The Battle of Zechtin - 28 May 1806
26 May 1806
Von Schmettau has seized the village of Zechtin, and began plundering the treasury.
Prinz Ferdinand of Saxony responds to a call for help and plans to retake Zechtin by assaulting from the South across the river Zechtenflug.
28 May 1806 - 0800 hrs
Light rain and mist lifts, as the battle begins.
Von Schmettau, 3rd Division
To this end, Von Schmettau has arranged a defence in depth using the infantry regiments in Linear Formation blocking the line of advance.
The Artillery Batteries and the Grenadier Bns are held in reserve as a last line of defence before the village of Zechtin. Grenadier Bns are formed in square supporting the defence of the batteries.
Prinz Ferdinand, Advanced Guard Division:
Upon reaching the right flank, Prinz Ferdinand plans to then perform a Grand Tactical wheel to the Left, and then assault Zechtin in Linear Formation directly from the East. Given the defence in depth, it is anticipated that taking the defence in the flank may be the best way through to Zechtin.
Orders are to advance to the form up point, bypassing the strong enemy position .. but fighting through any defences as required.
After moving to the form up point, a change of orders will be issued to assault Zechtin.
Elements of Prinz Ferdinand's Advance Guard division push forward at various points along the River Zechtenflug.
Here on the far right flank, Pelet's Scharfschutzen push forward to attempt a river crossing, whilst the main force advances across the bridge.
Ericsson's fusilier Battalion crosses the bridge first, deploying skirmishers to pin down the Prinz Heinrich skirmishers.
Artillery supporting fire from across the river is ineffective at this early hour, so the Horse Artillery is limbered up to join the main column of advance.
Pelet's Scharfschutzen continue with the fording of the river on the right.
Erichsson's fusiliers exchange skirmish fire with the Prinz Heinrich regiment, and manage to slip past and head for the assembly area.
Infantrie Regiment Prinz Heinrich pulls in it's skirmishers as the Trutschler Hussars thunder across the bridge in column of attack. The first major clash of the battle is underway.
View of the crossing from the Saxon Left, showing the depth of the Prussian defences. Whilst Infantrie Regiment Prinz Heinrich holds the initial line before the bridgehead, Infantrie Regiments Schimonsky and Malschitsky are brigaded together in support to their rear.
The hussars, in a direct frontal attack against Infantrie Regiment Prinz Heinrich shatter the line and overrun their position.
The Prussian line wavers, breaking their formation and leaving the regiment Rattled.
(Note on the tactical movement base, the ordered line is broken and 1 casualty marker is added to the rear of the base to denote morale state -2, or rattled).
The Hussars have a mandatory overrun move, using up the remainder of their movement allowance. This extra movement, unfortunately, places them outside of the cumbersome command radius of their commander, Prinz Ferdinand. They will now have to wait in their current location until bought back into command by their Divisional Commander. He could well be another turn or 2 away.
The Prussians react.
Von Schmettau moves to the tactical movement base of the brigaded Malschitsky and Schimonsky Infantrie Regiments. Being on the same tactical movement base, his command bonus is applied to both uinits, and he risks leader injury should there be any ill battle effects on either unit sharing the same tactical movement base.
The left-most battery of Prussian artillery is now nicely in range on the Hussars after their overrun movement.
(Note - the saved fire marker of stacked cannonballs on the Prussian battery, which denotes that it may fire at double effect next turn.).
Disaster for the Infantrie Regiment Prinz Heinrich !
The main body of the Saxon infantry, accompanied by Prinz Ferdinand himself crashes into the rattled remnants on the Prinz Heinrich. Too much for the survivors of the Prussian first line - 2 more morale hits plus a panic hit.
Panic result for green troops has them fall back a distance of 1 full move (facing enemy), and 1 base surrenders.
(Note: The Prinz Heinrich is now in morale state -4, demoralised, which is denoted as a scattered line and a casualty marker to the front of the unit. The prisoners are placed on the tactical movement base for the victors.)
The Prussian guns open up on the Hussars, breaking the order of the formation.
Divisional Panic Test time for the Prussians. In this system, each tactical movement base in that division rolls for panic under the divisional panic test, applying the results for the worst troop grade amongst all of units on the tactical movement base.
(Note: This house rule provides some rationale for the Prussian method of detaching and brigading Grenadier battalions from the main Infantrie Regiments).
Not a lucky day for Von Schmettau so far ... the units he is with roll a '10' on a D10, and being troop grade Green fall back 1 full move with 1 base surrendering per unit on the tactical movement base. The Infantrie Regiments Malschitsky and Schimonsky withdraw to the woods alongside the demoralised remains of Prinz Heinrich. 2 extra bases of prisoners can be seen leaving the ranks heading for Saxon custody.
View from Pelet's Scharfshutzen on the far right wing. They have almost finished fording the river now, but due to events in the center, they are now out of command radius. Foolish planning on the part of Prinz Ferdinand indeed !.
Pelet's Scharfschutzen will now adopt a defensive posture on the banks of the river, and await the arrival of Prinz Ferdinand to take back control of the unit.
The Saxon Hussars suffer from the effects of fear - although only moderately disarrayed by the artillery fire from the previous turn, they fail their rally attempt and become shaken.
(Note: The addition of a riderless horse to the tactical movement base as a casualty marker !)
Prinz Ferdinand now leaves the Infantry Brigade and returns to the bridgehead to facilitate the movement of the remainder of his forces across the bridge. Prinz Ferdinand considers it more important to get the famed Henkel Dragoons across the river than it may be to rally the hussars, or retrieve the errant Pelet Scharfschutzen (who are now slacking off a good kilometer away up the river, probably catching fish or washing their socks).
Prinz Ferdinand himself directs the Henkel Dragoons across the bridge and into the fray before the village of Zechtin.
Von Schmettau responds with cannon fire ... again the cannon is ineffective at this range (being a scale distance of 600m - 1 kilometer depending on the battery).
Prinz Ferdinand leaves the bridgehead to center his command radius on the assembly point - and to regain contact with the Pelet Scharfschutzen.
To Prinz Ferdinand's right, the Infantry Brigade can be seen reaching the forming up point, followed by the horse artillery.
... and finally the famed Henkel Dragoons bringing up the rear of the column. As divisional orders are to assemble at the launching point for the main attack, the Henkel Dragoons must resist the temptation to charge the shattered lines of the Prussians.
Finally, the remaining Saxon foot artillery and Divisional Baggage Train begin the long slog across the bridge and towards the assembly point. They will probably miss the remainder of the battle.
Von Schmettau responds with the thunder of cannon ! Inching closer, and with the Dragoons presenting an enfilade target, the cannon fire breaks the order of their lines.
Von Schmettau orders a general advance back to the center of the defensive position.
The Grenadier battalions are detached from guard duties on the artillery, and advance in Line of Attack against the presented flank of the Saxon Division. Von Schmettau himself bravely rides into command of a grouping of Grenadier Battalions.
Skirmishers from all units swarm to within range of the disordered Henkel Dragoons ! Disaster may be looming for the Dragoons !
Some good die rolling sees another morale hit on the Dragoons - they are now morale state -3 (Badly Shaken), and with enemy cannon and skirmishers threatening the unit, next round's morale check may be interesting !
Interesting turn of events at Noon ! At the start of this turn the Saxon position was looking pretty good - Prussian first line of defenses collapsed, and everything proceeding well towards the assembly point.
Prinz Ferdinand braves taking direct command of the Shaken Dragoons in an attempt to stablise the situation.
On the far right flank of the Saxon line, the Hussars are rallying and the Infantry Brigade wheels into Line of Attack ready for the order to move on Zechtin. Erichsson Fusiliers provide a skirmish screen for the main attack.
Saxon Horse Artillery Battery unlimbers and joins the line ready for the attack.
Von Schmettau responds by vigorously counter attacking to restore the center of his defense. On the Prussian Left, the Grenadier Brigade in Line of Attack assaults the newly unlimbered Horse Artillery before it can deploy into action.
Skirmishers from the deployed Infantry Brigade and the Erichsson Fusiliers throw some amazingly lucky dice and break apart the line of Prussian Grenadiers before their assault on the Horse Artillery lands home.
Incredibly bad die rolls from the Prussian Grenadiers see the Horse Artillery successfully defend in the assault, leaving the Grenadiers to fall back and become Rattled. Saxon Right Wing holds firm, and is clear to advance on Zechtin in the next phase of the battle .. once the orders to attack are received.
At the rear of the Saxon column, cannon fire and skirmishers take a further toll on the Henkel Dragoons.
Von Schmettau himself leading the charge from the head of the 2nd Grenadier Brigade, the demoralised Henkel Dragoons are hit in the flank and the rear by the combined Battalions and Grenadiers of 2 Prussian Infantrie Regiments.
The Dragoons are brushed aside. Prinz Ferdinand survives the assault by a whisker as the Dragoons collapse. The Prussian assault pushes forward, breaking through the line and contacting the Saxon Baggage train. Some remnant squadrons of the shattered Henkel Dragoons are captured by the Grenadiers and become prisoners of Von Schmettau himself !
The sad remnants of the once proud Henkel Dragoons flee at full pace back across the bridge to the safety of the Saxon lands.
Panic spreads through the Saxon lines !
The Hussars, having seen the fate of the famed Dragoons, decide to withdraw in good order back to the river and away from the horrors of the Prussian cannon. The panic spreads to the Pelet Scharfschutzen, who withdraw in disorder back towards the safety of the river. One battalion of the Pelet Scharfschutzen surrenders to Von Schmettau. In addition to this disaster, the Horse Artillery also decides to join the flight to the river.
All that remains in good order amongst the Saxon line is the green troops of the Infantrie Brigade and the Erichsson fusiliers on the far right flank.
Looking realistically at the current situation, Prinz Ferdinand decides to order a general withdrawal along the river line towards the East, make good his losses ... and to try again tomorrow with a re-organised force.