Author Topic: The Musings of 'Ole Man Brunswick: A reflection on a lost campaign Prussia 1806  (Read 3742 times)

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Offline Hatricvs

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23.00 Hrs:


Sent: 15.00 Hrs 12th October
Received: 23.00 Hrs

From: Blucher
To: Brunswick

I have met Ruchel on the road.  He has engaged some French cavalry around Gotha.  I am marching to Weimar to set up a defense in case Ruchel draws the French behind him on his march towards you and the rest of the army.  Once his troops pass through mine, I will march towards Auerstadt myself.  If things escalate around Weimar and extracation is difficult, I will send dispatches to apprise you.

 


Offline Hatricvs

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So that ended the 12th October 1806. The French are scouting/ engaging both my right and left flanks. I am unsure exactly where Blucher is and Both Ruchel and Hohenlohe have yet to withdraw as per my initial plan. As we can see the plan did not survive past first contact with the enemy and I still felt very much in the dark as to how to proceed with the campaign.

Onward to the 13th October!

Offline Hatricvs

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06.00 Hrs 13th October 1806

Orders:

06.00 Hrs:

From: Brunswick
To: Ruchel

Sender : Brunswick
Time Sent: 0600 13th October 1806
Recipient: Ruchel
Time Received:
Unit Marching:
Order of March:
Route of March:
Time to spend Marching:

Expected Objective/Dispatch:
I have re-considered our positions and now wish to ensure that we defend as far as possible the line of hills south of Nordhausen. There is a line of hills running east-west to the south of Nordhausen with a river on either side of the central ridge. If we can occupy that ridge line and site our guns and troops so that the road crossing to Nordhausen can be contested, then I think we could hold the French at bay.

Therefore I now ask that you extract your forces using the same route as previously mentioned. If feasible deny the enemy any room for advance by blocking the road north from Weissensee on the north bank of the river routes there. Do not get stuck behind the river if a quick exit needs to be made.

Also is there any way that you can concoct a way to withdraw some force toward Muhchausen along that road. A small force just to again hold up any potential enemy advance? We need to withdraw and at the same time contest and bottleneck any French developments along your line of withdrawal wherever practicable. I think holding the ridge would be beneficial if practicable. The crossroads at Nordhausen is key to our position so ensure it is covered at all costs.
 
Brunswick


Offline Hatricvs

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06.00 Hrs:
 
Orders 13th October 1806

From: Brunswick
To: Umpire

Sender : Brunswick
Time Sent: 0600 Hrs 13th October 1806
Recipient: Umpire
Time Received:
Unit Marching:  1st Division Orange
Order of March:
Dispatch:
 
Route of March: from Unnamed town on Saale to Leipzig along road running north east from unnamed town via another unnamed town at the confluence of two rivers.

Time to spend Marching: Until you reach Leipzig

Expected Objective: Base force at Lepizig and screen for any enemy activity along routes leading south from Lepizig. Report back to me via courier once located at Lepizig or before if circumstance changes.

Rules of Engagement: Use discretion but be advised there is no support available to you in your current location.
 
Brunswick
 

Offline Hatricvs

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06.00 Hrs:

Additional Orders 13th October 1806

From: Brunswick
To: Umpire
Countermand to prior order given. Instruction for Division is now:

Sender : Brunswick
Time Sent: 0600 13th October 1806
Recipient: Orange
Time Received:
Unit Marching: 1st Division
Order of March: 1st Division

Route of March: If not already on way to Leipzig then Cross River Saale and take up defensive position on the north bank of the river. If already on route to Leipzig return to unnamed town and then cross the river Saale once 2nd Division has crossed and is in place.
Time to spend Marching: until positions reached.

Expected Objective: Take up position north of river Saale. Wait until 2nd Division has cleared out of the town and deployed across the Saale. Defend bridge and road communication leading from the unnamed town across the river Saale from the north. Deny enemy activity from taking control of the bridge. Deny enemy the ability to cross the river Saale. Dig in and make defensive positions on north side of River Saale. Await further orders. Position Division to the left of 2nd Division Orange.
 
Brunswick

Note: I had an almost immediate change of heart at this point. I decided that the small tow. Astride the road running north south over the Saale was critical to our position and that I needed to contest any push from the south against this location. I decided to put in a significant effort to hold this against the French and to allow my force to go either west to assist the right wing of the Prussian army under Blucher and Ruchel or left to secure Leipzig and assist with what Hohenlohe was dealing with in eastern theatre.

Offline Hatricvs

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06.00 Hrs:

Additional Orders 13th October 1806

From: Brunswick
To: Warten's

Sender : Brunswick
Time Sent: 0600 13th October 1806
Recipient: Warten's
Time Received:
Unit Marching: 2nd Division
Order of March: 2nd Division
Route of March: Cross River Saale and take up defensive position on the north bank of the river.
Time to spend Marching: until positions reached.

Expected Objective: Take up position north of river Saale. Defend bridge and road communication leading from the unnamed town across the river Saale from the north. Deny enemy activity from taking control of the bridge. Deny enemy the ability to cross the river Saale. Dig in and make defensive positions on north side of River Saale. Await further orders.

Rules of Engagement: Defend crossing point. Defend north bank of river Saale.

Brunswick
 

Offline Hatricvs

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06.00 Hrs:
 
From: Brunswick
To: Ruchel

Ruchel,
 
A concern that I have is the route which runs north east of Nordhausen toward Madgebourg. I am concerned that enemy activity along this road could cause us difficulties, therefore I ask that before your force completes its mission to Eisleben you break off some cavalry to screen/ scout the road that branches eastwards from the Weissensee-Eiseleben road. I do not wish to see an enemy force slip through this critical 'back door' behind our lines. Please ensure that this route is covered and prevent an enemy exploiting a gap here. Report back the success or otherwise of this action please.
 
Brunswick
 

Offline Hatricvs

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06.00 Hrs:

From: Brunswick
To: Hohenlohe
 
My dear Hohenlohe,
 
I thank you for your report.
 
Can you give me any update on your current dispositions. Last I heard from you, you were marching toward Altenbourg from Gera and a separate force was withdrawing via Plauen-Zwickau. I need you to defend Altenbourg and screen any enemy development on the roads northward allowing the enemy access to the area north of Altenbourg. The road junction to the east of Altenbourg appears to be critical and needs to be observed and contested if required.
 
I am currently in position around a small town south of Mersebourg on the river crossing of the Saale I have an advance cavalry screen positioned at Zeith.
 
I have informed Blucher to make make for Naumborg from Erfurt/Weimar area and Ruchel to make for Eisleben from the Gotha/Erfurt area.
 
My intention is to form a perimeter defence in the satellite positions south and west of Lepizig to prevent the French from breaking through in this area and making northwards toward the Elbe.
 
Keep me informed of your current position and estimate of arrival for your forces at Altenbourg and any enemy activity encountered.
 
Brunswick
 

Offline Hatricvs

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06.00 Hrs:

From: Brunswick
To: Blucher
 
My dear Blucher,
 
So good of you to report in with your current position!
 
Regarding your communication of the 12th October. It is imperative that you withdraw up the road north east of Weimar. I want you and your divisions to march up the road toward Naumbourg via Apolda and Auerstadt.

Our forces are gathered in the area Halle-Naumbourg- Altenbourg with the intention of forming a perimeter defence against the enemy and with both good internal lines and withdrawal options if required. I need your forces to be in the Naumbourg area as quickly as you can make it without over exerting your troops. I want Ruchel to withdraw and screen the route North of Erfurt.

It is essential that the French do not breach that road and have access to our lines of supply. I am happy for you to cause delaying actions against any French you encounter but do not become entangled in a broader engagement as there is nobody available to directly support you in the near vicinity.
 
Please continue to report both your progress and any actions of the enemy known to you.
 
My dear Blucher it is imperative that you keep in constant communication with me as a lack of information from you may allow the enemy to interpose himself between our forces.
 
Brunswick

Note: This indicates my continued frustration that I could not gain regular communication with Blucher and that I still had no knowledge that he was actually making any attempt to withdraw from the Weimar area and get further north nearer my own location. I was even beginning to think how I could request his replacement in command, although this was never a possibility in actuality.

Offline Hatricvs

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06.00 Hrs:

From: Brunswick
To: Ruchel

Dispatch to Ruchel from Brunswick
 
Re the information you have sent me as of 1300 October 12th.
 
Do not move to Weimar.
 
Extricate yourself and forces north from Erfurt along the road which eventually leads to Eisleben. Keep to the road. If followed by the French then try and hold them in the valley's and passes around Weissensee area or if needed around the river crossings at near Tennstadt. It is imperative that the enemy do not get a free run up that road or it could compromise our line of supply from Madgebourg. I aim to have Blucher withdraw via the road running from Weimar-Auerstadt-Naumbourg. The majority of the army is in this sector defining a defensive circuit in the vicinity of Halle-Naumborg-Altenbourg. To aid in this your presence in the vicinity of Eisleben would be advantageous.
 
Stay in contact and keep me informed of any advance of the French in your vicinity.
 
Brunswick

Offline Hatricvs

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This is a picture of my map set up on the wall that I had to trace what I knew, thought I knew and wanted to do. I think this was taken mid December 2016. The green blocks represent Prussian Divisions. The blue blocks French and the black blocks fall back routes or stop-lines that I was aiming to reach or work towards.

Offline Hatricvs

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Some more detailed shots of what my 6 am positions were on the map as far as I could see them at the time.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2018, 07:11:19 AM by Hatricvs »

Offline Hatricvs

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 14.00 Hrs:

Sent: 06.00 Hrs, 13th October
Received: 14.00 Hrs

From: Ruchel
To: Brunswick


Sir! My troops are pulling back towards Erfurt. When all are gathered here we shall start the trek northward.
French Cavalry spotted in Gotha, moving east towards Erfurt! I plan to use my Advance Guard’s cavalry to harass and try to ascertain the identity of the command/unit.
Awaiting further orders.

Offline Hatricvs

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17.30 Hrs:

Sent: 0900 Hrs 13th October
Received: 17.30 Hrs

From: Ruchel
To: Brunswick

Sir! My troops are pulling back towards Erfurt. When all are gathered here we shall start the trek northward.
 
In addition to the French Cavalry spotted in Gotha, moving east towards Erfurt, we have sighted more enemy cavalry coming north from Arnstadt. Identity of the formations is unknown.
 
My troops continue to withdraw to Erfurt where we shall then turn north.
Awaiting further orders.

Offline Hatricvs

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 20.00 Hrs:

Sent: 12.00 Hrs 13th October
Received: 20.00 Hrs

From: Ruchel
To: Brunswick

Sir! My Weimar division is under attack… or so I believe. There are sounds of conflict to the west of my position at Erfurt. Weimar has not reported to our location yet given their orders to do so.
I do not know what forces assail them but we are hold our position here as per your orders not to get heavily engaged.
I have riders out trying to ascertain the size and nature of the battle.
 
Awaiting further orders.