This scenario was from "Fields of Glory" scenarios for the Shako rules. A Prussian force of 3 divisions (2 infantry and 1 cavalry) plus a wagon train are attempting to withdraw across the front of a french force of 1 division with two more coming up in support. The Prussians need to score 14 victory points (the wagon train can contribute up to 12 of those if it suffers no losses and leaves by the road nearest Halle). Any lost wagons (ie contacted by a formed French unit) result in a deduction of 2 victory points.
The wagon train has to stay on the road, so the crossroads just outside Halle are the key to the battle. The Prussian force can be seen deployed on the left of the photograph with the cavalry nearest Halle, 1 division deployed either side of the wagon train and the second on the right flank. Dupont's division of Bernadotte's corps is already in Halle, with Rivaud's division just beginning to arrive.
Wurttemburg, the Prussian commander ordered the cavalry forward to try and pin the French within Halle and allow the wagons to pass. His second infantry division (represented by Austrians), were to advance to the far side of the crossroads and contain any French forces which may attack from Halle. His first infantry division (Lilleborg), was to attack Dupont and act as rearguard. However, the initial deployment, on either side of the wagons (which couldn't be interpenetrated), meant that Lilleborg's command took too long to get into position and couldn't exploit the advantage gained by the cavalry.
The Brandenburg Hussars led the way, overran a skirmish screen but were then attacked by the 2eme Hussars. After a short melee the French prevailed. The colonel, perhaps seeking a medal, promotion or "gloire" charged the supporting Meveldt Uhlans rather than rallying back nearer his infantry supports. In the resulting melee the French were eventually obliged to retreat in haste. This allowed the uhlans to charge the 1st battalion of the 5th Legere, catching them in the process of forming square. Although they fought bravely, the infantry suffered heavy losses and were finished as a fighting force.
Although they had pushed back the French, the allied cavalry were unable to hold the ground and their infantry supports were too far away. Dupont ordered his men forward again and this time the allied cavalry were busy reforming, or blocked by the wagon train. The 2nd battalion of the 10th Ligne reached the crossroads, blocking the advance of the wagons. On their right the 3rd battalion moved forward and contacted a wagon, now the Prussians needed 16 victory points! However, this advance by the 10th had exposed their flank and the 2nd battalion of the Pomeranian Infantry regiment charged forward, supported by the grenadiers.
Although supported by their 1st battalion, the 3rd battalion routed and with one third of its effectives lost, Dupont's division began to edge back towards the cover of Halle. It was at this point that Rivaud's column arrived on the eastern bank of the river and attempted to move out of Halle. The Prussian cavalry had recovered from it's earlier exploits and charged forward. Once again a battalion was caught before it could form square and, also the sole artillery battery available was overrun before it could get into action. Things looked black for Bernadotte, but he could see Drouet's division arriving in support. Unfortunately, also arriving was Von Treskow with a detached brigade of infantry and hussars. With no cavalry himself, Drouet marched at the double for the bridge into Halle. He almost made it, but one battalion of the rearguard was left to try and fight off a combined attack of infantry and cavalry, with the inevitable result. Emboldened, Von Treskow attempted to force a crossing over the bridge, but his attacking battalion achieved nothing and incurred heavy casualties.
The first Prussian wagon had now reached the crossroads, but the driver, against orders turned to his right away from Halle. This turn slowed the column and caused even more difficulty for Lilleborg who was trying to advance on Halle. The second Prussian division was now in position to attack the northern part of Halle and prevent any French attack from that direction. However, the battered remnants of Dupont's division stood their ground, trading volleys with their attackers and stopping two successive charges with close range volleys.
Slowly, the battle began to swing in the French favour. Rivaud's men advanced and secured the crossroads again, contacting another wagon. The Prussians again attacked with their cavalry, but this time the French were ready with a volley and then unwavering lines of bayonets. All three units of cavalry tried and failed to break the French line and they retired to play no further part in the action.
Lilleborg tried to relieve the pressure in the centre by attacking Halle from the south. His militia did secure a foothold, but again, poor co-ordination meant that they were unsupported when the counter attack was launched. For Wurttemburg things got worse. The last remaining wagons were captured in spite of the efforts of the Pomeranian fusilier battalion. With the target now 22 victory points (14 plus 4 wagons at -2 each) and only sufficient units to secure 16 he ordered a withdrawal; this day belonged to the French.
Edgehill 2917 (SK) by Peter Dunn
12 hours ago