As the sun rises the Prussians observe the arrival of the French:
|French left flank as observed by Prussians.
|French right flank.
|Massed cavalry of the 11th Cav Division.
|6th Division with 11th Cav Division in support. Artillery are confined to the road due to the rough ground.
|9th Division with 12th Cav Division in support.
|5th Division with Old Guard in support. Here the problem for the French is apparent with artillery confined to the roads. They will have to deploy under fire from Prussian guns.
Before I begin the AAR proper, a brief update regarding the rules. I have decided to use the General de Brigade’s own command and control system rather than my own version imported from Grande Armee. Unlike most of my previous games GdB skirmish rules will be used. I had considered that these may be too fiddly in the scale but have decided to give them a try. I have made a few changes. Light companies will automatically recall to their parent units. Light battalions deploying in skirmish formation will reform as per the rules.
For this particular battle:
- All Prussian 2nd Line and Conscript units are treated as enthusiastic for defence of capital.
- Prussian units defending capital itself do not test for Army Break Point
- Prussian dispersing units surrender if no route of escape
- Prussian routing 14th Brigade takes a number of turns to rally and reform after passing through friendly lines. This represents troops locating their own units following a chaotic rout. They must be at least the maximum musket range away from the enemy and beyond charge reach: Veteran/trained – 4 turns; 2nd Line – 6 turns; conscript – 8 turns.
The French were quick to deploy their skirmishers in the first turn to screen their main formations and particularly the artillery who were having to deploy from the roads once onto open ground. Here the Prussians open up on the French skirmishers largely without success. The artillery battery behind the southern earthworks began taking its toll on the infantry formations beyond the skirmishers.
The Middle Guard Chasseurs deploy their battalions in skirmish formation and begin engaging the Prussian skirmishers on the opposite side of the river.
On the French left brigade skirmish screens are thrown forward with light battalions deploying half their companies in skirmish order.
Early success for the French with a double ‘6’ rolled by skirmishers on the 1/29th Line causing them to falter (middle of photo). Their commander, Hymmen who is positioned immediately to their rear receives a light wound. He retires 12cms to the rear to have his wounds tended.
The French 9th Division’s Light battalions deploy half their number as skirmishers who range out ahead of the main body.
An overview of the centre with more French skirmishers being brought into action.
Prussian Jagers have moved out to the river’s edge to counter the threat posed by the mass of Chasseur skirmishers.
French artillery make steady progress on the left flank using the road to speed movement.
The Prussians observe the skirmishers of the 9th Division make their rapid approach. A Prussian artillery battery positioned by the bridge, lobs shot into French units emerging from the woods inflicting casualties in the process.
Prussian batteries are instructed to target the French artillery moving along the roads where possible. The battery on the left misses their target with the battery on the right firing canister into the French occupied buildings to their front.
Another view of the action in the centre with French skirmishers beginning to make life difficult for the Prussian artillery crews.
On the French right flank the first of their batteries has deployed and prepares to fire.
A horse artillery battery gallops along the French line seeking to deploy as quickly as possible to support the Chasseurs.
The French plan to soften up the Prussians with skirmishers and then artillery has so far gone largely to plan. As soon as the opportunity arises the main attacks across the river crossings will be made with emphasis on the French left. The task of the French 9th and 6th Divisions will be to drive the Prussians from the industrial suburbs before linking up with the approaching 3rd Corps to surround Grissburg.
An overview of the centre with French light infantry skirmishers now heavily engaged with their opposite numbers. The Prussian artillery battery occupying the small redoubt (middle right) has turned its attention on the massed French cavalry, in particular the Grenadiers a Cheval (bottom left). Firing at long range shot falls among the mounted ranks causing a steady flow of casualties. French artillery is still en-route to counter this threat.
At long last the first French artillery opens fire on the Landwehr sheltering behind the earthworks. One of their number is killed.
Another double ‘6’ is thrown by the French skirmishers. This time by the Chasseurs firing on the Prussian 6 pdr battery of the 5th Brigade. As a result, 3 casualties are inflicted causing the loss of a cannon with the remainder faltering, limbering up and retiring into Grissburg. A gap opens in the Prussian line.
Both sides score roughly equal hits in the centre as their skirmishers slog it out. A Prussian artillery battery (middle left) fires on the limbered horse artillery who are rushing to deploy (lower middle). 2 casualties are inflicted causing a morale and a formation test. The French pass both.
French pressure is now being applied to the Prussians with the latter coming off worse. 2 French battalions open volley fire on the single Prussian battalion (middle of photo). The Prussians lose 4 to the French 2 generating a morale test for the former which it passes.
French foot artillery continues to make progress across the left flank.
The turn begins with the arrival of the routing Prussian 14th Brigade following its defeat at the Battle of Erfurt. As the lead units pour towards the Prussian lines, troops are ordered to clear the northern access road to facilitate their entry into Grissburg. All units manning the northern boundary are alerted to the possible imminent arrival of the pursuing French.
Aside from this distraction, Blucher makes no changes to his orders. Likewise the French continue to bring pressure to bear along all their approach roads.
With the light companies of the 3 battalions of the 100th Line now joining the light battalions deployed in skirmish order they pour fire into the Prussian artillery batteries and skirmishers on the opposite river bank. The Prussians are not idle though with one battery scoring a direct hit on one of the 100th Line battalions causing it to falter.
More Prussian firepower is needed to counter the French battalions pouring volley fire across the river.
Two French horse artillery batteries rapidly unlimber and open fire inflicting heavy casualties among the Prussian infantry and artillery. Prussian skirmishers take their toll with one horse artillery battery being reduced to 2 cannon through loss of crew.
The French Guard Chasseurs outshoot the Prussian skirmishers with a Jager company dispersing. The urgency in neutralising the Prussian artillery battery positioned in the redoubt becomes all too apparent as it again pours shot into the hapless Grenadiers a Cheval inflicting 2 more casualties.
On the French right flank two horse artillery batteries deploy and begin firing at the earthworks.
So at the end of the first hour of battle the French have the upper hand with regard to the number of casualties inflicted and there are worrying gaps in the Prussian southern perimeter of Grissburg. They have more work to do before launching the first assaults across the bridges.
To be continued.
Bleasdale’s Grymauch Blog