Friday, September 16, 2011

Campaign Move 29 – Second Helmstedt

1200 - 1600 1 August 1813

Table at 1600

With the failure of 3rd corps, Blucher had to rethink his attack.

On the right 1st corps was on hold orders as it was too weak to attack. With its 12 pounder guns it could cause casualties on VI corps whilst still out of range of the French guns.

On the left 3rd corps need time to rally and regroup. Blucher changed their orders to Hold to allow them to do so. They were within artillery range of V corps so could support an attack in the centre.

It was clear that Tauentzien could not be relied upon to command the attack. Against orders he had halted his corps, which contributed to the failure of 3rd corps. Blucher now took personal command of 4th corps and led them towards V corps.

Despite his temporary success against 3rd corps, Davout was well aware that he was too weak to withstand a new attack. He ordered V and VI corps to withdraw to the farm. This would take them out of artillery range of 1st and 3rd corps and gain time before Blucher could reach them with 4th corps. With luck they should be able to hold until night fall, when he could then retreat.

Marmont ordered his cavalry to return to the centre to cover the withdrawal, and his artillery to limber and retire. At the same time Blucher took personal command of 4th corps, and pushed his cavalry forward to opportunity charge the limbered artillery. The French gunners failed to react and were cut down. The supporting cavalry were Shaken by the disaster, but the nearby infantry in square moved forward and routed the Prussian cavalry.

Blucher must press home his attack with 4th corps before the enemy withdraw and regroup.

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