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Re: Six Days in October - The Consolidated Dispatches of Marshal Lannes
« Reply #60 on: May 16, 2018, 04:44:46 PM »
Dispatch - Lannes to V Corps, D'Hautpol, III Corps 1st Division, LaSalle, Davout and Murat 1200 Oct 12

Gentlemen,

It sounds as if M. Davout has discovered the Prussians. Rather than waiting at Gotha, proceed with all haste to march to the sound of the guns, deploying as per the following:

D"Hautpol, V Corps 2nd Division (Gazan) and III Corps 1st Division and LaSalle: Advance east along the Gotha-Erfurt road to the juncture with the road to Arnstadt, making contact with III Corp advancing from the south. If the Prussians are encountered here and attempt to hold this position, join with III Corps in attacking them. Otherwise, tactical control of III Corps 1st Division and LaSalle's division return to Marshal Davout. 2nd Division and D"Hautpol's division are then to move north of the road juncture and take up a position between the road and the ridgeline to the north, facing east.

V Corps 1st Division and Cavalry Division: Move northeast from Gotha to seize the high ground of the ridge line the the north of the Gotha-Erfurt-Arnstadt road junction and northwest of Erfurt. If 2nd Division and Marshal Davout appear to be engaged at the road junction. based on the sound of the guns, move southeast toward the Gotha-Erfurt road to cut the road to the rear of the Prussian position, trapping them against Davout. If there is no engagement, 2nd Division is to hold the ridge line and establish contact with 1st Division as it move north of the road junction. Foucher's cavalry division will advance to the road leading north from Erfurt, scouting to determine the location of Prussian forces.

I will move my HQ first to Gotha, and then with 2nd Division to the Gotha-Erfurt-Arnstadt road junction, and finally with 2nd Division north of the road junction.

If you and your troops make contact with Marshal Davout and III Corps before I arrive, place your unit under Davout's tactical control until my arrival.

"This damned Bonaparte is going to get us all killed" - Jean Lannes, 1809

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Re: Six Days in October - The Consolidated Dispatches of Marshal Lannes
« Reply #61 on: May 16, 2018, 04:45:33 PM »
DISPATCH -- DAVOUT to LANNES, 1400, 13th October

SENT 1200, 13th October


From: Marshal Davout
To: Marshals Lannes and Murat


Marshals!


Thank you for your note, Marshal Lannes.  My condolences on the "beer
soup".  I have been "treated" to hard nubbins of bread that taste as
if they were shat out of the ass of a thrice donkey-raped devil.


Hopefully Generals Sahuc and Lasalle will pin the Prussian division
they have brought to heel for long enough that we can whip it.


- Davout
"This damned Bonaparte is going to get us all killed" - Jean Lannes, 1809

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Re: Six Days in October - The Consolidated Dispatches of Marshal Lannes
« Reply #62 on: May 16, 2018, 04:46:35 PM »
DISPATCH -- DAVOUT to LANNES, 2000, 13th October

SENT 1700, 13th October

ARRIVED:   eventually, I hope
TO: Marshals Lannes, Murat, and Bernadotte
From: Marshal Davout

Marshals!

I am approaching Arnstadt along with my 2nd and 3rd infantry divisions
- not my original intent, but the uncouth terrain of this German
wilderness rerouted me.  My cavalry division is already in Arnstadt
and we hope they have not consumed all of the available wine before we
arrive.

I have not heard from Generals Sahuc and Lasalle since a message from
General Lasalle at 1000 this morning, when he most commendably
intended to engage the Prussians between Erfurt and Gotha.  I presume
that the silence indicates that they, along with my 1st division, have
come under Marshal Lannes' distinguished guidance in accordance with
their instructions.

However, a decision now awaits me, to be made before we begin to march
tomorrow morning:

Should I....

a) Go north & west to reinforce the battle already underway (and quite
possibly concluded) west of Erfurt;

or

b) Go north and east to the east of the river and Erfurt, in order to
attempt to outflank and catch General Ruchel's forces?

Option a is certain to reunite my corps, but offers no hope of
catching General Ruchel unless he chooses to come back to aid his
hopefully-beleaguered or -destroyed division.

Option b would commit my force to another wildreness march, but with
some hope of catching Ruchel, especially if he has reacted to the
battle west of Erfurt by moving to reinforce it.  Option b would see
my current force at Arnstadt arriving to the road east of Erfurt
sometime later tomorrow afternoon - possibly just in time to cut
Ruchel off, or to assist in outflanking his position guarding the
river.

Option b also commits my force into the dark, uncertain of where the
rest of the Prussian Army is.

My instinct is to commit for option b, on the assumption that our
forces have overwhelmed Ruchel's lone division, and the rest of his
forces are either withdrawing or holding the river line at Erfurt.
While I would incur a measure of risk by plunging into the unknown,
with your forces bearing down from the west there is a good chance
that would wound find ourselves acting in mutual support; and if not,
then my corps can sell its lives to draw enemy forces from your battle
west of the river at Erfurt and thus move us towards eventual victory.

In the event that I become too heavily engaged to stand my ground east
of Erfurt, I will withdraw in the direction of Arnstadt.  If I have
gained access to the bridge at Erfurt, I will use it instead, but in
that circumstance I suspect we will have linked up directly.

If you prefer that I commit in a different direction or manner, please
let me know.

Marshal Davout
"This damned Bonaparte is going to get us all killed" - Jean Lannes, 1809

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Re: Six Days in October - The Consolidated Dispatches of Marshal Lannes
« Reply #63 on: May 16, 2018, 04:47:21 PM »
Sent 2000, 13 October
To: Suchet, Gazan, Foucher, D'Hautpol, Sahuc, Lasalle

Generals!

Report your status and position to me immediately. Also, in future consider it a standing order to send me a dispatch when:

You arrive at your objective,
You sight the enemy,
You sight or encounter friendly forces of another Corps,
You are acting under the orders of another Marshal,
You engage the enemy,
You withdraw.

Dispatch to me the particulars of your current situation as quickly as a dispatch rider can carry them!

Lannes
"This damned Bonaparte is going to get us all killed" - Jean Lannes, 1809

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Re: Six Days in October - The Consolidated Dispatches of Marshal Lannes
« Reply #64 on: May 16, 2018, 04:49:59 PM »
DISPATCH - LANNES to SUCHET, GAZAN, MORAND, FOUCHER, D'HAUTPOL

Sent 2000, 13 October
To: Suchet, Gazan, Foucher, D'Hautpol, Morand

Generals,

Halt your divisions for night if you have not already done so. We will resume marching at 6:00 AM tomorrow.

Lannes
"This damned Bonaparte is going to get us all killed" - Jean Lannes, 1809

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Re: Six Days in October - The Consolidated Dispatches of Marshal Lannes
« Reply #65 on: May 16, 2018, 04:50:55 PM »
Dispatch - LANNES to DAVOUT, MURAT, and BERNADOTTE

Sent: 2000, 13th October
To: Marshals Davout, Murat, and Bernadotte
Location: South of Gotha on the Ohrdruf-Gotha Road

My lords,

All the damned dispatch riders' horses have caught the German disease. I can think of no other reason that nearly no dispatches have reached me for the past two days. Campaigning in German in the Autumn is an exercise in slogging through wet, muddy forests. Well, at least we are not invading Russia.

M Davout, I am in receipt of your dispatch on this afternoon at 5:00 of the clock. General Morand is with me, south of Gotha, along with my 1st and 2nd divisions. My cavalry is east of Gotha moving toward Erfurt. D'Hautpol's 2nd Cuirassiers from M. Murat's Cavalry Corps are just south of Gotha. We have heard cannon to our northeast, and have been marching toward the sound of the guns. I have received no dispatches from Generals LaSalle or Sahuc.

Since I am marching first into Gotha and then will be driving east along the road to Erfurt, there to either support the divisions engaged against Ruchel west of Erfurt or to attack Ruchel myself if our soldiers have suffered a reverse, I believe M. Davout's most effective course would be to swing to his north and east, toward Erfurt, to flank and destroy Ruchel. This movement offers the possibilities of catching his retreating troops if they have been routed by LaSalle and Sahuc, or forming an anvil to my hammer as I advance east. I am most concerned at this point that the Prussian has already given up the fight to the west of Erfurt and is falling back toward Weimar, and is too far gone for us to catch.

I am stopping my troops for the night. Despite marching last night my progress has been slower than I had hoped, and the troops are tired.

Lannes
"This damned Bonaparte is going to get us all killed" - Jean Lannes, 1809

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Re: Six Days in October - The Consolidated Dispatches of Marshal Lannes
« Reply #66 on: May 16, 2018, 04:55:49 PM »
DISPATCH -- DAVOUT to LANNES, 2230, 13th October

SENT 1930 13 October

TO: Marshalls Lannes & Murat; copy to Marshal Bernadotte
From: Marshal Davout

Marshals, after further consideration as I move through the gathering
dust to the potentially wineless (and worthless - but I repeat myself)
hamlet of Arnstadt, a few thoughts:

Weimar's division comprised the majority of Ruchel's quality combat
power.  His advance guard is half the size and Saxe demoralizes his
men though methods better left unstated lest we dishonor his animals.

Tomorrow morning, my forces could move up the east side of the Gera
River directly towards Erfurt.

My forces could also strike to the northeast with the objective of
threatening Weimar.  It would be a 1.5 to 2 day march overland to
Weimar; but this offers a better opportunity to decisively cut off
Ruchel's corps if he continues to retreat and does not make a stand at
Erfurt.  This does present the greater risk of running into the rest
of the Prussian forces piecemeal.

The deeper strike does not precisely conform to our Emperor's wishes
for us to hold and defend the line in the vicinity of Erfurt in order
to retain the ROY passes.

I believe we are also offered an opportunity to destroy Ruchel's
corps, which would bring our forces significant advantage in the
campaign as a whole, which we have been given the latitude to do, but
I do not believe it wise to embark on the march to Weimar without
first coordinating the move with your forces.

In the absence of orders to the contrary, tomorrow morning I will
maneuver up the east bank of the Gera, expecting to either meet your
forces there, or to outflank Ruchel's forces defending the river.

- Marshal Davout
"This damned Bonaparte is going to get us all killed" - Jean Lannes, 1809

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Re: Six Days in October - The Consolidated Dispatches of Marshal Lannes
« Reply #67 on: May 16, 2018, 04:57:19 PM »
DISPATCH --  DAVOUT to LANNES, 2200, 13th October

SENT 1900, 13th October

TO: Marshals Lannes & Murat; copy to Marshal Bernadotte

I have just read a note from General Sahuc, sent at 1600, that
Weimar's division of Ruchel's corps has been broken and is fleeing
eastward!  Vive la France!  Vive l'empereur!

In the absence of orders to the contrary, I will take their direction
of retreat as evidence that the bulk of Ruchel's corps lies east of
Erfurt, and will maneuver up the east bank of the river with my
cavalry division and 2 infantry divisions tomorrow, expecting to
either meet your forces there, or to outflank Ruchel's forces
defending the river.

- Marshal Davout
"This damned Bonaparte is going to get us all killed" - Jean Lannes, 1809

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Re: Six Days in October - The Consolidated Dispatches of Marshal Lannes
« Reply #68 on: May 16, 2018, 04:58:31 PM »
DISPATCH -- DAVOUT to LANNES, 2300, 13th October

SENT: 2030 13 October
TO: Marshals Lannes and Murat

Marshal Lannes,

I just received the following communique from Marshal Bernadotte.  You
were inexplicably left off the list of recipients, so I am forwarding
it to you.

SENT 1000, 13th October

To Napoleon, Marshal Murat, Marshal Davout, Marshal Ney, Marshal
Lefebvre /Bessieres: General Klein's cavalry division dispatched from
Murat's cavalry corps has joined my 1st corps at Saalfeld.  There is
still no sign of the Prussians here.  Marshals Soult and Bessieres
have encountered small Prussian detachments at Hof and Schleiz but was
unable to engage them before the Prussians retired north/north east in
haste. Marshals Murat and Daviut are in pursuit of Rachel's Corp near
Erfurt and retiring towards Weimar.
The whole 1st corps will march north overland to the T junction on the
road leaving from Weimar directly south.
========

The movements discussed suggest the Prussians are trying to hold the
complex terrain near Jena/Gera; rapid seizure of Weimar would help
unhinge that defense.  My inclinations are shifting towards a strike
towards Weimar.  I can make the decision just before dawn.

- Marshal Davout
0 New
"This damned Bonaparte is going to get us all killed" - Jean Lannes, 1809

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Re: Six Days in October - The Consolidated Dispatches of Marshal Lannes
« Reply #69 on: May 16, 2018, 04:59:40 PM »
DISPATCH - LANNES to DAVOUT, 2300 13th October

Sent 2300 13 October
To Marshals Lannes and Murat
Copy to Marshal Bernadotte

Marshal Davout,

Fine news indeed concerning the overthrow of the enemy in front of Erfurt. My forces are hurrying north to Gotha and will drive east toward Erfurt in the morning, unless you see a better course. The roads around Gotha are thick with troops and we are much delayed by the congestion. We have encountered some of Murat's cavalry in Gotha as well.

At this point I believe we will have trouble moving toward Erfurt and beyond until Marshal Murat's cavalry clear the town and the road. I am concerned that my corps will not be in position any time soon to support your possible strike toward Weimar. It may be that Murat will be in a good position to do this and will be considerably ahead of me, but I have received no dispatches from him for over a day.

There seems an opportunity to soundly rout the Prussians with aggressive moves at this point. However, Ruchel reportedly has a large force; while the rout of a division harms his force it is still dangerous. We run the risk of him turning on us and defeating our forces in detail if we become too far separated. It may be best to consolidate your corps and wait for either my corps or Murat to be in a better position to support you before moving on Weimar.

That the rest of the army has encountered almost no sign of the Prussians at Saalfeld and Hof leads me to agree with you that the bulk of their forces are concentrated toward Jena or further east. Perhaps our best approach is for V Corps to drive on Erfurt tomorrow, hoping to fix Ruchel there, while you seek to cut his line of communication toward Weimar and Jena by seizing the road east of there? If Murat is indeed in Gotha and heading east so much the better; his cavalry can move quickly to Erfurt to engage Ruchel while,V Corps comes up. We would not go far wrong in destroying Ruchel's forces before he can join the remainder of the Prussian army.

I defer to you, you know III Corps best. If you feel that a bold move toward Weimar while I take Erfurt does not leave you too far from support, then by all means, let us strike.

Lannes
"This damned Bonaparte is going to get us all killed" - Jean Lannes, 1809

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Re: Six Days in October - The Consolidated Dispatches of Marshal Lannes
« Reply #70 on: May 16, 2018, 05:01:26 PM »
DISPATCH -- DAVOUT to LANNES, 0100, 14th October

SENT: 2200 13 OCT

TO: III Corps: 2nd Division (Friant), 3rd Division (Gudin), Cavalry
Division (Vialanne); and Marshals Lannes, Murat, & Bernadotte
FROM: Marshal Davout

Soldiers of France!

Today, our detached division help defeat a division of Ruchel's corps
to the north.  The enemy is broken and streaming eastwards in defeat
towards Erfurt.

I await news that will direct the depth of our strike tomorrow as we
attempt to destroy Ruchel's corps in its entirety.

We will either march north, up the east side of the Gera River,
intending to catch Ruchel's force in the flank as they defend the
crossings near Erfurt,

... or we will march northeast, driving to seize Weimar and block
Ruchel's retreat outright, intending to encompass his complete
destruction and to unhinge the Prussian defense of the Jena area.

In either event, the cavalry will lead, followed by the 2nd and then
the 3rd division.

My decision will be made at dawn tomorrow.

Either way, the day calls us to glory!  To arms, citizens!

- Marshal Davout
"This damned Bonaparte is going to get us all killed" - Jean Lannes, 1809

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Re: Six Days in October - The Consolidated Dispatches of Marshal Lannes
« Reply #71 on: May 16, 2018, 05:04:06 PM »
Dispatch - Lannes to V Corps and Attachments 0100 13 October

To: V Corps, LaSalle, d'Hautpol, Morand
Copies to Davout, Murat, and Bernadotte

Generals,

We have found the enemy and he is before us. Infantry and cavalry from Murat and Davout's divisions encountered and broke one of Ruchel's divisions in the vicinity of Erfurt yesterday. Today, we will move to press the Prussians further.

Generals Gazan, Suchet, and Morand will move north along the road to Gotha, and then east toward Erfurt, Weimar, and Jena. The order of march is to be Suchet, Gazan, Morand. Your objective is Jena. March no more than 10 hours today. My headquarters will be with Suchet's division.

I have received reports that Murat's cavalry are on the road passing through Gotha. We will move toward Gotha starting our march at 5AM. If Murat's troops occupy the road, we will wait for them to clear the town, and then fall in behind their column. General D'Hautpol, you are to contact M. Murat. If it is not his intention to reattach your division, then you will march with the my infantry, in front of Suchet.

General Foucher, make all haste to join General LaSalle, who I believe to be in the vicinity of Erfurt. You, along with General LaSalle, should scout toward Erfurt, Weimar, and Jena to locate the enemy. Send a courier as soon as you have made contact. General LaSalle, please report your position and condition to me as soon as is possible. You should await General Foucher before moving east, unless you are in pursuit of the enemy. Like the infantry, your objective for the day is Jena. Do not march more than 10 hours, beginning at 5AM.

M. Davout will be advancing with the rest of III Corps from the vicinity of Arnstadt. He will be either striking the road east of Erfurt or perhaps strike directly for Weimar.

Lannes
"This damned Bonaparte is going to get us all killed" - Jean Lannes, 1809

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Re: Six Days in October - The Consolidated Dispatches of Marshal Lannes
« Reply #72 on: May 16, 2018, 05:04:58 PM »
DISPATCH -- DAVOUT to LANNES, 0400, 14th October

Sent: 2330, 13 October
To:  Marshals Lannes, Murat, and Bernadotte
Location: Arnstadt

Having just received Marshal Lannes' intent to march on Erfurt
tomorrow, I will coordinate and march northwards to Erfurt up the east
side of the Gera River.  Hopefully, General Rachel will not run too
fast for us!

- Marshal Davout
"This damned Bonaparte is going to get us all killed" - Jean Lannes, 1809

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Re: Six Days in October - The Consolidated Dispatches of Marshal Lannes
« Reply #73 on: May 16, 2018, 05:05:54 PM »
DISPATCH -- MURAT to LANNES, 0330, 14th October

To Marshall Lannes (believed in the vicinity of Gotha, moving east towards Erfurt)
From Marshal Murat (approx 10km north of Erfurt)
SENT:  0100, 14th October
 
My dearest comrade -
As I'm sure you've already been advised, the cavalry of Generals LaSalle and Sahuc have shattered the Prussian division of General Weimar outside Erfurt. The remnants of Weimar's force retreated eastwards, through Erfurt, in the direction of Weimar. A second (as yet unidentified) division of Prussian troops is currently deployed in defensive positions in front of Erfurt.
 
I am currently located approximately 10 km north-west of Erfurt, on the road leading to Weisensee, with the bulk of my corps strung out in line of march back towards Gotha. I have my scouts searching for a ford over the Gera river, which I intend to cross at first light, with an eye to then advancing south and cutting off the Prussian line of retreat from Erfurt to Weimar.
 
Marshall Davout is in the vicinity of Arnstadt and tomorrow will be advancing northwards, up the east bank of the Gera River.
 
As soon as practical, I desire that your corps conduct an attack on Erfurt with the intent of fixing the enemy there in position. The goal is for you to act as the hammer to Davout's and my anvil, hopefully shattering any Prussian forces in the city before they can withdraw towards Weimar.
 
Once we have taken Erfurt, we should re-assess our situation and decide on an appropriate course of action. Unless things go remarkably well in the early part of the day, I am reluctant to have us continue advancing on Weimar -- our troops have been constantly on the march for three days now and I am concerned that fatigue and straggling may be reaching significant levels.
 
Your comrade in arms,
Murat
"This damned Bonaparte is going to get us all killed" - Jean Lannes, 1809

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Re: Six Days in October - The Consolidated Dispatches of Marshal Lannes
« Reply #74 on: May 16, 2018, 05:06:35 PM »
FROM SAHUC, SENT 1900
ARRIVED 2200, 13th October

My Lord Marshal,

Marshal Murat has directed that, at first light, I return to his service.

It has been a pleasure and an honor.

Salute!
"This damned Bonaparte is going to get us all killed" - Jean Lannes, 1809

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