Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Battle of Halbeck - 10 May 1813


10 May 1813 - Battle of Halbeck

Blucher has spent two days at Colbitz building up his forces west of the Elbe. He now orders 2nd and 4th corps to attack Halbeck and open the road to Hannover.

Having lost at both Calbe and Colbitz, the French situation is now critical. Davout has placed 4th corps in Halbeck, and regrouped 6th corps behind the town.


The table consists of squares D1, D2, D3, E1, E2, E3, F1, F2, F3
The village of Halbeck is the objective

4th French (Jan) in position at Halback.

6th French (Jan) will approach from left

3rd and 4th Prussian (Paul) will approach from right


The Prussian army approached Halbeck with 3rd corps on the left and 4th corps on the right A cavalry division has been created by taking the brigades from each corps. The cavalry division swing to the left, to threaten the French right flank and delay their reinforcements. The Prussian cavalry to advance to silence the enemy guns, the French infantry form square, and their cuirassiers move forward in support. Unable to approach the guns, the hussars charge the enemy cavalry.

6th French corps send their cavalry forward to join the cavalry melee, and form square with their infantry until the cavalry duel is decided.

The Prussian cavalry have beaten the cuirassiers who withdraw, however 6th corps cavalry charge to cover the withdrawal.. The Prussians again win the melee, but are left disordered and require time to regroup.

The infantry of 3rd corps continue to soak up the French artillery fire, but remain firm. The combined Prussian artillery have failed to make much impression. Unless they can master the enemy gunners, 3 corps will have to withdraw before the increasing casualties break their morale. 6th French corps remain in square, as the beaten cavalry flow past them.

The concentrated Prussian artillery fire finally has its effect, the enemy gunners are shaken, fail their morale and flee. The nearby square also fails its morale and joins them. Unfortunately the Prussian cavalry are still disorganized and unable to take advantage of this opportunity.

3rd corps is ordered to advance and pursue fleeing enemy. They detach their landwehr brigade to engage the enemy garrison in Halbeck.

4th corps to engage the enemy infantry on the right, with their two best brigades, whilst the remaining two storm the town. Although there is no artillery support, the Prussian infantry win the day. After a brisk musket fight the supporting French infantry break and run. The garrison of the town puts up a determined defence, and defeat the first brigade. However the two remaining brigades finally overrun them and they withdraw from the town in good order.

The French 4th corps is broken and in rout. However 6th corps, apart from their cavalry, are intact and relatively safe in their squares. They withdraw in good order, covering the rout and holding the weary Prussian cavalry and infantry at bay.


The battle has been a clear, but not decisive, victory for the Prussians.
The French will retreat and will take one day to recover.