La Bataille de Saalfeld

Saalfeld, October 10, 1806, 7 p.m. "I left this morning at 5 a.m. with my corps to go to Saalfeld, where I found the corps commanded by Prince Louis of Prussia who was killed by a hussar of the 10th regiment. I have the honour to send to Your Majesty his plaque and an order. It seems that the corps which was at his command was composed of 5 regiments including 3 Saxons and 2 Prussians and 4 Hussar regiments including 2 Saxons and 2 Prussians.

As I think that YM must be very worried, I would simply like to say in two words that we dispersed the enemy in the river, made approximately 800 prisoners, killed or drowned many people, taken 21 pieces of cannon which are being collected at this moment. I assume that we will pick up another 6, about 20 wagons and at least 3 flags.

There are hardly more than 4,000 men of Suchet's Division who were engaged. Gazan's Division was still 2 leagues from me.

I heard this morning a fairly lively shooting on the side of the corps in the centre, where YM was; this is what prompted me to attack the enemy thinking that my movement would be a diversion for the centre.

I must not let YM ignore the fine charge that the 9th and 10th hussars have made. They remained mêlée with the hussars and the infantry for half an hour. The battlefield is horrifying. Among the prisoners were a Prussian general, 3 or 4 colonels, as many lieutenant-colonels and about 30 officers.

According to prisoners' reports, the King of Prussia is in Erfurt with his army.

General Foucher does not know where the large general artillery park is; he would need 500 shots of 4 and 200,000 infantry cartridges.

I do not have to speak to YM of General Victor; you know his composure and fearlessness on the battlefield.

The officer who will deliver this dispatch to YM had brought me letters from Prince Berthier; he witnessed the affair; I used him to send several orders. I was satisfied of him.

I will have the honour to inform YM of the persons who have distinguished themselves when I give him a more detailed report.

I ask YM to receive the assurance of my deep respect and the most perfect devotion.

P.-S. —General Suchet immediately hands me the attached letter; YM will be good enough to read it carefully; it was taken from the pocket of an aide-de-camp of Prince Louis who was killed by his side.

I await here the orders of YM. I will send the prisoners and the artillery to Kronach tomorrow."

This is how Lanne reported to Napoléon at the end of the day.

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October 10, 1806, marks the first real "affair" - in the sense of war action - of the campaign. The encounter or rather the withdrawal of Generalmajor von Tauentzien which occurred the previous day at Schleiz cannot be considered as a serious combat. At most it was a rearguard engagement. At Saalfeld, we are witnessing the first encounter between a corps of the French Grande Armée and its counterpart of the Königlich Preußische Armee.


La Bataille de Saalfeld ― actually a “combat” ― is above all a study, my own “Observations on Prussia in Her Great Catastrophe” (Clausewitz). It was not designed to be a well-balanced game : there is almost no chance of winning for the Prussian. But I felt that it could have been useful to initiate new players, for a short game session or as an introduction game to Terry Doherty's Général de Brigade supplement for the Règlement XXX.  

Game components are as they were when I abandoned the project in 2016. Counters and displays by Roberto Zuco are of professional level. The map is merely a bricolage made with my kids for my own test-plays and to provide a sketch to a real artist to make a real map. It was not made for diffusion and I did not intend to share it. Rules were not extensively tested, changes and adaptation could be necessary. In short, polishing is needed to complete that game. But I leave that to you! Enjoy!

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La Bataille de Saalfeld is a simulation of the battle fought on October 10, 1806. A French corps under the command of Maréchal Jean Lannes numbering around 12,000 men encountered the avant-garde des Hohenlohenschen Korps, a 9,000 strong Saxo-Prussian force commanded by Generalleutenant Prinz Louis-Ferdinand von Preussen.

In game terms, the battle takes place on a single 34 "x 22" sheet and 77 units. Since no system counters are provided, ownership of another title in the series is required.

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