A Napoleonic Wars Gaming Community
HomeHome  CalendarCalendar  FAQFAQ  SearchSearch  MemberlistMemberlist  UsergroupsUsergroups  RegisterRegister  Log inLog in  


 4te History

Go down 
A2 Leutnant

Posts : 6
Join date : 2013-12-05

4te History Empty
PostSubject: 4te History   4te History EmptyFri Dec 06, 2013 3:28 pm

Can anyone give me links to valid and reputable sites on the regiments history that would be wonderful
Back to top Go down
View user profile


Posts : 102
Join date : 2013-12-02
Location : Los Angeles, California
Age : 22
4te History YNuy9vS 4te History ZqXMxhq 4te History Lmy8LhJ 4te History Empty 4te History Empty 4te History Empty 4te History Empty 4te History Empty

4te History Empty
PostSubject: Re: 4te History   4te History EmptyFri Dec 06, 2013 4:29 pm

Oh boy, this is not an easy one. There is nothing written specifically about the 4te. What I have gathered is from order's of battle and descriptions of battles (I only know what our brigade did). Our big claim to fame is at Leipzig. (http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/CGSC/CARL/nafziger/813JIB.pdf)

We were attached to:

7thBrigade: Generalmajor von Horn(3,325)
1/,2/,Fus/Leib Infantry Regiment (1,597)
Thüringian Battalion (368)
2/,3/,4/4th Silesian Landwehr Regiment (925)
1/,2/15th Silesian Landwehr Regiment (772)
3/,4/3rd SilesianLandwehr Cavalry Regiment (94)
1/,2/,3/,4/10th Silesian Landwehr Cavalry Regiment (132)
6pdr Foot Battery #3 (102)

The Beginning:

The 4th was formed in late 1812, when Napoleon's Grande Armee was defeated in Russia. Seeing this as their chance, Prussia mobilized their armies to try and regain their freedom from France. Because the Prussian army was so small, they needed to supplement it with troops, because they could not train, outfit, and organize dozens of new line regiments, they called for Landwehr to be formed. Each province of Prussia was tasked with forming their own landwehr (Silesia had 16 different landwehr regiments!).

4te History LTr7xfT

The Wars of Liberation:

At the end of 1813, we were attached to the Army of Silesia under General der Kavallerie Blücher. The army of Silesia, as well as Russia, Austrian, and Swedish forces were pushing the French out of Prussia. The 4te were engaged in combat throughout the entire campaign and took large losses. Out of the estblished ~2,400 men strength, there were less then 1,000 at the time of Leipzig. That means there were about ~250 men per battalion, or about 60 men per kompanie.


Because I am lazy, first I will just post the information from my RP:

Walko wrote:
"Meeting armies of the 6th Coalition the Prussian army marched from  Wartenburg to meet Napoleon on the field at Leipzig. Part of the 380,000 fallied force, the 7th Brigade was initially held in reserve. Johan surveyed the battlefield, awed by it's sheer scale and horrible destruction. Having never seen combat before, Johan was sick at his first sight of a Russian soldier, torn in two by a cannon ball. Two days after the start of the battle, on October 18th 1813, 30,000 men of the Silesian army were moved to the front by the Parthe River to reinforce  Langeron's Russians. The 7th Brigade was called upon to be some of those reinforcements.

The next day the Prussian reinforcements were sent forward to capture Leipzig, and to prevent a french escape. The 7th Brigade was in the second wave of attackers to attempt to pry Leipzig from the French. On the Chilly morning, Johan lined his platoon in front of the village, calming his men, although he himself was shaking to the bone. Just a few hundred meters away, the dying groans of hundreds of men could be heard, an endless chorus of agony amid the thundering artillery. After what seemed like hours, the order to advance was given, and the 4th Regiment began it's slow methodical advance to Leipzig. Just seconds after the advance was started, prussian Fusiliers were sent forward to harry the French.

With bullets cracking all around then the men of 1. Zug advanced, unwavering, at 150 meters the first man as sent tumbling to the floor as a bullet lodged itself in his gut, the unteroffizers yelled to close the gaps and the march continued. Soon the dull thud of bullets hitting their targets became a familiar sound, as more and more men fell out of line. At 60 meters, when Johan could begin to make out the facial features of the men shooting from behind the barricades, he ordered the charge. A deafening cry went up as the Silesians were let free, individual clumps of men began charging individual ad-hoc fortresses. All over Men in blue and yellow climbed over thrown together barricades, bayoneting the weary defends where they stood. Elated by the charge at the barricade Johan rallied a dozen men around him and charged a house holding a collection of Frenchman and Poles, spanning a dozen different regiments. The door was barred by a stout Polish sergeant, who had a missing tooth and a unruly mustache on his upper lip. His face frozen in a snarl Johan lowered his pistol and fired it point-blank into the Poles open mouth. Spraying gore on the wall behind him, the Pole offered an opportunity for the men surrounding Johan to charge the door and effortlessly make short work of the cramped French and Polish defenders in the hovel. Johann was in shock, not believing that he took the man's life. The trance as broken quickly when one Johan's unteroffiziers forcefully pulled him into the blood soaked cottage. As Johan looked out the small window of the hovel, he was blown backwards by a massive explosion. Ears ringing he looked up to see the bridge prematurely detonated, leaving thousands of French dead, and thousands more stranded. Aware of how hopeless the situation was, the Frenchmen on the wrong side of the river quickly gave up their arms, and surrendered to the Prussians."
What actually happened: Our men were on the allied right flank, and didn't see any action until the 3rd day of battle. On the 3rd day (October 18th 1813) The 7th Brigade was sent forward to secure the French-Polish held village of Leipzig itself, to prevent a french escape. We charged the village head on, in the second wave, covered by our light battalion, the Fusiliers of the leib regiment, and a Thüringian rifle Battalion. Fierce hand to hand fighting followed in the village, and our men distinguished themselves. Luckily for the Prussians, the French engineers accidentally blew the bridge too early, and trapped thousands of soldiers on the wrong side; those men quickly threw down their arms and became prisoners of war.  

4te History NXtp0Pr

The Rest of the Campaign:

The 4th fought out the rest of the campaign, all the way to the gates of Paris. After the fall of Paris, all landwehr units were sent home to their families, their service to the fatherland complete. They were to return home as heroes.

4te History 89wmgkY

Part 2:

IV Army Corps
Corps Commander: GdI Friedrich Wilhelm Graf von Dennewitz Bülow

15th Infantry Brigade
Commander: GM von Losthin

Artillery- XIV FB [183 men]
Line Infantry- '6th Reserve' Inf. Reg. [2.395 men]
Landwehr- 3rd Silesian Land. Inf. Reg. [1.905 men] + 36 Jägers
               4th Silesian Land. Inf. Reg. [1.777 men]

After Napoleon's return to power, the 4th was called back into action, with it's ranks replenished. We saw much action during the 100 days campaign.

Quote :
"Bulow's IV Corps arrived to take the role as rear-guard for the rest of the army at Wavre which allowed the army to reassemble."
At Ligny the IV korps was there to cover the broken I korps, and saved the Prussian army from defeat, even though they did not see action that day. The next few days the IV Korps would be instrumental in the battle of Waterloo, the IV Korps, the only non engaged Prussian unit, would be the unit to arrive on Napoleon's right flank, and secure the victory at Waterloo.

Quote :

"Grouchy bivouacked his army for the night and began his pursuit again late the next morning of the 18th. By this time, Napoleon was preparing to assault the British at Waterloo. Grouchy however was too late to stop the Prussians, Blucher had already sent his uncommitted IV Corps under Bulow, who had began marching at 4am, his orders were to hold his corps under cover at St-Lambert if Wellington was not engaged at the time. If he was engaged Bülow was to attack Napoleon's right flank, Blucher told him, “throw yourself at the right flank of the enemy with the utmost vigour. The II Corps will follow immediately in support.” Pirch I's II Corps would follow him while Ziethen's I and Thielmann's III Corps were told to get their Corps ready. By the afternoon, only parts of Thielmann's Corps would still be at Wavre.
The ground between Wavre and Waterloo was crisscrossed with wooded hillocks and deep streams. Rain fell from noon on the 17th to the morning of the 18th. The roads became bogs of mud. "

IV Korps Actions:

the IV was on Napoleon's right flank, and having nothing else to send, he gave orders to Lobau with his VI Corps to cross the Charleroi road and to go towards Saint-Lambert to support the light cavalry. He was given orders to "choose a good intermediate position where he could with 10,00 men hold up to 30,000..." Napoleon did clearly believe Grouchy would come to his aid when he added to the order that Lobau was to attack vigorously as soon as he heard the cannons of Grouchy's troops attacking Bulow's rear. Napoleon had now tied down over 12,000 men to try and prevent the Prussians making a significant intervention, the superiority in numbers he ha enjoyed against the Wellington was gone. Basically Napoleon tells Lobau to stop the IV from advancing.


The Prussian Attack Increases

As more of their forces arrived, the Prussian attacks became stronger and more determined, slowly Lobau's divisions were pushed back towards the village of Planchenoit, by about 5:30pm, all of Bulow's IV Corps was in line and available, Lobau had no reserves left. General Losthim, commander of the Prussian 15th Brigade reported "the enemy defended his positions stubbornly for several hours." It is therefore worth recognising the skill in which Lobau was conducting his troops and how well they were performing despite the odds against them.
As Lobau slowly drew back he sent Bellair's brigade (the 5th and 11th Line regiments) to occupy Planchenoit (its occupants had fled the day before), it was the key to the main French position, he also sent a request for more artillery as Napoleon had earlier taken Lobau's heavy 12 pounders for the Grand Battery and his remaining artillery was insufficient. General Tromelin recalls:

"The Prussian attack started towards 4:30pm. Our cavaly sabred the enemy squadrons. Then we formed in square by brigade and remained under fire of forty Prussian guns that caused us much damage. We were unaware of what was going on elsewhere on the battlefield.
At 5:30, the enemy were reinforced by infantry and cavalry; the artillery fire became terrible. Maintaining a bold front, but suffering under the weight of shot, the four squares of the corps retired slowly in the direction of Planchenoit where we finally established ourselves, already outflanked by Prussian cavalry. The debris of my three battalions occupied the gardens and orchards."

So it seems the Prussians were relying heavily on their artillery to batter and weaken Lobau before launching an infantry assault, this certainly shows a use of very Napoleonic tactics against the French themselves. We go to Sergeant Major Marq's account, his contribution to this fight was to end before reaching Planchenoit:

"the enemy emerged from the wood and immediately opened fire on us; the skirmishers that had been in there had all been killed or wounded. First I was wounded by a ball that passed through my body passing by my left kidney and which exited after an incision was made, through the right buttock. It knocked me down onto my front and I was helped up by two of my sergeants who were nearby. They picked me u[ and put me on an artillery horse; but I had hardly gone twenty paces on horseback when I was obliged to let myself slide off because I did not have the strength to hold on."

Pushed back towards Planchenoit, Lobau took a final position at the top the gradual slope that ran up to the village. The village itself, occupied by Bellair's brigade, formed his right flank, the rest of his line spread up to the north forming almost  right angle with the main French position. With no option but to make a final stand, the fighting became more desperate, even from the main Allied position, a British general Sir Hussey Vivian remarked "I was surprised to see the tremendous fire the French were able to direct against the Prussians." And thankfully for Lobau, his request for more artillery was granted as a battery of 24 guns of the Guard Artillery were sent to him.
It appears at this moment, the Prussians began faltering, as Bulow noted in his report:

"The skirmishers of the 15th Brigade, who were ever the target of the enemy's musket fire, had to be led forward several times and our fire began to noticeably weaken a little on this part of the line. The enemy seemed thus to obtain a momentary advantage and his intention was, perhaps, to take the offensive against our right flank, while the combat got ever more violent at Planchenoit, in order to penetrate between this village and the English left wing; he showed indeed, strong masses of infantry and cavalry in front of the 15th Brigade. "

However, the lack of any French reserve and the measures taken by the Prussians to reinforce this part of their line re-established the situation and the prepared for a major assault on Planchenoit. As Lobau fell back, rumours started to spread around the French army about the army being attacked from the rear, supported by the Prussian guns, which had now moved up and now cannon balls were landing amongst the main French army, some French troops started to despair and it took effort to get these men back to their positions. News reached Napoleon about what was happening, the news was dire and there was a great deal of unease in the staff at this point, the high morale of the French at the start of the battle was wavering.

Lieutenant Pontecoulant of the guard artillery summarises the situation on the French right:

"Count Lobau, fearing being cut off, carried out his retreat towards our centre. The consequences of this movement was to allow the Prussian batteries, who had been substantially reinforced, and which counted more than 60 guns, to gain ground so that their balls and even their case shot , fell as far as the Charleroi road, which served as the main line of communications for our army, around the farm of la Belle Alliance, and even the high ground around Rosomme where the emperor was in the middle of his Guard. The trees lining the road were riddled, and often men, horses or caissons, moving from the reserve to the line of battle, were struck."

The Prussian intervention was having a telling and damaging effect on the French, the battle against the Allies on Mont-St-Jean was also not yielding morale boosting results and now the Prussians were threatening to overwhelm the rear. The Prussian artillery's effectiveness is documented by Sergeant Hippolyte Maudit, a soldier in the 1er Grenadiers of Napoleons Old Guard, he writes:

"We were very surprised to see from these batteries, which we believed to be French [Grouchy's], simultaneously appear twenty or so white clouds and a few seconds after to hear around us or above our heads the whistling of balls! Nearly all of the balls of the second discharge landed either in our square, or in that of the Sapeurs and Marins of the Guard, placed on the same line as us, but next to the road.
A third discharge of the same batteries struck accurately, and killed several of our brave grenadiers, We served as the target for nearly an hour, without moving, we thus received death, with ordered muskets and arms crossed.
For some time, we did not have a single gun to reply to these uncomfortable neighbours; our own battery had been sent over to VI Corps Corps to replace theirs that had been lost whilst on loan to d'Erlon. The Emperor was immediately informed and a 12 pounder battery of the Guard Reserve was sent to replace it and it deployed a hundred paces above us. From there, it fired on the Prussian columns beyond the village of Planchenoit. Its fire, well directed, quicklyreduced the effectiveness of the Prussian fire which, nevertheless, had caused us about 50 casualties in our square. The shells in particular caused us the most damage...
Each discharge thus knocked down several grenadiers, but our post was there, and neither the balls, nor shells would force us to abandon it.

The Prussian artillery was deadly, as Maudit's account shows, and while the Allies at Mont-St-Jean were taking a pounding from the French guns, the French were taking a pounding from the Prussians on the right.

The Defense of Planchenoit

Planchenoit was a large village with a church built of stone and a walled cemetary. According to Siborne the churchyard was elevated above most of the village and enclosed by a low stone wall strengthened by a steep outer bank
Bulow now had his large artillery force firing on the village and the heights beyond and was now preparing his attack. Bulow's report informs us that the first attack consisted of six battalions of the 16th Brigade, this included battalions of the Silesian Landwehr (remember there were two regiments in 16th Brigade) and the 3rd Reserve Infantry regiment. These six battalions were deployed in three assault columns supported by two battalions of the 14th Brigade. The right column was made of 2 battalions of the 15th '3rd Reserve' Infantry, the centre made of 2 battalions of the 1st Silesian Landwehr, and the left column made of 2 battalions of the 2nd Silesian Landwehr. Bulow writes, "The enemy disputed every foot of ground, but not with any great determination ... Six battalions of the 16th Brigade now came up to assault Plancenoit. They formed three attack columns next to each other, with 2 battalions of the 14th Brigade ... following up in support. Just as this brigade formed up behind the 16th, the 13th Brigade under General von Hake arrived and moved up behind the 15th." The assault columns attacked the village from two sides and, despite a determined resistance from Lobau's troops, forced their way into the village.
Fighting in built up areas was always some of the most bloody in the Napoleonic wars, Planchenoit would be no exception. It was hard to keep any kind of cohesion, units broke down into small groups of men either assaulting or defnding, individual buildings became fortresses. Given the amount of hatred between the French and the Prussians, quarter was neither asked for nor given.
Two battalions of 15th '3rd Reserve' Infantry Regiment pushed into the village and then on the high walls of the cemetery and church. The Prussians found themselves under fire from French snipers stationed in the houses. A murderous exchange of shots erupted from distance of no more than 20 paces.
The French had brought canons and howitzers into the streets "where close range blasts of canister would blow away oppositions as a gale does autumn leaves." The Prussians however pressed forward and captured 2 cannons and 1 howitzer and several hundred prisoners. Despite their early success, the Prussian assault faltered in the centre of the village where the church, surrounded by a sturdy stone wall, defied all their efforts to take it.
At about 6:30pm, while the attack was bogged down, Napoleon knew he had to do something to secure his right flank, he turned to General Duhesme, commanding the Young Guard division which consisted of eight battalions. He ordered him to throw the Prussians out of the village.

They Young Guard at this time was recruited from ex-soldiers but in 1815 there were a lot of volunteers who had little formal training, but they made up for this with great courage and spirit that comes when being a part of an elite force. The commanders were all seasoned veterans and had generally learnt their trade in the Old Guard. Advancing with spirit, the Young Guard cleared the tired and somewhat disorganised Prussians from the village, they then took their own defensive positions in the village, Duhesme himself was shot in the head and mortally wounded in Planchenoit, he died of his wounds on the 20th of June.
Blucher clearly recognised the importance of Planchenoit to the battle on the right and moved to personally direct the fighting here. Another assault was organised, this time in greater strength, the once again forced their way into the village causing considerable losses t the Young Guard, but once again reached the idle of the village and could not capture the church which had defied the previous assault. Caught in a cross fire from the church and the surrounding houses, they were thrown back again. Emboldened by their success some French skirmishers left the sanctuary of the village and took shots at the Prussians, but a timely charge by Prussian cavalry forced them back into the village. The commander of the 16th Brigade, Hiller writes about this attack his Brigade made on Planchenoit:

"Overcoming all difficulties and with heavy losses from canister and musketry, the 15th Infantry and 1st Silesian Landwehr penetrated to the high wall around the churchyard held by the Young Guard. These two columns succeeded in capturing a howitzer, 2 cannon, several ammunition wagons and 2 staff officers along with several hundred men. The open square around the churchyard was surrounded by houses, from which the enemy could not be dislodged in spite of our brave attempt. A firefight continued at 15 to 30 paces which ultimately decimated the Prussian battalions."

The fighting in Planchenoit was horrifically bloody, and eye witness said “… the fight rages on in gardens, orchards, streets, and houses; they slaughter one another with fury …” and Houssaye said “Victors and vanquished fired point-blank on each other, struggled hand-to-hand, slew with the bayonet and with the butt-ends of their muskets." Apparently during the fighting, a whole battalion of the Young Guard was decimated in the fighting for the cemetery, which was some of the most bloody.

It is unclear how many assaults upon Planchenoit were made, even Bulow admits to a series of failed attempts:

"the village on Planchenoit was stubbornly defended by the elite of the enemy... and was attacked with redoubled vigour by the 16th Brigade supported by the 14th... Three times Colonel von Hiller launched himself on the village. In the first assault, the 15th Regiment of Line and the 1st Regiment of Silesian Landwher took the cemetery surrounded by walls, and seized several guns and some hundreds of prisoners. However, the enemy maintained himself In the rest of the village, called for reinforcements, and forced us to evacuate it. The Colonel reassembled his troops in front of the area and, with glorious determination, launched two more assaults, which were repulsed...!

So the Young Guard and the remains of Bellair's brigade were clearly putting up a very strong resistance. Despite the failure of their attacks, the situation was looking ever more encouraging for the Prussians, more of their troops were arriving and were able to attack in overwhelming strength. Another assault finally forced the Young Guard from their strong positions and captured the village, the Young Guardsmen broke cohesion an despite the efforts of their superiors, fled in disarray. The success of the Prussians also forced the remains of Bellair's brigade to fall back towards the ridge behind them. The situation on Napoleon's right flank was now critical, as Prussian cannon fire across the main Brussels road in the rear of the French army became heavier.

The Old Guard Advances on Planchenoit

The taking of Planchenoit presented a huge danger to Napoleon, he was now forced, not only to delay his main critical attack on the Anglo-Dutch line allowing Wellington time to prepare himself, but he now had to commit two precious battalions of his best troops to recapture Planchenoit, troops that would be sorely needed later in the day. To many, attacking several divisions of victorious Prussian troops with only two battalions, albeit veterans, was suicide with no chance of success. General de Brigade Pelet, commander of the two battalions of the 2nd Chasseur Regiment of the Old Guard tells us how one of his battalions was committed to this seemingly suicidal attack:

"The enemy was reinforced and moved forward again; the Young Guard was pushed back and the men started retiring.
I received the order to send Lieutenant Lepage (of the 2nd Chasseurs) with fifty men to the first houses of Planchenoit. These first houses were too far from the village and separated from it, to have any effect. This officer found there not only a quantity of soldiers, but even some officers.
Soon I had to send a new detachment forward to support the Young Guard; I sent off Lieutenant Gourahel who went forward like a 'crow'...
We remained in squares, the Grenadiers to my rear, the 3rd and 4th (Chasseurs) in front. I remember that there was a confusion of squares and I think the Grenadiers crossed to the other side of the road.
Finally, General Morand [Commander of all the regiments of the Guard Chasseurs] said to me, 'Go with your 1st Battalion to Planchenoit, where the Young Guard has been beaten. Support it and hold this point, as there is only you and the 2nd Battalion of the1st Chasseurs as a last reserve. The Emperor is going to advance with the rest of the Guard to attack the centre; if this does not succeed, you are here as a last reserve.'
I believe this is what he said to me or what I think I heard, and I took the necessary measures. He also said to me, 'keep your me together and under control; if you engage the enemy, attack with a single division [two pelotons in this case, a division in the French arm y could also mean two pelotons] and with the bayonet.'"

The other Old Guard battalion committed was the 2nd Battalion of the 2nd Regiment of Grenadiers of the Old Guard, the commander of the regiment General Christiani recalls:

"Between five and six pm, perhaps a little later, I received the order to send a battalion of the regiment into a village situated to the right rear of the position that I occupied in order to chase away the Prussians that it was said had been sent to capture it. I gave this mission to M. Golzio who commanded the second battalion of the regiment."

It seems that the commander of this battalion, Golzio got very similar orders to Pelet, except Napoleon himself gave them to him personally.

"Whilst the 1st Battalion of the 2nd Chasseurs were throwing themselves against the Prussians, the 2nd Battalion of the 2nd Grenadiers, under the orders of Lieutenant Colonel Golzio, received the order to support it.
The Emperor, perhaps anxious of Bulow's offensive, entered Colonel Golzio's square and personally gave particular orders for the attack; 'do not fire a shot, but fall on the enemy with the bayonet'.
This battalion immediately deployed out of square, changed direction to the right and found itself faced by a hedge which separated it from the Prussians."

Napoleon clearly felt that with time of the essence, and with supremely well-disciplined troops, a bayonet assault was the quickest way to achieve success so that he could turn his mind to the crucial final attack on the main allied position. We will now follow the account of General Pelet of the counter-attack made by these two battalions of the Old Guard:

"From then on, I devoted myself to the 1st Battalion and doubled with them to Plachenoit. It was about six o'clock, perhaps seven [likely some time after seven o'clock]. I do not know how long I remained here, but it seemed to me a long time. I called Lieutenant Gourahel to me and, finding Lepage in the first houses of the village, I told him to move to the last houses of the village and to occupy them strongly.
Entering, I met poor General Duhesme, who was being carried dead or dying on his horse, then the Voltiguers running away, Chartran [second in command of the Young Guard] who told me that he could do noting, Colonel Hurel [commander o the 3rd Voltiguers] was not lacking men but they were all retiring. I promised them I would stop the enemy, and urged them to rally behind me. Indeed, I moved to the centre of the village and there, seeing Lieutenant Lepage's men approaching and the Prussians that pursued them, I ordered Captain Peschot to advance with the 1st Company and attack the enemy who were coming down the road opposite the one we were on, with the bayonet. His sergeant, Cranges, who was very keen, gave the order to the first platoon, and marched with it. He executed my order, but hardly had the enemy turned his back than the men began to skirmish and he lost control of them.
The enemy sent new forces; Peschot was not able to concentrate his platoon and he was pushed back.
I advanced another, it wanted to skirmish. I led it myself and the enemy fled. But this platoon dispersed and, with each charge made the same thing happened. The men of my last company shouted 'en avant!', started firing and also dispersed.
I had the church occupied by some men that I led there and I found myself face to face with the Prussians who fired at me from point blank range, but missed. Then, seeing what a strong resistance we put up, they launched a shower of shells into the village and attempted to turn it by the valet of the Lasne and the woods there.
I sent an officer there, I think it was Captain Angnis.
In all these attacks, we took many prisoners; our soldiers were furious and cut their throats. I rushed to them to prevent it and, as I for there, I saw them perish under my own eyes (they faced having their throats cut with sang froid and hung onto my men). I was revolted, overcome with fury, I took several under my protection, including an officer who prostrated himself, telling me of his French friends and those of his family.
I put him behind my horse and then handed him over to my sapeurs, saying they would answer to me for his safety. I sent Capt Heuillet to the left, to occupy and defend the church; he went well ahead and next to the wood opposite the enemy; from the rear came some men of the Young Guard who charged into the village.
However, the combat, having gone on for a long time, had dispersed all my men as skirmishers. I could not rally a single platoon, the enemy did not enter the village, but he deployed on all sides and, in each interval between the gardens, I saw muskets aiming at me from forty paces. I do not know why I was not struck down twenty times.
I went to and from on Isabelle [his horse]; I had taken off my riding coat and yet out men did not seem to recognise me as a general officer. Certainly, I still held the village; I came, I went, I had the charge beaten, the rally, then the drum roll; nothing brought together even a platoon. Finally, at the moment I was most embarrassed, most pressed and at the same time totally exposed, a platoon of Grenadiers [of the 2nd Battalion of the 2nd Regiment] arrived, sent by whom I do not know but then I was content. I stopped it and use it to rally some chasseurs, then I had it charge with the bayonet, without firing a shot. They went forward like a wall and overthrew everything they encountered.
I remained there in the middle of this hail of shells, lit up by the fire that had started to burn in a number of houses, in a terrible and continuous fusillade; the Prussians surrounded us with numerous skirmishers. I didn't care, we held like demons; I could not form up my men, but they were all hidden away and laid down a murderous fire on the enemy that contained him; they were stopped despite the numbers that should have overwhelmed us.
Whilst I came and went continually between the entry and the exit [of the village], animating and holding in place all those in the middle of this skirmishing, I encountered Colomban {chef de battalion of the 1st Battalion of the 2nd Chasseurs) who appeared to me a little pale and I noticed this with regret, for perhaps he was thinking the same of me, although I certainly felt as calm and tranquil as I had only a few times in my life, even in the middle of these enemies that I believed bore me a particular grudge."

This fantastic account gives us an idea of the chaos of the fighting at Planchenoit at this stage. The charge of the grenadiers Pelet refers too was incredibly successful and they chased back the Prussians to their artillery pieces, amusingly the drum-major of the grenadiers, Stubert, used his mace as a club. The scenes of the French cutting the throats of the Prussian prisoners shows the sheer rage and anguish between these two antagonists, though Pelet tried to stop the killing of prisoners, General Roguet, second in command of the Guard Grenadier division, threatened with death any grenadier who should bring him a Prussian prisoner. The two battalions of the Old Guard and the remains of the Young Guard and Lobau's corps who had joined in the recapturing of Planchenoit are believed to have defeated 14 Prussian battalions!
As the Prussians fled from Planchenoit, they were pursued by some of the French from Planchenoit, then Subervie's 2 lancer regiments charged the flanks of the fleeing Prussians inflicting more casualties, the troops from Planchenoit were out in the open and the Prussian artillery forced them to return to the village, but Subervie's lancers also forced the artillery to abandon several batteries. Plachenoit was once again in French hands after a tremendous counter-attack by the French Old Guard and the troops with them.

Attempts to Support Planchenoit and the Prussians Flank

It was at about this time that Pirch I's II Corps had arrived on the battlefield. It was now sometime after seven o'clock and Napoleon was preparing his assault on the Anglo-Dutch line with his Middle Guard. As the Prussians began to surround the village with skirmishers and continued to bombard the defenders, the Prussians were also preparing for a huge attack against the village. As the situation deteriorated, Maudit (Sergeant in the 1er Grenadiers) describes and attempt to seek reinforcements:

"Lt Col Golzio, commander of the 1st Battalion of the 2nd Grenadier Regiment, seeing no support arrive, and foreseeing only too clearly the inevitable disastrous outcome of the unequal struggle of his grenadiers, galloped up to inform General Christiani, Major of those Grenadiers, and met him alone in the middle of our square, for his regiment 2nd Battalion had gone with the Emperor beyond la Belle Alliance. The entreaties of Lt Col Golzio were regrettably wasted, our battalion could not abandon the important post that it occupied, covering the exit from Planchenoit. Colonel Golzio returned to his grenadiers broken hearted at not being able to bring these brave men even a hundred reinforcements!!!"

Despite this failed attempt Maudit tells us that there were some efforts made to support the troops fighting in the village:

"...We dominated and guarded the by-road that went from Planchenoit to la Maison-du-Roi, by which the Prussians appeared to be advancing to cut off the army's retreat. each of our four companies received the order to detach twenty-five grenadiers as skirmishers on the extreme right of the village to observe and contain the enemy who was always looking to outflank the right of Duhesme's division.
Hardly had these hundred grenadiers moved a few yards from us, than they found themselves face to face with the Prussian skirmishers hidden in the edge of the wood and in the meadows that were on our right.
There, several grenadiers, who were furthest forward, fell, after a vigorous struggle and covered in wounds, into the hands of the Prussians, as well as adjutant-major Fare, who tried to protect and rescue them. This officer's horse was shot and fell into a ditch. A platoon of Prussians rushed upon him and fired at point blank range. By a miracle he was struck by only one ball but was so seriously wounded that the Prussians thought he was dead and did not take him. Unbelievably, he remained for six days on the battlefield without help, not being able to drag himself to the village, or even to the side of a road where the first person to pass would undoubtedly have helped him.
Captain Crette was killed there, shot at point blank by a Prussian sergeant whose shoulder he had cut through with a sabre blow and who nevertheless still had the courage to aim at his heart. His musket ball struck the cross [of the Legion of Honour] of this officer and knocked him down at the feet of Sergeant Major Stonop. At the same instant, the Prussian sergeant was cut down by one of Captain Crette's grenadiers.
In this incredible struggle of one against seven, several Prussians asked for mercy and received it. One of them threw himself at the feet of my friend Stonop, and begged for his life saying that his father was serving as marechal de logis in the 3rd Hussars."

It is clear from Maudit's account that some Prussian troops were sent around the flanks of Planchenoit and these were engaged by the skirmishers of his battalion.
Too the south of the village was the Chantelet wood and a Prussian unit [the light infantry battalion of the 25th regiment]  were sent through it in an attempt to cut it off. These troops were spotted by Chef de Battalion Duuring(who like our own dear Duuring was Dutch!) of the 1st Chasseurs of the Old Guard, he was at Le Cailou:

"I was informed by a post to my right that two columns could be seen leaving a wood, so I went to reconnoitre. Immediately I arrived I was convinced that they were enemy; each was of about 800 men[this would suggest that there were two battalions in two columns]. But the rear was still in the wood and it was difficult to be sure lf their exact strength.
I took my dispositions to receive this attack, putting two gun in battery loaded with caseshot and covered by a detachment of an officer and fifty men posted in a manner that it would be difficult to see them, giving them the order not to open fore without my order. My adjutant-major came to inform me that many stragglers were arriving; I had two of my companies that I had kept back in the centre, bayonets crossed, on and either side of the main road with the order to let no one pass that was not wounded. I found amongst this number several officers, including a battalion commander who I forced to take command of an ad hoc battalion that I had assembled, with the threat of shooting him if he did not. I even found a marechal de camp[brigadier] whose name I do not know, who I forced to take command of another column.
The officer that I had detached to cover the two guns, sent me word that the artillery officer that commanded them had decided to leave with his guns, saying that he was not under my command and that the enemy was approaching. I then begged some senior artillery officers to put other guns at my disposal but without effect.
Seeing myself on the point about to be attacked by a superior force unsupported by anybody else, I decided to form a battalion of about two hundred men that I had assembled, I put them in a position en potence a little behind and to my right to prevent me from being outflanked, I sent off the imperial treasure and equipages and then the guns without a singe man as escort, and then attempted to repulse an attack that would have been very harmful to the army if the road behind us would have been cut. I reassembled my battalion with its back to the farm, detached a hundred men as skirmishers into the wood and a hundred others as a reserve. At the same time, the general(the provost marshal of the army) had the ad hoc battalion of infantry, deploy t short range a the pas de charge, and also to deploy into the wood. This combination had a happy outcome: we suffered few causalities and the Prussians were repulsed. I had, at the same time, sent my adjutant-major to inform the emperor what had happened and that I had held the position."

The Prussian's Decisive Assault on Planchenoit and the Scale of the Slaughter There

It was sometime between 7pm and 8pm when the Prussians next decisive assault began, The attacking force consisted of Ryssel's 14th and Hiller's 16th Brigades (of Bulow's IV Crops), and Tippelskirch's 5th Brigade (of Pirch's II Corps). The French resisted with great determination. Every house became like a besieged fort. Despite being outnumbered by margin of at least 2 to 1, the French were able to hold on for one hour.
The fighting at Planchenoit was possibly the bloodiest episode of the entire battle, historian Mark Adkin said "The level of slaughter in Plancenoit even surpassed Hougoumont." The Young Guard is believed to of suffered over 80% of casualties, by the end of the battle, the bodies in the Churchyard would apparently be 30 times the amount buried beneath it.

Kapitan Walko
IV. ArmeeKorps, XV. Infanterie Brigade
4. Schlesisches Landwehr Regiment, I. Battalion
A Kompanie, Kompanie Staff
Back to top Go down
View user profile
4te History
Back to top 
Page 1 of 1
 Similar topics
» Fiction Vs history
» Eurasian History
» WASUSUGE is History
» iOS6 Update Issues
» History Channel - The Bible The Epic Miniseries 03of10 Homeland (2013) DVDRiP 540p X264 AAC-MVGroup

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
4th Silesian Landwehr :: Miscellaneous :: Historical Discussion-
Jump to: