011. The Battle of La RothiÃ¨re - JTS Campaign 1814
011. The Battle of La RothiÃ¨reBy Bill Peters
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|First Side:||French (Nap)|
|Second Side:||Allies (Nap)|
1 February 1814 - Historical - Intended for Head to Head play - With the defeat of Blücher at the Battle of Brienne on 29 January, the Allies fell back to the south near Trannes. Napoleon was waiting to see what the main Allied army would do and thus spent two days at Brienne in relative inactivity. Activity to the southwest indicated that the Allies were also relatively quiet. Finally, on 1 February, Blücher along with portions of the Hauptarmee launched an attack on La Rothière. Schwarzenberg and the Austrians purposely held back their forces as much as possible in order to not destroy Napoleon as they distrusted the Prussians and Russians who they felt would carve up Europe for their own benefit. Despite this policy, Wrede of Bavaria promoted the idea of a flank march on Napoleon's long left flank with his V Corps. With Gyulai's III Corps and two Russians corps under Blücher attacking directly on Napoleon's forces at La Rothière, Wrede and Prince Eugen of Wurttemberg attacked against the French left. The early attacks at around 2-3 PM on the main French position by Blücher (Austrian III Corps - Gyulai, Russian Corps Olsufiev and Sacken) met with stiff resistance and failed to crack the shell of the French defenses. Blücher asked for more forces from Barclay and a division from the Russian 3rd Grenadier Corps marched out to aid the failing Allied attack. Meanwhile, the flank march by Wrede and Prince Wurttemberg finally materialized around 4 PM and despite some early confusion the French were being hustled out of Morvilliers. Several attempts to retake the village by Marmont and the Young Guard failed. The main front around La Rothiere was still on fire as Napoleon finally realized that the more numerous Allies were going to take and hold the small village. He decided on a retreat to the north and setup a grand battery to cover his movements. The Russian attacks succeeded in capturing many cannon in the battle but with the falling darkness and the exhausted condition of their formations the French were able to fall back towards the north despite Wrede's attempt to bag the army. This was Napoleon's first loss due to the fact that he was outnumbered and his conscripts had not handled themselves well. The French army's morale plummeted but the Master of the battlefield would have something up his sleeve in the coming days to restore their faith in his ability.