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,


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