Friday, September 12, 2014

Battle of Meisen Bridge

Austrians forming a rear-guard
The Austrian 4th Army Abtielung 1st Division was facing the French II Corps 4th Division at a crossing of the Elbe east of Meisen.  The French had been building up defenses since the 28th of August, now here on the 10th of September the Austrians were ordered to attack.  2nd Division was forced marching up with the
Abtielung (Corps) artillery to support the assault.

1st Division was mostly Hussars with some Cheveauxleger and Grenzer battalions along with a 6lb Horse battery.  Facing them behind their two weeks worth of fortifications at the bridge were 3 battalions of Leger and 9 of Line foot along with 2 12lb Foot batteries under Dubreton's command.

Due to the need for the forced marching 2nd Division to come up the battle could not start until 15h00.  The Cheveauxleger set up a screen while the Grenzers and horse batteries got into position to rush the bridge and fire on the French on the far bank, while the 2nd Division arrived and moved up the three heavy batteries that were the 4th Army Abtielung reserve.  This took some three hours to accomplish under French artillery fire, the 1st Division suffered some 35% casualties during this phase, scoring negligible hits on the French.

By 18h00 the main assault was under way, with the Austrian Foot batteries pounding into the French defenses and all-out assaults began with the Grenzers.  The first hour saw 10% casualties on the Fernch and 30% on the Austrians, with the Grenzers all but wiped out.

Undaunted the second wave went in at 19h00, over the next three hours successive battalions of Austrian foot stormed the bridge, again only 10% casualties were suffered by the French; while a whopping 50% were suffered by the Austrian attackers.  Faced with withering losses Austrian Wing Commander
Generalmajor Baron Trapp called off any further assaults and by 22h00 on 10th September 1813 the attacks on the eastern bridge of Meisen was over, the Austrians were in full retreat to Furstenwalde.

Battle was 'simulated' using GURPS Mass Combat system and the troop strength sheets combat system.

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