Author Topic: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout  (Read 19920 times)

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Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
« Reply #90 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:
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Offline James Sterrett

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Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
« Reply #91 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.  :)
« Last Edit: May 17, 2018, 05:43:26 PM by James Sterrett »

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
« Reply #92 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:
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

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, lots of screenies.

Offline James Sterrett

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Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
« Reply #93 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

Offline James Sterrett

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Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
« Reply #94 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.]

Offline James Sterrett

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Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
« Reply #95 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....

Offline James Sterrett

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Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
« Reply #96 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

Offline James Sterrett

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Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
« Reply #97 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

Offline James Sterrett

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Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
« Reply #98 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]
« Last Edit: May 19, 2018, 05:42:39 PM by James Sterrett »

Offline James Sterrett

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Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
« Reply #99 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?
« Last Edit: May 19, 2018, 05:42:52 PM by James Sterrett »

Offline James Sterrett

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Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
« Reply #100 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
« Last Edit: May 19, 2018, 05:43:09 PM by James Sterrett »

Offline James Sterrett

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Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
« Reply #101 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?

Offline James Sterrett

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Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
« Reply #102 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

Offline James Sterrett

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Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
« Reply #103 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.]

Offline James Sterrett

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Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
« Reply #104 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 Muratís 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 Weimarís 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