006. The Battle of LÃ¼tzen - WDS Campaign Bautzen
006. The Battle of LÃ¼tzenBy Bill Peters
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2 May 1813 - Historical - Intended to be played Head to Head - With Napoleon finally up to the front and in command personally the French army morale soared. The late part of April saw much maneuvering around the Elbe. The key cities of Leipzig and Halle were magnets drawing troops from both sides. At Halle Kleist was able to hold off the French under Eugene and retire in good order. The main army under Wittgenstein (having replaced Kutusov who had died on the 28th) was situated in and around Leipzig and to the southeast. Bülow was to the north covering the approaches to Berlin. Napoleon was desirous of a battle with the Allies and began moving his army towards Leipzig. Ney was first to reach Lützen on the 1st of May with more French corps marching from Naumberg and Merseberg. Wittgenstein conceived a plan whereby the Allies would move up to Lützen and attack the French. On the morning of the 2nd of May the Allies were moving to cross over the Elster and Floßbraben (a canal which was impassable to cavalry and artillery). Confusion reigned as the different columns all became intermingled. Eventually the troops were able to cross and the Prussians made up the first line while the Russians took up position in a reserve role. Ney was totally unaware of the concentration. Even a small cavalry outpost would have detected the movement but Ney had little to no cavalry in his command. The Prussian attack took the Souham's 8th Division in Gross Gorschen by surprise and for the next several hours the fighting would revolve around possession of the villages. Eventually French reinforcements would arrive to stem the Allied tide but the French had narrowly missed being beaten. Only the lack of commitment on the part of the monarchs allowed the III Corps to escape serious destruction. For Napoleon it was an incomplete victory as his army was not equipped with sufficient cavalry to follow up his victory. The Allies would fall back to Dresden and then to Bautzen where the last major engagement of the Spring Campaign would be fought.