Thursday, July 24, 2014

Battle of Braunsdorf 19 July 1757 (2014)

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Date: 19 July 1757/2014
Location: Northwest Germany
Figure Ratio: "Big Battalions" 1:10
Rules: Batailles de l'Ancien Régime 1740-1763
Situation: Battle of Braunsdorf
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The tabletop battle of Braunsdorf was our second game in western Germany as we return to the SYW for a second seven year cycle; Cycle II. A French Army is threatening Hanover. For the previous Battle of Hamelburg see:
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After their defeat at Hamelburg, the French retreated to a line of ridges near Braunsdorf. Their left rested upon a forested range of hills distantly seen in the photo below. Their right rested similarly upon another forested hilly area with a large lake. Here we see the....

French Right Flank: The First Line
A section of a much larger formation of Arquibussiers de Grassins protect the extreme right flank. A river, lake and a densely wooded hilly area are off image at the bottom. Régiment Auvergene's two battalions stretch into the distance where they meet a battalion of Languedoc.

French Center: The First Line
We've turned around looking the opposite way. Languedoc is at the top of this image. Berry is at the bottom.

French Left Flank: The Hidden First Line
In front of the horsemen of French Commissaire Général is a ridge. Not shown is another body of French horse; three squadrons of Royal Carabiniers off image to the right.

Aren't SYW uniforms lovely, elegant and stylish? I've thought so for more than four decades.
Click on all images to enlarge the view.

Here They Come!
Allied horsemen know something is hidden past the ridge line in front of them. Neither side can see each other at this moment. A discerning eye will note Brunswick Karabineers at the upper left of the photo are actually Eureka Saxon Leib Kürassiers standing in as Brunswickers. Oh my. I just painted that regiment and I have to fight against it.  Anyway....

Allied Right Marches Forward: The Swinging Door Gambit
The Karabineers are at the top center here. Out there with them from Hanover are horsemen of the Guards (red), von Bremer (nearest the big tree) and von Breidenbach's Dragoons. Behind them is the Hessian Leib Regiment. Somewhere out there is a body of Luckner's Hussars. I can't see them yet. 118 cavalrymen and they outnumber the French who have only 72 riders --- but all of them are wearing the cuirasse today.

Should we talk about Allied infantry? Yes! Before you is a Converged Battalion of Scottish and British Grenadiers. To their right rear is a smaller body of Germanic Converged Grenadiers. The unit with white flags is non other than the Potsdam Guard Grenadiers - no - the Protzdam Guard Grenadiers. I guess the Allies are serious on their right flank. Their deployment looks marvelous. Well done.

Where are the French?

Here They Are
That's Auvergene's two battalions again opposed by von Bungle of Prussia and the newest Allied unit, von Spörcken from Hanover. Their flags are from a company new to me. Maverick Models. I like them.

Here Is A Better View
Of von Bungle refusing the extreme Allied Left Flank as von Spörcken advances forward engaging 1/Auvergne. The small cannons are four and three pounders from Brunswick and Hanover left to right firing at 2/Auvergne.

Behind 2/Auvergne On The French Extreme Right Flank Are
Two French units of the second line. Infanterie Battalion 2/Guyenne and leading horsemen of the Royal Horse Régiment. Guyenne has sixty hommes. The Royals have thirty-six cavaliers. Guyenne are old Front Rank whist the Royals are Ted Surens armed with pin swords. They can really draw blood - and have! 

Why pin swords? 
Suren swords were bendy - very bendy. One of our pards, Keith L., told me to do what the celebrated Peter Gilder did. Replace bendy swords with pins. So I did. It would not do to have the Ted Suren Royals armed with swords that would eventually resemble curly tails of um -- pigs. Poor form you see. One must be careful around the Royals.

What Did The Royals Do Next?
Late in the game they rode forward in two columns protected for a time by the Arquibusiers de Grassin. Auvergne is beyond that big central tree. The Royals wanted to get behind von Bungle on the right of the photo but only AFTER the latter loosed its powerful first volley; (+5 in BAR). Otherwise, well, you know, poor form for cavalry.

Not Shown
The near squadron rode onto the Allied Back Table off image to the far right, sabered some artillery crews there and then turned around to hit von Bungle in the rear as the other Royals hit von Bungle from the front. The French won the contest and secured their right flank.  

Back On The Allied Swinging Door Right Flank
The Hanoverian Guard Horse (red) will soon charge into the flank of 2/Berry. The latter will tumble backwards. On the rise of ground von Bremer's Horse move forward with the Brunswick Karabineers. Oh! There's Luckner's Hussars behind them with three attached von Stockhausen Lancers. Behind the Karabineers is the Hessian Leib Regiment. Near the stone house are von Breidenbach's Dragoons.

The Protzdammers continue to march forward - stately - for a coup de grace. There's a song about that Regiment. For those who know the verses, the song applied once more. Kurt, please sing it for us.

The Protzdammers Observe
The French Royal Carabiniers engage the Allies. They probably are not watching the Karabineers engage the French Commissaire Générals in the far upper right. That's 2/Berry's unmanned 4 Pounder battalion gun.

Allied Cavalry
Engages my Commissaire Générals in front and flank. I should have reduced my ranks from three to two to cover more ground as was common in this era when outnumbered. This would have made being flanked less probable. 

The French Royal Carabiniers
Also had flank troubles. Bill, why did you forget your formation tactics today?  

What Happened Next?
Commissaire Général was defeated, routed and pursued to the French Back Table. The Royal Carabiniers won their mêlée and pursued their opponents. The latter routed through the Protzdammers disorganizing them. All Right!!!

That's The Allied Remnant
Behind the Protzdammers after both reorganized later. However, with the  Commissaire Générals gone, the Carabiniers retreated to cover the infantry of the French Left Flank who are off image far far to the lower right.

The French Center
2/LaSarre observes Allied Converged Grenadiers approach. La Sarre has no left flank due to the defeat of the French cavalry.

And Because
More Allied infantry comes forward; my 30mm Stadden 44th Foot. These go way back to when I published the F&I rules Drums of War Along The Mohawk in the early 1980s. Copies still available too!

Aerial Images Of The Center
Allied infantry marches inexorably forward. The French have brought forward one of two battalions of Grenadiers de France seen in the upper right.

Brunswick Battalion Isenburg (25mm Garrisons) moves forward to the left of the 44th Foot.

Allied Victory!
The French are withdrawing. They needed to. Congratulations to all for a companionable game with a lot of back and forth tactics, surprises, good chow and laughs. We've got a great bunch of guys in our group and I appreciate it.

Here They/We Are!
Seated left to right: Chuck L., John B. and Rob O.
Standing left to right: John M., Joe G. and yours truly Bill P.


1) We drew cards to move by side. Red Allies and Black French. However, we fired simultaneously on this occasion. No cards. BAR is flexible that way. It worked.

2) Next game? It's scheduled for Saturday August 9, 2014 in cold and desolate East Prussia. The Russians are coming. The Russians are coming.

3) I wonder. Should the French pull back to their magazine at Frankfurt Am Main? If defeated there, could the Allies cross the Rhine! Never.

4) Have you seen my new astounding adventure blog, Lost South Pacific Adventures here?

This story is quite a departure for me and I hope you take a look and enjoy it.

5) Thank you for looking in.

6) Comments welcome below. We would all appreciate hearing from you.
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For those who are waiting for another General Pettygree Colonial story, he'll be back in August 1903/2014.

Monday, July 21, 2014

JULY 21, 2014 News For You

In a few days I'll post photos and the usual AAR about our latest SYW battle which occurred July 19, 2014. Come back soon for this.
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Our local weeknight group is gaming the interwar era and telling stories about it. The first story is 15,000 Miles From The Past. Chapter 1 is The Last Naval Battles here:
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Imagine the South Pacific between WWI and WWII. Naval Action, Shore Parties, Seaplanes, Heroes, Villains, Pulp, Adventure, Science, Science Fiction, Indigenous People/Animals all in tropical settings.
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Stories advance by briefly captioned photos of locations I've visited accentuated with historical miniatures on our tabletops.
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BLOG: Lost South Pacific Adventures
Story 1: 15,000 Miles From The Past
Chapter 1: The Last Naval Battles
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This will be different than anything before. I hope you enjoy reading and viewing our images. Thank you in advance.
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Thursday, May 22, 2014

My Recent Photos of 18th Century Caribbean Fortifications

Dorothy and I were in the Caribbean in March 2014. You might enjoy photos of 18th Century-ish Spanish and English fortifications we toured.

Castillo del Morro, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Sometimes in Spanish it is called El Morro. This is the landward approach with a superior field of fire (glacis) versus attackers.

The water gate in red was for dignitaries and lots of other things to enter directly from ships.

 This explains the seaward water gate best. Click to enlarge and read.

The seaward wall looks impossible to climb unless you are a WWII US Ranger trained to ascend Point du Hoc on D-Day.

The seawall again. 

Back to the landward entrance. A bridge piece near the main (only?) gate would be removed so attackers could not use the bridge to get to the gate itself.

Ditch to the left of the bridge.  

This little fellow is interesting because of rope attached to the wheels. Why? To reduce chances for the metal wheel rims to cause a spark and an explosion. Gun powder was loaded with scoops from barrels. Implements were made of wood and IIRC copper or bronze because these can't cause sparks either.

Main guns like these were pointed seaward. Mighty big.

Here's the idea. The ship coming into the harbor must be Spanish or friendly.

Cannons were moved to many locations inside the fort depending on need. This ramp does not look formidable. I assure you it is. People had to stop part way up to catch their breath and let their heart rate drop. Unseen are positions for soldiers to stop and rest off to the sides. It is a looooonnnnng way up and steep!

Barracks room. This is the identical format I've seen at Fort Niagara in northwest New York, USA.

Replica 18th Century muskets. They might have been Charlevilles since these have been readily available since the USA's Bi-Centennial for museums and reenactors.

Remember that cannon pointing seaward at the ship entering the harbor? Now you are aboard that same ship looking back at Castillo del Morro and that cannon.

Whew! We've sailed deeper into the harbor and nobody fired at us. Bravo! Originally the colonial city of San Juan was an island surrounded by fortress walls.

Could we sail through at night? I doubt it!

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The next fort guarding San Juan is San Cristobal. It is a mile or two east of del Morro. A nice walk, kite flying area and popular for picnics. Both Vaubanesque fortresses are very complicated. Check the internet if curious.

The above is San Cristobal's Parade Ground. Soldier barracks are to the left. Officers are to the right. Wide portals into officer quarters enhanced cross drafts to keep officers a bit cooler in this hot climate.

Parade Ground stone slabs are sloped downward to the center for rainwater to flow through drains down to cisterns and a huge room full of water.

Nice cotton uniform. See caption next and the back of the uniform for information.  

Back of the same uniform. 

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Prince of Wales Bastion. The current Prince of Wales visited this fort in the past.  

We are very high on the Island of St. Kitts. There is a volcano to the north and another 180 degrees behind me....

In the distance. This one is so high rain falls here a lot. In fact it produces almost all of the fresh water on the island. For more information see:

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Dorothy and I were aboard Adventure of the Seas for a lovely week of cruising. I hope you enjoyed the above images and found them illuminating. There are other forts in the Caribbean. The above offer a glimpse of two big ones and one small. Some others remain only in outline and in one case on Antigua, our brief bus tour did not take us to the mountain it was on. Next time!

This was displayed in the Voltaire Dining Room on Adventure of the Seas.

Dorothy and yours truly, Bill.
Thank you for looking in. Comments are welcome from you at your pleasure.

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Sunday, May 4, 2014


Date: May 3, 1757 (2014)
Location: Hamelburg, Westphalia
Situation: Battle of Hamelburg + Birthday Party
For Background See:

But first let's talk about social aspects for my:

We've gathered annually for several years for a day of multiple games on the first Saturday of May on or after my birthday of the first of the month.

Ten of us celebrated companionably: Seated left to right are Jim H., George R., Keith L. and Randy F. Standing left to right were Michael M., yours truly Bill P., Chuck L., John B. and Curt B. John M. could not stay for the photo. Der Alte Fritz, Jim P., who designed the scenario had to regretfully cancel a few days before game day.  I sincerely appreciate all of you for celebrating with me and for all you did. Thank you very much.

Chuck (center) hosted a fun warm-up game for four of us in the Wild West using Fistful of Lead rules. Keith L. (left) and John B. (right) battled in the town with Jim H. and George R. for an hour and a half. The rest of us set up and started the SYW battle of Hamelburg.

Our pards always bring food to share. Here's Jim H. pausing from the western game for chow. Around noon my wife Dorothy set out a scrumptious sandwich tray. Jim added a delicious spinach salad with purple tomatoes and other tasty "heirloom" vegetables.

Around 3:00 p.m. my birthday cake was served. Dark chocolate cake with white butter cream icing from the unusually named by good grocery store, Piggly Wiggly. It was sooo very delicious!


8:00 a.m.

Early in the morning of May 3, 1757, three unexpected riders galloped toward a long ridge north of the Village of Hamelburg, Westphalia. The Maréchal Prince de Soubise happened to be centered atop that same height looking northwards for signs of the Allied Army as they rode near.

Lady Diana Pettygree (center) was a familiar of the Prince, both having been present at Versailles social functions. Also known to the Prince, Lady Belle Silhouette, wearing a radiant adaptation of the Bercheney Hussars was first to speak.

Silhouette: "Monsieur l'Maréchal, we have information you may find extraordinary! I am breathless to reveal it."

Soubise: "My eyes, ears and heart are yours my dear ladies. Hamelburg is just behind me. We'll go there to talk."

Soubise: "How may I be of service?"

Silhouette: "We were in Hamburg when news arrived about your Army crossing the Rhine."

Pettygree: "Oui. When we heard you turned north with the object of entering Hanover to discomfort George II, we thought it best to ride south to escape troubles that surely would notice two courtiers quite out of place in his domain."

Soubise: "Surely he would not bother two beautiful ladies on a grand tour."

Pettygree: "We thought it best to not take chances regarding the benevolence of his ministers. "

Silhouette: "So we are here...."

Soubise: "And?"

Silhouette: "Mere hours ago, columns of force marching soldiers appeared to the east on a road converging on Hamelburg. They wore uniforms we think from Hanover, Britannia, Brunswick and others. A cavalry patrol observed us and gave chase."

Pettygree: "Our larger horses easily outdistanced them.

Silhouette: "They are coming here Monsieur l'Maréchal - to Hamelburg!"

Pettygree: "And fast. Their Advance Guard may be here before two hours."

Soubise: "You confirm what our scouts from the Legion de Fischer have told us. We will stand on this ridge. I only hope it is not too late. Now ladies continue south for greater safety. This is not a place where you should remain."

11:00 a.m.

Legion de Fischer infantry await the arrival of the Allied Army atop Hamelburg Ridge. The distinctive drum beat of the opposing army was heard a half hour ago and....

Now Allied horsemen debouch on the Allied Left Flank. Advance Guard infantry in the distance prepare to advance on Hamelburg Ridge to the left.

A Converged Grenadier Battalion supported on their right by the 42nd Highlanders ascend Hamelburg Ridge. Every soldier in the ranks is quiet, thinking about next moments. Officers and sergeants of both forces are heard above the drums ordering men to be steady.

Within French ranks the men respond to "an jeu" (aim) preparatory to the order to "feu" (fire).

The red coats advance steadily as their distant artillery prolongs forward to give fire in support.

The French close up their line and add units hidden from behind the reverse slope of the ridge. Red coat gains are occurring in the distance as....

On the Allied Left Flank, Allied horsemen canter forward pushing away French light cavalry. The Allied left is secure and swings toward Hamelburg off image at the top of this photo.

French Gardes Suisse and Grenadiers de France arrive to reinforce their friends in Hamelburg. Infantry of the Legion de Fischer are seen in the upper left of this image trading volleys with the red coats.

Other French reinforcements arrive but they are too late to hold the ridge. Legion de Fischer infantry has been broken is no more.

The French line has been bent around Hamelburg.The Gardes Suisse are in the distance at the edge of the village with Grenadiers de France facing red coats atop Hamelburg Ridge.

The 27th Foot advance on the Grenadiers de France.

As the Gardes Suisse defend their flank.

Unseen by the Prince de Soubise, von Spörcken's Musketeers arrive. They are part of another Allied Brigade arriving to fight at distant Hamelburg. The Prince we may imagine looked over his shoulder hoping for more assistance but it was not forthcoming. He ordered a withdrawal to the south leaving Hamelburg to the Allies.

3:00 p.m.

Martha: "My ladies, is this the way? Oh my hat! We've left the road. I don't...."

Lady Diana Pettygree: "No I guess not Martha. We'll turn about...."

Lady Belle Silhouette: "And ride for the Roadhouse Inn on Hamelburg Road. I see it now."

 Diana: "Mein Herr. Are there French soldiers near - anywhere?"

Herr Gottlieb: "Ja. Keep going south. French to be sure."

Lieutenant Général l'Duc de FitzJames: "My ladies! What are you about?"

Lady Diana Pettygree: "Monsieur l'Général! The battle is lost. We seek safety with you, if you please."

Fitzjames: "A dispatch just arrived to that effect. My Brigade of Cavalry as well as the infantry marching with us was too late to intervene. We will need to cover the retreat of l'Prince de Soubise. Still --- this is good ground and we could form a new battle line to fight again tomorrow. --- Excuse me ladies. I have work to do. ORDERLY!"

1) Many thanks to Der Alte Fritz, Jim P., for this entertaining and different scenario. Can you guess what historical battle Hamelburg resembles?

2) Extra thanks to Randy and Keith for bringing extra units when Jim's had to stay home with him.

3) Other Allied Brigades were arriving elsewhere on the battlefield from different directions. Hamelburg is a hub.

4) Michael M. has a lot more photos here. Thank you Michael.

5) Your remarks are welcome at Comments below. I beg your forbearance advising there will be a pause before these appear due to a spammer.