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05. Battle of Saalfeld - 9th May 1813

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05. Battle of Saalfeld - 9th May 1813

Post  Mr. Digby on Wed Apr 06, 2016 5:35 pm





Saalfeld (Nennweiler on the map above) is held by a mixed force of French infantry and cavalry. Russian Cossacks, light cavalry and jagers are advancing on the town along the road from Weimar (green arrow) and Prussian cavalry, with infantry behind have appeared from the north-east moving upon the town from Jena (grey arrow).

The French appear determined to hold the town (blue circle).

I will give additional details of this battle asap, hopefully later today, including maps and OOBs and hope to play it this Friday. Here is a Doodle Poll. This encounter again may be a tough one, so please sign up!


Last edited by Mr. Digby on Thu Apr 07, 2016 7:12 am; edited 2 times in total

_________________
The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: 05. Battle of Saalfeld - 9th May 1813

Post  Mr. Digby on Wed Apr 06, 2016 7:08 pm

We are lucky that the Meckel map fits the geography perfectly. BTW bridges marked with red 'Xs' are not crossable. The only 2 crossings on the whole map are the roads to Hof and Coburg. The main river on the map is the Saale if that was not obvious.

_________________
The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: 05. Battle of Saalfeld - 9th May 1813

Post  Mr. Digby on Thu Apr 07, 2016 7:12 am

Added the road to Altstadt to the map.

_________________
The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Mr. Digby

Posts : 4821
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Re: 05. Battle of Saalfeld - 9th May 1813

Post  Mr. Digby on Sat Apr 09, 2016 8:51 am

This battle was of the most determined and sanguine quality. The fighting was intense, even frenzied, and no quarter was asked or given. The Russo-Prussian force shifted east to approach Saalfled from the north via the Jena highway and struck the French defensive line with the brunt of their effort on the left centre, towards the stone bridge that carried the Hof road over the Saale. General Lorencz, commanding French 14th Division of Oudinot's XII Corps posted some of his battalions in a small village on the northwards facing slope of a hill with his guns and supporting battalions behind. The Prussian infantry and cavalry of von Blucher's corps assaulted this position with determination, pounding the French defenders with massed Russian guns drawn up on the heights to the north.

The Russian avangard Corps of General St. Priest, whose troops were cut off from supply had to force their way across the Hof bridge to regain their supply route. St Priest sent his column north and east around the rear of Blucher's attacking corps and was able to get along the riverbank to push a battery, his jagers brigade and part of his cavalry brigade over the bridge to safety. A second battery and part of his cavalry was unable to cross and was roughly handled. More than one cannon ended up lost in the river.

On the western end of the French line General Marchand commanding the 39th Baden-Hessian division was tasked with holding Saalfled and though part of the northern suburbs across a small river was lost to the attacking Prussians and some Prussian cavalry burst through the streets of the town, no serious attack was made upon this place and the bulwark of Saalfeld held firm throughout the day. Marchand lost a number of routed battalions due to Prussian cavalry of von Sydow's command getting around the flanks of the town to surprise his men before they could form square. His Baden artillery was also driven away bu these charges. Nonetheless Saalfeld was firmly held by the time dusk fell.

The crisis was in the centre between Saalfeld and the village held by Lorencz. Here an immense grand battery of Russian guns occupied a hillside overlooking the valley of a tributary if the Saale preventing Oudinot from forming a continuous defence line between his left and right flank towns. Anything that tried to defend this ground was mercilessly pounded and in the afternoon Blucher assaulted across this stream, pushing infantry and cavalry deep into the centre of the French position and routing several French battalions. Prusssian batteries were them brought across and for a while it seemed the position would be lost by the French.

In the later afternoon however General Sebastiani's II reserve cavalry Corps counter attacked, one division of light cavalry striking the left front of the Prussian salient on the slopes south-west of Lorencz' position and the Cuirassier division of General Watier likewise collided with the Prussians right front just south of Saalfeld. Under these dual blows the Prussians centre fell back, its line stabilising north of the stream. The third (light) French cavalry division swung wide around the west side of Saalfled and by evening was making hostile probes into Blucher's rear.

With the failing of daylight and the fact that St Priest's Russians were either across the river to safety or lost, Blucher determined to fall back to Jena and cover his own supply route. It was clear that he could not drive the French out of their present position and seek a crossing of the Saale for his own corps.

The battle ended as a French victory in as much as they successfully held their positions although the Allies achieved their key objective of getting at least parts of St Priest's corps to safety. Blucher has gone back to Jena.

A postscript to the battle was written the following day. At Weimar a division of Russian light cavalry commanded by general Iusefouvitsch had been left holding the town to keep the supply road between Erfurt and Leutzen interdicted. The Russians were approached by Ney's III Corps, reinforced by fresh divisions that had formed in Erfurt in recent days and were forced to retire back down their line of communications to Saalfeld. Finding the town occupied and the bridge closed they skirmished with Sebastiani's light cavalry but were obliged to cut their way across country via small roads and byways to Jena where they arrived, exhausted on the evening of the 11th, having suffered some loss.

St Priest's Russian Avangard corps has suffered heavily in this action but is now at least able to replenish it's supplies and ammunition.

French losses were 455 killed, 3,270 wounded and 75 missing. The Russo-Prussians lost 360 killed, 2,560 wounded and 60 missing excluding Iusefouvitsch's losses the following day.

Replay of the battle.

Map showing the final positions of the armies in the evening:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/mgrqbkp37r26d8j/End_Positions.jpg?dl=0

Annotated map indicating principal moves:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/a42bxjhz6u7bcaw/End_Positions_Crop.jpg?dl=0

_________________
The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: 05. Battle of Saalfeld - 9th May 1813

Post  Mr. Digby on Fri Apr 15, 2016 7:08 pm

Some views of the fighting from the point of view of the Baden-Hessian 39th Division.

http://www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Saalfeld_02.jpg
From a hill north of Saalfeld, the first view of the Prussians as they march across our front from west to east.

http://www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Saalfeld_04.jpg
Looking south from the same hill towards the town of Saalfeld.

http://www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Saalfeld_08.jpg
A Baden battalion south of the town, facing east and engaged in a musketry duel with Prussian infantry.

http://www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Saalfeld_11.jpg
French carabiniers and cuirassiers advance.

http://www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Saalfeld_12.jpg
Carabiniers charge Prussian cuirassiers on the edge of town.

http://www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Saalfeld_14.jpg
Charge!

http://www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Saalfeld_13.jpg
Cuirassiers advancing.

http://www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/22426/Saalfeld_15.jpg
General views of the critical moments and area of the battle as the Prussians push forces over the stream that ran east from Saafeld to the river.

_________________
The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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