Turn 05: Morning Sep 5th (Morale: French 6, Allies 6)
The French moved quickly in the morning to trap the Prussian IV Corps. The IIIc cavalry swung north just outside of Kaltenborn to block the movement north. XII Corps attacked from the east. VII Corps moved to Seehausen to the west. A coordinated attack from three directions is a hard thing to pull off. VII Corps wavered and only brought 2/3 of its strength into the battle. However, the combined forces were sufficient to rout the Prussians. Their only avenue of escape was to the northwest. Caught between the fire of the pursuing VII Corps and the charging French cavalry, the Prussian IV Corps broke. French morale was raised by their success as Prussian morale plummeted.
Bernadotte was stunned when he heard of the mauling of the IV Corps. He ordered Bulow to pull the III Corps back to Eckmansdorf where the Cz Cavalry joined them. XII Corps moved to Marzahna and The H Corps finally arrived. Bernadotte had temporarily halted the Swedish Corps until he could ascertain the situation. He then decided to order all the approaching units to join the II Corps near Eckmansdorf. However, the communique was lost and the Swedish Corps remained halted in place. Things were not looking good for the Allies. Unless they could force their way through, the French had the road to Berlin firmly blocked.
Turn 06: Mid-Day Sep 6th (Morale: French 7, Allies 5)
Ney advanced his left wing forward but warned them not to engage until the IV Corps could be brought up. VII Corps occupied Kaltenborg while XII Corps occupied the high ground to the left. The IIIc cavalry swung around to the right flank ready to seize the Allied LOC hex at 0112 or join a general engagement near Eckmansdorf as circumstances warranted. The IV Corps travelled across country to the northwest of Niedergorsdorf. If all went well Ney planned to roll up the next Prussian Corps in the afternoon!
Bernadotte decided he was still too exposed and needed to fall back on his advancing supports. III Corps pulled back from Eckmansdorf along the road to 0307. The Cz Cavalry took up position on its left flank. The XII Corps advanced to anchor the right at Schonefeld. The Swedish Corps was in reserve behind Schonefeld and the H Corps advanced to just past Marzhana. Bernadotte finally had his army concentrated and despite the loss of IV Corps, still outnumbered his old comrades the French. The continued lull and concentration of the army improved Allied morale. Now it was Bernadotte that planned to advance that afternoon!
Turn 07: Afternoon Sep 5th (Morale: French 7, Allies 6)
Bernadotte’s withdrawal now put Ney in a quandary as most of the Allied army was out of striking range for an effective assault. Through forced marches, he could strike the Allied left flank in echelon with the French cavalry from the woods at 0108, VII Corps at 0209, XII Corps taking Eckmansdorf and IV Corps swinging to the left flank at 0410 just west of Kaltenborn. With luck the breaks or at least routs and the III Corps gets pinned by the French cavalry. However, if the Cz cavalry merely withdraws then it is the French cavalry in danger of being destroyed as they can’t disengage if the Russian cavalry returns. In addition, if there is an exchange then VII Corps is exposed.
Advancing to Eckmansdorf without attacking is not satisfactory as it exposes the French army on a less defensible line and gives the Allies the chance to deploy their reserves on the attack. The third option was to continue bringing up the IV Corps to the woods at 0311 completing the more defensible Kaltenborn line and wait for developments and opportunities. It was too early in the day to make a run for Berlin and the Allied LOC and objective hexes before nightfall. Ney resorted to caution and took the third option hoping that getting the IV Corps through the woods would provide more options later in the day.
A sandstorm strikes! Under the cover of the storm, Bernadotte advances his army back to the Eckmansdorf line confident that the French will be unable to mount an immediate counterattack before he can continue to bring up his reserves. II Corps occupied Eckmansdorf with the Cz cavalry on its left flank refused. XII Corps occupied the hill at 0409. The Swedish Corps moved to support the XII Corps at 0408 while the H Corps moved into Schonefeld. Like two boxers warily looking for an advantage the armies are closing.
Turn 08: Evening Sep 5th (Morale: French 7, Allies 6)
With the sandstorm precluding an attack, Ney had to weigh his options yet again. One was to pull back and try to secure the Prussian entry LOC at 0112 and occupy Juterbog by nightfall decreasing Allied morale by 2. However, he wished to retain more room to maneuver. The IIIc cavalry was sent to Multerhausen to screen the Prussian entry location hex. Fearful of being cut off from his line of communications to the south, Ney sent the XII Corps to Seehausen and prepared to ride out any evening Allied attacks.
The sandstorm continued unabated! Once again, Bernadotte could not attack. He extended the right of his line with the H Corps and moved the Swedish Corps into a central reserve position behind III Corps. With night falling, the advance would have to wait until the morning of the 6th.
Turn 09: Night Sep 5th (Morale: French 7, Allies 6)
The French belatedly realized that unless they blocked two LOC hexes, there would be no impact to morale overnight. Ney still moved the IIIc Cavalry to block the LOC hex east of Malterhausen in case the Prussian IV Corps rallied. The VII Corps moved slightly to the left to support the XII Corps near Seehausen. French morale raised slightly over night as the troops had been able to rest and had avoided major combat the previous day.
Bernadotte also strengthened his front line during the night. The Cz Cavalry moved to the far-left flank at 0109. The Swedish Corps took a refused line to the northwest of the III Corps at Eckmansdorf. Bernadotte inquired on the state of the IV Corps and discovered that they were so badly mauled that they could not be rallied and ceased to be an effective force for the rest of the battle.
Nice AAR! At this point it doesn't look good for the French, and I'm guessing that the only way Ney can pull off a win is by aggressively heading "Onwards to Berlin" before the Coalition can bring their superior strength to bear.