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Tabletop Gaming, Models, and Minis => Forum-Based Games => Six Days in October Archives => Topic started by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 07:48:07 PM

Title: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 07:48:07 PM
[Note that I have kept these messages in the order sent and received as best I am able - this means that you will find various messages at times that seem to arrive out of date or otherwise "out of order".  That's normal in a Kriegsspiel!]

ATTENTION TO ORDERS!
Sender: DAVOUT.
Day 1. 0600. Bamburg
Time Sent: (UMPIRE)

Recipient:
III Corps Divisions
  1st, 2nd, & 3rd  Infantry Divisions, Cavalry Division
Time Received: (UMPIRE)

Unit Marching:

The III Corp will march from Bamburg to Cobourg.  March the standard marching rate. The order of march shall be:
Cavalry Division
1st Infantry Division (1st Division)
2d Infantry Division (2d Division)
3d Infantry Division (3d Division)

Route of March:
North to Cobourg via road.

Time to Spend Marching:
10 hours (40 km)

Expected Objective:
Bivouacked at Cobourg.

Rules of Engagement:
Upon encountering the enemy in force, deploy the 1st Division to the front.  The cavalry will find an open flank for 2nd Division to deploy onto.  3rd Division will be in reserve.

Dispatches:

Upon arrival at evening camp, send a dispatch to Napoleon indicating position of the Corps.
Send riders up both the Cobourg and Kronach Roads to open communication with the next Corps up the road. If riders encounter the enemy before reaching a friendly corps, retire with all haste upon the III Corps.
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 07:49:03 PM
From: Davout
To: Murat and Lannes
Time:  0600 Day 1
Message:

    Marshals!

    In accordance with our Emperor's orders, I am at your disposal.

    I will begin marching towards YELLOW today and expect to reach it
in around three days.  I expect to reach Cobourg tonight.

    Marshal Murat, would you prefer I moved straight on through
Yellow, or took a day to rest before crossing the pass?  One day's
rest south of the pass will enable my corps to move through the pass
fully rested; without the rest, I will arrive at Gotha with 20 fatigue
or more.

   Will we cross the pass at the same time, or as we are able?

   - Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 07:49:34 PM
DISPATCH -- Lannes to Davout, September 10, 1600

RECEIVED -- September 11, 0600

My Dear Marshal,

After a day's march, I believe my corps has reached a point approximately 1/2 the distance between Schweinfurt and Meningen.

I Embrace You,

Jean
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 07:49:57 PM
Message from Control -- September 10

Marshal,

After a full days march, your corps has encamped a few kilometers south of Cobourg.

No enemy contacts to report.

Control
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 07:50:57 PM
ATTENTION TO ORDERS!

Sender: DAVOUT.
Day 1. 1800. Just south of Cobourg

Time Sent: (UMPIRE)

Recipient:
III Corps Divisions
  1st, 2nd, & 3rd  Infantry Divisions, Cavalry Division

Time Received: (UMPIRE)

Unit Marching:

The III Corp will march from Cobourg towards Gotha via Hildburghausen.  March the standard marching rate. The order of march shall be:
Cavalry Division
1st Infantry Division (1st Division)
2d Infantry Division (2d Division)
3d Infantry Division (3d Division)
Route of March:


North to Cobourg, then NW to Hildburghausen, then N towards Yellow Pass, all via road.

Time to Spend Marching:
10 hours (40 km)

Expected Objective:

Bivouacked between Hildburghausen and the next town north.

Rules of Engagement:
Upon encountering the enemy in force, deploy the 1st Division to the front.  The cavalry will find an open flank for 2nd Division to deploy onto.  3rd Division will be in reserve.

Dispatches:
Upon arrival at evening camp, send a dispatch to Murat indicating position of the Corps.
Send riders up both the Morningen and Gotha Roads to open communication with the next Corps up the road. If riders encounter the enemy before reaching a friendly corps, retire with all haste upon the III Corps.

Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 07:52:31 PM
Messages to Murat and Lannes, sent 1800 Day 1 (10 September)

Murat is expected to be on the Morningen-Eisenach road.
Lannes is expected to be on the Morningen-Schweinfurt road.
Messengers should enquire with forces at Morningen for an improved location.

Marshals!

  This evening finds the corps encamped just south of Cobourg.  We
will march north of Hildburghausen tomorrow.

   - Davout


[You can see, over the course of these, the evolution in how we addressed our messages via Jim the Umpire; starting out with a very formal Word document and evolving into a looser but apparently functional style. Early in the campaign, as here, we are still pretty formal and under the impression we must direct the runners to their destinations.]
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 07:55:17 PM
A case of weird identities:

This message arrived to me:

DISPATCH -- Augereau to Ney (September 10, 1600)

Sender: Marshal Pierre Augereau.

Day 1. 1600, preparing to turn North to Cobourg on the Bamberg - Hof Road

Time Sent: 1600

Recipient:

VI Corps, Marshal Ney
Time Received:  September 10, 2100

Unit Marching:

VII Corps

Dispatches:


My good Marshal Ney, I am presently to your South at the location indicated above.  It is my intention to follow you in the initial stages of this campaign.  Your Servant -- Pierre Augereau
=========

This confused me, but apparently the rider was confused, having been misdirected through an umpire die roll.  After some discussion, the rider was redirected.

-------
In the belief that Ney is to be found at Bamberg or on the road south of it --

I would like to redirect the runner, with this message, to Bamberg with instructions to enquire about Ney's whereabouts there; and, if there is no better information there, to ride on the road south out of Bamberg to find him.
------
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 07:55:40 PM
DISPATCH -- Murat to Davout, September 11, 0200

Received September 11, 0700

Marshal Davout -

Your message reporting your arrival south of Cobourg received at my headquarters at approximately 0200, 11th September.
 
The Cavalry Reserve has temporarily paused in its march north, somewhere in the vicinity of Hildburghausen. I anticipate that my forward elements should reach Suhl (the unnamed town that's just below the letter 'T' in 'Thuringe' on your map) by midday today. I shall be pausing there until morning of the 12th in order to thoroughly scout the pass to Ohrdruf before heading through the mountains.
 
For your information, I have detached a division of dragoons to proceed independently to Neustadt and there await Bernadotte's arrival. My personal sense is that without any support moving through the central pass to Saalfeld, his corps is the most dangerously exposed of all of us and he will likely need additional cavalry to either better scout his route of march, or to cover his withdrawal should the Prussians concentrate their inevitable counter-attack against him.
 
Please continue to keep me informed of the progress of your march, preferably sending messages at least twice a day (at noon and midnight, unless events dictate more frequent updates). It is essential that we carefully coordinate our three-way assault on Gotha once you and Lannes are in position.
 
- Murat
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 07:56:01 PM
Marshal Murat -

In reply to your message, received 0700 11 September:

I am also headed towards Suhl, via Hildburghausen, in order to use Yellow Pass.

Would you prefer that I change my route of march and direction of
approach, in order to reduce congestion?

I could also stop at Hildburghausen to give your forces room to move,
and in order to avoid blocking Lannes' movement through Morningen.

You could, perhaps, post a courier at Hildburghausen with orders if
you wish me to change my plan.

 - Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 07:59:16 PM
Another instance of early confusion:

DISPATCH from Control

A courier arrived on the evening of October 10 indicating that Marshal Murat has detached Klein's cavalry division to your service.

It awaits your orders at Cobourg.

I would ask that you reframe your 0600 march orders for the 11th of October accordingly.


My Reply:  Put it at the head of the column, orders otherwise unchanged.


Their reply:  The runner from Murat informs you that Klein was left at Cobourg with the expectation of marching with Bernadotte.


My reply:

Klein: Get the f*ck out of my way, scum.  ;-)

No!  Not that...   More seriously:

Tell Murat and Klein he has two options: Take the road to Kronwich via
Neustadt and overland; or wait for my corps to pass Cobourg.  I
suggest the latter.  I am taking priority of the road in order to 1)
get my corps clear of Bamberg so the rest of the Army can move through
it; 2) my corps has farther to move to be in position than Klein does,
and under the Plan my corps needs to cross the frontier before
Bernadotte's does.

Umpire:

Ha!

He will clear your path.

He will ask, however, if you are aware of the location of Bernadotte.


Me:

Cancel my last.  Send him to Neustadt to await Bernadotte there.

[I am no longer sure why I changed my mind - I probably figured out where Bernadotte was actually meant to be and sent Klein there.]

Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 07:59:37 PM
DISPATCH -- Murat to Davout -- ARRIVED 1030 hours, 11 October

To: Marshal Davout (presumed location, somewhere on the road between Bamberg - Hildberghausen)

From: Marshal Murat

Time message sent: 0600, 11 September 1806

 

Marshal Davout, as of sunset last night, the lead elements of my Cavalry Reserve had reached the town of Hildburghausen and spent the night billeted there, with the rest of the corps bivouacked in column along the road south. This morning my corps will resume moving northwest, with the goal of reaching the crossroads north of Moiningen which heads towards Gotha by the end of the day. I shall be detaching a pair of divisions at Suhl (this is the small unnamed town lying directly south of the 'T' in Thuringe on your map) to perform reconnaissance and ensure that the Prussians do not make an unexpected thrust south from that direction.

 

I have not had any communications Marshal Lannes in the past 24 hours, but I feel confident he is conforming to the movements the Emperor directed previously. However, if I have not had any contact with him by the end of the day, I will notify you as such and it may become necessary for the two of us to modify our scheme of maneuver.

 

Please keep my informed of the progress moving north, advising me where you halt your march this evening. I will endeavor to do the same.

 

Your comrade in arms,

Murat
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:00:00 PM
DISPATCH -- Murat to Davout, Sent 1400 Hours, 11th October

Received 1700 Hours, 11th October

To Marshal Davout
(believed somewhere on the Moiningen-Cobourg road, moving northwest)
From Marshal Murat (vicinity Moiningen, moving north)
 
My dear comrade -
I have received reports from my light cavalry scouts that Prussian troops have been sighted in the vicinity of Ohrdruf. Based on their insignia, we believe this division sized enemy force (approximately 5000 infantry and 1000 cavalry) to be the Advanced Guard of Ruchel's Corps.
 
I have detached two divisions to the crossroads north of Suhl, with the purpose of keeping this force under observation. I am continuing north with my main body to scout Eisenach.
 
Please advise your current status. I have not received any communications from you since the start of the campaign and it is vital that we coordinate our movements.
 
- Murat
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:00:15 PM
To Marshal Murat
From Marshal Davout

Dear Marshal Murat -

Sent 1800 Hours, 11 October.

I am holed up for the night in a howling wilderness site some 15km
north of Hildburghausen.  No wine, just peasants and beer.  I do not
know how they survive in this uncivilized wasteland!

My understanding is that I am to march on Yellow tomorrow, stopping
short of it at the intersection to rest and await orders to proceed.
Please advise if you desire a different action from me; I am ready to
serve as needed.

- Yours, Marshal Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:00:37 PM
DISPATCH from Control -- 1800 Hours, 11th October

Marshal Davout,

Your lead elements have marched to a point some15 km North of Hildburghausen.  The remainder of your corps will close on this point and bivouac for the evening, pending further instructions.

Nothing further to report.
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:01:32 PM
ATTENTION TO ORDERS!
Sender: DAVOUT.
Day 2. 1800. 15km north of Hildburghausen

Recipient:
III Corps Divisions
  1st, 2nd, & 3rd  Infantry Divisions, Cavalry Division
Time Received: (UMPIRE)

Unit Marching:

The III Corp will march northwards towards YELLOW, halting at the intersection just south of YELLOW.  March the standard marching rate. The order of march shall be:
Cavalry Division
1st Infantry Division (1st Division)
2d Infantry Division (2d Division)
3d Infantry Division (3d Division)

Route of March:

North to the intersection.

Time to Spend Marching:

4 hours (15 km)

Expected Objective:

Bivouacked at the intersection south of YELLOW.

Rules of Engagement:

Upon encountering the enemy in force, deploy the 1st Division to the front.  The cavalry will find an open flank for 2nd Division to deploy onto.  3rd Division will be in reserve.

Dispatches:

Upon arrival at evening camp, send a dispatch to Murat indicating position of the Corps.
Send riders up both the Morningen and Gotha Roads to open communication with the next Corps up the road. If riders encounter the enemy before reaching a friendly corps, retire with all haste upon the III Corps.
All units should be prepared for the possibility of contact with the Prussians from the direction of YELLOW.

Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:02:12 PM
DISPATCH -- Lannes to Davout, 1630 Hours, 11th October

RECEIVED 2030 Hours, 11th October

To Marshal Davout
(believed along the Coburg to Moiningen road, moving northwest)
From Marshal Lannes (north of Moiningen, encamped along the Moiningen-Eisenach Road)

Davout -

I am encamped along the Moiningen-Eisenach road. At my current rate of march, I should reach the pass designated ORANGE tomorrow by midday.

Murat's cavalry have scouted out a Prussian division, apparently some of Ruchel's men, near Ohrdruf. He has them under observation while he moves to scout Eisenach.

Please advise your position and intent to Murat and myself.

Lannes
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:02:27 PM
SENT 2100 Hours 11 October
TO Marshals Lannes and Murat


Marshals!

I am encamped in a howling German wilderness (no win, only beer!)
about 15km north of Hildburghausen.  My intent is to move northwards
to the intersections just south of YELLOW tomorrow.

At that point I will be ready to either move directly north to attack
Ruchel; or to take a day of rest to ensure my men are fully fit before
attacking Ruchel on the next day.

I presume we will coordinate our movements; please let me know when
you wish me to attack.

In addition, when we attack towards Gotha, shall Marshal Lannes take
the western side of the road while I take the eastern?  This may
entail my marching towards to the Arnstadt-Gotha road to cross the
river, detailing a force to hold Arnstadt and another towards Erfurt.
Otherwise, I can hold to the western side of the Ohrdruf river, but
will likely need maneuver room if I am to bring my entire force to
bear.

Please let me know how you would like me to proceed, and perhaps where
we might find wine worth drinking in this barley-ridden wasteland.

- Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:02:56 PM
DISPATCH -- Lannes to Davout, 0730, 12th October

SENT 0230, 12th October

Gentlemen,

I am encamped approximately 12 km north of Meiningen along the Meiningen-Eisenach road. I should arrive in the vicinity of ORANGE about noon. I am hoping to encounter Murat's detached divisions or at least receive information from them regarding Ruchel's proximity to the passes.

I am in agreement with M. Davout - Once I arrive I am ready to attack north immediately, but believe that taking the rest of the day to rest would be wise. Given Davout's timetable, if he would like an entire rest day, I would plan to resume my advance on the 14th.

In regards to attacking Gotha, I am again in agreement. I will advance my corps on the west while Marshal Davout advances on the east. An advance by Davout through Arnstadt has the virtue of possibly bringing his force in on Ruchel's flank or rear, Combined with Marshal Murat creating havoc behind him, and my corps fixing him from the front, this could be a very difficult spot for him indeed.

However, I strongly suspect that there will be an engagement of some scale prior to that, somewhere between Ohrdruf and the escarpment. Any intelligence from the cavalry that have Ruchel under observation would be most welcome. My principal concern is that the full weight of the Prussians fall upon one of our corps before we are in supporting distance of one another.

Once I arrive at ORANGE I will take up defensive positions with my infantry, and scout through the pass toward Ohrdruf and Gotha with my cavalry. I will also send cavalry to attempt to make contact with Murat's divisions and Davout. I will hold ORANGE until I know that Davout in in place at YELLOW and ready to advance again.

Lannes
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:03:18 PM
DISPATCH -- Murat to Davout, 0730, 12th October

SENT 0330, 12th October

To Marshal Davout
(believed about 15km north of Hildburghausen, moving north)
From Marshal Murat (encamped vicinity Moiningen)
 
My dear comrade -
I received your dispatch, sent at 2100, about two hours ago. You have my sympathy regarding the abysmal conditions around Hildberghausen; I passed along that same road yesterday and will be pleased never to have to traverse it again.
 
Just a few moments ago I received word from Marshal Lannes that he is camped approximately 12km north of Moiningen. He informs me that he anticipates arriving in the vicinity of the pass designated "orange" around midday.
 
In the morning, please continue your advance northwards, through Suhl and then up through the pass designated "yellow" in our earlier discussions. You should encounter two of my detached divisions (LaSalle light cavalry & Sahuc's dragoons) in that vicinity; assume temporary tactical control of these formations once you rendezvous with them. As soon as you have linked up with these detached cavalry it is essential that you immediately advise me of that fact and update me on the current status of the enemy forces around Ohrdruf.
 
As previously reported, LaSalle's scouts continue to maintain contact with the Advanced Guard of Ruchel's Corps which have been sighted in the vicinity of Ohrdruf (roughly 5000 infantry and 1000 cavalry). As of 1600 hours yesterday (my last communication with the division commander), those enemy forces were deploying in preparation for battle.
 
As you and Lannes have requested, once you have each reached your respective passes ("yellow" for you, and "orange" for Lannes) you may halt your advance and rest your troops for the remainder of the day, preparatory to resuming your advance (most likely initiating an engagement with Ruchel's corps around Ohrdruf) tomorrow. While your infantry are resting, employ your cavalry (including LaSalle's and Sahuc's divisions) to screen your main body from the Prussians -- it is important that they not be afforded a clear sense that the bulk of your infantry are so close.
 
However, do not be complacent. It appears that Ruchel is withdrawing, you should break camp and advance vigorously to maintain contact. It is vital that Ruchel not be allowed to escape.
 
I will be continuing north with my main body to scout Eisenach via the "red" pass. If I find Eisenach vacant, I will move through and advance on Gotha (to hopefully cut Ruchel's line of retreat). However, should Eisenach prove to be held by strong Prussian forces, my intent is to backtrack and join Lannes at "orange."
 
- Murat
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:03:36 PM
Sent 0800, 12 October

To:  Marshals Murat and Lannes

From: Marshal Davout, in a midge-infested dell about 15km north of
Hildburghausen

Marshal Murat: If your primary concern is that General Ruchel might
escape, then it would be best if we continue moving with all dispatch.

As a result, unless you countermand the order, I will move to YELLOW
pass today.  If developments permit a rest day I will use it on the
13th but I will expect to move northwards on the 14th.

Do you have an intimation of the direction of his withdrawal - north or east?

If our objective is to prevent his force from linking up with the
Prussian main body, then it would appear my objective would be to pin
him at Ohrdruf while moving to ensure he cannot move eastwards from
Gotha; I become the anvil while you and Marshal Lannes form the
hammer.

This maneuver is enhanced if I tun out to draw his attention, and thus
my moving first, should it so transpire, should not discomfit our
arrangements.

Death and Confusion to the enemy!

Marshal Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:03:52 PM
Sent 0800, 12 October

To:  Davout's Corps

FRAGO 1 for 12 October

Change of Destination: All forces continue to YELLOW today.
Half-day's rest is cancelled.

Message for troops: General Ruchel appears to be the Prussian's left
flank guard.  His corps is in motion near Gotha and must not escape.
We expect to move to begin engaging his force tomorrow.  Together with
the forces of Marshal Murat and Marshal Lannes, we shall destroy this
lapdog of the ancien regime!

Marshal Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:04:10 PM
Sent: 0800, 12 October

To: Generals LaSalle and Sahuc

CC: Marshal Murat, Marshal Lannes

Generals!

Per Marshal Murat's orders dated 12 October, you are now under my
tactical control.  I am most pleased to have your assistance.

It is my understanding that General LaSalle's light cavalry is
currently pinning one of General Ruchel's divisions near Ohrdruf.
Please continue this action; please inform me of any trouble.  We hope
to have an infantry division moving into place to assist you sometime
on the 13th.

General Sahuc, I do not know where your Dragoon division is at the
moment, but I presume it is not currently engaged.  Please reconnoiter
the area east of Ohrdruf towards Arnstadt and the Arnstadt-Gotha
bridges, seizing both the town and bridges if they are not defended,
in order to enable further movement north and east.

In the event that your situation renders these orders invalid, please
act in order to advance these overall needs:  III Corps and your
divisions are to pin General Ruchel's forces on the Gotha-YELLOW road,
while the bulk of the force swings eastwards to come at Gotha by way
of the Gotha-Arnstadt road, with the intent of pinning General Ruchel,
preventing his escape eastwards, and enabling the forces of Marshals
Lannes and Murat to destroy him from the east.
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:04:43 PM
DISPATCH -- Vialannes to Davout, 1100, 12th October

SENT 1000, 12th October

My Lord Marshal,

We have arrived just South of the pass designated as "Yellow".

No enemy is in sight.

S!

Vialannes.
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:06:15 PM
SENT: 1100 12 October

To: Marshalls Lannes & Murat

From: Somewhere south of YELLOW

Fellow Marshalls, I have received word from my cavalry division that
they have reached the southern part of YELLOW.

I await your orders to wait or press on tomorrow.

- Marshal Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:06:36 PM
DISPATCH -- Lasalle to Davout, 1130, 12th October

SENT 1000, 12th October

My Lord Marshal,

Beg leave to report that the cavalry forces in Ohrdruf are departing to the North in some haste.

I will do my best to remain in contact.

Your Servant,

Charles
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:07:14 PM
SENT: 1500 12 October

TO: Marshals Lannes and Murat

Fellow Marshals,

General LaSalle reports that as of 1000, Ruchel's cavalry in Ohrdruf
was "departing to the North in some haste"; he will remain in contact.

- Marshal Davout

[I don't know why I delayed for hours in passing this along.]
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:07:33 PM
DISPATCH -- Lannes to Davout, 1500, 12th October

SENT 1000

To Marshal Davout
(believed to be on the Hilburghausen - Ohrdruf Road, moving north)

My esteemed M. Davout,

My cavalry piquets have observed Prussian cavalry in the village of Ohrdruf. I have ordered General Focuher to continue to observe this force, attempt to discover more of the enemy dispositions,  screen the main body of my corps, and attempt to make contact with your divisions in the vicinity.

My main body will continue to move toward ORANGE.

Lannes
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:07:51 PM
DISPATCH, Bernadotte to Davout, 1700, 12th October

SENT 0800, 12th October

To Davout -- I Corps is Saalfeld.  No Prussians in evidence.

Bernadotte
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:08:06 PM
SENT 1700 12 October

To Bernadotte (Saalfeld)

Marshall Bernadotte, my thanks for your message.  I am currently
encamped at YELLOW and will be moving north tomorrow.  A division of
Ruchel's Prussians have been seen by the cavalry screen at Ohrdruf but
are apparently withdrawing.

- Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:08:23 PM
DISPATCH, Murat to Davout, 1700, 12th October

To: Marshals Davout and Lannes

From: Marshal Murat (on the Moiningen-Eisenach road, vicinity of the crossroad leading to ORANGE pass)
 
I am in receipt of Marshal Davout's message (sent 0800, 12 October) wherein he requests guidance regarding my intentions and direction on how to proceed.
 
I have recently received word from General LaSalle (who is south of Ohrdruff with my light cavalry) that "a portion of the Prussian army is departing from Ohrdruf, headed north in haste." Whether that means that all or only part of Ruchel's Advance Guard division is still defending Ohrdruf or not, I am unable to say as LaSalle's report was vague.
 
Because I am not entirely confident of where either of you are currently located, I am thus somewhat reluctant to commit to offensive action until it becomes clear whether you are in close enough proximity to support an attack on Ohrdruff.
 
I have directed my detached cavalry (LaSalle and Sahuc's divisions -- some 9000 sabers) to maintain contact with the enemy at Orhdruf, but not engage. I do not believe that by themselves two divisions of cavalry, especially without a senior commander on hand to orchestrate their efforts, are adequate to overcome a strong enemy rear guard.
 
Based on Marshal Davout's personal assessment of the situation once he actually arrives on scene, he has my permission to launch an immediate attack against the withdrawing Prussian forces should he deem that action appropriate.
 
For my part, I intend continue north towards Eisenach. While I personally do not feel advancing on Eisenach is necessary, the Emperor has directed that we ensure no Prussian forces are in a position to infiltrate south and interfere with our lines of communication. Therefore, to conform to the Emperor's wishes, I will clear Eisenach and then march on Gotha (to presumably rendezvous with the two of you at that location). If I am delayed at Eisenach, I will notify you both and, depending on your situation, will provide additional direction.
 
As I pass by the crossroads leading towards the ORANGE pass, I will be detaching some additional cavalry to conduct a reconnaissance up that road. Once Marshal Lannes arrives at that pass he should take temporary control of that cavalry and then coordinate with Marshal Davout to conduct an attack in tandem to first clear Ohrdruf and then advance on Gotha. Whichever of the two of you who arrives on the scene first should assume the duties of overall commander of any attack along the Ohrdruf-Gotha road. However, once you reach Gotha you should both stop and rest your troops before continuing your advance (as indicated above, I expect to join you in Gotha via Eisenach).
 
Your comrade in arms,
- Murat
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:08:45 PM
SENT: 1700 12 October
To: Marshals Murat and Lannes
From: Marshal Davout

Marshals,

I have a note from Bernadotte, noting that there were no Prussians at
Saalfeld as of 0800 on 12 October.  I am led to wonder if the
Prussians are fighting a delay, trading space for time and
information.

If so, then moving quickly to destroy General Ruchel would be highly
advantageous.  Even if not, if he is isolated, destroying him is still
to our advantage.  Moving quickly will also make it more difficult for
him to be reinforced or withdraw via the Gotha-Erfurt-Weimar road that
presumably leads to the Prussian main body.

Therefore, I intend to launch my corps northwards tomorrow morning,
driving one infantry division and LaSalle's cavalry up the road to
Gotha in order to pin Ruchel, and swinging the rest of the cavalry and
the other two divisions eastwards to take the Arnstadt-Gotha road in
order to cut that road and attack Gotha from the rear.

If I hear before tomorrow morning that Marshal Lannes will be
advancing on Ohrdruf & Gotha directly tomorrow then I will swing my
entire corps eastwards, leaving LaSalle's cavalry to maintain pressure
and shape the situation for Marshal Lannes.  This should see us
eventually converging on Erfurt from three directions with our three
forces.

Please advise me as soon as you are able if this plan does not meet
your approval - I recognize that it is a change from your plan as
specified in your most recent message.

Hopefully Erfurt will have something more drinkable than goat piss.

- Marshal Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:09:36 PM
III Corps orders for 13 October

Sender:   DAVOUT.

12 Oct. 1800 at YELLOW

Time Sent: (UMPIRE)


Recipient:

III Corps Divisions

  1st, 2nd, & 3rd  Infantry Divisions, Cavalry Division;

LaSalle’s and Sahuc’s cavalry divisions

Murat and Lannes

Time Received: (UMPIRE)


Unit Marching:

III Corps will move to engage General Ruchel from the south and east;
1st division and LaSalle will pin at Ohrdruf while the rest move to
Arnstadt to set up a flanking movement.


Cavalry Division: Move to Arnstadt

1st Division and LaSalle: Move to Gotha.  Coordinate contact with
General LaSalle’s cavalry.  Contact is expected between Ohrdruf and
Gotha.  Contact is expected with Marshal Lannes’ forces coming up the
road from ORANGE.  On Lannes’ arrival you will fall under his tactical
control.

2nd and 3rd Divisions: Move to Arnstadt.

Sahuc: Move to the river bridges between Gotha and Arnstadt, seizing
them in order to enable the divisions at Arnstadt to move across them
on the 14th.

My HQ will move to Arnstadt.

Time to Spend Marching:

10 hours/20km to Arsnstadt.

 ROE:

1st Division is a pinning movement; maintain contact but decisive
engagement is not desired.

Dispatches:

Upon arrival at evening camp, send a dispatch to indicating position.

All units should be prepared for the possibility of contact with the Prussians.
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:09:57 PM
DISPATCH, Sahuc to Davout, 1800, 12th October

SENT 1400, 12th October

My Lord Marshal,

Very pleased to report that we have secured the bridges at Arnstadt.

No Prrusians here in evidence!

S!

Sahuc
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:10:09 PM
SENT 1800 12 October
TO: Marshals Lannes and Murat

Marshals!

General Sahuc reports that as of 1400 on 12 October, Arsntadt had been
secured and no Prussians were to be found.

I am extremely disappointed that he has not reported the presence of
quality wine, but perhaps he is merely covering for having consumed it
all.

Given the absence of Prussians in Saalfeld and Arnstadt I believe we
may conclude the Prussians are not defending near the frontier in our
area.  It remains to be seen if they put up a fight for Gotha and
Erfurt, or if they hope to withdraw still deeper.

- Marshal Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:10:34 PM
DISPATCH -- Murat to Davout, 1900, 12th October

SENT 1100, 12th October

To: Marshals Davout and Lannes

From: Marshal Murat (on the Moiningen-Eisenach road, vicinity of the crossroad leading to ORANGE pass)
 
I am in receipt of Marshal Davout's message (sent 0800, 12 October) wherein he requests guidance regarding my intentions and direction on how to proceed.
 
I have recently received word from General LaSalle (who is south of Ohrdruff with my light cavalry) that "a portion of the Prussian army is departing from Ohrdruf, headed north in haste." Whether that means that all or only part of Ruchel's Advance Guard division is still defending Ohrdruf or not, I am unable to say as LaSalle's report was vague.
 
Because I am not entirely confident of where either of you are currently located, I am thus somewhat reluctant to commit to offensive action until it becomes clear whether you are in close enough proximity to support an attack on Ohrdruff.
 
I have directed my detached cavalry (LaSalle and Sahuc's divisions -- some 9000 sabers) to maintain contact with the enemy at Orhdruf, but not engage. I do not believe that by themselves two divisions of cavalry, especially without a senior commander on hand to orchestrate their efforts, are adequate to overcome a strong enemy rear guard.
 
Based on Marshal Davout's personal assessment of the situation once he actually arrives on scene, he has my permission to launch an immediate attack against the withdrawing Prussian forces should he deem that action appropriate.
 
For my part, I intend continue north towards Eisenach. While I personally do not feel advancing on Eisenach is necessary, the Emperor has directed that we ensure no Prussian forces are in a position to infiltrate south and interfere with our lines of communication. Therefore, to conform to the Emperor's wishes, I will clear Eisenach and then march on Gotha (to presumably rendezvous with the two of you at that location). If I am delayed at Eisenach, I will notify you both and, depending on your situation, will provide additional direction.
 
As I pass by the crossroads leading towards the ORANGE pass, I will be detaching some additional cavalry to conduct a reconnaissance up that road. Once Marshal Lannes arrives at that pass he should take temporary control of that cavalry and then coordinate with Marshal Davout to conduct an attack in tandem to first clear Ohrdruf and then advance on Gotha. Whichever of the two of you who arrives on the scene first should assume the duties of overall commander of any attack along the Ohrdruf-Gotha road. However, once you reach Gotha you should both stop and rest your troops before continuing your advance (as indicated above, I expect to join you in Gotha via Eisenach).
 
Your comrade in arms,
- Murat
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:10:56 PM
DISPATCH -- Lannes to Davout, 2200, 12th October

SENT -- 1700, 12th October

To: Marshal Murat (believed to be along the Meiningen-Eisenach road, headed north) and Marshal Davout (believed to be at pass YELLOW)
Colleagues,

My cavalry has encountered a cavalry division of Murat's just southwest of the Ohrdruf-Gotha crossroad. This division appears to be attached to Marshal Davout's corps and is in pursuit of a Prussian force withdrawing toward Gotha.

I have also only in the last hour received Marshall Murat's dispatch sent at 1100 this day, indicating his cavalry reporting that the Prussians were moving north from Ohrdruf. At about the time this dispatch was sent, my cavalry reported Prussian horse in Ohrdruf, so I am at this stage unsure as to the presence or absence of enemy troops in the village. I have also only in the past hour received Marshall Davout's dispatch of 1100 indicating that his cavalry had reached the southern part of YELLOW. From the above report, I can only assume that the main body of Davout's corps is at, or perhaps north of the pass.

I have dispatched my cavalry, including d'Hautpol's division seconded to me by Marshall Murat to join the pursuit and maintain contact with the Prussians. It would seem that despite my specific instructions to be informed if the Prussians were moving from the vicinity of Ohrdruf, I am forced to guess what is going on to my front. These hussars are little more than bandits on horseback!

Given the situation and my uncertainty as to your exact locations, despite the lateness of the hour I intend to move my troops to Ohrdruf in support of the advancing cavalry. On arriving at the village, if there are no Prussians to be found, I will leave the infantry to rest and ride to join my cavalry and seek to locate the Prussians.

Marshall Davout, please join me in moving toward Gotha yet this evening. If you are already advancing, please inform me of your intentions and directions.

Lannes
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:11:16 PM
DISPATCH -- Lannes to Davout, 2230, 12th October

SENT -- 1730, 12th October

To: Marshal Murat (believed to be along the Meiningen-Eisenach road, headed north) and Marshal Davout (believed to be at pass YELLOW)
Colleagues,

After consideration, I believe it will be of more use for me to march on the crossroads north of Ohrdruf and south of Gotha. If and enemy remain in Ohrdruf doing so will cut their line of communication with the rest of Ruchel's corps, and will place my corps in an advantageous position to support Davout in an advance on Gotha tomorrow. Marshall Davout, I will leave it to your troops to clear Ohrdruf if they have not done so already.

Lannes
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:11:33 PM
DISPATCH -- Bernadotte to Davout, 2300, 12th October

SENT 1400, 12th October

Davout,

Beg leave to report that I Corps has arrived and assembled at Saalfeld.

No Prussians in sight.

I salute you.

Bernadotte
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:11:51 PM
DISPATCH -- LaSalle to Davout, 2300, 12th October

SENT 1900, 12th October

My Lord Marshal,

Beg leave to report that we have arrived at Gotha and found it devoid of Prussians.  Strong evidence, however of a very recent presence.

My piquets report at least two divisions of Prussian troops defending the river line to the East of Gotha at the Gotha-Erfurt crossroads.

S!

LaSalle
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:12:48 PM
SENT 0000, 13 October
To: Marshals Lannes, Murat, and Bernadotte;
*and*
To: all III Corps divisions, Generals Sahuc and LaSalle

Marshals!

Incredibly, we found a supply of Turkish coffee at an mountain inn.
How was not consumed before our arrival is a mystery, but the outcome
is most welcome.  Perhaps the Germans' beer has addled their livers to
the point that they don't comprehend any of the finer things in life?

Moving to business....

General LaSalle reports that as of 1900 on 12 October, his forces had
entered Gotha and found it to have been recently vacated by the
Prussians.  However, two divisions of Prussian infantry, thought to be
from Ruchel's corps, were "defending the river line to the east of
Gotha at the Gotha-Erfurt crossroads".

By the way, Marshal Murat, Generals LaSalle and Sahuc have been doing
exemplary work in reconnoitering the enemy.

As a result, combining reports:

There are no Prussians in Arnstadt, Saalfeld, or Gotha; and we have
forces in all three, though Arnstadt and Gotha are held by cavalry.

General Ruchel has been steadily withdrawing in the direction of
Erfurt and Weimar.

It is not clear to me if "the river line east of Gotha at the
Gotha-Erfurt crossroads" means he intends to defend the Arnstadt road,
or not.

It is not clear if he intends to defend there - perhaps using the
ridgeline?; or to continue withdrawing towards Weimar; or to withdraw
northwards towards Tennstadt.

It is therefore my intention to alter my prior orders in the following
manner (followed by a complete rendition of the orders), with the
intent of arraying forces to pin General Ruchel from the west and
south if he holds at the crossroads, and, if he should withdraw again,
of reuniting the III Corps at the crossroads between Gotha and Erfurt
in order to continue operations against him.  One cavalry division
will move to reconnoiter east of Erfurt, both to discern possible
Prussian positions there and perhaps to place fear in his withdrawal
if he moves that direction.

Note that while it is very tempting to instead attempt to continue
harder eastwards, trying to get forces in place to attack Ruchel on
the Erfurt-Weimar road - or, failing that, to use that maneuver to
come at him from Erfurt to support Lannes' expected move through Gotha
- I am doubtful that I can march quickly enough to accomplish this
without marching them beyond reasonable endurance.  Arnstadt or the
river crossings are a 10 hour overland march, and pushing past
Arnstadt to Erfurt tomorrow would require another 6 to 8 hours'
marching - yet even so, Ruchel could easily outmarch me down the road
to Weimar.


------------Orders for 13 October, replacing the prior set------------
III Corps will move to engage General Ruchel from the west and south,
moving to converge on the road intersection between Gotha and Erfurt.

 Cavalry Division: Move to Arnstadt; prepare to move to Erfurt (on the
eastern side of the river) and the Erfurt-Weimar road river crossing
on the next day.

1st Division and LaSalle: Move to Gotha, then move toward Erfurt.
Contact is expected between Gotha and Erfurt.  Contact is expected
with Marshal Lannes’ forces coming up the road from ORANGE.  On
Lannes’ arrival you will fall under his tactical control until we
reunite and he releases you back to my control.

2nd and 3rd Divisions: Move to the northern of the two river crossings
between Gotha and Arnstadt.  2nd Division should cross the river.
Expected follow-on mission is to attack the Prussians between Erfurt
and Gotha, or link up with the 1st Division at the Gotha-Erfurt
crossroads.  Alternate follow-on mission is to march via Arnstadt to
outflank Prussian positions at Erfurt.

Sahuc: Seize the river bridges between Gotha and Arnstadt.
Reconnoiter northwards to discover Prussian forces’ locations.  No
limit of advance north or east, but do not march more than 10 hours.

My HQ will move to the northern Arnstadt-Gotha river crossing.
-------------------------

If you wish me to act otherwise, please advise me soonest; we will
begin marching with the dawn.

--  Marshal Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:13:18 PM
DISPATCH -- Murat to Davout, 0200, 13th October

SENT 1900, 12th October

To Marshal Davout

(believed to be in bivouac about 20km south of Ohrdruf)

From Marshal Murat (encamped vicinity Eisenach)


 

My dear comrade -

I am in receipt of your message sent at 1100 this morning, regarding your advance scouts reaching the mouth of the YELLOW pass.

 

I am assuming the rest of your corps will be able to reach the mouth to the YELLOW pass by midday tomorrow. While you did not confirm it, I also assume you have linked up with and taken temporary control of the two cavalry divisions I left in position to screen your approach to that pass (LaSalle's light division and Sahuc's dragoons). This should give you an additional 9000 cavalry to work with for the advance on Ohrdruf.

 

As your men move into position, please begin an immediate attack towards Ohrdruf, with the intent of forcing any enemy troops there to fall back on Gotha.

 

I received word from Marshall Lannes that he has his troops in position of the ORANGE pass. I have ordered him to advance his corps starting at dawn in such a way as to interpose himself between Ohrdruf and Gotha. Hopefully this maneuver will hopefully impede any attempt by the Prussians in Ohrdruf to withdraw from that position back towards Gotha. If your attack goes well, there is a good chance your forces and Lannes' men can completely destroy the Prussian division in Ohrdruf between them.

 

For my part, I have reached Eisenach and found that town to be unoccupied by Prussian forces. I will pause my forces there for the night and, in the morning, begin to advance on Gotha from the west. This should put any Prussian forces in that town under pressure in such a manner that they will be unable to freely reinforce their contingent at Ohrdruf.

 

Once the enemy have been driven from Ohrdruf, you and Lannes should march on Gotha with all haste. Once we have captured Gotha, we will pause, rest our forces, and decide upon our next course of action.

 

- Murat
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:13:34 PM
DISPATCH -- Murat to Davout, 0300, 13th October

SENT 2200, 12th October

Comrades!
Since it now appears that the enemy are evacuating Ohrdruf in some haste, please occupy the town as soon as may be practical in the morning, and from there continue your advance on Gotha. If you find Prussian forces still in Gotha, deploy for battle and, once you are ready, drive the enemy from that city. For my part, I will be marching eastwards from Eisenach to Gotha at sunrise.
 
Allow me emphasize that it is essential we keep the Prussians under pressure. If they withdraw from Gotha, have your cavalry maintain contact -- do not permit the enemy to disengage!
 
- Murat
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:15:18 PM
DISPATCH -- 0500, 13th October

SENT 2200, 12th October

Comrades!
Since it now appears that the enemy are evacuating Ohrdruf in some haste, please occupy the town as soon as may be practical in the morning, and from there continue your advance on Gotha. If you find Prussian forces still in Gotha, deploy for battle and, once you are ready, drive the enemy from that city. For my part, I will be marching eastwards from Eisenach to Gotha at sunrise.
 
Allow me emphasize that it is essential we keep the Prussians under pressure. If they withdraw from Gotha, have your cavalry maintain contact -- do not permit the enemy to disengage!
 
- Murat
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:15:45 PM
DISPATCH -- SAHUC to DAVOUT, 1100, 13th October

My Lord Marshal,

Beg leave to report that we have encountered a Prussian Division, oriented generally West, just East of the fork in the Gotha - Erfurt road.

With full confidence that we have further forces to our front -- to the North and West -- I am preparing to attack!

Vive L'Empereur!!

Louis Michel Antoine Sahuc
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:16:03 PM
To: Marshals Murat and Landes
Sent: 1100 13 October

General Sahuc reports contact, at 0800 this morning, with one of General Rachel's divisions on the Gotha-Erfurt road.  We might yet bring the Prussian to heel.

Included message -


My Lord Marshal,

Beg leave to report that we have encountered a Prussian Division, oriented generally West, just East of the fork in the Gotha - Erfurt road.

With full confidence that we have further forces to our front -- to the North and West -- I am preparing to attack!

Vive L'Empereur!!

Louis Michel Antoine Sahuc

Death and confusion to the enemy!

- Marshal Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:17:55 PM
[In this instance, Umpire Jim gave me an opportunity to make a decision about a battle, even though I was not directly present.]

Input Requested
Inbox

So, you did it.

Lasalle and Sahuc have caught a mixed Prussian division (actually, they're all mixed on that side)  of roughly equal numbers near that fork in the Gotha-Erfurt Road.

Here's the thing:

In the game, combats are resolved (typically) on a three-sector board -- left/center/right, think Columbia's Napoleon.  Because there are so few units in this one, it will be a two sector fight.  Combats, which I will adjudicate, last two hours.  I am preparing to ref the first round.  You have a decision:

Attack with both Sahuc and Lasalle in the main area (the one where the Prussian division is) or allow your smaller division to work it's way around to the flank.  The latter choice obviously, give a sizeable bonus to subsequent combats in the center, but only after the first round.

I came up with a million reasons (OK, fewer than that, but you take my point) for either side, but decided that, ultimately, I needed to let the commander make the call.

The dice await you.

Thanks,

Jim

------

My reply:  Outflank please.


Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:18:15 PM
DISPATCH -- From Control, 1200, 13th October

Marshal Davout,

Beg leave to report that you can hear the rumble of battle -- the "sound of the guns" -- to your North.
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:18:55 PM
Reply to the Umpire: 

Encourage the troops to step out....  the more Prussians we kill, the
more Prussian widows they will have to console; and the faster we kill
them, the sooner we can commence the consolation.

 (  I'm not sure I have an infantry-step-out speed available... and I
suspect that the timing is such that the Prussians will slip away
before the infantry catches up regardless - unless my cavalry division
east of Erfurt is causing great confusion and convinces Ruchel to make
a stand.  So it's down to that cavalry flanking maneuver...  if it
works out spectacularly, Ruchel gets a division smashed.  Otherwise he
slips away again. Overtaking a delay is a pain in the ass.)
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:19:17 PM
DISPATCH -- LANNES to DAVOUT, 1130, 13th October

SENT 0600, 13th October

To: Marshals Murat and Davout, and all V Corps Divisions, General D'Hautpol

Marshals!

This morning my orderly brought me something called "beer soup" to break my fast. Germany is truely a barbarous land, fit only for these swamp-dwelling Prussians.

My forces moved last night  toward the Ohrdruf-Gotha crossroads in pursuit of Prussians, and are strung out between there and the stream just north of ORANGE. I am going to consolidate V Corps and attachments in the vicinity of Gotha before moving further east toward the river line and crossroads.

I have received the reports from Marshal Davout and my cavalry that Gotha is empty of enemy troops, and General Ruchel is running away eastwards as fast as his carriage can carry him. With Marshal Davout in contact and holding Arnstadt and Gotha, I think it prudent to reassemble my corps. I will then move east from Gotha, collecting the trrops left by Marshal Davout, and make to join him along the road to Erfurt.

Orders for 13 October
V Corps and attachments will move from present positions along the Orhdruf-Gotha road to Gotha, there to meet up with the two divisions currently in possession of the town. Once the entirety of V Corp is assembled in the vicinity of Gotha, along with general D'Hautpol's division, we will proceed according to the following plan.

D"Hautpol, V Corps 2nd Division (Gazan) and III Corps 1st Division and LaSalle: Advance east along the Gotha-Erfurt road to the juncture with the road to Arnstadt, making contact with III Corp advancing from the south. If the Prussians are encountered here and attempt to hold this position, join with III Corps in attacking them. Otherwise, tactical control of III Corps 1st Division and LaSalle's division return to Marshal Davout. 2nd Division and D"Hautpol's division are then to move north of the road juncture and take up a position between the road and the ridgeline to the north, facing east.

V Corps 1st Division and Cavalry Division: After the concentration at Gotha, move northeast from Gotha to seize the high ground of the ridge line the the north of the Gotha-Erfurt-Arnstadt road junction and northwest of Erfurt. If 2nd Division and Marshal Davout appear to be engaged at the road junction. based on the sound of the guns, move southeast toward the Gotha-Erfurt road to cut the road to the rear of the Prussian position, trapping them against Davout. If there is no engagement, 2nd Division is to hold the ridge line and establish contact with 1st Division as it move north of the road junction. Foucher's cavalry division will advance to the road leading north from Erfurt, scouting to determine the location of Prussian forces.

I will move my HQ first to Gotha, and then with 2nd Division to the Gotha-Erfurt-Arnstadt road junction, and finally with 2nd Division north of the road junction.

Lannes
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:19:32 PM
Sent 1200 13 October
From: Marshal Davout
To: Marshals Lannes and Murat

Marshals!

Thank you for your note, Marshal Lannes.  My condolences on the "beer
soup".  I have been "treated" to hard nubbins of bread that taste as
if they were shat out of the ass of a thrice donkey-raped devil.

Hopefully Generals Sahuc and Lasalle will pin the Prussian division
they have brought to heel for long enough that we can whip it.

- Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:19:54 PM
DISPATCH -- LANNES to DAVOUT, 1400, 13th October

SENT 1200, 13th October

Gentlemen,

It sounds as if M. Davout has discovered the Prussians. Rather than waiting at Gotha, proceed with all haste to march to the sound of the guns, deploying as per the following:

D"Hautpol, V Corps 2nd Division (Gazan) and III Corps 1st Division and LaSalle: Advance east along the Gotha-Erfurt road to the juncture with the road to Arnstadt, making contact with III Corp advancing from the south. If the Prussians are encountered here and attempt to hold this position, join with III Corps in attacking them. Otherwise, tactical control of III Corps 1st Division and LaSalle's division return to Marshal Davout. 2nd Division and D"Hautpol's division are then to move north of the road juncture and take up a position between the road and the ridgeline to the north, facing east.

V Corps 1st Division and Cavalry Division: Move northeast from Gotha to seize the high ground of the ridge line the the north of the Gotha-Erfurt-Arnstadt road junction and northwest of Erfurt. If 2nd Division and Marshal Davout appear to be engaged at the road junction. based on the sound of the guns, move southeast toward the Gotha-Erfurt road to cut the road to the rear of the Prussian position, trapping them against Davout. If there is no engagement, 2nd Division is to hold the ridge line and establish contact with 1st Division as it move north of the road junction. Foucher's cavalry division will advance to the road leading north from Erfurt, scouting to determine the location of Prussian forces.

I will move my HQ first to Gotha, and then with 2nd Division to the Gotha-Erfurt-Arnstadt road junction, and finally with 2nd Division north of the road junction.

If you and your troops make contact with Marshal Davout and III Corps before I arrive, place your unit under Davout's tactical control until my arrival.
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:20:14 PM
DISPATCH -- SAHUC to DAVOUT, 1400, 13th October

SENT 1000, 13th October

My Lord Marshal,

We have found the men of Lasalle's division.

I believe the forces of Weimar's Prussian division lie between us and them guarding the East bank of the river along the Gotha-Erfurt Road.  I am preparing to attack.

Vive L'Empereur!!
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:21:02 PM
Sahuc to Davout

SENT 0800, 13th October
ARRIVED 1400, 13th October

My Lord Marshal,

Very pleased to report that we have seized the bridges Northwest of Arnstadt.  We have seen two divisions of Prussians marching East, just West of Erfurt, along the Gotha - Erfurt Road.  I am keeping them in sight.

S!
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:21:19 PM
DISPATCH, VIALLANES to DAVOUT -- 1700, 13th October

SENT 1500, 13th October

My Lord Marshal,

Beg leave to report that we have arrived at Arnstadt  None of the foe is in evidence.

I await your patience.

GdB JBT Viallanes
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:23:07 PM
[I asked where I was as of 1700 13 October.  Umpire Jim's reply is here....]

I have only rarely "cheated" by leaving the game map and checking other sources.  This is one of those times.  The route I have you following to Arnstadt the village is a valley that shoots at a pretty near 45 from where you would have had to leave the road.  The route to the bridges would have slowed you significantly as you crossed the intervening forested ridgeline.

Ergo, you find yourself <10 KM SW of Arnstadt with one hour left to go until nightfall.

Your orders had been to camp, but I was going to put the question to you whether you wanted to push through one hour of night to bring the tip of your proverbial spear to Arnstadt.
------------

My reply to the question of pressing on:  Do push on to Arnstadt, please.
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:26:06 PM
[The whole chain of attempted outflanking movements, trying to break Ruchel's escape, caused me a lot of pondering, and a lot of nerves on the value of cross-country marches vs the congestion of roads and the probable greater speed of the Prussians on their roads.  Also, I have to wonder how things might have turned out had Brunswick decided to get involved in the fight that eventually destroyed Ruchel.]


Dispatch: Davout to Lannes and Murat


SENT: 1700 13 October
ARRIVED:   eventually, I hope
TO: Marshals Lannes, Murat, and Bernadotte
From: Marshal Davout

Marshals!

I am approaching Arnstadt along with my 2nd and 3rd infantry divisions
- not my original intent, but the uncouth terrain of this German
wilderness rerouted me.  My cavalry division is already in Arnstadt
and we hope they have not consumed all of the available wine before we
arrive.

I have not heard from Generals Sahuc and Lasalle since a message from
General Lasalle at 1000 this morning, when he most commendably
intended to engage the Prussians between Erfurt and Gotha.  I presume
that the silence indicates that they, along with my 1st division, have
come under Marshal Lannes' distinguished guidance in accordance with
their instructions.

However, a decision now awaits me, to be made before we begin to march
tomorrow morning:

Should I....

a) Go north & west to reinforce the battle already underway (and quite
possibly concluded) west of Erfurt;

or

b) Go north and east to the east of the river and Erfurt, in order to
attempt to outflank and catch General Ruchel's forces?

Option a is certain to reunite my corps, but offers no hope of
catching General Ruchel unless he chooses to come back to aid his
hopefully-beleaguered or -destroyed division.

Option b would commit my force to another wildreness march, but with
some hope of catching Ruchel, especially if he has reacted to the
battle west of Erfurt by moving to reinforce it.  Option b would see
my current force at Arnstadt arriving to the road east of Erfurt
sometime later tomorrow afternoon - possibly just in time to cut
Ruchel off, or to assist in outflanking his position guarding the
river.

Option b also commits my force into the dark, uncertain of where the
rest of the Prussian Army is.

My instinct is to commit for option b, on the assumption that our
forces have overwhelmed Ruchel's lone division, and the rest of his
forces are either withdrawing or holding the river line at Erfurt.
While I would incur a measure of risk by plunging into the unknown,
with your forces bearing down from the west there is a good chance
that would wound find ourselves acting in mutual support; and if not,
then my corps can sell its lives to draw enemy forces from your battle
west of the river at Erfurt and thus move us towards eventual victory.

In the event that I become too heavily engaged to stand my ground east
of Erfurt, I will withdraw in the direction of Arnstadt.  If I have
gained access to the bridge at Erfurt, I will use it instead, but in
that circumstance I suspect we will have linked up directly.

If you prefer that I commit in a different direction or manner, please
let me know.

Marshal Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:26:25 PM
DISPATCH -- SAHUC to DAVOUT, 1830, 13th October

SENT 1600, 13th October

My Lord Marshal,

Weimar's men are in retreat pell-mell to the East.

We are in pursuit, but night draws on!

S!

GdD LMA Sahuc
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:26:36 PM
SENT 1900 13 October

TO: Marshals Lannes & Murat; copy to Marshal Bernadotte

I have just read a note from General Sahuc, sent at 1600, that
Weimar's division of Ruchel's corps has been broken and is fleeing
eastward!  Vive la France!  Vive l'empereur!

In the absence of orders to the contrary, I will take their direction
of retreat as evidence that the bulk of Ruchel's corps lies east of
Erfurt, and will maneuver up the east bank of the river with my
cavalry division and 2 infantry divisions tomorrow, expecting to
either meet your forces there, or to outflank Ruchel's forces
defending the river.

- Marshal Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:27:02 PM
Dispatch to Marshals Lannes & Murat

SENT 1930 13 October
TO: Marshalls Lannes & Murat; copy to Marshal Bernadotte
From: Marshal Davout

Marshals, after further consideration as I move through the gathering
dust to the potentially wineless (and worthless - but I repeat myself)
hamlet of Arnstadt, a few thoughts:

Weimar's division comprised the majority of Ruchel's quality combat
power.  His advance guard is half the size and Saxe demoralizes his
men though methods better left unstated lest we dishonor his animals.

Tomorrow morning, my forces could move up the east side of the Gera
River directly towards Erfurt.

My forces could also strike to the northeast with the objective of
threatening Weimar.  It would be a 1.5 to 2 day march overland to
Weimar; but this offers a better opportunity to decisively cut off
Ruchel's corps if he continues to retreat and does not make a stand at
Erfurt.  This does present the greater risk of running into the rest
of the Prussian forces piecemeal.

The deeper strike does not precisely conform to our Emperor's wishes
for us to hold and defend the line in the vicinity of Erfurt in order
to retain the ROY passes.

I believe we are also offered an opportunity to destroy Ruchel's
corps, which would bring our forces significant advantage in the
campaign as a whole, which we have been given the latitude to do, but
I do not believe it wise to embark on the march to Weimar without
first coordinating the move with your forces.

In the absence of orders to the contrary, tomorrow morning I will
maneuver up the east bank of the Gera, expecting to either meet your
forces there, or to outflank Ruchel's forces defending the river.

- Marshal Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:27:47 PM
DISPATCH -- BERNADOTTE to DAVOUT, 2000, 13th October

SENT 1000, 13th October

To Napoleon, Marshal Murat, Marshal Davout, Marshal Ney, Marshal Lefebvre /Bessieres: General Klein's cavalry division dispatched from Murat's cavalry corps has joined my 1st corps at Saalfeld.  There is still no sign of the Prussians here.  Marshals Soult and Bessieres have encountered small Prussian detachments at Hof and Schleiz but was unable to engage them before the Prussians retired north/north east in haste. Marshals Murat and Davout are in pursuit of Rachel's Corp near Erfurt and retiring towards Weimar.
The whole 1st corps will march north overland to the T junction on the road leaving from Weimar directly south.

Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:28:37 PM
SENT: 2030 13 October
TO: Marshals Lannes and Murat

Marshal Lannes,

I just received the following communique from Marshal Bernadotte.  You
were inexplicably left off the list of recipients, so I am forwarding
it to you.

========
(Marshal Bernadotte's message, as seen above)
========

The movements discussed suggest the Prussians are trying to hold the
complex terrain near Jena/Gera; rapid seizure of Weimar would help
unhinge that defense.  My inclinations are shifting towards a strike
towards Weimar.  I can make the decision just before dawn.

- Marshal Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:29:00 PM
Davout Orders for 14 October

SENT: 2200 13 OCT
TO: III Corps: 2nd Division (Friant), 3rd Division (Gudin), Cavalry
Division (Vialanne); and Marshals Lannes, Murat, & Bernadotte
FROM: Marshal Davout

Soldiers of France!

Today, our detached division help defeat a division of Ruchel's corps
to the north.  The enemy is broken and streaming eastwards in defeat
towards Erfurt.

I await news that will direct the depth of our strike tomorrow as we
attempt to destroy Ruchel's corps in its entirety.

We will either march north, up the east side of the Gera River,
intending to catch Ruchel's force in the flank as they defend the
crossings near Erfurt,

... or we will march northeast, driving to seize Weimar and block
Ruchel's retreat outright, intending to encompass his complete
destruction and to unhinge the Prussian defense of the Jena area.

In either event, the cavalry will lead, followed by the 2nd and then
the 3rd division.

My decision will be made at dawn tomorrow.

Either way, the day calls us to glory!  To arms, citizens!

- Marshal Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:29:31 PM
Orders for 14 October

From:  Marshal Davout
Sent:  0001, 14 October
To:  III Corps: 2nd Division, 3rd Division, Cavalry Division

Order of march:

Cavalry Division
2nd Division
3rd Division

Direction of March:

Move up the eastern bank of the Gera River to Erfurt.  Contact with
the enemy is expected; if there is not contact, we will push forward
to arrive at Erfurt.

I will be at the head of the Cavalry Division main body.

If so directed, we will instead march northeast to Weimar.  This
decision will be made no later than dawn of 14 October.  In the
absence of orders to Weimar, units should move to Erfurt as above.

In the event of contact, we will fix, flank, and destroy the enemy.
Cavalry will develop the initial contact; 2nd Division will fix once
in contact while the Cavalry and 3rd maneuver to flank and destroy.

- Marshal Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:31:21 PM
A side discussion with the umpire:

-------
side note

I'm aware that the terrain may cause trouble...  but I'm not convinced
that is a reason to have avoided leaving the roads!   Perhaps I will
turn out to be wrong.  So it goes.  :)

-------
Second note from me:

The map in the game in your Grogheads of today (on 1806) article shows
roads on exactly the march paths I'm planning to take.  One of these
peasants is lying to me!  :)
-------

Note from Jim:

So, you know what's awesome?  Historical research, that's what.

The only game in my collection (and I have many) that goes that far West is Jena: Rossbach Avenged by Zucker.  He suggests you're correct that there is a road there.  Problem is, his map inconveniently omits Ohrdruf which is a critical frame of reference point in this matter.  As a matter of scale it should be on the map, and his map contains many smaller communities.

Tiller suggests that there might be a road there, but, while he's got Arnstadt and the rugged hills I mentioned earlier,it's not clear where the pair of tracks running from Arnstadt go as they quickly head West and off the farthest extremity of the otherwise wonderful campaign map.

And then there's Atlas de l’Histoire du Consulat et de l’Empire by Thiers which the fellows behind the Napoleon 1806 cite as their source for their game map.  I finally downloaded it into Google docs.  Guess who also used it for their game map?  Didier Rouy, author of VdL.  Except he just lopped off about 1/6 of what appeared in the Atlas to the West and East and otherwise used exactly what was there.

No road for you.

----------
From me:

Sucks to be me.  :)

Glad to give you an excuse to delve into the books, though!  :)

---------




Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:31:48 PM
DISPATCH -- LANNES to DAVOUT, 2300, 13th October

Sent: 2000, 13th October
To: Marshals Davout, Murat, and Bernadotte
Location: South of Gotha on the Ohrdruf-Gotha Road

My lords,

All the damned dispatch riders' horses have caught the German disease. I can think of no other reason that nearly no dispatches have reached me for the past two days. Campaigning in German in the Autumn is an exercise in slogging through wet, muddy forests. Well, at least we are not invading Russia.

M Davout, I am in receipt of your dispatch on this afternoon at 5:00 of the clock. General Morand is with me, south of Gotha, along with my 1st and 2nd divisions. My cavalry is east of Gotha moving toward Erfurt. D'Hautpol's 2nd Cuirassiers from M. Murat's Cavalry Corps are just south of Gotha. We have heard cannon to our northeast, and have been marching toward the sound of the guns. I have received no dispatches from Generals LaSalle or Sahuc.

Since I am marching first into Gotha and then will be driving east along the road to Erfurt, there to either support the divisions engaged against Ruchel west of Erfurt or to attack Ruchel myself if our soldiers have suffered a reverse, I believe M. Davout's most effective course would be to swing to his north and east, toward Erfurt, to flank and destroy Ruchel. This movement offers the possibilities of catching his retreating troops if they have been routed by LaSalle and Sahuc, or forming an anvil to my hammer as I advance east. I am most concerned at this point that the Prussian has already given up the fight to the west of Erfurt and is falling back toward Weimar, and is too far gone for us to catch.

I am stopping my troops for the night. Despite marching last night my progress has been slower than I had hoped, and the troops are tired.

Lannes
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:32:48 PM
Sent: 2330, 13 October
To:  Marshals Lannes, Murat, and Bernadotte
Location: Arnstadt

Having just received Marshal Lannes' intent to march on Erfurt
tomorrow, I will coordinate and march northwards to Erfurt up the east
side of the Gera River.  Hopefully, General Rachel will not run too
fast for us!

- Marshal Davout

[Marshal Bernadotte mis-spelled Ruchel as Rachel in one of his messages, and I was unable to resist the sophomoric joke of continuing the error.]
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:33:21 PM
III Corps: decision on direction of march for 14 October

To: III Corps (Cavalry, 2nd, & 3rd divisions)
Time: 2330 13 October

We will march northwards to Erfurt up the eastern side of the Gera
River tomorrow, expecting contact with General Rachel's forces.

The cavalry will be in the lead, followed by by 2nd division.  3rd
division is authorized to take an alternate route farther east of the
river if one presents itself in order to make better use of the
execrable German roads.

I will be with the 2nd Division.  Together with Marshals Lannes and
Murat, we shall spank Rachel into next week.

- Marshal Davout

Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:33:51 PM
DISPATCH -- MURAT to DAVOUT, 0430, 14th October

To Marshall Davout (believed in the vicinity of Arnstadt, possibly moving north up the east bank of the Gera River)
From Marshal Murat (approx 10km north of Erfurt)
 
My dearest comrade -
As I'm sure you've already been advised, the cavalry of Generals LaSalle and Sahuc have shattered the Prussian division of General Weimar. The remnants of Weimar's force retreated eastwards, through Erfurt, in the direction of Weimar. A second (as yet unidentified) division of Prussian troops is currently deployed in defensive positions in front of Erfurt.
 
I am currently located approximately 10 km north-west of Erfurt, on the road leading to Weisensee, with the bulk of my corps strung out in line of march back towards Gotha. I have my scouts searching for a ford over the Gera river, which I intend to cross at first light, with an eye to then advancing south and cutting off the Prussian line of retreat from Erfurt to Weimar. Towards this end I have re-assumed operational control of General Sahuc's dragoons; I intend to leave General LaSalle's hussars attached to your corps for the foreseeable future.
 
Marshall Lannes is advancing eastwards from Gotha. I am directing him to attack the city as soon as he can get his men deployed for action. The intent is for him to act as the hammer to your and my anvil, encircling and destroying any Prussian forces in Erfurt before they can withdraw to Weimar.
 
Once we have taken Erfurt, we should re-assess our situation and decide on an appropriate course of action. Unless things go remarkably well in the early part of the day, I am reluctant to have us continue advancing on Weimar -- our troops have been constantly on the march for three days now and I am concerned that fatigue and straggling may be reaching significant levels.
 
Your comrade in arms,
Murat
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:34:54 PM
DISPATCH -- DAVOUT to MURAT, LANNES, & BERNADOTTE, 0500, 14th October

To Marshals Murat and Lannes, believed to be kicking Prussian ass
somewhere west of Erfurt and east of Gotha; and to Marshal Bernadotte,
somewhere near Saalfeld
Time:  0500 14 October

Marshal Murat, I have in hand your communique regarding your
intentions for the day.  I shall be moving up the east bank of the
Gera as you expect, barring unforeseen difficulties with the terrain.
If the Emperor were here, I am sure he would explain to God that the
terrain needed reassembly in our favor, no later than yesterday, and
thus the problem would be solved by a suitably chastened divinity.  I
have not such influence.

A day of rest may be well advised.  We can judge that best at the end
of the day, once we see the situation.

Regarding advancing on Weimar:  my uncertainty on that score regards
the intentions of the rest of the Army, which are not clear to me.
Our Emperor has charged Marshals Lannes and me with holding the line
at Erfurt, and also with advancing aggressively from it, while sending
you hooking northwards into the Prussians' lines of communication.
Your job is clear, but how we should proceed, and how our actions line
up with the intent of forces from Green through Violet is not clear.

Marshal Bernadotte appears to be crossing the river north from
Saalfeld, which might signal an intent to move in the direction of
Weimar; and from Weimar we could threaten to roll up the flank of any
centrally positioned Prussian Army.  Rachel's haste in moving
eastwards suggests a certain lack of support, but there will have been
time for messengers to go wailing to the Prussian king.

Perhaps it is my overly uncautious nature, but I advise that we move -
with or without a day of rest - on Weimar.  If our comrades in the
center and east are hard pressed, we can threaten the Prussian flank
and give them aid.  If they are victorious, we can assist in the
trapping and destruction of the rest of the Prussian Army.  If Rachel
escapes towards Weimar today we can re-engage his battered forces and
seek to continue his annihilation.

Hopefully we shall meet later today on the field of victory and can
discuss this in person.

Death and confusion to the enemy!

- Marshal Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:35:24 PM
DISPATCH -- From Control, 1000, 14th October

The sound of battle can clearly be heard from the direction of Erfurt.

S!
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:35:38 PM
[To the Umpire]

March onward!  Time to get them Prusskies from both directions for
forcing us to invade their pathetic country. No wine, and their women
are little better than sheep.  Er....  Not that I'd actually know
about sheep to make the comparison.
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:36:10 PM
DISPATCH -- MURAT to DAVOUT, 1030, 14th October

SENT 0700, 14th October

"General Davout and Lannes. I am at present some 10km north of Erfurt, astride the Erfurt-Weissensee road. My scouts report a division of Prussian infantry are currently marching north out of Erfurt! I am preparing to engage them. I must urge you both to rush with your corps to Erfurt and support me. Hopefully we can encircle and destroy these Prussians before they get away! Speed is of the essence -- you must proceed with all possible haste.
- Murat "
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:36:30 PM
[To the Umpire]

Step it up, boys, or Murat will kill all the Prussian men and rape all their women before we can!


Maybe I ought not publish that one in my memoirs....  ;)   [Oops...]
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:37:24 PM
DISPATCH -- CONTROL to DAVOUT, 1200, 14th October

Marshal Davout,

The forward elements of Friant's division report that they have arrived within sight of Erfurt.  The sound of battle to the North persist.

They also offer a report of an unidentified Prussian division marching away from Erfurt to the East toward Weimar.

S!
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:37:52 PM
[To the Umpire]

Excellent.

I'd been under the impression that our order of march was:  Cav
(Vialannes), 2nd (Friant), 3rd (Gudin).  I expected to be with the
cav.

If I currently know that is not currently correct please advise -
change nothing in how you have forces arrayed, I'm merely making sure
that my vision of what I know is or is not correct.

If the above is correct...

2nd Division (Friant) presses to Erfurt, crosses the river, and
attacks the Prussian rear.

Cavalry (Vialannes) is to pursue towards Weimar; harass the enemy.
Please identify the formation if possible.

3rd will move north to the road and prepare to reinforce in either direction.

I will move to be with 3rd division.


Move move move!  :)
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:38:18 PM
[From the Umpire]

Yours is correct.


Your presence with the forward cavalry is why you received this notice immediately...
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:38:31 PM
[To the Umpire]

Excellent.  Die, Prusskie beer-swillers, die!

I will wait where I am as the cav goes to pursue, so I can direct 2nd
over the bridge, and be in position to direct 3rd as events warrant.
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:38:52 PM
DISPATCH -- LANNES to DAVOUT, 1400, 14th October

SENT 1100, 14th October

To: V Corps, LaSalle, d'Hautpol, Morand
Copies to Davout, Murat, and Bernadotte

Generals!

M. Murat has engaged the enemy north of Erfurt. Generals LaSalle and Foucher are probing toward Erfurt now to locate the enemy, and we can all hear the guns.

We must march to the sound of the guns! Make all haste to Erfurt. Murat's Corp will fix the enemy for our hammer blow from the west. Advance to Erfurt and engage the foe with all dispatch!

Lannes
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:39:13 PM
Sent: 1400, 14 October
From: Marshal Davout, marching hard up the east side of the river
south of Erfurt
To: 2nd and 3rd Divisions
Copies to Lannes, Murat, and Bernadotte

Hear those cannons?

March, boys, march!

Remember, the best things in life are wine, women, and bayoneting
Prussian soldiers...  and not necessarily in that order.
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:39:33 PM
DISPATCH -- VIALLANNES to DAVOUT -- 1500, 14th October

SENT 1300, 14th October

My Lord Marshal,

We have identified the men marching towards Weimar as the men of Arnim's division.

We are presently outnumbered by them.

Shall we engaged their rearguard?

S!

JBT Viallanes
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:40:02 PM
To Vialannes, 1500 14 OCT

Thank you for your report!

   Please maintain reconnaissance contact with Arnim.

   Avoid decisive engagement.
  Spread out to look for other Prussian forces.
  Please inform me of developments.

   Please do not advance beyond Weimar.

- Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:40:24 PM
DISPATCH -- VIALANNES to DAVOUT, 1930, 14th October

SENT 1800, 14th October

My Lord Marshal,

We have been engaged by troops of Scharnhorst's cavalry Southwest of Weimar who fell on us without warning.  Their numbers -- entirely cavalry -- were at least two times our own.

We were surprised and have suffered a bloody repulse.  Withdrawing to a safe distance to await further orders.

S!

Viallanes
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:40:54 PM
Send 1930, 14 October

General Vialannes

Thank you for your report and your scouting.  Scharnhorst was sunk by
the Royal Navy, so he sucks in the end.

In the nearer term, however, I expect to move westwards towards Erfurt
tomorrow.  Maintain the screen and avoid decisive engagement.

Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:41:24 PM
DISPATCH -- DAVOUT to Lannes, Murat, Bernadotte, 1930, 14th October

FROM: Davout
TIME: 1930 14 October
TO: Marshals Murat, Ney, and Bernadotte

Where I am: Somewhere under a disgusting "rainbow" in the hinterlands of Germany

My fellow marshals!

I have heard the cannon fire of your presumed victory over Ruchel, but
the difficult terrain has prevented me from joining you so far. The
Germans should learn to improve their roads so we can invade them more
easily.

Vialannes' cavalry reconnoitered eastwards towards Weimar, following
Arnim's division eastwards but then being driven off by Scharnhorst's
cavalry, somewhere southeast of Weimar.   This suggests that Brunswick
is in the Weimar area.

I am attempting to assemble my forces on the road east of Erfurt.

Unless you hear otherwise, we will, as planned, punch westwards
towards Erfurt in order to link up with you tomorrow.

- Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:41:45 PM
DISPATCH -- FROM CONTROL -- 2000, 14th October

My Lord Marshal,

You and the division with which you ride have arrived at Erfurt.

The smoke and sound of battle to the North and West appear to have abated.

S!
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:42:06 PM
DISPATCH -- FROM DAVOUT -- 2000, 14th October

From: Marshal Davout
To: Marshals Lannes, Murat, and Bernadotte
Time: 2000, 14 Oct

My column is arriving at Erfurt.  As planned, I will head westwards to
meet you tomorrow.

It is entirely possible that our meeting will outpace this dispatch!

As noted in the previous message, evidence suggests that Brunswick's
corps is in the vicinity of Weimar.

- Marshal Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:42:41 PM
DISPATCH -- MURAT to DAVOUT -- 2300, 14th October

SENT 2000, 14th October

To Marshalls Davout and Lannes
(Davout believed to be south/southeast of Erfurt)
(Lannes believed to be on the road between Gotha and Erfurt)
From Marshal Murat (approx 10km north of Erfurt)
 
My dear comrades -

Today has been a very good day for French arms! If you have not already heard, I have the pleasure to report that this evening I accepted the surrender of some 5000 Prussian soldiers, the survivors of Weimar's division of Ruchel's corps, and have also seen the shattered remnants of his Advance Guard division fleeing to the northeast in full rout. Sadly, General Weimar himself has managed to evade capture, and Saxe's division remains on the field near Erfurt in relatively intact condition.

I hope this does not offend, but I have issued orders to General Friant of Davout's corps' 2nd division to break off his pursuit of the Prussians. The formation he is pursuing (the Advance Guard) is the smallest of Ruchel's divisions and has already been severely mauled. Even if this unit manages to escape, it will be days before it is in any condition to pose a threat to our operations -- meanwhile, we have no idea where either Brunswick or Hohenlohe are, and theirs are the largest and most dangerous of the forces arrayed against us. I believed it was essential that Friant be recalled to support Marshall Davout's further advance on the city of Weimar as this is the most likely direction in which the main Prussian armies lie (rather than to the northeast, which is the direction in which Ruchel is headed).

My proposal for tomorrow is that Marshall Davout advance as expeditiously as possible on Weimar. I believe this to be critical to maintain pressure on the Prussians so that they will be unable to concentrate against the Emperor as he and the rest of our army advance north from the Hof gap. Meanwhile I believe that Marshall Lannes should concentrate on crushing Saxe's division before it can escape from the Erfurt area. I will attempt to support Lannes as practical, but my cavalry have been heavily engaged for the past two days and fatigue and disorganization is becoming a significant factor.

In accordance with the Emperor's wishes, once we have occupied Erfurt I will be relinquishing command of the western wing of our army to Marshall Davout. Once that occurs and unless otherwise directed by Marshall Davout, my intent is to then continue with his majesty's previous orders and proceed with my cavalry to circle north and east to Halle (via Weissensee and Eisleben).

My request to both of you would be that you provide me with updates on your current locations, your recent activities (so that I may accurately inform the Emperor of what has transpired today), and your intentions for tomorrow. I eagerly await your responses.

- Marshall Murat
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:43:07 PM
Sent 2300, 4 October
To: Marshals Lannes, Murat, and Bernadotte
From Marshal Davout, Erfurt

Comrades -- We rejoice in the news of your victory over Rachel!

We have had contact with Brunswick's forces - specifically Arnim's
infantry and Scharnhorst's cavalry - in the vicinity of Weimar.  I
suspect all of our forces are tiring, and Brunswick outnumbers us on
most counts.

I suggest a threefold change in plan:

1) Tomorrow, we converge and annihilate Saxe's division.  Our combined
forces should ensure a positive outcome and thus complete the rout of
Rachel's corps, freeing us to conduct operations towards Weimar.

2) On the day after tomorrow, rest and reorganize the troops; and make
use of the stocks of food and ammunition in the Erfurt depot.

3a) On the third day, we all march on Brunswick.  Our combined force
is roughly equal to his; without Murat's corps we will be heavily
outnumbered in cavalry.  During the second day we can come up with a
plan of maneuver for the march east.

or

3b) Use either Lannes' corps or mine to defend the river line east of
Erfurt, while the other corps travels with Murat to make a stronger
left hook.

If we adopt the first two parts of this suggestion, then we could meet
during the troops' rest day in order to discuss the next step in
detail.

- Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:44:18 PM
DISPATCH -- FRIANT to DAVOUT, 2200, 14th October

SENT 2100, 14th October

My Lord Marshal,

Despite our best efforts, our want of cavalry has prevented our further pursuit of the enemy.  We now rest less than five kilometers from Erfurt and will encamp for the evenign awaiting your orders.

S!

Friant

[This "unable to pursue" helped leave me in doubt about the scale of the defeat of Ruchel's corps.  That isn't a complaint; confusion and uncertainty is a significant part of the fun in a Kriegsspiel!]
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 16, 2018, 08:44:32 PM
Sent 2300, 14 October
To: General Friant, Marshals Lannes and Murat
From Marshal Davout

Could you inform me of where Saxe's division might be in relation to
Erfurt? I am in the town but my pickets have not reported any contact.

- Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: JasonPratt on May 17, 2018, 06:41:11 AM
I'm pleased to see (here and elsewhere) that my primary reason for sending Murat looping around through Eisenbach was achieved: minimizing the bottleneck of troops going through the passes! (And the other purposes, too, which were to secure against a possible Prussian trick of priming a division to go back down that side after we passed north through closer passes and camp on one of our two or three key logistic nodes; and to loop the cavalry corps behind anyone guarding the closer passes.)

I'm sorry, though, that I didn't explain my rationale for Ehrfurt (once obtained and secured) clearly enough. I didn't quite mean for aggressive advance from there toward Weimar. I meant to use Ehr first as a base for resting from the first large move and to protect Murat's deep encirclement strategy; and second as a base for sending probes forward to check for any weak Prussian defenses (or advances), then to attack forward if any were detected along the line toward Weimar (with yourself, Davout, most likely, providing strong flanking support from the south of that line.)

Eventually, that's what happened in effect anyway, so I'm not disappointed.  O0 (Well, Murat didn't get to do quite as deep a flank-around, but that part worked out well enough in the end, too.) West Wing always had freedom to act on your own recognizance within the general shape of the plan once you got there. I couldn't quite set up a way to entirely avoid a traffic jam between you and Lannes coming out of the passes, but y'all would just have to work that out tactically on the spot (which you did).

All congratulations again to West Wing for a command performance!  :notworthy:
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 17, 2018, 05:01:54 PM
I'm sorry, though, that I didn't explain my rationale for Ehrfurt (once obtained and secured) clearly enough. I didn't quite mean for aggressive advance from there toward Weimar. I meant to use Ehr first as a base for resting from the first large move and to protect Murat's deep encirclement strategy; and second as a base for sending probes forward to check for any weak Prussian defenses (or advances), then to attack forward if any were detected along the line toward Weimar (with yourself, Davout, most likely, providing strong flanking support from the south of that line.)

Actually, I think we kind of did...  but the situation on the spot seemed to call for greater aggression!  As I saw it, we were the force providing the flank security, and by destroying or pinning Prussians we could give the main body the freedom to maneuver and destroy the rest....

Thinking further - the other mission was sending Murat on his run north, which we also did.  :)
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: JasonPratt on May 18, 2018, 08:02:50 AM
Eventually, that's what happened in effect anyway, so I'm not disappointed.  O0 (Well, Murat didn't get to do quite as deep a flank-around, but that part worked out well enough in the end, too.)

All congratulations again to West Wing for a command performance!  :notworthy:

Actually, I think we kind of did...  but the situation on the spot seemed to call for greater aggression!  As I saw it, we were the force providing the flank security, and by destroying or pinning Prussians we could give the main body the freedom to maneuver and destroy the rest....

Thinking further - the other mission was sending Murat on his run north, which we also did.  :)


.... .......... um... ..... agreement? Rapproachment?  :bd:
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 05:27:49 PM
Orders for Davout's Corps for 15 October

From: Davout
To: 2nd & 3rd divisions, cavalry
CC: Marshals Murat, Lannes, Bernadotte

It is time to fall upon the rear of the Prussian forces our comrades
have been fighting.

Tomorrow, the 2nd and 3rd divisions will march westwards from Erfurt,
to seek, engage, and destroy the enemy.

The cavalry will move westwards; after Erfurt, the cavalry will move
onto the northwest road seeking the enemy.

I will be with 2nd division.

- Davout

This was altered, after some discussion and further information, to:

From: Davout, 0500 15 October

To: 1st, 2nd ,& 3rd divisions, cavalry
CC: Marshals Murat, Lannes, Bernadotte

We have not heard further from our Prussian comrades, regarding
coordination for today, and they believe that Rachel's corps is
largely on the run.

1st Division is welcomed back to the corps, and reports that Saxe's
division is to the north and retreating.

Today, the corps will rest and consolidate at Erfurt.  I expect to
march eastwards tomorrow, towards Weimar, intending to engage and
destroy Brunswick's corps.

Quartermasters are encouraged to make use of the supplies in the
military depot at Erfurt to restock the troops.

- Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 05:28:17 PM
DISPATCH -- MORAND to DAVOUT -- 0800, 15th October

SENT 0630, 15th October

My Lord Marshal,

Your message is understood!

We are immediately detaching ourselves from the service of Marshal Lannes.

We will join you at Erfurt as soon as is possible, although the road is busy with our French troops at the moment.

S!

Morand

[This brought my detached divisions back under my command.]
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 05:30:42 PM
[The final battle at Erfurt was pretty confused.  We got word of a fight, got ready to move, then it never materialized as far as I could tell!]

DISPATCH FROM CONTROL -- 0800, 15th October

Jim Owczarski <jenacampaign@gmail.com>
Mon, Jun 5, 2017, 11:31 PM
to me

The "sound of the guns" can be heard unmistakably from the direction of Erfurt.

S!


Davout to Umpire

Um..  aren't I in that town?

In any event...  We will of course move to the fighting.


[Umpire to Davout]

Hey, cut and paste loses some subtlety of expression.  You are indeed in Erfurt...South side, which is traditionally the baddest part of town, but there nonetheless.

Battle is North of town...over at 8 a.m.

[Davout to Umpire, not aware it was already 8am]

Northwards!  Move out!

2nd in the lead, I will be with 2nd.  3rd, then 1st once they are
able.  If 1st can find an alternate path we will meet at the fight.

Cavalry is to screen in the direction of Weimar to prevent unfortunate
surprises.

I'm sure the bad part of town will heave a sigh of relief when we
leave, since they have now experienced badness beyond their prior
dreams.  Of course, some of them are sighing with wistful longing
after having other experiences beyond their prior dreams....
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 05:31:15 PM
From: Marshal Davout
To: Marshals Lannes, Murat, and Bernadotte
Time Sent: 0800 October 15

I hear cannon fire to the north of Erfurt and am setting my corps in
motion to assist.  My cavalry will screen the Weimar flank.

- Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 05:31:51 PM
To: General Vialannes
From: Marshal Davout
Time: 0900 15 October

General!

My thanks for your reports yesterday on Arnim and your unfortunate
engagement with Scharnhorst.

Could you enlighten me further on the location of these events?

Where is your force now?

If nothing else, I am interested to know which side of the river (the
one between Erfurt and Weimar) these events occured and where you are
at this time.

- Marshal Davout


===========

Message FROM Viallannes.

Received 1000, 15th October
Sent 0930, 15th October

My Lord Marshal,

My forces rapidly approach Erfurt from the East along the main Erfurt-Weimar Road.

The men of our last engagement were certain;y of Scharnhorst's division.  Our engagement with them was only a few kilometers to the South and West of Weimar.  At last we saw them, they seem to have retired to within their piquets outside Weimar.

Your Servant,

Viallannes
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 05:34:31 PM
Command Conference at Erfurt

DISPATCH FROM MURAT -- Shortly after 0900, 15th October

Umpire: I felt I was being overly restrictive by not getting this to you both sooner.  At some point, i suspect, a courier would mention that he is JUST North of Erfurt.


Gentlemen, I have excellent news!
 
The Prussian division of General Saxe has been shattered just outside the northern gate of Erfurt. Even now it is in flight to the northeast. I have sent a courier to the Emperor notifying him of this development.
 
General Grouchy's division of dragoons has been ordered to follow and harry Saxe's retreat. However, I have directed him to only proceed a maximum of 15km from my current location before breaking off his pursuit and returning to me here.
 
With this development the whole of Ruchel's corps is now either captured or routed. I do not expect the remnants of his command to be able to pose any further impediment to our movements for many days.
 
The way should now be clear for the two of you to advance in concert against the city of Weimar. I urge you and your men to do with all possible haste so that we can keep the enemy off balance! When you arrive at Weimar I am optimistic that you may encounter Marshal Bernadotte's corps, who I am hopeful is advancing upon that location from the southeast per my earlier suggestion to him for that maneuver. If, as I suspect, the city of Weimar is defended by Brunswick's corps, then the three of you together should have more than sufficient force to eject him from that place.
 
As previously discussed, it is my current intention to remain with my corps here, just north of Erfurt, for the remainder of the day. My men have been heavily engaged with the enemy for the past two days and are in serious need of rest and an opportunity to reorganize. Unless I receive word from you to the contrary, my plan for tomorrow is to begin the northward sweep directed by the Emperor, through Weisensee and Eisleben, to Halle. I will endeavor to keep you apprised of my movements.
 
Best of luck with your future actions.
 
Your comrade in arms,
- Murat


From Marshal Lannes

My esteemed colleague with the excellent wine:

In light of the demise of Saxe's division, I suggest we implement Marshal Murat's suggestion and turn our attention toward Wiemar. Pushing two corps along the single road between Erfurt and Wiemar will take time; it might be best to divide into independent columns north and south of the road? Perhaps at least with our cavalry, in any case?

How far to the west of Wiemar did your cavalry make contact with Brunswick's rabble? Are they still in contact?

Lannes


Marshal Davout

To: Marshal Murat, and Marshal Bernadotte
From: Marshal Davout & Lannes
Time: 0900, 15 October

Marshal Murat - our congratulations on your defeat of Saxe's division!

Marshal Lannes and I are in a comfortable inn in the south of Erfurt
and invite you to join us to discuss the situation.  [If we are all at
the same place, our esteemed umpire is willing to give permission to
converse without waiting for couriers.]

My corps is taking the day to rest and recover.  I believe that
Marshal Lannes is doing the same, and I suggest it for your forces
other than the dragoons chasing down the remnants of Saxe's force.

I believe you are correct that we should move against Brunswick in
Weimar; however, I would like your corps to accompany us on this
attack.  Once we are all assembled - we will reserve some of this
surprisingly good wine for you - we can discuss this in more detail.

As food for thought on your ride down, I offer this analysis:

The broad intent of our mission is to enable to rest of the Army to
transit the Hof Gap, gain local superiority against the Prussians, and
defeat them.

I believe we are all agreed that the logical next step in this
operation is to engage and destroy Brunswick's forces, believed to be
operating in the vicinity of Weimar.

We began with some 44000 men and 4000 cavalry; my cavalry has been
savaged and has probably lost 1000 men.  With Murat's cavalry we have
24000 (23000 with my losses.)

Brunswick musters some 54000 men and 22000 cavalry.

Without Murat we will be decisively outnumbered in cavalry; we will
have no eyes and if Brunswick is competent we will find ourselves
outflanked by his cavalry and infantry.

His infantry outnumbers ours, but our infantry is superior to his; if
we can use cavalry to scout the enemy and screen our own movements, we
should be able to bring a concentrated hammer on part of his force and
roll him up.

It is true that the Emperor commanded Murat to ride north.  However,
it is my belief that, were the emperor here, knowing what we currently
know, he would change his order to have us deliver a concentrated blow
against Brunswick, as this will better meet his overall intent.

- Marshal Davout


Marshal Davout

To: Marshal Murat, Marshal Bernadotte
From: Marshal Davout, with Marshal Lannes available to pronounce
judgement upon my meandering prose
Time: 0900 15 October
Location: Still in that in in Erfurt

Marshal Murat: We were considering the form of making the attack on Weimar.

My thought at the moment is to form a single column until we pass the
first river, then spread out into a north and south as you suggest.  I
suspect it would take us a day to complete that maneuver and be ready
to move in force towards Weimar on the second day.

Moving in tactical march columns instead of road march columns will
slow us down.

If Brunswick is defending in the vicinity of Weimar, then I suspect he
may use the ridge to the northwest.


My suggestion: We will attack to secure Weimar and the river crossing
and destroy any forces of Brunswick's on the west side of the river.
Murat will be in front of us, scouting, during the approach.  You take
the north and I will take the south approach.  Your initial objective
will be the ridgeline to the northwest of Weimar.  Mine will be the
city of Weimar and the crossings.  Murat will lead the approach,
screening; will seek to defeat enemy cavalry and protect our
movements; and will ensure contact between our corps is secure.  He
will be the center of the line.


Given its greater numbers, my corps will bring the heavier punch to
the fight.  If I am south of the road, we are punching harder to
Weimar.  If I were to the north then I would try to roll up that
ridgeline from NW to SE.

Taking Weimar will split Brunswick's units west of the river from
support to the east; thus I believe it is the more critical of the two
tasks.

Assigning Weimar to my corps allocates one more division to the task;
and with three divisions, I can move one division to protect my
northwestern flank if need be, reducing the risks inherent in sending
your force to roll up the enemy's northwestern flank.  Once I have
secured the crossings, I can hold them with one division and send two
to your aid if required.


Marshal Lannes

I concur, my lord; this is an excellent plan. Let us recuperate today and have Murat join us here, and then descend on Wiemar and it's environs like a thunderclap. In the meantime, I believe I will try some more of the most surprisingly good vintage the landlord has stocked in his cellar.

It would be good, of course, if we had more complete intelligence on the position of the rest of the army. Or at least know if Bernadotte is indeed advancing toward Wiemar.


Marshal Davout

I've included some prior traffic below as a means of getting Marshal
Murat up to speed on our prior discussions.  (Please enjoy the wine!)

General Vialannes (my cavalry commander) met with Scharnhorst near
Weimar, just the the SW of the town.

[Prior correspondence skipped in this account]
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 05:35:12 PM
[Command conference in Erfurt Continues!]

Marshal Davout:
More discussion on 15th October
PDF
x

James Sterrett <james.sterrett@gmail.com>
Tue, Jun 13, 2017, 12:00 AM
to Lancer, Doug, Jim

So, with orders in hand, it's time to think through contingencies.

Where might the full enemy array be?

They are believed to have begun deployed in a series of corps-scale
areas, roughly east to west along the Gotha-Gera line.  This is an
assumption, not a fact.

We can presume for now that the enemy did not know what passes we
might use, or where we might concentrate our forces, and thus it would
be necessary to provide some form of cover for all of them.

Therefore, I believe it is unlikely that their forces have
significantly shifted from that initial position.

If this is all true, we have largely destroyed the left of the enemy's line.

In addition, it means we are likely moving into the left of Brunswick's line.

However, suppose the enemy is withdrawing, trying to concentrate his
forces neat Halle or Leipzig.  This might explain Ruchel's attempts to
move eastwards, and likewise Brunswick's.

If this is the case, we should not expect stiff resistance, and should
be looking for signs of the direction of any attempted withdrawal t
confirm or deny it.

A worst-case scenario:  They have concentrated north of Weimar, and
will attack into our flank as we advance in, outnumbering us and
rolling us up.  Indicators of this:  The enemy attacks out of the area
north of Weimar.   I believe this enemy COA is highly unlikely, as
concentrating there would presumably leave his flank open to the rest
of out forces in the Hof Gap.


Brunswick is presumably deciding what to do in light of our contact
with him yesterday.  On the one hand, his cavalry defeated mine.  On
the other hand, he presumably has some inkling that Ruchel's corps has
been shattered.  Today, my cavalry withdrew from contact with him.
Will he figure that we are plunging north and northeast, to sever his
lines of communication?  Or will he figure that our next action is to
crash into his position at Weimar?  Perhaps he sees this as an
opportunity to bring his numbers to bear, emboldened by his recent
success?

In either case, I believe he will seek to hold Weimar.  In either
case, I believe holding Weimar secures our ability to operate west of
the Ilm.

If he feels threatened and unsure, he will likely withdraw on Jena or
Nambourg, and we can pursue from Weimar.  If he attacks, holding
Weimar gives us a defensive strongpoint at the river.


What if...   lady luck goes against us in the battle?  We will fall
back on Erfurt, screened by Murat's cavalry.  Murat can operate as a
mailed fist, significantly outnumbering any of the smaller divisional
cavalry forces the Prussians field, and potentially smashing them in
detail in order to deter an advance (or, for that matter, to ensure
ours.)


What are your thoughts?
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 05:39:44 PM
[Even more of the Erfurt conference.]

Davout:

Do you know anything of the engagement to the north?

I have set my corps in motion to join that battle, whatever it may be.

I've had direct contact with Brunswick's corps - both Scharnhorst's
cavalry, and Arnim's infantry - on the road to Weimar.

Arnim was moving eastward, and Scharnhorst beat up my cavalry when it
went scouting eastwards.

I suspect Brunswick is concentrating at Weimar.

Bernadotte was considering moving north from Saalfeld but I do not
know to what end.

I've no clue where the rest of our army might be.


Lannes:

All that I know is that I can hear the guns. I was waiting to join up with you before moving north. My guess is that this is either Murat engaging some unknown enemy, or my cavalry & your detached division engaging Saxe.

Unless you think differently, I will order V Corps to march to the sound of the guns. As noted above, most of my cavalry is already in that direction, so it may be advisable to continue to have your cavalry maintain cautious contact with Brunswick's forces. I would hate to have Erfurt seized behind us by a sudden attack.

I haven't the faintest where the rest of our army is. I gathered from Murat's last dispatch that the bulk of it may still be loitering around the Hof Gap. That concerns me, in that I'm wary of engaging what may be the whole remaining Prussian army with our two corps and the rest of the army far out of supporting distance.


Davout:

I share your disquiet regarding plunging into Brunswick.

We began with some 44000 men and 4000 cavalry; my cavalry has been
savaged and has probably lost 1000 men.  With Murat's cavalry we have
24000 (23000 with my losses.)

Brunswick musters, in theory, some 54000 men and 22000 cavalry.

I can see heading into Brunswick with all 3 of our corps, but without
Murat we will have no eyes and if Brunswick is competent we will find
ourselves outflanked by his cavalry and infantry.

Our morale, once recovered, is superior to Brunswick's, but we have
been fighting.  I ill include this in a message to Murat and invite
him to our conference.


Davout:

To: Marshal Murat & Marshal Bernadotte
From: Marshall Davout  (composed as Marshal Lannes reads over my
shoulder and perhaps offers his own commentary to boot but hopefuly
does not slop any wine on the note)
Time:  0900 15 October
Location: South Erfurt

Marshal Lannes asked about my contacts with Brunswick yesterday.

Reviewing my messages:

I'm not entirely certain where my cavalry was.

They spotted Von Arnim's division marching towards Weimar and reported
it at 1300 (time sent).

At 1930 they reported "We have been engaged by troops of Scharnhorst's
cavalry Southwest of Weimar who fell on us without warning.  Their
numbers -- entirely cavalry -- were at least two times our own."

Scharnhorst has, in theory, around 4000 cavalry, which would be about
twice the size of Vialannes' division.

This reads, to me, as Brunswick concentrating around, or east, of
Weimar.  It also suggests he may have been leaving Ruchel hanging out
to die.

I have no clue where Hohenlohe's corps might be; I presume it is
somewhere vaguely to the east of Brunswick, though if northeast, east,
or southeast, I have no idea.


- Marshal Davout


Umpire:

Gentlemen --  It would be, at this point, too cute by half to cut you off from the association of the fine Marshal Murat.  Muddied, bloodied, and one expects, tired, his men have seen off Saxe's division only a few moments ago.

He is, however, now sufficiently proximate to the two of you for you to converse directly.

I will otherwise transmit the below missive to Bernadotte.

S!

Control



Davout:

So, the TL;DR version is:

Our three corps, combined, should move towards Weimar tomorrow and
attack Brunswick there on the following day.

If you object to this, please speak up.

(The obvious objection is that it changes Murat's initial orders.  I
believe those orders are no longer valid due to changing
circumstances, and that we should act now rather than waiting a week
for a courier to get the Emperor's approval for the change in plan.)


Lannes:

Completely agreed. There is a window of opportunity and we should exploit it. I don't think it makes sense to simply follow the existing orders.


Murat:

Gentlemen -
I concur that the Emperor's earlier vision for the employment of my cavalry after Erfurt is taken seems to have been overtaken by events. Advancing on Weimar together as a group will be a much more effective strategy.
 
However, given that our current command relationships are a tad amibuous (what with Marshall Davout now being technically in command of this wing) I would feel more comfortable if he would couch his "request" in the form of an order for me to abandon the previously directed northward sweep towards Halle and instead screen the advance of our three corps on Weimar.
 
I also wish to point out that both of Ruchel's divisions which recently fled the field did so in a north-easterly direction, rather than in the direction of Weimar. This strikes me as a bit odd, since if Brunswick is actually in Weimar it would make far more sense (and be much safer) for the remnants of Ruchel's corps to have retreated in that direction. I think it prudent that we maintain a strong screen of picquets in that direction as we march east to ensure we are not taken unawares by an enemy flanking force.
 
- Murat
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 05:42:14 PM
[The Erfurt Conference goes ever on and on....]

Davout:

Good point regarding Ruchel's move to the northeast.

So...  an order.  Here goes.

To: Western Wing, Marshal Bernadotte, The Emperor
From: Marshal Davout
Time: 1000 15 October

[I'm working to practice this format, so bear with me on that.]

[For those who heard the Grogheads podcast, this is one of the places I explicitly tried to word on being as clear as possible.]

Commander's Intent:

Purpose:  The Western Wing, having cleared the R-O-Y passes and the
town of Erfurt, and having shattered Ruchel's Corps, continues to fix
and destroy Prussian forces in order to ensure the main body can clear
the B-V passes and attack.  The Western Wing will do this by engaging
and defeating Brunswick's Corps, believed to be in the vicinity of
Weimar.

Key Tasks:

* Destroy elements of Brunswick's corps west of the river in the
vicinity of Weimar

In order to accomplish this task:

* Rest and reassemble forces in the vicinity of Erfurt
* Attack to secure Weimar
* Maintain reconnaissance on Ruchel
* Coordinate with main body if possible

End State:

At the conclusion of this operation, the Western Wing will have
destroyed Brunswick's forces west of Weimar, and will be positioned
and capable of continuing offensive action, expected to be generally
eastward.


Concept of the operation:

This offensive will unfold over the next three days.  We will advance,
secure Weimar in order to split Brunswick's forces, and destroy those
on the western side of the river.

15 October:  Western Wing corps will rest and reassemble.
16 October:  Western Wing corps will move eastwards, crossing the
river between Erfurt and Weimar, establishing a cavalry screen and
probing to discern enemy dispositions.
17 October: Western Wing forces advance eastwards to destroy
Brunswick's corps.  Lannes will be north of the road, Davout will be
south of the road, Murat will seek to destroy the enemy cavalry.

At this time, I envision Lannes rolling up Brunswick's projected
positions on the ridgeline NW of Weimar while Davout secures Weimar
itself.  Murat ensures security and destroys enemy cavalry forces.
The specifics will change based on actual enemy dispositions.

Orders:

Murat will take the lead in the march on the 16th.  Murat will screen
our forces as they move into position.  On the 17th Murat screens and
destroys enemy cavalry in order to ensure we can concentrate our
forces against a dispersed enemy.  Murat detaches the minimum
necessary force to maintain contact with Ruchel's forces in order to
ensure we are not surprised from that direction.

Davout moves second on the 16th, moving to an assembly area south of
the road once past the intermediate river.  On the 17th, Davout will
advance and secure Weimar in order to split Brunswick's corps and
isolate those forces west of Weimar.  Davout will then maneuver in
order to assist in the destruction of Brunswick's forces west of the
river.

Lannes advances third on the 16th, moving to an assembly area north of
the road once past the intermediate river.  On the 17th, Lannes
advances north of the road, seeking to destroy Brunswick's forces.

- Marshal Davout


-----------------
Out of character:

I will not have any communication during the first two weeks of July,
and may not have much during the third.  I will again likely be in
weak comms during the first week of August.  During this time, I
propose to turn my corps & the Western Wing over to whichever of you
will have solid communications.
-----------------


Murat:

Marshall Davout,
Allow me to suggest one minor change to your proposed orders: have my cavalry advance to the north of the Erfurt - Weimar road while Lannes' corps advances directly up the road. That will facilitate his slower moving infantry reaching the objective area faster and should afford my cavalry more maneuver room to try and compromise the Prussian positions at Weimar by circling around to the north and impeding their options to withdraw in that direction (thereby compelling them to fall back to the east, presumably onto the Emperor as he advances north from Hof with our main body).

- Murat


Davout:

You are welcome to that maneuver space, and I like the idea of
speeding both aspects of the move.

At the moment, I envision Lannes attacking north of the road, while
Davout attacks the city itself.  Thus, to get the speed you envision,
we should have Davout move on the road, and part of Murat's corps
could move south of it.


You (Murat) have been given a hydra-headed task, in that I see you as
both screening and also providing a concentrated punch to deal with
the Prussian cavalry.  I'm assuming - perhaps incorrectly - that your
large number of elements will make that possible.

On a different note - I will be at Origins this week.  I expect to see
Jim and Doug there as well (we are all cheerfully entrapped in the
flypaper of the Grogheads booth.  :)  ).  Lancer, are you going to be
there as well?
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 05:46:49 PM
[I have skipped some out of game administrative notes on handling who controlled 3rd Corps while I was not around.  In the event, not much happened while I was out of comms, but we wanted to ensure there was no break in control and to ensure it did not slow the game down.]

[More of the Erfurt Conference.  As you can see, we took a lot of trouble trying or orchestrate this attack.]

Some further musings on our future actions by Davout

Brother Marshals,

Other events yesterday caused me to consider our current plan of action - watching the impact of giving a weaker enemy time to react.

Our current plan calls for today's rest, followed by an approach march, followed by an assault.

The day's rest is a good enough idea and in any event it's well underway.

Does the night's gap between the approach and the assault merely give Brunswick time to think, communicate, and react?

I have not checked the map - but I suspect we can simply lunge and seize Weimar tomorrow.

That battle will occur late in the day, and our forces will not be fully synchronized and coordinated in the fight.  However, our advantages come to the fore in a fast-flowing battle; so we should create one, instead of permitting the Prussians the time to conduct a deliberate engagement in which their numbers can be brought to bear.

In the face of the unknown (Brunswick's dispositions and intentions), we should not advance cautiously.  Brunswick faces the same uncertainties about us.  Instead of taking the advice of cautious Prudence, who leads us to careful mediocrity, we should deal with the unknown by punching harder and faster - ideally faster and harder than Brunswick can react, until we have left his corps' battered and broken corpse on the roadside.

I'm not in charge of our forces at the moment; Murat is, and this is his decision.

My specific recommendation, for Murat's consideration, is:

Murat's Cavalry takes the lead and sees to flank security.

Davout's corps leads the assault on Weimar. Davout would be with the lead element for this.

Lannes' corps forms the reserve.

- Marshal Davout

Murat:

Marshal Davout, while I agree with your assessment, I am somewhat less sanguine about our chances against Brunswick should we find him deployed in/around Weimar.
 
On his own Brunswick's forces are estimated in excess of 75,000 men; presumably his men are well-rested (and quite possibly even entrenched) around Weimar. Conversely, the combined strength of our three corps together now only comprise about 70,000, and our men have been continuously on the march for five days now (and have been heavily engaged on two of those days).
 
Should we find Brunswick's corps in the area of Weimar, this will not be a one-sided battle. Our fight against Ruchel went smoothly because we outnumbered him by nearly three to one; a fight against Brunswick will be on much more even terms. And all this is based on the assumption that we're just going up against Brunswick alone and that neither Hohenlohe or Wurtemburg are in position to support him...
 
I believe that our task here should not be to attack Brunswick and/or take the city of Weimar, but rather to simply fix any Prussian forces we find deployed in that area in position, thus allowing the Emperor the freedom to advance his wing of the Grand Armee unimpeded.
 
Alternately, should we be able to re-establish contact with Marshall Bernadotte, we could assault whatever Prussian forces are at Weimar in concert with his corps with a great deal more confidence than just the three of us attempting to do so alone.
 
I believe an aggressive advance is too risky, that we should instead move forwards toward Weimar with due caution and decide what to do only after we have a clearer picture of the enemy's dispositions.
 
- Murat
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 05:48:01 PM
DISPATCH -- MORAND to DAVOUT -- 1600, 15th October

SENT 1200, 15th October

My Lord Marshal,

I trust this missive finds you well.

I confess, your missive found my men and I most frustrated, deprived as we evidently have been of a chance at glory.

For the better part of two days we have been trapped behind columns of our own troops, hearing the sounds of battle, but being unable to approach.

We are currently approximately half the distance between Gotha and Erfurt on the road that stretches between them.

S!

[Davout had asked Morand for a report on his situation.]
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 05:48:55 PM
DISPATCH -- Napoleon I to Davout -- 0900, 16th October

SENT 0300, 16th October

To Davout, now commander of the West Wing, and thence to the West Marshals generally:
 
Your fellow Marshals rejoice to hear of your victory over Ruchel! -- from Murat’s communique yesterday, your side of the Main Plan sounds ready to proceed into its second primary stage, which I will not comment further on here in case the courier is intercepted.
 
Since this road may not be entirely secure, allow me only to say that you should expect at least half a corps of Prussians to be missing from Weimar’s defense (and on the run, but still puissant), and that they will not be able to join with Weimar for a few more days if ever, since we have some chance to keep them separated.
 
We are taking our maneuver cues from your lead, and you can expect strong support, though not necessarily in direct contact with you, if you probe from Erfurt toward Weimar.
 
You are constantly in our thoughts, and should you somehow get into trouble you will receive prompt aid.
 
Glory to the Empire Reascendant, and to your legends for future generations! -- into the centuries of the centuries!
 
Napoleon
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 05:49:23 PM
Umpire to Davout on resuming full command again:

Orders received from Murat were general, but comprehensible:

1.  III Corps firing East to Weimar along the Via Regia.  I've got you marching with Viallannes in the midst of the corps.
2.  Murat sweeping around Erfurt to the North and going over hill and dale as he makes his way East sans road.
3.  V Corps is stuck in one of the worst traffic jams in the era before the invention of internal combustion.
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 05:50:18 PM
DISPATCH -- VIALLANNES to DAVOUT -- 1200, 16th October

SENT 1100, 16th October

My Lord Marshal,

Have arrived at Weimar.  None of our foes are in evidence.  I have interrogated a few locals and believe they have decamped in some haste and that recently.

I await your further orders.

Vive L'Empereur,

Viallannes


--------

General Vialannes -

Well done!

Secure the crossing and conduct cavalry reconnaissance eastwards.  If we can find the cowards, we can kill them.

- Davout

--------

TO:  The Emperor, Marshals Lannes, Murat, and Bernadotte, Generals Morand, Friant, Gudin
From: Davout, 1200 16 OCT

General Vialannes has secured Weimar and will reconnoiter eastwards.

- Marshal Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 05:51:19 PM
DISPATCH -- FROM CONTROL -- 1400, 16th October

My Lord Marshal,

Probing East from Weimar, you have encountered the men of Augereau's corps, division Desjardins.  The General indicates that the entire corps follows behind him on the road North from the area of Saalfeld.

He inquires if there is any message for his commander?

S!


From:  Davout
To: Marshals Augereau, Murat, Lannes, Bernadotte
1400 16 October

Marshal Augereau,

My patrols met yours east of Weimar sometime around midday.

We are moving into Weimar and were hoping to bring Brunswick to heel there, but he has eluded us.

We shall concentrate on Weimar tonight.

If your forces are moving north in the east then we shall move north tomorrow with the intention of then hooking eastwards to trap the beerswilling Prussian dogs.

Death and confusion to the enemy!

Davout


From:  Davout
To: Marshals Augereau, Murat, Lannes, Bernadotte
1400 16 October

A point of clarification suggested by an aide:

We need to know if we should move north, then east, by going east from Weimar and then north via Auerstadt; or to march back to Erfurt and north from there.

Marshal Augereau, it would be helpful to know where you intend to go next, and where you believe the enemy to be.  We believe we have smashed Ruchel's corps and were attempting to destroy Brunswick.

Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 05:51:57 PM
DISPATCH -- VIALLANNES to DAVOUT -- 1500, 16th October

SENT 1400, 16th October

My Lord Marshal,

Have gone as far East as the "T" intersection of the Northeastward running road that runs from Apolda to Naumburg.

No enemies are in sight.

I await your further orders.

S!


Davout:

General Vialannes -

Well done; please hold there for the rest of the day while the rest of the force closes on Weimar.

We have made further contact with friendly forces - Augereau's corps - and will attempt better coordination of our forces.

Please report any contacts with friendly or enemy forces.

Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 05:52:50 PM
Davout to Western Corps, 1500 16 October

Jim - Direct CC'ed to Chris [Marshal Augereau] on the assumption that he can read it over my shoulder as I write it.

From: Marshal Davout (in Weimar)
To: Marshals Lannes, Murat, Bernadotte, Augereau
Time: 1500 16 October

Marshals!

Brunswick is a coward and has vacated Weimar; my cavalry has scouted as far the the next intersection east from Weimar (the one turning north to Apold) without contact.

I have met Marshal Augereau at Weimar; his force is apparently coming to Weimar from Saalfeld, and have begun direct discussions with him in an inn that - of a miracle - serves decent wine.

The question before us for tomorrow:

Punch towards Jena if there is hope of direct contact;

Punch towards Naumburg in order to outflank positions at Jena-Gera, if they exist;

March back to Erfurt and punch towards Halle in a deeper turning movement?

Hopefully Marshal Augereau knows more of the dispositions of our forces and thus we can maneuver in concert with them.

- Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 05:56:54 PM
[The Weimar Conference begins.  If memory serves, this eventually involved Napoleon, Lannes, Augereau, Davout, and possibly Bernadotte all in the same inn.]

Marshal Augereau,

Welcome to sunny Weimar.

We - Lannes, Murat, and I - believe we have shattered Ruchel's corps and had hoped to bring Brunswick to battle at Weimar; we had contact yesterday with Scharnhorst's cavalry to the west of Weimar, but apparently the Prussians had no stomach for this fight, and we have found Weimar sadly deserted today.

My corps' cavalry just reported no contact as far as the intersection to the east.

We are closing on Weimar today.

What news do you have of the enemy and of friendly dispositions?

Our key question is between marching east to Jena, or east then turning north to Apold towards Auerstadt, or marching west Erfurt to go north in a much wider turning movement to Halle.

If marching east will cause traffic problems with the main French force moving north then we will turn west.

If the enemy is to the east, and we will not interfere with other's movements, then we will hope to drive east into the Prussians. 

- Davout/James


Augereau:

Davout,

It is great to be here with you enjoying the fine beer and sausage of Thurinigia.

I have had no contact of any kind except for the occasional small groups of Germanic street urchins begging for some Bavarian chocolate. My scouts have ranged far and wide to the west with nary a report of any contact. I recommend we go East and find the bastard and pile on.

Augs.


Davout:

What do you know of other French forces to your south or east?

In principle, they are marching north from the Gap....  I don't want to get needlessly entangled in them.

In principle, the western force is intended to sweep via the northeast, and I have, arguably, exceeded my brief by coming east.  If there are indeed Prussians to kill, bring it on! - but if they are simply running away then we need to ensure the net has been cast.


Augereau:

What little I know is days old and of no significant value anymore. The fact our two Corps are at full strength and un-engaged is either a great thing or potentially a disastrous thing for some of our brothers. Knowing the vacillating nature of the Prussians, I am inclined to believe it is a good thing. It provides our Emperor with many options.


Davout:

So, you have no clue whatsoever about where the rest of the French Army is, or what it is doing?  (Murat and Lannes are just west of me, closing on Wiemar.)


Augereau:

Other than the previous instructions, no. I was playing catch up in the tail of our formation. I met up with Nappy and he gave me instructions under which I am currently operating.


Davout:


OK, and those instructions are...?  :)

I have a good picture of what the three corps I've been with have been up to (Davout (me), Lannes, and Murat).  I thought Bernadotte was where you turned up.  Beyond that, I'm in the dark.

My current inclination is to have you go east from Wiemar, I will go northeast with some reinforcement form Murat, and the rest of Murat plus Lannes will double back to Erfurt and go north.

Does that synch in at all with what our Emperor intends with our other forces?


Augereau:

These are the last instructions I received from our Emperor:

"With evening approaching, we are unlikely to accomplish anything more than preparations for immediate action tomorrow morning, but let us do what we can to prepare now, even if that needs a little evening work and an early start tomorrow.

Bernadotte, since you are already camped on the T-fork (and relatively the most rested), let us have you take the right (eastern) side of our axis of advance. Your next mission will be to column march on the road toward Jena, scouting ahead of you as usual and also screening farther eastward if you can in case you detect anyone slipping around behind us through the gap in our lines. If it's a small force (a spoiler division, presumably with orders to probe toward our ultimate supply line at Bamberg) there isn't much we can do about it now except suffer for my failure to secure approaches to our LoC. If it's a larger force, fine we'd like to defeat the Prussians in detail if we can anyway. I presume once you get in scouting range of Jena you'll find at least some enemy nearby, in which case you should deploy in a line and advance to contact or near enough anyway to keep an eye on them. If you detect major weakness go ahead and assault, just keep me informed of what's going on. I recommend once you line out (assuming that happens -- you might arrive at Jena tomorrow evening or the following morning and find it empty!) you position your HQ westward on your line to be nearer to me. I also recommend you give orders to briefly decamp (if this is feasible [OOC; check with Cyrano about timing factors involved]) and move as far as possible up the road to Jena before evening or even a little after dark, to make room for Augereau to come up behind you to the T-fork for the night.

Augereau, once Bern is out of the way, move up to the T-fork -- make camp nearby as you expediently can for the night -- and then tomorrow morning advance up the road northward to Weimar, scouting ahead and, if possible, screen-scouting to your west to detect any movement our way from that direction (or maybe someone trying to relieve pressure on Erfurt by attempting a surging loop southwest from Weimar's area, hoping to avoid notice by heading for Arnstadt cross-country, and thence behind our allies on the West Wing).

If you haven't detected anyone once halfway there, go ahead and line out left and right of the road, but mostly rightward (eastward), and continue a probing advance northward toward Weimar seeking contact. I very, very seriously doubt we'll find a weakness to immediately exploit, but you certainly have permission if you detect it. I expect instead you'll be finding and fixing the main body of the enemy force. Ideally you'll be waiting for Bernadotte to make contact at Jena, but if you want to try some probing attacks and see if the enemy will collapse backward, that's fine. You've both been very patient and must be itching to get into action. Just please avoid a major assault commitment unless we find Weimar basically empty. In theory we'd like Bern to launch the first main attack from the east side of Weimar and then we'll surge forward with your Corps. But if the enemy has dispositioned back toward Jena, the order of attack could well be reversed, with you going first. We just don't know enough yet to plan that far ahead. That's why we need to advance and find out.

I recommend once you line out, you keep your HQ rightward (eastward) in order to be as close to me for communication as possible.

I'll be taking my cavalry division cross-country up the middle between your advances, so that I can stay in relatively close communication with you both, and can commit my expertise [OOC: i.e. game bonuses] to one or another side of the thrust. If the enemy detects me and tries to push against me, my cav can pretty safely withdraw them into a pocket for each of you to pincer at your discretion.

Since Bernadotte has a farther path to travel tomorrow, and has probably rested more than Augereau, I recommend you start a couple of hours early tomorrow morning, Bern. But we may make some minor adjustments depending on where we get before camping tonight.

I don't intend to send couriers changing East Wing's mission yet, nor anytime tomorrow, but we'll see what things look like by tomorrow evening. I do intend to send them a courier tonight concerning our overall plan tomorrow and any news we get from West Wing this evening.

Napoleon"

Davout:

That set you in motion this morning (game time), yes?

That's *very* helpful - thank you!


Augereau:

I believe game time yesterday morning or the day before...most likely yesterday.
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 05:57:34 PM
DISPATCH -- BERNADOTTE to DAVOUT -- 1900, 16th October

SENT 1500, 16th October

Dispatch to Napoleon, Augereau, Davout and Ney. The 1st Corps is marching from the Jena-Weimar road north to Naunbourg via Apolda. No contact has been made with the enemy between Jena and Weimar.

Marshal Bernadotte


Davout:

Sent 1800, 16 October
From Davout
To Murat, Lannes, and Augereau

See below a note from Bernadotte --

To my mind this confirms the need to countermarch westward tomorrow, though there's room for more information to trickle in yet.

Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 05:58:03 PM
DISPATCH -- MURAT to DAVOUT -- 1930, 16th October

SENT 1800, 16 October

From: Marshal Murat (north of Weimar)

To. Marshal Davout
 
My dear comrade, I am in receipt of your dispatch sent at 1500 this afternoon, indicating you have occupied Weimar unopposed. In this same period my only contact with the enemy was a scouting report from General Grouchy indicating that his scouts had sighted the remnants of Ruchel's division retreating far off to the northeast. Since that Prussian formation posed no immediate threat, I ignored the distraction and continued to maneuver so as to envelop Weimar from the north and have since lost contact with those enemy troops.
 
My sense is that if you have received no report of enemy forces, or direction from the Emperor as to how we should proceed, that we should march on Naumburg and thence to Merseburg. I see little point in retracing our steps Erfurt and then heading north to Eisleben via Weissensee. If the enemy have chosen that course they will have isolated themselves from the key urban centers (Leipzig and Magdebourg) and will have lost the campaign from inaction, or will already be so far ahead of us that we have little hope of catching up to them.
 
I feel that marching on Naumberg puts us in better position to support the Emperor by advancing along a closer parallel route (assuming he is moving on Leipzig via Altenbourg), as well as putting us in closer proximity to him and thus minimizing communications delays in coordinating our actions.
 
However, regardless, I will maneuver as you deem best suits your plan -- I merely offer the above as a suggestion of my thoughts on the matter. I await your orders.
 
Most respectfully,
- Murat
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 05:58:34 PM
DISPATCH -- 2130, 16th October

SENT 2000, 16th October

To Davout and Augereau,

I have only just now, at 2000 hours 18th October, received the courier Aug sent on 16th October, 1730 hours. At that time, neither of you had had contact with the enemy yet around Weimar. My impression from the local town rumor network is that you have in fact met with the Prussians in a decisive battle since then, and coming out on top.

Some hours ago (as of this writing), I reached my cross-country goal of a point on the Weimar-Jena road about halfway between either city, along with my Imperial cavalry guard. A few hours ago, we received the advance scouts of two probing French Cavalry divisions on the road, working east and west toward each other. I gave orders that their probing operation should cease for now, so as not to entangle each other (and my Guards!) on the road.

Having received your message at last, I am promptly packing up my HQ staff and riding this evening to Weimar along the secured road. I am sending this courier ahead in case he can arrive a little quicker, or in case something happens and I must reverse course, so that you will know my intentions at this time.

Jena has been secured, the last I heard. Our East Wing corps have pinned down the errant corps or half-corps that was scouting along the road network in that direction, and last I heard were converging upon it together for its elimination in detail (although it got in a good blow against one of our corps; I shall have to check my notes for better details.) The main Prussian force does not seem to be in that direction right now, and my loose impression from the rumors is that they withdrew to our mutual north -- which would make sense, to guard the road to Berlin, which they should probably have been doing from the beginning! I could be wrong about this, or outdated on some points, however, as I have not caught up on news yet tonight.

I should be in Weimar before dawn, in time for an early breakfast.

Napoleon I
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 06:00:25 PM
The Weimar Conference continues

Message from Davout 1800 18 October

From: Marshal Davout
To: Marshals Murat, Lannes, Augereau, Bernadotte; and our most esteemed Emperor
Time Sent: 1800 16 October

Greetings!

** Situation:

The close of this day finds me in Wiemar with Marshal Augereau.

The Western Wing moved to Wiemar today in hopes of bringing Brunswicks' Corps to battle and destroying it; we had a fleeting contact with Scharnhorst's cavalry between Erfurt and Wiemar on the 15th.  We have, however, failed to make contact with Brunswick; the Prussian dog has slunk into some cave.  My compliments to Marshal Murat, who did not believe this move eastwards wise; his judgement has unfortunately proven correct, and my decision has put us two days behind in our march northwards without a result worthy of the delay.

After some discussion with Marshal Augereau, I believe that Marshal Augereau's corps is at Wiemar, and Marshal Bernadotte's corps is at Jena, with the emperor himself sweeping the ground in between.

Marshals Bernadotte and Augereau do not have orders beyond the Wiemar-Jena line. to the best of Marshal Augereau's knowledge.

** Proposed concept of operations for 17 October and following -- I welcome your thoughts:
--------------
     Our overall mission is to assist in the annihilation of the Prussian Army.  In the absence of direct contact, the West Wing is to outflank the Prussian Army and cut off its communications with Berlin, assisting the Center and East wings in bringing the Prussians to battle.

     The West Wing will retrace its steps to Erfurt and march northwards to Halle.  Overall order of march:  Murat, Lannes, Davout.

     Marshal Murat may also send divisions on a more northerly or even easterly course (Magdeburg, Brunswick, Gottingen) if he feels this will be of benefit, as long as he retains sufficient striking power to provide us with strong cavalry support in the event of an engagement with the Prussians.
---------------

** Assumptions:
   a) The Center Wing will continue to push in the direction of Naumburg/Leipzig, and does not need our reinforcement in the process.

   b) Even though delayed, our march northwards still holds value in the overall maneuvers of the Army.

Potential problems:
   a) Putting our entire wing on one road will make it difficult to concentrate combat power against the Prussians and may allow them to escape.  The road net simply is not dense in this area, particularly through the hills northeast of Erfurt.

   b) What little we do know about the Prussian Army points to it being somewhere to the east or northeast.  By marching away, we may be denying the Center Wing the combat power it needs to prevail.  However, Brunswick has not seemed terribly eager for battle so far.


Please let me know of other thoughts you may have concerning the operations of our Wing.


   
Finally, I include a missive sent by the Emperor to Marshal Augereau on the evening of the 14th:

=========
"With evening approaching, we are unlikely to accomplish anything more than preparations for immediate action tomorrow morning, but let us do what we can to prepare now, even if that needs a little evening work and an early start tomorrow.

Bernadotte, since you are already camped on the T-fork (and relatively the most rested), let us have you take the right (eastern) side of our axis of advance. Your next mission will be to column march on the road toward Jena, scouting ahead of you as usual and also screening farther eastward if you can in case you detect anyone slipping around behind us through the gap in our lines. If it's a small force (a spoiler division, presumably with orders to probe toward our ultimate supply line at Bamberg) there isn't much we can do about it now except suffer for my failure to secure approaches to our LoC. If it's a larger force, fine we'd like to defeat the Prussians in detail if we can anyway. I presume once you get in scouting range of Jena you'll find at least some enemy nearby, in which case you should deploy in a line and advance to contact or near enough anyway to keep an eye on them. If you detect major weakness go ahead and assault, just keep me informed of what's going on. I recommend once you line out (assuming that happens -- you might arrive at Jena tomorrow evening or the following morning and find it empty!) you position your HQ westward on your line to be nearer to me. I also recommend you give orders to briefly decamp (if this is feasible [OOC; check with Cyrano about timing factors involved]) and move as far as possible up the road to Jena before evening or even a little after dark, to make room for Augereau to come up behind you to the T-fork for the night.

Augereau, once Bern is out of the way, move up to the T-fork -- make camp nearby as you expediently can for the night -- and then tomorrow morning advance up the road northward to Weimar, scouting ahead and, if possible, screen-scouting to your west to detect any movement our way from that direction (or maybe someone trying to relieve pressure on Erfurt by attempting a surging loop southwest from Weimar's area, hoping to avoid notice by heading for Arnstadt cross-country, and thence behind our allies on the West Wing).

If you haven't detected anyone once halfway there, go ahead and line out left and right of the road, but mostly rightward (eastward), and continue a probing advance northward toward Weimar seeking contact. I very, very seriously doubt we'll find a weakness to immediately exploit, but you certainly have permission if you detect it. I expect instead you'll be finding and fixing the main body of the enemy force. Ideally you'll be waiting for Bernadotte to make contact at Jena, but if you want to try some probing attacks and see if the enemy will collapse backward, that's fine. You've both been very patient and must be itching to get into action. Just please avoid a major assault commitment unless we find Weimar basically empty. In theory we'd like Bern to launch the first main attack from the east side of Weimar and then we'll surge forward with your Corps. But if the enemy has dispositioned back toward Jena, the order of attack could well be reversed, with you going first. We just don't know enough yet to plan that far ahead. That's why we need to advance and find out.

I recommend once you line out, you keep your HQ rightward (eastward) in order to be as close to me for communication as possible.

I'll be taking my cavalry division cross-country up the middle between your advances, so that I can stay in relatively close communication with you both, and can commit my expertise [OOC: i.e. game bonuses] to one or another side of the thrust. If the enemy detects me and tries to push against me, my cav can pretty safely withdraw them into a pocket for each of you to pincer at your discretion.

Since Bernadotte has a farther path to travel tomorrow, and has probably rested more than Augereau, I recommend you start a couple of hours early tomorrowmorning, Bern. But we may make some minor adjustments depending on where we get before camping tonight.

I don't intend to send couriers changing East Wing's mission yet, nor anytime tomorrow, but we'll see what things look like by tomorrow evening. I do intend to send them a courier tonight concerning our overall plan tomorrow and any news we get from West Wing this evening.

Napoleon"
=========

- Davout


Augereau:

Davout,

As we sit in our current locale planning for our next moves, a courier arrives with a message to me from Napoleon.

I read it, raise my eyebrows a bit and hand it to you to read for you to read as well. I remark, "The fog of war is very thick tonight."

Do you recall a decisive battle in which either of us participated ? Did we partake of too much wine last night?

This is what you read:

"SENT 2000, 16th October

To Davout and Augereau,

I have only just now, at 2000 hours 18th October, received the courier Aug sent on 16th October, 1730 hours. At that time, neither of you had had contact with the enemy yet around Weimar. My impression from the local town rumor network is that you have in fact met with the Prussians in a decisive battle since then, and coming out on top.

Some hours ago (as of this writing), I reached my cross-country goal of a point on the Weimar-Jena road about halfway between either city, along with my Imperial cavalry guard. A few hours ago, we received the advance scouts of two probing French Cavalry divisions on the road, working east and west toward each other. I gave orders that their probing operation should cease for now, so as not to entangle each other (and my Guards!) on the road.

Having received your message at last, I am promptly packing up my HQ staff and riding this evening to Weimar along the secured road. I am sending this courier ahead in case he can arrive a little quicker, or in case something happens and I must reverse course, so that you will know my intentions at this time.

Jena has been secured, the last I heard. Our East Wing corps have pinned down the errant corps or half-corps that was scouting along the road network in that direction, and last I heard were converging upon it together for its elimination in detail (although it got in a good blow against one of our corps; I shall have to check my notes for better details.) The main Prussian force does not seem to be in that direction right now, and my loose impression from the rumors is that they withdrew to our mutual north -- which would make sense, to guard the road to Berlin, which they should probably have been doing from the beginning! I could be wrong about this, or outdated on some points, however, as I have not caught up on news yet tonight.

I should be in Weimar before dawn, in time for an early breakfast.

Napoleon I"


Davout:

The fog is indeed thick!

However, the picture that seems to emerge is:

* The West Wing has either defeated or dispersed Ruchel's corps.  This isn't entirely clear - a day or two ago (in the game) I tried to establish who, exactly, had actually done the deed, and no corps commander was sure.  None of my division commanders copped to it either.  However, Ruchel has certainly disappeared and there were recent reports of scattered forces retreating north-ish.

* Brunswick was, at one point, in the Wiemar-Jena area.  My cavalry had contact with Scharnhorst (and Scharnhorst won) west of Wiemar yesterday.  Where is Brunswick now?  I have no clue.

* The East Wing is apparently beating up the third Prussian corps.

That leaves Brunswick as the unknown.
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 06:01:21 PM
Dispatch from Davout, 2000 16 October

From: Davout
To: Our Glorious Emperor; Marshals Murat, Lannes, Davout, Bernadotte
Time: 2000, 16 October

Our glorious emperor has sent a message, reported in full below; I have also heard from Marshal Murat, and I am in an inn in Wiemar with Marshal Augereau.

The situation as I understand it -- please correct me where you believe I am mistaken --

French Forces:

The corps of  Augereau, Murat, Lannes, and Davout are in or closing on Wiemar.

Bernadotte's corps is marching north towards Nuambourg via Apold.

The Guard is moving north to the Weimar-Jena road.

The East Wing... is somewhere east of us.

Enemy:

In the west, Ruchel's corps is believed to be smashed.  Murat had minor contacts with his retreating forces.  However, note that when I tried to discern who had inflicted the killing blow, none of us knew we had managed it; nor did any of my division commanders recall the fight, which took places to the west of Erfurt.  It is possible that Ruchel is engaged in a precipitous withdrawal; we should keep an eye out for signs his force is in fact intact.

In the center, the West Wing had fleeting contact with Brunswick's corps in the form of Scharnhorst's cavalry between Erfurt and Wiemar.  I took the liberty of driving west to try to destroy Brunswick's corps in presumed collaboration with our center, but Brunswick has disappeared.  Bernadotte reported no contact en route to Apold and came by way of Jena.

In the east, our East Wing is in combat with an enemy corps (Hohelohe, perhaps?) and after an initial setback is expecting to crush it.


Revising the plan - overview of options -

Option A: The West Wing countermarches and move north from Erfurt, leaving the center to Bernadotte, Augereau, and the Guard.
   * Loses two days on the march north.
   * Less congestion on the road to Naumbourg.
   * Less support to the Center.

Option B: The West Wing marches north to Naumbourg via Apold (suggested by Murat), and turns north from Naumbourg; while the Guard and Augereau move into the center via Jena.
    * Center well supported
    * Saves time moving north if there is no contact
    * A lot of traffic on the road via Apold.
    * Who supports Augereau and the goard?

Option C: The West Wing becomes the center, moving via Jena; the Guard and Augereau move to Naumbourg via Apold and then north.
    * Less traffic to Apold, but a traffic jam on the Wiemar-Jena road.
    * Keeps the Wings as coherent forces

Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 06:03:16 PM
[Napoleon arrives at the Weimar Conference]

DISPATCH -- FROM CONTROL -- 0000, 17th October

Emperor Napoleon I as well as Marshals Augereau and Davout:

The timing may be a smidge off, but, close enough for government work, you have each arrived to the environs of Weimar and are now in sufficient proximity to speak directly to one another.

To spare his Majesty the trouble, the below message would have arrived not terribly long before the Emperor himself:

Most famed and excellent Marshals of the Ascendant Central Empire!

Please allow me, as I approach, to precede my arrival with this report from Ney, handed to me just now as I am entering the eastern edges of Weimar.

I am assuming that Bernadotte has already been given a copy, although I shall check with the dispatch rider, and if not shall send a courier back in his direction with a copy. [OOC: will Control let me know whether Bern to our east in and around Jena has gotten this news already? He was marching to help support the East Wing. If not, or if you can't say, then cc this back to him just to be safe.]

Soon I shall have to sit back, at an early breakfast pre-dawn perhaps, and sift through the recent messages to compile an overall situation report; but I expect to be able to speak with the Marshals in Weimar directly -- perhaps more soon.

Glory meanwhile in the glory of Ney and Soult, as they secure our East Wing! -- a story I hear present in Ney's own words.

Napoleon I

PS: whoever is currently forwarding news out from Weimar to the remaining corps guarding our West Wing, should of course pass this on. I do not wish to overburden our courier system by adding more riders unnecessarily.
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 06:03:56 PM
To: Marshalls Lannes and Murat

From: Davout
To: Marshalls Lannes and Murat
Time: 0200 17 OCT

Gentlemen, our Emperor requests the honor of your presence in our inn post-haste.

Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 06:05:59 PM
[Breakfast Midnight Snack Conference at Weimar]


From NAPOLEON -- 0000, 17th October (or whatever the gameclock is at)

I have sent word around [OOC: to Control] for news about the fatigue of our elements nearby, as this might easily have a significant bearing on our plans for today.

Meanwhile regarding the significant losses suffered by Soult (mostly) in our East Wing, should we consider these as a factor in our plans?

Also, I would like Davout to report in some detail about actions and results against the Prussians on the West Wing, now that we can hear about it at firsthand. We should of course consider Davout's options of activity previously mentioned in one of his recent communiques.

Among other things this morning, I should want to send some cav scouts north to check if the Prussians have left an opportunity division hidden in the hills between the roads, north of the river (around the large S on our common map).

I haven't received any farther news since arriving here, other than (at about the same time) what you-all have also heard concerning Bernadotte probing north through Abolda (or whatever it's called, the printing on our map there is difficult) to Altenbourg. Under the circumstances I wish he had looped counter-clockwise from Jena to Zeib instead, and thence to... uh, whatever that unnamed town is at the crossing of the four roads, northwest of Altenbourgh; but at the time he was hoping to support us by a western probe in case we had caught the enemy in and around Weimar.

If the enemy has any sense, they will be trying to form a short defensive line behind the Elbe, north of Dessau, to protect the road to Berlin; in which case we would be best served by establishing a blocking presence south of the river, and flanking them on a different road through Magdebourg (which if it doesn't have a road directly to Berlin, although it should, at least must have a road going that way eventually.)

It seems likely (AS FAR AS I'VE UNDERSTOOD MISSIVES FROM WEST WING, which is another reason I want to hear a direct report of enemy activity there) that we need not worry about Prussians coming back at us from the direction of Mubthausen. And if they have been pulling back north for a while, I don't think we would gain anything by trying to send Murat back around clockwise on that route as per the original West Wing plan. (Unless he has long since gone off that way, in which case he's acting semi-independently at this point, per the original plan. Another reason to get a real-time report from Davout.)

Perhaps then it would be best if Augereau set out tomorrow to follow Bern along the northwest road (between here and Jena, picking up my Guards cav division for his corps along the way); and if we sent word to our esteemed infantry contingents in Erfurt (led by Murat if he hasn't already started his longer leg around) to start working their way north along their road (aiming ultimately for Eisleben); and then at first Davout and I should tromp north cross-country toward the hills for scouting between, in case of Prussian cleverness, and then decide in a day or two whether to take the left or right road based on any reports we receive.

But before I make any decision, I want more information if possible (especially on fatigue reports).

Napoleon

Davout:

Davout (that's me) would tell you how events unfolded here in the west...  if he really knew.

What I do know:  We moved north through the two passes to Gotha.  There was some kind of contact south of Gotha, and Ruchel seemed to be running from Lannes.  I elected to cross the river at Ohrdruf and sent my cavalry north to take the bridge NW of Arnstadt while the rest of my force went to Arnstadt; the idea being that they could either march up the road given contact, or go north overland to Erfurt; in either case intending to cut off Ruchel from the center.

The forces sent north had some kind of contact with Ruchel and apparently beat him up, possibly in conjunction with Lannes' corps.  I elected to move the forces at Arnstadt north on the next day, and found Erfurt cleared and Ruchel apparently defeated.  My two divisions returned to me.  The West Wing took a day to rest, during which my cavalry scouted eastwards, and was beaten up by Scharnhorst's cavalry.  Taking this as an indicator that Brunswick was to our immediate east, I decided we should all come east to try to destroy him.  That brings us here, to Weimar, with Brunswick having disappeared.

I am not certain of Murat's dispositions.  As far as I know he has some forces covering to the north and east, but is largely concentrated now at Weimar.  Lannes is likewise near Weimar as far as I know.

I do not know the fatigue state of my units.  [I'm not certain we're allowed to know it.]

The enemy appears to be trying to fall back; but we are somewhat faster and better on the battlefield.  Strike hard and fast, and if we bypass some elements that have taken to the hills, we can mop them up later while we subsist on rations from their captured depots.


[Napoleon]

Wait, are you saying Murat is here at Weimar? I didn't mean to exclude him!

If he and Lannes are near Weimar, they should get here pronto (as my brother the king of Spain would say).

Re fatigue: We're not allowed to know specific numbers, but we're allowed to ask for impressions. Per Control:

"Nearest to you are the divisions of Friant, Gudin, Suchet, and D'Hautpol.  None have suffered significant fatigue.

"Lannes has not moved far in recent days, neither has Davout, or Bernadotte."

This doesn't square with reports of Bernadotte...?? -- but the rest seems reliable.

I'll have more news soon, a report from Soult, unless Control has broadly dispatched it already.

Davout:

I've asked them to come!

What is weird about the fight with Ruchel is that all signs are that there was a serious fight, and that he got blown away.  Yet, when I have asked, nobody will cop to having been involved.

The Western Wing has been on the march for one day since a day of rest (though otherwise marching for the duration.)
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 06:06:48 PM

[Weimar Conference Continues]

From NAPOLEON -- 0200, 17th October to Weimar Group

In regard to the mystery of Bernadotte's cavalry division, which I assume you've now also received his courier about, I think I can solve for its whereabouts.

It was intended to probe west toward Weimar from Jena until it hit the road T-forking northward between the two cities; and then probe north that way.

However, my cav division is parked there, and when Bern's cav arrived at about the same time as the cav probe from Weimar, I gave orders for them both to halt so as not to create more of a godawful traffic jam between here and Jena.

I thought I had given orders for a courier not only to tell the division to stop, but also to go on to Bern and let him know the situation on the road around dark. He may not have received that notice at the time he launched the update courier my/our way.

At any rate I'll be sending a courier eventually to him to update on our plans here (when we decide how to proceed).

Napoleon

Davout:

We seem in general agreement that the next move is northeast in hopes of catching Brunswick.  In discussion earlier today [game day] that was also Murat's suggestion.

I believe the primary choice is which corps will use which roads...  we await your instruction.  :)
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 06:08:31 PM
[Even More Wiemar Conference]

DISPATCH -- MURAT to DAVOUT -- 0230, 17th October

SENT 0000 17th October

From: Murat (estimated approx 10km north-northwest of Weimar)
To: Davout (believed to be in the vicinity of Weimar)
Copy to: Lannes (believed to be somewhere on the Erfurt-Weimar road)
 
I have just received Marshal Davout's dispatch to the Emperor sent at 2100, 16th October. This message is an attempt to hopefully clarify/resolve some of the ambiguity and confusion expressed in that dispatch.
 
As you are no doubt aware, at the start of this campaign Ruchel's corps was assessed as consisting of roughly 28,000 men in three divisions: the Advanced Guard (~6000 men), Weimar's division (~10,000 men), and Saxe's division (~12,000 men). As of this time, I can report with confidence that Ruchel's corps is definitely smashed. There is no uncertainty with regards to that news -- it is fact.
 
The battle with Ruchel's corps was fought over the course of three days, beginning on the afternoon of October 13th. The engagement began with your forces encountering Weimar's division somewhat to the south of Erfurt. By the afternoon of the 13th you had defeated that formation and forced it to retreat towards Erfurt, pursued by General Sahuc's dragoons (whom I had temporarily assigned to your control). By nightfall, Weimar had reached the outskirts of Erfurt and the fighting lapsed as darkness fell.
 
Starting around noon of the 14th my cavalry (with Sahuc now re-attached to my command) engaged Weimar's troops on the western approaches to Erfurt. In a running battle, we managed to gain the upper hand and break his division, driving it back into the town proper. Weimar's retreat was covered by Ruchel's Advanced Guard. In the late afternoon Friant's division had come up and, together, we were able to overcome and utterly destroy the Advanced Guard, with some 5000 prisoners being taken. Effectively Ruchel's Advanced Guard no longer exists.
 
The next day (October 15th), my divisions rose early and advanced on Erfurt from the north and your corps from the southwest. In fairly short order fighting resumed and we quickly overwhelmed the enemy, putting Saxe's division to flight by about 10:00AM. I dispatched General Grouchy's division of dragoons to harry them until they were some 15km away, breaking off pursuit at around 15:00PM. The survivors of Saxe's division were last seen streaming off in the direction of Mattstedt in considerable disorder. There was no sign of Weimar's shattered division, and we can only assume that he successfully withdrew towards Weimar during the night.
 
My assessment of the situation regarding Ruchel is this: while Saxe and Weimar's divisions have "escaped" they have both been so badly ravaged that they will pose little to no threat to us for the foreseeable future. Ruchel will require at least two full days of complete inactivity to rest and reorganize those formations into something capable of combat. In their present condition, Ruchel's divisions will be more of a liability than an asset to the Prussians. We do not need to concern ourselves with them.
 
- Murat

Davout:

Gentlemen, see below a note form Marshal Murat.

[Not repeated here.]

Davout:

To: Marshals Murat & Lannes
From: Marshal Davout
Time: 0000 17 October

Marshal Murat,

My thanks for your note on the battle against Ruchel's corps - I am now much clearer on the sequence of events!

I await our Emperor's decision on our upcoming actions - your notes on your locations are also quite useful in that regard.

- Davout

Davout:

In this regard, Murat's notes on his, and Lannes', locations are illuminating; I do not believe our forces will create a traffic jam on the road to Naumbourg.
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 06:10:19 PM
[Hope you wanted more Weimar Command Conference!]

DISPATCH -- LANNES to NAPOLEON I and DAVOUT, 0500, 17th October

SENT 0400, 17th October

From:  Lannes, on the Erfurt-Weimar road
To: All elements V Corps and attachments
Copies To: Marshal Murat, believed to be about 10km NNW of Weimar, Marshal Davout, Weimar

Generals!

We have made contact with our beloved Emperor at Weimar. As you know, Marshals Murat and Davout have completely defeated Ruchel's corps in the vicinty of Erfurt. Marshal Davout has taken Weimar, from which the enemy has precipitously fled. The remainder of our glorious army has met the enemy to the east of Weimar and driven them back as well. It seems evident that they are withdrawing to the north, falling back on their lines of communication and hoping for the arrival of their allies, the Russians.

I go now with all speed to join Marshals Davout and Murat and the Emperor in Weimar for a council of war. Until I return, V Corps and attachments will continue to bivouac here, on the Erfurt-Weimar road. We will deploy cavalry patrols in all directions to scout for and screen against the enemy. The men should otherwise rest but hold yourselves ready to move on my return.

Lannes

Davout:

I show the note below to General Augereau as we await our Emperor's orders.


Augereau:

I nod and pass you another bottle of wine. I swallow the roasted pheasant I am eating. I turn to the waitress and request the desert and drinks menu.

I turn to my aid and say, "My brother-in-law's family is from Vierzehnheiligen. Send my special staff officer there to speak with them and find out what they know." Also "Send cavalry squadrons in each of the cardinal directions. They are to locate any enemy within 20 kilometers of Weimar and report back immediately upon doing so!"

Now then... The port and some baked goods look quite tasty. Care for any Davout?


Davout:

Certainly!  Though perhaps we should start drafting orders as well; daylight is approaching and we need to strike hard and fast.

My assumption at the moment is:

We will all march north via Apold towards Naumbourg.

Augereau will take the lead, and the West Wing will follow in the order it is arrayed: Davout, Lannes, Murat.

If we meet the Prussians we will engage them.

The next major decision point is maneuvers from Naumbourg.


Augereau:

This is precisely why you are the Emperor's favorite! Always thinking ahead and planning...

If you insist, and I suspect you will, then let us set to formulating the ultimate demise of those Prussian barbarians.


Davout:

You know me all too well.  :)

So - where from Naumbourg if we have not found the Prussians?

If we have no further contact with the Prussians, the primary lines of thrust should be Halle and Leipzig.  We won't know where Brunswick may be, but we can assume the East Wing is also moving towards Leipzig. 

Therefore, Bernadotte should move to Leipzig in order to per-empt Prussian defences there, the West Wing would move towards Halle (and thence to Magdebourg) in order to make the deeper envelopment and to chase Brunswick if that is where he has fled.  The rest of the Center Wing would plan on continuing to Leipzig, with decision point at the town east of Naumbourg.

If we meet Brunswick on the road to Naumbourg, then we will fight him where we find him.

That's my proposed course of action.   Your thoughts?
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 06:11:03 PM
Davout to Davout's Corps, 0600 17 OCT

To: Davout's Corps

Prepare for a 10 hour march in the direction of Naumbourg.  Order of march is Cav, 1st, 2nd, 3rd.  I will be with the 1st Division.

We will be following Marshal Augereau's Corps.  Be prepared to move immediately if he marches to Jena; we head for Naumbourg regardless..

Contact with the Prussians is possible; we expect to engage and destroy them if they are found.

Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 06:12:30 PM
[More at the Inn in Weimar]

DISPATCH -- NAPOLEON I to Weimar Group 0500, 17th October

My apologies for needing to attend to the affairs of other politics tonight, my grand marshals! To be perfectly honest, I am only along for the ride, as I can simply listen to good advice from all directions generally, and then leave all matters in the hands of my capable fraternity of brothers.  What Emperor of old or of new Rome ever in history had such fine support?! -- I can only leave that question for friendly dispute among our fellow historians, but I feel confident the answer denies all before this modern day!

So then, having reviewed the matter generally below, I am in agreement -- except with this provision. Murat, having our somewhat speedier cavalry corps, should strike north across country for Somanerdst, crossing the river there, aiming to reclaim the road at Heissensee, and thence northeast on the road to Halle, screening especially to the west until he reaches the road again at Heis. This secures our left flank, and will allow him to prosecute any attempts to flee along that road in a classic cavalry fashion. Also, he will be in position to flank any arrival of the other portions of West Wing to Halle. Removing him will also somewhat speed up our central march to Naumbourg; and as well, I do not like focusing all our striking power along such a narrow point of advance.

There is also some question as to Bernadotte's route. East Wing may still need some support as they move north. The best balance, although annoying as to terrain, would be for him to strike from Jena cross country east-northeast to Zeib, and then follow the rivers north-north-east to Leipzig. This will give him flexibility in supporting either our approaches to Naumbourg-Leipzig, or East Wing's advance along their route.

Any observations, calculations, or modifications to these two proposals will be welcome.

Napoleon
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 06:13:37 PM
[Lannes arrives at Weimar]

Davout:

Emperor, I hear and obey!  My corps will prepare to move at once.

Marshal Lannes - welcome!  Have some refreshment.  If you have objections to the plan, please speak now.

Marshal Augereau - I understand you will precede us on the road to Naumbourg; if you understand differently, please speak now.

Emperor Napoleon, let me suggest that Murat make his choice of routes, as a move via Erfurt and them north may be faster than a move cross-country.  He best understands his dispositions and given the mission of moving quickly, he can find the best way to accomplish it.

Lannes:

Why is this wine so sweet?

Naumbourg it is, then. V Corps needs to stretch it legs a bit and walk some more.
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 06:14:57 PM
To: West Wing, 0600 17 OCT

To: Marshals Murat, Lannes, Augereau, Bernadotte
From: Marshall Davout
Time: 0600 17 OCT

Gentlemen, see the discussion below; the West Wing will split as follows:

Davout and Lannes will march in the direction of Naumbourg via Weimar and Apolda, seeking to find and destroy Brunswick.  Davout will be in the lead.  We will seek to destroy the Prussian Army.

Murat will resume the left hook, moving back to the Weissensee-Eisleben road by the most expeditious means and hooking thence to Halle in order to provide flank support to the West wing and destroy the Prussian Army.


Friendly situaiton: Marshals Augereau and Bernadotte may precede us on the road to Naumbourg; their exact plan is not entirely clear to me.  At Weimar, Bernadotte's location is in dispute as Apolda or Jena; Augereau is at Weimar.  Augereau is currently expected to lead the West Wing to Naumbourg, and our Emperor is ordering Bernadotte to Jena and thence northeast to Zeib.

Enemy situation: Brunswick evaded our attack on his position at Weimar and his current position is not certain.

--  Davout


Napoleon:

I approve this disposition, including Murat choosing the best route on his flanking hook, with an eye to ensuring there will be no traffic jams.

I will send word to my cavalry currently camped on the road west of Weimar, to move off it to the south somewhat, so as to allow room for other divisions to pass.

Napoleon

[This message forwarded to Marshals Murat and Bernadotte]

Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 06:15:48 PM
Lannes to V Corps

To: All V Corps

Generals,

We will be marching for ten hours along the road from Weimar to Naumbourg, as part of a larger movement of the western half of the army. We will be following M. Davout's III Corps, who is in turn behind M. Augereau.

Be prepared to march quickly in support of the troops to our front; contact with the Prussians is expected. The order of march will be our cavalry, 1st Division, 2nd, Division, 3rd Division. our cavalry is to keep contact with M. Davout's corps. I will maintain my headquarters with 1st Division.

Allons y!

Lannes


Davout, still with Lannes in Weimar:

Let's kick some (more) Prussian ass.
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 06:16:23 PM
Augereau's March to Battle

My Corps will lead the attack towards Naumbourg. We will depart on the order of the emperor. We will conduct very aggressive recon to locate the enemy. We will then pile on.

Generals,

We will be marching for ten hours along the road from Weimar to Naumbourg, as part of a larger movement of the western half of the army. We will be in front of M. Davout's III Corps, who is in turn in Front of Lannes.

Be prepared to march quickly in support of the reconnaissance troops to our front; contact with the Prussians is expected and desired. The order of march will be our cavalry, conducting  aggressive recon to locate and report the locations of the Prussians, 1st Division, 2nd, Division, 3rd Division. I will maintain my headquarters with 1st Division. Upon contact, we will deploy for battle. 1st on the left, 2nd on the right, 3rd in reserve. Cavalry returning to reorganize with squadrons on each flank.

Let us stay the hunt once and for all!!

Allons!
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 06:17:31 PM
DISPATCH -- MURAT to DAVOUT -- 1330, 17th October

SENT 0930, 17th October


From:  Murat, heading cross-country from north of Weimar to Sommerda
To: Lannes, on the Erfurt-Weimar road
      Davout, vicinity Weimar

Comrades,
In accordance with our wing commander's instructions I am headed northwest towards Sommerda and thence to Weissensee. Rather than backtracking along the Weimar-Erfurt road I have instead chosen to cut across the bleak German heath and head directly for Sommerda; this should help keep the road clear and uncongested for your use.

I have received reports from my rear guard (General Grouchy's division of dragoons) that his scouts have sighted two Prussian divisions deployed on the road between Naumbourg and Weimar, and notes that one of those two divisions appears to be in considerable disorder. I suspect these may be the remains of Ruchel's corps, acting as a screen to cover the withdrawal of other, larger, Prussian forces (possibly Brunswick's army). I have no intention of engaging this enemy force and will doubtless have lost contact with it by the time you receive this communique.

I will send another courier updating my status once I reach Sommerda.
Please keep me apprised of your movements.

- Murat

[This note then forwarded to Emperor Napoleon, Marshalls Lannes, Bernadotte, Augereau with the note that:

Please find enclosed a copy of a note from Marshal Murat;  he notes a brief contact with two disorganized Prussian divisions on the Weimar-Naumbourg road.

Presumably, though Murat's cavalry's northwestern march will cause them to lose contact with this rabble, Marshal Augereau will sweep these Prussian road fleas into the dustbin of history.

- Davout]
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 06:18:37 PM
DISPATCH -- AUGEREAU to DAVOUT -- 1900, 17th October

[Umpire: Control interprets the Marshal's directive by including the original communication that prompted his later response.

S!]



Subject: DISPATCH FROM CONTROL -- 1700, 17th October

Marshal Augereau,

The head of your column is as of this hour some 5 km from Naumbourg.

Your forward scouts report that, in the outskirts of Naumbourg, they can see the trail end of Weimar's division forming up for what appears to be the evening's bivouac.

S!

Response:

Wonderful news! I dispatch messengers to Napoleon, Davout, and Soult. I inform them of what my scouts report and my intent, which is to engage the enemy.

In the meantime, I quickly and diligently deploy my Corps for battle, with the intent to catch the Prussians with their pants down.


From: Davout
To: Marshals Murat, Lannes, Emperor Napoleon
Time:  1900 17 October

Brother marshals, please see below a note from Marshal Augereau:

Note that this means we have figured out which direction Weimar ran in and perhaps Ruchel's line of flight - Weimar is one of Ruchel's divisions.

Where did Brunswick go?  East?

- Davout

Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 06:21:37 PM
DISPATCH -- FROM CONTROL -- 2000, 17th October

General Viallannes reports the sound of gunfire ahead from the direction of Naumbourg.

S!


Davout to Umpire:

What is our current approximate distance to Naumbourg?

Roughly how far away is Vialannes?

(I'm deciding if we're going to march to the sound of the guns right now, or in the morning.  Chances are this is 1) old news and 2) Augereau needs no help, but just in case.....)


Umpire:

This is "new" news, but the darkness is very thick.  You are, conservatively, several hours removed from Naumbourg and would be confronted with night march penalties.


Davout:

We're going to wait for morning, then - thanks!

Please inform the troops of this development.

Also, I request that my staff compile an estimate of troop fatigue levels.


Umpire to Davout:

The below chain is received by you at 2230 on the 17th.  It was sent at 2000 on the same date from Marshal Augereau.

S!


Augereau:

Desjardin is to hold and consolidate his position. We will bring up the remainder of the Corps and prepare for action to occur at first light. He is to be commended fir his action this evening. I also dispatch messages to Napoleon and Davout informing them of what happened and what I intend.


[Umpire to Augereau]
A smoke-blacked messenger from one of the brigades under General Desjardins reports:

The Prussians before Naumbourg were caught on their bivouacs and driven into the city in disorder.  Your and their numbers were very nearly equal, but they would not stand.

Casualties were not great on either side given the confusion of the evening, but they have fled into the city.

The concern must now be whether they will seek to hold the city in the dark -- a dangerous night fight under the best of circumstances -- or will seek to withdraw during the evening.

The messenger awaits your instructions.

S!


[Umpire to Davout]

Your evening reports show very limited fatigue throughout the III Corps.

Frankly, the march of General Augereau's men somewhat limited your own capacity to march to anything approaching exhaustion.

None save Friant has suffered morale loss form any level of fatigue.

S!


Davout to Umpire:

And Friant was engaged earlier in the campaign so we'll let him off the hook.  For now.  ;)

Thank you!


Davout:

From: Marshal Davout
To: Marshals Murat, Lannes, and Bernadotte
Time:  2300 17 October

Gentlemen, see attached a note [above in this account] from Marshal Augereau, who is driving General Weimar's rabble of rats and rabbits into Naumbourg.
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 06:22:23 PM
Davout's Corps orders for 18 October

From: Marshal Davout
To:   III Corps; also Emperor Napoleon, Marshals Murat, Augereau, Lannes, Murat, and Bernadotte
Time: 2300 17 October

Soldiers of III Corps!

Ahead of us on the road, Marshal Augereau has engaged General Weimar at Naumbourg, surprising the Prussian rats as they ate dinner and scattering them into the town like rabbits.  Tomorrow he will resume the attack.

We will continue marching to Naumbourg tomorrow morning; we must be prepared to to continue the pursuit beyond Naumbourg, or, perhaps, to assist Marshal Augereau with the fighting in the unlikely event the Prussians discover a spine.

- Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on May 19, 2018, 06:23:08 PM
DISPATCH -- NAPOLEON I to all Marshals from Weimar to Naumbourg 0200, 18th October

Marshals of the combined Central Thrust, on the roads from Weimar (generally) to Naumbourg:

I have been following your reports of this day's (and evening's) activity with great interest as I receive them, and I am loath to interfere with your preliminaries as you maneuver into Naumbourg. Indeed, simple chatter on the road, from where I wait nearby, has reached me of some stunning results in that city, which sound as though they are in our favor although I am not quite sure.

Be that as it may, here two hours after midnight, I am only dispatching couriers to let you know what news I have received from the efforts of our Central Thrust up to now; and that I have no specific orders in mind yet. Once I'm sure the traffic has cleared sufficiently I'll be moving up into closer communion with my cavalry division. Mainly I want to ensure I am not in the way while you are doing your business.

I have not yet received news from Bernadotte or the East Wing more generally from today, but I'll pass up whatever I hear when-if-ever I do.

Let me not distract you; on with your work!

Napoleon I
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: JasonPratt on May 19, 2018, 07:51:58 PM
Nothing to add here but my more specific appreciation for hearing what happened at Naumbourg.  :clap:
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 12:50:02 PM
From: Marshal Davout
To:   III Corps; also Emperor Napoleon, Marshals Murat, Augereau, Lannes, Murat, and Bernadotte
Time: 2300 17 October

Soldiers of III Corps!

Ahead of us on the road, Marshal Augereau has engaged General Weimar at Naumbourg, surprising the Prussian rats as they ate dinner and scattering them into the town like rabbits.  Tomorrow he will resume the attack.

We will continue marching to Naumbourg tomorrow morning; we must be prepared to to continue the pursuit beyond Naumbourg, or, perhaps, to assist Marshal Augereau with the fighting in the unlikely event the Prussians discover a spine.

- Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 12:50:19 PM
Marshals of the combined Central Thrust, on the roads from Weimar (generally) to Naumbourg:

I have been following your reports of this day's (and evening's) activity with great interest as I receive them, and I am loath to interfere with your preliminaries as you maneuver into Naumbourg. Indeed, simple chatter on the road, from where I wait nearby, has reached me of some stunning results in that city, which sound as though they are in our favor although I am not quite sure.

Be that as it may, here two hours after midnight, I am only dispatching couriers to let you know what news I have received from the efforts of our Central Thrust up to now; and that I have no specific orders in mind yet. Once I'm sure the traffic has cleared sufficiently I'll be moving up into closer communion with my cavalry division. Mainly I want to ensure I am not in the way while you are doing your business.

I have not yet received news from Bernadotte or the East Wing more generally from today, but I'll pass up whatever I hear when-if-ever I do.

Let me not distract you; on with your work!

Napoleon I
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 12:51:56 PM
DISPATCH -- FROM CONTROL -- 1000, 18th October

Marshals --

In the company of Viallannes' division, Marshal Davout has ridden up to the works before Naumbourg.

He does not need good Marshal Augereau to tell him -- although he is standing there supervising the business -- that VII Corps has begun battering the town with artillery fire.

You may speak one to another directly.

Also, while you are engaged in colloquy, piquets sent out earlier by Marshal Augereau return to report they can see no sign of Prussians fleeing to the East of Naumbourg.

On the other hand, it would seem -- hard to tell for certain -- that they have done as much as is possible to prepare the town against assault.   Your best estimate is that the defenders are either a division or two in strength.

S!,


Davout:
Marshal Augereau --

I presume you are preparing to assault Naumburg directly.

If that is the case, then...

1) Do you require any direct assistance from my corps?

2) If not, would you like me to direct my corps to maneuver to the east of Naumburg in order to block the enemy's retreat, prevent their being reinforced, and secure the next river crossing?

- Davout




Davout,

I am not. I am sustaining a bombardment so that our emperor may coordinate our efforts. I do not know yet if he wants me to invest in an attack on prepared defenses in a built up area. I have informed him of the Prussian location and that i am bombarding. My divisions are currently defending should the Prussians sally forth or should reinforcements appear. We are prepared to participate as part of a coordinated attack.

I recommend you send you cavalry eastward to guard or screen any potential reinforcements. Recommend your Corps assume positions to the north and towards to east of the town. You can tie in with my eastern most flank.

Augs





Understood!

I will move to the east of town.

- Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 12:52:17 PM
Orders from Davout to III Corps, 1000, 18 October

From: Davout
To: III Corps; and also Emperor Napoleon, Marshals Murat, Lannes, & Bernadotte
Time: 1000 18 October

Situation: Marshal Augereau's corps is facing a Prussian force of 1 or 2 divisions in Naumbourg.  They appear to have fortified the town.

III Corps will march on an arc south of Naumbourg, aiming to seize the territory east of Naumbourg and secure the river crossing east of Naumbourg.  We will make ready to, on order:  1) Assault the town; 2) Defend the river crossing to prevent reinforcement of the town; and/or 3) Prevent the enemy from retreating eastwards out of Naumbourg.

Order of march is exactly as we are currently arrayed on the road.

Scheme of maneuver:

Cavalry will reconnoiter and, if feasible, screen terrain for the infantry to hold.

1st Division will tie in with Augereau's eastern flank and complete the investment of Naumbourg eastwards to the Salle River.

2nd Division will secure the crossing to the east.

3rd Division will be in reserve between them.

Once 3rd Division is in place, the Cavalry should expect new orders - either to also enter the reserve, or to scout eastwards.

Corps pioneers: on arrival, provide an estimate of the time needed to bridge the Salle in case we decide it is necessary to do so.

I will be with the cavalry division at least until we arrive at the neck of land between Naumbourg and the bridge to its east.
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 12:53:05 PM
Bridges


From the Umpire:

The Saale counts as a minor river.

Two hours for a bridge of boats or pontoons.

Four hours for a wooden bridge.

All presuming that no one is firing at you or otherwise interrupting.


From Davout:

Thanks!

I'm sure the Prussian cowards would not dare interfere; they would simply wait around for a chance to surrender.  :)
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 12:53:33 PM
DISPATCH -- LANNES to DAVOUT -- 1400, 18th October

SENT -- 1000, 18th October

My brother Marshal,

With the road clearing, V Corps is finally on the move from Weimar to Naumbourg. We can hear cannon fire from the north and east, presumably in the vicinity of Naumbourg itself. I am pushing my cavalry forward to maintain contact with your corps. Do you have any contact yet with the enemy?

Lannes




SENT 1000, 18th October

To: V Corps, Davout, Murat, Augereau

Gentlemen:

Now that the road has cleared we will continue our plan of march as I sent yesterday. From the sound of things, M. Augereau has found some Prussians near Naumbourg.

We will be marching for ten hours along the road from Weimar to Naumbourg. Our objective is to march to the sound of the guns and support M. Augereau and M. Davout. If we continue to hear the sound of cannon at dusk, we will continue our progress until we are either in contact with the enemy or have joined with the friendly forces in the vicinity of Naumbourg.

Be prepared to march quickly in support of the troops to our front; contact with the Prussians is expected. The order of march will be our cavalry, 1st Division, 2nd, Division, 3rd Division. our cavalry is to keep contact with M. Davout's corps. I will maintain my headquarters with 1st Division.

The cavalry should dispatch vedettes 2km to the front and flanks of our column to screen for the enemy.

Lannes
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 12:54:14 PM
DAVOUT to many 1600, 18th October

From: Marshal Davout
To: Emperor Napoleon, Marshalls Augereau, Lannes, Murat, Bernadotte
Time: 1600, 18 October

Gentlemen:

My cavalry scouts, approaching the rover crossing east of Naumbourg, drove some of Blucher's cavalry off eastwards.

This suggests that Ruchel is holed up in Naumbourg and Blucher - and thus Brunswick's corps? - is to the east of us.

Marshal Augereau: If your corps is sufficient to invest Naumbourg and Ruchel's Remnants, then may I suggest that I continue eastwards tomorrow to maintain pressure on Brunswick?

- Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 12:55:02 PM
DISPATCH -- CONTROL to DAVOUT -- 1600, 18th October

Marshal,

Very curious, your forward cavalry scouts to the East of Naumbourg report nearly capturing Prussian riders near the position they have taken up guarding the river.

The curious bit is that they were certainly not of Ruchel's Corps but Blucher's.  They made good their escape back to the East.

S!


Reply to Umpire:

Between you and me - I'm increasingly seeing why you hinted that my lurch towards Weimar was a bad move, denying us the ability to deeply outflank the Prussians.

That's Kriegsspiel for you...  gotta make decisions in ignorance of all the facts.  :)   (And I still don't know if it was a mistake.  And you won't - and shouldn't! - tell me until it is all over.  :)  )
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 12:55:37 PM
DISPATCH -- LANNES to DAVOUT -- 1730, 18th October

SENT 1430, 18th October

From: Lannes
To: Marshal Davout, also Emperor Napoleon, Marshals Murat, Augereau, and Bernadotte

M. Davout,

At present, V Corps is right behind you on the road to Naumbourg, with my cavalry maintaining contact with your trailing division. In light of the situation at Naumbourg, the following opportunities seem worth discussion as to the disposition of V Corps:

First, we can continue to follow III Corps as it moves south of the town, taking up a reserve position in support of III and VII Corps in the attack on Naumbourg.

Alternately, we might follow you as above, but continue our march to take and hold the crossing of the Saale to the east, freeing up your 2nd Division to assist in investing Naumbourg.

Finally, we could leave the road at Bad Kosen to the west of Naumbourg where it crosses the Saale, and move along the Saale to the north of Naumbourg, further isolating the town and blocking the withdrawal of the Prussian divisions in that direction. This is perhaps the more productive option, though it does involve the separation of V Corps from III and VIII Corps by a major river. I would suggest that I leave a division at Bad Kosen west of Naumbourg to secure the Saale crossing there, protecting the line of communication for III and VII Corps.

Please inform me as to your preference. In lieu of any communication from you I will plan to leave a division at Bad Kosen west of Naumbourg and then take up a position south of Naumbourg in reserve, this seeming to me to be the most cautious and supportive disposition for my corps.

Lannes


SENT 1400, 18th October

From: Lannes
To: III Corps, also to Marshals Davout and Murat

Generals,

I am moving my headquarters from Mattstedt to the road crossing of the Saale west of Naumbourg (town of Bad Kosen).

Lannes
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 12:56:12 PM
DISPATCH -- AUGEREAU to DAVOUT -- 1730, 18th October

SENT 1700, 18th October

My friend Davout,

I heartily encourage you to pursue that goal. I have enough to keep  Naumbourg bottled up, and bottled up is all I want to do with it. I will NOT invest in a costly assault. I will bombard and await the Prussians to attempt a break-out. We also await our Emperor's arrival. I expect him then to take charge and coordinate our efforts.

Yours.
Augereau




From: Marshal Davout
To:  Marshal Augereau
Time: 1700, 18 October

Excellent - you will keep Naumbourg bottled up, I will continue eastwards. 

I suggest we conduct the relief immediately; I will pass word to my troops to await yours.

Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 12:56:35 PM
Davout to 1st Division, 1700 18 October

1st Division: 

Prepare to be relieved in your mission of investing Naumbourg by a division from Augereau's corps.

On being relieved, move into reserve and be prepared to march east tomorrow.

- Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 12:58:03 PM
From: Marshal Davout
To: Emperor Napoleon, Marshals Augereau, Murat, Lannes, Bernadotte
Time: 1700, 18 October

Gentlemen!

After discussion with Marshal Augereau,  he will invest Naumbourg on his own; we intend the relief of my division on the east side to take place this evening.

This will release my corps to move eastwards again tomorrow; that is my current intent.

Marshal Lannes is now to the west of Naumbourg.  I suggest he follow me eastwards, but if our emperor prefers it, he could instead move north across the Saale.

- Davout




From: Marshal Davout
To: Emperor Napoleon, Marshals Augereau, Murat, Lannes, Bernadotte
Time: 1700, 18 October

Gentlemen, do you have a favorite punishment for aides who run off with a message before it is done, because you have stopped talking in order to think?


Tomorrow's major maneuver decision comes at the small town east of Naumbourg; a local claims it is called "Weissenfels".  From that town, we can turn north across the Saale towards Haale, or continue eastwards towards Leipzig.

I believe Lannes and I should move north towards Halle with an eye towards cutting off the Prussians through Magdebourg and Vittenberg.

* The rest of our army is to the east and/or south, and presumably advancing in the direction of Leipzig.  If we move eastwards, we will get in their way.  (They are likely to either be funneled through Altenbourg, or to be moving north towards Weissenfels in order to move west again.)

* If we move north, we gain the opportunity to cut Prussians at Leipzig away from Magdebourg; and, if we need to march on Leipzig after all, the approaches from the northwest are much easier terrain for us than the braided rivers we face from the southwest.


My current intent: I will march tomorrow towards Weissenfels and then towards Mersebourg.


- Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 12:58:30 PM
DISPATCH -- MURAT to DAVOUT -- 2100, 18th October

SENT 0900, 18th October

From: Marshal Murat (at the crossroads between Nordhausen and Eisleben)
To: Marshal Davout (presumed to be on the road leading west from Weimar, possibly near Apolda)
Copy to: Marshal Lannes ( presumed to be on the road leading west from Weimar, possibly near Apolda)

Gentlemen,
My corps has reached the T-junction crossroads, approximately 20km west of Eisleben. Thus far I have had no significant contact with Prussian forces.

I will be pausing here at the crossroads briefly in order to re-organize my corps before advancing to Eisleben, and thence on towards Halle.

Please advise your preference, if any, for my direction of movement past that point. lacking any input from you I will likely hold at Halle and rest, possibly sending a detachment south to Meresebourg as a blocking force.

I request that you pass this information to the Emperor in your next periodic report to him.

Your comrade-in-arms,
- Murat




To: Emperor Napoleon, and Marshals Lannes, Augereau, and Bernadotte
From: Marshal Davout
Time: 2100 18 October

Gentlemen, please find attached a note from our comrade, Marshal Murat.

I intend to suggest to him that he plan on striking deep, as the Prussians seem intent on falling back; though, clearly, he is as a remove such that he much listen primarily to his own counsel on the situation.
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 12:58:58 PM
DISPATCH -- AUGEREAU to DAVOUT -- 2230, 18th October

SENT 2200, 18th October

Message from Augereau to all my fellow Marshals.

Have any of you seen or heard from Napoleon? He was just here not too long ago. Now, when his Army is assembled, he is strangely absent? He hasn't fallen to the Prussians has he? What is his last known Location?

Concerned,
Augs.




To: Marshal Augereau
Time: 2230, 18 October
From: Davout

I'm not certain where our Emperor might be.  My impression was that he was going to be behind us at Weimar until the column passed, and might possibly follow the corps headed to Jena.
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 12:59:42 PM
FROM CONTROL -- 0100, 19th October

Marshals,

Naumbourg is burning.

S!




Davout to Augereau and Umpire:

We may have Roast Prussian tomorrow morning!

Unless it is a means of covering a retreat north of the river.
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:00:44 PM
Orders from Davout to III Corps, 0200, 19 October

From: Davout
To:  III Corps; and also Emperor Napoleon, Marshals Murat, Lannes, & Bernadotte
Time: 0200, 19 October

Situation:  Marshal Augereau's corps is facing a Prussian force of 1 or 2 divisions in Naumbourg.  They appear to have fortified the town, and the town is now (as of 0200) on fire.  III Corps is situated east of Naumbourg.  1st division is holding the eastern flank of the town and in the process of being relived by one of Marshal Augereau's divisions. 

Enemy: We have had fleeting contact with enemy forces eastwards, and elements of Ruchel's corps are in Naumbourg.

Mission:  III Corps will advance eastwards to Weissenfels.  Order of march will be:  Cavalry, 2nd division, 3rd division, 1st division.   I will be with the cavalry HQ.

There is a decision point tomorrow at Weissenfels between moving north towards Halle or continuing eastwards towards Leipzig.
   * Unless otherwise ordered, III Corps will turn northwards towards Halle
   * If there is evidence suggesting a lasting impact from attacking enemies in the direction of Leipzig, then we will do that instead.

   My expectation is that Halle will prove the better choice in order to continue our pursuit and/or to create a superior flanking opportunity against enemy forces operating in the area of Leipzig.

    We will be seeking indications regarding marching towards Magdebourg or Dessau on arrival at Halle.


Marshal Lannes:  Please follow in my trace.  You will also face a decision point on your arrival at Weissenfels; please advise me of your decision once you have made it.

Marshal Bernadotte:  Please advise us of your intentions to aid on coordination.


- Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:06:27 PM
[And now we discover that there are Prussians in Weissenfels!]

DISPATCH -- FROM CONTROL -- 0800, 19th October

As the division of General Morand approaches Weissenfels, your piquets report it held in strength.  Perhaps at least two corps.

Moreover, on the road approaching Weissenfels from the East, your ablest men have reported the advance of the dragoons of General Klein.

While not certain, it is believed that Roustam and the other members of the Emperor's close guard have been seen in their midst.

S!

[I presumed the report of Napoleon on the road east of Weissenfels was inaccurate.]

To Umpire:
Quick clarification - does the messenger know if the troops in Weissenfels are friendly or hostile?


From Umpire:
Decidedly Prussian.


To Umpire:

Sweet. 

I could not work "Situation excellent, I am attacking" into my orders, but the spirit is there.  :)



From: Davout
To: III Corps
Copy to: Marshals Lannes, Augereau, Murat, Bernadotte
Time: 0800 19 October

Brothers!

We have met two corps of Prussians in Weissenfels.  Our emperor and his guard approach the town from the south.

We will attack to seize Weissenfels in order to cut the Prussians off from their retreat to Magdebourg and bring about their destruction.

1st Division will form up for attack immediately, and conduct the attack on my command.  Your left flank is the Salle river, your objective is the Salle River crossings at Weissenfels.   Report immediately when ready. 

2nd Division march fast and move to protect 1st Division's right flank.

Cavalry will protect the right flank of the 2nd division.  If the opportunity appears to tie in your patrols to those of the emperor, do so.

3rd Division will march fast to come up come up behind first division and prepare to reinforce its attack.  If the pioneers have a bridge ready by the time you arrive, you may be sent over it instead.

Pioneers will begin creating a bridge across the Salle river in order to create the option of maneuvering forces to cut the Prussians off from the north.

I will be with First Division HQ, ideally in a location to assess its right flank.



Marshal Lannes, please move up rapidly to reinforce this fight.


- Davout

[This was a really exciting moment of the game for me.  I thought I had finally contacted the Prussian main body and would be able to hold it in place long enough to encircle and destroy it.  Note the immediate construction of that bridge across the Salle.  III Corps never wound up using it - I wound up having caught a tiger by the tail in the form of Brunswick and Blucher! -but Marshal Lannes did make use of it.]
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:07:30 PM
DISPATCH -- LANNES to DAVOUT -- 0700, 19th October

From Marshal Lannes - at Bad Kossen, vicinity of Nambourg
To: V Corps, also Marshals Davout. Murat, Augereau, and Bernadotte
Time: 0500 19 October

We will continue to march today in trace of Marshal Davout's III Corps. The order of march will be the cavalry, 1st Division, 2nd Division, and 3rd Division. As yesterday, Foucher's cavalry is to maintain contact with the trailing division of Davout's III Corps.

My intent is to move to Weissenfels and cross the Saale there after III Corps has passed through. M. Bernadotte and presumably M. Ney are also converging on Weissenfels along the road from Zeitz. It may be that our progress will be significantly slowed in and around the town due to congestion. If so, we will halt at Weissenfels. Otherwise, once across the Saale, we will continue along with III Corps in moving north to Halle.

Lannes




SENT 0500, 19th October

From: Marshal Lannes - Bad Koden, vicinity of Nambourg
To Marshals Davout and Lannes


Brother Marshals,

I am growing increasingly concerned about the separation of Marshal Murat from III & V Corps, as well as the remainder of the army. While it seems that Ruchel's Corps has been dealt a significant blow and is now trapped in Nambourg, I must wonder at the absence of the remainder of the rest of the very sizeable Prussian army. While we are driving farther and faster north and east into Saxony, we are doing so without the intelligence we should have through the efforts of a sizable screen of light cavalry.

In short, I do not believe that Brunswick is simply retreating, but rather that we are intentionally being drawn into Germany, with little idea what is in front of us - and next to nothing protecting our Line of Communications in our rear. It may be that Marshals Bessier and Soult have that well in hand, but I am concerned at the lack of communication to that effect.

I feel that we need M. Murat's cavalry back closer to the concentration of the army, to be used to locate the enemy and fix him for our attack. As it stands now we are likely to have a single corps blunder into the entire Prussian Army. Worse, were I Brunswick, I would be marching with all speed on Weimar, which as far as I know is undefended at this point.

By the way, where is our dear Emperor? Have either of you had communication with him since early yesterday morning?

Lannes




To: Marshal Lannes
From: Davout
Time: 0800 19 October

I would have preferred Murat's cavalry closer at hand, but the emperor preferred this course of action.

In any event, the Prussians are now at hand to be killed.


As you approach the battlefield, please keep in mind the bridge I am preparing across the Salle.  I suspect my corps' role in this fight will be to pin the Prussians, and will have their hands full keeping the two corps engaged until our other forces can march up.   It may be that you can put in the decisive maneuver across their line of retreat northwards by using that bridge.
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:08:52 PM
Discussion with 1st Division commander (and copy to the rest of the corps' division commanders)

----
All this presumes that some quick terrain recce in Google Maps & Earth is 1) legal and 2) relevant.  Tell me if either or both are wrong and I will STFU.
-----

The old city is practically in a crater, ringed all along the south side by hills.  It's a deathtrap.

I want the bridge - but given the probability of stiff resistance, *I want that crestline* - because once we have it, we can bring the bridge under artillery fire, as well as nearly any other target in town we desire, and pin the Prussians in the town.  3rd division or Lannes can cross our bridge and cut them off from the north.

[I included a screenshot from Google Earth here]

We need to pin the Prussians here.  If we do that best with our bodies, so be it; if we can do it by artillery fire, so much the better.

Depending on how we proceed, I will personally beg the emperor to award he Legion of Honor to the gun battery that knocks down the bridge and/or the infantry battalion that seizes the bridge.

We can win the war here.
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:10:43 PM
Message to the Emperor

Jim:  Delete the screenshot and text referring to it if it is not legal for the game (and tell me so I do not try again).  The wider issue is that you don't want people to be making their decisions unfairly - and if some of us are using one map, and others are using another, we're going to have that problem.  It isn't fair for anybody (even the Prussians) to get beaten up because other players or the umpire used a map they did not know they should use.



From: Marshal Davout
To: Emperor Napoleon, copy to Marshal Lannes and General Vialannes
Time: 0830 19 October

Esteemed Emperor!

As I have pondered our situation and surveyed the terrain, I am increasingly convinced of the need to move quickly to block the Prussian's retreat routes north and east.  (Should the Prussians move south...  let them move deeper into encirclement!)

Please note the attached sketch made by one of my staff officers; I think you'll agree he has quite an eye for detail.  The terrain offers us excellent opportunities to defeat the Prussians at Weissenfels, especially if we can hem the enemy in from the bluffs surrounding the city from the south of the river.

[Weissenfels screenshot was here]

As noted in my previous message, I have directed my pioneers to build a bridge so we can cross the Salle; I estimate it may be ready by noon and possibly by 1000.

If you would be willing to tie your forces at hand into my 2nd Division's right flank, then I can send General Vialannes' cavalry across the bridge, followed by my 3rd Division, and then by Marshal Lannes' corps. 

I believe you have several corps of infantry marching at your back with which the eastern exit can be secured.

General Vialannes is moving to secure my right flank and thus the gap between us at this time.

General Vialannes: On being relieved of your flank guard mission by other French forces, you are to move to the bridge currently under construction; on its completion, you are to cross it and move at best speed to ensure the Prussians cannot move north out of Weissenfels.  Seizing and securing the bridge is not required.  You should expect 3rd Division to be coming behind you.   If the Prussians are already on the road, do your best to harass and slow or stop them.

- Davout


Umpire to Davout:
This will be fine and will transmitted as is.
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:11:23 PM
DISPATCH -- MORAND to DAVOUT -- 1000, 19th October

Marshal Davout,

The men of your first division are in position with their left flank on the Saale River.

We await your orders.

C.A. Morand


Davout to Morand/Umpire:

I believe I am standing up near the line and can see (per earlier orders.)

If this is true:

If it looks like e stand a decent chance of gaining the crestline overlooking the town, attack now, objective is the crestline.

If the enemy is holding the crestline more strongly than gives us a decent chance of taking it, commence cannon fire.
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:13:01 PM
DISPATCH -- NAPOLEON I to DAVOUT -- 1000, 19th October

SENT 0900, 19th October

To the admirable Davout!

At 9 this morning or thereabouts I received word not only of your missive passed on from Murat, but also that your advance guard is approaching Weissenfels from the West. We are maneuvering for preparations to assist in various ways, which in case of close contact with the enemy my courier should be captured, I will not detail here.

By the same token, you may assure Murat the next time you send him a courier, that his Emperor congratulates him on his plan (insofar as described in his recent report through you) and greatly rejoices at his bold courage! We shall take advantage of his plan in due time; meanwhile I have instructed court composers to add the Feat of Murat to a whole section of the opera they should be writing about our campaign. But the deeds of all my marshals will exhaust and enrapture a full night of an audience's attention!

That sounded more epic and solemn in my head before I penned it. But perhaps it depends on the audience.

At this time we have not made contact with East Wing directly, but this is not surprising, still being early morning. The Prussians would do well to cede the field now and regroup for a defense around Berlin, before our arms join up together and sweep them clean of the region!

Napoleon



Davout to Umpire:

So, what is first division doing?  :)  (I tried to position myself to be able to know what it was doing and when 2nd began to show up, by being on the right flank of 1st division.)

Or should I not expect any such levels of detail?  ( I am antsy about conducting the fight!   Minutes mater at this point, but absent reports I'm not able to use them.  BUT if you want to conduct this in a less-informed James-state then I will cheerfully STFU. I know quite well that the more detail you give the more I will use & the death spiral begins.)


Umpire to Davout:

You are shelling that ridge as there are troops upon it.  First division is in-line and ready.  Others nearly there.  You could likely see Bernadotte mustering from the South.

Forgot to fire that off yesterday.


Davout to Umpire:

OK.  Please let me know when...

* Second division: change of mission: Form up on the right of 1st Division and prepare to attack.

* Pioneers report when bridge is started with estimated time, and at around 1 hour from completion.

* 3rd Division: Mission is now to cross the river and cut off the Prussians.  Let the cavalry go first if they are there.

[III Corps' cavalry and 3rd division must have been frustrated by the frequent changes of mission at this point.]
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:13:26 PM
DISPATCH -- FROM CONTROL -- 1200, 19th October

Your bridging operation over the Saale is well under way.

It will likely be completed at 1400 hours.

The first division is in line and ready and will soon be joined by second to the right of the first.  Viallannes' cavalry is moving to be the first to cross the bridge once it is in place.

S!
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:14:16 PM
DISPATCH -- AUGEREAU to DAVOUT -- 1230, 19th October

I send a copy of this message with my courier who is going to Napoleon. I also send copies taken by different riders to Davout and Soult!

"It could be a clever plan on the part of the Prussians to throw us off." I write that down as well to go along with the message copies.

In the meantime, my Corps continues to contain the Prussians in Naumbourg. It is now virtually impossible for the Prussians to assemble any sort of formation to even attempt a breakout.


Marshal Augereau,

A messenger in the service of General Ruchel was caught attempting to enter Naumbourg from the North.

The trembling man is brought before you cursing his misfortune and making quite plain -- albeit in German -- that he wishes he could have remained with the remainder of his force at Weisensee.

He also bore this message:

Sir,

Hold tight the town! You have done well and shall prevail in the end. We are moving forces up from the south to come and relieve you.

Gen. Ruchel
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:14:55 PM
FROM CONTROL -- 1300, 19th October

Marshal Davout,

A rider from Marshal Augereau has arrived seeking after the source of the gunfire evident from your positions near Weissenfels.

S!




To:  Marshal Augereau
From: Davout
Time: 1300, 19 October

Brother Marshal!

Thank you for the interesting Prussian message.  I don't believe there is any relief coming to either Prussian force from the south, and I do trust in your ability to contain the force you face.  It is interesting that it implies Ruchel himself is in Weissenfels.

The cannon fire you hear is mine; we are shelling the enemy at Weissenfels and preparing to attack them.

- Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:15:20 PM
DISPATCH -- BERNADOTTE to DAVOUT -- 1300, 19th October

Dispatch to Davout
The 1st Corps is attacking north from south of Weissenfels .
Marshal Bernadotte




To: Marshal Bernadotte
From: Davout
Time: 1300, 19 October

Excellent!  We are preparing to attack as well.

- Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:16:10 PM
2nd Division status?

To Umpire:

Please let me know when 2nd division is on line and ready.  I'm also curious if the cannonade is having any appreciable effect on the Prussians...

(And if I am asking for too much detail, then tell me!  :)  )


Umpire to Davout:

The bombardment has certainly scurried them to their fascine-laden ditches, but both corps seem deployed to defend.

2nd Division is in-line and prepared to attack.

The bridge is nearly complete.  Crossing will begin shortly.


Davout to Umpire:

Fascine-laden ditches, eh?  So they are dug in here, with two corps, and they had some time to prepare.  Interesting. 
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:17:17 PM
DISPATCH -- LANNES to DAVOUT -- 1400, 19th October

To: Marshal Davout
From: Lannes
Time: 1100 19 October

The Emperor is an opium addict with an onion for a head.

I come. Allons Y!

Lannes




SENT 1200, 19th October

From: Lannes
To: Marshal Davout, copies to Marshal Augerau, Marshal Murat, Emperor Napoleon

Marshal Davout,

My cavalry patrols have captured numerous stragglers in the vicinity of Naumbourg. All are from Weimar's division. The captured men indicated that they are the only division in Naumbourg. The town is burning, and the division seems to be completely cut off.

This would seem to confirm that the forces facing Marshal Augereau are the remnants of Ruchel's Corps. Ruchel would appear to be completely beaten at this point.

There are somewhere in the neighborhood of 110,000 more Prussians out there. Marshal Davout, do you have any identification of who you are facing at Weissenfels, and how many of them there are? Have the Prussians concentrated there, is this a rearguard, or might we need be concerned about a large force falling on our flank from the direction of Leipzig?

In addition to cavalry patrols rounding up stragglers, which I will continue, I have my staff officers interrogating locals along my route concerning Prussian forces that have passed through recently.

Lannes




From: Marshal Lannes
To: Emperor Napoleon, copy to Marshal Davout
Sent: 1200 19 October

Your Majesty,

My corps is located just northeast of Naumbourg, moving along the road to Weissenfels. At our current rate of march we should arrive in a position to support Marshal Davout at around 4 of the clock. Leading elements of V Corps, namely the corps cavalry under Foucher, should arrive sooner and have orders to exploit north toward Halle across Marshal Davout's bridgehead.

I am riding ahead with the cavalry to make my headquarters with Marshal Davout.

Lannes





To:  Marshal Lannes, Augereau, Bernadotte, Murat; Emperor Napoleon
From: Marshal Davout
Time: 1400 19 October

Marshal Lannes believes that the remnants of Ruchel's corps are bottled up by Marshal Augereau; though in that regard the capture of a messenger from Ruchel to those bottled forces is interesting.  (It claims there are Prussian forces to the south.  I rather doubt this is true since we have come through those routes.  Possibly it is an error for forces moving south, which is possible.)

From my vantage point, at the front lines along the western side of Weissenfels, I have just learned that my cannonade has sent the enemy "scurrying into their fascine-lined ditches".  This suggests that the Prussians have prepared this position, and thus that they have had the time to do so, and may be inclined to make a stand.

Second, I am informed that there are two corps in the town.  Potentially, this means that Ruchel's forces are split between the two towns, and we face part of Ruchel plus another corps.  This is a worst-case assumption as it would place another Prussian corps operating out of contact.


I believe that the Prussians appear have learned that they cannot face us in the open field, and therefore have decided to dig in and force a siege.  If they have stopped running, then one way or another we can defeat them.

If they seek to delay us, then I do not know why.  Perhaps our Emperor has a better understanding of the strategic picture - are the Russians moving far faster than anticipated, such that a delay of a few weeks might enable their arrival?

 I do not know how well we will perform assaulting their breastworks, but as Bernadotte is preparing to attack from the south I will do likewise once I have two divisions on line, with the aim of taking the rim of the bluffs overlooking the town.

Meanwhile, my bridge is complete and my cavalry will soon begin moving across it.  Given the timing of Lannes' expected arrival at 4pm, I will plan to keep my 3rd division on the south side of the river as a reserve for my attack.  My cavalry will continue as planned to scout forward for Lannes' advance to cut the Prussians off from the north. 

I suggest we also cut them off from retreat to the east.

- Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:19:44 PM
Orders to Davout's Corps, 1400 19 October

To:  III Corps, Marshal Lannes
From: Davout
Time: 1400 19 October

Gentlemen:

This is not a skirmish, but one of the decisive battles of this campaign. The Prussians have chosen their ground; we shall make them die on it.

When 2nd Division is on line, we will attack in order to seize the bluffs overlooking Weissenfels.  Local initiative to exploit further success is encouraged.  The enemy is dug in and will probably require some convincing to force his departure.  Extensive bombardment is authorized if it appears it will be effective against their positions.  I welcome tactical suggestions from the division and brigade commanders on ways to make the attack succeed. [Jim: The point there is that I'm trying to attack intelligently without micromanaging and/or forcing you to go into fractal levels of detail.]

3rd Division is now the attack reserve; do not cross the bridge.

Marshal Lannes is expected to arrive at around 4pm and is expected to cross the bridge in order to cut the enemy's northern retreat route.

III Corps Cavalry will continue their current orders - across the bridge and towards the road - in order to prepare the way for Marshal Lannes' rapid advance.  Assist his forces as required until he has secured the northern route.  Expect to return to III Corps' area south of the river once this is complete.

- Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:20:49 PM
FROM CONTROL

At the head of General Fouchet's division, Marshal Lannes has arrived near enough to Marshal Davout's position near Weissenfels to permit direct communication between the two of you.

Both men would surely see what Marshal Davout already knows, viz.: the III Corps is hotly engaged in a full assault on Weissenfels.

There will be a significant decision point attending the 1600 orders phase.

S!



Marshal Lannes!

We have more than just a whiff of grapeshot this afternoon.

To the best of my knowledge (despite the pricking of my thumbs), the current plan still makes the most sense.  If my current attack utterly fails, my third division should hold the line, and we need to cut the Prussian's line of retreat.  If the Prussians hold my attack, but not catastrophically, then my 3rd division remains in reserve and we need to block the Prussian's line of retreat.  If the Prussians break in front of me, then I shall commit the 3rd division to help harry them - and we will still need to block their line of retreat. 

If you have an alternate line of reasoning, please explain it!

As far as I am aware, Bernadotte is attacking Weissenfels from the south, and I believe further French forces are following him.  I am presuming that they will cut off the enemy's route to Leipzig.

- Davout



Lannes to Davout:
I quite agree, Marshal. I see no cause to change from our current course. I will lead V Corps across at your bridge and move to blockade the town from the north. Let us put a cork in this bottle and seal up the Prussians inside!
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:21:39 PM
The Battle of Weissenfels -- 1400-1600, 19th October

Marshals,

The battle has begun in earnest.

On the left, the divisions of Morand and Friant have fiercely engaged the Prussians defending the town.  Their sector appears to be defended by a single division, but it is not a small one and appears in reasonably good order.  Your forces were driven back, but not with great loss.

The center has been more difficult, there the smaller divisions of Gudin and Viallannes have squared off against at least two Prussian divisions.  However, the presence of the Emperor was seen in the center and seems to have done much to avert what could have been disaster in an area where you estimate your disadvantage at some 2:1.

To your right, the Prussians seem to have left only to have left a single division, and a disordered one at that, to defend against the troops of Generals Dupont and Klein.  Here they were dealt a bloody nose and the defenders seem far more wary than in the other sectors.

You face a decision:  the bridge over the Saale is built and the men of Viallannes division could readily cross, but this would take them off the line in what must be regarded as a difficult sector.

Your men await your orders for the next battle rounds.

S!



Davout to Lannes:

Marshal Lannes, the bridge is yours - I believe your troops are arriving at it now in any event, there's no point slowing them to get my cavalry across now.

III Corps will prepare for a renewed assault, intending to maintain the pressure on the Prussians so Bernadotte can succeed.  I want to keep a close eye on these enemy divisions, to see if they begin to shift.
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:22:06 PM
Message from Davout, 1600 19 October

To: Emperor Napoleon, Marshals Lannes, Bernadotte, Murat, Augereau
From: Marshal Davout
Time: 1600 19 Oct

Gentlemen!

We are hotly engaged with the enemy on the western edge of Weissenfels.

III Corps faces 3 enemy divisions; one of them large enough to repulse two of my divisions; the other two nearly outnumbering one of my divisions plus my cavalry at 2:1; our glorious emperor stepped in and saved the day in this sector.

To my right, Marshal Bernadotte faces a disordered Prussian division, and has dealt it a bloody nose.

We are preparing to renew the attack in order to pin the Prussians and thus assist General Bernadotte.

General Lannes is coming up behind me and will be crossing the river to cut the Prussians off.


- Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:22:56 PM
DISPATCH - Lannes to V Corps

To: V Corps, copies to Marshal Davout, Marshal Bernadotte, Emperor Napoleon
From: Marshal Lannes
Time: 1600 19 October 1806

Generals!

As you can see and hear, we have engaged the Prussians in a major battle at last. The corps of Marshals Davout and Bernadotte are fully engaged against strong Prussian forces. It is time for us to complete our part of the battle and seal the cork to this jug!

General Foucher, III Corps cavalry is too heavily engaged to cross the pontoon bridge and secure the bridgehead. You will instead immediately cross the bridge, secure the bridge head, and then push on to cut the road north out of Weissenfels. When your division has secured the road, send patrols south to the river to determine if the Prussians are guarding the bridges across the Saale and report to me.

Generals Suchet and Gazan, your divisions are to move immediately behind the cavalry to cross the bridge and also make for the road, deploying as in my previous order. Concentrate your artillery to cover the bridges across the Saale after you arrive at the road north out of Weissenfels. Tactical discretion is left to you on exact placement of your troops: find the best ground and position to bottle up any escaping Prussians.

The corps pontoon train should immediately begin construction of a second bridge near to the III Corps bridge. If this is completed before all of the corps has crossed the river we will use it to speed the crossing. If not, construction will continue to allow for the expeditious crossing of reinforcements.

General Foucher, in your movement to across the river and to the road, be on the lookout for Prussian stragglers to take as prisoner and bring to headquarters for questioning.

I will make my headquarters at the bridge. Corps staff and myself will direct traffic to move our troops across the river as quickly as possible. Speed is of the essence! Move quickly and complete our ring of steel around the town! You are under the eyes of the Emperor.

Vive l'Emperor!

Lannes
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:25:10 PM
The Battle of Weissenfels -- 1600-1800, 19th October

Sire and Marshals [Lannes, Davout, Bernadotte]: 

Please note that you are all not proximate enough to one another to communicate, but you would have all been able to see what I now describe.

On your right, the Emperor chose to commit the artillery reserve of the Imperial Guard and it has shattered the division of cavalry that stood holding that sector.  These horse have begun to flee the town in disorder.

In your center, matters are very grim, the Prussians -- against all expectation -- rose up from their trenches and attacked.  The men of Viallannes' division are profoundly shaken and cannot take much more, but the Prussian numbers in the center continue to outnumber your own men by some 2:1.  It was only the direct intervention of the Emperor that steadied your lines and held the center...for now.

On your left, the fight was a complete stalemate (OOC:  My very first TIE.  Hard to do with the modifiers and everything.)

There is one more battle turn of two hours to be resolved before night.

S!




Davout to Umpire:

May I ask what happened on my left flank - I assume the tie was my troops -- who attacked?  Us?  Them?  Both?


Umpire to Davout:
Should have clearer about that.  Just a bit stunned by the tie.

On the LEFT, Morand and Friant have met with a single, strong, Prussian division.  They slightly outnumber it, but only slightly.

In the CENTER, Gudin and Viallannes have been up against two very large Prussian divisions, one of which is clearly commanded by Blucher.  As indicated, they came on the attack, but it did not break your forces in the center.


Davout to Umpire:

Ah...  so my reserve is already committed!  Hmmm.

Thanks for the clarification.

Is it kosher to compare these reports to the order of battle you issued at the beginning?


Umpire to Davout:

Had you not, matters in the center would have been very grim indeed.

As to comparing, yes, that may be done.

Commanders in the era knew the rough paper strengths of their foe's divisions.  My impression is that it didn't drop to the brigade level or below.  And I need not go on at length re: the difference between paper and field strengths...


Davout to Umpire:

Indeed you do not.  I am running on paper strengths but I'm well aware we are all somewhere below them and probably a long way below them.  :)
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:25:42 PM
Orders for III Corps -- 1800, 19th October

The corps will transition to the defense, effective immediately.

Vialannes' cavalry will pull back into reserve and reorganize.  More will doubtless be asked of you....  you will move to shore up threatened sectors.

Impress upon the men that this is the decisive battle of the campaign, and we fight under the Emperor's watchful eye.  This circumstance gives the brave an opportunity to discover a marshal's baton in their knapsack.
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:28:09 PM
FROM CONTROL -- 1800, 19th October

This is to inform you that the men of Fouchet's division have paid their "crossing penalty" for the pontoon bridge and are now on the other side of the Saale.

Marshal Lannes -- You have a decision:  This bridge is built, necessarily, outside the "fight box" of 5km(2) around Weissenfels.  You may order the men of this division to cut the corner of this box and be seen by the Prussians as part of a flank march.  Or, you could "skirt" around the box to better avoid detection.  The former is obvious more rapid than the latter.

I await your patience.

S!



Davout to umpire:
Davout to 3rd division/III Corps: relieve Vialannes' position.  Once relieved, Vialannes is to fall back into a reserve position and reorganize.

What is the state of the enemy forces in front of Vialannes?


Davout to umpire:
Greater clarity has revealed that Gudin is already committed to the sector with Vialannes!  Never mind....


To: Emperor Napoleon, Marshals Lannes, Bernadotte, Augereau, & Murat
Time: 1800, 19 October
From: Davout

A few more details have come to light regarding the ongoing engagement (notes on which are repeated below for the benefit of those farther from the battle).

I am reliably informed that:

====
On the LEFT, Morand and Friant have met with a single, strong, Prussian division.  They slightly outnumber it, but only slightly.

In the CENTER, Gudin and Viallannes have been up against two very large Prussian divisions, one of which is clearly commanded by Blucher.  As indicated, they came on the attack, but it did not break your forces in the center.
====

Consulting "Jacque's All The World's Fighting Divisions", and working from nominal strengths:

Blucher normally commands a force of 7000 infantry and 5000 cavalry.  Gudin has around 8000 infantry and Vialannes once had around 2000 cavalry.  Two divisions similar to Blucher's would indeed outnumber my force by around 2:1.

Morand and Friant comprise around 18000 men.  They would outnumber, but only slightly, Scharnhorst's division of 13000 infantry and 4000 cavalry.  We met Scharnhorst briefly earlier in the campaign and likely chased him here from west of Weimar.

A positive ID of Blucher and a probable of Scharnhorst means we face Brunswick's corps, at the least. 


Given the force ratio against me, and the shaky state of my cavalry, my corps will move to the defense for the time being.




======= Repeated message on results of the battle up to 1800=========
Sire and Marshals:

Please note that you are all not proximate enough to one another to communicate, but you would have all been able to see what I now describe.

On your right, the Emperor chose to commit the artillery reserve of the Imperial Guard and it has shattered the division of cavalry that stood holding that sector.  These horse have begun to flee the town in disorder.

In your center, matters are very grim, the Prussians -- against all expectation -- rose up from their trenches and attacked.  The men of Viallannes' division are profoundly shaken and cannot take much more, but the Prussian numbers in the center continue to outnumber your own men by some 2:1.  It was only the direct intervention of the Emperor that steadied your lines and held the center...for now.

On your left, the fight was a complete stalemate (OOC:  My very first TIE.  Hard to do with the modifiers and everything.)

There is one more battle turn of two hours to be resolved before night.

S!
=======

- Davout 


Lannes to Davout:
All V Corps units are to move by the fastest route to the objective of the road North out of Weissenfels. We will continue this move even after dark. I would prefer to be observed by the Prussians but avoid combat until in position.
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:31:06 PM
DISPATCH -- BERNADOTTE to LANNES and DAVOUT -- 1830, 19th October

SENT -- 1600, 19th October

Dispatch to Marshals Lannes, Davout and Emperor Napoleon

The 1st Corps has one infantry division and Gen Kleins Dragoon Div engaged with the Prussians on our right flank . Our right is achieving some success while our Center under Gen Gudin of 3rd Corps is having some difficulty. I suggest Lannes to engage here on arrival. I am bringing my divisions up in turn on to our right flank. I have a total of 4 infantry divisions (including Gen Gardannes from Ney’s Corp) approaching from the south on the Gera to Weissenfels road. Our 1st Corps Cavalry patrols estimate that we are facing approximately 3 Prussian Corps at Weissenfels. 1st Corps patrols to discover Ney’s left flank have not reported his position yet. Ney is assumed to be south of Leipzig with Soult.
Marshal Bernadotte




To: Emperor Napoleon, Marshal Bernadotte, Marshals Lannes & Augereau
Sent: 1700, 19 Oct
From: Davout

Marshal Bernadotte,

Do you know where Ney and Soult are expected to turn next?

If Lannes continues northwards to cut off the Prussian route in that direction, while Ney and Soult turn westwards from Leipzig, then we have the bulk of the Prussian Army bottled up in Weissenfels.

- Davout





To: Emperor Napoleon, Marshal Bernadotte, Marshal Augereau, Marshal Davout
Sent: 1830, 19 Oct
From: Lannes

V Corps is continuing with the river crossing with the objective of cutting the road north from Weissenfels.  V Corps pontooneers are constructing a second bridge to speed movement and aid following forces.

We will continue this movement after dark until the entire corps is at the objective. I have directed my cavalry to move by the fastest route. This will likely have our movement observed by the Prussians. My intent is for this to divert some Prussian forces from the situation south of the town.

Lannes
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:32:53 PM
The Battle of Weissenfels -- 1800 to 2000, 19th October

Marshals,

Your lines have not faltered.

On the left, Morand and Friant were able to make progress against the men you now clearly identify as Scharnhorst's Division.  It was not a great victory but, as the general had not abandoned his defenses, it must be greeted with a measure of satisfaction.

In the center, your line held.  The men of Gudin's division were able to hold out against the combined assault of General Arnim as well as a division that you have had reported is commanded by Blucher himself.  The casualties sustained were not great, but the Prussians made no advance.  Credit must be given to the collapse of the Prussian left.

The men of Fouchet's division have vanished into the darkness with the intention of cutting the road North out of Weissenfels.  The men of D'Hautpol's division will complete their crossing of the Saale by 2100 hours.

Casualty returns will be reported at 0000 hours.

S!




Davout to Lannes and Umpire:

I confess I'm not quite sure what the description of the outcome of the engagement with Scharnhorst means.  Perhaps that is intentional?  If not, I'm not sure what is means that he has not abandoned his defenses - we were kicking him out of them?


Lannes:
I read that as Scharnhorst, unlike Anim/.Blucher, had not come out of his prepared positions. So we were assaulting those.


Umpire:
Lannes is correct.


Lannes to Davout and Umpire:
I will stay at the pontoon crossing point to coordinate getting the remainder of the corps across, and to urge the pontooneers to get the second bridge built. If I have any indication of combat from the direction Foucher has moved, I will move to his position. Once my 1st division is across, I will move with them to the road objective to oversee the deployment into defensive positions. V Corps will continue with this operation until all of the corps has crossed and taken up positions on the objective.
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:33:47 PM
Message from Davout, 2200 19 October

(I'm not sure Lannes and I are still co-located.)

To: Marshal Bernadotte, Emperor Napoleon, Marshals Lannes, Augereau, & Murat
Time: 2200 19 Oct
From: Davout

Gentlemen!

As I await the sad news of my casualties today - likely significant - I have been pondering out actions for tomorrow.

Marshal Lannes is moving to cut off the road to Berlin.

I have had a hard-fought day, with some possible gains on my left and a grim fight on my right (our center).

I have some intimations that Marshal Bernadotte has met with success on our right!

My question is:  What is required of my corps tomorrow?

The safe course of action for me is to defend, which is more likely to ensure that my corps does not break, stranding Lannes and causing trouble for Bernadotte and Augereau.

However, it may be more useful for me to continue to engage the divisions in front of me in order to pin them and thus support a continued assault by Bernadotte and perhaps even actions by Lannes.

Let me know what you intend and I will act to support it.   If my corps continuing to attack will assist your ability to destroy the Prussians, then it will cost what it will cost. 

- Davout

Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:34:22 PM
Davout to III Corps staff (2200 19 Oct)

Two requests for my staff:

Personnel: I would appreciate the estimates of remaining strength, fatigue, and morale once you have them available.
   Key information:  How ready will we be for tomorrow's fight?

Intel: Do you have any insight on the likely state of enemy divisions?
   Key information:  Are they better or worse off than we are after today's events?

(I realize the answer to the second query may be "see prior messages", which is fine; the player having an uncertainty is not a cue for the umpire to resolve it unless warranted.  :)  )
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:34:47 PM
The Butcher's Bill from the First Day of the Battle of Weissenfels

Report as of 0000, 20th October

Division Morand has sustained some 1,000 casualties.  Its morale remains good, but its fatigue is above average.

Division Friant has also sustained some 1,000 casualties.  Its morale if only fair, but its fatigue is low.

Division Gudin bore the brunt of the fighting and has sustained some 2,000 casualties.  Its morale is only fair, but its fatigue is low.

Division Viallannes is a ruin.  It has sustained more than 1,000 casualties and only some 300 men can answer to the standard.  Its morale is poor, though its fatigue is low.

As to your inquiry, Viallannes is hors de combat, the others are as described.

S!
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:35:16 PM
And as to the other matter...

You have taken some time -- commendable -- to put together who it was that was before you.

On the left, it was Division Scharnhorst.  They were struck, but held their ground and seemed ready to defend in the morning if need be.

In the center you confronted the large divisions of Arnim and Blucher.  They continue to possess the advantage of holding the town as they chose not to advance during the last "battle turn".

And, on the right, you have convincing reports that Division Saxe was shattered with significant losses to these troops.
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:36:20 PM
Dawn memorial service & message to Napoleon


Somebody with a human touch needs to go ask around in the remains of Vialannes' division to find out who is worthy of special recognition for valor.

message:

To: Emperor Napoleon
Time: 0030 20 Oct
From: Marshal Davout

Emperor!

I request your attendance at a brief service at dawn this day, with the remaining men of Vialannes' cavalry division.  It is my earnest hope that this service will help restore this to a fighting force, and your appearance would do much to help the men understand the importance of their sacrifice.

A few of my officers are conducting inquiries to determine if some of these men displayed particular courage; it might help their morale if you were to personally award the deserving with the Legion of Honor.

- Davout


A further thought - have my division commanders send an officer, an NCO, and 3 soldiers, all of whom showed particular merit during the campaign, to the dawn service.

We shall see if we can spread a bit of the appreciation to them and their divisions as well.


[I had hopes that this roleplaying might give my forces a bit of a boost, but it came to nothing.]
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:37:16 PM
DISPATCH -- GARDENNE to DAVOUT...sort of...

RECEIVED 0000, 20th October

A mud-spattered representative of General Gardenne's division arrives bearing messages intended for Marshal Lannes.

He is, however, at his wits end and bears the following message:

Marshal Lannes,

Have made contact with your rearmost element near Mattstedt.

Am in despereate search of His Majesty who had ordered us to his standard.

Any assistance you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Your Servant,

G.d.D. G.A. Gardanne
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:38:01 PM
CORRECTION RE: Gardanne

I figured it out.

It took an AWFUL lot of note reviewing, but there was something about Bernadotte's concerns that I couldn't get out of my head.

So, for the record:

DIVISION GARDANNE was attached by the directive of the Emperor to I Corps.  As such, it would have marched with I Corps and would now be bivouaced South of Weissenfels having not been close enough to the fray to fight during the first day of the Battle of Weissenfels.

It is currently at full strength, high morale, and very low fatigue.

Apologies for the confusion.

[Even the umpires suffer from fog of war!  :)  ]
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:40:31 PM
A Grim Meeting -- 0000, 20th October

Emperor Napoleon and Marshals --

Emperor Napoleon and Marshal Bernadotte have made a relatively quick circumnavigation of their encampment to the West.

There, not far from the banks of the Saale, on a ridge overlooking the battle-ravaged village of Weissenfels, they find a distraught Marshal Davout making elaborate arrangements for a memorial service for General Viallannes in his camp tent.

Or, put another way, gentlemen, you may talk amongst yourselves.

Marshal Lannes is out of range of this conversation.

S!



My condolences Marshal Davout. Gen Viallannes achieved a glorious death no doubt.  I was just relating to L’EMPEREUR the following:

Sire , Gen Klein has reported his morale as high but also with high fatigue. My patrol up the river valley to Leipzig found only ~1 division of Prussian s in Leipzig .  No sign of Ney. And another odd occurrence is the disappearance of Gen Gardannes. His infantry division was attached to my Corps from Ney’s Corps as the 1st Corps was marching to and encamped around Jena some two days ago. I can only assume that Ney has recalled this division without informing myself.

Marshal Bernadotte



Gentlemen!

Marshal Bernadotte, what is your intent regarding your actions tomorrow?  It appears that you have the southern and eastern sides of Weissenfels bottled up.  Do you have a better sense of what forces you face in there, and where the other Prussian elements are?

General Vialannes' death was doubtless glorious, though my primary concern is to try to return my 300 remaining cavalrymen into a mental state that is fit for service....  at the moment they are shattered.

- Davout


From Napoleon:

God's Grief! -- I don't recall calling Gardenne to me, but if I did I'm sure I was just trying to get him back to Ney, who had lost track of him and needed whatever help he could get asap. (Ney had let off another division, too, somewhere on guarding our line of communication.)

Considering that we have now lost track of two corps up around Leipzig, I can't help but be worried about that area. Could this, and the ~1 division in Leipzig found by Bern's scouts, have something to do with the captured Prussian courier earlier yesterday (or late on the 18th) talking about Prussians to our south?! i.e. has East Wing been forced to shatter and the Prussians are following up by advancing down what was our right/east Wing path?

While I would love to take advantage of the apparent weakness in Leipzig right now, what I haven't heard yet from Bernadotte's scouting force, is the situation on the road to Leipzig. My guess in advance, was that the Prussians had taken up a defensive line on the road (or relatively nearby, accounting for local defensive benefits) in order to secure a corridor of reinforcement and retreat between Weissenfels and Leipzig. If (as appears likely) East Wing has been driven off at last, they might be leaving Leipzig lightly defended while they funnel reinforcements down the line to our fight here at Weissenfels.

Bern should ask his scout [via Cyrano I suppose] about the road situation, not just about Leipzig: what did he see of Prussians, or not see of Prussians (where he might expect to see them if they are there), between here and Leipzig?

At some point, unless our fortunes turn around drastically against us, I expect the Prussians to retreat back to a final line, behind riverworks, protecting the road to Berlin [OOC: thus gaming the map]. Has this already started? Or are we looking at something different?

We should hear from Lannes, too, if possible, and if he can get to our conference that would be ideal.


From Bernadotte's sector of the battle, I haven't heard casualties yet, but by application of reserve artillery and Klein's dragoons to Bernadotte's forces, we were able to shatter the defenders of our rightmost sector. I have ordered Klein to pull back and camp before midnight, and Bessier's imperial cavalry (who has been resting since last midnight) has orders to advance into the enemy's routed sector before dawn in order to set up a flanking attack on our central sector of attack.

The central sector's attackers essentially had to give up attacking and even defend against the stiff resistance in their area, but by applying some local advice [OOC: combat bonuses] I was able to help them hold the line. Bernadotte should be withdrawing them, back a little to rest, but what we need now is to apply pressure on our central front as hard as possible in the morning. My reserve artillery will be moving up later before dawn to help this assault, but if we have any arriving infantry to help that would be very important! -- what can be assigned here (at least locally), should be.

Our left sector (presumably abutting Davout's rightward sector) didn't go anywhere but also took relatively few casualties so far as I know. They should be good to help pin Prussian defenders while we work on rolling back their defensive line from the schwerpunkt we have created. In this area, the enemy's backs are to the river, and that should help us, but will naturally make spoiler attacks against their rear more problematic.

I have almost no clear information about Davout's or Lannes' sectors of frontage yet.

Someone earlier asked whether I had any larger grand strategic news, such as the Russians moving early to help relieve the Prussians. I have not heard of any such thing. [OOC: and I kind of don't expect that from this game engine; but if that's potentially a factor then Cyrano hasn't told us!]

Napoleon


Davout:
Answering some of the questions:

Lannes is moving north of the river to block the Prussians' retreat north from Weissenfels; this should have taken place by the morning.

On my front (3rd corps):

1st division is facing Scharnhorst, who is dug in.  We fought to a standstill.  1st has suffered around 1000 casualties but its morale is good, though the division is becoming tired.

2nd and 3rd divisions are facing Arnim and Blucher.  You were present for this fight; 2nd division lost 1000 men, 3rd division lost 2000 men, and their morale is only fair.

3rd Corps' cavalry has been shattered, with 300 remaining of 2000 and their morale broken.  (I have leaned on this division heavily throughout the campaign to date...  this is far from their first engagement.)


If you want III Corps to attack, we will be ready when you give the word.  Steadily rolling up the Prussians sounds like a good idea.  Perhaps the commit trigger for each division should be seeing a force attack the flank of the division in front of them?


Where do you intend to commit Gardenne?  Reinforcing Bernadotte's attack?


- Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:41:15 PM
Dispatch - Lannes to Davout

From: Lannes
To: Davout, copies to Emperor Napoleon. Marshals Augereau, Bernadotte
Time: 0000 20 October

M. Davout,

General Foucher's cavalry has reached the road north from Weissenfels. I have directed him to prepare for action along the road, and to advance patrols to the river bridges to determine if they are held in strength by the Prussians. If not, I intend to destroy them, trapping the enemy against the river. If they are, I will take them under artillery fire as soon as there is enough light.

General D'Hautpol's curassiers are also across the river, and moving to reinforce Foucher. The infantry divisions are beginning to cross now. Corps engineers anticipate having a second bridge available by 0100.

Do you have any word on Ney's corps or the Guard?

Lannes


To: Lannes
Time: 0030 20 Oct
From: Davout

[I understand we are no longer co-located.]

I am pleased to hear of your progress!

I do not know of Ney's corps, though some discussions suggest it gave away both its infantry divisions; Gardanne's division is just south of Weissenfels.

I believe the emperor intends to attack on the morrow; Bernadotte shattered a division and the intent is to push in and follow up, rolling up Brunswick's line.  Your bombardment can only add to the enemy's impending rout.

- Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:42:37 PM
Message form Davout, 0030 20 Oct

To: Emperor Napoleon, Marshals Lannes, Augereau, Bernadotte, Murat
Time: 0030 20 Oct
From: Davout

Gentlemen!

My officers and I spent some effort on puzzling out who was in front of us and their current state:

=====
On the left, it was Division Scharnhorst.  They were struck, but held their ground and seemed ready to defend in the morning if need be.

In the center you confronted the large divisions of Arnim and Blucher.  They continue to possess the advantage of holding the town as they chose not to advance during the last "battle turn".

And, on the right, you have convincing reports that Division Saxe was shattered with significant losses to these troops.
=====

That's roughly half of Brunswick's corps in front of me; and Bernadotte appears to have put Ruchel's largest division to flight.

My own forces are dwindling.  My first division, facing Scharnhorst, is still steady; but my divisions facing Arnim and Blucher are not up to offensive tasks tomorrow, and my cavalry now numbers only 300 demoralized sabers and its commander, Vialannes, is dead.  The cavalry has provided excellent service so far in the campaign, but yesterday's events make it a spent force.

My intention for tomorrow is to line one division up in front of each enemy division, dig in, and hit them with artillery fire.  My 2nd and 3rd divisions very nearly crumbled yesterday and I do not want the next iteration to go worse.  I will pull my shattered cavalry into reserve and see if a day of rest can get them into something approximating a fighting force again.

I believe Lannes will be sealing off the Prussians from the north.

I am not certain of Bernadotte's intentions but hope that he has met with success across the board similar to that of his fight against Saxe.

Saxe's presence in Weissenfels makes me wonder about how much force is present in Naumbourg.  Could it be taken, and Augereau's forces brought to bear on Weissenfels?

- Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:44:03 PM
Orders for 3rd Corps, 0030 20 Oct

Copy to:  Emperor Napoleon, Marshals Lannes, Augereau, Berndotte, Murat

Soldiers!

We have pinned half of the enemy's largest corps in Wiessenfels.  Marshal Lannes is sealing their escape to the north, moving across a bridge built by our corps; and Marshal Bernadotte has put one of Ruchel's divisions, weakened by our prior efforts, to flight. 

We will defend our frontage tomorrow, lining up one of our divisions against each of the enemy divisions facing us - I believe this to be our current disposition. 

Dig in.  We are now the anvil while Marshals Bernadotte and Lannes are the hammer; as the anvil, we must hold the line.

Artillery is to maintain fire on the enemy.

If the enemy begins to crumble in front of us due to events elsewhere, we will attack and pursue to ensure his rout. 

Cavalry: form in reserve and rest.

Vialannes' cavalry division deserves special mention for its bravery and sacrifice; of its 2,000 men, only 300 remain, and Vialannes himself numbers among the slain.  At dawn, the cavalry, the corps officers, and I will hold a brief service of memorial for the fallen and thanks for their sacrifice for France.

- Davout


Bernadotte sends:

Empereur and Marshal Davout- I will place Gen DuPont (1000 casualties ) into reserve and continue to press the attack with 3 infantry divisions (one of which is Gen Gardannes fresh division) at 1000 after the completion of a two hour bombardment starting at 0800. I expect my 1st Corps light cavalry brigades detached from Gen Tilly to return from patrol tomorrow sometime. One cavalry brigade is returning from Leipzig and I will discover from them the strength of the Prussians along the route from Leipzig to Weissenfels. If Kleins div of heavy cavalry can support the assault that would add gravitas. And any reserve artillery that can be employed as a grand battery with 1st Corps artillery for the morning bombardment would be welcomed.
Regards
Marshal Bernadotte
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:46:38 PM
Evening conference continues 0030+ 20th October Weissenfels

From Napoleon:
Marshals,

Based on the information I have digested since midnight, I perceive that Davout and Bernadotte have been effectively combining forces on a three-sector front against the Prussians -- which I have aided a little by my support in the central section, and by committing Klein to the assault on right sector along with my reserve artillery.

In order to ensure that the Prussians are not allowed to refill the shattered right sector, we must advance into it before dawn -- currently this is the assignment of Bessier's rested cavalry who, aside from some remaining fatigue, should be in both high moral and (so far as I recall) at full strength. Has a recommendation been made to send someone in with his division before dawn?... or perhaps after dawn, once he has secured the position?

This is a case, speaking OOC for the nonce, that I don't quite have a grasp on the mechanics of the battle board and relative positions of the enemy. If Bessier can advance into the Prussian left sector (facing our right sector), we have no need to line up infantry on our right sector anymore, do we? Or, do we? -- must we secure our right sector and/or the abandoned Prussian left sector from Prussian encroachment into those sectors from outside the 3x2 board? Obviously we can feed our troops in! -- I presume the Prussians can at least feed troops into their two remaining sectors and, conversely, they must be capable of withdrawing from those sectors, which our estimable Lannes is in the process of sealing off. By the same token again, can Lannes assault their two remaining sectors from the rear while we're doing our things 'in front' and on the side?

Much remains unclear to me. But it seems to me that if our left sector can hold its ground for now, in preparation for a shift in our concentration of force, then we should 'load up' our central sector with the best and freshest troops remaining to us. 2/3 of our artillery including my army reserve shall, as suggested, start a preparatory bombardment for a couple of hours on the central Prussian sector, which I expect to be reinforced for various reasons (if they don't try to withdraw to escape the trap, and if reinforcements can even still enter from the Prussian side at this point). Should this bombardment not start at 6am however? Is there some need to wait two more hours to 8am? (Or am I misremembering the suggestion as 8 to 10 bombardment?) Perhaps this is to give Bernadotte's cavalry time to return from their mission to Leipzig?

At the designated hour of the end of the bombardment, Bessier (at least, perhaps another division if one advances into the Prussian abandoned sector with him) shall start the flank attack on the Prussian center, and that shall be the trigger for our own central attack by the infantry (presumably with continued snipe-salting on local positions by our artillery). Our right-sector infantry will defend in place until whenever we crack the central position and can all converge on the Prussian right sector (in front of our left).

I am a little loath to bring Klein back in without rest, as I am concerned his fatigue may cause him problems. But we hold him as reserve on-call, instead of resting, then perhaps he can tip the balance in an emergency or (preferably) help in hounding pursuit duties. I would not want to depend upon him crucially -- no disrespect to him or his forces, just a prudent respect for the situation until he can rest. Ideally however I would prefer for him to rest for the day as Bessier did and be prepared for action on the 22nd. I am not convinced we actually NEED him,and surely his gravitas would weigh more heavily upon the enemy after proper food and rest?

Much good rumination so far. I must say I am extremely pleased to hear about Gardenne's presence, although I can barely claim credit for it. (And I remain worried that his absence from East Wing has helped precipitate disaster far off to our right.)

Napoleon



From Bernadotte:

Sire, here is my detailed Corps status:

Division Dupont has sustained some 1,000 casualties.  Its morale is good but its fatigue is high.

Division Klein has good morale and fatigue.

Division Rivaud has good morale but high fatigue.

Division Tilly, still awaiting the return of the brigade sent out for reconnaissance, has good morale but above normal fatigue.

Division Drouet has good morale but above average fatigue

Division Gardanne at full strength, high morale, and very low fatigue

 

Marshals Lannes attacking across the river may be hampered by the terrain and with Davout spent the Prussians may be able to concentrate on their defense against the 1st corps.  The Prussians are also just as fatigued albeit in better terrain so might be worth pressing until someone breaks first.  There are approximately 3 Prussian Corps in the vicinity of Weissenfels and likely all on the defensive tomorrow am.  I am not sure of the time of local sunrise in Oct hence the 0800 start.  I will check with my ADC and commence the bombardment 30 minutes after sunrise.  Gen Klein has relatively good morale and fatigue – sorry for this tardy report.

 

Vive L’empereur!

 

 
From Napoleon:

1.) Do you mean only Dupont's division has suffered serious casualties in your corps so far?

2.) Do you mean Klein's fatigue is good (=low?), or that he has average fatigue? It sounds as though he might be useful for aiding the fight after all. (I mean actively aiding, not just aid-by-position.)

My impression is that our artillery will prove the decisive advantage tomorrow, considering that relative fatigues on each side will be high. And perhaps Gardanne's division, for much the same reason (a fresh strong punching to exhausted troops).

Napoleon



From Bernadotte:

Sire, here is my detailed Corps status:
Division Dupont has sustained some 1,000 casualties.  Its morale is good but its fatigue is high.
Division Klein has good morale and fatigue.
Division Rivaud has good morale but high fatigue.
Division Tilly, still awaiting the return of the brigade sent out for reconnaissance, has good morale but above normal fatigue.
Division Drouet has good morale but above average fatigue
Division Gardanne at full strength, high morale, and very low fatigue
 
Marshals Lannes attacking across the river may be hampered by the terrain and with Davout spent the Prussians may be able to concentrate on their defense against the 1st corps.  The Prussians are also just as fatigued albeit in better terrain so might be worth pressing until someone breaks first.  There are approximately 3 Prussian Corps in the vicinity of Weissenfels and likely all on the defensive tomorrow am.  I am not sure of the time of local sunrise in Oct hence the 0800 start.  I will check with my ADC and commence the bombardment 30 minutes after sunrise.  Gen Klein has relatively good morale and fatigue – sorry for this tardy report.
 
Vive L’empereur!



From Davout:

I shall prepare my corps to support the attack, beginning with artillery bombardment to commence when Bernadotte's does (currently 0800) and ready to jump off when the troops in front of each of my divisions gets hit in the flank.

OOC, I am not sure how the combat system is being run, so I am largely ignoring that angle and simply laying it out in my head.  Might be accurate, might not, but so far so good.  :)


From Umpire:

The combat system runs L-C-R and it's most useful to me (in fact necessary) to know who is in each sector and who, if anyone, is in the reserve.

As the result of yesterday's action, you have cut the RIGHT (from your perspective) which means that the Prussians cannot flee that way.

Each unit contributes a certain number of combat dice.  Various modifiers contribute a number of combat dice.  Various units contribute a certain amount of combat modification (DRMs).  I then roll two sets of dice and compare the results.

It's deliberately simple, but I like the results so far.

NOTE:  In-character arguments (think Matrix games) can influence the battle.  In one instance -- literally a year ago -- a general told me he was making an inspiring speech to his men and provided the full text.  This does NOT, NOT, NOT always work, but it can provide a small benefit as well.
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:47:25 PM
Orders for III Corps - REVISED -- 0100 20 Oct

From: Davout
To: III Corps, Emperor Napoleon, Marshalls Lannes, Murat, Augereau, Bernadotte
Time: 0100 20 Oct

NEW ORDERS

Marshal Bernadotte has been reinforced and will attack tomorrow at 1000, with an artillery bombardment commencing at 0800.

III Corps will support this attack with artillery and its own attack.

All artillery will commence fire on the Prussians at 0800.

All divisions will be prepared to attack by 1000.  Divisions will attack when the flank of the Prussian division they face comes under threat.  We expect to roll the Prussians up from the right.

- Davout


From Bernadotte:

1st Corps Orders:

1st Corps Artillery to be in place to commence bombardment at 0800

Division Gardanne and Division Drouet to Attack at 1000 with support from Division Tilly and Division Rivaud

Division Dupont to be placed in Reserve

Division Klein to support attack at 1000 unless Napoleon directs Klein otherwise.

 
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:47:52 PM
Evening conference concludes 0400+ 20th October Weissenfels

Marshals,

With dawn approaching I am returning to take position on the far right of the battle sector, where I can lend support to the flanking attack of the Imperial Guard, as I think is most appropriate. I have looked over the orders set previously by both of you and I have no alterations or questions.

I have received no couriers at all this evening, which is odd, and most especially troubling from a lack of contact with the East Wing. At 4am, some lower officers traveling on night duties informed me that local trade rumor among the locals is that bloody fighting continues somewhere this evening after midnight, even down to this late hour. Where, I have not been able to ascertain -- is it down at Nurembourg? Or are Ney and Soult fighting to survive or perhaps to escape? Has our rear been compromised? Supply does not seem diminished yet; I trust I would hear about our lines of communication being breached.

At this point all we can do is crush the enemy faster, we hope, than they are mauling us. To the work, then!

Napoleon
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:48:40 PM
DISPATCH -- FROM CONTROL -- 0900, 20th October

Marshals,

On schedule at 0800, the sound of cannon fire is heard from the South of Weissenfels.

S!
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:51:03 PM
DISPATCH -- LANNES to DAVOUT -- 1030, 20th October

From: Lannes
To: V Corps, copies to Emperor Napoleon, Marshal Davout, Marshal Bernadotte, Marshal Augereau
Sent: 0500

Generals,

We are now in a position to hold the Saale river crossings above Weissenfels. Our cavalry is in position and the infantry is on the way. Marshal Bernadotte will begin an attack against the Prussians in Weissenfels at 1000, supported by Marshal Davout. The attack will be proceeded by an artillery bombardment beginning at 0800.

As the crossings are lightly held, General Foucher is ordered to move to immediately seize the river crossings. General D'Hautpol's heavy cavalry will support Foucher's cavalry. Artillery is to be positioned to command the crossings and their approaches from the Weissenfels side.

When 1st Division arrives, it will relieve General Foucher's cavalry in holding the bridges. The cavalry will retire into support. On arrival, 2nd Division will position itself across the road north from Weissenfels and in support of 1st Division. Foucher's cavalry will screen the corps to the north along the road from Weissenfels. D'Hautpol will act as the corps reserve. All artillery is to be massed to the front of the 2nd Division, commanding the bridges and approaches.

We are the cork in the bottle, gentlemen. We will hold here, pinning the Prussians in Weissenfels to be destroyed by Bernadotte and Davout.

I am moving my headquarters now to General Hautpol's position.

Allons Y!

Lannes
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:51:31 PM
Davout to Davout, 1100 20 October

If I'm not currently there, I'd like to move up to see how things are going with 2nd and 3rd division and any sign of Bernadotte's attack on the flank of the forces facing them.
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:52:01 PM
DISPATCH -- LANNES to DAVOUT -- 1100, 20th October

From: Lannes
To: Marshal Davout, copies to Emperor Napoleon, Marshal Bernadotte, Marshal Augereau
Sent: 0700

My brother Marshal,

My cavalry is in place cutting the road out of Weissenfels. I have seized the bridges over the Saale, and await the arrival of my infantry. At this point the Prussians are either unaware of the presence of my forces or have elected to ignore it.

I will remain in place until the battle develops south of the Saale. I will either act to stop a Prussian withdrawal from Weissenfels or, if the situation seems favorable, advance across the bridges and attack them from behind once they are engaged with your forces.

Lannes



From: Davout:
To: Marshal Lannes, copies to Emperor Napoleon, Marshal Bernadotte, Marshal Augereau
Sent: 1100

Marshal Lannes,

Excellent news!

Our artillery is currently pounding away and all is apparently covered in smoke, as I know nothing else save your message.

Perhaps, by the time this reaches you, we shall have met in the middle of Weissenfels....

- Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:52:37 PM
DISPATCH -- AUGEREAU to FIRST MARSHAL MET -- 1130, 20th October

A hussar on a winded mount rides up to your mobile command post bearing the briefest of messages from Marshal Augereau, viz.:

"To whichever commander this missive may find.  I remain before Naumbourg.  I have heard the sounding of the guns in the direction of Weissenfels.  What transpires and what action ought I take?  And has anyone had word of His Majesty? -- A."

The hussar awaits your patience.



To: Marshal Augereau
From: Davout
Time: 1200, 30 October

His majesty the Emperor is with us at the Battle of Weissenfels; currently a hot action in which we appear to be gaining the upper hand elsewhere, though I am pounding away at Blucher and Scharnhorst.

If you have dealt with the Prussians in Naumbourg, then your assistance here would be welcomed; but I would be reluctant to leave them unattended in our rear.

- Davout
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:53:07 PM
DISPATCH -- MURAT to DAVOUT -- 1200, 20th October

From: Marshal Murat - at crossroads, between Nordhausen and Eisleben
To: Marshals Davout, Lannes, and Bernadotte
Time: 2000 hrs, 19 October

Gentlemen -
I am encamped with my corps at the "T" crossroads, approximately 20 kilometers west of the town of Eisleben. My troops have spent the day resting and should be in fine fettle for action tomorrow. Scouts have reported the presence of an enemy division of both cavalry and infantry, estimates at 12,000 to 16,000 men. Based on the uniforms and banners we have seen, I believe this force to be General Wurtemberg's Reserve corps.

My intention tomorrow is to advance on Eisleben, occupy the town, and then continue east in the direction of Halle. However, if Eisleben is (as I expect) strongly defended,  I do not believe I have the strength to take Eisleben on my own. Instead, I shall merely block the northern and western roads leading out of that town. My goal in this eventuality will be to force any Prussians in Eisleben to either stand their ground (thus keeping them from reinforcing any Prussian forces along your anticipated axis of advance) or get them to retire eastwards, under close pressure by me, in the direction of Halle, where together with your stronger forces should be able to catch them in a vise and defeat them in detail.

Your comrade-in-arms,
Murat





From: Marshal Davout
To: Marshal Murat, Lannes, Bernadotte, Augereau, and Emperor Napoleon
Time: 1200 30 October

Marshal Murat!  This is excellent news.  (Your message of 2000 19 October repeated below for the benefit of those who may not have seen it yet.)  We are

We are currently engaged in a stiff fight for Weissenfels and appear to have trapped Brunswick's corps there. 

- Davout

=======
Gentlemen -
I am encamped with my corps at the "T" crossroads, approximately 20 kilometers west of the town of Eisleben. My troops have spent the day resting and should be in fine fettle for action tomorrow. Scouts have reported the presence of an enemy division of both cavalry and infantry, estimates at 12,000 to 16,000 men. Based on the uniforms and banners we have seen, I believe this force to be General Wurtemberg's Reserve corps.

My intention tomorrow is to advance on Eisleben, occupy the town, and then continue east in the direction of Halle. However, if Eisleben is (as I expect) strongly defended,  I do not believe I have the strength to take Eisleben on my own. Instead, I shall merely block the northern and western roads leading out of that town. My goal in this eventuality will be to force any Prussians in Eisleben to either stand their ground (thus keeping them from reinforcing any Prussian forces along your anticipated axis of advance) or get them to retire eastwards, under close pressure by me, in the direction of Halle, where together with your stronger forces should be able to catch them in a vise and defeat them in detail.

Your comrade-in-arms,
Murat
===========
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:54:41 PM
The Battle of Weissenfels -- 20th October -- 1000-1200

Marshal Davout,

The attack on Weissenfels and its environs began as planned.

In your sector (the left) your men went forward bravely and met the single division of General Schanhorst.  These are stout defenders and seemed to have had the best of the fight, but numbers are beginning to tell against the Prussians.

In the center, the story is much the same with General Blucher inflicting a slight defeat on those forces that advanced against him.  Neither side, however, achieved anything approaching a real advantage.

Matters on the right are confused.  You could distinctly see in the distance Prussian infantry and cavalry fleeing pell-mell for the bridge over the Saale and being repulsed by the men of Marshal Lannes' corps.  IG Cavalry is in pursuit of these same troops.  This cannot bode well for the King of Prussia.

S!



To Umpire:

So, ever since I read this, I have been pondering...  it this the moment I should commit myself into the front lines, rally the troops, and try to crack the enemy line?

It might work.  (I have my copy of Le Vol back from the student who has been borrowing it all year, but I have not looked to see if there's anything in the system to back that up.  Doesn't matter.)

But if it fails - and the corps commander dies - then the corps may shatter, which would be Really Bad for the French battleplan.

So...  I am not doing it.

Yet.

Because we need to hold and pin Blucher & Scharnhorst more than we need to crush them in a frontal assault.

Thought you might enjoy the peek into my internal debate.  :)


From Umpire:

Most courteous to invite me inside your mind.  I promise to leave this as I found them, as best I may.

Here's the thing:  were this face-to-face, Boney would be the Supreme Commander of this battle and he'd be sitting opposite the lead Prussian Commander.  He and the Prussian would then alternate deploying divisions face down, with the French allowed one last fiddle.  Then, all division cards are turned face up and the dice are totted.

In that scenario, Davout has got to be on the field, if for no other reason than the French are really, really, going to want the Boney bonus and he cannot command without Davout being committed elsewhere.

I rather like how this has evolved, although certainly different from stock "Flight". but I HAVE been committing you to the fray.  To be in the hazard, your side would have to lose by more than 20.  Your results have never been close to that...



To Umpire:

Well fair enough then, I shall picture myself as encouraging the troops from the front lines, then.  :)

Have at the Hun, men!  :)
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 04, 2018, 01:55:21 PM
...  and that's where the reports stopped!
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: JasonPratt on July 05, 2018, 11:01:35 AM
The most recent reports (since yesterday), illustrate how courier lag time can bite us. As Bern and I (Nappy) were making our grand counter-clockwise loop to approach Weis' from the east/south, naturally we were out of contact, and even once we arrived we created a frontage so large that combatants on the left could make adjustments a lot more quickly than they could communicate and discern matters where we were (and vice versa).

Also, since I had tried to set things up for the marshals to operate in a decentralized way, precisely because of anticipated courier lag, I hadn't very well anticipated that the marshal/players would be wanting instructions or even opinions from me on literally anything! Otherwise I wouldn't have force-marched around (largely at night) to steal a march on the Prussians. But my faith in y'all being more competent than I am, paid off.  ;D  O0
Title: Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
Post by: James Sterrett on July 05, 2018, 04:25:45 PM
Your forced march was the right thing to do!  In the event, everybody did the right thing.  It would have helped if we'd had a clearer idea where you were headed -- but in re-reading these to post them, I believe you did tell us, we simply forgot.  :-/   :)