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Haslach Jungingen Battle

October 11th 1805. It’s been a hard day for Major General Dupont. Leading the 5,275 men making up the first division of the VI Corps of Marshal Ney. He resisted the 23,000 Austrian quartered in Ulm commanded by Mack. We chose this confrontation to illustrate the principles of our new wargame. The limited number of participants will facilitate the understanding of the different concepts before finding yourself in Austerlitz, on December 2nd.

Introduction

The protagonists certainly didn’t want the battle of Haslach Jungingen to take place. When Major General Dupont (1st Division, 6th Corps of Ney) arrives in Ulm, he expects to encounter Mack’s rearguard, not a huge army.

Napoleon’s strategy was to engage the rearguard of the Austrian general. He asked Lannes to make a demonstration on the edge of the Black Forest in order to gain the attention of the army quartered in Ulm, waiting for Austro-Russian reinforcements. The plan worked perfectly. After a few confrontations in Wertingen and Gunzburg, the French army settled in the Ausbourg area. Napoleon decided then to let Murat command an army composed of the Cavalry Reserve and of the 5th and 6th Corps (Lannes and Ney). Its objective was to follow Mack to the south when he leaves Ulm. Murat wants his entire army to be on the right bank of the Danube. Ney does not agree; he thinks that the opposing general could try to escape to the north and asks his senior during a stormy discussion to bring his Corps back on the left bank of the river. On October 10th, the 6th Corps is indeed split into two parts; the biggest part, with the bulk of the French army, is standing south of the Danube. The situation is quite different for General Dupont who has been ordered to move towards Ulm in order to fix what the general staff supposes to be the Austrian rearguard. During these events, the first Division keeps on advancing.

Strategic map of Haslach Jungingen

Carte stratégique d'Haslach Jungingen

It arrives in Ulm. The scouts report that the enemy’s strength is considerable. After his own observation of the situation, the French general has only two solutions:

  • Moving back, which will probably result in an Austrian pursuit ( it is not easy to stand fast while retreating!),
  • Keeping on moving forward, in battle formation and let the enemy think that the 5,000 soldiers are just the advanced guard of the army.

The French general doesn’t hesitate. He decides first to form a defensive line in Halsach and to progress to the south and to the Danube. This situation doesn’t seem safe to him; it leaves a passage to the north where the Austrians will probably sweep through to attack his right wing. Dupont notices the small village of Jungingen on the west. Far from Haslach, it nevertheless blocks the passage threatening his right wing. His decision is made: the grenadier and carabineer companies of the six regiments will form a temporary battalion which will take possession of Jungingen, backed by the 9th Light Infantry Regiment. The 96th, the 32nd of the line and the foot artillery will be deployed in Haslach. The cavalry will be the reserve of the army. Moreover, he sends a message to the general Baraguey of Hilliers asking to join him with his division of dismounted dragoons. The Austrians react quickly; nevertheless, their light cavalry did not complete their observations. Mack doesn’t know if what he sees is the advanced guard of a more numerous army or just a remote group of soldiers; probably the former. Dupont misled him and this stratagem will prevent the Austrians from engaging all their forces. Everything is in place for the first act which will take place in and around Jungingen.

Major general DUPONT painting

Portrait du général de division français DUPONT

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