The German Corps commander expected little or no resistance and planned to push hard through the open terrain towards the village of Cousteumont with the 11th Division. The 12th division was to probe carefully into the wooded valleys on his right, guarding the flank of the division.
The commander of the French Colonial division's 5th Brigade was pushing forward, unsure of what to expect as reconnaissance had revealed little of German intentions. He believed that the most likely route for any German force was through the more open terrain towards the village of Cousteumont, but he was cautious of the wooded valleys.
|This photo shows the extent of the German concentration on their left.|
|The regiment defending the French right Cousteumont ... a very thin line|
|The French right wing defence was anchored on Cousteumont|
|The German right halted cautiously at the river line. The town of Neufchateau can be seen centre right in the photo|
The opposing forces had spotted each other and action was joined. The French commander has a regiment of the famous 'soixante neuf' deployed holding the centre of his line, and these began causing casualties on the advancing German infantry
The German infantry on the German left halted in preparation for the ensuing fire fight, awaiting then support of their artillery regiment, rapidly deploying behind their front line. In the meantime the supporting HMG companies began to bring effective fire down on the defending French.
The firefight on the German left grew in ferocity.
|The French right begins to thin as the German fire takes effect.|
|The German right wing division begins to apply pressure in the centre|
|The firefight continues. The German right wing moves can be seen at the top of the picture.|
|The French artillery regiment holding the centre of their defensive line is eliminated by German artillery fire.|
|The French right wing takes more pressure|
|Casualties on the French right are now serious|
|The German attack through the centre gains momentum|
|The French right taking cover around Cousteumont|
Fire continues across the battlefield, but the pressure has now become almost irresistible for the French Brigade
|Fierce firefights erupt in the woods in the centre|
|The French right bis still fighting it out around Cousteumont: the French commander unwilling to give more ground.|
|The final phases of the firefight on the German left|
Finally the remnants of the veteran French regiment pull back from the battlefield, leaving the way open for the german division to push on.
The fighting in the centre takes on an even nastier complexion as two German companies rush in to melee with a suppressed French company.
|The close assault|
Outflanked, and under growing pressure from its own front, the French left wing regiment will need to retire.
The German pressure has been irresistible, as it was historically. The French 5th Colonial Brigade has fought valiantly, but as occurred in 1914 this was not to be their day. That would come.
We chose to refight the historical action rather than take the scenario book option of fielding a complete French division. This meant that the French commander was defending with two regiments rather than an entire division. The game was however exciting, a lot of fun. And that's what we want in our games.
I did however set up the game and not participate in the planning. Andrew and Jon did not know which battle they were refighting and so neither was aware of the strength of the other, the morale status, nor the victory points conditions of the other when drawing their plans. I simply commanded the German 11th (left wing) Division once Jon had drawn the command arrows.