When we last left the Zorndorf battle, Schorlemmer and Demiku's cavalry wings had fought a furious clash of steel on the Prussian right. In the center and left, Prussians steadily advanced to within killing range of the long and seemingly solid Russian lines.
From the Prussian left to right, Manteuffel's grenadiers were poised to attack Saltykov's grenadiers while von Kanitz and de Biaix's brigades were bearing down on the Russian line in support. Skirting the east end of Stein Busch, Dohna was approaching Browne's Observation Corps. The Phony Battle of long range cannonades and swirling and indecisive cavalry actions was about to end. The action resumes with Turn 7.
|Dispositions Turn 7|
|Prussians advance on the left while the Russians wait|
|Battle lines looking from the west|
Fermor, the Russian CiC, gets the first move and Demiku's heavy cavalry fall back toward the safety of the grund. Demiku's hussars opt to charge the isolated Prussian hussars on the east bank of the grund. For the Prussians, Von Kanitz makes a double move to position his lead regiments to threaten a Russian battery.
|Demiku's cavalry fall back|
|IR#3 Destroyed from heavy artillery fire|
|Grenadiers targeted by Russian guns|
|Grenadiers retreat through their supports|
In the hussar clash on the far right of the battlefield, even with support, the inferior quality of the Russian hussars is no match for the Prussians. Taking four hits in the clash, the Novoserbskiy Hussars retreat out of contact with the Prussians. Suffering from the results of the clash, themselves, the Ruesch Hussars do not follow up in pursuit.
Frederick receives the Move Initiative. With the three Russian guns facing the Prussian left all having heavy casualties (3 hits each), should the guns be assaulted or driven off through musketry volleys? A tough choice. If the Prussians choose to assault the guns, the guns will fire first during the approach to contact. If the Russians receive the Fire Initiative, the guns will be able to blast the Prussian infantry before they can return fire. Frederick decides to engage in a firefight and prays for Fire Initiative.
Fire erupts on the Prussian left as smoke belches from musket and cannon. To Frederick's relief, the Prussians get first fire and Kanitz's lead regiment fires into the battery facing his troops. The fire is too hot for the guns and they will be forced to retire. The Russians counter by unleashing their guns against the advancing Prussians. Casualties mount. Manteuffel's brigade joins into the firefight causing more destruction among the Russian guns and grenadiers. Then, Saltykov's entire first line unleashes a massive volley.
The combination of musketry and cannon from the Russian line breaks Kanitz's lead regiment and it will be forced to retreat. Taking a deadly one-two punch from Russian musketry and artillery, Manteuffel's 38/43 combined grenadiers scatters as it accumulates five hits and is Done For. Manteuffel returns the favor with his two remaining combined grenadier battalions. The Russian grenadiers anchoring the right of the Russian line are driven back in retreat. As units retreat, panic spreads through those supporting units passed through.
N.B. While the damaged Russian guns may have preferred to limber and retire voluntarily out of harms' way to avoid more casualties, they could not do so. Interpenetration rule locks a unit in place when within 10cm (15mm scale) of an enemy unit. No limbering and falling back voluntarily through supports or moving a support up to cover the wavering friendly unit. The only way to retire is through forced movement having received four or five hits. A lesson learned in having supports too close. Sometimes, close support is necessary.
|Russian hussars suffer in their attack on the Prussian right.|
|Prussian left within striking distance of the Russian line|
|Situation Turn 8 before the lines erupt in fire|
|Casualties mount on in the firefight on the Prussian left|
|View from behind the Russian line as casualties mount.|
|Formations retreat through their supports.|
On the Prussian right, having driven off the closest threat in the Prussian grenadiers, Russian artillery turns its attention to Dohna's other lead musketeer regiments. Two musketeer regiments get the worst of the exchange against the three Russian batteries. Notice Seydiltz' cavalry is finally making an appearance on the Prussian right.
|Casualties escalate on the Prussian right|
Prussians get Move Initiative. Having forced two of the Russian guns to abandon their positions in front of Saltykov's line and forcing back one of the Russian grenadier regiments, the Prussians on the left advance.
|Prussian left advances to close range|
Frederick maintains the initiative in the Fire Phase too. Suffering is great as volleys are exchanged at close range. One Russian battery, one musketeer regiment, and one grenadier regiment all reach heavy casualties and must retreat while one Prussian regiment is driven back.
|Firefighting is heavy as casualties escalate|
Manteuffel's grenadiers lay in a deadly fusillade into another front-line Russian grenadier regiment charged with protecting the right of the Russian line. Taking five hits, the grenadiers scatter.
|A Russian grenadier regiment is Done For|
|A large hole on the Russian line|
|Situation end of turn 9|
With the Russian First Line broken on the Russian right and a change in command at the top of the Russian Army, this seems a fitting point to break off the action for this episode in the Battle of Zorndorf.
In the next chapter, find out if Saltykov can salvage the situation on the Russian right and whether the Prussians on the other end of the battlefield can pierce the Russian left. Stay tuned...