zaterdag 25 juli 2015

6. Reichenberg, Bohemia 1757

The Battle at Reichenberg marked the start of Fredrick’s Bohemian Campaign of 1757. The campaign was unique in that it featured a four pronged attack spread across a front of 200 miles traversing the mountain ranges bordering Bohemia.  

Several years back, we played this campaign starting with Reichenberg and ending with Köningsegg’s arrival at Prague. The campaign used a WRG rule set which meant unit representation was greatly reduced (24 figure bns.).  
Now, with the revised DBA-HX to 3.0 the Battle of Reichenberg can be played with every unit present on a properly scaled battlefield.

Right wing under Major-General von Lacy
Cavalry under Lieutenant-General Count Porporati

1 x Cuirassier,  1 x Elite Cavalry,  3 x Cavalry,  2 x Light Horse,  2 x Grenadier,  14 x Line Infantry, 2 x Grenzer Skirmisher , 2 x Heavy Artillery.
For a total of 13,200 foot and 3,500 horse.

Infantry under Lieutenant-General von Lestwitz
Cavalry under Major-General Eugen von Württemberg

4 x Cavalry (including Hussar), 3 x Grenadier, 10 x Line Infantry, 2 x Conscript, 2 x Heavy Artillery.
In reserve, 1 x Cavalry (Hussar), 1 x Grenadier, 4 x Conscript.
Total force (excluding detachments): 14,500 men (11,450 foot in 15 bns and 3,100 horse in 20 sqns and 12 heavy field pieces

Victory conditions.
Königsegg must hold the Prussian advance until 11.00 hours. This will afford enough time for outlying detachments to destroy supply depots lest these fall into the hands of the enemy. Detachments are also preparing the line of retreat with defensive positions and marking key crossing points along the Iser River.

Historically, the battle started at 07.00 hrs and the Austrians began their retreat by 11.00 hrs. For this game the Austrians must duplicate the period of time so detachments can complete their tasks.

0700 – 0800 hrs.
The Austrians choose not to move out of their positions, so the first hour was marked by the slow cadence of the Prussian wall moving toward the earthworks.

Prussian artillery concentrated their fire on the Austrian artillery position to the flank of their line. Viable targets were screened as the Prussian main line moved closer toward the entrenchments.

0800 – 0900 hrs.
Now in range, the Prussian infantry were firing on the exposed Austrian formations deployed between the entrenchments. On the Prussian left, three battalions of Grenadiers were now the target of enemy artillery and infantry volley fire.

Far to the right, the Prussian cavalry were not eager to start a general cavalry action. They would wait patiently until the infantry would take the heights before moving forward.

0900 – 1000 hrs.
Up to this moment, casualties were very light despite the volley fire and cannonade. In this period, the Prussian Grenadiers ceased their musket fire and assaulted the Austrian line with the bayonet. The Musketeer battalions on the right were successful in taking the north entrenchments. This was a critical moment that was relieved by the elite cavalry units positioned nearby.

Seeing the elite regiments moving away General von Württemberg launched his cavalry regiments against the Austrian Hussars deployed nearby. Joining the Dragoon regiment on the right the sudden attack had the desired effect of eliminating the Hussars and evening the odds.

1000 – 1030 hrs.
The Austrian was holding up well against the repeated charges by the Prussian Grenadiers. The Prussian second line was now adding their weight to the attack. A counter-stroke by the cavalry was needed to balance the situation. Count Porporati collecting the elite regiments moved all his cavalry into one final battle.

General Württemberg, still seen leading the Dragoon regiments lead his squadrons to shatter the Austrian cavalry leaving only the elite regiments to fend off a Prussian pursuit. With the Prussian Grenadiers approaching the Reichenberg road, at 10.45 Königsegg called a general retreat.

 In DBA scoring terms, the Prussians scored a 6 – 3 victory demoralizing a command. From a historical viewpoint, the length of time that the Austrians were engaged with the Prussians was nearly identical and for that I am extremely pleased.

Despite the slight advantage of numbers, the Austrians were not in a position to commit to a long protracted battle. All Austrian columns on the frontier were ordered to gather at Prague to fight the decisive battle against Frederick.

Our replay of the campaign involved a series of rear guard actions, night marches and force marches which resulted in Bevern and Schwerin delaying their meeting by two days. In those two days, Königsegg saved much needed supplies to be sent back to Prague. 

donderdag 16 juli 2015

5. The Rising of 1745.

I have played Jacobite Scots against a British Army using an older version DBA-HX and enjoyed the game immensely. A replay of this game using 3.0  should have the Scots better utilizing their speed and mobility. In addition, the general’s characteristic or command quality option may bring this game closer to its historical setting.

For this replay, I selected the Battle of Prestonpans as model as numbers were nearly even and terrain was relatively unobstructed. The battle would follow a standard 12 element a side game but with one exception, the number of elements lost to determine a victor would be different for each side.

 Historically, the Government forces were recently formed, which meant not only the foot, but horse and guns were hampered by a lack of training.  For this battle, General Cope (cautious) would lose the battle after three elements lost while the Bonnie Prince (bold) would need four.

Opposing sides.

Government Force.
2 x Cavalry, 3 x Line Infantry, 6 x Conscript, 1 x Light Artillery.  

Scots Jacobite.
1 x Warrior Musket armed, 2 x Skirmisher Musket armed, 8 x Warrior claymore and targes (fast Wb), 2 x Warrior with Lochbhar (fast blade).

Both sides were able to deploy their forces taking advantage of the pasture lands between the Firth of Forth (board edge) and the marshland area on the opposite flank. The Government troops were deployed in line with the mounted troops taking a reserve position. The artillery piece was deployed on the right flank.

The Jacobite troops formed their clans into three groups, two abreast and one as a reserve, and a fourth group positioned facing the artillery were comprised of all clansmen armed with muskets.

The first three bounds proved slow going (low pip score) the Scots as the Government troops did not move far from their original position. Anticipating a charge toward the centre, the main line formed a concave line to bring all their muskets to bear on an assault.

Despite the disjointed assault the Jacobite troops inflicted a loss, but the Government troops retaliated on their bound to bring the score even.

Turn five saw the battle come to a boil with the Government troops holding their line and taking out two elements of clansmen. A good pip score for the Scots enabled all troops not committed to fight to do so. This included the skirmishers supporting ongoing melees or flanking enemy.

This was a tense moment as one more loss for the Scots would see the Prince back in France. Fortune smiled and two red coated elements died sending the army to a state of demoralization.

The actual battle lasted 10 minutes, but our re-play could not match that requiring 5 turns (1 ½ hours) to complete. Losses were heavier for the Jacobite army, but no doubt the ranks would be swelled when news spreads about the victory at Prestonpans.


donderdag 9 juli 2015

4. Battle of Höchstädt, 1703

4. Battle of Höchstädt, 1703.
This is the second re-fight of the Battle of Höchstädt, 1703, the first played 2 ½ years ago used DBA-HX 2.2. This re-fight will use the revised 3.0. For the original game fought in 2012 readers can follow the enclosed links:.

The numbers of elements per side would not change for this re-fight, however, adjustments were made to the composition of troops; the addition of conscript and skirmisher types. Because distances have changed, it was decided to play the game two boards; the first is the engagement between D’Usson and Count Styrum and the second the arrival of the French-Bavarian army east of the Nebel River.

Marshal Villars (CinC) 16 elements (BP = 4.0)
1 x Cuirassier, 4 x Cavalry, 6 x Line Infantry, 4 x  Conscript, 1 x Light Artillery

The Elector of Bavaria 12 elements (BP = 3.0)
2 x Cuirassier, 2 x Cavalry, 4 x Line Infantry, 3 x Conscript, 1 x Light Artillery

D’Usson at Höchstädt 8 elements (BP = 2.0)
2 x Cavalry, 3 x Line Infantry, 2 x Conscript, 1 x Light Artillery

Marshal Styrum (CinC) 12 elements (BP = 3.0)
2 x Cuirassier, 2 x Cavalry, 5 x Line Infantry, 2 x Conscript, 1 x Light Artillery

Prince Anhalt-Dessau 12 elements (BP = 3.0)
2 x Cuirassier, 2 x Cavalry, 5 x Line Infantry, 2 x Conscript, 1 x Light Artillery

D’Usson moved out of Höchstädt on the morning of the 20th. Forming his into line, he would await for Villars attack on the Imperial camp. The sound of the guns would be the signal to advance and catch the Austrians in the rear.

By 8.00 am, the sound of marching troops supplanted the expected cannonade and worse, the flags were of Imperial make. D’Usson quickly surmised Villars was delayed and that he would be facing the full brunt of Styrum’s force. With little opportunity to re-deploy his troops D’Usson held his ground.

Crossing the stream, the Austrians encountered a brisk fusillade from the French side. By 9.30, D’Usson could no longer stem the advance of the Imperial troops and decided to withdraw his demoralized command to Höchstädt hoping the sound of battle would hasten Villars to his aid.

Styrum undeterred by the small losses (1 Cv) would continue pursuit with the Prince v. Anhalt-Dessau in support. Past midday and deploying the Imperial troops before Höchstädt, Styrum receives alarming news that large French forces are approaching the camp from the east. Realizing D’Usson was a mere diversion, orders are given to hasten back to camp and prepare to fight a second battle.

Villars and the Elector.
Hearing of the French approach to the rear, the Prince v. Anhalt-Dessau was first to redeploy and form the left wing of the Allied army while Styrum would form on the open space between the Prussians and the Danube River. By 10.00 am, the second battle of the day was well under way.

By 10.00 am, it became clear that the French were driving the Allied army away from the Danube and toward the Goldberg mountains. The road to Nordlingen was already choked with baggage and detachments fleeing from the camp, so time would need to gain by making a slow and steady retreat.

The Elector of Bavaria, closest to the Nordlingen road was “asked” to press his attack and cut off the Allied army’s exit. Having crossed the Nebelbach, this he proceeded to do. Unfortunately, the Prussians had differing opinion about this and delivered an intense fusillade on the cornflower blue line.

An hour later (11.00 am), having committed his entire command, the Elector could make no impression on the Prussians. The decisive blow would have to be delivered by Villars himself.

Villars was doing precisely that and before noontime the coordination of cavalry attacks against the Imperial flank and a steady advance with volley fire was gradually weakening Styrum’s command. Before 12.00, the Austrians began to flee toward the road to Nordlingen. It would now be up to the Prussians to hold the door open long enough to save the army from disaster.

Through a concerted effort by Prussian cavalry the Bavarian Horse were beaten off leaving a sole Bavarian Cuirassier unit to hold the flank. The Bavarian foot seeing the Austrians in flight were frustrated in their effort to break the Prussians. Their hopes died when loud cheers could be heard on the right flank signalling the demise of the Bavarian Cuirassier unit. With all the Bavarian cavalry gone the Elector would be hard pressed to keep his troops in position.

Past noon, Villars could see that the Elector was in trouble and worse news came when he heard the Bavarian cavalry would be of no further use, it was decided to bring the pursuit of the Austrians to a halt and reform a new line facing the Prussians. Calculating that it would take another hour to collect his cavalry and reposition his artillery, Villars decided to hold the field and console his ally, the Elector with a noon day meal provided by the Austrians.