5 May 1813 – Central Germany – Day 5
The campaign is not going well for the French
They had anticipated that by now they would have taken the three border towns of Naumburg, Jena and Sulza.
All three are still held by the Russians.
In the north both armies regroup and resupply
In the centre 4th French army attack Jena
In the south the Russians retreat to Sulza.
Battle of Jena
The battle is fought to the west of Jena.
The French advance in three columns
In the north 2nd (Young Guard) corps
In the centre a reserve of three infantry brigades and corps artillery
In the south 6th French corps
The battle opens with an exchange of artillery fire, which causes little damage
2nd corps occupy the northern hill, but do not attack
6th corps attack in the south, but are unable to break 1st Russian corps
The battle is decided by the fight in the centre between the two reserves
The French 12pdr guns dominate the 6pdr Russian guns
At midday the French infantry advance, and rout the shaken Russian gunners
Having broken the Russian centre the French artillery redeploy to support 2nd corps.
Before they can attack the Russian army retreats.
The French claim victory, but the Russians are not defeated
At nightfall they still hold Jena and both corps are in good order
The French have lost 2 infantry and 1 cavalry casualties (900 men)
The Russians have lost 3 infantry, 1 cavalry and 2 artillery casualties (1500 men)
Marshal Davout is well aware how critical this battle would be.
Each army has won one battle so far in the campaign
However the French have failed to drive the Russians back from the border
If they lose this battle and retreat they have failed in their campaign objective
With both armies on the table at the start of the game no time was lost in deployment
By move two the French artillery were in range of the Russian gunners
After four rounds of artillery fire little damage had been done
In the north Davout did not want to risk heavy casualties to his elite 2nd Young Guard corps
He advanced his infantry on the high ground, out of sight of the Russian guns
Their cavalry advanced in the valley to cover their flank
But were careful not to approach too close to the Russian guns or heavy cavalry
They were waiting for the French reserve to come to their support
In the centre both armies had created a reserve of three infantry brigade and corps artillery
The winner here would be able to support either the northern or southern wing
In the south 6th French and 1st Russian corps were evenly matched
Neither had managed to gain artillery superiority
Finally the French had to advance and move into Russian artillery range
Their cavalry charged the Russian Cossacks, expecting a quick victory
However they lost the cavalry melee and had to retreat shaken
The unsupported French infantry quickly retired
The battle in the centre was decided by the French 12pdr artillery
They outranged the smaller 6pdr Russian guns
They were able to move into close range of the Russian guns and pound them
As soon as the Russian gunners were shaken the infantry advanced and routed them
Although the Russians retired, they did so in good order and still holding Jena