Sunday, 3 April 2022

Gera Campaign – Day 8

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


  1. Thistlebarrow,

    Does the French victory at Jean mark a breakthrough in the campaign? The cost seemed quite high, and although the situation now seems to favour the French, have they suffered sufficient casualties to decide that they need to stay put and recover before resuming their offensive.

    All the best,


    PS. Just got back from having an MRI scan. This should identify the nature of the problem with my prostate, and what treatment I require. In the meantime, I’m learning to live with a catheter and urine bag as well as my colostomy. I hope that your weather has improved. Over the past few days we have had sunshine, rain, sleet, hail, and snow … sometimes on the same day!

  2. Hi Bob

    Both armies have pretty well fought themselves to a standstill.

    The latest French victory secures a foothold in Gera district
    This is a considerable achievement after their earlier setbacks
    But it is a long way from their campaign objective of taking the city of Gera.

    The Russians still hold Naumburg in the north
    But the loss of both Jena and Sulza mean that they will have to retreat
    However they still hold the towns of KIretzschau, Gera and Lederhose

    It looks very like a stalemate, and that would mean a Russian victory!

    You have had a very difficult few months with medical problems
    Lets hope that they can identify the problem shortly
    By far the worse thing is not knowing, and waiting for results.

    The weather here in Spain has indeed improved
    We have had a couple of sunny days
    But more rain early next week
    It feels like spring (let alone summer) will never arrive

    No doubt in a few short weeks we will be complaining it is too hot!




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