20 March 1813 - Central Europe - Day 7
The Russians have secured the northern flank
The French have secured the southern flank
Both are unable to play any part in the long awaited battle for the centre
Both armies have two corps, plus the reserve corps
Both have detached brigades from the two corps to the reserve
This has created three weak corps to fight the battle.
Both armies start the battle with brittle morale
This is due to extensive campaign casualties on either side.
Battle of Weimar, move 6
Both armies have 7 infantry brigades, 3 cavalry brigades and 3 corps artillery
The Russians have one more infantry brigade, the garrison of Weimar
However they must remain within the town during the battle.
The French are reluctant to attack until they can reduce the enemy cavalry
This must be done by artillery fire, they cannot afford to risk losing a melee
If they do so, their infantry will be too weak to launch an attack
The Russians initiate the first cavalry melee, which they then lose
This allows the French to force the enemy infantry into square
Casualties are light on both sides 800 Russian to 600 French
But the Russians lose more of the resulting morale tests
The French win the battle
From the above summary it would appear that the long awaited major battle in the centre was a disappointment. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The three corps per side were uneven in morale and in numbers
On the left the French were outnumbered, and unable to attack
In the centre the two were equal, and again the French unwilling to attack
However on the right the best French corps was facing a much weaker Russian one
2nd French corps is Young Guard. Excellent cavalry, good infantry and artillery. They had infantry and artillery casualties, but no more than the Russian corps opposite. Their 12 pounder artillery were equal to the Russian 12 pounder guns.
Most important they has elite heavy cavalry with no casualties, the Russians had Cossacks with 10% casualties.
The French cavalry advanced and took 10% casualties from the enemy artillery. They passed their morale. The Cossacks charged, before the French could. This gave them a slight impact bonus, but not enough to win the melee. The French cavalry rallied and charged the guns. They took another 10% casualties but still charged home. The gunners broke and ran, taking their supporting infantry square with them. Within two moves the Russian left wing was broken.
Napoleon was on hand to charge the objective of the Young Guard from the broken left wing to the Russian centre. Supported by the French centre and left this proved too much for the Russian commander. He ordered a retreat before the attack could be delivered.
The game was decided by three cavalry melee, and the Russians lost all three. This was largely because they started the battle with 10% casualties each. Only one of the three French brigades had 10% casualties. Not a great difference, but sufficient to move the odds against them.
A fitting final battle to decide the outcome of the campaign, and the French well deserved their final victory.