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).

1 comment:

tidders said...

Entertaining battle report

-- Allan