We replayed Gross Beren in France.
Hello, a account of our part of Gross Beren written by my friend Stéphane (Thanks to Deeple for helping with the translation).
The III corps of Von Bulow (Eddy) composed of 4 infantry brigades and a formidable cavalry reserve and a beautiful artillery reserve faced the VII corps of Reynier composed of 2 Saxon infantry divisions (Von Sahr and Lecoq) 1 French infantry division (Durutte) and 1 Saxon cavalry brigade.
Knowing that the French corps was approaching, Von Bulow deployed 2 infantry divisions on the battlefield, creating a detachment at Gross Beeren to delay the enemy advance and placed 1 and a half brigade on the Heinerdorf heights (further north) to protect the road to Berlin.
Reynier came out in column from the south, Saxon division Von Sahr in the lead at 13.20, followed by the cavalry brigade. Once deployed on the plain, the Saxon division pushed the poor Prussian detachment out of Gross Beeren with disconcerting ease.
The time taken by Reynier to deploy and sweep the detachment allowed Von Bulow to receive the reinforcement of the last 2 infantry brigades and to form a real line of defense at a third of the battlefield, halfway between Gross Beeren and Heinerdorf. Brigades Borstell on its right wing, Von Thumen in the center and Kraft on the left with Hesse-Homburg in second line, it was ready to receive the enemy.
Reynier tipped his cavalry to his left to attack the Borstell division, which had just enough time to deploy to receive the assault. He dared to put his artillery in battery in front of his troops to take advantage of a cannonade that would have its effect by generating 2 fatigue points. The Saxon cavalry pushed back the first 2 Prussian lines but eventually retreated, exhausted by the efforts made. It is said in the Prussian ranks that it was frightened by the third line composed of landwehr.
The 2 formations found themselves at a respectable distance to re-form and spend the rest of the battle watching each other like dogs.
Borstell's aim was to hold the point of arrival of the cavalry reserve commanded by Oppen while holding the opposing cavalry in respect. The Saxons protecting the flank of the corps and preventing the Prussians from turning the Durutte division that was marching towards the center of the device.
Von Bulow left his vantage point to reorganize and modify his troop directives, even leading a few troops into combat during the next few hours.
It is in the centre that the most violent fighting will take place. The Prussian cavalry brigade had time to arrive and begin to deploy behind Von Thumen to support it. Reinforced by 2 batteries of £12, the Von Thumen brigade damaged the Durutte division. The 2 formations surrendered blow for blow during long minutes. But neither wanted to leave the field. Nevertheless, by the game of withdrawals, the battalions cleared a corridor. Oppen took the opportunity to convert his support order into an attack order to exploit enemy fatigue. He launched two groups of dragon squadrons on the attack. One of them worked wonders by piercing the exhausted infantry division. It tumbled down the lines one after the other to bounce off the grenadiers of the guard of the Saxon division Lecoq, who had come to the aid of the French.
The French division ended up being purely eliminated from the battlefield, totally exhausted (21 fatigue points accumulated!). Lecoq's division took the place of his unfortunate colleague and attacked Von Thumen and Oppen together.The grenadiers and the light ones did a good job, causing even more fatigue to the two brigades in front of him. But the Prussians were far too determined to give up an inch of ground to the enemy. Lecoq's division soon began to tire.
Meanwhile, Reynier advanced Von Sahr on his right along the road to Berlin, pushing back the detachment that had previously been at Gross Beeren and clashing with the rest of the Kraft Brigade. Here too, the fighting was bitter. But the French advance was stopped. Around 5 p.m., Reynier received a cavalry and artillery reinforcement led by Bertrand, which was coming out of the Diedersdorf road after his victory at Blankenfelde. But too late to be put into action.
We parted at 6:20 after 15 rounds of play. The goals of the French, Heinerdorf and the road to Berlin were not achieved, but Gross Beeren had been lost by the Prussians.
- 2 Prussian infantry brigades still fresh. The cavalry brigade tired (6 fatigue points) but still valiant (15 squadron groups).
- 2 Prussian infantry brigades well started but the Saxon divisions were beginning to get tired as well.
- 1 French division eliminated.
- 1 fresh French cavalry brigade.
The road to Berlin well protected by the still fresh Hesse-Homburg brigade.
It would have been necessary to do some reorganization in the Prussian troops and recover from fatigue but we can say that the French advance was clearly stopped.
No doubt Bernadotte and the Russians in the shelter at the rear enjoyed the show.