This scenario is based on a flank action from the battle of Lutzen. Learning of the attack on Ney's III Corps by the Russo-Prussian army, Napoleon had issued orders for his corps to concentrate on the battlefield. Macdonald's XI Corps was advancing on the right flank of the allied force which was covered by Wurtemburg's II Corps. The action took place around the village of Eisdorf and the Flossgraben stream.
Macdonald's force had three infantry divisions (22 battalions), with accompanying artillery. One third of the infantry were poorly trained conscripts and this reduced the advantage gained by having superior numbers. His divisions were advancing along a single road and would arrive at intervals, (determined by an average dice). Wurtemburg had only 12 battalions, but he did have two units of Cosacks, the only 'cavalry' present. Macdonald's orders were to seize Eisdorf, the bridge over the Flossgraben and if possible, the high ground. (The bridge was needed to get artillery across the stream. ) Wurtemburg had to hold the line of the stream.
I took the part of Wurtemburg and elected to defend Eisdorf in strength, counting on the Russian infantry to beat off the first attack and then fall back to the line of the stream. The cossacks were placed in the wood on my right flank, ready to swing round the enemy line as it closed up to the stream. My opponent's plan was that his first division (Fressinet) would take Eisdorf, clearing the way for Gerard's division to take the bridge. Charpentier's division would assist Gerard and, if possible, then move towards the high ground.
At first things went well for the Russians. Schachafoski's division, which was holding Eisdorf , inflicted losses on Fressinet's troops as they advanced, the artillery proving particularly effective. The first attack on the village by the 3rd battalion of the 10th line was easily repulsed by the jaegers providing the garrison. However, the Russians became a little too confident and the New Ingermanland regiment advanced too far forward against the Irish Legion and exposed it's flank. Fressinet manoeuvred the Joseph Napoleon regiment into position and ordered it to charge. Totally surprised, the two Russian battalions were swept away by the Spaniards and Schachaforski had lost one third of his men. In light of this he ordered three battalions to withdraw to the stream, leaving the garrison of Eisdorf to hold on as long as they could. The battalions of the Kaluga regiment slowly withdrew, exchanging volleys with the 10th line. The 1st and 4th battalions of the 10th both melted away under the Russian fire, but reinforcements were on their way. Gerard's men moved forward and the 8th Legere charged the Russian line. Assailed by fresh troops the first line gave way and this rout carried away the supports too. At the same time the 2nd battalion of the 10th finally ejected the Russian defenders from Eisdorf. As the Frenchmen pursued their opponents they were caught by the supporting jaeger battalion and routed. This gave a little respite, but the Russian position was desperate. Schachafoski's command was severely depleted and was streaming back towards the high ground where Wurtemburg attempted to rally it. St Priests division would need to move to it's left to block the French advance.
As the ADC galloped off with the new orders Gerard's men were reorganising ready to cross the stream. Fressinet's division was worn out; four of it's battalions were dispersed and the remainder had suffered heavy losses, so it took possession of Eisdorf village.
The second phase of the action took place near the bridge over the Flossgraben stream. Schachafoski's retreat meant that the crossing of the stream by Gerard was unopposed and St Priest's men struggled to get into a position to control the bridge. Led again by the 8th legere, the French advance was met with volleys from battalions of Russian jaeger. As the firefight continued the line extended as more battalions joined in. Eventually, the Russian fire began to slacken and the French judged the moment right to charge. As the blue-coated masses came forward the Russian line began to waver and then gave way. Two Russian battalions were destroyed and soon all of St Priest's command was in retreat; the day belonged to the French.
Over our apres battle cuppa we discussed the action and the first conclusion was that the Russians tied too many troops to the defence of Eisdorf and then had insufficient to hold the line of the stream. The cossack 'ambush' was never used as French plans didn't envisage a prolonged contest along the length of the stream. The rules played a major part in the Russian problems through the divisonal morale die roll. In the last two Shako games, a division with one third losses has been unlucky enough to roll a one and thus has had to retreat. It has abandoned a defensive position and moved back to the base line, waiting to be rallied. We felt that this was unlikely and are looking at modifying the results table to try and avoid this happening.
Armies of the Great Northern War
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