successfully for initiative, he may issue an order to any division in the Allied army. He starts the game on his “3” side. If he fails he goes on as above, looking depressed. If he gets a Loose Cannon result, he starts to sulk in a bad way. He flips over to his “0” side and soldiers on. A new Loose Cannon will reverse this result.

Kaiser Franz was a prematurely aged man who had not yet recovered from the disaster at Ulm and who had no delusions about his own martial abilities. He may move about at will over the field as long as he ends each turn out of range of any French artillery.

When Franz rolls successfully for initiative he may issue an order to any Austrian division in the army. If he fails he goes on as above, looking a bit out of it. If he gets a Loose Cannon result his courtiers have convinced him about his need for safety and he withdraws to the nearest town/village hex that is also out of sight of the all French troops. He will stay there until he either rolls a successful initiative and returns to normal or he rolls a new Loose Cannon, in which case he has been convinced to withdraw to somewhere even safer, perhaps even off the map.

Tsar Alexander was a dashing young man full of endearing noble qualities as well as a slight manic-depressive streak and a somewhat loose hold on reality. He may move about at will over the field. When Alexander rolls successfully for initiative he may issue an order to any Russian division in the army. If he fails he goes on as above, looking both excited and terrified. If he gets a Loose Cannon result the French Player may write the order Alexander sends to any Allied division on the map. The order is handled as any other order and its contents are not revealed to the Allied player before it is accepted.

And the good news: - If Doctorov successfully rolls for initiative or accepts a new order, he may have Kienmayer accept the same order, provided the two are within 4 leader MPs of each other at the moment of acceptance. - Since no one seems to have been sure who was in command of the 4th Column (or was it “Center Wing”?), identical orders may be sent to Kollowrath and Miloradovich, in effect two orders at the cost of one. Compute distances and acceptance individually. - Increase Bagration’s Command radius to 8 MPs. After all, he was very good. - The Allied officers may have been bad at reading maps and orders, but they were nonetheless brave leaders. When dealing with troops, (i.e. when affecting morale checks, straggler recovery, and so on) Allied commanders count as if their rating is one point higher than printed.

Victory? There are no special victory conditions for this variant, just personal honor. Note that the original Weyrother plan of turning the French right was actually quite good and would have worked fine against most other armies. The problem of it was not the concept, but rather the execution. Had the two armies at Austerlitz changed sides of the field as well as plans, the French still would have won, since they had the organization and leadership capable of executing a plan such as Weyrother’s.