Monday, June 6, 2011

Campaign Move 15 - Second Battle of Uelzen

1600-2000 27 July 1813

Kleist was aware that possession of north Uelzen would decide the battle. He ordered his last brigade to march behind the town and take it. Unfortunately the only available brigade was 8 Landwehr.

Because of the large gap between his cavalry and artillery, and the infantry, Reynier was unable to exercise command of both. He left the former and rode back to the infantry to take command of 13 infantry brigade, the only full strength one. He force marched them towards north Uelzen, and they reached it just as 8 Landwehr entered from the north.

South Uelzen was occupied by the Prussians, but they could not advance due to enemy artillery, Kleist ordered his guns to limber so that he could reposition them within range of the enemy cavalry. As soon as he did so the French cuirassiers charged them, and the gunners had to seek safety in the nearby infantry square. The Prussians were now without artillery or effective cavalry.

Although the French cavalry prevented the enemy gunners from manning their guns, they could not prevent the infantry square from pushing them away from the abandoned guns, and towards their own artillery. To avoid masking their own guns they eventually had to withdraw away from the square. This allowed the Prussian gunners to limber their guns and withdraw them.

The battle concentrated on north Uelzen. The elite French infantry pushed the landwehr out of the town, but Kleist has a second brigade ready to continue the skirmish. As night approached they were also evicted from the town.

The French held north Uelzen, the Prussians south Uelzen. With only one infantry brigade Reynier could not attempt to take the other half of the town. With two infantry brigades in rout Kleist could not continue the battle for north Uelzen.

1600 27 July 1813

The Prussians had started the battle with light casualties spread through their infantry brigades. Although they outnumbered the French infantry, they were at a great disadvantage in a one to one skirmish fight. The French cavalry and artillery prevented Kleist bringing his greater number of infantry against north Uelzen.

So one by one the Prussian infantry were defeated, and routed. 13 French brigade only suffered light casualties, and were capable of holding the north Uelzen as night fell.

Despite their lack of effective cavalry, the Prussians were able to retire during the night behind a strong infantry rear guard. They had suffered heavy infantry casualties, to add to those obtained in the earlier battle. The French had only suffered light casualties to 13 infantry brigade.

This was a decisive French victory. 2nd Prussian corps would take a long time to recover from their casualties and the Prussian north flank was now open. IV French corps also had considerable casualties, but they would recover sufficiently during the night to be capable of limited operations the following day.

2000 27 July 1813

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