Game Spotlights

Published: April 29, 2022


Four Lost Battles | Operational Studies Group

Four Lost Battles

Operational Studies Group has given Four Lost Battles an update this year complete with new maps and counters! This campaign simulation game can be played by one to four people, making it a versatile title for your collection.

[ You can check out the original, 2005 version here ]

four lost battles wargame from operational studies group
Four Lost Battles, from Operational Studies Group

The game covers the French Empire’s Dresden Campaign in 1813.

After the defeats of Grossgörschen (May 2nd, 1813) and Bautzen (May 20th, 21st) the Prussian King and the Crown Prince of Sweden met at Trachenberg on July 9th. At July 12th they agreed together with Russia and (later) Austria on a Allied strategy to overhelm Napoleon by avoiding him in person on the battlefield and fight his subordinates only.

After winning a great victory at Dresden early in the Autumn Campaign (August 26th/ 27th, 1813), Napoleon saw his chances for victory gradually slip away in four lost battles over a two-week period. All four battles had been fought by his subordinates, showing the effect of a “Fabian strategy”. The whole campaign was over in two weeks. By Sept. 6th, a battle in or near Leipzig was certain, leading into the Battle of Nations (October 16th-19th, 1813) around Leipzig.

The Battles

Four Lost Battles covers the conflicts of Grossbeeren, Katzbach, Kulm, and Dennewitz.


four lost battles painting of the battle of grossbeeren
Battle of Grossbeeren

The battle of Grossbeeren was a meeting engagement in which the two forces were ignorant of their mutual presence in the area. Grossbeeren is a double battle, with little possibility of interaction between troops that fought in Blankenfeld because of swamps.

Oudinot took a risk in separating his three corps on parallel routes as was customary when marching through open country. So, the IV Corps on the right, held-up as they emerged from the woods, were unable to assist VII Corps at Grossbeeren in the center; while Oudinot, on the left, tended to his own corps, considerably strung out after a long Forced March on the 22nd—instead of coordinating the battle.


battle of the katzbach four lost battles by operational studies group
Battle of the Katzbach

The battle of the Katzbach on August 26th 1813 was another meeting engagement; neither commander expected to find his opponent in the area.

Cavalry dominated the battlefield as muskets would not discharge in the rain.


four lost battles the battle of kulm painting
Battle of Kulm

After the Battle of Dresden on 26-27 August, several French Corps began the pursuit of the defeated Coalition Army through the mountain passes leading back into Austrian territory. Vandamme’s Corps, with two divisions of the best-trained conscripts of 1813, fought several rearguard actions with Ostermann’s Russians, and expected this battle to be no different.

The Emperor had already heard rumors of Macdonald’s disaster on the Katzbach. Therefor, with the possibility of having to defend his great depot of Dresden against an advance by both Bernadotte and Blücher, his hopes of being able to pursue far into Bohemia were vanishing.


four lost battles painting battle of dennewitz
Battle of Dennewitz

Marshal Ney’s Army of Berlin set out from Wittenberg on September 5th, side-stepping Bernadotte’s main body and driving Tauenzien’s IV Corps toward Seyda.

As a result, that night they camped just off-map to the south, unaware that coalition forces were five miles away.

Counter Sheets

four lost battles counters coalition
Coalition counters
four lost battles counters french
French counters

Is it worth the upgrade if you already own this classic? We think so. The maps alone are much improved, with better graphics, larger size, and improved location markers such as chateaus. Not to mention the sturdy, graphically updated counters, and a few minor adjustments to the game rules.

How will you fare where Napoleon’s forces failed so famously? Pick up your copy of the new edition of Four Lost Battles today and find out!

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