Monday, November 19, 2007

Bitburg: the early phase

Riding in advance of his troops, Lentulus soon reached the heights of Bratschen, and gained a panoramic view of the lively clash.

The retiring Arvergnians had installed one regiment of foot as garrison in the town, with another regiment on each side of the town, neatly in line, and a reserve column of the Grenadiers de Savoye held behind the town. They showed no sign of artillery or cavalry as yet, while the Icenians had a battery of 12 pounders in action beside Lentulus, in ear-splitting but rather disappointing action already.

Clinton had apparently concentrated his two infantry regiments on the left of the town of Bitburg, splitting his elite Fusiliers into a pair of small battalions, one to act as general reserve, and the other as a storming party to assault the White Horse Inn, on the edge of town*.

As he watched, the right-hand battalion of Fusiliers stormed the Inn successfully, eject a company of Arvergneaux in short order, and securing the courtyard. To their left, the rest of the Icenian foot pressed forward, the 12th Foot lining up against the Picardie Regiment across a closed field, while the 58th Foot headed towards the town. The Arvergnian foot on the other side of the town kep marching in stately fashion, while the road south showed suspicious dust clouds and - sure enough, when peering through his spyglass, the flags of the Ibernian brigade.

He turned in the saddle, and saw the Kalkreuth Dragoons trotting briskly up the road, with half the Bayreuth Dragoons behind them, all neatly in column, and smiled in some satisfaction.

Back at the town, the Savoy Grenadiers had formed an attack column and flung themselves at the Inn, but been repulsed by sturdy fighting by the Fusiliers, while to the left, the 12th & the Picardie regiment had exchanged some extremely disappointing first volleys, and now moved to close the range.

Behind the town, he saw, the Regiment de Clare was forming line to support Picardie, while the rest of the brigade headed for the other side of the field, still in march columns: and the Savoy Grenadiers, nothing loth, had flung themselves at the Inn again, only to be repulsed after some sustained combat.

*and temporary residence of the fair Bernice, hence the assault.

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