Saturday, August 11, 2012

Campaign Move 8

1200 to 1600 16 August 1813

General Wintzingerode Commander 3rd Russian Corps

Wintzingerode has had a good campaign so far.

His corps is responsible for the southern flank of the Russian Army, and in particular the Saalfeld to Zwickau road.    He started the campaign at Greiz, and could easily have deployed his corps west of the town and engaged any French advance as they attempted to exit the mountain terrain at Possneck.

Instead he ordered his corps to advance to take Possneck.   The first battle proved inconclusive, and he fell back to the east.   But next morning he ordered his corps to advance again, and caught 2nd French corps as they tried to withdraw west of the river.  

In the second battle of Possneck he was supported by 6th division from 2nd corps, and together they forced the unfortunate Marshal Victor to surrender his whole corps.

By the end of the battle 3rd Russian corps was battered and badly in need of resupply.   However they had advanced beyond their supply chain, and were about to run out of rations.  They had also suffered considerable casualties in their two battles, and were in need of rest and reorganisation.

Despite this Wintzingerode was determined to take full advantage of his victory and push at least one division west of the river and occupy Saalfeld.  

At first light on 16th August he received orders from Wittgenstein to hold his present position and not to advance west of Possneck under any circumstances.    These orders were written by the Russian CinC immediately he received news of the first battle of Possneck, and before he heard about the surrender of 2nd French corps.  Their arrival at such a critical time was to have considerable consequences for remainder of the campaign.

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