Monday, June 1, 2015

New beginnings

Well, after moving to New Orleans & spending a couple of years there unable/unwilling to wargame, I've sold off all my 18ths (and the vast bulk of my 28s, pun definitely intended), so time to slowly rebuild.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Refight: Lobositz

This is a refight of Lobositz (1756) , at 50% scale-down (i.e. one battalion on the table per 2 battalions in the OOB for the battle), using KK rules, with the stouthearted (& stoutwaisted) forces of Krupp standing in for Prussian, and the vile Skyrians subbing for Austria.

Debouching out of the hill passes, the dark blue forces formed up facing the Elbe, and Prinz Heinrich smiled his best wintry smile. It looked to him as if he'd caught the Skyrians on the hop, partly entangled in the village of Lobositz and trying to cover their retreat over the Elbe, while half their cavalry was mired behind the Morellenbach, a swampy stream, and the village of Sullowitz.

The full Kruppfalzian force faces the Skyrian centre and right. The Skyrian left is off camera (bottom right of photo)

He dispatched von Roentgen to cover the Austrian left with his own brigade and that of von Schwartzchild (scowling blackly). To his own left he posted Herzog von Bevern, with 2 brigades of foot and several heavy batteries to provide a tool to pry the Skyrians out of Lobositz, while the gap between was filled with 2 brigades of Cuirassiers, the Bayreuth Dragoons, more heavy batteries in support, and a few scruffy Hussars.

The Skyrian left, from the Kruppfalz side

Graf von Kirchwasser, on the other hand, was cursing fluidly. The damn bluecoats had marched faster than expected, and half his cavalry was still negotiating the damn marshes around Sullowitz, uncertainly guided by Graf von Hock, while the rest of his cavalry was sitting in front of his fortifications, while the good Herzog von Muller-Thurgau slept off a heavy night scouting the weinkellern. Damn and damn again, they were meant to be safe behind the breastworks. He hurriedly dispatched Spaetburgunder's foot to link the cavalry wings and stop them being both horribly exposed to flanking.

At least Pilsener's foot were esconced in the fortifications, and the advance guard were posted in advance in the centre, with von Traminer exposulating and speechifying to them.

The Krupp right wing, facing Spaetburgunder and some of the Skyrian horse in their centre

And von Riesling's brigade were posted in front of Lobositz, ready to contest the hillside and the village graveyard, with Tokaji's Avari brigade esconced in the village itself.
The Krupp left wing & the evicinity of Lobositz village

The battle opened with Kirchwasser, after eyeing the massed Krupp artillery opposite Lobositz, gingerly advance his right wing to slow down their advent into bombardment range, moving the Advance Guard and Muller-Thurgau's horse en echelon to avoid a hanging flank being exposed. Heinrich in turn ordered Bevern to probe towards Lobositz, while launching his massed cavalry in the centre towards the Skyrian horse, aiming to exploit his numerical superiority before the Skyrian left could reinforce them.

Von Hock, on the Skyrian left, cursed copiously. After diverting his artillery to the lone ford over this verdammt stream, he led his cuirassiers splashing across, only the Erherzog Ferdinand Kurasserie firmly bogged in the banks. More verdammt delays!

In the centre, the first clash occurred, when the Deaths' Head Hussars crossed sabres with Esterhazy's Hussars, and after a brief tussle, showed the superiority (well, of their uniforms anyway). After driving the Avarian horse back in confusion, a brief rush of blood to the head led them on to charge the supporting Waldeck Grenadiers, who decisively demonstrated why an uncontrolled rush of light horse wasn't a good idea. The Deaths'Head boys were last seen heading for the baggage train to, uh, reload (never rallied).

 The Krupp heavy horse surges forward eagerly, supported by foot on their right and the Bayreuth dragoons on their left

Spaetburgunder's foot thrusts forwards to counter the Krupp advance on their right.

The clash of sabres in the centre was short and furious. Serbelloni's Grenadiern zu Pferde were swept away by the Liebgarde, who then smartly wheeled left to take the Portugal Kurasserie in flank while facing the Lieb Carabiner. Given those unpalatable odds, the Skyrian regiment also took to its' heels, almost disintegrating in the pell-mell. The small contingent of Liechtenstein Dragoons then got swept up in the furious pursuit, dissolving under the Karabiniers sabres. 

Oppenheimer, leading his beloved Bayreuth Dragoons, meanwhile stooped upon the suddenly-isolated grenadiers of the Advance Guard, brushing aside both the Waldeck and the Daun grenadier battalions, before veering left to menace the open flank of the Skyrian infantry advance
 The joyous Krupp cavalry stymied by the field works in the centre. Bayreuth Dragoons (left) starting to scythe through the Skyrian right wing

the view from the Skyrian breastworks, with Pilsener's foot soberly regarding the cuirassiers running rampant 

On the Krupp left, von Fahrenheit had pushed forward in his usual hotheaded fashion, brushing back the Grenzer from their stone walls to the graveyard, while von Ohm's brigade moved up in column of battalions, squeezed for space (and anticipating resistance).
 Fahrenheit's troops locked in combat with IR4 Deutschmeister, while the Bayreuth Dragoons rudely barge into the flank of IR51 Gulyas

View of the struggle on the Krupp left, from side-on: The Hautcharmoy regiment has just driven back the Grenzer again while Treskow's regiment moves in support. IR 4 Deutschmeister tries to face 2 fronts to hold off the Bayreuth Dragoons and engage with IR4 Kalnein

 The Esterhazy hussars eventually rallied, and extruded themselves to menace the flank of the Prussian cuirassiers - the Margrave Friedrich Kurasserie, in an excess of enthusiasm, had attempted a sally against the firmly-entrenched Kurprinz regiment, to no avail at all.

On the Skyrian left,  Spaetburgunder eyed the rampaging cuirassiers with anxiety, and prodded his men forward, hoping to enmesh with the enemy foot and get further away from the menacing horse. Hock's brigade of cuirassiers had finally extricated themselves from the marshy banks of the kleinblutbach, and were showing signs of actually providing some support on his left.

On the Skyrian right, however, all was rack and ruin - the Bayreuth Dragoons had riffled through 4 battalions of  Rieslings brigade, leaving a battalion of Deutschmeister totally surrounded, and a battalion of Ferraris enclosed on 3 sides. The surviving battalions of Tokaji's brigade peered anxiously out from the houses of Lobositz and took the odd potshot, awaiting their own fate.

l'ecroulement de le Skyrie, as the observing Fitzjoie put it. Nearest, you can see the broken Liechtenstein dragoons attempting to swim the Elbe, with little success.

Then, as Hock's cavalry swept forward to combine with Spaetburgunders' clumsy advance, the Krupp cavalry finished rallying and reorganising.

And started carving up Spaetburgunder's open flank, assisted by a spirited attack by IR 20 Winterfeldt, Schwartzchild bravely waving his epee in the front rank, on  IR13/Moltke's regiment.

At this point, the Skyrian morale cracked. Tokaji covered the bridge over the Elbe while Pilsenau's brigade filed across it, then retreated thither as well. Spaetburgunders foot and the remnants of Muller-Thurgau's cavalry fled pell-mell to the east, while Hock's cuirassiers kept up a front to slow pursuit. The Advance Guard, hussars, dragoons, and grenadiers, either drowned in the stormy waters of the Elbe, or went into the bag.

Prinz Heinrich, delightedly celebrating a notable victory, drank half a glass of watered brandy in joy, and was actually seen to wave to his troops twice!

Afterthoughts: By (historically) keeping a third of the Skyrian foot locked up in fortifications, the rest of their battle line faced significantly poor odds, and that quickly showed. I probably didn't give enough weight to hindrances to movement on the hill overlooking Lobositz, as that developed quicker than historically: and the rules seemed to give much quicker & more decisive results to the clash of horse in the centre, leading to a lack of time for the Skyrians to exploit on the left (also, either I got the scale horribly wrong, or something else, because the initial 'heavy bombardment' of artillery didnt seem feasible from the Krupp side).

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The rest of the French

And the last of La grand armee du roi - the Gardes Francaises, the Grenadiers de France, 2 brigades of Chevaux Leger, the Cuirassiers de Roi, a stray foot regiment (Orleans), and last and definitely least, the Legion du Roi

Thursday, August 4, 2011

July's labours

Well this month at least bore some fruit, namely the readying of the French mounted, artillery and general staff for the fray:

There, in its slightly blurry glory - the Gendarmerie, 2 regiments of the Maison, 4 of Chevaux leger, 2 of Dragoons, a dozen batteries of guns, a regiment of light infantry, one more brigade of French foot (Flandre et Eu), a round dozen somewhat abashed and hungover brigadiers,a couple of generals, and of course, front right, His Excellency Marshal Jean-luc Godard, directing things.

My one regret was not painting up a regiment of Wurttemburg Dragoons, in order that they could cross swords with the Wurtttemburg Dragoons(Au), the Wurttemburg Dragoons (Pr), or the Wurttemburg Dragoons (Wurttmburg!), all of which already rest their sabres in my cabinets. Still, there's always next month  ... and while I'm ordering the 12 figures necessary, I might as well round it up with a brigade or two of Russian cuirassiers ... hmm, plus some of those grenadiers, and maybe the Corps d'Observation .... oh, and some cossacks, and ... ah-ha! another essential, the Wurttemburg Dragoons(Ru).

Sunday, July 10, 2011

vive le roi!

Well, re-emerging after a couple of busy months - fortunately not all my time was frittered away on fripperies of work and life, some time got dedicated to the serious stuff - in this case, 30 battalions of La grande armee de la Roi - 6 of Wild Geese, 4 Swiss, 4 Germans, and 16 of actual Frenchmen:

These guys are all OG 15s btw - very nice foot, shame about the horses.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Refight: Hochkirch

This was actually just a section of the battle of Hochkirch, with the scenario drawn from Kriegskunst (a lower-level SYW set of rules, in the GdB family).

The scenario involves the Austrian assault on the village of Hochkirch itself, with the Prussian main battery and infantry defences. Due to constraints (I didnt have a suitable terrain piece), the hill that the village should surmount has been omitted.
The Kruppfalzen command was in the hands of Prinz Heinrich, and consisted of a pair of heavy batteries, GM von Roentgen's grenadiers (Manstein, Kanitz, Kreytzen and Kleist's battalions), and  Graf von Schwartzchild's brigade (IR1 Winterfeldt and IR20 Zastrow). He was fortunate in that the GM von Ohm's brigade (IR4 Kalnein and IR16 Dohna) was marching through the town at the time the Skyrian threat emerged, and he was able to bully Ohm into submitting to his command (after variable resistance)*, and he anxiously awaited the arrival of FML Lentulus with promised reinforcements (which turned out to be GM von Heisenberg's brigade, IR2 Ostergotland and IR3 Anhalt-Dessauer.

The Skyrian assault was masterminded by FM Erherzog von Spatlese (Chichi to his intimates), assisted by FML Markgraf Curacao. The latter led an attack from the west (left), consisting of GM von Muscat's brigade (Kaiser and Jung-Wolfenbuttel regiments), the Tokaji Grenzer, and Speckwuerfeln Jager, with accompanying artillery batteries, while Spatlese led** the main attack, spearheaded by FML von Traminer's grenadiers (Waldeck, Daun and Argenteau battalions), followed by FML Graf von Liebfraumilch's brigade (Nederlander and Isenburg regiments), and GM von Rieslings (Deutschmeister and Ferraris regiments), followed at a small distance by GM Tokaji's Ungrians (Gulyas and Pandour regiments).

The attack led off with Liebfraumilchs Brigade and the Grenadiers assaulting the breastworks atop Kleinfeldberg, and Rieslings Brigade assailing the Kreytzen Redoubt to the east, while Tokaji manouevres his Ungrians towards the open plain east of the town, looking for opportunities to turn the flank of the fortifications. Prince Heinrich meanwhile, hastened the leading elements of IR4 Kalnein into position to shore up the eastern defenses, and reduce the exposed position of his heavy batteries.

Meanwhile, Curacao led his forces spurring up the Vierblatten road to the west:
Liebfraumilch, finding his command overlapping the fortifications, attempted to swing the Nederlander Brigade to outflank the Krupp grenadiers, but accurate volleys drove the initial advance back, and rapid handling by Oberst Manstein kept the grenadiers facing successive threats as they developed to front then flank. The Skyrian grenadier column made hard going of even reaching the walls, swept by musketball and canister each time, the first two battalions were each forced to retire to reorganise, while the third battalion did manage to cross bayonets ... with unfortunate results for them.

Eventually, of course, weight of numbers told, and the Manstein Grenadiers were caught front and flank by Liebfraumilch's battalions, and sheer attrition reduced their fellows to relative impotence, and permitted further assaults on their front by the Daun Grenadiers. Von Riesling was encountering some trouble getting to grips with the Kreytzen Grenadiers, cramped for room to deploy: and repeated if erratic bombardment from the heavy Krupp guns kept disrupting his attacks before they could mature. However, he was cheered (and Prinz Heinrich worried) by the progress made by Tokaji in probing the open flank.

Fortunately for the good Prinz, von Heisenberg overcame his uncertainties and his brigade came hustling south in march order to counter the Ungrian posturing.

The view looking south of Curacao's attack, with the Grenzer outflanking IR20 esconced in the western perimeter, and the jager pinging away at the Winterfeldt regiment being held back in mobile reserve. In the left distance you can see the iron trap crushing the Manstein battalion of grenadiers, and the dwindling ranks of defence there.
Eventually, the Waldeck grenadiers forced their way across the breastworks and drove the Kanitz battalion back in tatters to lurk in the Visconti di Palmetto's townhouse on the edge of town, then wheeled to face the artillery (Cezanne's company), who let out a mighty blast of canister ....
that completely missed. Von Riesling tirelessly reorganised his men for another attempt to assail the fortifications to his front, cheered by the diversion the Ungrians to his right were providing for the Krupp heavy guns.

And indeed, the right wing got itself shaken out eventually, with the Deutschmeister regiment managing to exploit the opening on the hill to start flanking the redoubt, while Tokaji's men shook out into a single line of battalions, to reduce the bombardment they were receiving, and to face the approaching Schwartzchild.
 The Manstein grenadiers also eventually cracked under the weight, and attrition, and fled back to join their compatriots in the townhouse, and the whitecoats poured forward, eager to exploit the opening. Von Riesling's men, however, suffered a worse fate - the continuing dribble of losses to bombardment and musketry gradually reduced his battalions to relative impotence, and his final throw of the dice, an assault on the hopefully outflanked Kreytzen Grenadiers, was bloodily repulsed despite the FeldMarschall himself approaching and urging them on with waved hat (from a short distance, of course!)

This permitted the Prinz to release Ohm's men, who brightly turned and started driving on the exposed flank of the Skyrian attack. Liebfraumilch's men were rather stalled, finding the stout stone walls of the mayoral palace (and gin emporium) too daunting when defended by the stout Winterfeldt regiments (a succession of 6s plagued them with an inability to launch charges here), so there were driven to relying on some fairly desultory musketry to reduce the garrison. To their west, you can see the extremely dilatory Curacao urging his men to assault the rest of the perimeter, with indifferent results.

To the east, Tokaji's men had engaged with the Heisenberg brigade - while their greater width gave them some advantage in outshooting them, this was signally countered by renewed bombardment from the heavy batteries (and from the guns of Ohm's brigade, which were left behind in the rush of light)

The weight of metal, and the superior drill of the bluecoats, quickly told, and the Ungrians were quickly broken up and outflanked.
At this point, with the Skyrian right dissolved, and his centre disintegrating under flanking pressure, with no real progress made on the left (other than the Grenzers who had slipped into the village, looting the town hall and stealing the church plate and Prinz Heinrich's favorite bay, Emeltrude), Feldmarschall von Spatlese directed his men to fall back upon the uncommitted forces to south and west, to await further instructions.

Prinz Heinrich's men, much satisfied with their days work, settled down to enjoy the dubious delights of Hochkirch town, while the good Prinz himself walked, roundly cursing the damn skirmishers of course, to the remnants of Manstein's Grenadiers and praised them for their stern and agile defense against insuperable numbers, coming close to actually shedding a tear***

*Dice roll to activate the brigade each turn until succeeded.
** using the word rather loosely
*** a Courtmartial offense in the Kruppsarmee, of course.

Post scriptum - upon reading some more of the battle, it is apparent I gave the whitecoats far too little advantage for surprise and catching the bluecoats in bivouac. Oh well, next time.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Refight: Sittangbad (of course)

Naturally, after venturing into Charge! territory, I had to follow up with the battle I've probably refought more than any other except Waterloo, the Last Stand at Sittangbad, or as one of my friends once dubbed it, Bridge Go Boom.

The opening position, for Graf von Kirchwasser to conduct a fighting retreat, covering the rapid disassembly of the Imperial Magazine at Sittangbad, and its' removal over the Moldau river to more convenient southern positions. In the village of Eisenburg, the rather battered Bavarian brigade of GM von Pilsener, with Kurprinz and Herzog Klement regiments. In the plain to its south, FML Herzog von Mosel's cuirassier brigade, in hasty bivouacs, and the Hesse-Darmstadt Dragoons, half of GM von Muller-Thurgau's brigade, while in the foreground is Gm von Riesling's brigade of foot (the Deutschmeister and Ferraris regiments)

Further south, Sittangbad is a swirl of activity,confusion and foul language, with GM Spaeburgunder having his brigade (Moltke and Saxe-Gotha regiments) spread around the town, mixed in with the Wurttemburg Dragoons, and FML von Traminer's grenadier brigade -altho the Waldeck Grenadier battalion is still posted in the breastworks hurriedly thrown up by Oberst von Knall's engineers.

In the town, and dotted around the field, are a number of wagon trains full of supplies. Kirchwasser's challenge is to get as many of these across the bridge as possible, before von Knall is forced to blow the bridge up to avoid it falling into the hands of the advancing Kruppfalzers*

The full battlefield view:

The forces of Krupp were being driven on by the harsh words and blows of Die Altenburger (Landgrave Leopold von Altenburg), and consisted of GM von Heisenberg (rather uncertainly), GM Freiherr von Fahrenheits, and GM Bohrs musketeer brigades,  GM von Hahn's Fusilier brigade, GM von Roentgen's Grenadiers (positively glowing with schnapps), GM Lavoissiers Cuirassiers, GM von Zastrows Dragoon brigade, and GM von Oppenheimer bringing his explosive temper and the Bayreuth Dragoons: and a pair of heavy batteries.

First on the field were Heisenberg's brigade, with the heavy artillery gamely keeping up, and their flank covered by the Cuirassier brigade

Von Pilsener took one look at the advancing foes, and the distant support, and pulled his Bavarians out of Eisenburg tout de suite, leaving a battalion of Herzog Klement esconced in the chateau to delay the pursuit (rumours that they had found their way to the weinkeller and were incapable of leaving are obviously just propaganda).

Die Altenburger then pressed forward, sending von Hahn's Fusiliers in march columns to sweep around the far east of the position, and massing his cavalry on the west, while Heisenberg's lads briskly swept the Klement battalion out of the chateau - the latter, after giving one drunken volley into the sky, took to their heels with the barest attempt at resistance

Meantime, the chaos in Sittangbad was finally being sorted out, and the first wagon trains were plodding across the bridge, while the grenadiers were being esconced in the fringe of the town.

The good Herzog von Mosel, eyeing the cavalry piling up in front of him, ordered his own troops and the dragoons to commence withdrawing, while keeping up a front to deter over eager pounces. He failed to notice Oppenheimer leading the Bayreuthers in a heavy column.

The view from GM SPaeburgunder's command, with the remaining dragoons filing out of town at last, and the first wagon loads completing their passage over the bridge. On the far right you can see von Riesling's brigade falling back beside the Sittangberg, while Hahn leads the fusilier brigade in long dour columns aiming to flank him
 Von Riesling, seeing the fusilier columns outstripping him, and another column of musketeers (Bohr's brigade), while Fahrenheit's men tested the temperature of his troops frontally, frantically sent a single battalion of Deutschmeister off to try and slow the progress of the Fusiliers. This was asking quite a lot, even of the inheritors of the Teutonic mantle.

 To the west, the Krupp cavalry force back their opposite numbers, finally pouncing and catching the retiring Portugal Kurasserie and driving them back over the redoubt, while the Bayreuth Dragoons sneak down the gedecktergang circumventing the Sittangwald.
 With the Styrian cavalry being driven back dishevelled over the Knall Redoubt, Spaeburgunder hastened more garrison troops forward into it, to prevent utter ruin. In the midground, the bedraggled Bavarians are now being menaced by the Herzog von Wurttemburg Dragoons**, after leaving the second Herzog Klement battalion behind to try and slow the onrush of Heisenberg's infantry.
 with the Styrian cavalry now rallying beyond the redoubt, the Liebgarde zu Pferde spotted the open flank of poor von Riesling's brigade, already being pressured by masses of Krupp infantry and pounded by the heavy batteries. Shrugging off the panicky volleys of the Bavarians, they pounced, and caught the Ferraris regiment unprepared.

While the cuirassiers made hay on one flank, Hahn put the fusiliers into line and surrounded the hapless Riesling's men.
The valiant Deutschmeister and Ferraris regiments put up an all-too-brief resistence, before being utterly shattered - a few scattered remnants ran into Sittangmoor seeking safety.

To the west, with Oppenheimer having outflanked the Sittangwald, von Mosel ordered von Muller-Thurgau's dragoon brigade to face them off (after a brief and heated exchange over seniority and chain of command, and a proffered duell). In the background, Roentgen's Grenadier brigade stalks forward towards the redoubt, determined to sweep the Styrians out
Kirchwasser, picnicking atop the clock tower, considers the onpouring blausaeulen, and nibbles another sachertorte.
Von Knall, charged with both demolishing the bridge and supervising the magazine's withdrawal, contemplates the plodding wagon trains with some satisfaction, having half of the wagons safely over the river now.
Oppenheimer, having led the Bayreuth Dragoons all the way round, then attacked north into the nervous Skyrian Dragoons (in the background you can see the Truchess Dragoons also outflanking the Sittangwald in support).
The (skyrian) Wurttemburg Dragoons managed to hold on, but the Hessen-Darmstadt Dragoons were driven back by the Bayreuthers, and replaced in combat by the Serbelloni Grenadiere zu Pferde - however, this gave time for Zastrow to lead the Truchess Dragoons into a dashing charge into the Wurttemburger rear, with predictable results. To the right, the Manstein Grenadiers are just visible forcing a passage over the breastworks, after sending the Waldeck Grenadiers reeling back.

Leaving the cursing von Mosel to supervise the ruin of his cavalry command on the left, von Kirchwasser decided to decamp, and descends the clocktower (centre), to the jeers of the 
watching Bavarians. To his astonishment, he is caught up in a swirl of Kruppfalzer cuirassiers, who have broken the defending von Moltke regiment and hotly pursue them towards the bridge. The triumphant Margrave Friedrich cuirassiers gladly accept Kirchwasser into their ranks, pausing only to relieve him of his sword, wallet, watch, and gold-chased cigaret holder.

With his chief captured, the Moltke regiment being driven into the river, and enemy Cuirassiers galloping onto the bridge, von Knall decided it was high time to light the fuses, and hustle the remnants of the magazine towards Heidelburg. To his satisfaction, the explosion caught the overeager cuirassiers and dashed their ranks into the river.

With his line of retreat destroyed and facing overwhelming force, von Mosel commanded the remnants to lay down their arms and surrender.

Counting the cost: Die Altenburger surveyed the scene in some satisfaction - personally sated at having destroyed the Styrian remnant (5 out of 5 brigades) and only a little rueful at having captured but two wagon (9 points). 

The Emperor, considering that his troops had rescued 80% of the magazine, and managed to mangle an elite Krupp cuirassier brigade (9 points), expressed considerable satisfaction, and claimed a moral victory, having been rid of the egregious Kirchwasser from future command considerations.

*Scoring for this was determined to be:
Skyrians, 1 point for each of the 10 wagons gotten across the river, 1 points for each Krupp brigade reduced to 50%
Krupp, 2 points for each wagon seized, 1 point for each Skyrian brigade reduced to 50%.

** Yes, the cunning Duke of Wurttemburg managed to have dragoon regiments in BOTH armies, and they are both here in battle.