Neil has once again produced the battle report this week which takes us from turm turn eleven to turn seventeen:
The battle continued this week from where we left it. In the North and Centre the French had lost the initial Artillery duel against the Prussians and given some areas of ground ahead of the Prussian advance to reposition to a new line. The Central Village was still held and strongly supported on its Southern flank which was the only sector the Prussians hadn’t really advanced in and seemed content to bide their time.
Dom looks down with an air of grim satisfaction upon his assembled horde.
Turn 11 and Oudinot on the extreme French right begins to adjust his line into a slightly more aggressive stance to counter Prussian light cavalry probing forward. There are also some, albeit limited, signs that Von Quitlow may have aroused from his slumber as his battalions begin to parade behind the front line as if organising into a Divisional attack column. In the Centre Vandamme remains static and resolute in the face of a general Prussian advance but Caferelli and St Hilaire continue to retire to the West leaving a space to the North and Northeast of the central village.
The areas of action taken from the Northen end of the battlefield.
The next turn, and the mid point of the days battle, sees the Saxon Cavalry reserve ride onto the field in the form of Von Cerrini’s Division. They arrive to the centre right of the Prussian line roughly where Scharnhorst began the day. The French battalions of Caferelli, now redeployed, pour fire into Von Oswalds’ Prussian who march stoically onwards whilst their supporting Heavy Cavalry under Von Preussen begin a wheel to their left, and toward the Southwest, to skirt the edge of the central hill and Village. In the far South, French Hussars spur their mounts into the charge against an isolated Prussian foot battery. The misguided gunners thought they were covered by their own lights but unfortunately the Prussian Cavalry are caught napping and find themselves too far away to affect the French strike. The Battery blasts away with Canister but, whilst horse and men fall, the bulk continue, barely breaking pace as they crash headlong into the gunners. A swift and bloody swirling melee later and the battery is wiped out where it stood.
The central village (we really should give it a name) shortly before the sea of Prussians hit it.
T13 and more white clad Saxons, Infantry this time, march onto the field in a Central position some distance behind the lead units of Von Oswald Division who crest the rise of the Central hill for the first time and see the Village ahead of them. Hell breaks loose from the Village as Vandammes Veterans open up but as the smoke clears it is evident, to the relief of the closely packed Musketeers that the Skirmishing Fusiliers and Jagers bore the brunt.. Vandammes supporting Artillery limber up and begin to redeploy to the West as the threat of Prussian Dragoons looms larger.
In the far South the French Hussars, fresh from their success clash with Von Muffling’s Hussars who have shaken off their lethargy and after a bloody melee that escalates with both sides throwing in additional troopers, the survivors troop off to their respective lines. The far North of the battlefield sees Von Pletz’s infantry at last get a clear sight of the enemy directly to their west only for it to be the French Imperial Guard Cavalry Division menacingly positioned over a line of low hills….St Hilaire decides his moment has come and he reverses his earlier march to advance on Pletz and Scharnhorst and at the same time protect his foot battery from Prussian Light Cavalry. Scharnhorst meanwhile has brought up a 12lb battery and after a devastating round of fire, more French gunners are slain, compromising the future of the battery.
Meanwhile in the Northern sector more Prussians crest the ridgeline.
Turn 14 opens with Von Preussens’ Dragoons attempting and only narrowly missing out on catching the French 12lb battery limbering up. Von Oswald brings more Infantry onto the central hill in preparation for the assault against Vandamme whilst in the North, Prussian brace themselves and then walk, trot and gallop into the charge against the French Guard Heavy Cavalry. The first round sees very light casualties on both sides but when the French reinforce the remaining Uhlan are cut from their mounts. Rolling volleys issue from the village and tear ragged holes in the Prussian lines but they bravely stand their ground and redress their ranks.
Elsewhere Von Muffling orders his Infantry in the South to begin to advance in numbers and the final Prussian reserves appear on table in the form of Von Bergdorf’s Saxon Infantry and Von Irwing heavy Prussian cavalry.
Prussian veterans get to grips with Wurtemburg light infantry in the tussle for the woods.
Turn 15 and reporting North to South, the Guard heavy cavalry reform on the spot of their victory and spur themselves onwards into another unfortunate squadron of Uhlan. Von Pletz forms his lead battalions into square to counter the Cavalry threat leaving Scharnhorst to contest the last wooded area before the open ground before the Leipzig outskirts. In the centre Von Oswald orders 3 battalions against the Village but only 2 can muster the courage to advance into the face of the musketry. Napoleon moves his staff to the central ground where together with his two present Marshals he can best direct the columns of French massing to counter the Prussian attack. A devastation volley pours forth from the village and cuts down swathes of Prussians but still they close on the village. A single round of melee is sufficient to further reduce their numbers and it is not long before, their courage spent, they break and flee back down the ridge through their supporting battalions. Prussian Heavy dragoons execute 2 regimental charges and once again French Hussars are asked to stop impossible odds with the easily anticipated outcome in order to protect their Infantry behind.
Finally in the South, Von Muffling’s advance cannot be accused of being overtly rash in its pace against Oudinot as the Heavy Cavalry of Von Irwing move more rapidly to get closer to the action.
The first line of Prussians close with the village despite heavy fire from the defenders. Shame about the chocolate digestives.
Turn 16 and the Prussians suffer a set-back in the centre as Von Oswald’s Infantry repulsed from the Village pile through their own lines effectively pinning the bulk of the fresh infantry in place. Caferelli takes advantage to push forward in numbers, occupying the ground he held at the start of the battle and putting himself in a position to engage some of the enemy infantry. Bourciers Dragoons also move forward behind Caferelli in response to the threat brought by the distantly approaching Saxon heavy cavalry. In the South Von Muffling continues to cautiously advance whilst at the opposite end of the battle, St Hilaire and Scharnhorst continue a fierce fire fight over the woods. The French Guard light cavalry spot a disordered infantry battalion in line amongst Von Pletz’s squares and charge on through a volley in an attempt to ride them down. The Prussians regain some semblance of order just in time to hold off the Chasseurs a Cheval and who, narrowly thwarted, retire to their own lines in good order.
The same action from the Prussian side of the table. Happily for the French this first attempt failed, though more is likely to come.
Turn 17, mid afternoon and the last turn of the evenings gaming sees Scharnhorst push on off the hill and move to engage St Hilaire. This may have been encouraged by the Saxon Infantry and Cavalry who are now closing in close to his rear position in support. St Hilaire responds to this aggression and launches his own troops into a Prussian line, wins the combat and by the end of the turn they are ready to take flight. The bitter close range fire fight in the woods also reaches its bloody conclusion as a severely battered Prussian battalion begins to pull back. Finally in the North the swing in fortunes is completed as the Heavy Guard cavalry ride down an unfortunate unit of Von Pletz with the remainder keen to resume their defensive squares.
In the Centre, a series of devastating volleys form the Village edge pour into the brave Prussians of Von Oswald who have lined out and are engaging in a fire fight, a fire fight that they are losing, but stoically holding their ground as they are cut down in swathes. Caferelli continues his aggressive stance and charges into a Prussian battalion on the hilltop just North of the Village, both sides contest the first round of melee and the combat escalates as both sides commit many hundreds more Infantry to the fight sensing its importance. Losses are heavy on both sides but eventually Prussian numbers tell and the remains of three battalions begin to run back down the ridge. South of the village, the Prussian dragoons continue their victimisation of French light Cavalry, carving up another 2 squadrons for little loss whilst in the far south the slow ponderous advance drips onwards… one can only assume that the Allied force are hoping the unseasonal afternoon sun and a large lunch will have caused Oudinot to drift off before they arrive.
The "Guard cavalry" actually a regiment of line dragoons and another of Westphalian light cavalry. Plans are afoot to remedy the lack of French Guard troops.
So there we have the battle to nearly its ¾ stage. In the North the French appear to have held the position with little prospect of allied advance although the arrival of the Saxon reserves and with plenty of meat left available to him, Eric will no doubt try one more time. In the centre, whilst Von Oswald has taken a hammering and Caferelli some damage, the Prussians have Blucher largely untouched in position and reserves marching up, it is just really whether they can gain a suitable position from which to try and damage the barely troubled Vandamme who stands still defending the ground he began with. Von Preussen and his Cavalry have taken care of the best part of 2 light cavalry regiments for little loss but have been unable to unhinge Vandamme’s position thanks to the Lights sacrifice so whilst horse meat is on the menu tonight in abundance they probably have not played a key role in the battles outcome to date. An accusation that sits better on Von Ruchel’s corps of Von Muffling and Quitlow. Undoubtedly they would have sustained losses in the advance and it is naturally not a tactical place to launch a large attack however strategically the drain on reserves it may have caused from behind the centre may have left the French sweating a bit more on the outcome than I feel they probably currently are…
Still some dice to be thrown but I have to say it looks like it is definitely advantage French at the moment with 6 turns to go until evening and the light begins to fail hindering ongoing fighting.