The battle of Smolensk is winding down.
(This battle is part of a campaign based on the French invasion of Russia in 1812 using Adler 6mm Napoleonic figures, Empire V Napoleonic wargame rules and Empire Campaign System rules. My force was the French 8th Corps consisting of 2 divisions of Westphalian Infantry and a brigade of Westphalian Guard Lancers and Line Lancers and a brigade of Westphalian Cuirassiers. In addition to this Napoleon attached a French light cavalry brigade. My orders were to attack the extreme left of the Russian postions and to draw in as much of the Russian reserves as possible.)
At the end of the last hour, there was rumours of withdrawal coming from Russian POWs as they passed through the 2nd echelon units towards the rear. The news of the death of Jerome Bonaparte, the King of Westphalia, Napoleon's brother, was slowing making its way through the ranks. As one of the Emperors' ADCs, it was my duty to take control of the flank, at least until a replacement commander arrived.
The view of the battle from the French right flank looking across Smolensk to the left flank.
On the right, French Cuirassiers under Ney had completely dessimated the Russian right and were no nearing the main road into Smolensk.
In the centre, the Polish had received a hard fought cavalry charge that had driven off their own cavalry and forced them to seek defensive formations, much to the delight of enemy artillery.
Polish troops forced to square in the wheatfields behind Smolensk after their cavalry support was beaten off.
With enemy cavalry free from cavalry counter attack, the Tsar of Russia himself attaches to a brigade of Russian Cuirassiers and leads an assault against nervous looking Polish squares.
2 battalions and a battery of horse artillery are soon fleeing for their lives.
Polish infantry edge forward aggressively once the Russian cavalry moved away to rest.
On the left, my left, I was moving a fresh infantry division towards the remnants of the Russian lines only to find Russian Guard cavalry moving behind the lines and to my left. Not good.
It was the start of a new hour and the Russian formations were showing signs of preparing to withdraw. Infantry and guns were consolidating and forming defensive squares or lines and supporting assets were moving off the battlelines.
Before I could react to meet the new threat, the Russian Guard cavalry were on my left flank and a regiment of Guard Cossacks moved forward forcing a lot of my infantry into either solid or hollow square. Some battalions failed to do so but luckily those nearest to the enemy succeeded in time. The cossacks held back and simply advanced to close the gap in an attempt to lock my formations in place. It worked. I was going nowhere fast.
Enemy Guard cavalry on my flank. My Cuirassiers move forward through the gap on the right as my French light cavalry brigade to the rear fail to act to interecpt the threat to the infantry.
On my right, my Cuirassier brigade moves forward into the gap left by the enemy infantry and artillery to threaten and hold in place the remnants of the Russian grenadiers. The 1st regiment manages to get nasty attention from a battery of enemy horse artillery as it surges forward and plows into 2 enemy artillery batteries and the large regiment of Russian Hussars that opened my far left flank earlier in the battle. All of these were all on their flanks and all were simply overrun with almost total loss. Awesome work by the Westphalian Cuirassiers.
The Westphalian Cuirassiers at the end of their inspiring charge.
Eventually the French light cavalry brigade is able to redeploy. The commander placed both his regiments in a position so as to be able to support each other should the enemy formation charge one or the other. This looked to be a good stable position to check that enemy in check. Friendly artillery then moved in to begin harrassing the enemy horse.
Then stand-off between Russian Guard cavalry and my attached French light cavalry brigade.
Russian Guard Lancers and Guard Cossacks
My flank at the end of the hour
At the end of the hour, word has spread that at almost the exact same time, both Alexandar the Tsar of Russia and his brother Constantine had both personally led cavalry charges and had both received minor wounds in the action.
Tsar Alexander of Russia