Under the command of Major Kazinski the Polish second battalion marched along the road to Fromel unaware of the forces gathered in the woods to their north.
Meanwhile Friedrich was puzzling about what was the signal for the militia to attack the convoy, but then he heard a muffled explosion and something flew overhead and then landed squarely in the middle of a French company and exploded causing chaos.
At once the militia stormed forwards from their hiding places in the woods with two companies heading for the French centre and a company of each flank supported by a half company of Freishutze. Friedrich’s men were to keep hidden until needed as the French were bound to fall back into the tangled terrain south of the road if they saw cavalry.
The French companies wheeled into line intent on covering the wagons. For a while they firmly held their ground then the eastern company fell back behind a neighbouring hedge leaving some wagons exposed to fire. The rifles gradually picked off members of the baggage train causing them to ride south off the road in panic.
In the centre Major Grabner led his two companies forward in the face of heavy French fire. Although one company attacking frontally was stalled the other swung into the French flank precipitating a rout.
Over in the west the French rearguard was putting up a ferocious defense while gradually withdrawing towards the hedgerows. Nothing seemed to discomfort it, until the mortar found the range. At that point shells rained down on the company causing it to break.
Meanwhile Colonel Anjou had heard the sounds of battle and immediately reversed his order of march.