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.


Capt Bill said...

Whitecoats can never have too many advantages! Great battle report and photos.

justMike said...

Lovely troops, a great looking table and a rousing game. What more could anyone ask? Well done.