zaterdag 15 januari 2011

Hastenbeck?

The Battle

The Allied signal gun of central command thundered across the valley followed a minute later by acknowledging signal guns and the steady beat of regimental drums along the line. The Allies moved forward. The Hessians to the left of the line, were inconvenienced by the intervening woods and made use of the roadway to accelerate their advance. The French responded by moving their entire line forward at a slow steady pace.


By turn two, the British moved their Dragoons to extend the line while covering the advance of the main battle line. The British Household cavalry wanting nothing better than to thrash the French, remained under the close watch of General Conway. In the center, the Brunswick troops of the were quickly approaching the crest while further to the rear, the brigade of Dragoons repositioned themselves to cover the exposed left until the Hessians arrived. General Witginau’s Hessian command in the meantime was forced to respond to the fast approaching French. Infantry deployed from column to line while the cavalry at the rear, would try to seize the high ground to cover the infantry lines.


The French left wing stopped their advance to let their massed artillery do their duty, the infantry waved their hats and raised a cheer as the central command moved ponderously forward toward the heights. Further to the right, a flying column comprising of infantry and Dragoons were moving into the void between the Brunswick and Hessian columns. Though the smallest command under the French were tenaciously holding back the Hessian advance by deploying their skirmishers to meet the head of the column while moving forward their main line to threaten the enemy flank. By this time, the Bercheny Hussars had reached the heights first and formed line in expectation of the approaching Hessian cavalry. In the scrappy firefight below, both sides lost an element each.


Turn four, found both sides seriously engaged along the entire length of the battle line. The British brigade of Dragoons was putting pressure on the French cavalry to fight and by now their primary role to protect the British line was quickly forgotten. Seriously outnumbered, the small British battery of artillery had to reposition themselves further back and to their left, the Brunswick infantry positioned on the heights were reeling under fierce musketry of the French. To add to their discomfort, the massed French battery and newly deployed infantry were clearing the Brunswick line off the heights. The French left wing lost their first element and the central command lost two.

After nearly an hour and half since the start of the engagement, the Allies were feeling the pressure of the French assault on the center and thought the British were pushing the French back, the Hessian were stalled by fierce French resistance. It was clear that the French were gaining the upper hand as the Brunswick line slowly crumbled. The order was finally given to both wings to withdraw and have the cavalry cover the retreat.

Epilogue

Although Allied losses were in total, six elements, four of these fell from the central command. French losses were slight, only two elements lost. I purposely fielded three separate commands for the allies as indeed in the early stages of the German campaign the cohesion was not present. As the war progressed, the Allies produced a number of brilliant commanders such that the Allies would fight as a homogenous force. The French also had their brilliant moments, but all too often the King and his council would hold a tight rein on the activity in Germany.

Some further thoughts

Another item worth integrating from the WRG 1685-1845 rule set are the characteristics of generals; mainly the Bold, Cautious and Rash qualities. I can see these as possibly influencing the point of demoralization for the individual commands. I shall test this option out with a Rossbach style game.

Cheers,

2 opmerkingen:

mekelnborg zei

I remember I used to rate my Bosses at work as Rash, Bold and Cautious, until I saw Empire and started using all those. Many were at the low end.

This battle report inspired me to put up the Wilhelm Raabe novel Hastenbeck on TBK but so far I could only find it in German, and with US-friendly links, not the best combination.

Timurilank zei

My thought was to increase or decrease the point which a command becomes demoralised by one element. Having a bold or rash leader could prolong their determination to stand fast.

Since all our SYW battles would be components of a campaign, having a cautious general may not necessarily be deamed timidity, but care for the troops.