Friday, March 14, 2008

Schlacht bei Ritterbrucke - Part III

All quiet in the center, but the action is brisk in the Preecewald

I am not sure what to say about the fighting that took place in the center part of the field, because it seemed that for a couple of turns, nothing happened. The two French brigades deployed in the center seemed to be content to sit back and fire artillery round into the the Prussians. Since the Prussians were under orders to defend in this sector, they were not likely to advance. It looks to me that the 8 battalions of the French center could have crushed the 4 battalions of General von Rust's brigade, had they pitched into it right away. However, events on their flanks may have influenced the French actions and perhaps they were waiting to see how the cavalry melee on their right (the Prussian left) was going to turn out before advancing haphazzardly across the field. Also, King Frederick had a reserve of 2 guard infantry battalions, 60 cuirassiers, and 36 hussars forming a firewall behind von Rust's brigade. So there were some other variables to consider.

The French commence their advance in the center.

In the picture above, we see at least 7 French battalions matched up against 4 Prussian battalions, while in the background, the great cavalry melee is running its course. At this point in the game, Frederick was getting a little bit anxious because he could count the numbers and feared the weight of two brigades attacking the lone brigade of von Rust.

The Regiment La Reine charges into the Prinz Heinrich fusiliers.

I was too pre-occuppied with my cavalry melee to pay close attention to the center, but it appears that the French were relying on the cold steel (via melee) to push the Prussians back. In the picture above, we see French Brigadier Kyle launching the La Reine regiment into the IR35 Prinz Heinrich fusiliers, driving off the Prussian artillery in the process. To his right (and out of the picture) French Brigadier Black was giving the IR20 Bornstadt musketeer regiment a taste of the bayonet as well.

The Black Hussars counter-attack La Reine. My apologies for the blurry picture.

La Reine was fairly successful in its melee with IR35, cutting down nearly half of the Prussians in the process. But when IR35 held firm and did not run, Frederick committed two squadrons of hussars into the melee to tip the balance in the Prussians favor. What you don't see in the picture, is that a fresh guard battalion IR15/III is deployed across the gap in the tables waiting for La Reine to finish off IR35. Frederick was holding the guards and the CR8 Seydlitz cuirassier regiment back as a similar number of French Gardes Francaises and the Carabiniers were shadowing the Prussian reserves. We ran out of time, but it would have been interesting to see what would have happened had both sides committed their reserves in the center.

Tomorrow I will post the fourth and final part of the battle report. This involves the hard fight on the far left for possession of the bridge over the Ritterbrucke.

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