At last check in the fight at Zorndorf, the Russian right's First Line under the command of Saltykov collapsed. Seeing the destruction of the First Line, the Russian CiC, Fermor, left the battle to "bring up additional reinforcements." In his place, Saltykov stepped into the role of Commander in Chief. Saltykov's First Line will now be commanded by "ex-Saltykov" to reduce confusion since Saltykov is now CiC.
As a reminder on the current state of the battle following Part II (See: Once More Into the Breach Part II), below is the current situation map at the start of Turn 9.
Notice that the retrograde movement of a portion of Saltykov's long First Line command has been fractured into three major components. First Line regiments deployed into the Stein Busch and linking with Browne's brigade are now out of command and must act independently until brought back under command. Dohna and Schorlemmer are beginning to apply pressure to Browne as distances close.
|Situation Turn 9 with Saltykov's line broken|
Initiative for the First Move goes to the Russians. With that, Galytsin orders his Second Line to advance to plug the hole left by ex-Saltykov's retreating infantry.
|Galytsin's Second Line steps up to fill the gap|
As ranges close, the resulting musketry and canister exchanges are brutal. Losses mount on anyone within range. Few are left unscathed.
In attempt to relieve some of this mounting destruction, Schorlemmer orders a charge. On the Prussian right, Schorlemmer's Leib Cuirassiers charge into the Russian battery on the end of the line. In an attempt to protect the guns, the Leib regiment, in turn, is charged by Russian heavy cavalry riding down and then back up out of the grund.
|Charge and counter charge with Russian guns under threat.|
The Russian heavies, mired in negotiating the difficult terrain of the grund, are too late to intercede. Hitting the Russian guns before they, themselves, can be caught by the Russian heavies, the Prussian cuirassiers scatter the guns. With no pursuit, the Leib Cuirassiers attempt to recover before hit in flank by the Russians. Due to the difficult nature of the ground crossed, the Russians have no momentum in the charge. In the disorganized sword clashes that follow, both sides suffer heavily. Fortunately for the Prussians, the Russian cuirassiers, now isolated from support, retreat back across the grund.
|Clash of the heavies|
While the Russian First Line draws an admirable move with Saltykov's dashing personality nearby, Prussian cavalry on both wings strike.
On the Prussian right, Seydlitz finally completes his pan-battlefield tour and strikes Demiku's Russian cavalry wing in a seemingly uneven encounter.
On the left, Marschall's cavalry reserve hits Gaugreben's cavalry and battery protecting the Russian baggage train.
To the east of the Stein Busch, Browne's Observation corps steps off to advance on Dohna's brigade. With elements of ex-Saltykov deployed in the woods, Dohna finds himself outnumbered.
The Russians win the dicing for First Fire. A cheer and musketry erupt from the Russian First Line. Casualties are frightful as elements of the Russian First Line pour fire into the lead regiments at close range. Preussen IR is destroyed in the murderous volley as is Dohna IR. As Dohna Musketeers rout through their support, they carry the Below regiment along with them in their flight.
|Browne advances against Dohna|
The exchange is not one-sided. Manteuffel pours close range musketry into the closest Russian regiments. Having only moments before moved up into the front line, Riazanskiy Musketeers are shot to pieces by Manteuffel's grenadiers. As the musketeers scatter, they carry away two more Russian regiments and a battery in their flight.
|Russians unleash a murderous First Fire|
Casualties continue to mount as the Nevskiy Regiment breaks and scatters the 1/3 Grenadiers as it routs through. One more Prussian regiment of de Biaix' infantry brigade folds under the pressure from Russian musketry.
|Both sides waver under the hail of lead.|
|Two more regiments Done For.|
On the Prussian right, a similar scene is seen. With Browne going on the attack, Dohna is met with heavy fire from two directions: Browne to his front and elements of the First Line in the woods. One Prussian regiment dissolves under the volume of fire.
Seydlitz crashes into two of Demiku's cavalry regiments on the far right of the battlefield in line abreast. In the first clash, Gens du Arms Cuirassiers with support hit the Russian hussars. In the first clash of heavies vs lights and Superior vs Inferior, the lead regiment of hussars is scattered. The Prussian cuirassiers pursue and pitch into the supporting hussars. The second regiment of hussars fares no better than the first and is destroyed.
|Browne vs Dohna|
In the second clash, Prussian dragoons are bested by Russian
cuirassiers and fall back in retreat. Now uncovered with the destruction of the hussars to their left, the Russians retreat back toward safety. On the Prussian right, advantage Prussia.
Over on the Prussian left, Marschall's cavalry brigade strikes the left end of the Russian line frontally. With the Russian line solidly anchored on the grund, no other option available to breach the Russian line. With one regiment of dragoons targeting the artillery, three cavalry regiments remain to attack the Russian horse.
|Seydiltz smashes into Demiku|
Already wavering from Prussian artillery bombardments, the Russian guns are destroyed but with great loss to the Prussian dragoons. Schorlemmer's Dragoons retreat to allow time to recover. As the Russian guns to their right disintegrate, the cohesion of the Russian cavalry drops just as they are hit by the three regiments of charging Prussian dragoons.
|Marschall strikes, destroying the artillery with great loss|
Marschall's work is quick and effective. In the clash, the lead Russian cavalry regiment is destroyed and its supporting regiment of hussars flees in retreat. On the Prussian left, advantage Prussia. The Russian baggage train is now defenseless.
The situation at the end of Turn 10 shows that both Russian flanks have been compromised. Gaugreben's small cavalry formation on the Russian right experiences defeat in detail and Demiku's large cavalry wing on the left is in tatters.
|Marschall overpowers Gaugreben's cavalry|
Prussian infantry has taken a lot of lumps with the Russians still in command of the center. Browne, on the Russian left looks poised to go onto the attack.
The Dead Pile grew dramatically over this turn. Another turn like this and no one may be able to muster the strength for offensive action.
|Situation end of Turn 10|
With the Russian right compromised by Marschall's defeat of the Russian cavalry, Saltykov orders the Russian right to reform. Still in solid command of the center, the Russian right begins forming a line angling back to anchor on the impassable woods. On the Russian left, Browne with support from elements of the First Line go on the attack.
|Dead Pile Turn 10|
|The Russian right reforming|
|Browne on the attack|
At close range, musketry volleys are devastating. De Biaix' boys punish the red-clad lads to their fore but the Russian center holds. On the Russian left, Browne's brigade, now on the attack, spews much lead. With the inferior firepower of the Observation Corps, casualties are light against Dohna but sufficient to drive Dohna back upon supports.
|Russian center holds|
While the Russian right collapses, the Russian center has repulsed Prussian attacks. Dohna and de Biaix' brigades are in retreat.
|Dohna driven back|
|Prussians in retreat|
Musketry intensifies on the Russian right as the Prussians under Manteuffel and Kanitz push to swing shut the gate on the Russian position before the refused Russian flank is formed.
|Browne pressuring Dohna|
|The Prussian swinging gate|
While infantry continue to blast one another in the center of the battlefield, on the flanks destruction of the Russian cavalry continues.
|As casualties rise, regiments are forced to retreat|
On the Russian right, Marschall's reserve cavalry continues its pursuit of the fleeing Russian horse. Catching the Russians along the grund, both combatants fight until neither can fight more. Both regiments scatter, done for the day. The remainder of Marschall's reserve cavalry reaches the ponderous Russian baggage train and either capture or destroy it.
On the Russian left, Seydlitz continues denuding the Russian flank of cavalry. Despite receiving harassing fire from musketry across the grund, Seydlitz' heavy cavalry continues its rampage. All of Demiku's cavalry flee from the field.
|Marschall destroys the baggage train|
|Seydliz clears the Russian left|
|Dead Pile Turn 11|
At the start of Turn 12, Prussians have turned both flanks of the Russian Army. Russian cavalry is nowhere to be seen. Frederick controls the Victory Point Objective villages of Quartschen and Zicher in the Russian rear. Russian baggage train is in Prussian hands. The Russians still hold the center but Russian advanced positions in the western boundary of Stein Busch is quickly becoming untenable. After tallying units lost, routing, and Victory Point Objectives held, The Russian Army has reached its Army Break Point. The battle is over.
|Situation Turn 12|
The Russians, while suffering mightily, still maintain a strong presence in the center. Without cavalry and artillery to support their infantry, it is likely only a matter of time before the Prussian guns and cavalry can redeploy to overwhelm the battered troops.
While the Russians could still dish out damage, in the long game, the Russian position is compromised. A decision to the Prussians on points.
My thoughts on the battle I save for another time.