Author Topic: Six Days in October - The Soult Papers  (Read 139 times)

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Online Pinetree

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Six Days in October - The Soult Papers
« on: May 16, 2018, 09:50:14 PM »
Here are varous dispatches and correspondence of Marshal Soult dated  from  the 10th to the 20th October 1806.

They were discovered among a long forgotten and thought lost Spanish art collection in Paris in the 1930s

10th October
---------------------------------------------------------
ATTENTION TO ORDERS!

Sender: Soult

Time Sent: (UMPIRE)

Recipients:  St. Hillaire, Leval, Legrand,  Guyot

Time Received: (UMPIRE)

Unit Marching:

Route of March:

Time to Spend Marching:

Expected Objective:

Rules of Engagement:

Dispatches:

This is a warning order. All units will prepare to march on 2 hour's notice from notification of formal orders.

It is expected that the objective will be Zwickau via Hof and Plauen. Order of march will be: Guyot,  St. Hillaire, Leval, Legrand.

Formal orders will be forthcoming.

Soult.
---------------------------------------------------------
 Mon Emperor, As I have not received any orders to date, I have taken the liberty of readying my corps for a march along our right flank to Zwickau via Hof and Plauen. I will await your formal order to march.

Soult

---------------------------------------------------------

ATTENTION TO ORDERS!

Sender:  Soult

Time Sent: (UMPIRE)

Recipients:  St. Hillaire, Leval, Legrand,  Guyot

Time Received: (UMPIRE)

Unit Marching:  All

Route of March: Bayreuth to Hof via main road

Time to Spend Marching: 2 days

Expected Objective: Hof

Rules of Engagement:  If fired on, halt and return fire. If enemy unit has not detected friendly unit and appears to be smaller then you may attack. If enemy unit appears larger, halt and send a runner to me for orders.

Dispatches:

Order of march will be: Guyot,  St. Hillaire, Leval, Legrand.
Guyot will leave at 0600.
St. Hillaire will leave at 0700
Leval will leave at 0800
Legrand will leave at 0930

I will march with St. Hillaire.

Units will halt in place at nightfall. We will concentrate again at Hof.

Soult.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2018, 10:22:59 PM by Pinetree »
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Re: Six Days in October - The Soult Papers
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2018, 09:58:22 PM »
11 October
---------------------------------------------------------
 Time Sent: (UMPIRE)

Recipients:  St. Hillaire, Leval, Legrand,  Guyot

Time Received: (UMPIRE)

Unit Marching:  All

Route of March: To Hof via main road

Time to Spend Marching: 1 day

Expected Objective: Hof

Rules of Engagement:  If fired on, halt and return fire. If enemy unit has not detected friendly unit and appears to be smaller then you may attack. If enemy unit appears larger, halt and send a runner to me for orders.

Dispatches:

Order of march will be: Guyot,  St. Hillaire, Leval, Legrand.
Guyot will cross the Saale River and halt 5km northwest on the road to Plauen and encamp there.
St. Hillaire will also cross the Saale. He will halt on the other side and encamp there. Maintain sentries to the north on the road to Schleitz.
Leval will halt in Hof and encamp there.
Legrand will halt just south of  Hof and encamp there.
I will join Leval in Hof.

We will then rest and await orders to move on to Plauen.

Soult.

---------------------------------------------------------
Sender: Soult

Time Sent: (UMPIRE)

Recipient: Napoleon

Time Received: (UMPIRE)

Dispatches:

Mon Emperor,

My lead units are on the outskirts of Hof. My Cavalry and a Division of Inf will cross the Saale and camp there. My other 2 divisions will be in Hof and just south of town. We will rest up here and await your orders to move.

Soult
---------------------------------------------------------
Sent from:  Hills before Hof, last river crossing before the Saal.

Sent at:  0700

Received by Soult -- 0800

Message:  Sir, I must report the presence of the Prussians in strength before Hof.  Minimum of two divisions seen.

I do not believe we have yet been identified as present.

I await your orders.

Guyot
---------------------------------------------------------

 Sender:  Soult

Time Sent: 0800

Recipients:   Guyot

Time Received: (UMPIRE)

Unit Marching:

Route of March:

Time to Spend Marching:

Expected Objective: Hof

Rules of Engagement:  Hold fire. You may fire back if attacked.

Dispatches:

Halt and deploy in line. Wait for the rest of the corps to join you.

Soult.

---------------------------------------------------------

 Sender:  Soult

Time Sent: 0800

Recipients:  St. Hillaire, Leval, Legrand,

Time Received: (UMPIRE)

Unit Marching:  All

Route of March: To Guyot before Hof via main road

Time to Spend Marching: As quick as possible

Expected Objective: Hof

Rules of Engagement:  Hold fire. You may fire back if attacked.

Dispatches:

Guyot reports 2 divisions, possibly more, before Hof.
Order of march will be St. Hillaire, Leval, Legrand.

We will deploy for battle.

St. Hillaire will join Guyot and deploy in line on the left.

Leval will halt behind St Hillaire and deploy in line on the right

Legrand will halt behind the other two divisions and deploy in column. You will be the reserve.
 
I will be in the centre of the line.

Once we have ascertained the enemy's strength and deployment, we will plan for battle.

Soult.
---------------------------------------------------------
Sender: Soult

Time Sent: 0800

Recipient: Napoleon

Time Received: (UMPIRE)

Dispatches:

Mon Emperor,

My  cavalry have reported enemy forces in large numbers before Hof. 2 divisions, possibly more. I have ordered my corps to deploy and prepare for battle.


I have attached a copy of my orders to my corps:

"Guyot reports 2 divisions, possibly more, before Hof.
Order of march will be St. Hillaire, Leval, Legrand.

We will deploy for battle.

St. Hillaire will join Guyot and deploy in line on the left.

Leval will halt behind St Hillaire and deploy in line on the right

Legrand will halt behind the other two divisions and deploy in column. You will be the reserve.
 
I will be in the centre of the line.

Once we have ascertained the enemy's strength and deployment, we will plan for battle."

---------------------------------------------------------

Sender: Soult

Time Sent: 1300

Recipient: Napoleon

Time Received: (UMPIRE)

Dispatches:

Mon Emperor,

My piquets are reporting 2 enemy divisions, approx. 12,000 infantry and 3,500 cavalry defending the Saal River line centered on Hof.

My Corps is still forming as per my previous instructions.

Soult
« Last Edit: May 16, 2018, 10:20:45 PM by Pinetree »
Gen. Montgomery: "Your men don't salute much."
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Re: Six Days in October - The Soult Papers
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2018, 10:07:40 PM »
12th October
---------------------------------------------------------

From Control, 0500 Hours,

One of your piquet riders is brought to you by his colonel.

The rider is trembling.

He confesses, after a few sharp blows from his commander, that he and his comrade got raving drunk on local wine last evening.  When he awoke this morning, his comrade was gone, perhaps kidnapped by locals, and, more importantly, the Prussian army before Hof has begun a march to the Northeast

The dim light of dawn reveals no enemy presence in the village and the bridge in an undamaged condition.

The colonel sent out riders to try and locate the tail end of the Prussian train, but they have not returned.

-------------------------------------------------------

ATTENTION TO ORDERS!

    Sender:  Soult

    Time Sent: (UMPIRE)

    Recipients:  St. Hillaire, Leval, Legrand,Guyot

    Time Received: (UMPIRE)

    Unit Marching: Legrand

    Route of March: Through Hof  and across the river

    Time to Spend Marching: As quick as possible

    Expected Objective: Northern bank of Saal

    Rules of Engagement:  Hold fire. You may fire back if attacked.

    Dispatches:

    Guyot reports the enemy has vacated Hof. We must cross the river and find him.

    Legrand will march his Division through Hof and cross the Saal. He will deploy in line facing the North-east. Report back to me once you have done so.

    The rest of the Corp will form up in marching formation. Order will be Guyot, St. Hillaire, Leval.

    Guyot will have the drunken sentry shot for dereliction of duty.

    I will send further orders once Legrand has reported back.

    Soult.

-------------------------------------------------------

Sender: Soult

Time Sent: 0500

Recipient: Napoleon

Time Received: (UMPIRE)

Dispatches:

Mon Emperor,

The enemy has apparently withdrawn from Hof and is marching to the northeast. I am sending a division to investigate.

Soult

-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH -- Lagrand to Soult, 0830,

SENT: 0800

My Lord Marshal,

Having reconnoitered the Northeast bank of the Saal near Hof, I beg leave to report that there are no Prussian troops in evidence.

The village and both its banks are yours!

My men remain in position and await your further instructions.

S!
-------------------------------------------------------

ATTENTION TO ORDERS!

    Sender:  Soult

    Time Sent: 0830

    Recipients:  St. Hillaire, Leval, Legrand,Guyot

    Time Received: (UMPIRE)

    Unit Marching: Guyot, St. Hillaire, Leval

    Route of March: Through Hof  and across the river

    Time to Spend Marching: As quick as possible

    Expected Objective: Northern bank of Saal

    Rules of Engagement:  Hold fire. You may fire back if attacked.

    Dispatches:

    Legrand reports there is no enemy  to his front

    The rest of the Corp will march across the Saale in the order previously specified. I wish for Guyot's Cavalry to split into two wings. One will reconnoiter the road to Schleitz, the other to Plauen. Both will go no more a day's march and then send reports back.

    The rest of the Corps will halt on the the north bank  and wait further orders. Legrand will stay where he is. Leval will deploy on the Schleitz road. St. Hillaire will stay in reserve.

    Soult.

-------------------------------------------------------

DISPATCH -- Napoleon to Soult, 1300
SENT: 0600, 12th October


All congratulations to Soult! You have successfully found and blunted a possible opportunity thrust against us, protecting Purple route. Take up defensive positions and keep an eye on the Prussians. I doubt they have the numbers to flank or, worse, encircle you, but if they are insane enough to try that, they will soon regret it.
 
Your task for now is to hold Hof until Ney arrives for support, which isnít likely to happen until near the end of the 12th I expect. Take proper defensive precautions.
 
Should your enemy retreat, you should cautiously probe after them (with your cavalry ahead of the rest of the corps of course). Do not attack them unless they run into me during their retreat! -- I shall be scouting in force with Bessier today, checking Schleitz and coming back down the road toward Hof. Lefeb will remain camped at Saalbourg with the Imperial Guard infantry, waiting for the arrival of Augís corps. Ideally, weíll snap their LoC! But if they stay in place, so do you; I will not be assaulting them from the rear today.
 
Remember, in theory Ney will be advancing on Schleitz after he arrives (and perhaps rests a bit); your chief task, once Ney passes you, will be to probe up the road toward Zwicken.
 
But for now, hold Hof until Ney arrives; or else probe forward if your enemy retreats, looking for an opportunity to catch him in a pincer between us.
 
If you do probe forward following their withdrawal, be sure to camp behind a defensive river. Donít panic much if they sneak a division or two behind you either way -- Ney will ruin that surprise eventually.
 
In other news, I havenít heard from anyone in Central Thrust yesterday (Aug, Ney, or Bern); but I did hear from Murat: thank God, he just got confused in his terminology and was truly marching to the Red Route! The last I heard, he had passed Moiningen (or whatever that town is named), on the way to Red; but his scouts had detected at least one division (apparently one of Ruchelís) in the vicinity of Ohrdruf. Murat detached a division or two to keep an eye on things, and continues with his plan. He did not pass along any word received from Lannes or Davout.
 
Napoleon

-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH -- Ney to Soult, 1400,

SENT 1000, 12th October

My Dear Marshal Soult:

My 1st Infantry Division is marching to Hof, and if you have crossed over the Saale, and there is room, the 1st Division will also cross to support you. You may call upon it for assistance. I will accompany the 1st Division in person.

My 2nd Division is marching to a point 4 km south of Hof, to either move towards Hof and beyond, or to move northwards on the plane west of Hof (south of the Saale), as needed.

My cavalry should have a piquet line established north of Hof, but south of the Saale River, extending towards Lohenstein.

Please let me of your current disposition. If you need cavalry support, and/or we are to change our overall missions originally given to us by Napoleon, also let me know.
I am, your servant -  Ney, VI Corps
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH -- Soult to Ney 1400,

Esteemed Marshal,

My Corps is currently all across the Saale, I have Lagrand's Div. deployed on the road to Plauen, Leval is deployed on the Schleitz road with St. Hillaire in reserve. I have split Guyot's Cavalry into half and both wings are currently reconnoitering both roads as the Prussians disappeared this morning.  Napoleon has ordered me to hold for now.

It might be best if you stay in Hof as it might be a crowded on the north bank. I currently don't need any other support but thank you for the offer! Hopefully we can find these Prussians and destroy them.

Kindest Regards,

Soult
« Last Edit: May 16, 2018, 10:19:33 PM by Pinetree »
Gen. Montgomery: "Your men don't salute much."
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Re: Six Days in October - The Soult Papers
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2018, 10:19:13 PM »
12th October (cont.)

DISPATCH -- Soult to Napoleon, 1400
Mon Emperor,

I have split my Calvary in 2 and they are currently reconnoitering both roads leaving out of Hof. The rest of the corps is deployed on the north bank. Once I receive word on where the Prussians have gone, I will follow them.

I have received a dispatch from Marshal Ney, he has told me he is on his way here with his 1st Div.

Soult
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH, Guyot to Soult, 1600
SENT 1400, 12th October

My Lord Marshal,

Beg leave to report that we have reached Plauen.

There are no Prussian forces in evidence, but locals, under interrogation, indicate a substantial force passed through quite recently.

S!

Guyot
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH -- Napoleon to Soult, 1530

SENT 1300

Ney, my apologies for inclarity: the main plan has not changed; Soult should still be marching up the Zwickau road eventually. What I meant is that if Soult substantially followed retreating Prussians up toward Schleitz, then he is temporarily taking your place in the plan for opportunity's sake, but you should switch off with him when feasible so that you can proceed to Schleitz (per the original plan) and Soult can go back to working his way around the Eastern Wing of the operational area (per the original plan). He has the largest single force of all of us, so has the best chance of prosecuting a wing by himself.
 
There is something weird going on, and I donít understand it. Itís weird enough that I donít want either of you moving past Hof yet (or not more than you already have, Soult) until I get more clarification from Soult about what happened yesterday, October 11th. Ney should still get to Hof of course.
 
Iíll take the opportunity to pass along information we have found while scouting this morning (the 12th) ourselves.
 
First: we have been picking up steady indications [out-of-character, through Cyranoís behavior and comments on the gameclock thread of course] among the local peasantry, who naturally are going about their business and sending their own riders around to carry news and rumors (but not talking directly to us about it), that SOMEWHERE someone is having their skulls stomped into a street curb. I havenít been able to ascertain who is being stomped yet, but unless the Prussians have somehow teleported behind our lines and are murdering Augereau (whom I havenít heard from in a while), I must deduce this is referring to Davout and the West Wing. I have heard from Bernadotte this morning, who was assembling at Saalfield at 8am per instructions with no sign of the Prussians; and my infantry have not reported problems; and these rumblings started well before my most recent contacts with either of them anyway. You are both fine, Ney and Soult -- and Soult realistically was the only other option, and hasnít sent word of fighting actually occurring before sending word of his enemies leaving -- so that leaves the West Wing. I havenít heard from Davout (currently West Wing commander) since he reported detecting an advance division at Ohredruf, as I already passed on to you both. I expect Iíll receive more information late tonight or very early tomorrow morning.
 
Second: the information about Prussians in our area is confusing. I will relate what Iíve heard from Soult so far, and what I have discovered myself, in the best chronological order I can find.
 
Oct 11th 6 am: Soultís lead units camped on the outskirts of Hof, and at sunrise he was going to start moving into holding position in and north of Hof, to await Neyís arrival (per the grand plan).
 
8 am: Soult detects at least two (by deduction Prussian) divisions, maybe more, north of Hof, and begins arranging his own divisions to meet any advance of theirs.
 
Sometime between 8am and 1pm, Prussian forces are moving north of Schleitz toward Auma. I learned this when I arrived (with Bessierís cav division) in Schleitz this morning, and spent a couple of hours politely trying to get the local yeomanry to talk to us. I was unable to get any details about their relative numbers (half a corps? all a corps?) [out-of-character, I polled Cyrano about this, and received fuzzy intel back; he would only say the Prussians had left ďalmost a day beforeĒ my arrival at 8 am, thus my provisional timing. He does verify that divisions will not split into brigades in the game, so there was at least one division of mixed cav and infantry leaving Schleitz.]
 
1 pm: Soultís piquets clarify 2 enemy divisions, approx. 12,000 infantry and 3,500 cavalry defending the Saal River line centered on Hof. This isnít far north of Hof (if the Saal River identification was correct.) Notably, this could only be half a Prussian corps! Where is the other half?
 
Per Soult, at least half a Prussian corps is sitting not far north of Hof for the rest of Oct 11th. Soult sends no word of fighting.
 
Oct 12th, 6 am: Soult sees the two Prussian divisions, still there overnight, leaving at dawn marching north on the Schleitz road. He sends Guyotís cavalry division forward to follow the two divisions, but despite French cavalry being able to march faster than Prussian infantry on a road, Guyot somehow loses the infantry (as well as the Prussian cavalry). Keep in mind that each Prussian division is organized to include brigades of both cavalry and infantry. They do not normally operate separately. [OOC: and Jim confirms that in the game brigades donít split up, so those divisions didnít split out the infantry and cavalry, ergo they marched at infantry Prussian speed.]
 
8 am: I arrive with Bessierís cavalry division at Schleitz. No Prussians. We spend a couple of hours politely questioning the local peasantry, having heard initial rumors about troop movements. No Prussians arrive during this time either. [OOC: I should have been on the road at 10 am per my orders to Control, but Jim accidentally got me going at 12 pm. Those hours will be credited back on courier dispatches, as noted.]
 
12 pm: Bess and I leave Schleitz marching down toward Hof. No Prussians.
 
1 pm: having reached the first river crossing, 5km south of Schleitz on the Hof road, my scouts finally detect other troops. They are Guyotís cavalry division, now not far south of Schleitz, trying to shadow a much slower pair of divisions. No Prussians. This is so weird I order a halt at the river until the cav catches up to us, just in case my scouts made a mistake.
 
2 pm: Guyotís cavalry arrives at our position, at the first river crossing south of Schleitz. No Prussians.

If we have been sending accurate data to each other, then no less than half a Prussian corps somehow eluded Guyís cavalry division and vanished from the road between here and Hof.
 
Iím going back up to Schleitz with Bessier to camp for the night and give the horses a rest. Iím sending Guy back to Soult.
 
Soult should find a place to hold until Ney catches up.  I donít feel secure about our Lines.
 
Once you catch up, Ney, tomorrow you should move on north to Schleitz. I recommend using your cavalry division off the road to the left to try to detect where this phantom half-corps-or-more has gone.
 
Soult, tomorrow you should strike off rightward to the road to Zwickau, but use your cavalry to scout around in the areas between the Schleitz and Zwickau roads out of Hof.
 
This will keep our side of the Central Thrust and the East Wing thrust back on track and on schedule, while also allowing us to spend some effort scouting for the missing half-corps. Either theyíre hiding left (west) of the road waiting for you both to pass through; or they shifted over to the Zwickau road for a withdrawal after marching toward Schweitz (or are hiding out between those roads waiting for us to pass).
 
Iíll send updates to the main other branches later tonight; and naturally Iíll pass long any information I receive.
 
Napoleon
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH -- Soult to Napoleon, 1700

My Lord,

My cavalry that reconnoitered the road to Plauen reports that enemy forces passed through there very recently. That is probably the direction the enemy that were at Hof went. Do you wish me to advance my Corps to Plauen?

Soult
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH,Soult to Guyot, 1700

Guyot,

Hold position there. Hopefully I will get orders for the rest of the corps to join you soon.

Report on any enemy activity immediately

Soult
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH, Soult to Cavalry wing in Schleitz, 1700
You are ordered to reconnoiter cross country and rejoin the rest of your division in Plauen.

You are to proceed first thing in the morning.

Report immediately on any enemy activity.

Soult
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH -- Soult to Napoleon, 1700
My Lord,

Apologies, I see you have already ordered me to march to Plauen and Zwickau.

We shall leave first thing in the morning.

I have ordered my cavalry unit in Schleitz to recon cross country to Plauen.

Soult
-------------------------------------------------------

ATTENTION TO ORDERS!

    Sender:  Soult

    Time Sent: 1700

    Recipients:  St. Hillaire, Leval, Legrand

    Time Received: (UMPIRE)

    Unit Marching: Legrand, St. Hillaire, Leval

    Route of March: Road to Plauen

    Time to Spend Marching: As quick as possible

    Expected Objective: Plauen

    Rules of Engagement:  Hold fire. You may fire back if attacked.

    Dispatches:

    Guyot reports no enemy in Plauen.

    We will march there tomorrow at 6am.

    order of march is Legrand, St. Hillaire, Leval

    Soult.
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH, Napoleon to Soult, 2330
Commander Soult,

I had actually been going to compliment you tonight in agreement with your plan to sanitize the area, so do not worry. The first priority for your corps has always been to close off approaches to Purple; your eventual probe toward Zwickau (and farther perhaps eventually) was always viewed as an extension of this principle.

By the same principle then, hunting for that vanished half-corps would be perfectly fine -- your part of the plan has always been flexible in this regard once you reached and secured Hof and Ney has passed on beyond you toward Schleitz. You will after all be acting more-or-less independently on the East Wing as the operation progresses.

Once you judge the half-corps has moved on out of a likelihood of interfering with us from the rear, you may proceed toward Zwickau as originally hoped. Or if you find it, you may envelope and neutralize it at your discretion. I suspect it has leaped off the road once out of your sight, to suggest it was marching toward us, when in fact they crossed overland east to the Zwickau road.

Good hunting and keep Ney up to date in case he can be of immediate assistance in flattening those daring Prussians! I will be sending out general dispatches around midnight once I am reasonably assured all news has arrived before dawn.

Napoleon
« Last Edit: May 16, 2018, 10:21:51 PM by Pinetree »
Gen. Montgomery: "Your men don't salute much."
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Re: Six Days in October - The Soult Papers
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2018, 02:01:16 AM »
13th October
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH, Bernadotte - Soult, 0130
SENT 1400, 12th October

My Lord Soult,

I Corps has arrived in good order at Saalfeld.

No contact with the Prussians to report.

S!
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH, Soult - Bernadotte, 0600
Esteemed Marshal,

I am in receipt of your message regarding your arrival at Saalfeld.

I am leaving Hof today for Plauen where we are in pursuit of 2 divisions of Prussians.

I wish you good hunting!

Kindest Regards,

Soult
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH -- Soult to Ney 0600
Esteemed Marshal,
I am leaving for Plauen this morning. My cavalry reported that the enemy was seen passing through there so I am going hunting. It is quite probable that they were the 2 divisions that were here at Hof. I am hoping that they trying to return to their parent Corps as I might be able to smash it piecemeal. I will keep you and the Emperor updated of my activities and informed of my intentions.

Kindest Regards,

Soult
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH -- Soult to Napoleon, 0600
Mon Emperor,

I am departing Hof now for Plauen.

Late last night I received a dispatch from Bernadotte telling me he had reached Saalfeld at 1400 yesterday. I have sent him a dispatch this morning explaining my intentions. I have also informed Ney as well. I will keep him informed at the same time as you.

Your Servant,

Soult
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH -- Napoleon to Soult, 0700
SENT 0400 hours, October 13th
 
To: Murat (pass along accordingly to your wing corps, with my good wishes); Bernadotte; Augereau; Soult; and Ney.
 
My Corps commanders!
 
Collecting and collating news across the front, I am sorry to say I have heard nothing more this morning at 4 am from Murat and his wing. I have no reason to believe anything is going wrong there yet, but our troops when in towns have been picking up rumors from the peasant network (traders etc.) of at least one division being wrecked somewhere. By the process of deduction, that must be on Muratís wing; and I trust he and his brave wing-men, Lannes and Davout, are doing the wrecking!
 
Bernadotte has been in Saalfield for all of the 12th, resting from his march, and reports no Prussian activity nearby. Late yesterday, Bern updated me that a division of Dragoons, dispatched by Murat at some time, has arrived at Saalfield to join his corps. We shall be making good use of them, if they are not too fatigued yet.
 
I have not heard from Augereau as to how close he is to Saalbourg yet and being ready for joint operations. He may need a day of rest once he arrives, but who knows?
 
Ney is approaching Hof, and may be there by now (sundown last night), but I have received unclear information from him about this (indirectly via Soult).
 
The Prussian half-corp (at least) facing Soult at Hof, marched away toward Schleitz yesterday morning around 8 am, and promptly vanished off the road. Soult wisely sent cavalry to shadow them, but never caught up! More on this in a minute.
 
Lefebvre, with the Imperial Guard infantry, have been camped and resting on guard at Saalbourg (not to be confused with Saalfield where Bern is). He has had no contact with Prussians, nor passed along any messages from Aug about when to expect some arrival.
 
As planned, I rode with Bessier to do some recon in force up to Schleitz, where we arrived mid-morning to find detritus of a hastily decamped Prussian force. A couple of hours of polite questioning revealed nothing more than that they had departed almost a day earlier (on the 11th), and so could not possibly be Soultís half-corp-or-more facing against him down at Hof. We were unable to get a relative size (another corps; a half-corps to match what Soult has seen?), but determined they had marched out on the road toward Auma.
 
After lunch we marched south again toward Soult on the Hof road, and in the early afternoon met Soultís cavalry division trying to shadow those two slow-moving Prussian divisions from earlier. The divisional commander, Guyot, had not been able to find them and had almost reached Schleitz! After comparing notes by courier with Soult, we guessed that the divisions had quickly marched off the road beyond scouting range somehow, and are either still in the Schleitz/Hof road area, or have struck off left or right, whether trying to get to Zwickau by an overland march to that road or else following a stream from the ridge down to Saalbourg where Lefeb is camped. Guyot split into brigades to check a wider range on either side of the road while marching back to Hof; Bessier and I marched back to Schleitz to rest for the afternoon and night.
 
The fact that I havenít heard progress reports from Augereau bothers me, along with questions of where that corps is. Soult only saw a half-corps (two divisions); where did they go? Where is the other half? One or both could be getting behind us somehow!
 
Tomorrow I will be moving Bess back to Saalbourg, and moving Lefeb up to Schleitz to camp on guard until we have more corps in the area. Once at Saalbourg, Bess and I will scout back along our trail for the day, attempting to find Augereau and perhaps one or both of those missing half-corps, if theyíve gone this direction. I plan to return to Saalbourg to camp for the evening.
 
Bernadotte: until further notice, your task will be to send your two cavalry divisions around northish and westish, to locate Prussians. Donít let them exhaust themselves; if Klein needs a rest, thatís fine. Let me know where you end up searching. I am particularly interested in the crossroads to your north across the river. You are still our pivot point; but if the Prussians have largely shifted westward and are giving Murat and Co. trouble, you will end up being the first response. Until we learn more I hesitate to make guesses. The enemy may have already penetrated our lines, even with only a small force, and could hamper our attempts to move forward.
 
Augereau and Ney: at this point I need better (or for Aug any!) estimates on when you will be arriving at Saalbourg and Hof (respectively).
 
Soult: has suggested staying in the Hof area to hunt for the missing divisions, and I fully agree with this plan, at least until Ney arrives, and afterward as Soult deems necessary. Soultís task has always been to secure Purple route against just this sort of tomfoolery -- any advance toward Zwickau and eventually Leipzig has always been intended as an extension of this principle. There is at least a 50/50 chance that half the enemy corps has gone on toward Zwickau; and indeed they are operating in such a way that the two divisions must still be in contact with a corps commander nearby! He may be operating independently, but the divisional commanders wonít be. [Out-of-character, not in this game anyway.] We may thus infer that wherever the two divisions went, the rest of the corps has already gone. Soultís job is to find them. You may operate as you see fit for this, Soult.
 
Ney: I donít know how fatigued your troops are, but eventually you need to be getting up to Schleitz. Unless you are in a dire way, donít rest at Hof. Once you have moved up to Schleitz (whenever that is), I will be freer to move around in the backfield. Keep me updated on estimated arrivals!
 
Murat and Company: no orders for you, as youíre operating independently. We all wish the best for you, and hope youíre kicking Prussian asses expediently! We havenít heard from you in a while, however, so keep us updated.
 
Aug: I am becoming worried a detachment of the enemy has gotten between us somehow. If you receive this encyclical, please confer with your divisionals about when youíll be arriving at Saalbourg, and let me know pronto (as my brother the king of Spain, says his subjects say).
 
Napoleon, before dawn on October 13th
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH -- NAPOLEON to SOULT, 1200
SENT 0800 Oct 13th

Soult,

Augereau has appeared, rested and ready to work, at Saalbourg, without trouble. So now we can be sure Murat and Company are in some kind of grand fight.

Consequently, I am activating the variation of the second stage of the main plan, where we start shifting our thrust more westward, seeking to relieve Murat & Co by enveloping the enemy generally (or at the very least determining the enemy's dispositions).

Aug and I will be marching down-creek from Saalbourg to Saalfield, to link up with Bernadotte, to start working on this stage of the plan.

I have ordered Lefeb's infantry division to march up to Schleitz to await Ney there, and to transfer to his command.

We know at least part of the enemy has marched from there northeast, not northwest, to Auma, although this might be a feint (as evidently happened some way with the two divisions you saw leaving the other day who then disappeared from the road.) Ideally I originally intended for Ney to work his  way northwest after linking with Lefeb in Schleitz, so he'll be closer to support us in supporting Murat's wing, and also to probe for clipping the enemy in his moderate backfield. However, I am now thinking of having you and Ney working together, independently of my command, on the East Wing from this point, hunting for that errant Prussian corps (or two??) up the east side of the map, with you on the Zwickau road, and Ney on the northeast road out of Schleitz.

So, since I will soon be out of any timely order range, let me make it more specific. You and Ney shall work your way northeast from Hof and Schleitz  (respectively), as the revised East Wing. You shall take the Zwickau road as originally planned. You may leave once Ney passes you on the road to Schleitz, which will probably have happened well before this courier arrives.

Your long-term goal shall be to work your way together off the map at the exit point.

Your medium-long goal shall be to snap the overall LoC of the Prussians near those exit points -- so don't leave the map for Berlin until time to do so.

Your short-term goal shall be to find the wandering Prussian corps (I doubt there is more than one, but there might be two) and, if so, cooperate together at your discretion to remove it from play. Since they must also suffer from LoC problems, I rather expect them to be solving this by moving northeast in your path(s), and perhaps attempting to retreat to protect their deep LoC and the exit points.

You and Ney can work out among yourselves who should be in overall command of the East Wing, or how you want to cooperate. You should of course send couriers to each other to keep each other updated during this operation; but since presumably Ney will be nearest to me, he will be responsible for sending me news reports about both himself and you. I will send a news dispatch to Ney at least once a day to keep him updated with what I know, and he should pass that along to you with your normal communications between you. Unless there is some radical emergency or opportunity, I will not be sending further orders to your East Wing.

I shall be sending a similar dispatch to Ney, of course: one shall try to find him directly, the other shall be waiting at Schleitz so that in the worst case scenario he will receive the update and revised detachment orders no later than his arrival there.


Good hunting, and may you reach Berlin before Christmas!


Napoleon

------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH -- LEGRAND to SOULT, 1400
SENT 1200, 13th October

My Lord Marshal,

We have arrived at Plauen and have found there the "other half" of Guyot's division.  He is waiting the arrival of the balance of his force.  Further movement along the road is impossible unless he first vacates the road.

S!
CJA Legrand
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH -- Soult to Ney 1500
Esteemed Marshal,

Legrand has reported to me that he has reached Plauen. I will halt there and wait for the rest of Guyot's Cavalry to complete their sweep of the country between Schleitz and Plauen.

I assume you are in Schleitz by now?

My regards,

Soult
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH --SOULT to LEGRAND ,1500
General,

You may halt in place. We will wait at Plauen for the rest of the Cavalry to show up.

Soult
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH -- GUYOT to SOULT, 1600
SENT 1500, 13th October

My Lord Marshal,

Beg leave to report that my division has reunited in the vicinity of Plauen.

Having scouted between Schleitz and Plauen, I can report that no French forces were detected.

I await your further orders.

Respectfully Submitted,

GdB  C-E Guyot
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH -- Soult to Ney 1600
Esteemed Marshal,

Guyot has just reported to me that he has completed the sweep with no enemy found. I am going to send his cavalry forward to scout the road towards Zwickau until nightfall. I shall halt the rest of the Corps in Plauen.

What are your intentions?

Regards,
Soult
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH --SOULT to GUYOT , 1600
General,

Excellent work. I require you to scout up the Zwickau road. Halt at nightfall and send a dispatch when you have done so. The rest of the Corps will halt in Plauen for the evening.

Good luck,
Soult
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH -- NEY to SOULT, 1900
My dear Marshal,

I am consolidating at Schleitz, which I hope to do by this evening or early on the 14th of October.

I will then press northward, per Napoleonís orders, principally towards Gera. It is my hope to locate the Prussian troops that your scouts have seen in the past few days.

I will send couriers when we leave Schleitz, with my expected immediate objectives. Also, I will immediately send reports of sightings of the enemy, which will hopefully enable you to come done on their flank at some point.

Please let me know if I should sent any messages forward to the Emperor.
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH -- GUYOT to SOULT, 2000
SENT1800, 13th October

Lord Marshal,

Prussian forces spotted North of our present position on the Plauen-Zwickau road.  They appear to be encamped.  I do not believe they have detected our presence.

S!

Guyot
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH -- SOULT to GUYOT to , 2000
General,

That is excellent news! I will bring the rest of the Corps up to you tonight. Hold position there and see if you can find out more about the enemy.

Soult
-------------------------------------------------------
ATTENTION TO ORDERS!

    Sender:  Soult

    Time Sent: 2000

    Recipients:  St. Hillaire, Leval, Legrand

    Time Received: (UMPIRE)

    Unit Marching: Legrand, St. Hillaire, Leval

    Route of March: Road to Zwickau

    Time to Spend Marching: As quick as possible

    Expected Objective:  enemy encampment on road to Zwickau

    Rules of Engagement:  Hold fire. You may fire back if attacked.

    Dispatches:

    Guyot reports enemy encampment on the road to Zwickau
    We will march there immediately.
    Order of march is Legrand, St. Hillaire, Leval. On arrival, we will stay behind the cavalry. Legrand will form line on the left, St. Hillaire will form line on the right. Leval will stay in the centre.

    I realise your men may be tired from the day's marching but we must close with them immediately. They will not escape this time. Prepare your men, they will not get much sleep tonight.
    En Avant, Soldiers of France!
    Soult.
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH --SOULT to NEY, 2000
Esteemed Marshal,

My Cavalry reports enemy encampment on road to Zwickau, size unknown at this stage. I am marching my Corps immediately to join them. I intend to attack at dawn but that may change depending on enemy dispositions.
Please inform the Emperor.
Regards,
Soult
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Re: Six Days in October - The Soult Papers
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2018, 02:08:38 AM »
14th October
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH -- From Control, 0100
Marshal Soult,

The men of Guyot's division have smashed through the piquets of the troops confronting them.  They believe they have contacted a mixed division which had begun to retreat upon their arrival.  They are in pursuit.  There will be a pursuit battle within the next hour!

S!
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH -- NEY to SOULT, 0600
SENT 0100, 14th October

My dear Marshal,

I have received your message sent at 2000 on Oct. 13.

I will forward on to the Emperor. I shall advance at daybreak noted in previous messages in hopefully we may drive the enemy.

Good hunting,
Ney, VI Corps
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH --SOULT to IV Corps , 0600
To:  St. Hillaire, Leval, Legrand, Guyot.

I require an immediate situation report from each commander.

How are your men, Gentlemen?

Guyot, have you finished chasing the enemy off?

Soult
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH -- 0600, 14th October
SENT 0530, 14th October

My Lord Marshal,

We march per your orders.  We are in contact with the read of General Legrand's division.  We have witnessed some signs of battle as we've marched but it's been entirely too dark to determine what precisely is occurring.

Your Servant,

LVJLB de St.-Hilaire
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH -- GUYOT to SOULT -- 0900
SENT 0700, 14th October

My Lord Marshal,

We have been in pursuit of the enemy throughout the evening.

They will not turn and face us, but continue to withdraw to Zwickau.

They are clearly the men of Taunzien's division.

While they have consistently refused pitched battle, we have managed to inflict casualties on the cavalry covering their withdrawal.

I salute you!

GdD C-E Guyot
-------------------------------------------------------
ATTENTION TO ORDERS!

    Sender:  Soult

    Time Sent: 1000

    Recipients:  St. Hillaire, Leval, Legrand, Guyot

    Time Received: (UMPIRE)

    Unit Marching: Legrand, St. Hillaire, Leval,Guyot

    Route of March: Road to Zwickau

    Time to Spend Marching: As quick as possible

    Expected Objective: Zwickau

    Rules of Engagement:  You are free to engage.

    Dispatches:

    Guyot reports that he is still chasing the enemy up the road to Zwickau, but they are refusing to engage. We will continue the march and halt either at Zwickau or nightfall. Whatever comes first.
    Order of march is Legrand, St. Hillaire, Leval.  Guyot will maintain contact with the enemy.
    When we halt , the cavalry will form a screen facing the enemy's direction. The rest of the Corps , will stay behind the cavalry. Legrand will form line on the left, St. Hillaire will form line on the right. Leval will stay in the centre.

    Soult.
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH --SOULT to NEY & NAPOLEON, 1000
My Emperor and Esteemed Marshal,

My Cavalry is still chasing the enemy on the road towards Zwickau, Guyot has identified the enemy as Taunzien's divsion of Hohenlohe's Corps. He reports he has inflicted casualties on their cavalry covering their withdrawal.

I intend to keep marching and either halt at Zwickau or at nightfall, whichever comes first. My men have been marching for 24 hours so are in need of a rest. I expect the enemy will dig in at Zwickau.

Regards,
Soult
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH --SOULT to IV Corps , 2000
To:  St. Hillaire, Leval, Legrand, Guyot.

    I require an immediate situation report from each commander.

    Soult
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH -- FROM CONTROL, 2000
My Lord Marshal,

All your men have assembled in the rough vicinity of Zwickau in a now-familiar order of march.  All these men have done a proper man's job of marching, with Lagrande's men, for example, having gone for 15 hours..  The residents of Zwickau report what you might have otherwise surmised, viz., the men of Hohenlohe's corps, perhaps three divisions in strength including a very large artillery train, were pursued by the vanguard of your men through the City.

They have vanished to the North.

One interesting note taken from these conversations is that at no time did the Prussian forces seem inclined to give your men battle.
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH --SOULT to NEY 2100
My fellow Marshal,

I am in the vicinity of Zwickau, we have been chasing Hohenlohe's corps all day. They have vanished to the north of us. Locals report that perhaps three divisions in strength including a very large artillery train came through here. The cowardly dogs refused to fight.
My intentions are to march north towards Altenbourg and see if Hohenlohe will turn and fight. I assume you are near Gera by now?

Regards,
Soult
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Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Six Days in October - The Soult Papers
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2018, 07:13:31 AM »
Excellent!  :bd:

This material demonstrates a factor that the video reports get a little wrong, partly due to the (reasonable) choice not to show movement from the otherwise boring Day 1.


First, most of the French forces started far away from the passes, Bern and Soult being the two exceptions, and I had to coordinate security of the passes with expediency of the French arriving for a weighted thrust so that we wouldn't be destroyed in detail by the numerically fewer but numerically punchier Prussian corps. (This also had to be balanced with not exhausting ourselves getting to the fight! -- which if we have ended up losing the game after all, will be I think the main contributing factor, and thus altogether my fault. But I don't know that yet, as of writing this comment.)


Second, when those Prussian divisions slipped away from Soult at Hof, they could have gone one of two directions and I wasn't sure which direction except for some reason I got the impression it was more likely toward Schleitz. On the video, where there's no fog anymore, it looks like Soult is just diddling around in Hof, but that isn't true: he's doing his first job of securing his pass from Prussians trying an opportunity thrust back against our LoCs, while balancing that with the difficulty of figuring out where those two divisions went and (if possible) preparing to hit them. No small or easy task! -- as in my dispatches above, I still have no complaints about how Soult (Pinetree) juggled those duties, alone without Ney's arrival yet to help support him.


Third, Ney has had a hard march, even while trying to avoid racking up much fatigue (some of which is unavoidable), and once he arrives he has to be slotted asap into an effective East Wing advance without getting tangled up in Soult's tail nor getting ambushed by a Prussian half-corps somewhere!


This all contextually helps explain why I appear to be hanging out in Schleitz doing nothing either: I'm actually probing back along the road to Hof and trying to figure out where that half-corps went! (The other road, to Zwick, as it happened.) It isn't that I don't believe the people in Schleitz that the Prussians there marched northeast shortly before Bessier (and my HQ) arrived on probe for information. It's that, first, I have to figure out whether THEY are the missing half-corps from Hof, and then, if not, where is it? And how can I angulate Soult and Ney's advance (maybe also my two Imperial Guard units) to deal with that half-or-more-corps if they're still around, without abandoning their original plans for advancing forward up the east side of the map to the Berlin road (which after all is the second main objective, and which they're naturally the closest to reaching).


Thus the subtlties of courier-email-fog.  O:-)
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Me vs Barth -- DC1: Blitz

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Re: Six Days in October - The Soult Papers
« Reply #7 on: Yesterday at 01:13:28 AM »
15th October
-------------------------------------------------------
ATTENTION TO ORDERS!

    Sender:  Soult

    Time Sent: 0500

    Recipients:  St. Hillaire, Leval, Legrand, Guyot

    Time Received: (UMPIRE)

    Unit Marching: Legrand, St. Hillaire, Leval,Guyot

    Route of March: Road to Altenbourg

    Time to Spend Marching: All day.

    Expected Objective: Altenbourg or along the road to Altenbourg.

    Rules of Engagement:  You are free to engage.

    Dispatches:

    Mon Ami! I salute you! That was magnificent marching yesterday! Today we will continue our chase of Hohenlohe and his cowardly dogs! We will march up the road towards Altenbourg.

    We will depart at 0630. Order of march is Guyot , Leval, , St. Hillaire, Legrand.  Guyot's cavalry will screen to the north. Rest of Corps will march in road formation.
    If we come into contact with the enemy, the cavalry will form a screen facing the enemy's direction. The rest of the Corps , will stay behind the cavalry. Leval will form line on the left, St. Hillaire will form line on the right. Legrand will stay in the centre.

    Soult.
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH -- GUYOT to SOULT -- 1200
SENT 1100, 15th October

My Lord Marshal,

We have arrives at the outskirts of Altenbourg.  The foe is present in at least the strength of two divisions.  They are preparing entrenchments South of the village and seem to be deliberately guarding the line of the stream before the village.

Perhaps these are the troops we have been pursuing.

S!

Guyot
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH --SOULT to NEY 1200
My fellow Marshal,

My Cavalry has reported two division entrenching in the vicinity of Altenbourg. If it is Hohenlohe, then there will be another division and an Artillery train nearby.
My intention is to engage. If you are still at Gera or are marching on Zeir, may I suggest you perform a flanking attack from the west?

Regards,
Soult
-------------------------------------------------------
ATTENTION TO ORDERS!

    Sender:  Soult

    Time Sent: 1200

    Recipients:  St. Hillaire, Leval, Legrand, Guyot

    Time Received: (UMPIRE)

    Unit Marching: Legrand, St. Hillaire, Leval,Guyot

    Route of March: Road to Altenbourg

    Time to Spend Marching: All day.

    Expected Objective: Altenbourg

    Rules of Engagement:  You are free to engage.

    Dispatches:

    Mon Ami! We have found the enemy!

    Guyot reports at least 2 divisions entrenching in front of Altenbourg. I expect there is another division and artillery train there as well.

    We will deploy as previously ordered; the cavalry will form a screen facing the enemy's direction. The rest of the Corps , will stay behind the cavalry. Leval will form line on the left, St. Hillaire will form line on the right. Legrand will stay in the centre and form in column.

    Once the Infantry has formed up, Guyot will pull the cavalry back behind Legrand.  He will send scouts out both east and west to find the enemy's flanks. We will engage but not heavily, feint attacks only.  If we can draw them out of their entrenchments, then we'll attack.  I am hoping to hear from Marshal Ney and see if he can attack from the west. If we don't hear from him by nightfall, I will issue new orders.

    Good Hunting Mon Ami!

    Soult.
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH -- GUYOT to SOULT -- 1600
SENT 1400, 15th October

My Lord Marshal,

We have seen the men of Colbert's division approaching Altenbourg from the West!

The men are deploying for battle as ordered.

S!

Guyot
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH --SOULT to NEY 1900
Esteemed Marshal,

As our respective Corps are now in contact, what are your intentions for tomorrow?

Regards,
Soult
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH --NEY to SOULT 1900
My dear Marshall SOULT,

I intend to support your assault by advancing on the enemy's right flank. As you have been pursuing the enemy, I will follow your lead.

I have my 1st Division and my Cavalry, along with the Imperial Guard.

The 2nd Division is about a day's hard march to the west at Neustadt...covering my line if communications, and serving as a link to the western forces. I intend to recall it directly to march toward us tomorrow.

NEY
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 01:23:12 AM by Pinetree »
Gen. Montgomery: "Your men don't salute much."
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Re: Six Days in October - The Soult Papers
« Reply #8 on: Yesterday at 01:20:47 AM »
16th October
-------------------------------------------------------
From SOULT: Orders to IV Corps 0400
My brave soldiers of the 4th Corps,

Today is the day of Battle!

We will attack at 7am sharp and destroy the enemy.

We will attack with Laval's and Legrand's divisions in column at the centre of the enemy's line. Hillaire's division will be in reserve behind them with Guyot's Cavalry formed in two wings on either flank of him. Marshal Ney's Corps will attack the enemy's right flank.

If the attacks are successful, Hillaire is to punch a hole in the enemy's line and send the cavalry through the hole with each wing going left and right. There they will carve the enemy up from their rear.

If the attacks are struggling, Hillaire will attack to force the enemy to hold his positions there and maybe draw in his reserves so Marshal Ney can press his attack.

Hit them hard Mon ami!! Make France and the Emperor proud of you!

Bon Chance and Vive La France! Vive La Emperor!

Soult
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH --SOULT to NEY 0400
Esteemed Marshal,

I will attack at 7am sharp. I intend to attack with two divisions in column in the centre of the enemy's line. This will be Laval and Legrand. Hillaire's division will be in reserve behind them with the Cavalry formed in two wings on either flank of him. If the two attacks are successful I will send Hillaire in to punch a hole in the enemy's line and send the cavalry through the hole and cause havoc. Hopefully our troops will meet in the middle!

However, I feel the enemy will probably be too entrenched so I am not too hopeful. If this is the case, I will send in Hillaire anyway to force the enemy to hold his positions there and maybe draw in his reserves while you attack from the flank.

Hit them hard! I am sure will you smash them to pieces!

Bon Chance and Vive La France!

Soult
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH --NEY to SOULT 0400
Sir:

I will move with the 1st Division with the Guard following in reserve, to support your left, and attempt to get into the Prussians right-rear.
My cavalry will move to the left, looking for the other divisions, and trying to cut the enemy's line of communication to Leipzig.

The 2nd Division should be in supporting distance by this evening, ready to support us tomorrow.

Bon Chance!
Ney
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH --NEY to SOULT 0400
Esteemed Marshal Soult...

My orders to the troops....

My friends.
The hour of trial is upon us. Marshal Soult is engaging the enemy at 7:00 am in front (south) of Altenbourg. We will move aggressively on the enemyís flank, and attempt to get into his rear to cut off his line of communication to Leipzig.
 
1st DIVISION & IMPERIAL GUARD
Be prepared to advance on the enemyís position at 700 am, Oct. 16.
The 1st Division. shall be in front, in standard attack formation, preceded by skirmishers. The right the Division will be directed at the right flank of the Prussian line, so as to advance perpendicular to the Prussian main line. Upon reaching the Prussian line, the Division will push vigorously on the flank to roll it up towards the center, where Soultís troops shall be attacking.
The Guard will follow in the trace of the 1st Division, in support, prepared to throw into the front line if ordered, and to cover the left of the Corps.
CAVALRY
At 700am, the Cavalry (minus the squadron at Gera) shall move to the left of the 1st Division to cover the flank against the enemy cavalry.
If the enemyís horse is not found, the Cavalry will move further to left to get to find the enemyís reserve, and get astride the road from Altenbourg to Leipzig, break up their trains, etc.
Send reports to me as upon meeting the enemy and if/when you cut the road to Leipzig.

-NEY
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH -- FROM CONTROL -- 0800
My Lord Marshal,

Your men have begun mounting an assault on the Prussian forces before them.

These men clearly had prepared defenses overnight and are defending a built up area.  That said, between your own forces and those of Marshal Ney, you appear to have numerical superiority that could prove significant.

In addition, the advance of the Guard has, unsurprisingly, made a difference.

Your own forces appear to have won the lost round, but not significantly.

The battle will continue.
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH -- FROM CONTROL -- 1000
My Lord Marshal,

The battle at Altenbourg has entered a savage stage.

Your men are working prodigies of valour, but are struggling now against the defenses and the apparent intention of your foe to remain on the battlefield.  Your commanders implore you to release St. Hilaire's division from the reserve.
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH -- FROM Soult to St. Hilaire-- 1000
General,

It is time to attack.

Hit them hard!

Soult.
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH -- FROM CONTROL -- 1200
My Lord Marshal,

The arrival of the men of St. Hilaire's division has steadied your lines in the assault.  The Prussians you confront, however, have proven most resilient  and their entrenchments are better than you thought.

The last two hours were desultory, but your men do seem to be wavering in the attack.  Not St. Hilaire, of course, but the others who have been committed are casting an occasional eye rearward.

-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH --SOULT to NEY 1200
Esteemed Marshal,

I have committed my reserves to the attack but the enemy is holding fast and a breakthrough seems unlikely.  I still have my Cavalry but they can not do much against entrenchments.

How goes your attack? I will keep pushing and tie them to their defences but Laval's and Legrand's men are showing some signs of wavering.

Regards
Soult
-------------------------------------------------------
SOULT: Orders to IV Corps 1200
General's Laval and Legrand, You must keep pressing the attack! Exhort your men! We must keep the enemy tied to their defences so Marshal Ney can effect a breakthrough on their left flank.

General Guyot, send a detachment east and find the enemy's flank. Report back to me immediately  when you do so.

Soult
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH --NEY to SOULT 1200
My dear Marshal,

I have driven the division before me, and am now marching to your aid.

Look for my troops to be ready by 2pm.

I hope to get on the enemy's right flank.

Your servant,
Ney
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DISPATCH --SOULT to NEY 1200
Esteemed Marshal,

Excellent! I shall keep pressing the attack!

Regards,

Soult
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DISPATCH --NEY to SOULT 1200
 My dear Marshal,

I received this message from the emperor at 1130 am this morning.
This missive, along with a dispatch from my 2nd Division, confirms that my 2nd Div. as been detached from me, and will be marching from Neustadt to Jena, or wherever directed.

This leaves you and I with 5 infantry divisions and 2 cavalry divisions, all present (minus a cavalry squadron detached at Gera.)
The balance of my cavalry has been ordered to move from the west to get into the enemy's rear at Altenbourg.

My men have driven the enemy from them and will be in close support to you ready to recommence action at 2 pm.

May I suggest you move your cavalry to probe/get around the enemy's left flank and come down on them from the rear?

I will order my cavalry squadron at Gera to scout towards Zeitz and Jena.

Ney

SENT 0300, 16th October

To my East Wing Marshals via Ney:
 
The last I heard, you were both approaching Altenbourg along your roads, having flushed out and identified at least half of Hohenís corps, although I got the impression that the Flanc and ArmyGruppe forces had not been detected yet. However, if you have somehow bypassed them, they will be cut off from supplies and left out of command, so that might be ideal.
 
Ney reported that he left either his 2nd division or his seconded division (i.e. my infantry guard, seconded to him) at Neustadt to secure the LoC and as reserve deployment for either Jena or Altenbourg. Since this node is now secure, and the bulk of the enemy seems to be in Weimarís area, I shall send orders for this division to detach from Ney and move up the road to Bernadotte, who as of this evening has discovered Jena empty of the enemy. His orders shall be to leave an infantry division (perhaps that one) guarding Jena as a backstop in case Hohen tries to make his way back to the Weimar group by this route; and meanwhile probe west toward Weimar.
 
I am a little concerned that if you continue toward Leipniz, with evidence of Hohen having turned toward Jena, that we shall have problems. So if you see this evidence, you should alter your plans to follow him toward Jena. If however he seems clearly moving north again, keep following behind. Do not rush to force him to stand and fight. As long as he is maneuvering, he isnít helping Weimar, and is causing you no casualties, so that your strength may be preserved for the Berlin road. However, if we can catch him between us, then we should try to eliminate him while we can.
 
I am moving my HQ to the halfway point of the road between Jena and the T-fork south of Weimar, where I can get and pass along reports from Aug and Bern more easily. Once my cavalry and artillery units catch up, however, I may well attempt a march northward off road aiming for the Jena-Weimar road along which Bernadotte shall eventually be probing. Augereau has already evidently stifled a sally attempt south from Weimar, and shall be probing north to that city from an area north of the T-fork.
 
West Wing has decisively crushed Ruchelís corp, eliminating it from combat operations. Davout, per the original plan, shall be taking command, and Murat once his cavalary are rested, shall be moving up and around behind Weimar in a broad encirclement. The main West group shall also be probing toward Weimar from Erfurt. We expect to catch any defenders there in a three-way pincer, with Murat positioned to slice them from behind eventually, whether the Prussians flee or not (though they would have been well advised to shorten their defensive line closer to the Berlin road exit point).
 
I hope to hear updates soon on whether your advance on Altenbourg from two directions caught the redoubtable Hohenlohe. Good hunting so far, and may you continue making this October miserable for our Prussian foes.
 
Napoleon
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DISPATCH -- FROM CONTROL -- 1400
My Lord Marshal,

The men of LaGrande's division could take no more.  They have begun withdrawing from the fight.  In their wake, the men of both Laval and Guyot's division, though their generals belted them with the flats of their swords, have also taken to flight.   And all this despite inflicting grievous wounds on the enemy during the last two hours.  Were it not for their defensive positions, they would surely have fled by now.

Only the men of St. Hilaire are prepared to continue the attack.

A courier from your piquets has arrived, however, and indicates that Marshal Ney is advancing to your aid and will be prepared to enter the line during the next round of combat with the whole of his corps.
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Orders to IV Corps 1400
General's Laval and Legrand, rally your men as fast as you can behind St. Hillaire.
Tell them they will not have to attack again today, but they will be needed in case of an enemy counterattack.

General St. Hillaire, keep up the attack!

Soult
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DISPATCH --SOULT to NEY 1400
Esteemed Marshal,

Two of my divisions have broken against the enemy defences. I am carrying on the attack with St. Hillaire's div.

I have sent scouts out to find the enemy's left flank. No report back yet.


Regards

Soult
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NEY to SOULT 1400
My friend,

How many divisions are in your front?

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From Control -- 1600
Marshals,

You are to be congratulated.  With the intervention of Marshal Ney's men, and with St. Hilaire's men cheered at the sight, the divisions of Taunzien and Zechwitz have now been put to flight -- along with the Prussian artillery reserve.

This, however, has been a victory bought in blood.  Your men have sustained nearly 9,000 casualties in their day's fight, having inflicted some only a bit more than half that on their foes.

The morale of the Prussians, however, must now be judged a difficult-to-restore ruin.

You both, however, face a difficult decision, viz.: pursue the Prussians to the North wish your cavalry -- which has sustained losses of its own -- or let them flee that way under the risk that they, eventually, regroup.

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NEY to SOULT 1600
My dear friend

Well done, and well earned.  I will report to the emperor.

It seems we have driven two (2) Prussian divisions and their Reserve Artillery.

I suggest we have our cavalry move forward in pursuit. We should support their advance with St. Hilaire, and my 1st Division, with the Imperial Guard as reserve.
Rest your battered divisions.

If reports are true, I imagine the enemy is retiring towards Leipzig in haste and disorder. We should continue to show force in their rear so they do not have leisure to halt and reform their broken formations short of Leipzig. Our cavalry should make a steady, but not rash pursuit, with our infantry in support.

Recall that I have a squadron of cavalry at Gera scouting northward towards Zeitz. While the enemy before us has been driven, I am not sure what to make of any push by them from Naumbourg, which would be a key node between the Prussians eastern and western wings.

NEY
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SOULT to NEY 1600
Esteemed Marshal,

Thank your troops for their outstanding efforts in breaking the enemy.

 I agree we must pursue, it might be best if one of us stays here and leads the recovery and clean up of the battle field while the other leads the able troops in pursuit.

As most of the troops are yours I think it should be you to lead the pursuit. I can attach St. Hillaire and Guyot's cavalry to your command and you can attach any division that needs to recover to mine. We will follow as soon as the men are able.

What do you think?

Kindest regards,

Soult
-------------------------------------------------------
NEY to SOULT 1600

My dear Marshal,

Your plan sounds ... sound.

While I have not received detailed reports on my Corps' casualties, I do believe you have had the hardest time of it and do need some rest. They will recover better under your eye.

I can begin pursuit with St. Hillaire and Guyot, along with my Corps. Please inform these General's of there temporary assignment.

My thanks.

Ney.
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Orders to IV Corps 1600
Mon ami! Mon Braves!

Today was a hard day and we have lost many comrades. However with Marshal Ney's help the enemy abandoned their defences and are now running like the dogs they are.Marshal Ney is to give chase while our Corps will regroup here.

General's St. Hilaire and Guyot, you and your men are temporarily attached to Marshal Ney's Corps, effective immediately. He will give you your marching orders very soon. Go and prepare your men. Bon chance and good hunting!

General's Legrand and Laval, I require an accurate head count and state of your men. I also wish for you to police up the battlefield and recover anything of value.

Soult
-------------------------------------------------------
Action at Altenbourg -- The Butcher's Bill
The roll of survivors is as follows:

Colbert -- 1,420
Guyot -- 929
Imperial Guard -- 5,000
Legrand -- 6,371
Leval -- 8,000
Marchand -- 6,000
St. Hilaire -- 7,000

As Colbert pursues the shattered Prussian division, and as you begin to survey the battlefield at Altenbourg, you find literally thousands of Prussian wounded left behind as the result of their rapid retreat.

The number may go as high as three to four thousand men, guns, and horse.

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DISPATCH - Soult to Napoleon 1800
My Lord Emperor and Marshal Ney,

Please find attached my report of today's battle.

Soult

(see here: http://grogheads.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Altenbourg-After-Action-Report.pdf
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 01:57:11 AM by Pinetree »
Gen. Montgomery: "Your men don't salute much."
Gen. Freyberg: "Well, if you wave at them they'll usually wave back."

Online Pinetree

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Re: Six Days in October - The Soult Papers
« Reply #9 on: Yesterday at 02:05:18 AM »
17th October
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DISPATCH -- NEY to SOULT -- 0630
SENT 0500, 17th October

Marshal Soult,

Please see the dispatch below from Marshal Bernadotte.

My best,
NEY



SENT 2300, 16th October

Dispatch to Napoleon (copies to Davout, Augereau, Ney) -
 
Sire - The first corps infantry is currently encamped very close to Jena for the evening.  No contact with the Prussians.  The first corps cavalry, I suspect, is near the Jena-Wiemar-Apolda crossroads with instructions to move northwards along the Apolda-Naumbourg road.  I have not heard from my cavalry in some time which I find a bit strange.  No sound of battle, however, can be heard.  I have patrolled out to Gera with no contact made with the Prussians (though it has been some time since that patrol returned).
Marshal Bernadotte
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DISPATCH -- SOULT to NEY -- 0700
Esteemed Marshal,

My thanks for passing on Marshal Bernadotte's dispatch. I will stay here today to allow my men to recover some more and will start following you tomorrow.

Good hunting and my best regards,

Soult
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DISPATCH -- COLBERT to SOULT -- 0800
SENT 0600, 17th October

My Lord Marshal,

This dispatch finds me presently some 15 km North of Altenbourg.  The enemy is nowhere in sight, but the evidence of his recent presence in this area is ubiquitous.

Beg leave further to report that General Guyot is marching to our rear, some 4 km North of Altenbourg at this time.

Your Servant, &c.,

Colbert
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DISPATCH -- NEY to SOULT -- 1500
SENT 1200, 17th October


My Emporer

I am pursuit of the enemy with my Cavalry Division (Colbert) and that of Marshall Soult (Goyet). Foolwing them is my 1st Division (Marchand), one of Marshall Soultís divisions (St. Hilliare), and the Imperial Guard (Lefebvre).

General Colbert located the enemy at 9:00 am, writing:

We have encountered the men of Grawert's Division North of the line of the river that runs South from Leipzig to the vicinity of Grimma.  They seem to be digging in.  Ö.
We are deploying as for battle per your orders!

At 11:00 he reported:

The troops of Grawert's division have been joined along the river line by a force I do not recognize.  They seem to be in divisional strength.
For our part, I am being reinforced to my left by the men of Guyot's division.

Marchand and St Hillaire will relieve the cavalry, who will be sent to cover and scout the flanks. The Guard will form a general reserve.

Marchand and St. Hillaire will begin to entrench to deter an enemy attack. Unless an opportunity presents itself, we will await the arrival of Marshall Soult and his two recovering divisions.

Our advanced line is about 15 km south of Leipzig. They should be able to hear the cityís church bells.


For France and Emperor!
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SOULT: To IV Corps 0000
General's Legrand and Laval, how are the fatigue states and morale of your men?

Soult
-------------------------------------------------------
Both generals report that any issues of fatigue have been resolved and those lost to straggling have returned to the standard.

As for morale, however, that recovers more slowly and they remain on the brittle side.
Gen. Montgomery: "Your men don't salute much."
Gen. Freyberg: "Well, if you wave at them they'll usually wave back."

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Six Days in October - The Soult Papers
« Reply #10 on: Yesterday at 12:05:09 PM »
A brave action on both sides, and I'm glad my Imperial Infantry were able to help arrive in time under Ney's command to save the day!

I cringe at the mauling your fine corps are surely about to receive in a few days, though...  :hide:
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