Monday, 1 April 2013

The battle of Adelsdorf, 2nd day

On the morning of the 2nd day parts of Adelsdorf were a hive of activity as allied troops swarmed through to take up their positions. Austrian and Prusssian commanders met briefly in the square before taking breakfast. Cannon fire could soon be heard on the right as Prussian gunners set to work nice and early. The French left wing wasn't ready and so began to fall back somewhat. A bad omen perhaps.

French numbers totalled around 21,000 with 22 guns.
The Allies with 26,500 and 28 guns.

Prussian gun teams

Prussian infantry moving through town

A busy town square
Prussian commanders await the arrival of Prinz Hohenzollern

Prussian cavalry file through

The arrival of Hohenzollern with staff and grenadiers

More Prussians heading to their start positions

Whole columns of white clad Austrians take up entire streets

Prussian gunners survey the fields beyond

Take aim..


Prussians preparing to advance

Meanwhile the French right wing plays host to the arrival of Augereau in the middle of a ploughed field. The French on this side are more awake and go straight into attack mode with Moreau's brigade leading the way. Augereau however, orders his grand-battery in his centre to open fire on Adelsdorf despite staff objections. As incendaries fell on the town it was swiftly evacuated according to plan, with a battalion of Austrian jaegers ordered to stay and make as much noise and calamity as possible to fool the enemy that it was being hotly defended. This ruse worked completely for the Allies even though the jaegers quit the place after an hour or so due to the smoke.

Augereau. The first French marshal to appear on this blog 

Adelsdorf taking fire

Grenadiers making a swift exit

Allied artillery isn't too heavy here thank god!

Marchand's division frontal attack


Again Wittzingerode & Hohenfeld's brigades line up ready

A ridge seperates the two brigades

Fresh troops line up in support


The Vistula regiment out in front

Saxon battalion wheels left before following the Vistula regt
Saxons in the morning sun now in line

Austrians manouvering to the extreme left over the ridge for support
Austrian grenadiers and French infantry begin a fire-fight
On the French left Prussian & Austrian troops advanced steadily after their cannonade and the French initially gave ground. At one point Augereau himself was obliged to gallop over to consolidate the position, his left being a lot weaker than his right. Two cuirassier regts were sent over to help but still he insisted on bombing the town. After so long the poor jaegers left there decided to abandon the smouldering ruins. The town was now empty but the French didn't know it.
The advance begins


Austrian jaeger leaving the town
The 1st jaegers now join their comrades from the 2nd batt

Town square now a scene of death and destruction
French troops wavering on the left
Augereau makes a flying visit to the left and brings with him the cuirassiers
Allied infantry press home their attacks
Moving the guns up
The whole allied right has been steadily gaining ground all morning
The view from the French lines as they try and hold off relentless attacks
By now the French left was in peril. Augereau's realisation that he was bombing an empty shell when his guns could be of better use came too late. The swiftness of the Allied advance on the left and an unexpected flanking move around a wood on the extreme left by a Prussian regt gave the French a heavy heart. Only one option remained; cavalry. Chasseurs & lancers charged forth followed by cuirassiers. The lancers nicely avoiding the squares of infantry attacked a group of gun teams and routed them along with the guns in a bloody fight without quarter. These in turn were routed by Prussian hussars who then took on the French chasseurs. The French heavies started out well but got bogged down fighting off the Prussian flankers. The cuirassiers also attacked and routed some Prussian landwehr but had to retreat in the end as the Allied numbers began to tell.
French chasseur a cheval
Cuirassiers attacking the newly arrived Prussians from the wood
The troopers took a few well aimed vollies
The lancers attacking the gun teams
Landwehr form square
Prussian gun teams caught out by line lancers
Not one to promote war & violence but this is glorious!
In the confusion and heat of battle, they fail to see the hussars approach
The aptly named death's head hussars
French & Polish infantry hold as best they can with cavalry attacks in the background

The allied line continues it's advance
Victorious Prussians now press home their attacks
Men of a Prussian reserve battalion supporting a line regt
Meanwhile before his left wing collapses entirely Augereau's spirited troops on the right hold off atttack after attack by the Austrians under Gen. Brady. After every attack the Austrians are beaten back to their starting positions. Again, men of the Vistula had another chance to empty the saddles belonging to the Austrian lancers. But Marchand was cautious, as he knew Brady had a sizeable heavy cavalry brigade somewhere kept in reserve.
French lines in the afternoon
Another regt of lancers canters up on the right
Light infantry holding the edge of the field
Dragoons & chasseurs
Hussars & carabiniers

Lancers spot their target and charge the oncoming enemy
Although the carabiniers saw no actual fighting they still lost casualties
Austrians counter-attacking
Massed infantry ready for assualt takes artillery fire
Shell burst!!

A Saxon battalion
More Allies moving up
Austrian 1st hussars kept in reserve after yesterday's folly. Dragoons and cheveauxlegers about to clash

The excellent grenadiers during one of their assaults
 5 battalions of grenadiers saw action on this day
Austrian Generals & staff. At this point news comes in about the crumbling French left
The French left wing was no more. Augereau was slow to accept this but eventually called off any attacks by his remaining division and began to fall back. In truth, the latter part of the day saw the French defending rather than attacking. After another hour or so all fighting died down...  
It had been a long day.
French retreating past their Commander
Prussian reserve infantry..
..and landwehr...  
..and jaegers saw the French off
The right wing victorious. Austrian & Prussian landwehr in this shot
An Allied victory then. Everything pretty much went according to their plans save one anxious moment when enemy light cavalry attacked their right. Although some guns were lost Hohenzollern was more concerned about the inexperience of some troops and that they might run, but he was satisfied in the end as most stayed with the regulars and fought on. And not wasting lives defending the town was genius, giving his commanders the open ground to fully maximise their superiority in numbers. The Prussian gunners are to be commended for their stirling work.
Allied casualties were around 2,200 with 6 guns lost.
The French could've done better but with a lack of artillery support on the left and the urgency of the Allied attack on that side, it was inevitable things got so bad so quickly. Things could have easily changed with a bit of luck and some manouevering, but it wasn't to be. Marchands division on the right had tough experienced troops but the Allies knew this so sent in grenadier regts to counter them.
Augereau is left to lick his wounds as he heads north some miles to rest and (gulp!) write out his report. He may not mention the 3,800 casualties or the loss of 4 guns and 3 standards though.