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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

19 June 1813 – Battle of Lehre

Tactical map of battle area

It is the first day of the Wolfsburg campaign.

Blucher has ordered 4th corps to move to Lehre and occupy the town.  They have orders to engage any enemy that they encounter

Napoleon has ordered 13th Polish corps to take and hold Lehre.   He is one days march behind with the 1st French corps, but will not reach Lehre until the morning of 20 June 1813.

Neither corps is aware that the enemy also have orders to take Lehre

The battle starts at 12 noon, there are 8 hours of daylight left.

Polish – 16000 infantry, 1000 cavalry, 30 guns
Prussian – 16000 infantry, 1000 cavalry, 30 guns
Table at start of wargame
Both corps approach Lehre (centre of table)
They arrive on the table at the start of move 1

The Poles are closer to Lehre, and reach the town first
They send their cavalry and artillery south of the town
The infantry are ordered to occupy the town

The Prussians react by sending their own cavalry south
Their advance is slowed by having to march through the pass
The first infantry brigade is sent towards Lehre
Their artillery moves south to support the cavalry

Both commanders were aware that there was only four hours to nightfall
Both ordered their infantry to take the town.
The Poles entered the town first and moved towards the eastern side
Here they were met by Prussian infantry and a fierce took place
The Poles gained the upper hand and one Prussian brigade withdrew with 20% casualties.   The fight continued, but the Prussians could not make any headway.
As night fell the Prussian artillery caused 10% casualties on the Prussian lancers
The Prussian dragoons immediately charged the shaken Poles, who broke and ran
The dragoons failed to make their morale and charged the nearby Polish artillery
The gunners lost 20% casualties and routed into the nearby infantry square
The infantry broke and joined the rout.

General Pirch now received reports that more French troops were starting to arrive
It was in fact Napoleon at the head of the French Imperial Guard
Pirch immediately ordered his corps to break contact and retreat under cover of darkness.

Poles lost 1300 casualties and three brigades in rout
Prussians lost 1200 casualties and one brigade shaken

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