woensdag 1 februari 2017

Turenne’s operations of June (1674). {1}

Astride his favourite piebald Maréchal Turenne watched impatiently as the procession of more than 7,000 horse and foot filed past. Through the night and early hours of 14 June, engineers and their teams had assembled a pontoon bridge below Phillipsburg enabling the Maréchal to execute a manoeuvre of surprise to the Imperial Army stationed near Heidelberg. Hours before, the Marquis de Claremont had marched his column of horse and dragoons northward to screen the main column. {2} 

In the early afternoon hours of the 14th de Claremont encountered foraging parties north of Hochenheim and gave chase. Abandoning their carts, these fell back triggering an alarm sending couriers speeding back to the main encampment. Generals Lorraine and Caprara responded by sending a ‘division’ of cavalry to ascertain the situation.

Skirmish near Ketsch, 1700 hours.
The ‘division’ of cavalry together with two battalions of foot deployed their formations between a wooded area and the wheat fields. The French deployment matched the Imperial line but was encumbered by wheat fields in the centre of their battle line. {3}

The action was brisk, as the French did not stir allowing the Imperial line to advance. Seeing the wheat fields had split the French line, the Imperial troops split into two formations; the left wing comprised of heavy horse and the right wing had the two battalions of foot supported by squadrons of horse and dragoons. The Imperial Cuirassiers struck first breaking the French dragoons, but in their impetuousness cost them dearly as the French counter attacked front and flank sealing the fate of half the mounted force.

The right wing, keeping pace with the battalions of foot were no closer to engaging the French left as their squadrons were retreating, but not off the battlefield but to reinforce their right flank. This shift of strength helps destroy the Imperial left wing and with no recourse their troops broke off the action. {4} 

{1} The rules used for this and subsequent games are the DBA-HX3 variant and are available at the DBA Fanaticus Wiki .
{2} The map is of the area of operations for the 14th to the 20th of June.
{3} Each side deployed the smallest allowable command size for the big battle game (six elements).   
{4} Both generals were actively engaged in this fight. During the rout both cuirassier units the general for the Imperial side was captured. 

Turenne’s plan unfolds, 15 June.

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