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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

3 March 1813 – Battle of Brunswick

Tactical map of battle area

Background to battle
This is an encounter battle, three corps per side all have orders to attack
Prussian – 40000 infantry, 3000 cavalry, 90 guns
French – 44000 infantry, 3000 cavalry, 90 guns

Table at start of wargame
2 Prussian arrive start of move 1
3 Prussian arrive start of move 1
1 Prussian arrive start of move 5
3 French arrive start of move 1
0800 - 0900
Napoleon decides to hold Brunswick until 1st and 3rd corps arrive.
1st corps is ordered to deploy between the city and the woods
3rd corps to face north to hold 2nd Prussian corps
4th corps to hold Brunswick

Blucher has a longer wait, as 1st corps will not arrive until midday
He orders 2nd corps to hold the high ground either side of the pass
3rd corps will deploy between the two woods to wait for 1st corps

0900 - 1100
Napoleon orders all three corps to advance and engage the enemy
Prussian cavalry charge French dragoons to delay the advance
The result is a draw, no casualties and both brigades disordered
1100 - 1200 
With the three French corps in the centre of the table, it was necessary to move the table to the left to make space for 1st Prussian corps to arrive.   This was done by removing the three squares on the left and adding three squares on the right.   The actual squares are as shown on the tactical map.   The French are now crowded on the left,    2nd Prussian corps extended to hold the centre, and 1st Prussian corps arriving along the road on the right.
1200 - 1400
2nd Prussian corps delay the French moving through the bottleneck of Brunswick and the woods to the north.   The French cavalry advance to pin the Prussians, and their artillery concentrate their fire on the infantry, who are forced to remain in square because of the enemy cavalry.   Although shaken, the Prussian infantry hold their ground as 1st corps start to deploy behind them.
1400 - 1600
The French Guard finally clear the bottleneck, and engage the woods.
Napoleon orders 3rd corps to attack the Prussian held hills to the north
 The Guard and 4th corps attack in the centre.
4th corps deploys east of Brunswick and advances in support of the guard
Prussian artillery hit the leading column, who break and rout
The nearby French gunners are shaken by the rout, as are the supporting column
The French attack has stalled once more.
1600 - 1800
The French Guard press home their attack in the centre. 
Halt of the infantry fight for the woods, the remainder advance in the centre
The latter take heavy casualties from Prussian artillery, break and rout
The Prussian cavalry on the right and centre charge to break the attack
Both are defeated by the French cavalry, both withdraw shaken

By nightfall both armies are exhausted
The French have failed to break through
The Prussians are too tired to counter attack
The French have lost 800 infantry and three brigades are in rout
The Prussians have lost 2400 infantry and three brigades are shaken

The battle is a draw
On 4 March both armies will spend the day regrouping and reorganising
The French will hold Brunswick
The Prussians will withdraw to establish the “no mans land” square