8 May 1813 – Central Germany – Day 8
Both armies are desperately in need of rest, reorganisation and reinforcements
Supplies are also running low, though not yet likely to affect their operational ability
Davout is determined to secure his foothold in Gera district before this happens
He orders 4th French army to attack Jena
Battle of Jena
Both 4th French and 1st Russian armies have suffered least battle casualties
The French also have 2nd Young Guard corps, the elite of the Army of the Centre
So for once neither commander had to worry about battle casualties making their brigades weak
The Russians had two elite infantry brigades in support of Jena, under the command of the army commander
The French created an attack force of two elite brigades, commanded by Davout
The young guard were north of the town, with their artillery on their right to fire on the garrison
They would not advance until the town was under infantry attack
6th Vistula corps was south of the town. Their artillery would also engage the garrison.
Their main task was to contain 1st Russian corps and prevent them supporting the town
The combined French artillery was ineffective against the garrison, despite moving to close range
It was left to the infantry to assault Jena
North of the town 2nd Russian corps, including the guard cuirassier brigade advanced to support the garrison
The young guard were forced to move their artillery to fire on the advancing Russian infantry
The guard grenadiers charged the Russian guard cavalry in the decisive engagement
The French cavalry won, and secured the left flank
However the Russian cavalry rallied and supported the infantry to hold the French
South of the town 1st Russian corps, including the guard Cossacks, also advanced to support the garrison
The Cossacks charged the Polish lancers, and routed them.
This unexpected setback caused the Vistula corps to halt their attack
However they did manage to hold the flank.
Fortunately the French infantry attack on Jena was a complete success
The two elite brigades routed the two Russian grenadier brigades who formed the garrison
At nightfall both armies were still in place, but the town was firmly held by the French
The Russians have lost 4 infantry, 3 cavalry and 2 artillery casualties (2100 men)
The French have lost 3 infantry and 3 cavalry casualties (1500 men)
For once morale due to earlier battle casualties was not a problem
Both sides had good quality troops, including elite guard cavalry
It was strange that the French artillery did not perform better.
They were able to manhandle the guns into close range of the garrison
So they only needed a total of 7 with 2D6 for a hit, yet only managed one hit out of 4 attempts
The cavalry melee proved critical, particularly the Cossack victory
This caused the Vistula corps to halt and abandon their attack
However the Russians failed to take full advantage and attack the Poles.
The young guard were also unimpressive.
The cavalry melee between the two elite brigades did result in a French victor
However the Russian cuirassiers rallied and helped prevent the French advance
This was largely because of the time it took to redeploy the French gunners
The deciding engagement was the infantry fight for the town.
Both sides had elite troops, so the advantage was with the Russian defenders
The one casualty caused by the French guns left one brigade shaken
Both brigades then withdrew into the centre of the town to seek shelter from the guns
This allowed the French infantry to assault on equal terms
It was then just luck which side would win
The French had better luck than the Russians
Another very interesting wargame, with many unexpected outcomes