Overnight both sides had received reserves. The Grenadier battalions from the Austrian reserve had arrived, while on the French side the Guard and three divisions from Lannes Corps, St.Hilaire, Claparede and Tharreau. All were rushed into the front line.

Tharreaus division

Troops from Tharreau’s division move to Essling.

The three divisions from Lannes Corps moved to support Essling, St.Hilaire’s veteran division holding the village initially, with Claparede in support. Tharreau moved just to the North east of the village. All these were supported by the Heavy Cavalry division of St. Sulpice.
Claparede supports St. Hilaires division

Claparede’s troops move in to support the fighting in Essling.

The Fighting around Essling intensified with the Granary changing hands multiple times, with the Austrians getting the upper hand. The reserves got drawn into a fight with an Austrian division from Rosenberg’s IV Corps.

Austrian infantry move to engage Claparede

Austrian troops advancing with cavalry support to engage the supporting division of Claparede.

In the Centre the cavalry melee intensified with the Guard squadrons being thrown into the maelstrom! The Austrians still stood firm, allowing the Austrians to press their advantage in Essling.

Uhlans

Austrian Uhlans from the elite miniatures range, painted by Chris Cornwell move toward the environs of Essling.

The fighting on the second day had begun around 04.00 am. so with 30 minutes representing a turn by 10.30 am the French were under real pressure in Essling and Aspern had predominantly been captured, with the Guard falling back toward the Danube.

Austrian Hussars

Austrian Hussars from the elite miniatures range, painted and “tweaked” by Doug Mason move toward the environs of Essling.

The battle moved to a more desperate fight around Aspern, the troops from St.Cyr, stormed into the Church yard once more, while the Guard fell further back, giving ground gradually, the Austrians hot on their heels!
Essling was re-captured and lost again, St Hilaire’s veterans losing many men in order to hold this side of the beachhead!

St.Hilaire's division

The troops from St. Hilaire’s division as they approached Essling, the calm before the storm.

Eventually the Austrians wrested control of the villages from the French, the Imperial Guard were in full retreat, the only thing saving the French from a huge defeat was the fact that most of their cavalry was still holding in the Centre and would cover the retreat. Napoleon, however had been shown the true might of the Austrian Empire! Wagram, well that was to come and could be another entirely different game, we’ll see in the New Year.

More next week.