|this image of the mixed brigade of Prussians in dim light was taken from the recent tabletop battle|
I was able to set up my table for this first action, a battle of a bridgehead near Potsdam.
I drew from the ONC map that I have for that part of north central Europe. It depicts a pair of lakes in somewhat swampy marshy ground, most of the region is inside the same topographic line, so no major hills are defined.
|Tabletop field looking to the southwest, Potsdam (north) is to the right|
While Potsdam itself is fortified, the older Spree river has moved over the flat ground away from the 100 year old fortifications that are aimed more to the west.
Prussian 3rd Corps was centered in the fortifications, with 4th Corps and the Corps of the Oder not far away.
|Prussian 3rd Corps deployed out looking east, the Cavalry Division is to the northwest - behind point of view|
Into this ground French VIIth Corps, under Reynier, have been given the task of making a bridgehead, then ordered to inflict what casualties they can and fall back across the Spree, while taking as few casualties as possible. Chosen to lead VII Corps across the river were the Saxon Divisions of Lecoq and von Sahr.
|The Saxon Divisions of French VII Corps with attached artillery|
|Right near Potsdam town were the Polish Lancers under Tolinski|
The Prussians were in no subtle mood. Orders were for 3rd Corps to engage the French and hold them until 4th Corps could arrive and hammer the French to the river, with the hopes of drowning them in the Spree after taking back both crossings.
|Prussians advance (my new cornfields get a first outing on the tabletop)|
The Prussians won the first initiative and had some troubles with Division commanders right from the start.
Krafft was tasked with taking the west side of the crossroads and the town, he simply did not move (rolled a 5). Standing right next to Bulow, amazingly, von Borsetll simply refused to move - indeed he mused about starting a withdrawal! Bulow, in no mood for pleasantries, grabbed Borsell's lapels and ordered him to attack at once! (Borstell rolled a 3 and the lapel grab by Bulow came up a 12!) For the Rest of the Prussian line it was simply an advance, as the guns were all out of range at the start.
|View of the action from Reynier's headquarters at the Spree River|
|In a high-risk maneuver, one Brigade of Polish Lancers will attempt to halt two Prussian Corps!|
The end of the first pulse of Turn 3, nothing incredible had happened, other than the sudden end of turn 3! In a one-in-four chance the turn came to an abrupt end.
|while divided by rivers the table was to see movement or battle action all over its surface|
|Prussians move to get guns into range|
|Borstell counter-marches and withdraws back to his starting position ... Bulow must have been furious!|
|von Oppen moved his Cavalry Division to the far right flank through open orchards (not a terrain challenge)|
|First Saxon attack is driven back by Prussian fire|
The Prussians drove back von Sahr's attack, though the reservists did come away as badly damaged as the Saxons were, the line Brigade with its mix of cavalry (MX formation in FPGA)
|von Sahr survives the retreat of both of his brigades to continue leading them, now wounded|
Now the job of halting anything will have to come from the horse batteries.
|Polish Lancers fall back after taking casualties|
|overall situation at end of Turn 4|
|Prussian Gun line established and firing|
|Saxons fighting hard to destroy Prussian formations|
|Field situation, the Prussians on the verge of victory?|
|Durutte's Division of French now backstopping von Sahr's Saxons|
|Saxons under Lecoq hold the right flank|
|Polish Lancers seeking a way to outmaneuver the Landwher Cavalry|
|Prussian horse ready to strike (the new cornfields in feature foreground with the old sky-cloth in backdrop)|
|The field from Druutte's position, gun batteries festooning his lines|
|Borstell's 'refused left' position|
|the field at turn 5|
All this while 4 Corps continues to pour past them, now with English rocket battery and more foot artillery closing in on Lecoq's flank.
|More Allied artillery coming with Prussian 4th Corps|
|Polish Lancers had counter-attacked and were safe on their side of the Spree, though now the artillery was out of range to be of any effect on the moving Prussian columns of 4th Corps|
|Prussian lines in a ragged condition as the forward formations have withdrawn - 4th Corps Landwher Cav seen on the right, with Saxon (French) brigade on the left|
|The French 'line', much would now depend on Lecoq and his Saxon command ... could it hold back the 4th Corps?|
|Prussian 4th Corps, passing Potsdam town with the first of the Corps of the Oder (cav) in behind|
During the pulse, the Saxon commands of Krafft and Borstell would find their courage and close in with the French (Saxons). The cavalry rallied and turned about again and General Ludwig von Hessen-Homburg recovered the remains of his 3rd Division and drove them towards a final showdown with von Sahr.
|field view turn 5 pulse 2|
|Krafft back in town and Borsetll at last moving into skirmish range|
|Prussian 4th Corps and attached British artillery moving to striking distance of Lecoq|
|Hessen-Homburg presses his ragged line forward (in the new cornfield!)|
|Saxon heavy artillery bolsters the line facing 4th Corps|
|von Sahr conducted a model withdrawal into the gap in the French-Saxon line|
Turn 6 pulse 1 was to be a watershed moment for the Saxons. As two divisions, the first two that were in the field on this day, were utterly destroyed.
|field view at 18h10|
|Lecoq's Division is cut apart by Prussian artillery and bayonets|
|Arriving as too little too late the Saxon Hussars seek to change the outcome as the sky grew dark|
|With the sun setting Durutte could suddenly see that the Saxons would not hold - Prussian horse, foot and guns were going to be in range of the only route to escape soon ... was that dark rainclouds? Could this be how the French would escape?|
|4 Corps as seen from the Polish Lancers|
|Prussian Landwher block the bridge before the Polish Lancers, with the Corps of the Oder marching in behind|
|the field at Turn 6 pulse 2|
|Prussians had broken the French line|
|Krafft and Borsetll deliver the killer blows|
|The TOLL, each casting represents approximately 500 men|
|Prussian 3rd Corps, some units still not at full strength, two Divisions are gone|
|Prussian 4th Corps, Landwher Cavalry still wounded|
|Prussian Corps of the Oder - still in fighting form|
|French VIIth Corps, not much more than a Division in strength ...|