Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Battle of Friedland, 14th June 1807–part two

We took up this game on turn six# (10:30). The Russian attack was now gathering momentum. Would the limited attacks of Lannes' advance guard continue to be successful in holding back the Russians, or would Bennigsen be able to bring his numbers to bear to crush the French and then beat off the reinforcements as they arrived on the field? Once again David, Stephen and Mark 'Biko' joined us. The former joined Mark and Julian on the Russian side, while the latter combined with me to control the Emperor's troops.
(#Click here to read the report of part one)

Marshal Lannes directing the attacking defence by his advance guard.

The reinforcements of the Grande Armée, Ney's VI Corps in the foreground, Victor's I Corps at right rear and the Imperial Guard at left rear. Could Lannes' men hang on until they arrive—and in sufficient shape to allow them to deploy for a counter-attack?

Cossack attack! Straight into the blown dragoons at the end of the latter's previous successful charge...
sending them back, wounded but not beaten.

A similar attempt on the 2e carabiniers, but they fought off their attackers!

Oudinot's 'grenadiers' were hard-pressed by the mounting number of Russian troops brought to bear by Osterman's 2nd Div. and the jägers of the advance guard.

We have spoken before about the tactic of throwing a '1' in a mêlée, Biko...!!

Under this pressure, Oudinot's men 'cracked' and retreated (failed divisional morale test at 1/2 losses). The Russians were ecstatic—at least Julian was!

The three photos below are looking from the French side, moving from north to south.

The overall table from the southern end.

"Wevenge!" Taking a sledgehammer to a nail, Grouchy's dragoons and Nansouty's cuirassiers attack the Cossacks...
while the another unit of those pesky irregular Russian cavalry has a go at the carabiniers.

The carabiniers, emulating their historical counterparts, were again victorious, but the Cossack artillery fought off the dragoons! They later rallied, only to be removed from the table when the division, now down to that one unit of three, failed divisional morale.

von Polenz's Saxons join the attack, lead by the grenadiers in what was to be an inauspicious attack. The red-coated Germans were halted by the defensive fire of the Russian grenadiers, who then counter-charged and drove them back in retreat.

Back on the southern flank, French hopes are with Verdier's recently arrived division...

but it is first-blood to the Russian's as those marvellous/pesky jägers (depending on whom you ask) win again!

Dombrowski's Poles (Mortier's VIII Corps) moving up on the right flank of the French cavalry.

Dupas' 1st Division of Mortier's VIII Corps supporting von Polenz's Saxons (note the grenadiers still in retreat).

The French right is open to the advance of Osterman's division (closest) and the advance guard (in distance). Kologribov's cavalry also moving up.

Crash! A massed Russian column pushes through Verdier's 'thin blue line'.

At last, something to smile about at this end of the table—Biko has learned the value of rolling a six! Having won four (?, I lost count) mêlées in a row the jägers are broken.

By contrast, finally something to smile about for the Russian cavalry as Uvarov's dragoons defeat Nansouty's cuirassiers!

Trouble is, being the last unit of the division, it 'disappeared' when the divisional morale failed.

French hopes are buoyed by the Emperor's timely arrival; but where are the reinforcements?!

The coup d'oeil at work.

Plato's Cossacks in the Dambrau wood; their artillery charged by Nansouty's 1e cuirassiers, now 'really mad'!

Dombroski's Polish chevau-légers (sans lance) defeated Kogine's Little Russia cuirassiers.

Those brave Cossack gunners were unable to hold off the French armoured horsemen. "If you meet a cuirassier, you'll be lucky to get away with your life".
Note the absence of the French cuirassiers formerly on the road before the wood.
The 9e cuirassiers had been sent packing.

A win and a loss for von Polenz's Saxon line over Titov III's infantry.

While the Saxon jägers were well beaten in a firefight with Titov III's grenadiers.

Dombrowski's Poles join the attack in the French left-centre, but are stopped by defensive fire from Lvov's troops.

Back in the south (French right) that massed Russian column claims another victim, beating off an attack by a lone unit of Verdier's command.

Kologribov's lead unit of dragoons seize the opportunity to charge Verdier's infantry, but in one of those results that, to me, shows the great value of the dice in wargaming, are beaten back, despite the infantry failing to form square (Julian's turn to roll the '1', while Biko kept with the tactic of the '6').

Bennigsen had ordered the Russian guard cavalry to deploy onto the west side of the Alle to support the Russian left.

Joy in the French camp as Ney's VI Corps arrived on the field (far side of the table in this photo).

Kologribov's next unit of dragoons charge a square of Verdier's infantry and are 'bounced'.

A final 'walk' around the table:

looking from south-west,

around to the south,

around the south-east corner to look to the west (Posthenen) in the distance),

moving northwards, whilst still facing west,

to the north-east corner.

It is 13:00. Numbers on the field are now about even, but there is still hope for the Russians. Can they land some 'killer' blows before I Corps and the Guard arrive?

Our third and we expect final session of this battle is planned for 4th June.