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Friday, June 2, 2017

24 June 1813 – Battle of Wolfsburg

Tactical map of battle area

With the loss of both Jeggau and Lehre, Blucher is in a very exposed position at Wolfsburg.   Both 2nd and 3rd corps are badly placed to hold the city, but they are also low on supplies.  He has ordered both to hold the city, but also to resupply.

Napoleon is determined to follow up his victory at Lehre by attacking Wolfsburg before he Prussians can retreat.   1st and 3rd corps are widely separated, but he is concerned that if he tries to concentrate then the Prussians will retreat.   1st corps is also low on supplies, but again he fears any delay.

Prussian – 32000 infantry, 2000 cavalry, 60 guns
French – 31600 infantry, 2000 cavalry, 60 guns
Table at start of wargame
2nd Prussian and 3rd French corps are both on the table at the start
Napoleon and 1st French corps will arrive bottom right at the start of move 1
3rd Prussian corps will arrive top right at the start of move 4

1st French corps are advancing (bottom centre)
3rd French corps immediately engage 2nd Prussian corps
French dragoons charge Prussian cavalry, who retire shaken
However the Prussian horsemen rally behind the infantry square
Their retreat forces the Prussian gunners to seek shelter in the square
Two French brigades attack the Prussian held farm (centre left).
Both attackers and defenders suffer 400 casualties each
However both sides make their morale and the fight continues.
3rd Prussian corps have arrived on the table
They are moving to deploy to the left of Wolfsburg
3rd French corps will have to redeploy to meet them.

Game Note
The wargames table is not large enough to cover the approach march of 3rd Prussian corps.   Now that 3rd French corps has advanced into what had been the centre square, the table has been moved to the left.   The three squares on the right hand side are new.   This was done to allow 3rd Prussian corps to advance on to the table either to the left or right of Wolfsburg, or indeed through the city itself.
3rd Prussian corps artillery engaged the nearest infantry brigade
The French suffered 20% casualties, lost their morale and routed
3rd Prussian cavalry now advanced, but were routed by the French dragoons
By late afternoon 3rd French corps had redeployed and held 3rd Prussian corps
The battle would be decided by Napoleon’s guard
The artillery opened fire and routed the nearest Prussian infantry brigade
The guard cavalry advanced and the Prussian gunners sought safety in the square
The guard infantry stormed the Prussian held woods
Again the Prussians lost and ran

Blucher had lost both of his cavalry brigades
His gunners had abandoned their guns and were hiding in infantry squares
Two of his eight infantry brigades were in rout
Although he still held Wolfsburg it was clear that he was defeated
He ordered both corps to withdraw before they were pinned by the French

Napoleon has captured Wolfsburg, together with five days supplies
However most of the battle casualties are from the guard infantry

The French have lost 2400 casualties and one brigade in rout
The Prussians have lost 3500 casualties and three brigades in rout

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