Nap Campaign: Battle of Grazzbenn 2nd April 1808: Turns 17 – 20

 Turn 17

The start of the turn saw the Imperial Guard continue their assault on the heights occupied by the Prussian left flank. Here the 1/2nd Chasseurs of the Old Guard (left column) and the 2/3rd Grenadiers of the Middle Guard charged the 2/2nd Silesia Landwehr accompanied by Blandowski. The Landwehr morale broke leading to a “Mass Panic” Brigade morale result. This would see the Silesians flee the field.
With more Prussian units routing from the field the Prussian left flank all but ceased to exist. The Imperial Guard were on the verge of completing their initial task albeit with some battalions having received higher than anticipated casualties.

Continued –

An overview of the Prussian centre. Of particular note is the smoke to the right. Thurman’s 6pdr Horse battery rolled a double 6 when firing at the 1/1st Chasseurs of the Old Guard inflicting 6 casualties and a light wound on the Middle Guard commander, Morand.

The two Imperial Guard horse artillery batteries who had rapidly deployed on the high ground fired counter-battery fire on Thurman’s battery and incredibly also rolled a double 6! This killed 4 crew and knocked out one of the 4 guns. This caused a panicked retreat by the surviving crews.

In the foreground the last of Braun’s 4th Corps artillery reserve was destroyed by a French infantry column successfully engaging them in melee. 

Above that melee the 3/1st Elbe Landwehr lead by Bismarck held an attack by the 1/12th Line who would continue with their melee. A Prussian horse artillery battery continued to sweep two French infantry columns with canister fire stopping them in their tracks.

Elsewhere morale in the Prussian centre began to collapse among the infantry and surviving artillery crews with most now retreating or routing. The cavalry though remained steadfast ready to delay the French for as long as possible.

The Prussian right continues in their march towards Reille’s Corps.

More of von Ziethen’s Corps arrive.

Bachelu’s 5th Division continue to shake out into line formation readying themselves for the Prussian onslaught. Behind Bachelu, Jamin’s Brigade prepares to support them.

An overview at the end of turn 17. Kellerman’s cavalry (middle of photo) and the Imperial Guard heavy cavalry (bottom middle) successfully change their orders to attack the Prussian cavalry still holding the centre. If they can get through the traffic jam!
Turn 18

Bulow leads the last of the defenders of the high ground on the Prussian left as the Imperial Guard columns move to complete the job.

Several Prussian units fled the field including Roebel’s 25th Infantry. 3 infantry battalions begin to reform behind the cavalry.

The one bright spot for the Prussian centre were Bismarck leading the 3/1st Elbe Landwehr and the 2nd Corps reserve horse artillery battery who between them seriously delayed the French 11th Division.

The Landwehr, fighting a 2nd round of melee with the 1/12th Line, against the odds defeated them forcing them to withdraw.

The horse artillery battery repeatedly blasted canister at any approaching French columns causing serious casualties and stopping those columns from making progress. 

The downside of these 2 units actions being that they are now isolated with all neighbouring Prussian troops having departed! A French column is now descending on the battery’s flank.

Wienskowski’s 23rd Infantry regiment moves into Grazzbenn reinforcing the 3rd Elbe Landwehr.

On the opposite side of the board, the whole of von Ziethen’s command is now present. They receive the first volleys of musketry from Bachelu’s Division shrugging off the casualties.

Pire’s Light Cavalry Division reinforced by artillery, prepare to receive any Prussian incursion across the sunken road.
The Prussian right flank now joins von Zeithen’s Corps steadily advancing towards Reille’s 2nd Corps. Both sides exchange skirmish and artillery fire losing a handful of casualties each.

Cavalry from the Prussian right including artillery and several infantry battalions move threateningly towards the flank of Vandamme’s 3rd Corps.
A view of Reille’s precarious position. He is awarded valuable time to prepare with Prussian units moving at half speed across the broken terrain.

In the foreground, Kelleman’s cavalry has been ordered to engage their Prussian opposite numbers. Negotiating the mass of infantry to their front is proving problematic.

An overview at the end of turn 18. Although Napoleon has enjoyed considerable success on his right and centre, the real test is yet to come.

Turn 19

The Imperial Guard gradually reorganise themselves in preparation for the next phase of sweeping up the Prussian flank. The Middle and Old Guard had become intermingled and were now moving in order for the Middle Guard to take the left and the Old Guard the right of their formation.
The 2/4th Chasseurs of the Middle Guard nearly got caught out as the 1st Neumark Landwehr cavalry launched an unexpected charge at them. They just had enough time to successfully form a square repulsing the charge for no loss.
Units scrambled to make way for the heavy cavalry of the Guard who were now under orders to attack the Prussian cavalry holding their centre.
The Prussian 6pdr Horse Artillery battery that had so heroically held its position in the face of Vandamme’s advance inflicting many casualties was now destroyed by a French column piling into its flank. 

On their left, Bismarck and the remnants of the 3/1st Elbe Landwehr were still there and not prepared to surrender their ground yet.

An increasingly frustrated Kellerman continued to move through Vandamme’s Corps eager to unleash his armoured cavalry against the lighter Prussian cavalry.
Smoke erupts from the French 2nd Corps line as the slow-moving Prussian columns move into range. A number of casualties were inflicted but insufficient to cause and problems.
Von Ziethen’s columns now merged with those advancing from the high ground on the Prussian right.
The initial Prussian columns began to launch their columns at Bachelu’s Division with mixed results. The fusiliers of the 24th Infantry failed utterly and would be retreating. However, others were more successful forcing back some of the French defenders.

Turn 20

Othegraven ordered his 12th Infantry battalion to charge Bachelu’s defenders. The only battalion to charge home were the Fusiliers with a Jaeger company attached. Their column ploughed into Campy’s 1/108th Line. The French were going nowhere successfully defeating the Prussian column forcing them to retreat.
The view from behind Bachelu’s 5th Division and Foy’s supporting 9th Division. Aside from the success of the 1/108th Line the French position was a little more shaky on their left as battalions fell back in the face of the Prussian advance.
On the far left of von Ziethen’s Corps is the 28th (Berg) Infantry regiment. A newly painted regiment for this battle and a little different with their white uniforms.
In front of the 28th Infantry, a battery of 6pdrs fired a salvo of shot down the length of a French battalion deployed along the wood’s edge. 4 of them were cut own generating a morale check, which fortunately for Reille they passed.
Several charges were made by the Prussians towards Jerome Napoleon’s 6th Division but only one column succeeded in making contact. The Fusiliers of the 19th Infantry lead by Lieven charged through the blast of canister and into the 6pdr foot battery that had proved so problematic for the Prussian right flank.

A double 6 was thrown by the artillery crew! It failed to save them but inflicted more casualties on the Prussian infantry, and crucially wounded Lieven turning his status from excellent to poor.

The Prussian right flank looking towards Ziethen’s Corps in the distance. Although several Prussian units failed to charge home, ominously for the French their main force was yet to engage.
Any available Prussian units were ordered to make life as difficult for Vandamme on his left flank. Here, Watzdorff leads his 3 regiments of Hussars between the gap left by artillery batteries.
Reckow’s 21st Infantry Regiment was also tasked with attacking Vandamme’s flank. The Fusiliers (on the right) charged the 3/31st Light inflicting heavy casualties and routing them. This threw Billiard’s brigade into disarray with battalions faltering or becoming unformed.
A view of the swirl of troops around the attack on the Prussian centre.
A little more detail of the various actions around this section of the battlefield:
The French 2/33rd Line had positioned itself ready to attack the flank of Bismarck’s isolated Landwehr. What they had not seen was the single troop of the Prussian 11th Hussars. The Prussians had the initiative this turn and put that to good use with the Hussars heroically charging into the flank of the French battalion.

It achieved the desired effect causing the 2/33rd to rout although the Hussars suffered the loss of 2 of its 3 figures!

The Prussian cavalry now under orders to sow more chaos in the French centre saw the 1st Dragoons charge a French battalion column hoping to make contact before they formed square. Unfortunately for the Prussian cavalry the 2/86th Line passed its formation test successfully forming square. The Dragoons failed to break it and were pushed back.

The Grenadier Cavalry of the Guard charged the outnumbered and outclassed 2nd Neumark Landwehr cavalry. Sydow joined them and successfully ordered a counter-attack. Despite their best efforts the Landwehr were utterly destroyed losing 8 figures with the survivors fleeing the field. The Guards’ pursuit test resulted in ‘Superb Discipline’ which could have serious implications for the Prussians in the next turn.

The Cuirassiers continue to try and find a way through the traffic jam!

A helicopter view of the action around the centre.

The precarious situation of Reille’s 2nd Corps as they face large numbers of Prussian troops approaching from two sides. They need to be able to hold until reinforcements are available from the 3rd Corps and Imperial Guards.
From a different angle. Von Ziethen’s (part of) 1st Corps from bottom left to top right. The 3rd, 4th and 15th Brigades are in the middle left of the photo.
A view across to the north west and the actions around the 3rd Corps and Imperial Guard.

And finally an overview at the end of turn 20. 

The battle is finely balanced and is possibly the most precarious of Napoleon’s battles in the campaign so far. Although the Imperial Guard in particular, has made dramatic gains, both they and Vandamme’s 3rd Corps have suffered heavy losses is some of their formations. Provided they can clear the Prussian centre quickly it will enable them to divert resources to support the 2nd Corps.

For the Prussians, their victory hinges on overturning Reille allowing them to turn their attention fully on the weakened Vandamme’s Corps. They also have to deal with the imposing 3rd Cavalry Corps not to mention the elite heavy cavalry of the Guard!


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