Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Napoleonic: Prussians v. French

Steve's Prussians had a Line & a Landwehr division of 6 battalions each, 3 guns & 2 cavalry divisions, each 2 cuirassier & 2 hussar. Command Rating 7 for Landwehr, 8 otherwise.
Jim & Chris's French had 2 infantry divisions of 4 line & 1 legere, 2 guns & 3 cavalry brigades of 2 units: hussar, chaseur a chevale du guarde & a horse grenadier du guarde.  Command Rating 9.
The French deployed first. Infantry in the centre, horse grenadiers on the left, chasseurs in central reserve & hussars on the right.
The Prussians deployed their Landwehr on their left centre, Line on right centre with the guns & a cavalry division on each flank.
The Prussians rapidly advanced their left where the French withdrew their hussars & formed a defensive line on the line of the stream to meet the attack. Despite their poor command rating the Landwehr moved up briskly and took the farm before the French could get there.  A drawn out fire fought ensued between the infantry as the Prussian cavalry manoeuvred around the French flank.
On the near flank, the French intended to advance their legere as skirmishers through the orchard & with the help of the artillery in the centre silence the guns while the line came up ready for an attack in concert with the cavalry.  Poor command dice ruined the plan.  While the Line dithered, the French guns were forced to withdraw by counterbattery fire & a Prussian battalion drove the skirmishers back with a bayonet charge.
On the far flank the Landwehr did remarkably well, but superior French musketry was gradually getting on top.  However the Prussians hussars pushed back the French hussars in the woods & threatened to outflank the French as their heavy cavalry prepared to charge across the stream at shaken infantry.  It looked scary enough for the French commander to move the Chaseurs back to the centre & go on the defensive on his left. 
On the far flank the French musketry with some artillery support finally broke the Landwehr & the heavy cavalry was held on the stream line by the legere.   In the centre the Prussian infantry columns stormed through the orchard & broke 2 French battalions.   This attack was supported by their cavalry, but the with the heat off his right, the French commander pulled his chasseurs back in support of the Grenadiers a cheval in time to meet them.  The Prussian columns in the orchards were halted, & the French infantry in the orchard fell back to a new defensive line as the Prussian columns prepared for another attack. The French artillery was again forced to withdraw by counterbattery fire.
On this flank the cavalry finally engaged & bashed each other into impotence with all but 1 unit on each side shaken & the others close to it.  The French infantry in the fields just managed to hold off the Prussian attack, but the remaining battalions are shaken.

The Prussians had lost their Landwehr division & their cavalry was all pretty well spent, though not broken.   The French had lost just 1 hussar brigade, but like the Prussians only had one infantry division in any condition to fight on.  They were moving to the left & might have arrived in time to save the shaken division on the left, but it was now past 10pm & nightfall was declared & the battle a draw.

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