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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

7 July 1813 – Central Germany

Davout has achieved the campaign objective of taking Erfurt
The Russians hold a strong defensive position on the east bank of the river Saale
He decides to hold the west bank, resupply and leave the initiative to Wittgenstein

The Russians are in a strong defensive position, but must retake Erfurt
Wittgenstein orders 1st and 4th corps to hold and resupply from Rudolstadt
He also orders 2nd corps to move south towards the main army
But to remain within supporting distance of Weissensee
If the French follow he will attack them as they cross the river
If they move south on the west bank he will join the main army
It will take longer for 14th corps to rejoin the main army.

14th corps advance to secure the bridge, and await orders from Davout

Monday, August 28, 2017

6 July 1813 – Central Germany

1st and 4th Russian corps redeploy to defend both bridges in the centre
4th corps are out of supply and lose 400 casualties to attrition.
3rd corps receive 400 infantry battle replacements

2nd and 6th French corps redeploy and regroup
Both are out of supply and both lose 400 casualties to attrition.

Davout orders supplies moved from Amstadt to Erfurt

Friday, August 25, 2017

5 July 1813 – Central Germany

French cavalry recce confirm that the river Saale is undefended
Davout orders 2nd and 6th corps to attack
He moves to join them, but will arrive too late to take part in the battle
Both corps are down to one days supplies
If the cannot resupply next day they will start to suffer attrition casualties
But this is too good an opportunity to miss.

The main road to Rudolstadt is held by a single Russian brigade
They are escorting supplies from the depot at Erfurt
The two Russian corps holding this section of the river are also low on supplies

The French plan of attack is that 6th corps will cross the undefended northern bridge and swing south to attack the Russian north flank.  2nd corps will pin the Russians until the attack begins.

6th French corps approach the bridge in a long column stretching back through Erfurt.   Their cavalry cross the bridge to cover the crossing.   1st Russian corps send their Cossack brigade to counter the French cavalry.   The Cossacks charge and win the melee.  The French chasseurs rout back over the bridge and through their own artillery and leading infantry brigade.  The whole 6th corps is disordered.

This melee allows 1st Russian corps to redeploy to hold the northern bridge, and the opportunity for an unopposed river crossing is lost to the French.   Both French corps commanders withdraw to await further orders.