Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Campaign Move 9 - Battle of Steinhorst

1600-2000 25 July 1813

It was late afternoon by the time General Yorck had rallied his cavalry and deployed his infantry ready to launch the attack on Steinhorst.

General Laurison had garrisoned Steinhorst and deployed his three infantry brigades to form a line south of the village. His artillery were positioned to the north of the village, but angled to cover the ground the Prussians would have to cover to reach Steinhorst. He had failed to rally his cavalry, who were further south and still shaken.

Yorck sent his cavalry brigade north in a wide arc to threaten the French artillery without entering their field of fire. He ordered his four brigades to advance towards the village in close column of attack. He could afford to do this because the French cavalry were at present out of the battle.

The French gunners opened fire on the nearest column and caused casualties, but the approaching enemy cavalry caused them to abandon their guns and seek safety in the village. The Prussian hussars halted out of musket range to prevent them returning to their guns.

The French infantry formed line to meet the approaching enemy columns. This forced the leading Prussian infantry to do the same to match their firepower. This meant that the first skirmish fire was between one brigade on each side. The French were more effective, and the Prussian brigade shaken.

Laurison took advantage of this temporary advantage to order the same brigade to advance into musket volley range and blasted the shaken Prussian brigade. They immediately broke and ran, taking the two nearest brigades with them.

It was now early evening, and Yorck has lost three of his four infantry brigades. The French garrison of Steinhorst had not been touched, and they had a second brigade which was holding its own against the sole surviving Prussian brigade.

As night fell Yorck ordered a retreat towards Bodenteich.

Laurison was content to hold the village, and did not attempt to pursue the retreating Prussians.

The casualties of each side were moderate, and it would take at least one day for either to regroup and recover.

This French victory had more than made up for their defeat at Uelzen the previous day. Their northern flank was now secure, and if the Prussians attempted to follow up their victory at Uelzen they would have a large gap between their northern and southern flanks.

The Prussian retreat

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