Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Fictitious Wars: the Battle of Tauberbischofsheim: Franconian preparations.

Franconian plans

When Wiesenstein arrived at Bad-Mergentheim on the 23rd June he was feted by Friedrich and many junior members of the staff as something of a conquering hero. This view was not shared by the more professionally competent members of Friedrich’s command, notably generals von Scheer and Lundquist. The failure of Wiesenstein, in their book, was not to press on to Wertheim and cut Hessenstein’s lines of communication and compel him to withdraw further, and allow the siege at Wurzburg to be raised without any actual fighting. Instead, by moving south, he had made a battle almost certain.

The strategic opportunity missed by Wiesenstein

Whilst Scheer and Lundquist shared their misgivings another figure was equally unhappy with the turn of events. General von Hausen was the commander of the army advance guard and the arrival of another cavalry commander, with a victory under his belt, put his nose out of joint. He was also aware that there had been grumblings about his ability to command and the last thing he needed was a potential rival.

For Prinz Friedrich, though, all was clear. His command was unified. Now all he had to do was brush aside the remainder of Hessenstein’s forces and Wurzburg would be relieved. But for four days he rested and recuperated his army, only waddling out of Bad Mergentheim on the 27th. He had only marched a day when scouts brought news of Hessenstein’s position. Riding ahead with a small escort he made a considerable field ride before returning to the area where his army was making camp. Discussions with his senior officers, including some local peasants Lundquist had brought along, soon hammered out a plan of action.

The dispositions on the morning of the 28th June

The Left

The left wing was to be commanded by Generalleutnant von Wiesenstein. Friedrich emphasised that, as he would be responsible for capturing the road along the river this sector was critical. His sector would also encompass the small walled farm, and in order to batter this a little he was assigned most of the army’s heavy guns.

The Bombardier Corps

Links Kolonne

Generalleutnant von Wiesenstein

Poor
Bold
Brutal

Kolonne Avantgarde: Obristleutnant Businelli

Efficient
Bold
Ruffian

1er Farinelli Freicorps 748
2er Farinelli Freicorps 711

1er Treffen: Generalfeldwachtmeister Prinz Furstemberg

Poor
Cautious
Disciplined

1/IR19 ‘Graf Hohenlohe’ 576
2/IR19 ‘Graf Hohenlohe’ 684
1/IR8 ‘Erzbischoff von Wurzburg’ 750
2/IR8 ‘Erzbischoff von Wurzburg’ 750

2er Treffen: Obrist Sir Alan Hamilton

Efficient
Bold
Disciplined

1/IR15 ‘Hamilton’ 803
2/IR15 ‘Hamilton’ 806
1/IR26 ‘Augsburg’ Fusiliere 633

Kolonne Artillerie: Major Kirchwarth

1er Stellungs Batterie 4x6lb 2xHowitzer
1er Schwere Stellungs Batterie 4x12lb 2xHowitzer

Bombardier-Corps: Major Feinnes

1er Compagnie 4x18lb, 4x heavy Howitzer
2er Compagnie 4x18lb, 4x heavy Howitzer

The Centre

As Friedrich saw on his field ride the front of Hessenstein’s position was studded with redoubts. To break through these was clearly a job for the Royal Guard and an experienced commander. As such he gave the task to the capable and seasoned Generalleutnant von Lundquist.

The first battalion Garde Muskietere

Zentrum Kolonne: Generalleutnant von Lundquist

Efficient
Aggressive
Disciplined

1er Treffen: Generalfeldwachtmeister Wilhelmini

Poor
Aggressive
Disciplined

1er Garde Grenadiere 824
2er Garde Grenadiere 792
1er Garde Musketiere 819
2er Garde Musketiere 798

2er Treffen: Generalfeldwachtmeister Moritz von Appengau

Poor
Daring
Disciplined

1er Garde Fusiliere 824
2er Garde Fusiliere 824
‘Von Frankenfeldt’ Grenadiere 420
‘Von Reisinger’ Grenadiere 846

Zentrum Kolonne Artillerie: Major Volkmann

Batterie zu Fuss 5x6lb

The Right

IR23 'Deutsche Ordern' Fusiliere

The right hand column was to be commanded by the experienced, if shaky, General der Infantrei Graf von und zu Scheer. A close confidant of Konig Johann, von Scheer had been sent by the King to act as a guide to Friedrich. His feelings so far were mixed. Friedrich ordered Scheer to break through the allied left once von Hausen (in command of the cavalry) had cleared the opposing horse out of the way. In conjunction with Prinz Moritz’ Avantgarde he was then to turn the allied left and roll up the line.

Rechts Kolonne: General der Infantrei Graf von und zu Scheer

Efficient
Bold
Disciplined

1er Treffen: Generalfeldwachtmeister Graf von Furstenberg-Heiligenberg

Poor
Aggressive
Brutal

1/IR22 ‘Liebfusiliere’ 685
1/IR23 ‘Deutsche-Ordern’ Fusiliere 833
1/IR25 ‘von Eichstaett’ Fusiliere 773

2er Treffen: Generalfeldwachtmeister Ritter von Urach

Efficient
Aggressive
Disciplined

1/IR16 ‘Hohenzollern-Hechiggen’ 845
2/IR16 ‘Hohenzollern-Hechiggen’ 792
1/IR12 ‘von Baden-Durlach’ 688
2/IR12 ‘von Baden-Durlach’ 714

Rechts Kolonne Artillerie: Major von Rechberg

2er Stellungs Batterie: 4x6lb, 2xHowitzer
2er Schwere Stellungs Batterie 4x12lb, 2xHowitzer


The Cavalry

In order to clear the enemy horse out of the way so it would not impede Scheer’s advance the Graf von Hausen was ordered to use his cavalry superiority to defeat his opponents quickly and allow Scheer to develop his attack.

The Garde Karabinier

Cavallrie Wing: Generalleutnant Graf von Hausen

Incompetent
Bold
Brutal

Household Brigade: Generalfeldwachtmeister Graf Erffa-Wernburg

Efficient
Aggressive
Brutal

KR1 ‘Garde du Corps’ 558
KR2 ‘Garde Karabinier’ 460

1er Kurassiere Brigade: Generalfeldwachtmeister Graf von Helldorf-Bedra

Efficient
Bold
Disciplined

KR8 ‘Erzbischoff von Wurzburg’ 743
KR13 ‘Ritter von Limpurg’ 816

1er Dragoner Brigade: Generalfeldwachtmeister Ritter von Salmannsweiler

Efficient
Aggressive
Disciplined

DR4 ‘Prinz von Onoldsbach’ 577
DR6 ‘Graf von Henneberg-Schieusingen’ 566

Mixed Brigade: Generalfeldwachtmeister von Zahringen

Efficient
Bold
Brutal

KR14 ‘Deutsche-Ordern’ 834
DR12 ‘Konigin Maria’ 857

The Advance Guard

Given the constrained nature of the battlefield it was clear that the majority of the army’s light troops were going to go unused. But Lundquist had suggested a flanking march via a series of pathways through the woods to the right. Friedrich acceded to this idea suggesting it be commanded by his younger brother, Prinz Moritz. For Friedrich it got his younger brother out of his hair, gave him an independent command, and did not risk him taking away any of Friedrich’s glory.

Armee Avantgarde: Generalfeldwachtmeister Prinz Moritz

Efficient
Daring
Disciplined

Kliuchevski Legion: Prince Aleksandr Kliuchevski

Efficient
Aggressive
Brutal

1/Kliuchevski Legion 645
2/Kliuchevski Legion 645
3/Kliuchevski Legion 645
Kliuchevski Legion Hussars 225

Avantgarde Brigade: Obristleutnant von Giessenburg

Efficient
Aggressive
Ruffian

Farinelli Freicorps Cavalry 281
Von Giessenburg Land-und-Feld Jager 669
‘von Bach’ Grenadiere zu Pferde 694

Husaren Brigade: Obrist Fusco di Matalony

Highly Efficient
Bold
Brutal

HR10 ‘Garde Husaren’ 649
HR16 ‘Elkvity’ 554
HR18 ‘von Holk’ 475

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Fictitious Wars: The Battle of Tauberbischofsheim: Allied preparations

Fall out from Hardheim

When Gehlan reported to Hessenstein at Tauberbischofsheim on the 17th he was very much a broken man. Hessenstein had been compelled to order a withdrawal to Tauberbischofsheim in order to prevent a river crossing there by the victorious Franconians who were more than capable of sweeping Gehlan’s demoralised survivors away. He also sent off to Nassau, reporting the defeat, and to his cousin, the Furst von Hesse-Cassel requesting assistance.

Over the next week the situation for Hessenstein seemed to improve. In the first place it became obvious that the Franconian force that had defeated Gehlan at Hardheim was not heading for Tauberbischofsheim but was moving to join the Franconian army at Bad Mergentheim, so the danger of being outflanked receded. Secondly his cousin, Cassel, had marched out of the siege lines with six battalions of infantry and six squadrons of Dragoons: in all his entire command. He had tried to persuade the other two Hessenstein Princes there, Haynau and Hersfeld, to join him but failed to do so against Nassau’s entreaties to stay. Of particular importance was the decision by Hersfeld who commanded the cavalry at Wurzburg; the 12 squadrons of heavy cavalry would be sorely missed.

Maurice of Nassau was furious. Hessenstein had gone behind his back, so it appeared to Maurice, and had undermined his authority. But, in order to keep an eye on things he ordered his own regiment to join Cassel in the march to Tauberbischofsheim. Maurice was already beside himself over Hardheim. He could not shake off the suspicion that Hessenstein had used Bamberg, Nassau and Luneberg troops in order to preserve his own men, and his character judgement was also suspect as he had chosen such an obvious incompetent to lead the operation.

Meanwhile, at Aschaffenburg, more Luneberg troops had arrived under Generalleutnant Hedemann. He, too, was dismayed by the Hardheim result; the fact that it was led by a Luneberger and the only colour lost was from the Midachten regiment did not improve his mood. He was aware that his elderly Duke did not want to fully commit himself as yet, but he had also been told that he must not let the cause of the Northern League collapse. To Hedemann it was obvious that his Duke wanted to take some of the shine off Hessenstein and be seen as a saviour. Consequently he retained the bulk of his forces at Aschaffenburg, sending only three grenadier battalions and two horse grenadier squadrons to reinforce Hessenstein under Generalmajor Estorff, with instructions that the Luneberg force now be commanded by Generalmajor von Zedlitz-Truchsler until his arrival.

Choice of battlefield



So, by the 24th of June Hessenstein’s force had swollen to 19,000. He decided, after consultation with his senior staff, to march a little way south to a spot they had retreated through. Here, bounded on one side by the Tauber and the other covered by a wood, his cavalry inferiority would not matter so much and he could rely more on his good quality infantry. The battlefield would be covered by fieldworks, and on the 26th the army spent much of its time digging and preparing.



The Right

This was to be commanded by Duke Ernst of Bamberg and be composed of his own Bamberg troops, the Nassau troops and two 3 pfund guns of the Lunebergers. He would defend Kniedl’s farm and an earthwork stretching from there to the river Tauber.

Duke Ernst of Bamberg

Division: Ernst, Furst von Bamberg
Efficient

Aggressive

Disciplined

Brigade: GM von Sack
Poor

Bold

Disciplined


Bamberg Dragoons (dismounted): 292
1/Bamberg Regiment: 316
2/Bamberg Regiment: 340

Brigade: GM Graf von Dernbach
Poor
Cautious

Disciplined


1/Prinz Moritz Regiment: 580
2/Prinz Moritz Regiment: 698
Nassau Grenadiere: 271

The Earthwork

The Centre

The centre was to be held by the Graf von Cassel with the two regiments he had brought from Wurzburg plus the 1er Grenadiere. All battalions had a 3 pfund gun plus there were a string of redoubts across the front of the line (that stretched across into the left flank too). Cassel was a professional officer, but he was also aware that, if Hessenstein died or was somehow disgraced, he was well placed to grab the crown for himself.



Division: Graf von Cassel
Highly Efficient

Aggressive

Disciplined


Brigade: GM von Solms
Poor

Bold

Disciplined


1/Markgraf Regiment: 827
2/Markgraf Regiment: 773
3/Markgraf Regiment: 872
1er Grenadiere: 737

Brigade: GM von Schillingfurst
Poor

Cautious

Disciplined


1/Graf von Cassel Regiment: 795
2/Graf von Cassel Regiment: 863
3/Graf von Cassel Regiment: 803

The Left

The left wing was to be commanded by Generalmajor von Zedlitz-Truchsler and be composed of the Luneberg contingent. Gehlan, now no longer head of the force, was reduced to commanding the first line.



Left Wing: GM von Zedlitz-Truchsler
Efficient

Cautious

Disciplined


Brigade: GM von Gehlan
Poor

Aggressive

Disciplined


1/Midachten Regiment: 627
2/Midachten Regiment: 540
Grenadiers/Midachten Regiment: 407

Brigade: GM Estorff
Brilliant

Aggressive

Disciplined


Grenadiers/von Bothmer Regiment: 481
Grenadiers/von Klinkowstrom Regiment: 472
Grenadiers/de Mailleville Regiment: 455

The Cavalry

In charge of the army’s slender battlefield cavalry was the Hessenstein general, Generalmajor von Falcke.

Luneberg's 'Graf von Platen-Hallermund' Dragoons

Cavalry: GM von Falcke
Poor

Daring

Disciplined


Graf von Nassau Dragoner: 677
Margravine von Hessenstein Dragoner: 835
Graf von Platen-Hallermund Dragoner: 698

The Armee Avantgarde

On the extreme left of the allied line, with the Jager in the woods, was the avant-garde under Obrist von Knaak.

Avantgarde: Obrist von Knaak
Efficient

Aggressive

Disciplined


Nassau Husarencorps: 530
Bamberg Husaren: 508
Hessenstein Husarencorps: 856
Hessenstein Jagercorps: 899

Army Reserve

To plug holes that may appear, or undertake an attack if things went well, Hessenstein husbanded his guard infantry plus the Luneberg Horse Grenadiers under the colonel commanding his Garde-Grenadiere.

Reserve: Obrist Prinz von Solm-Braunfels
Poor

Aggressive

Disciplined

Hessenstein Garde zu Fuss: 866
1er Hessenstein Garde-Grenadiere: 842
2er Hessenstein Garde-Grenadiere: 827
Luneberg Grenadiere zu Pferde: 238

Redoubts

In command of all the redoubts across the front of the allied line was Obrist-Artillerie von Fleischacker, from the Hessenstein artillery.



Armee-Artillerie: Oberst von Fleischacker
Efficient

Bold

Disciplined


Nassau Redoubt: 2x3pfd
Luneberg Redoubt: 2x3pfd
1er Hessenstein Redoubt: 4x3pfd
2er Hessenstein Redoubt: 4x3pfd
3er Hessenstein Redoubt: 2x9pfd, 2xhaubitze
4er Hessenstein Redoubt: 2x9pfd
5er Hessenstein Redoubt: 2x12pfd, 2xhaubitze

Most battalions had a 3pfd as a battalion gun; exceptions were the Nassau Grenadiere, the dismounted Dragoons and the Jager.

K

Fictitious Wars: The Battle of Hardheim

Deployments

Generalmajor von Gehlan sighted the village of Hardheim just after 9am on the 15th June. Riding ahead of his little column to his left he saw a series of gentle slopes which led up to a dense looking wood. On the area to the right of that wood on some high ground stood an enemy force of some two battalions of infantry and some field guns. Ahead of him ran the road to Hardheim running along the base of the high ground. His telescope revealed that in front of the village itself stood yet another battery of cannon. To his right was the Teufelwald forest which seemed impassable to all but the most determined. In short the visible Franconian forces accorded more-or-less with what the Prince of Hessenstein had told him.

In fact Gehlan had missed much on his personal reconnaissance. A rather old-fashioned and somewhat blimp-esque infantry officer he considered the Hussars under his command little more than criminals and vermin and more interested in plunder than accurate intelligence. This was a shame, because Gehlan’s rigid mindset meant that his information was decidedly misleading and he had missed much on his personal inspection of the ground. Told off by Hessenstein to attack the column of Generalfeldwachtmeister Erffa-Wernburg this Franconian force had actually been heavily reinforced by a second column under Generalleutnant von Wiesenstein.

Gehlan had missed much of Wiesenstein’s now combined force. The wooded area ahead and to the left contained the first battalion of the Freicorps of the Conti de Farinell, whilst the infantry he could see were the three battalions of GfwM Wilhelmini. Behind them and masked by the slope lay GfwM von Erffa-Wernburg’s twelve squadrons if heavy cavalry. In Hardheim itself was the Horse and foot Grenadier reserve under Colonel Sir Alan Hamilton, and the battery was that of the Bombardier-Corps with 18pfund kanonen and 10pfund haubitzen. In the Teufelwald itself was the second battalion of Farinelli’s freicorps but, most crucially, the woods also masked the four battalions of infantry under Oberst Winterfeldt and the cavalry of Farinelli’s freicorps under Major the Conti Federico di Ceccopieri.

Orders of Battle

Allied Column: Generalmajor Ernst von Gehlan

Cavalry: Obrist von Knaak

Bamberg Dragoner: 557
Bamberg Husaren: 598
Nassau Husaren: 588

Infantry: Generalmajor Sack

1/Midachten Regiment: 786 plus 3pfd
2/Midachten Regiment: 830 plus 3pfd
1/Bamberg Regiment: 727 plus 3pfd
2/Bamberg Regiment: 751 plus 3pfd
Nassau Grenadiere: 791
Bamberg Artillerie: 6x3pfd

Franconian corps: Generalleutnant Wiesenstein

Light Troops: Obrist Conti di Farinelli

1/Farinelli Freicorps: 816
2/Farinelli Freicorps: 711
Farinelli Cavalry: 281

Column: GfwM Wilhelmini

1/IR19 ‘Hohenlohe’: 727 plus 6pfd
2/IR19 ‘Hohenlohe’: 832 plus 6pfd
1/IR22 ‘Liebfusiliere’: 831
Batterie ‘Pflacher’: 2x6pfd, 2x10pfd haubitze

Column: Obrist Graf von Winterfeldt

1/IR8 ‘Erzbischoff von Wurzburg’: 753 plus 6pfd
2/IR18 ‘Erzbischoff von Wurzburg’: 609 plus 6pfd
1/IR15 ‘Hamilton’: 803 plus 6pfd
2/IR15 ‘Hamilton’: 806 plus 6pfd

Cavalry: GfwM Graf Erffa-Wernburg

KR8 ‘Erzbischoff von Wurzburg’: 783
DR12 ‘Konigin Maria’: 929

Reserve: Obrist Sir Alan Hamilton

‘Von Reisinger’ Grenadiere: 593
‘Von Bach’ Grenadiere zu Pferde
Batterie ‘Giffing’: 4x18pfd, 2x10pfd haubitze


The Battle




To Gehlan, though, what he saw accorded with his intelligence from Hessenstein so he began his attack. Obrist Knaak was to take his twelve squadrons onto the heights to the left whilst Generalmajor Sack was to assault Wilhelmini’s position with his infantry and take Hardheim.

Knaak was the first recipient of a nasty shock as the 18pfund battery before Hardheim began opening up down the road. This caused the Nassau Hussars to ascend the heights quickly where they spotted the first Farinelli battalion at the edge of the woods. Colonel Roehl, unwilling to let the opportunity slip, threw his unit at the Neapolitan troops. The remainder of Knaaks brigade was slower off the mark, the heaviest blows falling among the Bamberg Dragoons as they struggled up the slope with their heavier horses. Dead and dying men and horses soon littered the ground around him but Knaak seemed oblivious.

Meanwhile Roehl and the Nassau Husarencorps had scored a notable victory, the Neapolitans refused to face them and ran pell-mell through the open woods with whooping and cheering hussars in pursuit. Farinelli himself desperately tried to rally them but was shot in the heel while doing so, although at the time felt little. Erffa-Wernburg reacted sharply to the situation moving the Konigin Dragoons to cover the Neapolitan’s retreat on the other side. Plunging through the wood the Nassau troopers lost order and speed and seeing the dark mass of enemy cavalry on the other side grudgingly called off their chase and retired.

Generalmajor Sack, meanwhile, was bringing up his infantry. The assault on Wilhelmini was to be undertaken by the two battalions of the Bamberg Regiment with the converged companies of Nassau Grenadiers in support, accompanied by the small Bamberg 3pfund battery. The Lunebergers of the Midachten Regiment followed along up the road to take Hardheim itself. However, as the second battalion of Midachten trailed up the road it was surprised by the sudden appearance of the second Farinelli battalion from the Teufelwald led by the dynamic Obristleutnant Businelli. His men, though, showed less flair than their commander and faltered, opening up a desultory skirmish fire on the Lunebergers. As Businelli tried to get his men into some sort of formal line (something the Neapolitans were wholly un-used to) the Lunebergers simply faced right and fired a crushing volley into the disordered Neapolitans. This was too much for Businelli’s men who fled into the woods and defied his efforts to rally them.

The Franconian 18pfund battery had by now shifted its attention to the first battalion of Midachten. Some 500 yards short of the village Colonel von Midachten called a halt: he could now see the tops of the banners of Winterfeldts force, and wanted his second battalion up to join him before continuing his advance.

Up on the ridge, meanwhile, the Nassau Grenadiere and the second battalion of the Bamberg Regiment had begun trading volleys with IR19 ‘Graf von Hohenlohe’. Casualties on both sides were heavy, but the Franconian 6pfund battery with Wilhelmini was tipping the balance. After thirty minutes or so of musketry the allied 1er Treffen began to roll back. At this point the Konigin Dragoons re-entered the battle. Erffa-Wernburg had been skirting south of the wood with his horsemen and they launched a swift charge against the steadily retiring Nassau Husarencorps who broke before contact, routing through the Bamberg gunners and taking them along. Knaak threw in the Bamberg Hussars against the open flank of the Konigin Dragoons, but this only managed to check the Franconian advance.

Sack was now deprived of his few guns and the first Bamberg battalion had been redeployed to hold off the Franconian Grenadiers sent up from Hardheim by Hamilton to assist Wilhelmini. With the allied line crumbling Wilhelmini ordered IR22 ‘Liebfusiliere’ to pass through the Hohenlohe’s and push the enemy further back. Seeing this, and now aware of Winterfeldt’s presence, von Gehlan ordered a retreat at 1.30. Knaak was instructed to hold off the Franconians whilst Sack got his infantry away. The second battalion of the Midachten regiment was to act as rearguard. The Nassau and Bamberg troops pulled behind it but the exposed first battalion had to dive into the Teufelwald as the best way of avoiding pursuit. Wiesenstein, who had not issued an order all day, retired to the Grun Adler inn to write his victory despatches and it was left to individual Franconian commanders to pursue as they saw fit. The Liebfusiliere were badly shot up in the process by yet another excellent volley from the second battalion of Midachten with the unit commander, Obristleutnant Demuth, taking a musket ball in the throat. This really left only the Franconian Grenadiers as the pursuing infantry.

Meanwhile Knaak was sorely pressed, the Bamberg Dragoons had managed to stop the Bishop of Wurzburg’s Kurassiere (KR8) from riding down the retreating infantry but lost 150 men and horses in doing so. But at 2.30 the Konigin Dragoons, having retired and reformed, broke through the Bamberg Hussars and overran the gallant second Midachten battalion, taking its colour and driving it from the field.

Aftermath

Allied losses were severe. With deserters and wounded 2,161 men did not answer the rolls when the force reached Tauberbischofsheim. Six 3-pfund kanonen and the colour of the second Midachten were also left on the field. The Nassau Grenadiere and all the Bamberg units were either at or under 50% of their original strength. Gehlan pulled back to Tauberbischofsheim. Not knowing what the Franconians would do Hessenstein withdrew there too, fearing a cut to his communications.

Allied post-battle returns

Bamberg Dragoner: 292
Bamberg Husaren: 508
Nassau Husaren: 530
1/Midachten: 627
2/Midachten: 540
1/Bamberg: 316
2/Bamberg: 340
Nassau Grenadiers: 271

2xLuneberg 3pfd, 2xBamberg 3pfd

Losses: 2,161 from an original 5,621 (including 58 prisoners) or 38.5%

Colour of 2/Midachten and 6 3-pfund guns.

Franconian post-battle returns

1/Farinelli: 748
2/Farinelli: 711
Farinelli Cavalry: 281
1/IR19 ‘Hohenlohe’: 576
2/IR19 ‘Hohenlohe’: 684
1/IR22 ‘Liebfusiliere’: 685
1/IR8 ‘Wurzburg’: 750
2/IR8 ‘Wurzburg’: 609
1/IR15 ‘Hamilton’: 803
2/IR15 ‘Hamilton’: 806
Grenadier Companies: 573
Horse Grenadiers: 155
9th Feldkompagnie: 8x6pfund kanonen
2nd Bombardierkompagnie: 4x18pfund kanonen, 4x10pfund haubutze

Losses: 636 from an original 9,784 or 6.5%

Obrist Farinelli, Obrist Krehlau (IR19), Obristleutnant Demuth (IR22) all KIA

Hessenstein need not have worried. Wiesenstein, although victorious here, was not the sharpest soldier around. Throughout the entire battle he had not issued a single order and had simply sat on his horse at Hardheim occasionally looking through his spyglass. The battle was effectively fought by Wilhelmini, Erffa-Wernburg and Hamilton. After his victory Weisenstein continued his march to join Prinz Friedrich, the two joining hands at Bad Mergentheim on the 23rd. Here he was congratulated for his victory, but many grumbled that, by his oversight, he had condemned them to a gruelling battle in the very near future. But Count Farinelli, having not noticed his boot slowly filling with blood, passed out and later died before victory was assured. Oberst Krehlau, fatally wounded, was carried into the Grun Adler, past an unnoticing Wiesenstein, where he died of his wounds wilst von Demuth dies instantly. Leading from the front was costing Franconia dear…

K

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Fictitious Wars: Background to the battle of Hardheim 15th June 1750

The campaign in the North

The Northern League’s leaders had met early in the year to outline their plans. At a council of war on 5th April Furst Maurice of Nassau, Furst Ernst von Bamberg, Furst Friedrich von Hessenstein and General von Gehlan of Luneberg. The debate centred around two possible courses of action. The first was an advance from Darmstadt down the Rhine against the Franconian fortress of Hockenheim. This was proposed by Nassau on the grounds it would put them in close proximity to Alsatia. It was opposed by Hessenstein as it would mean crossing the territory of the Prince Archbishop of Mainz, who may oppose them with force and he did not wish to add another enemy quite yet. Hessenstein proposed a march directly south from Darmstadt via Michelstadt towards Heilbronn. This was opposed by Nassau because it would men taking the army through the Odenwald, which he did not consider sustainable.

The course of action eventually adopted was the third, proposed by Bamberg and supported by Gehlan. This proposed a march from Aschaffenburg via Markthiedenfeld to besiege Wurzburg. The fall of this city would effectively isolate his old Duchy of Bamberg. Hessenstein approved positively, Nassau only half-heartedly.

Sketch map of the campaign area

Moves

The campaign got under way in May; by the 3rd the Advance Guard of the army under Hessenstein crosses the Franconian border at Wertheim. The main body under Maurice is some way behind and reaches Markgrafthiedenfeld on the 19th. By the 29th May Maurice appears before the walls of Wurzburg and begins his siege operations. To Hessenstein falls the job of covering the siege and he moves to Bad Mergentheim. Here he learns of enemy forces in some strength some ten miles to the south at Dorzbach.

This is the Advance Guard of the Army of the Kralch, commanded by Prinz Friedrich von Franconia, Johann’s third son. The Advance Guard is under the Graf von Hausen who arrived in Dorzbach on the 18th May. Prinz Friedrich, taking some time to gather his army, had originally decided to march on Wurzburg from the south and so moved his main body to Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber whilst Hausen pinned Hessenstein. Realising the strength of Hessenstein’s force and the vulnerability of the reinforcements under Glt Wiesenstein and GfwM Erffa-Wernburg coming up from Stuttgart, he shifted his force to Bad-Mergentheim, hoping to catch Hessenstein in a vice between his forces and Hausen’s.

The prelude to Hardheim

Once Johann had devined the strategy of the Northern League he ordered the reserve corps of Wiesenstein and Erffa-Wernburg to march out and join the army of Prinz Friedrich. Wiesenstein’s column halted at Brackenheim until the 13th May wracked by an outbreak of dysentery. Originally he marches out for Kupferzell, but only gets halfway when he is instead ordered to the Hessenstein frontier at Miltenberg, Johann intending to use Wiesenstein and Helldorf-Bedra to march on Aschaffenburg. At Bad-Kaiserzell he is struck by yet another bout of dystentery, and only arrives at Hardheim on the 11th June. Here he finds the column of Erffa-Wernburg sent up from Stuttgart.

The situation on the 15th June

Hessenstein, aware of Erffa-Wernburg's arrival from his patrols but ignorant of Wiesenstein’s existence, decides to daringly split his force. On the 5th June Generalmajor von Gehlan is commanded to take the Luneberg, Bamberg and Nassau troops and attack Erffa-Wernburg at Hardheim before he can link up with Hausen. Meanwhile Hessenstein would try to maintain a show of strength before Hausen.

Von Gehlan proved he was not up to the task. He takes ten days to reach Hardheim, and by the time he does Wiesenstein has been there for three full days. The scene is set for a battle.

K

Fictitious Wars: Armies and Countries

Keeping it even

In my fictitious campaign each country has a certain amount of economic points. The maximum a country has is six. This defines the size of army a country can maintain, the number of generals it may have and how much it can raise per year. I re-worked the whole scheme based on the Great Captains rule system.

Size of Armies

Each country can only sustain an army of a certain size. Basically this covers all units except Mercenary units hired from other countries and foreign units fighting as Auxiliaries. An army’s maximum size is calculated by taking that country’s EP and multiplying it by 15,000 points. The size of a country varies, but here are the EP values for countries currently involved in the campaign:

Franconia; 6EP
Alsatia; 4EP

Hessenstein; 2EP

Luneberg; 2EP

Nassau; 0.5EP


I had arranged and organised the army of Franconia well before this happened, so it is actually considerably under-pointed, but in 1750 the armies’ starting totals were as follows.

Franconia; 75,180 points out of 90,000
Alsatia; 55,702 points out of 60,000
Hessenstein; 28,878 points from a maximum of 30,000
Luneberg; 25,874 points from a maximum of 30,000
Nassau; 9,045 points from a maximum of 7,500*

*The oversize is because they are playing host to the exiled forces of Bamberg.

The points are not related to the ‘real’ army in the field. Each army pays for the ‘establishment’ strength, not the field strength, and a separate list is kept using Great Captains of this order of battle. Units are also paid for as their ‘end state’, so usually Trained or Part-trained.

Raising new troops

Countries may raise new troops up to the limit of the maximum given above, but they can only spend a certain number of points per year. This is 10% of their total allowed army strength, so Franconia, for example, can spend 6,000 points per year, whereas Hessenstein can spend a total of 2000. This allows them to raise either new units or reinforcements. Although units are paid for as if they were at their ‘end state’ they actually start as ‘Untrained’. It takes 3 months to go from ‘Untrained’ to ‘Part-Trained’ and another 3 months to go from ‘Part-Trained’ to ‘Trained’. To increase their training they must remain in their depots.

Strassburg Infantry. An average battalion will cost between 300 and 450 points

Existing units may absorb untrained or part trained personnel. A unit can absorb 20% of one training grade below their current one, or 10% of personnel two training grades below their current one without suffering. Absorbing more will mean that they will start being diluted.

The only troops that can be raised above the 10% are prisoners of war, of which the ruling Monarch’s oratorical and administrative skills determine how many of those taken enlist. These may go into foreign regiments, freicorps or units specifically raised from deserters. Captured cannon can be formed into batteries in a similar way.

Military Reforms

Based for 4 ranks: Lieb/IR7

Countries may undertake a military reform. These are options available on the Great Captains unit text-box: Cadenced Step, Platoon Fire and Iron Ramrods plus the ability to form 3-rank lines. These cost points as well and can only be introduced if the potential reformer is defeated in battle by a country with that reform or during peacetime by nominating an Inspector General to try to reform it. So far, in 1750, only Alsatia has a reform element, that of 3-rank line.

Based for 3 ranks: Regiment 'Moselle'

Battalion guns

Although there is an element to tick on the dialogue box for an infantry unit these are not used to sort out what the army is allowed. Instead artillery is bought by the company and moves as such, only spread around as battalion guns as battles are arranged, with the balance being formed into batteries.

Generals

The EP value also dictates Generals. For each EP or part of one EP a country is allowed a General capable of commanding an Army. For each half EP a country has it is allowed a ‘wing’ commander, for each quarter EP a country is allowed a divisional commander and for each eigth of an EP a brigade commander.

So, a big state like Franconia is allowed: Six army commanders, twelve wing commanders (can command two divisions), twenty four division commanders (can command up to four brigades), forty eight brigade commanders.

Whereas a small state like Nassau is allowed: One army commander, one wing commander, two divisional commanders and four brigade commanders.

Generals may command a formation one step above their competence but lose one level of Efficiency. Unit commanders can command brigades with a similar penalty.

Generals in Great Captains have 3 values that are randomly determined based on their character sheet.

Efficiency: Brilliant, Highly Efficient, Efficient, Poor or Incompetent.
Personality: Charismatic, Daring, Aggressive, Bold, Cautious or Stolid.
Character: Inspiring, Disciplined, Brutal, Mercenary or Ruffian.

King Johann von Franconia, able to command an Army level formation
Efficiency: Efficient
Personality: Bold.
Character: Disciplined.


Economic Points as aid

Countries may get EP from other countries as aid. This does not allow them to go over the 10% in terms of units raised, apart from hiring Mercenaries from other countries (Mercenaries continued to be units entire) or hire attract foreign troops from overseas. In the latter case they can only go into foreign regiments or freicorps, and are dependent on the oratorical and administrative values of the commanding officer in order to attract them.

Results

This has led to an unprepared Franconia under attack in 1750. By my reckoning they will not be at full war capacity until 1752, but the small victories they have won so far have yielded some captured guns and some prisoners, 99 of which have so far agreed to join the Franconian colours.

K

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Fictitious Wars: Uniforms of Franconia

Comment

Jean-Louis, responding to the last posting, lamented the lack of pics as regards uniforms. I accept that, apart from in the first Fictitious Wars posting, pics have been scarce. Partially this is due to me being less than happy with some of my earlier work, the painting being very rudimentary, and partly because when these battles were fought I did not take any pictures anyhow.

Many of you will also wonder why the bases are not textured. This is deliberate. Army reforms may take place that alter the basing, either increasing or decreasing battalion size or going to three rank line. The latter is clearly defined by looking at the number of figures per base. Franconia and many Northern League states are on 4 rank lines (represented by 3 bases of 4 figures) whilst Alsatia has already adopted 3 rank lines (4 bases of 3 figures). The cavalry, less prone to this sort of thing, is left un-textured as it would make the infantry look even less good!

Konig Johann I of Franconia and escort carrying the Royal Standard

Infantry Uniforms of Franconia

Franconia had a total of 27 numbered infantry regiments in 1750. There were: three Guard Regiments of two battalions, three Foreign Regiments of two battalions and two grenadier companies, six Fusilier regiments of one battalion, two Garrison Regiments of two battalions and two grenadier companies, the Lieb-Grenadier battalion and 12 infantry regiments of two battalions and two grenadier companies. Each battalion also had a depot company of 225 men.

Lieb battalion of IR10 'Prinz von Oettingen-Oettingen' showing Liebfahne

In looking at the infantry uniform for Franconia I decided to use the SYW Revell Austrian figures as the basic figure type although some units were to use the Prussians. For the colours I decided upon a slightly off-white coat with white cross-belting as standard for virtually all infantry regiments save the 3 Guard Regiments and the Lieb-Grenadiers. Tricorn lace would always be white, and gaiters black although, once again, the Guard would be in linen. Flags would be only one for the first battalion (due to a shortage of standard bearers rather than any other reason) and I painted one side with a national (lieb) colour and the other representing the ordinance colour.

(left to right) Ordinance colours of IRs 7, 14, 16, 10 and 11

The remainder I left somewhat haphazard. Some units have lapels, others do not. The most a unit will have faced is waistcoat, breeches, cuffs, lapels and turnbacks, but having the whole 9 yards is unusual and usually some of these are left in the coat colour.

Lieb battalion of IR7 'Kronprinz Michael'

The ‘weak’ white colour also has several other reasons. One it maintains that notion of ‘Catholic’ countries having white as the basic uniform colour. Secondly it allows the use of a whole variety of facing colours that do not look as strong on darker shades, such as blue allowing the use of colours such as Rose Pink, for example, without it looking lost.

Lieb battalion of IR14 'Herzog von Furstemberg-Heiligenberg'

There are also 3 foreign regiments: Van Pfeffer’s Dutch, the Royale Gaulois and Hamilton’s Scots. These are, again, uniformed slightly differently. Van Pfeffer’s unit (see below) is in grey faced orange with straw small clothes, Hamilton’s is in dark blue faced white whilst the Royale Gaulois have a dyed white coat faced blue, including small clothes.

Lieb battalion of IR9 'Van Pfeffer' (Dutch)

Lieb battalion of IR13 'Royale Gaulois' (French)

Grenadiers of all units wear a bearskin and have a match case, there are currently two companies per regiment.

(left to right) Grenadier companies of IR15 'Hamilton', IR12 'Waldgraf von Baden-Durlach' and IR16 'Herzog von Hohenzollern-Hechiggen'

There are also six single-battalion fusilier regiments. These figures are modified Austrian Grenadier figures and are not that different from the line regiments in performance. They were just a bit of added fun to the infantry orbat.

IR23 'Deutsche-Ordern' Fusiliere

Regular Cavalry

The regular cavalry is divided into Kurassier (5 regiments of 6 squadrons), Dragoons (six regiments of 5 or 7 squadrons) and Hussars (4 regimentsof 4 squadrons, except Lib-regiment which has six) and 3 regiments of Guard (4 squadrons each).

DR5 'Waldgraf von Baden-Durlach'

The Kurassier all have the off-white coat with various facings displayed as per the line infantry.

KR9 'Ritter von Ochsenhausen'

The Dragoons are more colourful. Of the six regiments, three have green coats, two have blue and one is in red. Each regiment has a squadron of Horse Grenadiers in bearskin (the old Airfix AWI officer figures coming in useful here).

DR7 'Ritter von salmannsweiler' plus Horse Grenadier squadron

The Hussars are all in Mirliton (Revell SYW Prussian Hussar figure) and are based in a looser looking order than the Dragoons or Kurassier.

HusR16 'Elkvity' (the sweepings of the prisons)

The Guard

The Royal Guard comprises 3 regiments of infantry (Garde-Grenadiere, Garde-Fusiliere and Garde-Musketiere) of 2 battalions each and 3 regiments of cavalry (Garde-du-Corps, Garde Karabinier and Garde Husaren).

KR2 'Garde Karabinier'

They, more so than the army in general, are uniformed according to the red/white national colours. White is dyed white, rather than off-white and the infantry sport white linen as opposed to black gaiters.

Lieb battalion IR2 'Garde Musketiere'

The Garde-Grenadiere (and Lieb-Grenadiers too) wear the older-style metal-fronted mitre rather than the bearskin worn by Grenadiers of line regiments.

'Almost guard' IR18 Lieb-Grenadiere in the older mitre
(that of the Garde-Grenadiere is brass)


Light troops and Freicorps

There are two units of regular Jager in the army. The Franconia Feldjagercorps is recruited from huntsmen and foresters on the Royal estates, whilst the Schwarzwald Jagercorps is recruited in the Black Forest. Both units wear a white laced tricorn, a green coat with unbleached woollen breeches and black gaiters and are rifle armed. The Franconia Feldjager have brick red cuffs and turnbacks with the Schwarzwald battalion in purple. There are two other Jager units, the Land-und-Feld Jager battalions of Von Giessenburg and Von Reubersberg. They are semi-regular units raised to defend the long and difficult Black Forest area but, in 1750, they were pressed into service with the field armies. Von Giessenburg has light brown facings, Von Reubersberg dark blue but otherwise they are uniformed as the regular battalions.

The Franconia Feldjager-corps

In 1750 there were 3 pre-war freicorps units. The oldest is Farinelli’s freicorps, raised from the Neapolitan escort to the then Princess Maria in 1717 and continually refreshed with additional Italian recruits. It has gradually lost its Neapolitan character but was still led by Count Rudolfo Farinelli who also doubled as Neapolitan Ambassador. The unit in 1750 was made up on two battalions of infantry in white faced yellow wearing a bearskin with a yellow flame, and two squadrons of dragoons/light cavalry uniformed similar to the infantry but in tricorn with yellow lace.

The second freicorps raised was that of Prince Aleksandr Kliuchevski, a major figure among the Ruthenian community that had been allowed to settle in Franconia after being driven from their homes by the Lithuanians. Raised for the Bamberg campaign in 1740 and kept alive by Prince Kliuchevski, the unit in 1750 comprised 3 battalions of infantry and two squadrons of hussars. Uniformed in claret with black leatherwork and tricorn with white lace, the hussars had claret dolman and breeched with black pelisse, white colpack and red bag.

Lieb battalion of Kliuchevski's Legion

The most recent Freicorps was raised in 1748 by Prinz Moritz, the Prince of Auersperg and Johann’s youngest son. Wearing a grey coat with claret cuffs, breeches and waistcoat it also wore a curious casquet of leather faced with a brass plate.

The Prinz von Auersperg's freicorps

Artillery

The Franconian artillery is divided into 3 branches, the Feld-Artillerie Regiment, the Bombardier-Corps and the Festungs-Artillerie. All are uniformed in a similar fashion of claret coat with white cuffs and turnbacks and waistcoat with a black tricorn with white lace. The Feld-Artillerie regiment has off-white breeches and black boots, the Bombarier-Corps claret breeches and black boots whilst the Festungs-Artillerie has claret breeches and un-dyed linen gaiters.

Feld Artillerie manning 3-pfund kanonen

The three units have different functions. The Feld-Artillerie were composed in 1750 of 14 companies mostly armed with 3 pfund kanonen whose main function was artillery support for the army in the field. The Festungs-Artillerie provided fortresss gunners around the kingdom (usually recruited from older members of the other two units) but also provided 3 siege companies, one of which was equipped with mortars. The Bombardier-Corps manned the 18 pfund guns and 10 pfund howitzers and sat uneasily between the two, and in 1750 comprised only two companies.

Bombardier Corps personnel with 18 pfund kanone and 10 pfund haubitze

Other units

There were also 12 battalions of militia in 1750, the militia wore a blue coat with facings dependent on region. There also existed 4 pontoon trains, 4 companies of sappers and one company of miners.

A militia battalion

Conclusion

I hope this little tour provides some guide to the forces and uniforms of Franconia, and I will cover Alsatia and some Northern League states in the near future.

J

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Fictitious Wars: the Battle of Hammbruck

The Battle of Hammbruck 10th June 1750

As the siege of Strassburg commenced Kronprinz Michael felt confident that the city would hold out for some months. He comforted himself in the knowledge that the Alsatians had commenced a major siege late in the season and, by normal reckoning, had only 3 months with which to prosecute it before the bad weather made it hard to continue. Michael was thus content to let the Duc de Bellegarde ruin his army before the walls of Strassburg and instead decided to concentrate on achieving moral superiority against the army of the Duc de Chambon, covering the siege.

Chambon, in the meantime, was a happy man. His army was strong and well provisioned and he had thrown out a series of advance posts to watch the roads south and east from Haguenau in case Michael made any aggressive moves. One such was at Hammbruck, near Bouxwiller, on the far left of the line of posts. Under the command of Baron Sterne it had six squadrons, five battalions and some guns, around 3,000 men. Sterne was not one of the Duc de Chambon’s old guard but rather an aggressive young officer from Devligne’s camp. Sterne had become convinced that his forward and vulnerable position was due to this and that Chambon expected him to fail. Consequently, Sterne did his best to ensure he did not, and threw out aggressive patrols to disrupt the Franconian line of communications leading back from Haguenau over the Rhine to Baden-Baden.

Baron Sterne



It is possibly the desire to remove this irritant that encouraged Michael to choose to attack Sterne. The trigger was intelligence (later proved false) of an Alsatian siege train moving from Metz to Strassburg that the position at Bouxwiller was covering. Consequently Michael tasked Generalleutnant Graf Hohenzollern-Hechiggen to lead a column from Haguenau to force Sterne to withdraw and raid the road along which the Alsatian guns were alleged to be travelling.

Hohenzollern proved barely equal to the task, independent command was new to him and he fussed and fretted. He finally lumbered out of Haguenau on the 9th June and marched to within 2 miles of the enemy, and then stopped to make camp and reconnoitre Sterne’s position. Sterne, on seeing this expected nightmare unfold, sent a courier to Chambon advising him that he was likely to be attacked the next day and requesting reinforcements. Chambon, on receipt of Sterne’s despatch was unsure if this was a real attack or a feint to draw him away from the main road to Strassburg from Nancy. He therefore sent a small force of two battalions and some grenadiers to Sterne’s aid under Colonel de Fontaubonne, who arrived on the field at 11pm on the 10th, not long after Hohenzollern-Hechiggen had commenced his attack.

Orders of Battle

Alsatian Garrison

O/C: Brigadier Baron Sterne

Main Line: Colonel Varennes
1/Regiment ‘Moselle’ Major Kupfermann 516
2/Regiment ‘Moselle’ Lt Col Crouziliere 553
3/Regiment ‘Moselle’ Major Grammont 536

Light Troops: Colonel de Maso
Hussards ‘Devligne’ Major Comte de Houstache 798
2/Corps Franc Devligne Major Tabberte 530

Artillery: Major Pasteau
Battery ‘Chauvel’ Captaine Chauvel 4x4livre
Battery ‘Schiaperelli’ Captaine Schiaperelli 4x8livre, 2 howitzers

Relief Column: Colonel de Fontaubonne
3/Regiment ‘Arc des Vosges’ Major Reubell 690
Grenadier Battalion ‘Tual’ Major Tual 363
Fusiliers-Frontieres Hohneck Major Desbordes 611

NB: Each line battalion had one 4 livre cannon

Franconian Column

O/C Glt Graf Hohenzollern-Hechiggen

Avantgarde: GfwM Ritter von Ochsenhausen
Baden-Durlach Dragoons 436
Strassburg Husarencorps 644
Franconia Feldjager 641

Brigade: Oberst Jan van Pfeffer
1/’Van Pfeffer’ Musketiere 894
2/’Van Pfeffer’ Musketiere 811
1/’Royale Gaulios’ Musketiere 875
2/’Royale Gaulois’ Musketiere 618

Brigade: Generalmajor von Harmann (Strassburg)
1/Strassburg Regiment 576
2/Strassburg Regiment 700
Strassburg Artillerie 4x3pfd

NB: Each line battalion had one 3 pfund kanonen

The Battle




Sterne had positioned his forces astride the road to Bouxwiller, now the modern D24, and had placed himself between two forests. On the left the Devligne Hussards and the Devligne Freicorps, in the centre his infantry and guns and his right was to be covered by the Fusiliers-Frontieres whilst the remainder of the relief column were to form a second line. Hohenzollen, a better battlefield commander than campaigner, formed his infantry in two lines in the centre with the Strassburg Hussars and Franconia Jager balancing off the Alsatian lights on the left. In reserve, and as a surprise, were the Baden-Durlach Dragoons.

Regiment Moselle volleying

As the light forces skirmished desultorily on the Franconian left, Hohenzollern led his infantry against the Alsatian position. It was not long before volleys began to be exchanged all along the line. The 1/Strassburg suffered very heavily as they took fire from Schiaperelli’s battery but everything seemed to be settling down to a gruelling linear slog. At 9am a weary Fontaubonne presented himself to Sterne and gave news of the approach of his troops. “

“Is that all?” Sterne asked incredulously when Fontaubonne told him how little Chambon had despatched.

“Mais oui!” Fontaubonne had replied.

At this moment Sterne realised that he was probably going to lose. Still, he ordered Fontaubonne to deploy the Fusiliers-Frontieres to cover the left of the Schiaperelli battery and bring the rest of his column into a second line. It was then that Hohenzollern unleashed his surprise.

Mergentheim’s Charge

Obrist Peter von Mergentheim was a professional officer. On receipt of his orders he knew what Hohenzollern intended: with the Alsatian line pinned by the Franconian infantry, Mergentheim was to take his regiment and attack the Alsatian left flank. Thus began one of the most memorable cavalry charges of the war. Sweeping in from the Franconian right-rear he launched himself against Schiaperelli’s battery. Although they managed to wheel some guns to face the new threat the Franconian horsemen crashed through them with ease, killing Schiaperelli and all but 8 of his gunners who took shelter under the cannon.

Plunging past the guns, their blood up, they hurled themselves into the flank of 3/Moselle Regiment, taking its colour and breaking it. The terrified Alsatians plunged down the road to Bouxwiller, breaking through the 3/Arc des Vosges and ‘Tual’ Grenadiers who were still on the road. The Baden-Durlach dragoons hacked into them too and they also turned tail, abandoning their colours and guns, and the whole disorganised mass fled back to Bouxwiller. For Sterne it was an unmitigated disaster. His right had been doing fairly well against the French mercenaries of the Royale Gaulois, the 1/Regiment Moselle even taking the colour of the second battalion, but the catastrophe on his left meant withdrawal. This quickly turned into a rout, as the Devligne Hussards and Corps Franc tried to cover the retreat of the other two Moselle battalions and Chauvel’s guns. Only the threat of a charge by the Strassburg Hussars forced the Devligne troopers to turn tail taking the rest of the infantry with them followed by the cries and cheers of the Stassburg men.

Aftermath

Hohenzollern had managed to stumble to victory, mainly because Chambon’s caution, and dislike for Sterne, had led him to send only piecemeal reinforcements. A bolder man may have sent more, and Hohenzollern’s decision to halt would then have cost him dear.

Instead he had a victory. Only 174 Alsatian prisoners were taken, most simply ran away, either into the woods and deserted or back to Bouxwiller. The honour of Obrist Mergentheim, and the Baden-Durlach dragoons, was quickly acknowleged with the award of the Cross of Baden to Mergentheim and additional pay for the troopers. The regiment had taken three sets of colours and eight cannon for the loss of 76 killed and wounded.

The field was a sorry sight, though, as regards dead and fatally wounded. Among them was Sterne himself, identified by his silk waistcoat, along with Majors Comte de Houstache, Tabberte, Pasteau, Tual and Capitaine Schiaperelli. Still, the 1/Moselle managed to hang on to the captured colour of 2/Royale Gaulois.

Alsatian Returns after Hammbruck, taken 13 June

1/Regiment ‘Moselle’ 447
2/Regiment ‘Moselle’ 332
3/Regiment ‘Moselle’ 301
Devligne Hussards 505
2/Corps Franc Devligne 462
3/Regiment ‘Arc des Vosges’ 360
Grenadiers ‘Tual’ 21
Fusiliers-Frontieres Hohneck 473

Trophies

Colours of 2/’Royale Gaulois’ Regiment

Total of 1826 casualties from an original 4,760 or 38%

Franconian Returns

Baden-Durlach Dragoons 360
Strassburg Husaren 633
Franconia Jagercorps 577
1/Strassburg Regiment 367
2/Strassburg Regiment 648
Strassburg Artillerie 4 3pfd
1/’Van Pfeffer’ Regiment 824
2/’Van Pfeffer’ Regiment 780
1/’Royale Gaulois’ Regiment 875
2/’Royale Gaulois’ Regiment 536

Trophies

Colours of 3/Moselle Regiment, 3/Arc des Vosges Regiment, Tual’s Grenadiers and 8 cannon from Schiaperelli’s battery, all taken by Baden-Durlach Dragoons

6 4 livre cannon also left on the field by Chauvel’s battery, 3/Arc des Vosges and 3/Moselle


Total of 726 casualties from an original 6,195, or 12%

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Fictitious Wars: mechanics

Introduction

First, my apology that this is an entry without pics. Someone on TMP has found the original article that sparked all of this off and there have been questions about uniforms, rules and so on. So I will try to give (brief) answers to them.

The Story

As I explained in the previous entry, the current campaign is an extension of the one set in 1740. I took the key character from my opponent’s side, Prince Maurice of Nassau (nothing if not original) who had been Stadtholder of the Orange Republic. We originally took countries made from the Age Of Reason campaign map of around 5 or 6 EP, and Orange was made up of Holland, the Austrian Netherlands and Westphalia. I created a south-western German Kingdom based on Baden, Wurttemberg and Franconia, called the Kingdom of Franconia.

For the resumed campaign things were a little more sophisticated, but I postulated Maurice kicked back into his small Duchy with old Louis of Bamberg in exile with him and a few units that escaped 1740. Maurice, brooding revenge, would need allies. As I was now going to run it as a solo campaign I created some for him but tried to give them different characters and motives: there is the Duchy of Hessenstein, led by the young and naïve Prince Frederick, and the Duchy of Luneberg led by the crabby and bad tempered old Augustus II. I tried to reflect in their debates the nature of a coalition that was unified only to a degree.




But I also wanted to create a French-inspired Kingdom too, so up cropped the Kingdom of Alsatia, geographically Alsace-Lorraine with a capital at Nancy. So it gave Maurice another ally against Franconia and allowed me to split the campaign into two fronts.

Characters and Personalities

One of the fun things about the Fictitious Wars scenario has been to allow me to introduce characters and personalities that are based on people in my life. From the humblest colonels to Generals and Ambassadors (one chum is even Prince-Archbishop of Mainz) and base their character sheets on the individual’s personalities. Otherwise they are rolled randomly, some influence their battlefield skills, others their diplomacy or abilities to recruit (useful to draw in mercenaries). Some are just interesting little backstories: the Colonel that escorted the current Queen of Franconia from Naples to her new husband was Count Rudolfo Farinelli. Allowed to raise a Freicorps he was also said to be the lover of the Queen of Naples, which is why the King of Naples had him packed off to Franconia. Farinelli was killed at the battle of Hardheim and it allowed me to create a good story for the Neapolitan queen, distraught, raising money for Franconia.

Uniforms and Flags

All the uniforms are fictional, although often based on historical colours. The base colour for infantry coats, for example, is white for Franconia and Bamberg, pearl grey for Alsatia, dark blue for Luneberg and Hessenstein and dark green for Nassau. For flags they are also fictional but historically based: the national flag of Franconia is based on a Lubeck Burgerwehr colour in the Wise/Rossignoli book for example.



But for more dynamic or odder units there are different uniforms: the Franconian Freicorps of Prince Aleksandr Kliuchevski is uniformed in claret faced black, the Hessenstein Hussars are in a canary yellow. Dragoons and hussars in general are fairly pretty, contrasted with the more numerous and staid line infantry.

I was also constrained by figures. We had started with the 1/72 Revell SYW figures bolstered by some from other manufacturers and AWI ranges. These constrained uniform styles somewhat. Nevertheless the ability to create many different styles and colours is still there.



Rules

I originally used English Computer Wargames rules for the 1750 campaign and fought 3 battles with them. I found them ideal for a solo campaign and battle because you could order units or Generals to do something and they *might* do it. Then again they might not, or do something totally different. Generals would hang around for a while. Sometimes over a week, waiting to move on campaign depending on ability. This meant you could, as a solo player, draw up a plan for either side and then watch the computer screw it up and create an entirely unforeseen set of circumstances.

The same thing happened in battles. If you read the account of Strassburg, for example, Jeune’s attack was totally unexpected but as a solo player you simply accepted that it fitted and played accordingly. Equally De Brun’s flank march was timed for 9.00 according to the route of march, but he was late. If he had been on time the battle would surely have gone differently.

There were also unexpected surprises: Franconia lost its most talented GfwM due to an outbreak of blackwater fever before the campaign was a fortnight old, but the biggest one was the death of Devligne at Strassburg. This was, again, computer generated and Devligne had been central to ‘the story so far’. It was tempting just to pretend it had not happened, but instead I soldiered on and it has changed the basic character of the war, with Alsatia in the hands of men far less committed to the conflict, that country’s participation looks less aggressive and more half-hearted.

Now, with a new PC and some two years of real time passed I can no longer use the ECW set. Instead I am using The Great Captains, but this does not have the sense of independence that the ECW set had. But I have tried to come up with paper matrices to make up for this.

Next Battles

I will draw maps and write up the two succeeding engagements, Hammbruck and Hardheim, that were both fairly small. But now it looks like the climactic battle of the campaign is upon us, certainly on Franconia’s northern front. That battle will be fought in a month or two, as I have a few more units to paint for it, and we shall see how it goes.

J