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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

10 March 1813 – Battle of Kassel

Tactical map of battle area

Background to battle
Three French corps launch surprise attack on Kassel
Two Russian corps hold Kassel, a third is marching to support them
Russian – 40000 infantry, 3000 cavalry, 90 guns
French – 38800 infantry, 3000 cavalry, 90 guns

Table at start of wargame 
14 French corps - arrive E04 start of move 5
4 Russian corps - arrive E05 start of move 9

French combine artillery from both corps to form a grand battery
However they have no infantry targets, and fail to hit Russian gunners
6th French corps halt to await arrival of 14th corps
2nd French corps advance through the pass to attack 1st Russian corps
Russian cossacks charge Guard cavalry, lose melee and retire shaken
Russian artillery concentrate on 6th French corps infantry
One French brigade receives 20% casualties and are shaken.

The table has been extended to the right to allow 4th Russian corps to arrive
14th French corps has also arrived bottom centre and are moving towards the town
2nd French corps cavalry have routed Russian cossacks
Their infantry are engaged in a fire fight with 1st Russian corps
The combined french artillery have advanced to short range of the town
6th French corps have moved to the south of the hill to avoid Russian artillery
Their cavalry have charged and routed Russian cossacks.

2nd French corps press home their attack
The infantry advance and there is a firefight, which the Russians lose
The combined French artillery unlimber and fire into the flank of the Russian infantry
The combined artillery and firefight break and rout 1st Russian corps
6th French corps cavalry charge and rout the cossacks of 3rd Russian corps
14th French corps cavalry charge a shaken Russian square, who also rout
The Russians still hold the town, but are now ordered to retreat
The arrival of 4th Russian corps covers the retreat.

The Young Guard attack

The French guard cavalry rout the Russian cossacks
The Russian infantry concentrate to meet the French attack
But the right hand brigade has to remain in square
The French infantry can not fully deploy due to the difficult terrain
Despite this they win the fire fight and all four Russian brigades rout
The Russian gunners join them.

Despite infantry and cavalry casualties 3rd Russian corps hold Kassel
The arrival of 4th Russian corps will counter the arrival of 14th French corps
But the crushing defeat of 1st Russian corps by the Young Guard decides the battle
With the rout of 1st Russian corps, Wittgenstein orders a general withdrawal
The French have lost 2400 infantry and have one brigade shaken
The Russians have lost 5200 infantry and 300 cavalry and have 8 brigades in rout

The battle is a convincing French victory
On 11 March the French will occupy Kassel
The Russians will retreat to the north covered by 4th corps

Battle Summary
The battle opened with the Russians in a strong position
They held Kassel with two corps, and were attacked by two French corps
The French artillery were combined to form a grand battery
But despite this the Russian gunners dominated the artillery  exchange
With the Russian artillery dominated the approach to Kassel throughout the morning
The French Young Guard advanced against 1st Russian corps
The cossacks charted the guard cavalry, and were routed for their trouble
The French infantry struggled through the hilly ground, but finally deployed
They then advanced and engaged the Russian infantry in a firefight
The combined French artillery moved into position to engage the Russian flank
The combined artillery and firefight broke 1st Russian corps, who broke and ran.
The arrival of 14th French and 4th Russian corps came too late to make a difference
Wittgenstein ordered 1st and 3rd corps to retreat, covered by 4th corps.
The Russians lost 5500 casualties
The French lost 2400 casualties

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