Friday, August 19, 2011

La Bataille de la Moscowa, Update - 9AM, Sept. 7, 1812

On Friday, July 29 (our time) Gary, Stacy and I got in two more turns to bring us to 8:40 AM, but I forgot the camera and there are no pictures. On the regular War Eagles session on August 6, Gary and I ran the 9:00 turn without Stacy, because we just couldn't resist and nobody else showed up to distract us. Since I forgot the camera again, I made a trip to the game room with the camera on Friday the 12th, with Gary at Dragonflight and Stacy off camping. So there are pictures at 9:00, but a lot happened in the earlier turns, so I will attempt to describe the action with photos of the end point.

You may recall from the photos at 8:00, the Converged Grenadier Division line was about to develop a hole, and the 2 Army West Curaissier were positioned to cover any attempted breakthrough. In due time, the two battalions evaporated and Gary threw the I Corps Cavalry into the hole and we had a great cavalry melee sequence with a stack of French cavalry charging a Curaissier regiment, another Curaissier regiment hammering the exhausted cavalry, another stack of French slamming into the now exhausted Curaissier and in turn being smacked by yet another Curaissier regiment. The I Corps Cavalry were ejected and Russian thoughts turned to counterattacking the infantry. So Major General Duka, commanding the Curaissier Division, took a regiment of cavalry through the opening between the fleches, forcing lots of French units into square and then getting trapped in the engagement when he was unable to break enough of them. The remainder of the division followed him up among the fleches to stay in command, facing toward the French. This failed to take into account the movement range of light cavalry and French light cavalry circled the fleches and hit the Curaissier regiments from behind, inflicting only light casualties, but routing them out of the area. General Duka followed with somewhat greater casualties from the artillery and infantry squares. The Division fell back behind Semenovskaya in disarray, but has reorganized and is still combat capable, though substantially weakened. The French I Corps cavalry is also resting and reorganizing but (oh God, oh God) here comes the entire French Cavalry Reserve under Murat.

On the far right, the Russian reserve has committed the Life Guard Division to cover the gap between the Great Redoubt and the 21st Division of Russian VI Corps. Meanwhile, Eugene has reorganized his forward divisions and (under Gary's command at 9:00) has thrown them en masse at the salient where 21st Division and the Life Guard meet. A VI Corps battery has been destroyed but the Life Guard has not budged.

This is going to turn into a meat grinder as both sides have reserves available. In addition, not visible for the French is Junot's VI Corps and for the Russians, 7th Division of VI Corps.

Meanwhile, Poniatowski and the V Corps have begun arriving on the Old Smolensk Road. The Cossack screen, not (small noise of disgust) commanded by Platov, failed to move to impede the V Corps cavalry on consecutive turns. Now they are looking at a heavy and a light brigade of regular cavalry and a flanking detachment of two light cavalry brigades with horse artillery. Fortunately the flanking detachment has been even more tardy than the Cossacks and has rough terrain to cover as well. They may get out of it yet....

UPDATE: Cumulative casualties as of 9:20 AM (includes casualties reported at 8:00 AM):

The French and Allied forces have lost 13 batteries of artillery, 6 battalions of infantry, 5 cavalry regiments and 5 officers.

The Russian forces have lost 6 foot batteries and a horse battery, a dragoon regiment, a jager regiment (2 battalions), a grenadier regiment (2 battalions) and 7 of the 11 battalions in the Converged Grenadier Division of VIII Corps. The rest of them are not long for this world.... Wasn't it Napoleon who said a division wouldn't last much more than an hour in combat?

There are many depleted regiments and battalions still in action, with the Russian infantry probably bearing more casualties than the French battalions. The Russian cavalry probably has as many casualties as the French, but they are spread among active units.

Next session is Saturday, August 20 starting at 5:00 PM. If you are following along, you are now up to speed and have no excuse for not participating....

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