Author Topic: Six Days in October - General Ruchel's personal diary  (Read 3159 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Barthheart

  • Order of the Square Button
  • Arquebusier
  • *
  • Posts: 14066
  • Looking for walkie-talkies in 1809.....
Re: Six Days in October - General Ruchel's personal diary
« Reply #30 on: May 17, 2018, 10:43:52 AM »
(Historian's note: Around 1300 14th Oct. Ruchel and Blucher exchange dispatches.)

Dispatch from Blucher to Ruchel

SENT 1000, 14th October

I have no intelligence on the battle you have engaged in.  In light of no information, I am ordering Scharnhorst to march immediately to join me at Weimar, unless you have already given him the order to join you.  I beg you, sir, please send word of your situation IMMEDIATELY!

GL von Blucher
----------------

Dispatch from Ruchel to BLucher

Friend! We are engaged in battle with French cavalry of Marshal
Murat. So far we are holding the field but more enemy are showing
up…
You should make your way North to Brunswick as he has ordered. In
a dispatch from him, he seems to have no idea where you are or
what you are up to.
We shall endeavour to move North again once we have dispatched
these filthy Frenchmen. If not, then we shall have at least extracted
large number of their forces form the overall battle.

Please forward this info to Brunswick in case my own riders are
being waylaid!
Good fortune to you!
PETS - People for the Ethical Treatment of Square corners

I'm not a drunk, I'm just Canadian - Shawn Germain


Offline Barthheart

  • Order of the Square Button
  • Arquebusier
  • *
  • Posts: 14066
  • Looking for walkie-talkies in 1809.....
Re: Six Days in October - General Ruchel's personal diary
« Reply #31 on: May 17, 2018, 10:48:37 AM »
(Historian's note: About 1400 14th Oct. with the battle still going strong and no clear victor, there are several reports of Ruchel pushing his men to greater feats of courage.)

(Conversation with control)

Control:

General Ruchel,

Your forces remain hotly engaged Northwest of Erfurt.

While additional forces joined the fight, your men did not waver, though they took rather the worst of the last two hours' fighting -- although not by a great margin.

You have heard reports that the men of General Foucher's cavalry division -- numbering some 2,000 -- now approach the battlefield.

S!

Ruchel

General Dispatch to my troops. I heap high praise on them for their efforts so far and extoll upon the virtues of their heritage and combat skills and generally whip them into a frenzy of high spirited fighting.

Is there a thing for raising morale?

Control

There is and you have.

S!
PETS - People for the Ethical Treatment of Square corners

I'm not a drunk, I'm just Canadian - Shawn Germain

Offline Barthheart

  • Order of the Square Button
  • Arquebusier
  • *
  • Posts: 14066
  • Looking for walkie-talkies in 1809.....
Re: Six Days in October - General Ruchel's personal diary
« Reply #32 on: May 17, 2018, 10:53:36 AM »
(Historian's note: The battle continues to rage through 1600 14th. Oct.)

(Conversation with Control)

Control

General Ruchel,

The troops under your command continued their affray from 1400 through the present time.

The fight was very closely matched in both numbers and spirit.  Your exhortations seem to have worked a good effect on your men.

Two definite sections of the battle have begun to evolve.  Each side seemed victorious in a sector during this recent round, but neither was able to land a decisive blow.

With night drawing on, your commanders are urging their men to greater exertions in the name of glorious victory.

An additional note, a sizeable contingent of troops -- perhaps a division of infantry -- can be seen in the distance approaching through Erfurt from the South. You fear they are French, but the men of Weimar's division are so skittish it's impossible to get a certain report at this time.

They will likely join the next battle.

S!

Ruchel

"They will likely join the next battle"......? Is that today before dark or tomorrow?

Control

In the last two-hour turn before dusk, i.e. 1600-1800.

Ruchel

Hmmmm... I'm confident that they are actually Prussians coming to save my bacon... err... bratwurst... so we stand and fight!

More moral raising talks with commanders and fighting men! Especially the Weimar troops trying to get them back to fighting form.

Huzza!

(Idiot player's note: DOH!  #:-) )

PETS - People for the Ethical Treatment of Square corners

I'm not a drunk, I'm just Canadian - Shawn Germain

Offline Barthheart

  • Order of the Square Button
  • Arquebusier
  • *
  • Posts: 14066
  • Looking for walkie-talkies in 1809.....
Re: Six Days in October - General Ruchel's personal diary
« Reply #33 on: May 17, 2018, 11:00:13 AM »
(Historian's note: With darkness coming on about 1800 14th Oct. Ruchel has some touch decisions to make...)

(Conversation with Control)

Control

My Lord General,

The battle kept up its grim rhythm during the past two hours.

The news was best in the area where Saxe has been fighting.  They were able to gain ground against their foes but, again, only barely, and this despite your threatening to whip those who turned their eyes backwards.

In the area where AG Ruchel has kept up a brave struggle, however, the men of Friant's division arrived to the rear, shattering Weimar's division utterly.  It is now in full rout to the Northeast with Friant;s 8,000 men in pursuit.  Night, however, is falling, and the French force's lack of cavalry is preventing greater losses.

As for AG Ruchel, your men have seen this retreat and seem to be barely holding their ground.  Matters here are dire as night falls.

S!

Ruchel

Now the limitations of my lack of knowledge of this eras combat/conflicts comes into play.

Can we withdraw from the enemy in any kind of order, or even disorder, or will I have to surrender to them?
Which directions are currently available for withdrawal? Towards Erfurt?
Withdrawing at night, I'm guessing, is a bad idea?

Basically I think we have bloodied the French enough and would like to somehow extricate my forces with minimum losses.....

Thanks,
Ruchel

Control

Here's the thing.  Saxe isn't in the worst shape, but Ruchel can't hold out much longer.

You're surrounded on three sides with only the overland route to the NE left to you.

If your divisions collapse, they will surrender on their own and you'll have to make your escape.

All this, however, depends on whether or not Murat comes again over the next two hours.  Fighting at night is dodgy and it's no secret that he's NOT actually pushing at you.  He's just trying to keep you here long enough for more of them to show up.

And, of course, there's the idea that if YOU come for HIM, you might actually win a round (my wife couldn't roll well for you if our marriage depended on it) and, in an admittedly unlikely circumstance, punch a route North.  It's not like his boys are unfatigued.

This is the Napoleonic equivalent of the Kobayashi Maru, I will grant you...

Ruchel

Right. So I gather all my remaining forces with Saxe leading the way and drive hard north, trying to break out.

( :idiot2: )
PETS - People for the Ethical Treatment of Square corners

I'm not a drunk, I'm just Canadian - Shawn Germain

Offline Barthheart

  • Order of the Square Button
  • Arquebusier
  • *
  • Posts: 14066
  • Looking for walkie-talkies in 1809.....
Re: Six Days in October - General Ruchel's personal diary
« Reply #34 on: May 17, 2018, 11:06:43 AM »
(Historian's note: Around 2000 14th Oct. AG Division surrenders to the French. All that remains of Ruchel's command is Saxe division....)

(Conversation with Control)

Control

AG Ruchel to Ruchel

My Lord General,

It is with a broken heart that I must report that I can demand no more of these, his Prussian Majesty's men.

We must surrender.

The time will come when we will stand again and fight this ignoble, usurping Corsican ogre.

I embrace you, good General!

Ruchel

And how goes the fight with Saxe? Are we making any headway?

Control

As has been the case for the better part of 10 hours, your men in the sector with Saxe have been fighting bravely.  They even won the last two hour cycle, but, again, the battle was too closely fought to be decisive.  Neither side is in good shape now -- both incredibly tired -- but as a matter of morale, the French would appear to have an advantage.

Ruchel

Well... we cease our assault to try and get some rest for the night. Almost 12 hours of combat is enough for any man.
Extra food and grog rations for everyone. I ride around talking with and congratulating the men for their valiant efforts this day.

Not sure of the chances of a message getting out of this pocket but I'll try to get one to Brunswick anyway.

Dispatch to Brunswick

Sir! We have been in battle for almost 12 hours straight. It has been a very
hard day and yet our spirits are still high.
Unfortunately the remains of Weirmar Division have been driven from
the field and our Advanced Guard Division has surrendered to the French
after fighting valiantly for most of the day.
Our Saxe Division is still in fighting form and have held their own against
overwhelming numbers of French. We are breaking off combat for the
evening to get some well deserved rest and shall try again in the morning
to break away to the North.
Over the course of the day we have identified elements of the French III
Corp, V Corp and Murat’s Reserve Cavalry. Hopefully we have reduced
their numbers and delayed them enough for the rest of your forces to
gather and consolidate.

Hoping this message actually finds you.
As always, your servant,
General Ruchel.

« Last Edit: May 17, 2018, 01:13:55 PM by Barthheart »
PETS - People for the Ethical Treatment of Square corners

I'm not a drunk, I'm just Canadian - Shawn Germain

Offline Iconoclast

  • Velites
  • **
  • Posts: 32
Re: Six Days in October - General Ruchel's personal diary
« Reply #35 on: May 17, 2018, 12:58:34 PM »
This is a very intense read.  The dispatches really give this a certain semi-historical spin and pull you into the drama.

It might be a bit too early in the process of reviewing the action over the many different threads, but I wonder if there are things in hindsight you say you could have done better, even with the limited knowledge of the situation back then?

Coming Generations of prussians will remember the sacrifice of Rüchel and his men.

Cheers
Wer seinen Kinderglauben sich bewahrt, in einer reinen und unbefleckten Brust, und gegen das Gelächter einer Welt zu leben wagt, wie er als Kind geträumt, - bis auf den letzten Tag: Das ist ein Mann!

Offline Barthheart

  • Order of the Square Button
  • Arquebusier
  • *
  • Posts: 14066
  • Looking for walkie-talkies in 1809.....
Re: Six Days in October - General Ruchel's personal diary
« Reply #36 on: May 17, 2018, 01:12:52 PM »
Up to this point, the largest mistake I made was trying to push North. There is enough info there for me to make the correct decision early on to move quickly East to Weimar.
Instead I tried to follow Brunswick's orders to move North. His orders are not at fault, just my adherence to them.
If, after my Weimar Division had been defeated West of Erfurt, I had pulled up stakes and moved East fast I could have joined with Blucher in Weimar and been a much stronger force.

C'est la guerre.
PETS - People for the Ethical Treatment of Square corners

I'm not a drunk, I'm just Canadian - Shawn Germain

Offline JasonPratt

  • Arquebusier
  • ***
  • Posts: 13431
  • Now let us see what the future will bring...
    • The Evangelical Universalist
Re: Six Days in October - General Ruchel's personal diary
« Reply #37 on: May 17, 2018, 01:34:18 PM »
I should think your other big mistake was expecting fellow Prussians from the south of your position coming to help, and so choosing to stand and fight. (Although maybe you were grimly joking about that...?)


If the French won after all, I plan to travel back down this route and visit this fight, to erect a monument in Rachel's honor. ...and also yours!  ^-^


I will allow myself the verrrrrrrrrrry tiniest bit of credit for throwing that Murat curveball in your direction. All credit goes to my marvelous marshals otherwise, as it should be from the first citizen.
FIRE IN THE GROGS TOO -- a four-player full team mp of GMT's Vietnam War boardgame Fire in the Lake, recreated in TTS.

Me vs Barth -- DC1: Blitz

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR

The full pdf of Cry of Justice has been posted to the Grogheads Book category here.

Offline Iconoclast

  • Velites
  • **
  • Posts: 32
Re: Six Days in October - General Ruchel's personal diary
« Reply #38 on: May 17, 2018, 02:43:38 PM »
Your task seems to have been incredibly difficult. I doubt anyone could have handled the situation much better.

A
Wer seinen Kinderglauben sich bewahrt, in einer reinen und unbefleckten Brust, und gegen das Gelächter einer Welt zu leben wagt, wie er als Kind geträumt, - bis auf den letzten Tag: Das ist ein Mann!

Offline James Sterrett

  • Order of the Square Button
  • Viking
  • *
  • Posts: 459
Re: Six Days in October - General Ruchel's personal diary
« Reply #39 on: May 17, 2018, 04:59:20 PM »
Up to this point, the largest mistake I made was trying to push North. There is enough info there for me to make the correct decision early on to move quickly East to Weimar.
Instead I tried to follow Brunswick's orders to move North. His orders are not at fault, just my adherence to them.
If, after my Weimar Division had been defeated West of Erfurt, I had pulled up stakes and moved East fast I could have joined with Blucher in Weimar and been a much stronger force.

For the overall plan, though, moving north was arguably necessary to secure the Prussian Army's lines - and perhaps a more rapid movement north - overnight? - to break past the cavalry might have helped.

My division coming into your rear (east) was the result of what felt, to me, like a high risk maneuver, so I can understand the confusion.

Offline Barthheart

  • Order of the Square Button
  • Arquebusier
  • *
  • Posts: 14066
  • Looking for walkie-talkies in 1809.....
Re: Six Days in October - General Ruchel's personal diary
« Reply #40 on: May 17, 2018, 05:06:39 PM »
Up to this point, the largest mistake I made was trying to push North. There is enough info there for me to make the correct decision early on to move quickly East to Weimar.
Instead I tried to follow Brunswick's orders to move North. His orders are not at fault, just my adherence to them.
If, after my Weimar Division had been defeated West of Erfurt, I had pulled up stakes and moved East fast I could have joined with Blucher in Weimar and been a much stronger force.

For the overall plan, though, moving north was arguably necessary to secure the Prussian Army's lines - and perhaps a more rapid movement north - overnight? - to break past the cavalry might have helped.

My division coming into your rear (east) was the result of what felt, to me, like a high risk maneuver, so I can understand the confusion.

What really caught me out was finding French already on the road north out of Erfurt. I was convinced that it had to be a small advanced scouting party, that there was no way for the French to be that far in force....
PETS - People for the Ethical Treatment of Square corners

I'm not a drunk, I'm just Canadian - Shawn Germain

Offline James Sterrett

  • Order of the Square Button
  • Viking
  • *
  • Posts: 459
Re: Six Days in October - General Ruchel's personal diary
« Reply #41 on: May 17, 2018, 05:13:41 PM »
In effect, that was us gaining the advantage of our cavalry corps' mobility - it did not have to wait for the infantry.

The downside of the cavalry corps was that we generally had a lot less cavalry in our normal corps and divisions!

Online Cyrano

  • Moderator
  • Man-at-Arms
  • *****
  • Posts: 2079
  • AKA Kriegsspiel 6
Re: Six Days in October - General Ruchel's personal diary
« Reply #42 on: May 17, 2018, 06:09:21 PM »
^^^^ THIS

The French were repeatedly disadvantaged because their cavalry was not integral.  This affected the fights themselves and pursuits after combat.
Sergeant at Arms of La Fraternite des Boutons Carres

One mustachioed, cigar-chomping, bespectacled deity, entirely at your service.

You didn't know? My Corps has already sailed to Berlin. We got there 3 days ago and we've been in the Tiergarten on the piss ever since. -- Marshal Soult, October 1806

Offline JasonPratt

  • Arquebusier
  • ***
  • Posts: 13431
  • Now let us see what the future will bring...
    • The Evangelical Universalist
Re: Six Days in October - General Ruchel's personal diary
« Reply #43 on: May 18, 2018, 08:00:04 AM »
Extra mobility and tactical/strategic flexibility, comes at a price.


Honestly, going back to the breakout attempt, I fully understand and agree with the choice to punch through Murat, based on the information at hand. If he hadn't had a whole short corps there, you might have succeeded. Standing there was going to get you slaughtered, so punching through the only people who could seriously harry you in pursuit, taking them temporarily out of the equation... regardless of the crappy odds, it was better than being nibbled to death by ducks for certain. Or corkscrewed maybe (I see from the dispatches my marshals were desperate for wine and annoyed at the Prussians for their local goat-pee.)

So, in conclusion but with haiku:

Punch the horses out!
Better to run away than
be corkscrewed by ducks.  :bd:
FIRE IN THE GROGS TOO -- a four-player full team mp of GMT's Vietnam War boardgame Fire in the Lake, recreated in TTS.

Me vs Barth -- DC1: Blitz

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR

The full pdf of Cry of Justice has been posted to the Grogheads Book category here.