Friday, December 14, 2007

Bitburg, part five

As Lentulus deployed his grenadiers to storm the much-battered Inn, with his fusiliers behind them, the elite Erbprinz Regiment (in 2 battalions) filed onto the field, heading for the rather-depleted left wing: fortunately, the stern fighting over Bitburg itself had dissuaded the Arvergnians from pressing forward here, for fear of exposing their flank.

To Lentulus' relief, the Oldenburgs had managed to sort out their musketry woes, and forced La Marine to retreat, while they were replaced in the line by the reformed Normandie regiment, somewhat depleted from their ejection from Bitburg. In the centre, the Schwandrie combined Grenadiers and the 58th Foot joined hands, preparing to storm both town and Inn at once. (In the distance, you can see more Arvergnian horse filing onto the field).

On the left, the combination of two depleted fusilier battalions, and the heavy battery, had reduced the Clare Regiment to relative impotence, and they were showing signs of wavering - however, another Grenadier regiment had moved up to support them, and behind them, the Auxerre Regiment deployed in further support.

The disordered Kalkreuth Dragoons, having eliminated the Bourbon regiment by virtue of attrition and superior numbers, now launched themselves at the open flank of the retreating Normandie regiment, as a target too tempting to resist. Beyond them, the Bayreuth Dragoons swept forward, causing the gunners to abandon their ill-deployed guns, only to be met by another regiment of Arvergnian cavalry, Les Mousquetaires. The resounding crash of their meeting echoed over the field, but to no effect, as they drew.

On the left, you can see the Clare reigment now recoiling from the firefight, while the first Erbprinz regiment deploys into line, ready to replace the wavering fusiliers. Further in the distance, the resurgent 58th Foot seize Bitburg again, while the Inn is taken for the third and final time, by Lentulus' grenadiers. Alas, the fair Bernice had by now been spirited out of the inn.

Bitburg, part four

The Kalkreuth Dragoons, even though disordered, held the Bourbon regiment to a draw, and both sides rapidly debouched into line.

Lentulus, having deployed his leading regiments, now led them forward, his favorite Oldenburgs in the lead. They marched up to the La Marine square, carefully preserving their fire until close range, then unleashed their first volley at this plump pigeon. Peering through the smoke, Lentulus started spluttering and gibbering, turning an alarming shade of purple, before he could clear his throat and turn to the Brigade Major. "Two dead! Two miserable men dead!! what have you done to my boys?"**. The Brigade Major turned white, then hurried down the line, quickly checking muskets and kicking the arses of sergeants.

Beyond this, the Arvergnians brought up a fresh regiment of Grenadiers, and assaulted the town, driving the 58th Foot back in some confusion.

Meanwhile, the rest of Lentulus' brigade arrived - a regiment of Fusiliers, and a combined battalion of Grenadiers.

Somewhat against the odds, the Kalkreuths drove the Bourbon regiment back in disorder, then pressed forward, inflicting further injury, despite Baron de Batz joining the Bourbons to rally them.

Meanwhile, on the left, the 12th Foot, after seeing off the Picardie Foot, had themselves been caned by Clare: maintaining good order, their much reduced ranks formed column, and fell back into reserve behind the heavy artillery, leaving the Fusiliers to face the Clare regiment. Above, you can also see the 58th Foot rallying after being ejected from Bitburg.

** First Fire, against a Dense Target, not moving, and they roll 2x1 on 2d6

Bitburg, part three

Here you can see Lentulus' troops marching up to reinforce, while on the right the Kalkreuth Dragoons ride roughshod over the Bulkeley Regiment, their first victim of the day, and the Bayreuth Dragoons skirt circumspectly around the Arvergnian square. In the centre, the Icenian fusiliers have just ejected the Grenadiers Savoie from the Inn, again, while the 58th Foot is exchanging futile volleys with the Arvergnian foot occupying Bitburg itself. On the far left you can just about see the Picardie regiment starting to flee the unflinching Icenian volleys, across the closed field.
As the Kalreuth Dragoons drove the Bulkeley Regiment back in ruin, the following Dillon Regiment hastily formed square, comforted by the arrival of the first of the Arvergnian horse, the Regiment de Bourbon Cuirassiers.

However, von Lessow, commanding the Kalkreuth, was nothing loth and flung his dragoons, disordered or no, straight at the Bourbon regiment. (In truth, as the alternative seemed to be to rally directly in front of a newly-arrived Arvergnian battery, the charge looked a better choice).

Meanwhile, the Bayreuth Dragoons took the opportunity to deploy into battle line, and menace the deploying artillery.

While this was going on, the 58th Foot had decided that their firefight was pointless, and had drawn bayonets and ejected the Arvergnian Normandy regiment from Bitburg itself, in short order - ironically, just as the Savoy Grenadiers seized the Inn and Lady Bernice for the third time.

Bitburg, part Two

Rathenau had meanwhile led his dragoons over to the west of town, and the Kalkreuth dragoons were mounting the first of the low ridges there: their appearance caused some consternation amongst the Arvergneaux, and the Normandie Foot regiment had formed square in response.

Now, as the dragoons marched urgently off, his own brigade started pouring down the road, and he trotted down to join the head of the column, aiming to march in support of the dragoons**

At this time, the Grenadiers flung themselves at the Inn again, successfully ejecting the Icenian fusiliers.

On the left, the exchange of fire continued, with the faltering Arvergnian foot being now supported by the Regiment de Clare, against the superior numbers and discipline of the Icenians.

As he joined the Livgarden Regiment, he saw the Savoyards launch their third assault on the (rather battered-looking) Inn, while to the west he could hear trumpets blowing the charge - the Kalkreuth Dragoons had apparently found a target (not, he prayed fervently, that French square).

Indeed, it was not, but rather the unfortunate Bulkeley Regiment: Patrick Bulkeley having misestimated the reach of the dragoons, and neglected to form up from march-column, and was caught by the squadron-columns of the Kalkreuths (above, about to start their charge).
Meanwhile, the 12th Foot had pressed their advantage against Picardie, advancing to close range (while the second battalion of fusiliers dropped back into support, leaving room for the continued bombardment of the town), and Picardie was rapidly wilting under the storm of shot.

** Not to mention the juicy target of a regimental square of French!