Unbeknown to the French; the Allied garrison of 4 battalions and two light guns, reinforced by a three brigades (2 of infantry and 1 of cavalry), commanded by the Graf von Grommit, have chosen that very day to sally out and destroy the French works. The low ridge, which is no impediment to movement is flanked by a marshy area to its right and has two wooded area close to its left flank. French reinforcements will arrive either behind the ridge, or between the woods on the left (decided by a die roll). The Allied brigade of grenadiers arrives after the action starts (delay is decided by die roll). If the French preserve the battery and drive off the Allied force they are victorious. The destruction of the battery, would be an Allied success, even if they had to retreat afterwards.
|The French heavy battery, with Beattie's engineer wagon train approaching in the background|
Confident in their ability, the French cavalry surged forward to engage their more numerous opponents. The army lists give the French cavalry a slight advantage in this period and I had mentioned this to Steve, just before he rolled the dice to decide which force he would command. In the event he took the part of Von Grommit, but those claims about the French being 'the best cavalry in Europe' came back to haunt me. In the melee both my regiments were badly mauled, streaming back shaken and in disorder; it was only the disorder in the allied cavalry, preventing their 'sweeping advance', which saved me from total disaster.
|Aubusson driven back by Erbach|
In the centre a fire fight was developing. Aided by their light artillery, the Austrians were gaining the upper hand against the French. Solre and Languedoc were coming under increasing pressure and Salle Forde moved forward his second brigade to support the line. The Austrians fired one more volley and then charged, Solre opted to fix their bayonets (once fitted the plug bayonet prevented the unit from firing its muskets for the rest of the battle), Languedoc relied on a closing volley. Languedoc's volley stopped their opponents in their tracks, disordering them and forcing them to fall back to reform. Solre met the charge of the Metternich regiment and after a close melee forced the Austrians to fall back. This gave them no respite because the light artillery now began to fire at them from close range. Disordered, they were pulled back by Salle Forde, who ordered a fresh unit forward to take their place. The remaining Austrian infantry concentrated their fire on the French redoubt; many gunners fell in the torrent of lead directed at them and the remainder fled the field, with the French artillery silenced the Allied front line now advanced on the French infantry.
|The Spanish horse defeat Fugger|
Meanwhile on the French left the mutual inactivity pact came to an end with the Allied cavalry regiment Fugger charging the Spanish horse. Counter-charging the Spanish prevailed in the melee, but following up fell foul of the allied light artillery which Von Grommit had redeployed to support his right. The Veningen Gendarmes and Erbach, now recovered from their earlier melee charged Aubusson and Vaillac. but could not repeat their success. This time the French prevailed and the Allied horse were driven from the field, leaving Von Grommit desperately trying to put together a defence line on his right.
|Toulouse fight for the ridge|
Assessing that he had fulfilled his brief of silencing the enemy artillery and disrupting their siege preparations Von Grommit ordered what remained of his troops to fall back into Villete.