Monday, April 29, 2013

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Impetuous Maréchal Ney, Prince of Moscow

The first battle before the walls of Berlin is settled now.

Maréchal Ney, Prince of Moscow
Maréchal Ney, Prince of Moscow; took upon himself the Herculean task of storming the south gates of the city just as night was falling.

Taking command of a company of Grenadiers and Voltigeurs from 1st Battalion 29th Légère Regiment the impetuous Maréchal Ney attempted to force an opening through the scatterings of Cossacks that were still active on the north side of a bridge which had been holding up III Corps all day.

The Cossacks were screening back the French as they scrambled to get through the open gates to the city ordered by Russian General Harpe.

When last seen Maréchal Ney was set upon by a squadron of Cossacks, in the dim light his hat disappeared, then his horse could be seen being led away by the Cossacks as the south gates to the city closed behind them.  There were dead Frenchmen and horses in all directions around the bridge and scatterings of men were moving into the buildings outside the walls of the city.  Darkness overtook the battle scene and as III Corps had no chief of staff, Général de brigade Jomini having deserted three days before, the men of the 9th Division settled into a bivouac to await orders for the next day...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Battle for Berlin

A grand battle for Berlin is shaping up now, with Marshal Ney advancing in force on the city.

Berlin c. 1800

In 1813 the city and region of Berlin had a population of around 1.5 million, given that the allied armies had failed in May of 1813, there were efforts made to shore up the defenses of the city, notably written by Bulow.  However, in the rush to enable recruitment and finding the cupboard empty of arms, many of the Landwher regiments were only partly armed with muskets, the rest having not much more than pikes or farm implements.  The Freewilliger corps were even more hastily armed.

Certainly there would have been the manpower to improve the city defenses, similar to that found in advance of the Borodino battle, where massive earthworks were prepared.

What of the situation for our fictional Berlin in August 1813?

How many defenses were actually prepared to the south of the city?

What sort of civil defense measures might have been possible?  Conscription? More wild partisan-like units?

What would happen to the million plus inhabitants of the city once Ney's advance cavalry guard arrived on the 18th August?  Would there have been an evacuation already?  Would there be a panic, that might interfere with military operations?

Please do comment on your thoughts about this situation.