Thursday, December 31, 2009

Action at Kuhbrucke

Otto von Pirch scratched the soul of his foot and sighed blissfully. Another week of relaxing in this charming little inn, waiting for the non-existent threat of the dread Arvergnards to invade and seize the delicious province of Weingarten, and he would have just about caught up with his sleeping schedule. He contemplated his morning: a hearty breakfast of saerkraut croissants and Rheingasse*, a quick constitutional out to the pine plantation where the lads were roughing it, and back to bed for a pre-prandial nap. 

His contemplation was interrupted by heavy boots on the stairs, and his effervescent ADC bouncing into the room with his customary excess of enthusiasm. "Sir, Sir! The damn snaileaters are advancing! I spotted a long column of dust thrusting forward up the Lefolliet road an hour ago, and when I scouted it, it looked to be a whole brigade of infantry! With Artillery Support!"

Otto grunted, and sat up in bed - slowly, so as not to plague his back with sudden exertion. "Well done, Fritzie, now go tell the lads to pack up and get marching down the road back to Hochenberg please." 

"Oh but sir! we surely have a strong enough position to hold them off here, esconced in these pine plantations, with Roentgen's Battery safely across the river. Isn't it our duty to put up a fight and show them what we're made of?"

"Bone, blood and guts? I don't really think they need to see that up close to find out, my boy." Fritzie bounded out and down the stairs again, still hip-full of vim, and Otto commenced his morning coughing bout, then pulled on his boots and started shaving, cursing the lack of hot water in this fleapit tavern.

As he was wiping the last of the soap off his face, he heard a sound to chill his blood - young Fritzie screaming, 'Stand here, lads, stand to your muskets'. He cleaned a patch on the window with his towel and peered myopically out, to see his Freikorps battalions all under arms, and apparently ready to fight the enemy - Kleists' lads fronting the southern plantation, the Electoral FK the north frontation, and Bulow's crack jager held back in reserve, while Roentgen's guns were deployed and showing every sign of starting to pot off a ranging shot or two. At least he wasn't lumbered with Heisenberg's battery, that man never seems to know where to find his guns, he thought to himself

 (Kleist Frei Korps - with Fritzie on horseback - in the foreground, Otto's inn far right background)

Opening the window with a terrible screech (the hinges, not the brigadier!), he peered out, and his blood chilled further to see the Arvergnards deploying off the road already. What in Gods name was Fritzie thinking?

The leading regiments deploying

Otto hurriedly pulled on his pants, tearing a hole as he dragged them over his boots, then snatched a jacket and leaped down the stairs three at a time, cursing his arches briefly when he landed on the floor. By the time he got outside, searched for his horse briefly and futilely, and ran over to the Bulow Frei Korps, the Arvergnards had deployed their front line, a pair of 6 pounders moving up to drop into position beside the village, and a reserve line of grenadiers was marching into a second line.


The Arvergnard foot deploying from the right, rather clumsily
Otto looked at the odds and groaned. Two to one as the very minimum, and all his lads had was a few poor pine plantations to keep them safe. Too late to march off the field now, they'd have to make a fight of it. He barked an order to Bulow, to wheel and march his men into the village, as the Arvergnards had neglected to secure it so far.

The enemy, nothing loth, pressed forward quickly - well, quickly for Arvergnards - with one regiment steadfastly advancing at the Kleist, the other towards the Electoral Freikorps, while their artillery unlimbered by the village. Some accurate enfilade from Roentgen's battery across the river laid low many of that regiment, but their own first volley blasted far too many of Kleist's lads out of their boots, and they tumbled back, looking for better cover.


The Auxerre Regiment presses forward, suffering from artillery fire (off-left), while the Kleist FK falls back hurriedly.

The Electoral FK, having a rush of blood to the head, tried charging into the Arvergnard battery, but failed to catch it before it deployed, so took a blast of canister fire, then it was all bayonets and whirling ramrods: meanwhile, the Orleanois Regiment pressed forward, trying to catch Otto and the Bulow FK as they hotfooted their way into the village - with a notable lack of success.

Orleannois advancing into space, with Bulow FK just visible disappearing into a house

The Auxerre Regiment, undeterred by flanking artillery fire and broken ground, surged into the pine plantations, and, catching up with the Kleist Frei Korps, dealt them another mighty blast of musketry, reducing them to less than half strength, and shooting poor Fritzie out of the saddle (Well, Otto's saddle technically). Unable to endure, the Kleist took to their heels and fled pellmell

End of the Kleist

Meanwhile, after a prolonged slugfest, the Electoral Freikorps had enough, and broke and ran, leaving the rather battered artillerymen still in possession. However, Otto saw a chance for one shrewd blow, and ordered Bulow's men to pepper the artillery with a round of shot before withdrawing hastily to the north, before the wheeling infantry sealed him in this rathole of a village.

That peppering took a heavy toll of the artillerymen (close range elite shooting) and they in turn ran, abandong their guns.

Grenadiers Dauphinoise redeploying in foreground. In the village, Bulows FK peer out and start potshotting the artillery from behind.

Hmm, light infantry dont seem to be very effective, even in relatively broken ground. A few things I think I want to add to these rules:
-  minus on shooting for Open Order targets (as well as better saves)

-  bonus for troops charging
-  More disruption to shooting for non-OO infantry in broken ground/woods

*cheap german imitation champagne


Fitz-Badger said...

Nice report and pics!
Was Fritzie killed when he was shot off the horse? If not I guess he might have a worse fate in store for him when Otto gets hold of him!

Die alte Aechzener said...

Oh I'm sure Fritzie will reappear, probably promoted, as is the way of military organisations :)

abdul666 said...

A crisp, pleasant action!
The amount of troops appearing in your previous posts is more han impressive, and you seem to have (or have planned) a *number* of countries!

Now, given you already indulged in a snag in 'historicity' with the early birth of 'Colonia', don't you feel tempted with painting one unit or two in uniforms of your own design, 'Charge!' / 'The War Game' fashion? You would not have to built a whole Imagi-Nation, its name would suffice, if the unit is 'on loan' in the same way as the German contingents during the AWI.
This would give you the opportunity to field a regiment in an original dress representing 'the best uniform' according to your taste, or to have in your SYW setting the colors combinations of a specially appealing uniform from another period. And if the choice offered by the late 17th C. + the whole 19th C. almost worldwide is not enough, the source of this colors combinations itself can be fictitious, such as 'Victorian Science Fiction' Fenian Irish in green coats, or Ruritanians...

Best wishes,

Die alte Aechzener said...

Truth to tell, I find it more rewarding (and exacting) to stick as much as I can to historical uniforms: the Imperial forces offer an almost limitless variety anyway, when I'm so inclined