The day of battle came and we saw the newly-arrived division of General Francois Severin Marceau-Desgraviers clash with the combined force of Prussians and Saxons, led by FML Knobbelsdorff and FZM Von Kaunitz respectively. Needful of the danger posed to their rear by Generals Pichegru and Jourdan they each detached two brigades to attempt to slow the inevitable advance once the sounds of battle drifted northwards. If they were swept away Pichegru and Jourdan would descend on the Coalition rear any time from turn 8, ie the 3.30 turn. We were starting at 12 noon campaign time.
The Coalition forces had been surprised by the arrival of this new French corps in their rear. This was due to their quite rightful fixation with the threat to their North, but also due to some dreadful scouting which reported the enemy troops as being the Emigre division that was known to be acting as rearguard midway between Tournai and Lannoy. Unbeknown to Knobblesdorf (and the French attacking his rear) the Emigres had temporarily withdrawn away from Marceau-Desgravieres rather than risk battle. They had then sneakily slipped in behind the French who were advancing blindly with their blood up and without any proper scouting, and were tailing them behind a thick cavalry screen as they advanced rapidly towards the Prussians. This could end up being one hell of a confusing battle, spread across several weeks and several distinct actions (just like the real Battle of Turcoing).
The game started with the French poised to attack the confused Coalition army. The latter would have a greater chance of becoming hesitant during the first three turns, and reduced ADC capacity in turn one as well. [Using General d’Armee as usual]. Although it might not look it, both armies were almost evenly matched in terms of units. However the Coalition cavalry were almost all classed as ‘large’ as were some of the Saxon infantry. Most of the French was made up of National Guards and Volunteers, so we wouldn’t know whether they were ‘recruit’, ‘line’ or ‘veteran’ until the first time they had to test for anything. Mean, aren’t I? The two halves of the Coalition army were to operate wholly independently, with no overall CinC and no exchanging of ADCs.
In time honoured fashion I will let the photos, which seem to be slightly out of sequence for some reason, tell the story.
|The Coalition left wing - Saxon grenadiers and artillery supported by a brigade of cheveaulegere and hussars.|
|One of the Saxon infantry regiments holding the centre.|
|More of the Saxons|
|Over on the right flank, after a slow start the Prussian heavy cavalry advance, intent on attacking the outnumbered French left that was hanging in the air. The Prussian artillery shown here proved to be particularly ineffective for most of the game.|
|Prussian KR No 7 von Borstel|
|The French centre and right wing were slow to advance. Only the cavalry brigade appeared keen to get to grips with the enemy. The infantry may well have been put off slightly by the massed Saxon artillery on the hill to their front.|
|After many false starts the Prussian heavy cavalry make it onto the flank of the French, but are taking a bit of a hammering from French horse artillery. |
|A wider view of the same shot, showing the Prussian attack on their right. The fusilier brigade were repeatedly charged by the French cavalry and forced into square, and the grenadiers were very slow in advancing tin their support.|
|After much dithering the main French attack commences in the centre, intent on driving the Saxons off the table.|
|The French attack as seen from the Prussian left wing, facing three batteries of Saxon artillery! Casualties were heavy, although the French did manage to clear away the Saxon skirmishers and occupy the wood.|
|Another shot of the Prussian heavy cavalry, if only because they look so good. As it was, poised to ride down everything in front of them, they hesitated! Not good.|
|The Saxon infantry eventually began to advance supported by Saxon and Bavarian (being played by Piedmontese) heavy cavalry.|
|Back over on the left the Saxon grenadiers were happily holding their position despite taking casualties from skirmishers and French artillery.|
|The Saxons again.|
|The French heavy cavalry and their attached horse artillery company were very much on their own for a couple of turns.|
|Losses mounted among the heavy cavalry, causing several discipline tests which unformed at least one unit a turn.|
|Two regiments of French heavy cavalry on their right. |
|A fuzzy shot of the Saxon Reserve cavalry brigade that was glued to the baseline for several turns. Until their infantry advanced they were stuck.|
|Viewed from being the French lines, the Prussian main attack.|