After the battles done, the campaign zooms out again to the strategic level. Let us recapitulate:
Dark blue and red arrows show the opening moves of the French and Prussians respectively. We can see the French developing a strong central position to divide and conquer Unterphalen. Light blue and orange arrows show the second stage moves. With some intel the Prussians concentrate at two locations. The French strike both but weigh Regensbach in the north heavily. This lead to the battle of Wahnberg-Benningen (villages near Regensbach and Laichs respectively). Not exactly Jena-Auerstedt but a twin battle never the less.
At the end of April 12th I wrote new random orders and this is what happened:
In the north Prussian General-Oberst Gifferd retreats through Regensbach to Stammberg with what remains after the battle of Wahnberg. Marshal Essault decides for an aggressive approach. He leaves the 58th Grenadiers as garrison and pursuits with his army. He brings up the garrison of Dornfelde and informs Bessard about his victory. If possible Marhal Bessard should bring up his forces and support the move on Unterphalen’s capital.
Marshal Bessard’s X Corps retires towards the crossroads in the center of the province. Due to the Marshal being wounded it takes two days until a courier is sent to inform Marshal Essault about the battle of Benningen.
Meanwhile the Prussians Von Ahrenfeld and Lanzerat are still on the road towards Laichs.
At the 16th of April Gifferd retreats into Stammberg and Essault begins besieging the city. Von Ahrenfeld and Bessard receive messages from each other and a new set of plans is formed.
As ordered the French forces not at Stammberg group up at Regensbach on the 19th.
As news arrive Von Ahrenfeld about the losses at Wahnberg he immediately takes all forces and heads for Stammberg. He also informs Lanzerat to get to Stammberg on the double. But Lanzerat is still too far out to wait for him.
Fast forward to April 19th. Von Ahrenfeld arrives at Stammberg and Gifferd leaves the city to attack the French besiegers from two directions. The battle of Stammberg is about to begin and the war hangs in the balance.
Battle of Stammberg
The randomly determined battlefield. The area around the city is hilly on the campaign map so I generated this map with the adjusted hilly table and ended up with 5 hills. The random plan picked for Marshal Essault is simple yet daring. While Le Contre’s XI Corps holds the central position near the village of Witteln against the arriving Von Ahrenfeld, French IX Corps under Lumiere and the Cavalry Reserve attack the Prussians as they stream out of Stammberg. One battle weary Corps and Cuirassiers against two severely reduced Prussian Korps. The hope is to defeat the Prussians in detail and carry the victory to Stammberg, effectively completing the invasion of Unterphalen.
Although Essault would rather have waited, looking at the strategic side of things he still has no idea where the rest of the Prussians are. He has just received word about the battle at Benningen. The current position of Bessard’s X Corps and many Prussian troops is hazy. So this aggressive course is a believable answer to these problems.
Von Ahrenfeld has a different dilemma. He knows that Lanzerat’s big 4th Korps is about a week away. Although the French have been beaten near Laichs, they are probably still closer to Stammberg than Lanzerat is. He decided therefore, that an attempt to break the siege is better now than later, as odds will only get worse in the nex few days.
Numbers in brackets are the reduced stamina values due to losses
HQ Marshal Essault (Command Rating 8)
IX CORPS Marshal Lumiere (Command Rating 8, Decisive)
45th Light (2)
66th Line (3)
52th Line (2)
53th Line (3)
Foot Battery #63
96th Grenadiers (lend from X Corps)
XI CORPS Marshal Le Contre (Command Rating 8, Headstrong)
57th Light (2)
59th Line (2)
71st Line (3)
73rd Line (2)
Foot Battery #65
CAVALRY RESERVE General Sivet (Command Rating 8)
9th Cuirassiers (2)
1st Wennefeld Landwehr is too weak to be fielded.
HQ General-Feldmarshall Von Ahrenfeld (Command Rating 6)
1st PROVISIONAL KORPS General-Oberst Tzauren (Command Rating 7, Aggressive)
2nd Wennefeld Landwehr (2)
1st Sternental Line
2nd Sternental Line (1)
3rd Wennefeld Fusiliers (1)
Dornfelde Line (1)
1st Stammburg Line (from Reserve)
2nd PROVISIONAL KORPS General-Oberst Gifferd (Command Rating 7, Diffident)
1st Regensbach Line (1)
2nd Regensbach Line (2)
1st Mühlenach Landwehr (3)
2nd Mühlenach Landwehr (1)
2nd Stammburg Line (from Reserve)
3rd PROVISIONAL KORPS General-Oberst Scharenau (Command Rating 7, Hesitant)
Irl Grenadiers (2)
1st Ergenloh Grenadiers (2)
2nd Ergenloh Landwehr (3)
1st Musketeers of Laichs (Line) (3)
2nd Musketeers of Laichs (Line) (1)
Foot Battery No 1
Foot Battery No 2
ARMY RESERVE General-Feldmarshall Von Ahrenfeld (Command Rating 6)
Next up will be the report of the battle of Stammberg.