Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Minden 1759. Game at NBHW

On the last weekend of August at New Buckenham we re-fought the Battle of Minden from 1759 during the Seven Years War (SYW). The rules we used were Post of Honour which we have found to be very successful for playing large SYW battles. The game started on the Friday night and concluded on the Saturday.

Map of the Battle.

Translated to the table, start of second days play.

Starting positions, Allied left flank. around Kutenhausen.

Starting positions, Allied left looking towards the centre and Malbergen.

Starting positions, Allied centre facing massed French cavalry.

Starting Positions, Allied right and Hahlen. My command area.

I was given command of the allied right flank tasked with trying to hold the village of Hahlen. I initially had two units of jaeger within the town with a line battalion, two artillery batteries and a small hussar regiment in support. Off table I had a brigade of Hanoverian infantry under general Anhalt and the Britsh and Hanoverian cavalry under general Sackville.

The French wasted no time in assaulting Hahlen and soon gained a foothold while I struggled to get the Cavalry under Sackville moving. He is rated "dithering" under this ruleset due to his historical non performance and so I required several fortuitous die roles to even get the lead elements onto the table by the fifth turn. Meanwhile my Hanoverian line started to arrive along the road through the woods to the north of Hahlen.

The jaegers hold out, for a while.

The French and their Saxon allies so pushed the jaegers out of Hahlen but could advance no further as my line battalion with hussar support blocked the road out. This blocking force was soon joined by leading elements of Sackville's cavalry. However this stalemate allowed the french to move more troops towards the centre and also mass their artillery to cover the pen ground between Hahlen and the woods, which would prove a real problem to me the following day, especially the lead battalions of Hanoverians as their cleared the woods.

Right flank at end of first evening's play

In the centre the British and Hanoverian Guard had advanced historically and poured volley fire into the massed french cavalry, however the French started moving reserves from their left to try and halt this advance.
To their left the German infantry tasked with taking Malbergen could only stand and watch as a swirling cavalry melee took place to their front, their artillery occasionally getting in a clear shot at the French horse.

On the allied left flank the troops from both armies around Kutenhausen remained in defensive positions exchanging some long range artillery fire to keep people awake. On the far left, after initial advances were met with fearsome allied fire, the French commander decided to withdraw less his whole command be destroyed.

And so the first evening of gaming ended.

The following day the French right wing, bolstered by the arrival of an additional more aggressive commander, about faced and drove back into the allied positions with a vengeance which soon saw the allied left wing re-positioning themselves to hold back this relentless push.

Allied extreme left flank coming under pressure.

In front of Kutenhausen nothing much changed apart from a few allied troops moving left to bolster the flank defences and the allied cavalry moving forward into the open ground north of Malbergen.

Allied cavalry move to threaten the French north of Malbergen.

As anyone who has played Seven Years War battles, attacking formed infantry in good order with cavalry is a shore way to lose said cavalry, so this move was really only to stop the French moving troops away from this area.

In the centre the mass cavalry melee continued for most of the day, preventing the German infantry from seriously engaging the french in Malbergen. The right brigade of German infantry was sent to assist the British and Hanoverian Guard who were faced by cavalry to their front and increasing numbers of infantry to their flank.

Cavalry melees continue in the centre.

On my flank I finally managed to get all my cavalry onto the table and deployed the elite regiments in the open ground between Hahlen and the woods while the regular regiments I positioned to blockade the french in the town. The Hanoverian infantry were deploying out of the woods and my artillery was alternately trying to weaken the french infantry and artillery to my front in an attempt to soften them up for my cavalry.

Hahlen blockading force.

Hanoverian infantry deploying out of the woods

As my infantry cleared the wood they came under telling fire from the massed French artillery and the casualties soon mounted. Despite this they pressed on towards the guns to cover the advance of the British household cavalry.

Elite British cavalry advance through the artillery to charge range.

Masked by the Hanoverian infantry I advanced my elite cavalry through my artillery, which had managed to weaken the opposing lines slightly, to charge range.
The remains of the infantry pulled back to the woods as the cavalry charged,

Charge!

only to be met by devastating closing fire which inflicted serious casualties and prevented them from closing, damn!

At this point I received new orders from our CinC to contain the French to my front without risking anymore of my units, so the cavalry pulled back behind the artillery and maintqained a vigilant watch for the rest of the battle.

The rear unit of Hanoverian infantry, unblooded by the artillery, veered off to their left through the woods and appeared to the rear and flank of the lead French battalions that were engaged with the British and Hanoverian Guards. this attack helped stabilise the position until further units from the allied centre could be brought to bear.

Apart from my artillery finally creating a hole in the French lines, after a battalion routed, this was the end of the game on my flank. The French held Hahlen and I had no infantry to attempt to retake it. The massed french artillery commanded the clear ground, despite my artillery's best efforts. And my cavalry were powerless against the fresh Saxon  units replacing the tired French in the front ranks.

Elsewhere on the battlefield the allied far left flank had collapsed back onto Kutenhausen under the rejuvenated assault from the French right. while in the centre the French still held Malbergen as the cavalry engagements had blocked infantry movement in this area all day. The allied advance in the centre had also stalled, after initial success due in no small part to the dogged resistance of the French cavalry who held on despite horrendous casualties. The ability of the French to move support troops away from the stalemate on my flanks helped hold the allied centre too.

When called by the umpire, a French victory was announced as the allies had been unable to pierce the French line at any point.

Another great two session game and a very close fought battle.

As usual many more photos and a fullsome AAR can be found in the club's Facebook albums




Tony.

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Dettingen 1743. Game at NBHW.

Back in the middle of July we had a game of Post of Honour, the fast play version of Osprey's Honours of War rules which can be found on the Honours of War forum. For this game the scenario was based of the Battle of Dettingen from the War of Austrian Succession. The battle is known for being the last time a reigning British monarch, George II, led troops in battle.

A combined British, Hanoverian and Austrian force heading for their supply depots find a French force blocking their path with further French forces rapidly approaching to their rear.
Our game focused on the lead elements of the allies trying to force a path through the French blocking force.

The allies advance to find the french ahead mostely behind a stream and marshy ground.

The French hold a strong position behind streams and marshy ground with artillery across the unfordable river Main on the allies left flank.
The French started with some troops across the streams to represent the historical battle where the French commander ignored his orders and advanced his whole command over the bridge to fight with his back to the streams and marshes. Unfortunately our French players chose not to repeat his mistake.

The British forces on the left flank.

Austrians in the centre with Hanoverians on the right. King George right of centre.

The British advanced towards the forward French units of the Garde du Corps and Maison de Roi all the while coming under artillery fire from across the river.

British engage the Garde du Corps and Maison de Roi

In the centre the Austrians, my command, advanced towards the french deploying behind the marshy ground.

Austrian advance.

The plan on the right was for the Hanoverians to advance quickly around the edge of the marsh to threaten the French left, and this was going well until French re-enforcements appeared out of the wooded high ground to their flank.

After a hard scrap the British saw off the leading French units and continued to advance on Dettingen, the Austrians made it to the marsh and began the slow process of crossing it under sustained French fire and the Hanoverians found themselves fighting on two fronts under the inspirational leadership of King George himself.

British advance on Dettingen

French await the oncoming Austrians

The advance continues

Bogged down in the marshes

Austrians push on.

On they come.

King George II leading his Hanoverians

With the French now pushed back into the defensive position of Dettingen their resolve stiffened as did that of the units pouring fire into the brave Austrians slogging through the marsh to come to grips with their tormentors. On the right the Hanoverians manged to hold against the pressure from two flanks but were pushed back towards the supporting Austrian cavalry.

With no way through for the allies and the main French army rapidly approaching to the rear the umpire called the game. Unlike in the historical battle, this time King George would have to negotiate terms with the surrounding French.




Another great game using these rules, all bodes well for the Battle of Minden in a couple of weeks.

For a fuller AAR and a lot more photographs see the club's Facebook album here.

Tony.

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Dogs Head Plateau 1811. Game at NBHW.


Back on the 12th and 13th of July we had a Friday night and all day Saturday game where we fought a fictional Napoleonic Peninsular War battle based on the ancient Battle of Cynscephalae in 197 BC. We used the Shako II ruleset to reacquaint people with it prior to a Leipzig game planned for October.

It was a great excuse to get my whole Anglo Portuguese army out on the table, minus some artillery and a couple of British line battalions that got swapped out for highlanders.

All my figures except for the Highlanders and Spanish Cuirssiers.

The game started with a scouting phase where both army commanders sent out light cavalry units to locate the objective, a plateau hidden in the morning mists. These cavalry units soon engaged each other with honours split. Spanish hussars were seen off by French Chasseurs a Cheval while the Kings German Legion, (KGL) 1st Hussars saw off some Polish lancers, the first victory in what was to be a stunning battle for the German horsemen. Unfortunately after both sides scouts reported back the French reacted fastest and secured the plateau, leaving the Anglo Portuguese and Spanish the task of displacing them.

I had control of the right flank of the Anglo Portuguese with a British division tasked with assaulting the end of the plateau and if possible turning the French flank. To my left was a British and Portuguese Division who were to engage the centre of the plateau to try and prevent the french players from reinforcing their flanks. This division was to deploy after the flanks had started their assaults. On the far left was a combined Spanish and KGL division supported by the allied cavalry division. They deployed first and were to assault the left corner and flank of the plateau.

Spanish and KGL deploy.

Allied Cavalry arrive to the right of the Spanish/KGL. Wellington and Beresford look on.

Allied cavalry and the plateau ahead.

Cavalry sweep across the enemy front.

Charge!

The Spanish and KGL advanced cautiously as a large French cavalry force was deployed to their front. To try and counter this the allied cavalry division swept across the front of the French position to engage the enemy where their infantry and cavalry commands met.
After some initial success against some horse artillery and a French battalion caught in line, the allied cavalry division was thrown back and dispersed by the jubilant French and Polish horsemen. This left the cavalry attached to the Spanish/KGL division as the only allied horse remaining. The Polish lancers buoyed by this victory charged into the advancing Spanish only to be thrown back with heavy casualties.

While this was happening I was slowly advancing my division towards the right of the plateau. To try and speed thing up I advanced in column, forgetting two vital aspects of the Shako rules. Firstly that once within the frontal zone of control of the enemy you can't change formation, so I would have to assault in column and secondly and of more importance, that the British do not get the benefit of flank support if in columns!

Highlanders to the front, advancing in column.

Anglo Portuguese division begins to deploy in the centre.

Onwards!

Bugger, can't chance formation or claim support, bugger!

Unsurprisingly attacking uphill in column against line and artillery without supports didn't go to well and my initial assault was repulsed with heavy losses. It was now time to redress my formation and shake out into line.

The centre division learnt from my mistake and changed into line before reaching the enemies' control zone. But still their advance also suffered from first french artillery and then musketry.

That was pretty much it for the Friday night and we reconvened Saturday morning to continue.

Back on the allied left the french cavalry routed two Spanish battalions but were soon to be met by the 1st KGL Hussars at the start of an epic action. Crashing into French Dragoons the hussars soon routed them followed by the weakened Polish lancers who tried to halt them. The Germans with Spanish Hussars tentatively in support wheeled and charged up the hill into the French infantry. The first battalion only managed to form a hasty square and were cut down by the rampaging German cavalry, the survivors ran to and disrupted a nearby square that was already weakened by artillery fire, and this soon followed the first as the KGL sensed further easy pickings. Now heavily fatigued the Hussars tried to extricate themselves across the forward slope of the plateau only to come under fire from another French battalion. To the French players astonishment the Hussars wheeled and crashed into this battalion before it could form square and cut it to pieces too before riding off down the slope past the advancing KGL line battalions.

A great example of what can be done with cavalry if used correctly against weakened or disordered troops and with fortuitous dice rolls of course.

Centre and right assaults shaping up.

A look along the plataeu.

Back in the centre the Portuguese lead elements fought their way up the slope against sustained artillery and musket fire from the french defenders, suffering heavy casualties as they bravely continued to prevent the French players from moving units away to support the flanks. The attrition eventually told and the Portuguese battalions either broke or were destroyed.

The centre continues on despite the Portuguese being routed.

The following British battalions continued the assault but they too soon went the same way as their Portuguese comrades but the centre had done it's job. They had tied up the centre of the French forces, preventing them reinforcing their flanks until it was too late, and even then those forces that could redeploy were weakened from the hard fighting they had endured.

The assaults finally beginning to tell.

Fresh troops getting stuck in.

Back on the right having reformed my forces correctly the assaults resumed. I pushed my rifles and skirmished out on my far right and eventually managed to get them in behind the plateau. Bringing forward fresh troops and now being able to claim support my attack finally began to tell, forcing the French back up the slopes to the crest of the Plateau.
Some last ditch counter attacks by the French were eventually held at bay before a sort of stalemate on the right was reached with the remaining French left flank hemmed in on the end of the ridge.

The end is nigh on the right flank.

The KGL infantry by this time were rolling up the remaims of the French right flank with many units finally routing after a hard fought struggle. The game was called with the French just about still clinging to the plateau but all but surrounded. It had been a bloody victory for the Anglo Portuguese and Spanish forces.

Final French troops surrounded but not defeated.

Another great game and good refresher of the rules, with several talking points about certain rules discussed. Also it was fun to get all my British and Portuguese figures on the table at once again.

Thanks for reading and as usual for a fuller AAR and a lot more photographs see the club's Facebook album here.

Tony.

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Bar-sur-Aube 1814. Game at NBHW.

Not long after my first game of Carnage & Glory came my chance of a second, this time using 15mm figures, again from other members collections.

The scenario this time was the Battle of Bar-sur-Aube in January 1814 between the French Imperial Guard on one side and Austrian and Württemberger corps on the other. The French were holding strong defensive positions which the allies needed to try and force them out of.

There were three players on the french side and four on the allies. I was given command of the Austrian left wing. Being the second outing for these rules there were less "getting to grips with" issues and the game flowed a lot better sooner.

My command advances towards the french positions.

The French players decided on a shorter line of defence than their historical counterparts, with all eighty cannon to the fore deployed in an arc to cover both our possible axis of advance. These French batteries were to prove deadly. My Austrian infantry, together with the left centre of the allied formation, attempted to take the bridges over the river that secured the French right wing.

Allied left wing advances

Vorwärts Männer

Onwards to the guns!

Unfortunately we were badly mauled by the French cannon and our troops morale soon plummeted.

Keep going!

When a few of our senior commanders were struck as they vainly attempted to keep the advance toward the bridges moving, the attack began to stall.

My cavalry on my extreme left had better luck. The French Gendarmes d'élite refused to advance leaving the Guard Chasseurs à Cheval alone to face my troopers.

As it says "Charge!"

The target

A succession of successful charges backed up by horse artillery soon saw them off, before my cavalry recalled to avoid being cut off. However this small success had little effect on the battle as a whole.

Our advance on the right wing was no more successful, the leading cavalry regiments being shot to pieces by the French cannon. Austrian, Wurttemberg and Baden infantry attempted to push on, and attacked a French held hamlet at the end of the French position. The French defenders were finally driven out by the second assault, following a fierce contest.

However with our advance on the left stalled short of the river, and losses growing across the field, we called a halt. What we didn't know was that many of the French batteries were close to exhaustion and were going to be pulled back, but behind them were still eight battalions of French guard in reserve.

Anther great game and run out for these rules and a few more lessons learned which will be applied to their next outing. Also a resurgence in interest in 15/18mm Napleonics could be on the cards at the club!

For a fuller AAR and a lot more photographs including the right wing of the battle see the club's Facebook album here.


Tony.