|Fighting breaks out along the main front and continues around Jena|
By the time Napoleon rode back to Soult's headquarters he was already having misgivings about his plan to put Murat in charge of scooping up Ruchel's exposed troops. It seemed that neither his corps commanders nor the Prussians were in a mood to delay the decisive day any longer and by dawn heavy fighting was already starting to break out along the entire front.
Finally Napoleon cancelled his previous day's orders, mostly out of courtesy, because Nappy expected the decisive moment was at hand and the battle would be decided before Murat or anyone else on that flank could react to any changes. Murat, Ney and Lannes were on their own.
Things now started to happen at a rapid clip. Unbeknownst to me, Lannes and Ney were having to react to the approach of more Prussians under Ruchel, as well as dealing with Saxe and Wartens. I was getting worried reports from Davout about the remnants of Brunswick's forces in his rear area, but to his credit Davout kept his cool and held his ground. I judged that nothing that happened on the left flank would have an immediate impact on the main front, where the fighting was becoming very intense!
It was too late because Napoleon had returned to Soult's position to observe the raging battle and through the smoke he discerned that there appeared to be a small gap in the Prussian line between Zechaltz and Grawert's commands with a clear path to the artillery reserve beyond. And the Guard was near at hand, just a few hundred yards away, having had their orders to join Murat cancelled. Napoleon's instinctively knew this was the moment! He rode over to Bessieres and pointed to the gap and ordered the Guard to attack. He rode on to Murat's nearby cavalry and ordered them to follow the Guard. This was the roll of the dice -- everything would depend on the outcome of this attack.
|The second Battle of Jena occurs to the West while the Prussian left flank begins to give way in the east and the Guard hits the center.|
|The Prussian front crumbles under a powerful assault. Kalckreuth finally starts to drive Davout back, but soon finds the army melting away to his East. Ney and Lannes check Ruchel at Jena.|
|Kalckreuth holds his ground while the French pursue|