26 October, 2008

The Battle of Liebertwolkwitz

The Battle of Liebertwolkwitz
16th October 1813

Saxony, October 1813. Napoleon’s Grande Armee is concentrating around Leipzig in anticipation of a major action against the combined allied armies. On the 14th, the lead elements of Schwarzenberg’s Army of Bohemia appear to the South of the French positions. Needing more time to assemble his forces, Napoleon orders Murat to fight a delaying action around the village of Liebertwolkwitz. Meanwhile Wittgenstein, leading the advance guard of the allied army, believes that he has caught the rearguard of the retreating French, and quickly deploys believing that he needs to bring them to battle before they slip away.

The Prussians open with a grand cavalry charge on their left flank. Attacking the forward infantry division of the French, and taking the small village of Crobern, which was overlooked by the hill dominating the rest of the battlefield.

Prussian cavalry readies for attack on French right flank

In the centre the Russian infantry begins the long march against the heavy French battery opposite, careful of what might be behind that hill.

Russians begin march towards French artillery dominating battlefield

The Austrian flank march reaches the outskirts of Liebertwolkwitz, but it will be some time before they recover enough to make a concerted attack on the French forces there.

Austrians flank march reaches outskirts of Leibertwolkwitz

Prussian hussars charge into the French lancers, who are unable to retire or countercharge against the attack, and are pushed back.

Prussian hussars push back French lancers

More hussars decimate the French infantry who form square against the marauding Prussians.

Second Prussian hussar Division decimates French infantry

Prussian Curaissiers advance slowly threatening that French division and its neighbours with a devastating charge.

Prussian Curassiers threaten French in square

The Prussian's order up their horse artillery to pound the French square, now vulnerable. [Textbook stuff!]

Horse Artillery pounds French square

A massed charge by the Prussians disperses the front line of the French corps, but will they be able to keep the impetus of their attack going against the supported artillery?

Gallant charge destroys French infantry division

In the centre, Murat makes his move, with French lancers attacking the Russian battery. Their elan is not sufficient to the task, and they are halted by the cannon fire. Indeed they are decimated by the continued barrage from the guns and retreat.

French Lancers repulsed by Russian battery

A second attack by another divsion of lancers, this time commanded by Murat himself is too much for the gunners, and they withdraw with heavy losses.

but second attack is too much for brave Russian gunners

A brave advance by the Russian infantry sees off those French lancers, and reforms the Russian line in the centre.

Russian infantry division forces French lancers back with fearful losses

Over on their left, the French make ready to attack the first column of Austrians, lancers and infantry combining to take the hill overlooking Liebertwolkwitz.

French left makes ready to attack Austrians

Without any means to coordinate with the Austrians [who cannot act during Turn 1] the Prussian continue their advance on the left.

Prussian cavalry continues successful attack

Blown and overextended one of the gallant Hussars divisions is thrown out of Crobern and attack in the open by infantry.

French infantry assaults blown Prussian hussars

Both hussars divisions are now in retreat, and block two batteries which had been moved into supporting postitions.

Retreating hussars block fire from their batteries

Back on the French left the lancers charge over the hill only to be halted by canister fire from the Austrians, who continue to pour fire into the striken division, wiping it off the battlefield. It's supporting units advance to take the hill and the threatened French infantry forms in square and hopes for relief.

French lancers annihilated by Austrian battery, and isolated French infantry form square to await relief

Coming under fire from the second Austrian column the French artillery withdraws into Liebertwolkwitz.

French artillery pushes back into Liebertwolkwitz

That Austrian corps now marches along the outskirts of the town to cut off the French force on the hill.

Austrian infantry division cuts off French left flank

Gathering his last divisions together, Marshal Murat himself readies a charge to rescue almost certain defeat.

Marshal Murat readies last charge

Sending his cavalry corps against the Austrians could be his only hope, and despite riding over open ground the Austrian artillery is unable to stop the French charge.

French lancers take Austrian guns

The French cavalry attempts to make good on its gains by sweeping up the infantry divisions, but forming square they repulse the charge, and then immediately form into line again to hammer the French back.

French cavalry attack stopped by Austrians

A crushing victory against Murat!
Onto Leipzig!

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