Saturday, January 19, 2013

Battle of the Upper Spree

The Campaign of Nations has continued, this time with a battle east of Berlin, at a crossing of the Spree River.
Russians move to the attack, screening their Hussars and Dragoons with Cossacks ...

Ponitowski's VIII Corps was holding the area, when through the north woods came two Russian Corps and  a Division of Swedish cavalry.
French and Russians - with Swedish support face off across the Spree River

Hoping to delay long enough to get re-enforced by Oudinot's XII Corps, Poniatowski chose to make his stand within firing range of the fords.
Oudinot's view of the start of the action

Pozzo di Borgo, while nominally in command was willing to permit Voronsov to take the field command, at least until he dithered overlong (which was determined to be if the Russians lost the initiative for two pulses in a row).

View of the field from behind the French left ... outgunned 3:1
 While both forces were engaged at the river on the open ground, the Russians had sent three brigades of Cossacks into the woods to flank the French, while Oudinot had sent off his own Hussar brigade and a brigade of line infantry supported by a brigade of conscripts.

Russian forces set to cross the Spree and attack the Polish Corps
The die 6 was rolled to determine the battle start ... it came up a "1", meaning that the Russians started the battle at 06h00!

An amazing turn of events for certain, did Pozzo di Borgo know that Oudinot was coming?  That he would need time to get to the field?  Just as the Swedish Cavalry would need time?  The Position Battery performed perfectly to open the battle ... 100% hits on the first salvo, which utterly shattered the battle effectiveness of the Polish brigade that was the target.

This was followed by a charge of Uhlans, which were in turn attacked by the flanking brigade of Poles.

The French counter attack also included a charge by Cuirassier, who caught the Uhlans after they fell back from the Polish counter-attack.

This brigade of Uhlans held up the heavy Cuirassier long enough for two brigades of Hussars to cross the ford and prepare to flank the entire VIII Corps position.

Russian Hussars stream across the Spree as Uhlans are cut apart by French Cuirassier
Giving as good as they take the Polish Brigade of Sierawski drives off the Russian Uhlans

Turn one was to have three pulses, by the end neither commander had any command dice left and the battle got away from the commanders for a moment.

A wild series of melees were conducted on after the other right at the bridgehead

Both of the close-in Russian commands decided to attack (rolling 10+ on 2d6 causes this in FPGA) this sent both Arentschild's brigade and the covering troops of the Position Battery, Grenadiers and line infantry across the river (not in the actual plan of the Russians to waste these troops this way).  It was enough to send off the French Cuirassier and keep the crossing open for more Russians to cross.

wild fighting with abandon at the bridgehead as commanders loose some control over their troops
The far right flank of the French line is overcome by the Hussar brigades that have crossed over and now wrap around the Polish brigade.  Meantime Russian horse artillery crosses the river in mass.

Russian Hussars finish off the Polish Division of Kaminiecki
By the start of turn 2, even though the artillery of XII Corps was now present and he knew how close the rest of the Corps was, it was clear to Oudinot that he could not hold this field today.  The only question was could he get away with the artillery of VIII Corps and any of the men?

Start of turn two - by 10h00 it was clear the French would not prevail
One last act of defiance, a Polish brigade steps forward to delay the Russians for one more pulse
The Poles score a skirmisher hit on the advancing Russians - the only skirmish of the day!
Oudinot was now in a race with the pursing Russians, could these guns get away?
The Russian counter attack was to swarm over the last defending Infantry Brigade, striking with Infantry and Cossacks.  Then to prepare an attack against the Cuiarassier, who were now positioned to guard the flank of the retreating cannon, for the horse guns and the newly arrived foot artillery of XII Corps had already been sent off in retreat and safety of the woods road to the west.

Cossacks stand triumphant over the bridgehead amid the carnage of at least 6 Brigades
The end of the action, Swedish Cavalry has crossed the Spree along with the HQ of Pozzo di Borgo
The last act, was for the Cossacks to sacrifice themselves in the destruction of two of the three batteries groups that were fleeing for safety while the Hussars teamed up on the Cuirassier and in a flanking maneuver, cut them down.

Swedish Cavalry race into the field just as Russian Hussars finish off the last French cavalry
Russian forces cheered the victory, won before mid-day.
Of all of VIII Corps under Poniatowski, only 1/3 of the foot artillery managed to escape this battle.  XII Corps would flee from the area driven on by the remnants of the Polish Corps.

The Russians would not pursue, though the three brigades of Cossacks in the woods would make sure that the French retreat would be monitored, if not spurred on ...


Jiminho said...

Thanks for the report. IT looks like it was a messy WWWI-ish another divsion over the top kind of affair

MurdocK said...

Most certainly the bridgehead would have been blocked for a time by the mounds of dead men and horses.

Rafael Pardo said...

I missed this AAR when posted. It seems an enjoyable combat!