Saturday, September 29, 2012

Campaign Move 14

1200 to 1600 18 August 1813

 Campaign Map at 0800 18th August 1813

Battle of Bad Kosen
By midday it is obvious to Langeron that he will not be able to cross the river Saale by either the northern ford, or the central bridge.   Both are too well defended.   The French have deployed their artillery to cover both crossings, and in addition have sufficient infantry and cavalry to counter any attempted crossing.

Both sides engaged in a fruitless long range artillery duel.  Throughout the morning this had no effect.  However by mid afternoon the French gunners started to inflict casualties on the Russian crews.  Each hit reduced the effectiveness of the Russian gunners and their ability to reply.

Fortunately Wunzow was not in position at the southern bridge with 3rd Russian corps.    This bridge was held by a brigade of French lancers, but lacking any artillery support they were forced to retire when the Russian gunners opened fire on them.   

Wurzow only had one regiment of cavalry available, but he ordered them over to the northern bank or hold off the lancers whilst his infantry crossed.   The French risked the artillery fire and charged the Russian cavalry.   The fight raged for some time, but eventually the lancers were forced to withdraw again.  

Battle of Jena

Just after midday General Wittggenstein arrives with 6th Russian division moving through the hills behind 4th division.   The Russian CinC had taken control and ordered the division to march to support 2nd corps.  

Now that he has arrived on the battlefield General Wittgenstein takes command of 2nd Russian corps.   He sends orders for 4th to move to C05 and 5th division to C04.   This will threaten the weak French right flank, and make room for 6th division to deploy in C06

4th division had already halted east of the northern bridge to avoid a frontal attack in the north against the French Imperial Guard-   5th division had  moved south and was opposite the southern ford.

5th Russian division sent their cavalry brigade to recce the river south of Jena to see if there was a ford.   The Polish cavalry were already doing so on the western bank withdrew just after midday.  It would take another three hours before the Russians discovered that there is in fact a ford there.

4th Russian division had the difficult task of defending the northern ford against a possible attack by the French guard, and at the same time extend their left flank to cover the bridge as well.  In doing so their artillery came under heavy fire and the gunners routed.   Left without artillery support it is now unlikely that they will be able to fight their way over the defended river.

6th division had arrived just in time to plug the gap and deter the French from attacking.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Campaign Move 13

 0800 to 1200 18 August 1813

Campaign Map at 0800 18th August 1813

Battle of Bad Kosen
The previous day Langeron, commander 1st Russian Corps, received a report that one of the three French divisions as Bad Kosen had been observed marching west towards Weimar. He immediately ordered his corps to prepare to attack Bad Kosen at first light.   He also sent a message to the Russian CinC to confirm his intention, and another to General Sacken, commander 2nd Russian Corps to ask for his support.

Langeron orders 1st and 2nd divisions to advance their artillery to the river and drive the enemy back.   The infantry and cavalry are to remain out of artillery range.   3rd division is ordered to move towards the southern bridge and do the same.  When all three divisions are in place he will order them all to attack together.

Ney has deployed his artillery within range of the northern ford and central bridge.   His infantry and cavalry are out of artillery range of the eastern bank.
He does not have sufficient guns to cover the southern bridge, but he has deployed his lancer brigade within charge range of the northern end of the bridge.

Battle of Jena
Sacken ordered his 4th division to cross the river Saale and attack north of Jena.   His 5th division would hold the Domburg bridge and his 6th division would be prepared to support 1st corps by attacking north towards Bad Kosen if required.   He was aware that there were at least two French divisions on the west bank of the river and that 4th division would not only have to fight its way over a defended river but would have to do so at odds of two to one.

General Wittgenstein, the Russian CinC, was pleased that Langeron was to attack Bad Kosen.   He issued orders to his corps commanders to support the attack, and moved his reserve into position to exploit any breakthrough.   He was not aware that Sacken was about to attack Jena with just one division.  

Fortunately he arrived at Domburg during the early morning and was well placed to play an active part in the joint battles of Jena and Bad Kosen.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Campaign Move 12

 1600 to 2000 17 August 1813

General Langeron Commander 1st Russian Corps

Langeron is responsible for the northern wing of the Russian army.  He is tasked with taking Bad Kosen.  This is the French northern wing held by Marshal Ney and isolated by the steep bend in the river Saale.

1st Russian corps had defeated a French attempt to move south of the river at the end of move 4.  Since then Langeron has pushed his divisions against the river skirmishing with the French.   He always lost these engagements and suffered some casualties to enemy artillery fire.

He has also failed to supply his divisions.  And despite every opportunity failed to recce the river for fords.

During move 10 he withdrew his divisions, resupplied them and redistributed his battle casualties.   He finally ordered his cavalry to recce for fords.

At the end of move 11 he received a report that the enemy had abandoned Bad Kosen and one division was seen to be marching west.  It could be a deception to tempt him to attack.   Or it could be part of the French redeployment and mean that there were only two divisions left to face his three.

He immediately ordered his corps to prepare to advance on Bad Kosen at first light 18th August 1813.