The second battle of the week saw the Allied forces on the offensive. Again it was a battle for a well defined village line but with a not so subtle difference. At the centre of the French position was the Napoleonic equivalent of the Deathstar from Star Wars. A 48 man chateau with out works and cunningly placed buildings designed to channel anyone foolhardy enough to consider attacking it into a killing ground for its Young Guard defenders. Naturally the task was given to Chris Cornwell. Ignoring his orders to reduce the buildings Chris opted for the all out attack option with unfortunate but somewhat predictable results.
The fighting was tough all along the line the picture to the left shows Sackens' corps at the start line for the first of two bloody assaults on the village controlling their sector. Each assault was fought through to 3 rounds of combat and each time there was a bounce. The French defenders commanded by the tenacious Mark Freith were only finally ousted by heavy skirmisher fire from both flanks whilst regrouping. To the left can be seen Herberts brave lads pushing back the French right which carried out a staged withdrawal.
The final assault was made in the centre by the Russian Guard cavalry and the combined Guard corps. This was carried out against a Young Guard division who in adopting a reverse slope position had clearly learned lessons from the Duke of Wellington. This was a formidable obstacle and was judged too costly to be taken by frontal assault. It was necessary to turn one or both flanks and as the left was anchored on the Deathstar the Guard cavalry was committed to clear away the French Heavy cavalry on the right. The dice Gods smiled on the Allies, though for the second year running Mark Freith threw six sixes with six dice in cavalry combat, and the Youngsters were forced to withdraw. Once again the French lost much of their heavy cavalry whilst that of the allies remained largely intact.
So a victory for the Allies, though probably not as decisive as the French victory at Torgau. Hardly surprising considering the Vaubanesque fortifications but it was 1-1 at half time and as we filed off to the dressing rooms both sides knew they had everything to play for.
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