Friday, 5 August 2016

Battle of Caldiero part 2

Our second session began with Gardanne renewing his attack on Caldiero and the Lithuania regiment which was supporting the village on the left.  A determined attack by the two battalions of the 46th regiment got through the closing volley from the Russians and closed for melee.   Two more attacked the divisional artillery on Lithuania's left flank.  Although the infantry drove off their attackers with heavy losses, the artillery, which had been weakened by skirmisher fire was overrun and the French infantry were poised to move around the flank of the infantry defending Caldiero.

Gardanne's attack meets with some success
However, Frimont's cavalry were supporting Tolstoy and Lothringen and saw an opportunity to charge.  The Merveldt Uhlans surged forward and caught one battalion of the 54th regiment before it could form square.  In no time the remnants of the battalion were streaming from the field, with the majority of their comrades having been killed.  The Uhlans reined in and with great discipline, fell back to reform after their charge.  Gardanne was forced to form part of his division in squares to protect the flank of those who were still attacking Caldiero.  The only thing threatening Frimont's troopers was the fire from Pino's artillery which wanted to dissuade them from intervening in the struggle for Gambion.

On the other side of Caldiero Verdier was having more success.  Led by the 2nd Line and 5th Light his troops overwhelmed Tolstoy's artillery and pushed back the 1st battalion of the New Ingermanland regiment.  The 2nd battalion tried to stem the tide but was also driven back with heavy losses.  Their stand, although costly, did give Orlov's battalions enough time to advance and block any further progress by Verdier's men.  In addition the Frenchmen came under fire from the artillery on the ridge and began to suffer heavy casualties.

Verdier's men break through

Orlov's men deploy and await the attack
One worrying development for Bennigsen was the artillery battery Massena had assembled opposite Mesenzov.  This had quickly found the range and was inflicting significant losses on the troops manning the ridge.  Mesenzov was bringing forward his reserve battalions but these also suffered as the ball shot 'bounced through' the front lines and ploughed into formations further back.

Lothringen's men were now contesting Pino's for control of Gambion.  Although he had superior numbers Lothringen could not deploy them to advantage and had to resort to a head on attack.

Massena now began to move forward his reserves.  Duhesme's eltes advanced up the road towards Caldiero, whilst D'Espagne's cavalry moved to the right to support Verdier.  Here they were joined by the remnants of Lasalle's men.  Mesenzov's men on the ridge began to look vulnerable.

Duhesme's men advance

The French cavalry gather.
A preliminary attack by Verdier's infantry had been repulsed by Mesenzov, but the Russians were now exposed to a potential counter attack.  At this point time caught up with us again and with things nicely poised Steve and I can look forward to a conclusion being reached at our next session.

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