Battle Report: 23rd August 1997

Prussian ~vs~ Late French

(Robert Avery & Richard Avery ~vs~ Rupert Avery & Nog Norgren) .

Prussian

Brigade

Unit

Fig.'s Org. Class Weapons Pts/Fig Points
  CinC

1

. .. .   100
1st 2inC 1         50
Division Guards 48 4x12 RegA blr   664
  1st Line 24 2x12 RegC blr   260
  2nd Line 48 4x12 RegC blr   520
  Dragoons 16 2x8 RegB s, blc   296
  Battery A 3 3x1 RegA light blrb FA   321
2nd 2inC 1         50
Division Jaegers 48 4x12 LightsB blr   664
  3rd Line 48 4x12 RegC blr   520
  Uhlans 24 4x6 RegB s, p, l   424
  Cuirassiers 24 4x6 RegA s, p, blc, armour   520
Support Ammo Wagon 1         50

.

            4439
.

Late French

Brigade

Unit

Fig.'s

Org.

Class

Weapons

Pts/Fig

Points

.

CinC

1

 

 

 

  100
1st 2inC 1         50
Division 1st Bttn 36 6x6 RegC lbl   456
  2nd Bttn 36 6x6 RegC lbl   456
  3rd Bttn 36 6x6 RegC lbl   456
  Zouaves 36 6x6 RegB lbl   528
  Cuirassiers 12 2x6 RegB s, armour   200
  Lancers 12 2x6 RegB s, l   200
2nd 2inC 1         50
Division Marines 36 6x6 RegC lbl   456
  Foreign Legion 36 6x6 RegB lbl   528
  Band 20 5x4 RegC lbl   270
  Guides 12 2x6 RegA s, p   224
  Dragoons 12 2x6 RegA s, blc   237
Artillery Battery A 3 3x1 RegC light mlsb FA   237
.             4447
.
. Prussian French
Foot 4320 4720
Horse 1280 960
Guns 6 6
 

Report

The Prussians set up their 1st Division to hold the centre and right flank under their two 2inC’s, as their CinC led the 2nd Division in a hooking attack up the left flank.

The French, mixing their divisions, advanced as a line of infantry, hoping to get into range with their Chassepots as soon as possible.

On the Prussian right, the two sides halted and sniped away at each other with skirmishers from the French Band inflicting casualties on the Prussian 3rd Line as it protected the Prussian guns: themselves attempting, unsuccessfully, to supress the French artillery. As more French appeared on this flank, the Prussians despatched half the Guards to reinforce.

Meanwhile, in the centre, the French had opened fire on the Prussians: who were now lying prone and advancing by rushes. The centre soon settled into a protracted firefight: with neither side able to devastate the other.

It was on the Prussian left, however, that the battle was decided. The Jaegers advanced to the river bank, and began skirmishing with the French Marine infantry. As the French commander moved up his Zouaves in support, so the Prussian 2nd Division cavalry crossed the river, and the 3rd Line infantry moved forward.

Half the French Marines charged the Jaegers’ front line (who, in their eagerness, had run out of ammo), who ran for cover. Despite their familiarity with water, the Marines ended their charge in the river, where they were run down by the Prussian Uhlans: who hit them from behind with devastating effect. The Uhlans, in turn, however, were routed by the French Guide cavalry: who ended their charge under the guns of the second Jaeger line, and were so destroyed in turn.

At the same time, the Prussian 3rd Line charged a small gap that had appeared between the French 2nd Line and the Zouaves: failing to come to impact but able to unload their needle guns at point blank range to good effect.

The French were now shaken and, seeing his opportunity, the Prussian commander ordered half the Dragoons and the 2nd Line to charge. Faced by this new threat, and the further advance of the Jaegers and Cuirassiers, the French infantry began to crumble: with the Marines, Zouaves and 2nd Line all routing.

A last ditch attempt to reverse the situation on the French left was stopped by the Prussian Guards: who saw off the French 3rd Line and the Dragoons: leaving the French no choice but to retreat. 

Casualties

The Prussians lost 200 Guards; 140 Jaegers; 180 1st Line; 80 2nd Line and 160 3rd Line. They also lost a squadron of 120 Uhlans: making a total of 1672 men or 26% of their force! 

The French lost 180 1st Line; 100 2nd Line; 440 3rd Line; 60 Bandsmen; 20 Zoauves and 420 Marines. They also lost 1 section of artillery and all 240 Guides: making a total of 1580 men or 27% of their force. Many more would, however, have been cut down in the retreat.

Results 

A total victory for the Prussians.

Analysis

A great battle fought over two afternoons. The balance of power was even until the final charges of the Prussians left flank proved decisive.

Again the French Chassepots forced the Prussians to adopt a rushing advance in between lying prone: with the Prussian artillery not being as effective as it could have been due to an obsession with destroying the French guns.