Friday, 1 May 2015

2nd battle of Regensburg : opening positions & OOB



  1. (PART 1)

    REPORT from Saxony IX Corps. Maréchal de Empire Bernadotte to supreme Commander of the French / Allied forces: Napoleon Bonaparte.

    Sire, it pleases me at the utmost to report you of our achievements during our latest battle at Ratisbon (Bavaria).
    My Corps arrived at this ground just some days since. As we were ordered to the town of Hof fourteen days ago we were in a bad situation when rumor of approaching Habsburgian forces reached my staff. I've instantly ordered my units to get to the road and head for the South. As we did not know where the Austrians would cross Bavarian borders (East or South) a gave my 2nd Corps under von Polenz the orders to reconnoiter the area in the North-East around Markredwitz and Mitterteich. I myself with staff, 1st and 3rd Corps, made a deviating maneuver first moving due South along the road Hof to Bayreuth and from there rendezvous on the route with von Polenz in Falkenberg. No enemy actions were observed in North, East or West. It took us about good 7 days to reach the good high ground around Burglenenfeld. Our avantgarde reached Ratisbon that same day. It seemed all forces of Maréchal Berthier were gathered in this cauldron. Sadly lots of soldiers were to grieve already as the White Emperor had struck us several times while we were still on our way to form as Berthier had planned. Apparently my IX Corps was the only one in the armee not engaged so far! Some in my staff started to become almost frenzy when they heard that. It gave us more steadiness for what was to come.

  2. (PART 2)

    REPORT from Saxony IX Corps. Maréchal de Empire Bernadotte to supreme Commander of the French / Allied forces: Napoleon Bonaparte.

    The city of Ratisbon is called Regensburg by the inhabitants and was in a hectic state of mind at the time of our arrival there. The city walls with stem from medieval times, were being reenforced by groups of volunteer civilians led by military engineers. Gates got extra layers of oak wood on the inside and along the full Southern stretch, water from the river Danube was kept in close quarters with fighting positions and flammable objects. The Maréchal (Berthier) had scouting parties send out in the vicinity of the city. It did not take long as these light troops came back with valuable information. Two large Austrian Corps were to join in pin point position South of the city, within eyesight from the walls of Ratisbon. Berthier decides that the best way to defend was to attack. He planned a warm welcome. A double defensive line sprouting from Ratisbon itself was thought to be the fitting order of battle. Closest to the city, the most battered Bavarian units shoulder to shoulder with their Wurtemberger neighbors. Outstretching in the first line the veteran French troops, backed up by my beloved Saxons. The latter some of which were pretty green troops with calculated moral risk. Flanks only kept with the most solid troops one can imagine. Amongst then my ultimate "Butter-Krebse" or Leibgarde Grenadieren zur Fuss. I myself, would hang on to the left flank too.

  3. (PART 3)

    REPORT from Saxony IX Corps. Maréchal de Empire Bernadotte to supreme Commander of the French / Allied forces: Napoleon Bonaparte.

    The day of battle itself started with an early red sky and an over-all good mood amongst both the officers and fighting men. The South gates of the city opened up, spitting out thousands of high spirited souls. It took some time to get the whole complexity of the battle-line to accuracy. Staff members were treated a rural Italian food. Round and flat, filled with delicious vegetables, meat, cheese of the finest sort in a sauce of tomato. Our Piedmontese and Sicilian mercenary soldiers call it 'pietsa' and prepare it in small stone field-build ovens, heated with burning dry wood. Von Polenz loved it and he even made up a variant to the theme by adding the typical North-African 'sjowarma' meat, that we encountered in the land of the big Pyramids, to it. Well fed we took our positions when finally the Austrians showed up. They did not seem to be surprised by our deployment as firm blocks of broad mustached men took their place in the field, parallel and opposite our lines. It was about one-and-a-half hours after noon. Hell broke loose. An immense cannonade started the fighting from a gigantic Austrian 'Grande-Batterie' incorporated in their left flank, close to the city of Ratisbon. Surely they would re-target at the city gate as soon as our troops in front of them, were eliminated. Our general order: move up, get space behind you, bind Austrian troops, make numbers count (we seemed to have a numeric advantage over our invaders).

  4. (PART 4 and final)

    REPORT from Saxony IX Corps. Maréchal de Empire Bernadotte to supreme Commander of the French / Allied forces: Napoleon Bonaparte.

    Strong, very strong the Austrian right flank hit us. First blood ran from our French brothers in front of us. What started out as a pushing contest between the two armies continued throughout the whole afternoon. To and fro, to and fro. Every single strip of ground was hard fought and most of the times lost again in the next enemy counterattack. The woods in the centre of the action were the scene of sniping and picking off command structures and mortal souls. Various light troop hung out there from both sides, keeping each other busy for hours. Slowly the Austrian jägers got hold on the better side of the balance, pushing the left of my first division by von Zerschwitz and the right of von Polenz' 2nd, into the danger zone at the border of the battlefield (losing valuable space to retreat in good order when needed). directly to the North of the woods is a hill. That too was bitter ground. A breakthrough seriously threatened our French / Rhine states centre. Then suddenly the earth seemed to be plowed over by devine force. The medium battery of Dupas' 3d division under command of general Veaux made her shot could double. The whitecoats turned tail within several salvo's, leaving men enough behind to get a grips on our moral again. I humbly hereby put forward the master gunner of this battery for a decoration as the emperor sees fit. I reckon this man saved the day for the eye of whole Ratisbon.
    Major impressive fighting was done by the Wurtenbergers of the VIII Corps of Van Damme with strong support from the Bavarian 3rd Bavarian division under General Deroy. Pivoting from a ferme just behind our frontline, these units swept like an opening door, the fields that lay before them. Removing, from the steps of the city, any direct danger of battle entering the walls. The Austrian 'Grand Batterie' was run over and silenced effectively. Supporting Austrian cavalry elements were decimated and fled the field. The Austrian left flank was ripped apart. Ratisbon cheered from the city walls. It could not be missed, the day was ours. Austrian supreme command pushed again and again at the right flank, in front of me. The final breath of Mars, God of War. It was in vain. The spirit left the bottle, Habsburgian morale was washed away with the current of the river Danude. We stood tall and proud we were as always. Vive Maréchal Berthier et Vive L'Empereur. La victoire est a nous!

  5. Marcel, Thanks for the elaborated report of our battle and campaign. Working on mine as Massena for the battle. The other commanders will surely follow.

  6. Battle report Massena:
    A sa majesté impériale, Napoleon I
    We deployed in first line as instructed by our Commander in Chief, Marrechal Berthier, with the German division on the left and the remains of the French division in the centre. The Marrechal himself was not present as he had to be present at Salute of the emperor the day before.
    Concerning our deployment, the woods on the left and the hill in the centre gave an excellent defensive position. We were attacked by the Austrian II corps and a division of the I corps. We quickly lost on the centre left the Baden battery and a battalion of the Hessian 2nd regt. But The other units of the German Brigade stood firm. Attacking an being counter attacked. By the end of the battle, the Hessian brigade was exhausted and the Saxon troops took over, resisting the dying out attacks of the tired Austrian grenadiers.
    In the centre, the battalions of the 21th Light infantry were also attacked by Austrian grenadiers but drove them of time after time, receiving assistance of the remaining battalion of the 18th Line regiment. The first battalion of the 21st light was finally broken by the grenadiers and division general Cara Saint Cyr was killed in the action while leading the battalion personally. The second battalion didn’t lose courage and was attacked by a regiment of dragoons supported by hussars. They broke both units crushing the last hopes of the Austrians to force a breakthrough .They had their revenge of the defeat in Wezenbach. I would also like to recommend to our Majesty, General de Brigade Cosson for his courage( Mon Cosson est un lion), as for all the members of this battalion who fought like a unit of the guard. Our heavy battery did with constant firing wear down Austrian columns before they could reach the actual fighting. In all, he contribution of our French division an myself to this victory was essential.
    On our right flank, Corps commander van Damme attacked vigorously and destroyed a grande batterie driving of all counter attacks of Austrians driving them of the field.
    Victory was never in doubt as the reserves of Saxons and Bavarians didn’t see much action, in contrast to our opponents who had spent theirs by the end of the day, giving them no other than a hasty retreat covered by their uhlans.
    May I, in absence of Marrechal berthier offer your this great victory,
    Votre humble serviteur
    André Masséna, marrechal de l’armee imperiale, duc de l'Empire