Friday, May 20, 2011

Campaign Move 12 – Battle of Wolfsburg

1600-1800 26 July 1813

By late afternoon the farm garrison was in a critical condition. They had held the farm despite increasing casualties, but they could not hope to do so for much longer.

Tauentzien had completed his redeployment, and his whole corps was in position between the farm and the woods. But could do little to ease the pressure on the garrison. They could not be replaced whilst the fight was raging. It would require a Prussian advance to drive back the attackers.

Marmont was pleased with the progress of the battle, if a little impatient to take the farm. His artillery had poured fire into the garrison at short range, but had not inflicted many casualties. 21 infantry brigade, an elite formation, had more success skirmishing with the garrison. The remainder of his corps were held out of artillery range, but ready to advance as soon as the farm fell. He now sent a second brigade to attack the farm.

Tauentzien reacted by manhandling his guns forward, within range of the enemy massed infantry columns. The French started taking casualties.

The arrival of the second French brigade caused the garrison to break and rout. Their supports held firm, but the Prussian position was now critical. Tauentzien would have to either counter attack or retreat to Wolfsburg.

He had already lost his best brigade, with heavy casualties. It would take some days of rest of replacements before they could be operational again. The remainder of his corps were casualty free. But he could expect heavy casualties in a counter attack, and the chance of success before nightfall was slight.

Tauentzien was considered a Poor commander, and his decision to retreat was in keeping with this opinion. Apart from the routed garrison, none of his corps were in contact with the enemy. His cavalry were well placed to cover the withdrawal. His casualties were light, but all on his best infantry brigade which was broken.

Marmont had achieved a victory with minimum casualties. He ordered his corps to advance on Wolfsburg to turn the Prussian withdrawal into a retreat.

Table at 1800 26 July 1813

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