Friday, January 18, 2013

1806 Campaign -- Day Four Approaching a decision Oct 14

Lannes disengages on the left while the bulk of the French army approaches the final battlefield on the right

On the fourth day of the campaign both armies started closing on the final field of confrontation.

Lannes adroitly disengages from Gotha and forces marches east while Murat prepares to perform some Houdini magic of his own in front of Ruchel.

On the right, Soult sticks his head in a bit of a noose, but the Prussians don't seem to recognize the opportunity, which is not surprising. In truth, I think the danger is actually less on this day than it was a day earlier because the rest of the French army is coming up. Soult wouldn't have to hold out for too long before Ney and Bernadotte were there.

From Nappy's point of view, things were very, very foggy about what was happening on the far left flank. Indeed, it's safe to say that for the rest of the campaign I had only the vaguest notion of what was really going on there, despite the voluminous dispatches from Lannes and Murat. If anything, the large number of reports made it really hard to sort out what was really happening, given the inevitably lengthy delays and the disjointed order of arrival. Their reports seemed to indicate to me that they had captured Gotha and its crossroads and driven Ruchel back a bit, so I thought they were going to be heading east along a much more northerly route than they actually took. For quite some time I believed that Lannes and Murat were on the army's left flank when they were actually approaching from the left rear.

Meanwhile, based Soult's reports, I decided that Hohenlohe probably represented the probable location of the enemy main body.  While there had been no sightings of Brunswick as yet, the lack of any evidence of him being around Gotha led me to conclude he was probably operating in support of Hohenlohe and would turn up soon or later on that front..

 Tomorrow: Missing Blucher!

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