Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Campaign Diary 4 April 1813

The Battle of Salzwedel

General Poniatowski has been tasked to hold the fortified town of Domnitz on the river Elbe. This town is of great strategic importance as it commands the main road from Berlin to Hamburg.

The Prussian advance across the river Elbe to the south has left Poniatowski in real danger of being cut off from the rest of the French Army of the North. At midnight on 3 April he receives orders from Marshal Davout to strike south and take the town of Salzwedel.

As he prepares to march south General Poniatowski receives reports from his cavalry that Prussian cavalry have entered Salzwedel. Because the Polish cavalry are widely spread, his patrol at Salzwedel is unable to prevent the Prussians from taking control of the town.

Poniatowski orders his patrols west of the river at Lenzen to march through the night to concentrate his cavalry brigade just south of Domnitz, to cover his advance on Salzwedel.

At daybreak on 4 April XIII corps march south from Domnitz to take Salzwedel. They march on Engage orders, which means that they will skirmish and fire on any enemy they encounter.

General Bulow commands 3rd Prussian corps. During the past three days he has crossed the river Elbe unopposed and taken the fortified town of Stendel. On 3 April he marched west to Ardensee, and his cavalry brigade was sent to recce Salzwedel.

This corps is the right wing of the Prussian advance which has crossed the river Elbe and cut the lines of communication between the French corps at Domnitz and Magdeburg. Bulow is aware of the enemy garrison of Domnitz, but their cavalry have always withdrawn before his advance guard, and he is convinced that the French will hold Domnitz and the road to Hamburg, rather than move south and risk defeat in an open battle.

At midnight on 3 April Bulow receives orders to continue his march west and occupy Salzwedel. He will also march on Engage orders.

At first light on 4 April he leads his corps out of Ardensee on the road to Salzwedel.

The scene is set for an encounter battle at Salzwedel.


  1. Hi Paul

    Just getting caught up with the campaign. Excellent presentation. Thanks!

  2. Hi Dave

    Thanks for your comments, glad you are enjoying it.

    I am very pleased with how the PBEM aspect is going. Its more work for me, but it adds a great deal to my enjoyment .

    The real test will come with the next battle, which is more complicated, and the follow up when it all goes back into PBEM aspect.