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 vyazma, 3 nov 1812 Davoût souffre

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franckT
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Date d'inscription : 30/11/2005

MessageSujet: vyazma, 3 nov 1812 Davoût souffre   Jeu 7 Mar - 13:21

À la bataille de Viazma, qui eut lieu le 3 novembre 1812, les derniers corps de la Grande Armée de Napoléon ont été défaits par les Russes commandés par le général Mikhaïl Andreïevitch Miloradovitch.

S'étant avancée profondément en territoire ennemi, la Grande Armée souffre d'un grave déficit d'approvisionnement. Ravagé, Moscou n'est pas un lieu de résidence idéal pour passer l'hiver. L'armée de Napoléon entame donc la première étape de sa retraite épique.

L'objectif de Napoléon est de mener la Grande Armée à son principal centre d'approvisionnement de Smolensk, à quelque 430 kilomètres à l'ouest de Moscou, et de reprendre la campagne au printemps suivant.

Les Français quittent Moscou le 18 octobre 1812, et empruntent un itinéraire méridional qui doit les conduire à Smolensk. Mais après la défaite de la bataille de Maloyaroslavets, le 24 octobre, ils sont obligés de faire marche arrière et de battre en retraite par la route utilisée plus tôt dans leur avance sur Moscou. Le territoire bordant cet itinéraire ayant été précédemment ravagé, la retraite se déroule dans des conditions extrêmes de privation et de fatigue. Le manque de nourriture démoralise les hommes et sème le désordre dans leurs rangs.

Le 3 novembre, la Grande Armée s'étire en une longue colonne de 100 kilomètres. La tête de cette colonne, constituée du 8e corps de Junot est à Dorogobouj, alors que le 1er corps de Davout, qui forme l'arrière-garde, n'est qu'à l'est de Viazma. D'ouest en est, entre ces deux unités, marchent la Garde impériale, les troupes de Murat, le 3e corps de Ney, le 5e corps de Poniatowski et le 4e corps d'Eugène de Beauharnais

Action
The Russian cavalry attacks

At 8 AM on the morning of November 3, Miloradovich's cavalry attacked the disorganized French column holding the length of road which separated Davout from Eugene and Poniatowski. Miloradovich also ordered his artillery, positioned on nearby heights, to begin a cannonade.[13] The attack was a complete success, as it captured the French IV Corps baggage train and sent the French troops fleeing in disarray.[14] Miloradovich then placed infantrymen and horse batteries astraddle the road, thereby severing Davout's connection with the rest of the French army.[14]

Simultaneous to Miloradovich's attack to the west of Davout, Platov's Cossacks attacked Davout from the east, supported by Paskevich's troops.[15] Davout's infantrymen formed squares to meet the attack from Platov and Paskevich, and his artillerymen set-up their pieces to return Miloradovich's fire.[15] The 14,000 exhausted, hunger-weakened soldiers of Davout's Corps were now at risk of being overwhelmed and destroyed by the Russians.
Eugene's counterattack

Fortunately for Davout, there was a weakness in the Russian plan of attack, in that the Russian cavalry had attacked the Vyazma-Fedorovskoye road that morning without the full support of the II and IV Infantry Corps (led by Eugene of Württemberg and General Ostermann-Tolstoy respectively), which were located to the south and would not be able to reach the battlefield until 10 am, two hours after the action commenced. Miloradovich, fearing that the gap between Davout and the rest of the French army would close before he could exploit it, felt it expedient to launch his cavalry attack without having the balance of his infantry on hand.[14] Lacking sufficient numbers of infantrymen to consolidate their hold on the Vyazma-Fedorovskoye road, Miloradovich's cavalry was vulnerable to a determined French counterattack.

At this juncture, Davout's fortunes changed for the better. His infantrymen to the east repulsed Platov and Paskevich with steady, disciplined musketfire.[14][16] More importantly, Eugene heard the cannon fire engulfing Davout's position to the rear, and immediately ordered his troops to counterattack Miloradovich and regain possession of the Vyazma-Fedorovskoye road.[15]

Eugene's counterattack fell on the rear of the troops Miloradovich had positioned on the road facing Davout. This counterattack was conducted by two of Eugene's Italian divisions, one division of Poles from Poniatowski's V Corps, and a single regiment of troops sent to the scene by Ney, whose III Corps was positioned in the heights near Vyazma.[14][17] Davout, upon seeing these troops advancing to rescue him, sent his infantrymen to attack as well.[17] Miloradovich's cavalry and his small body of infantrymen were now attacked from the east and the west, including being enveloped in French artillery shot, and were compelled to retreat from the road.[17] Thanks to Eugene's counterattack, a passageway had been created on the Vyazma-Fedorovskoye road for Davout to continue his retreat.
Miloradovich repositions his troops

The Russians at this point had been repulsed at all points, but they were hardly finished with the battle. Having pulled back from Eugene's attack, Miloradovich ordered his troops to reposition themselves parallel to the road.[14] A heavy cannonade was then commenced against Davout's troops as they retreated toward Vyazma.[18] Davout's artillery was unable to respond effectively to the Russian fire, and panic broke out among his troops.

Louis Philippe, comte de Ségur, an observer of the action on the French side, describes this moment in the battle thus:

…disorder reigned in the I Corps – the one commanded by Davout. The sudden maneuver, the surprise, and particularly the tragic example of the crowd of unhorsed, unarmed cavalrymen running up and down in blind fright, threw this corps into utter confusion. This spectacle encouraged the enemy, who credited themselves with a victory. Their artillery, superior in strength, galloped into position and, opening an oblique fire on our lines, began mowing our men down, while our own guns were coming back to us at a snail's pace from Vyazma.[19]

The damage wrought by the Russian artillery on Davout's troops was such that many of them were compelled to abandon the road, and to retreat across an open field in their desperation to reach safety behind Eugene's position.[19] By 10 am, when the rest of Miloradovich's infantry arrived, Davout's battered corps had taken shelter behind Eugene.[15]

Eugene's troops, too, came under pressure from the Russians and were obliged to fall back.[20] General Sir Robert Wilson, an Englishman who observed the action from the Russian side, describes the combat at this moment as follows:

On the remainder of the Russian infantry coming up (Eugene of Württemberg and Ostermann-Tolstoy), Miloradovich renewed the attack under protection of a superior and admirably served artillery. The enemy fell back on a second position, between Rjavets and the farm of Rieaupiere, and thence, when menaced on both flanks, to some heights in front of Vyazma, where they were reinforced by the two Italian divisions, the Italian guards, and the corps of Ney.[21]

According to Segur, the Russian cannonshot and musketry at this point were "frighteningly effective."[19]

At 2:00 PM, Davout, Eugene, and Poniatowski conferred, and they concluded that victory was not possible given the disorganization in the French units caused by the Russian aggression.[22] Soon, the three French corps had retreated into Vyazma.[23]

At some point prior to the three French corps falling back to a position on the heights protected by Ney, Miloradovich urgently requested reinforcements from Kutusov, as he recognized that the French were vulnerable and the opportunity for a great victory may have presented itself. Kutusov, who was now within earshot of the battle with his main army (just 20 miles (32 km) away), sent only the 3000 cuirassiers of General Uvarov and nothing more.[24]
Final Russian assault on Vyazma

At 4 pm, the fighting spread into the town of Vyazma itself, which at this point was consumed by flames. By now the infantry of General Choglokov (from Ostermann-Tolstoy's corps), as well as detachments of Platov's Cossacks were engaging the French in torrid, close quarters combat on the streets of Vyazma.[25] The French were hard pressed, and had to fight desperately to hold the Russians off while evacuating the town.[26]

By 8 pm, the fighting was over. The corps of Davout, Eugene, and Poniatowski had retreated west of Vyazma, bruised but safe. Ney's rearguard was last to withdraw from the town, suffering heavy losses in a final bayonet fight with a force of Russian grenadiers.[27]

In order to cover their retreat, the French had set large sections of Vyazma on fire, resulting in many wounded from both sides burning to death. Worse yet, the French are reported to have locked civilians and Russian prisoners in buildings before setting them aflame. Russian troops pouring into the town were able to save some of these victims.[28]

That evening, Ney's corps remained on the western outskirts of Vyazma to block the Russians. However, given the Russians' aggression, great danger remained, and according to Caulaincourt, even Ney had to "continue his retreating movement before dawn in order not to risk the loss of his troops."[29]

The next day, withdrawing along a road heaped for miles with burning, overturned wagons, and blown-up ammunition caches, Ney dispatched an entire series of grim reports to Napoleon detailing the lost battle.

Bien que les Français aient réussi à contrecarrer la tentative initiale de Miloradovitch d'isoler et détruire le 1er corps du maréchal Louis Nicolas Davout, ils restent, pendant toute la bataille, sous la pression des Russes. Ils se retirent en désordre, sous le feu de l'ennemi qui occasionne beaucoup de pertes.

Bien que la défaite française de Viazma ne soit pas flagrante, elle demeure remarquable en raison de son impact disruptif sur la retraite de la Grande Armée. Se retirant loin de Viazma sous la pression russe, les colonnes de l'arrière-garde sont de plus en plus désorganisées. Par réaction en chaîne, le chaos s'étend alors à d'autres unités placées au centre et l'avant de l'armée française.

Les Français sont harcelés par des attaques incessantes des Cosaques. Davout est en particulier cerné par les Russes. La veille, le 2 novembre, Napoléon s'est emporté contre la gestion des activités de l'arrière-garde, et commande à Ney d'assumer les fonctions d'arrière-garde et de rester à Viazma, pour permettre à Eugène, Poniatowski et Davout de l'éviter. En attendant, les Russes se sont divisés en trois groupes pour poursuivre les Français.

Davout est étroitement suivi par 5 000 Cosaques commandés par Matveï Platov. Ce groupe est lui-même soutenu par les 4 000 hommes de la 26e division du général Ivan Paskevitch. Marchant légèrement au sud, se trouve le général Miloradovitch avec les 2e et 4 division d'infanterie, environ 14 000 hommes, et les 2e et 3e division de cavalerie, qui comptent ensemble 3 500 hommes. Miloradovitch coordonne l'activité de toutes ces troupes, y compris celles de Platov et de Paskevitch. Le gros de l'armée russe, quelque 70 000 soldats conduits par Mikhaïl Koutouzov marche plus au sud.

La soirée du 2 novembre, en conduisant une reconnaissance au sud de la route de Smolensk-Moscou, Miloradovitch, accompagné des généraux Korff et Sievers, note un espace entre les troupes de Davout, situées à l'est de Fedorovskoïe, et les troupes d'Eugène et de Poniatowski, à l'ouest de Viazma. Identifiant tout de suite l'occasion d'isoler et de détruire la division de Davout, Miloradovitch décide d'attaquer de bonne heure le matin suivant.

FRENCH OB 24 000 h

1e CORPS DAVOUT (ses troupes st majoritairement composées d'élites)
batterie à p

brigade girardin :
chasseur à cv

2e div FRIANT
brig dufour
brig de gelder

3e div GERARD
brig baudinot
brig gerard

5e div COMPANS
brig dupellin
brig teste
brig guyardet

4e corps eugène
batterie

brig ornano :
chasseur à cv

13e div guilleminot
brig nagel
brig tissot

14e div
brig de sivray
brig almeras

garde italienne pino
brig lecchi : grenadiers
brig triaire : dragons

partie du 5e corps poniatowski (troupes sélectionnées parmis les meilleurs, élites en majorité)
brig kransinski
brig kniaziewicz


RUSSIAN OB 26 500 hommes

CinC MA MILORADOVICH (très inspiré !) 60 ?

IIe corps Wurtemburg

4th Infantry division wurtemburg
brig rossi
brig pyshnitsky
brig pillar : chasseurs
art leg à p n°1
art leg à p n°2

17th Infantry division olsufiev III
brig ivelich
brig vadkovsky
brig potemkin
art leg à p n°3
art leg à p n°4

2e div de cv Korff
Dragoon Brigade
1 ou 2 Dragoon Regts ea 12 figures (Moscow ?) and Pskov Dragoons
uhlans de izum
art à cv n°5

IV Corps Ostermann Tolstoy

11th Infantry division choglokov
brig ivanov
brig laptev
brig bistrom : chasseurs
art leg à p n°6
art leg à p n°7

23rd Infantry division bakhmetieff
brig gurielov
brig aleksopol
brig ostrovky : "grenadiers" (même qualité que réguliers)
art leg à p n°8
art leg à p n°9

4e div de cv Sievers
dragons de harkov
Hussar Brigade
2 Hussar Regts ea 12 figures Grodno and Elisavetsgrad Hussars
art à cv n°10


Platov’s Command
1st Cossack brigade
3 Cossack Regts ea 12 figures
HA gun


From main Army
Uvarov's Cuirassier Brigade
2 Cuirassier Regts ea 12 figures His and Her Majesty’s Regiments
HA gun

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La guerre, un massacre de gens qui ne se connaissent pas, au profit de gens qui se connaissent mais ne se massacrent pas. PaulV
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Date d'inscription : 30/11/2005

MessageSujet: Re: vyazma, 3 nov 1812 Davoût souffre   Sam 9 Mar - 5:25

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