Date: February 08, 2012
Saalfeld was a battle preceding the battle of Jena-Auerstedt. It was a clear French victory.
We did a replay of the battle based on the OOB but did not have a battle map. Geert as Saxon, me as Prussian and on the Other side as French Ronny, Patrick VBD en Patrick Pots. Everyone was convinced we would, as historical, loose the fight, seeing the superior numbers of the French.
Geert, with the Saxons (6 battalions of line, 2 batteries and 1 unit of hussars), was facing Ronny who had also 6 battalions and 3 units of hussars/chasseur ā cheval. Facing me were the "Patricks" , VDB with 5 battalions(of whom 2 chasseurs-skirmish) and 2 batteries, Pots with 7 battalions. To stop them I had 5 battalions of line infantry, one jäger(skirmish) ,2 batteries and one hussar unit. So for Geert the odds were more or less even, I was facing a 2 to 1 situation.
Ronny opened the hostilities advancing has battalions in line, 3 lines deep, going straight for close combat. However the Saxons stood firm, driving the French back in confusion. Due to bad command dicing, the French cavalry remained at their positions.
On my side of the table, I had 4 battalions in the build up era, one in reserve, and the jägers into a corn field in the center of the table, also giving support to Geert. I did send my hussars and horse battery to the far right, hopping that Patrick Pots, as he is a novice, would take the bait.
Patrick VDB advanced with his chasseurs in skirmish, and started to make victims among my battalions in the villages, but had also casualties with the returned fire. The 4 battalion regiment on of Pots faced my hussars and did put 2 units in square. I advanced my horse battery and had a nice target with the squares.
Back on Geerts side, the charges of Ronny's battalions became less and less coordinated, and Ronny tried to make a break with his cavalry charging the Horse battery of Geert, but failed, and was driven back.
VDB advanced with his 3 line units, of which one was driven back due to my foot battery, the other two charging in march column, one towards my battery and the other one my jägers. The battery was taken, but with heavy losses for the assailant, the jägers retreated. Pots also charged my horse battery with units in march column, the battery limbering and retreating.
This also meant by now 4 battalions were busy facing my hussars and horse battery, improving the odds for me. With his 3 other units, Pots started the fight over one of the houses, which became an attrition fight, slowly turning in my favor. Some Ronnies reduced battalions started to leave the field, and this CIC, attached to one hussar unit, became a victim of the Geerts horse battery. Ronnies command was broken.
Moreover, Geert had only sustained minor losses. He could now turn his command toward Patrick VDB in the center. VBd's troops dispersed over the field, and weakened by my fire were no longer able to counter that threat, and also Pots troops were to far to the left to come to help the center, also to dispersed to set up an organized resistance. The French had to retreat, the battle was over, with a clear victory for the Prussian/Saxon side, much to the delight of Geert.
Geert and I played a perfect game. Although we were heavily outnumbered, we were never in trouble, often outnumbering the French.
The French player failed to put a battle plan, attacked uncoordinated and dispersed. Ronnie could have opted for the battle column which would have had greater impact in the fights. Also VDB charged in march column which is not the best choice. Also he weakened my units in the buildings, but afterwards charged my other troops. An attack on the building would have had greater chances of success, his troops also being kept together. Pots as a novice did not see what my intention was, but Patrick VDB, a veteran of the first hour, failed to see it also.
The ideal place to hit us would have been in the center, where there were only my jägers and battery and between our two armies. This would have pushed us to move also towards the center, losing the initiative.
Many thanks to Mr. Dirk Donvil, Belgium.
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