Blucher’s column get moving again but he is far from safe. Another round of fire from the Granary and the adjacent house kill 2 more trooopers.
The movement of the 11th and 12th Cavalry Divisions are slowed to allow one to cross the other avoiding interpenetration.
Around the Industrial Suburbs, Thile’s 3rd Silesia Landwehr Regiment breaks. This causes 2 battalions to disperse. Given the possibility that they could get caught by French cavalry, rather than merely remove them from play, they will have make rout moves until they have left the board.
Something of a stalemate begins to develop at the northern perimeter with both sides standing off and engaging in firefights.
A complete disaster for the French with the almost complete destruction of the 11th Division. Lagard loses a battalion routing from the field and has to make a Brigade morale test. A double ‘1’ is thrown! His Brigade breaks. With one battalion already retreating and another close to suffering almost 50% casualties, both rout from the field. He has one battalion left (in the woods on the left) who, with Lagard, will fall back 18cms the next move. That will take the brigade off the table and hence dispersed.
Dufour’s Brigade also loses a battalion leaving just one left for the whole Division (middle right).
The result of this almost total loss is that the eastern perimeter is no longer sealed by the French. Therefore, any Prussian battalions within Grissburg (unless surrounded) have an escape route rather than capture.
The demise of the 11th Division is almost complete but the 2/56th Line is not going down without a fight. Dufour joins the battalion as it charges into the 1/2nd Neumark Landwehr but is in turn charged by the 1/2nd Pomerania Landwehr who piles into its flank. Despite suffering only a ‘push back’ result, the large numbers of Prussians destroy more than 1/3 of the battalion.
This dramatic turn of events is not lost on Blucher’s staff. Having been informed of the situation, Blucher orders his column to take the eastern exit from Grissburg rather than the northern option. Now leading Blucher’s column, the 5th Hussars pound along the eastern road. Even now though he is not safe. Old Guard troops are increasingly occupying buildings bordering this road and 2 more companies open fire. A ‘Risk to General’ occurs but fortunately for Blucher it is one of his ADC’s that is killed and not him.
Here a battalion of Chasseurs of the Old Guard captures another house next to the east road defeating the Landwehr defenders.
To illustrate just how close to Blucher being cut off, the 1/1st Grenadiers of the Old Guard attacks a building close to the town square. The melee is inconclusive and will continue the next turn.
In the town square, Prussians appear ready to defend the town hall which has now been occupied by a Landwehr battalion.
The first French attacks begin on the Prussian strongholds on their western perimeter. Two columns strike home with the ensuing melee ending in a standstill.
The first attack towards the northern perimeter failed when the 3/1st Line (middle bottom) faltered when making their charge.
The Prussian commanders around the Industrial suburbs decide it is time to retreat or risk annihilation. A general order to retire is given and units begin moving out in column formation. The French dragoons attempt to intervene. On the far left the 7th Dragoons towards a Prussian column of infantry but utterly fails its morale test and retreats.
The 2nd Dragoons have rather more success (middle). They ride down a dispersing battalion of Landwehr wiping them out.
At the northern perimeter both sides are content to exchange fire with neither side getting the upper hand.
With the collapse of the French at the eastern perimeter, the Prussians see a chance of saving units. Any battalions not engaged are ordered to retire eastwards. Some units fail to receive the order but most do and begin their movement.
The 5th Division successfully cancels its orders to assault the Chateau and to immediately move into the gap left by the 11th Division.
The lead squadron of Blucher’s escort, the 5th Hussars saw an opportunity to finish off the French 11th Division and thus leave the eastern perimeter wide open. The last battalion, the 2/56th Line were unformed after being pushed back. The 5th Hussars launched their charge and badly mauled the French battalion causing it to retreat. The Hussars will pursue the next turn.
The Old Guard continues to work its way across Grissburg, here capturing the building in the upper right of the photo.
The conscripts of the 3/2nd Elbe Landwehr are determined to hold out as long as possible in the grounds of the building to the right. The 2 attacking French battalions including a Middle Guard battalion still cannot break them and the melee with progress to a 3rd turn.
With the eastern perimeter now open, more and more Prussian units receive their ‘retire’ order. Most of those still in reasonable shape around the northern perimeter now make their way east.
The final turn of the day begins with the Prussian 5th Hussars pursuing the remnants of the 2/56th Line (bottom right). They completely wipe out the French signalling an end to the French 11th Division in this sector. The way was now clear for Blucher’s escape.
The 2/3rd Grenadiers of the Middle Guard with the 2/1st Line finally manage to push back the 3/2nd Elbe from the building compound – middle right.
With most of the Prussian forces around the Industrial suburbs now gone, it left just the 2/19th Infantry battalion and the 1st Corps Horse Artillery battery to extricate themselves. The 2/19th finds itself on the receiving end of a combined charge of the 8th and 11th Cuirassiers. A blast of canister from the Prussian battery succeeds in only inflicting one casualty but the brigade commander, Guiton, is wounded.
The 2/19th succeeded in changing from column to square in time. Both regiments of cavalry charge home but fail to break the square and are pushed back.
This is normally the end of the day for my games being 32 moves or 8 hours. At this point both sides should break off contact and then resume the following day. However, this battle is so close to conclusion and with Prussian units close to being cut off I decided to add 4 more moves. These will be twilight moves so all firing is restricted to effective range only.
With Blucher now gone and Grissburg on the verge of falling, all Conscript and 2nd Line Prussian troops lose their enthusiastic rating.
Here the French 5th Division struggle through the rough ground to block the Prussian exit. The 2/3rd Line, having destroyed the artillery battery, now charge the 2/2nd Silesia Landwehr (middle of photo). The Prussians are heavily defeated and will retreat the next move.
The battle in the town centre intensifies. The 1/4th Grenadiers (upper middle) easily break through the defending company of Prussians leaving the way clear into the Town Square.
In the Town Square the 1/1st Pomerania Landwehr fire a volley at the charging 2/1st Grenadiers of the Old Guard (bottom middle) causing them to falter.
The 2/4th Chasseurs and the 2/4th Grenadiers charge the citadel (middle stone and semi-timbered building in middle of photo) but fail to dislodge the defending Prussians.
The two French battalions that have captured the building compound (bottom right) now attack the Landwehr building defenders and easily eject them.
In the middle left of the photo, the 1/1st Line of Soye’s brigade attempts to salvage some pride and charges the 2/9th Infantry (middle left). They are successful causing the Prussians to retreat.
The hapless French 3rd Corps again struggles to hold the line. A battalion breaks causing Billiard’s Brigade to become Broken. This has a domino effect with 2 further battalions retreating.
As more Prussian units receive the order to retire, the northern suburbs of Grissburg are filled with Prussians streaming towards the eastern perimeter. Under the rules, any units receiving a ‘retire’ order may move at retreat speed. i.e. 12cms instead of 9cms for column. Any units moving at this speed must conduct a formation test. The 2nd Line and Conscripts in particular quickly become unformed but the Prussians calculate this is a risk worth taking.
Virtually all the buildings to the east of the town centre have now been captured by the Old Guard and they now emerge into the compounds and gardens to see the stream of retreating Prussians.
The only Prussians left in the Industrial suburbs, the 2/19th Infantry and a Horse artillery battery, now receive their orders to retire. They are in danger of being overrun by advancing French infantry and cavalry.
Napoleon now makes a decision to halt further attacks on the retreating Prussians in Grissburg. Only the Old Guard are able to intervene in Grissburg but it will take at least a couple of turns to reform and move out into open ground before assaulting the Prussians. It would be difficult to have a coordinated attack with the risk of individual battalions becoming isolated and possibly destroyed.
Cavalry would not be able to operate in the rough terrain to the east of Grissburg with only the 5th Division having any chance of cutting off the Prussians retreat. As mentioned before, the 5th Division are already in a weakened state and may not be able to achieve much before nightfall.
The French therefore decide to complete their occupation of Grissburg by attacking the last of the Prussians holding out. This consisted of the Citadel, the Town Hall and the Town Square. The Prussians also still held a chateau on the eastern perimeter which would be attacked by the 5th Division.
The last 2 Prussian units in the Industrial suburbs would be pursued.
The assaults on the town centre commences with 2 Guard battalions launching charges on the 1/1st Pomerania Landwehr holding the town square. The 1/4th Grenadiers see their opportunity of attacking the Landwehr in the rear but did not consider the 2/1st Pomerania Landwehr who had occupied the Town Hall. Withering musket fire from the windows rain down on the Grenadiers in the tight alleyway inflicting 2 casualties and causing them to falter. The 2/1st Grenadiers of the Old Guard charging the front of the line halted under sustained volley fire.
Behind the town hall the Guards have more success against the Citadel. Two battalions charge home. Helmenstreit in command of the 1/25th Infantry decides to surrender in the face of mounting casualties and the collapse in morale of the Citadel defenders.
Stengel joins the last of his battalions, the 2/19th Infantry, in the hope of leading them to safety. The 2nd Dragoons were in a position to charge and as they barrelled towards them the Prussians hurriedly formed square. The Dragoons charged home but were comfortably repulsed. This of course bought time for French infantry to cut off the Prussian line of retreat.
With new orders issued the 5th Division prepare their attack on the last Prussian resistance within Grissburg at its Eastern Perimeter. Fischer is defending the Chateau with a battalion of Landwehr.
Cardell attempts to lead the survivors of the 1/2nd Infantry out of Grissburg but stumbles into Hubert’s Chasseurs. Facing a wipe out he surrenders and here is lead into captivity.
The 2/1st Grenadiers is now joined by the 1/1st Chasseurs of the Old Guard and they jointly charge the 1/1st Pomerania Landwehr. The latter’s morale collapses and with nowhere to retreat to they surrender. Brandenstein hurriedly joins Tippelskirch in the Town Hall for a last stand.
The 5th Division launch their charge against the Chateau on the eastern perimeter. 4 battalions charge home but Fischer leading the defence by the 3/1st Silesia Landwehr fight desperately to hold them off causing all 4 battalions to retreat albeit with heavy losses to the Landwehr.
Jerome Napoleon offers Stengel a chance to surrender or face annihilation with French battalions now surrounding the Prussian square. Stengel informs Jerome what he can do with his offer and as a final show of defiance they roll a double ‘6’ on their morale check in response of the joint charges.
The end though comes quickly with 4 French battalions charging home. The Prussians lost almost half their number in the melee and Stengel was wounded. The survivors threw down their arms and surrendered. The French had finally captured the Industrial suburbs.
A total of 5 French Guard battalions launch charges at the Town Hall defenders. The defending Pomeranian Landwehr fire from all 4 sides into the increasing gloom causing more casualties on the Middle and Old Guards. 3 of the 5 battalions charge home anticipating an easy victory. The excellent Tippelskirch with Brandenstein fire up the Landwehr defenders who successfully repel this first charge. They suffered heavy casualties though.
Three more French battalions charge home on the Chateau. The 3/1st Silesia Landwehr were simply too depleted and exhausted to hold out any longer and they finally surrendered.
The Northern perimeter saw the last shots of the day outside Grissburg with neither side scoring any hits in the increasing darkness.
With 2 more Guard battalions arriving, the next charge involved 4 charging home. This was too much for the defenders who surrendered. Tippelskirch had been badly wounded in this final attack but would survive.