View from behind the massed artillery in the centre
Close up of the massed artillery and the bridge
Artillery and infantry covering the bridge
French forces covering the river on the left flank
Close up of infantry on left flank
close up of artillery in heights on left flank
close up of infantry columns on left flank
A mixture of Prussian and Russian elements lead by cavalry moved across the French position.
Large Russian cavalry formations opposite the French left
Prussian infantry and cavalry deploying opposite the French right
View across the river just right of centre from the French skirmisher lines
1700hrs HOUR 2
Allied cavalry and skirmishers moved forward. Prussians columns were spotted moving also but quicker disappeared behind some hills. Most of the action this hour was intense artillery bombardments, mostly on the enemies opposite gun teams.
Prussian infantry swarm behind a hill for protection as they move forward
Close up of Prussian infantry behind the hills
Prussian infantry columns hiding in safety
1800hrs HOUR 3
More artillery duels with an entire Cossack battery destroyed on the Allied side and the deployment of the Allied massed artillery to the heights overlooking the bridge crossing point.
Allied massed artillery begin deploying on a compressed frontage on the heights
Allied infantry demonstrate across the river on the French right
Close up of the Allied lines of infantry on the French right
Prussian cavalry swarm the riverbanks
Prussian lines screened by the cavalry on the river
At 1900hrs it was nightfall and seeing as the campaign is based on 10 hour days, Day 1 was over for this sector of the theatre.
Both sides decide to contest a 2nd day and so we leave it here to move north to another sector of the map. We will return to this battle for day 2 soon.
To the north of Battle 1, a large French army moved south from Revigny after cavalry scouts spotted a Prussian Korps under Yorck approaching from the south using a river as flank protection and looking to cross the river to the southwest of the city. It was unknown to the French at the time whether or not this force would attempt an assault on the city but with enemy also in contact to the north of the city, the French commander decided to move out rather than be attacked from 2 directions at once.
The contact was on opposing sides of the intact bridge and immediately both commanders took a defensive stance, goading each other to attack across the river. Ultimately the Allies won with defensive barricades going up during the night and guns being rolled in to defend any attempted crossing.
The French knew they had to cross into the storm of lead in order to force an outcome but decided to deploy all their guns to exact a heavy toll on the Allies should they defend too close to the river.
Day 1 of this battle begins and finishes late in the day with the artillery of both sides blasting each other with considerable loss to the Allies.
Allied artillery and infantry placements
Allied 2nd line of defence
French guns find enfilading positions to fire on the allies
French massed guns including some from the Guard
French Guard cavalry massed for action
Blucher decides to stay the night and probe the French pickets along the river for a place to assemble his pontoon bridge. The bad weather all night does not assist him and at early morning light the pontoon location has been selected but construction has not yet begun.
Meanwhile the French did not fare much better during the night. Engineers wnet forward with armed escorts to set explosives on the bridge but due to the weather it was only able to be blown just prior to 0900hrs to everyone's surprise. As the sound of the explosion made its way around the valley, Blucher calls up Russian engineers with a task of assessing the damage in order to repair it for a crossing. 2 crossing points are much better than, especially with so much French artillery on the other side of the river.
Early morning reports come in to Bluchers breakfast table - the French have withdrawn 600 yards south away from the river. This is good news, if the allies can get across the river they can establish a beachead and fan out to engage the French on wider frontage than just 2 river crossings. This could be the break he was looking for.
The French had indeed pulled back, but only to restablish better fields of fire for their artillery on a group of hills further south. A large massed battery covered the river on the left, another smaller battery in the centre with combined arms support, and all 3 arms deployed on the right in case the allies cross the river at that position. All was set to meet them on French terms.
Russian engineers reported back to Blucher bad news. The bridge blown by the French this morning was very badly damaged and would not be repaired today. Still, Blucher had his bridging train who had their orders.
As the light of the day intensified, Allied formations could be seen deploying, eager to come to grips with the French waiting across the river.
The French in their new defensive positions watching the Allies assessing the damage to the bridge
French light cavalry keep an eye on the Russian engineers at the bridge
French forces covering the main road from the bridge. Not even they knew how well the bridge was destroyed.
Allies going nowhere after hearing the bridge would take days to repair for a crossing.
French massed artillery covering the river on the French left
Allied massed artillery in position to support a river crossing at the bridge that never eventuated.
The frustrated Allies at the smoking bridge.
Both sides settled in to duelling artillery fires with the French getting the upper hand. On the left the French had deployed a large battery of artillery overwatching the river but the Allies had deployed their pontoons on the French right so the only target on this side was a brigade of Russian cavalry and horse artillery which paid dearly for being so exposed. After just 2 hours of bombardment, half the battery and half of one regiment of cavalry had been decimated forcing the brigade to retire to safer ground.
Massed French artillery firing on exposed Russian cavalry formations.
Russian cavalry brigade after 2 rounds of bombardment fire