I’ve been studying the battle of Saalfeld, 10 October 1806, and noticed how few sources really analyze this engagement. Most narratives tend to focus on the tactical acumen of the French soldiers and the operational brilliance of Napoleon, proclaiming this is why the French triumphed. I have found that none of the German, French, or English sources I’ve consulted seek the answers to the questions below:
1). Why did Louis Ferdinand fight with the Saale River to his rear? In his lecture on the battle of Marengo to the Militärische Gesellschaft five years earlier (to which Louis Ferdinand was a member) Scharnhorst sharply criticized Melas for fighting with the river to his rear.
2) Where was Hohenlohe and his army while his advance guard was being destroyed at Saalfeld? 3) Where were Brunswick and the main army during the same time?
4) How about Rüchel and his corps?
Weren’t these forces supposed to be concentrating around Blankenhaim?
5) Why didn’t they march to the sounds of the guns and assist Louis Ferdinand?
6) Why didn’t Tauentzien, who was close by, assist, especially when the French sought to envelop the German left flank and would have been in the direct line for Tauentzien’s force to attack?
Even if they had been late, perhaps they could have caught the French in a position where they had their backs to the Saale.
7) Why didn’t the Prussians and Saxons concentrate their forces on the battlefield and engage the French?
I would appreciate it very much if you know of any source that even tries to answer these questions. All seem content to relate what happened, without any in-depth analysis.
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