With the city of Regensbach as a backdrop 25,000 French are attacking 20,000 Prussians arrayed around the village of Wahnberg.
Battle of Wahnberg
Deployment at about 9 o’clock the morning of April 12th. One of three battle plans was chosen at random. Marshal Lumiere’s IX Corps (blue) will attack the enemy left flank. Marshal Le Contre (green) will take the central position, denying the outer flank. The Cavalry reserve under Sivet (red) arrives later and will form in the back.
The Prussian position is anchored by woods on the flanks and the village of Wahnberg in the center. They are not inclined to move. Especially as they lack cavalry support. They have arrayed their troops in two lines with the second weaker line formed of mostly Landwehr in column.
The battle begins slowly, as Marshal Essault’s first battle with this new army shows problems of coordination (several Blunder rolls). After an hour the confusion is cleared up and Lumiere’s IX Corps attacks the enemy in ordre mixte on the right. Essault personally takes care of the artillery and builds a forward battery to support the attack.
The view from Marshal Essault’s position at about 12 o’clock. Lumiere’s first wave attack on the right is obscured by smoke. The second wave is arrayed to go in if necessary. The Prussian center becomes weaker as troops shift towards the fighting. A sign that the attack is successful?
The same positions 1 and a half hour later. Smoke clears on the right as the Prussians are beaten back with heavy losses. Apparently an enemy general has been captured. Marshal Essault orders XI Corps forward to press the attack as the Prussians seem to get weaker by the hour.
Unfortunately Le Contre does not handle the attack well. First he shifts too far the the left, leaving the center wide open. Luckily the Prussians are not in a position to counter attack. The assault of Wahnberg goes poorly with two regiments beaten back. Essault orders the cavalry reserve through his open center to finish the enemy. Despite overwhelming odds the Wahnberg garrision throws back the assault and then retires leaving the ground to the French. Cuirassiers swarm in from the center and the Prussians are in full retreat. General-Oberst Gifferd, who has been very passive during the entire battle is unable to bring order in what he has left and many soldiers are killed or captured during the evening. At least the Sternental Hussars fight valiantly to keep their army’s retreat path open but surrender to French Cuirassiers after their horses are blown.
Despite starting issues the French achieved a decisive victory at Wahnberg against a very static Prussian defense.
Due to many prisoners made, Prussian losses are staggering at 31%:
Captured: 2750, a battery worth of guns and General-Oberst Naurenburg
A Field promotion leaves General-Oberst Tzauren in command of the remainder of 1st Korps. Ironically he is a slightly better commander than Naurenburg was.
French losses are at 15%:
Next up I will return to the strategic implications of the twin battle of Wahnberg-Benningen.