Monday, January 12, 2015

Combat at Eichberg Carnage&GloryII Scenario: Part 4 More (Local) Research

While trying to locate the Eichberg Denkmal on Google I stumbled upon some photographs, which eventually led me to the Konigswarthaer Geschichtsverein (Historical Society) and the work of Hans-Joachim Gawor, who I assume is a fellow hobby historian. Mr. Gawor's summary of the combat at Eichberg can be found here(in German).  There are two excellent photo galleries here and here, some of which are reproduced below.  The map below also gives an idea of the location of the Eichberg.

My German is grade school level on a good day, so this can be taken with a grain of salt.  My understanding of the gist of the tells a slightly different version of events from the accounts of Petre, Bowden, and Hofschorer:

The Prussians arrive at Hermsdorf approximately when they hear the cannon fire from Konigswartha (between 1 and 2 pm). Von Yorck's men stop for a rest and were very hungry and tired and the villagers of Hermsdorf fled before the men looking for food.  Although, the Italians are said not to have pushed scouts out beyond the forest between Konigswartha and Neudorf, there is no mention of the Italians caught dispersed and foraging. The Neapolitan Cavalry in Bowden/Nafziger is also Wurtemburger in this account. De Tolly at this time summoning  Yorck from Hermsdorf to wartha .  There was a desperate street fight in Konigswartha, and the Italians fell back with great loss to Caminau where they setup a new defensive line and were supported by portions of III corps.

Yorck on receiving the order, sent some hussars with a local guide along the Konigswartha-Hermsdorf road, when they encounted a French cavalry patrol that was driven off.  An officer saw the Eichberg hill to the north, and from their saw French column in the distance at Steinitz around 2:30. (The Eichberg is approximately 20 meters higher the surrounding country.) Yorck rushed the East Prussian Infantry and artillery onto the Eichberg.

The villagers of Weissig fled as the Prussians occupied the town and searched for food.  Fighting developed in the forest along the old Bautzen road to the West of the Eichberg.  Around 4:00 p.m. Yorck receives an order to fall back on Johnsdorf to as a reserve to the Russians at Konigsberg.  Yorck complies, but with objections.  After Yorck had evacuated Weissig towards Johnsdorf, he received the countermanding orders to hold on at Eichberg. The Prussians turn around and a "murderous" close action ensued, with the Prussians taking and losing the Eichberg on three occasions.  The fighting ceased around 9-10 p.m., at which point the Prussians withdrew.  There is no mention of any Russian reinforcements. From the map and text, I think the later fights were potentially in the woods and open area south of Eichberg.

To incorporate some of this information in a future scenario variation, I would suggest orienting your map more north and south along the old bautzen road (still visible on google maps, but not marked as a road for all its length).  I would also say there appears to be more open space south of Weissig and between Eichberg and Hermsdorf than in the areas current state.  The 1913 Eichberg photo shows a much less forested Eichberg. 

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