Not surprisingly the Emperor has taken a dim view of the French preparations and ordered Graf Von Grommitt to march his army to the Scheune Brucke, drive off the French forces and restore Imperial control over the Schaumenwasser crossing. To achieve this task Von Grommitt has 8 battalions of line infantry, two of grenadiers, a medium and light gun and 5 regiments of horse. He has deployed with his horse opposite their French opponents and his line infantry opposite the French centre. The grenadiers, under the command of the veteran Major General Boome are on the right, tasked with capturing the Scheune Brucke. The starting positions can be seen in the (rather blurred) photograph above. A roll of the dice decreed that Steve should take the part of Salle Forde and I that of Von Grommitt.
Von Grommitt ordered a general advance and his troops initially moved forward in an orderly way. However, the cavalry under the Duke of Hofburg - Riesling advanced too far, bringing them within charge range of the French cavalry. In the ensuing melee the French gained the upper hand, especially as the defeated Fugger regiment disordered the supporting Erbach regiment as it routed. This meant that the Erbach regiment was in it's turn defeated by the Aubusson regiment which was following up its earlier success. The Veningen Gendarmes had driven off the Vaillac regiment, but had taken heavy casualties in the process, thus preventing them from sweeping forward. Seeing this hesitation, the Spanish cavalry regiment charged the Gendarmes and in no time drove them from the field. In under half an hour 60% of Von Grommitt's cavalry was destroyed.
Meanwhile, in the centre the Hessian and Austrian infantry continued their advance. As the range closed the French light artillery began firing and then the French infantry volleys joined in. Salle Forde seemed to have given orders that his artillery concentrate on one target and the unlucky unit was Erbprinz. Casualties increased amongst the Hessian regiment's ranks and a final decisive volley from Remazy was the last straw. The Hessian regiment broke, streaming back and Von Grommitt himself galloped across the try and rally the shaken infantry.
|Too much firepower for Erbprinz|
As he made his way back to the centre, Von Grommit's attention was drawn to the left, where the last of Hofburg - Riesling's cavalry was fighting for their lives. All that remained were two under strength Austrian cuirassier regiments, Alt Hannover and Herbestein. Herbestein were bested by Aubusson, but inflicted such heavy casualties on the French that they were forced to fall back to reform. Alt Hannover, stood their ground and repulsed an attack by the Cuirassier du Roi, then charged in their turn. The French also stood their ground, absorbed the impetus of the charge and then drove back the Austrians. It was the French who recovered the quicker and once again the Cuirassier du Roi charged. This time they were victorious and the last of the allied cavalry were driven from the field.
|Alt Hannover try and stem the tide|
Hurriedly Von Grommitt tried to put together a new left flank. Erbprinz turned to face the French cavalry and orders were sent to the remainder of the Hessian units, Lowenstein and Wartensleben to move to new positions supporting the allied gun. Fortunately for the allies the French cavalry took some time to re-organise from their exertions and a new front was formed.
However, the re-positioning of the Hessians meant that the central attack was significantly weakened. The Austrian infantry were making real progress against the French left, pushing back Rouergue and Languedoc and uncovering the temporary pontoon bridge.
|The Austrian infantry attack|
|The Hessian grenadiers try and force their way over the bridge|
|The Palatinate Life Regiment attack|
|The French cavalry attack|
|The Cuirassier carry off their trophy|
Salle Forde was relieved at the victory, his main line had been severely tested and it was only the success of the cavalry which had provided the victory.