donderdag 2 februari 2017

18th C. Sojourn – concluding the summer campaign.

Concluding the Imperial command had been taken by surprise Turenne moved his main column on the 15th to Sint Leon-Rot. An advance guard screened any further reprisal emitting from the north and during the war council that evening Turenne presented in detail the purpose of this expedition. It was known that General Bournonville was assembling a force in Franconia to join Generals Lorraine and Caprara. To meet their combined strength in open battle would not be possible, but one could delay their junction and this was how it would be done.

Caught by surprise, both Lorraine and Caprara were debating how best to deal with Turenne’s presence on the right bank. Realizing Turenne may be bold enough to seize Sinsheim and prevent a juncture with General Bourneville they called in their detachments, gathered supplies and prepared to march toward Sinsheim. Finally after delays, lost couriers and sufficient supplies, the Imperial column set off to Neckargemund reaching it on the 16th. From their encampment that evening, one could not notice the horizon to the south was unusually brighter. 

Situation on 16 June, 1674.

Sinsheim had fallen during the early morning hours of the 16th. The burgher guard seeing numbers of carts loaded with wounded including an Imperial general opened the gates when they heard their escorts shouting the ‘open the gates, the French are near’. Once inside, the dead and wounded came to life disarming the burgher guard and throughout the day thousands of French troops were destroying all war material setting it ablaze. Many of the town’s inhabitants had fled to nearby hills and watched the conflagration spread.

French scouts reported no Imperial presence approached from the either north or east, but Turenne felt Lorraine and Caprara would be arriving soon. So during the early hours of the 17th, Turenne marched his column back toward Sint Leon-Rot. Scouts now confirmed his suspicions when he learned of Imperial troops approaching from Neckargemund. 

Situation on 17 June, 1674.

Retracing his steps back to the Rhine, Turenne set fields and farm areas to the torch to cover their retreat and on the 20th, six days after starting the minor campaign, Turenne was back in Alsatia with negligible loss to his command.

The damage done to the Imperial side, well that is another story. 

Situation on 20 June, 1674.

Historical note.
The battle at Sinsheim did happen and it turned out to be a French victory. Charged with the defence of Alsatia with only 10,000 troops and aware that Bournonville together with Lorraine and Caprara would bring their forces to strength of 50,000, Turenne did the only thing he could do, he attacked. The setback did delay Imperial plans, but General Bournonville was devising a counter-stroke, the invasion of Alsatia.

In our simulation, the Imperial player knew what had to be done, but the cards did not fall in his favour. As a consequence he was immobilised on the crucial day of the 16th. The capture of the Imperial general during the skirmish near Ketsch supplied the French player with an excellent ruse. It worked and the French gained entrance into Sinsheim raze it.  

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