Monday, August 10, 2009

Part 3: Minden 250th. Final Photos + Interviews

Interviews, player analysis and select photographs. Obtain larger images by clicking on them, if you please.

Andy: "In the morning session I commanded French infantry in the town of Hahlen anchoring the French left flank. I had three battalions of line infantry, and was facing four battalions of attacking Allied infantry supported by a howitzer. My opponent [Chuck] did a great job bringing all four to bear against me simultaneously. His infantry was supported by a howitzer firing from the far end of the town which did a lot of damage, and unfortunately I had no artillery to return the favor. I thought of closing the distance between our two lines to prevent the howitzer from firing, but the penalty for moving in the town (going into disorder) was so severe in our firefight that I declined. My dice rolling didn’t help much either. For the first three turns of fighting, I was able to shoot first each time, which is normally a decisive advantage, but I was rolling a lot of ones and twos, so I wasn’t able to get the casualties I needed early to offset his numerical advantage.

Der Alte Fritz [Jim]: "I commanded a battalion of Foot Guards during the cavalry phase of the game and a second battalion of Hanoverian Guards which I later passed off to one of the other players. I thought we were in for a hard pounding by the French cavalry before it charged in. We took our licks but managed to hold on through all three charges."

Randy: "I commanded French cavalry and infantry on the right side. Having commanded cavalry charging infantry before, I know that infantry usually wins in the end. Seeing special rules for the game, I knew the French cavalry charges would have a hard time breaking through."

Andy: "In the afternoon session I commanded about half the French cavalry in the center. I had two lines, the first line consisting of heavy horse and the second line consisting of all carabiniers. I was facing several lines of British infantry battalions. I had a lot of confidence [before my first charge]. My cavalry units were large and there was no artillery in their front, so the punishment they’d take coming in wasn’t going to be extreme. Additionally the British infantry was a little beaten up and a lot of my cavalry were wearing a breastplate, which can be effective in reducing losses to small arms fire. The ranges were almost ideal, I was able to go in at a trot (which I generally prefer as less risky to going in at the gallop) and charge home in the minimum amount of time."

The opposite side of the field before the second charge went in. Foreground: Royal des Carabiniers, "The Thundering Herd", 28mm Elite Miniatures from the UK.

Brent: "Based on my experience gaming [BAR] at my house, I believed that the infantry would repel the cavalry attacks. (As an aside, a friend back home, Michael, based on the same games, felt the cavalry would defeat the infantry -- I think I am at heart a cavalry commander and Michael is an infantry commander. We both felt our arm is at the disadvantage.) After seeing the infantry advance in the teeth of the grand batteries, I thought the infantry flanks would surely fall. That was a truly impressive amount of cavalry and artillery! I remained convinced the infantry line as a whole would hold."

Did you expect your side to win?

Brent: No. Our strength seemed to be our cavalry and artillery grand batteries. Both were spent, or under severe stress. My "success" in the second wave led to the brave lads being shot out of the saddle after sabering a battalion that broke.

Andy: "I thought it was still undecided at mid-game. The British infantry was still thick on the ground in the center, and the French right seemed like it could go either way. The French left seemed to be going poorly, with the French artillery getting roughly handled by the British artillery, though there were infantry reserves on that flank for us which guaranteed that the flank would at worst be fought to a stalemate. Finally, there was the threat of Sackville's cavalry brigades activating."

Randy: "I thought the French where going to lose the game all the way around. [Der Alte] Jim made some good moves with the Brunswick infantry and Prussian cavalry in the beginning which pressed our side quite hard. I knew the British were going to win the large cavalry charges in the center of the battlefield for the first several turns. However, luck smiled on the French and we somehow pulled out a victory."

Jim K. [unpictured]: "I commanded the Allied artillery on the right flank. I thought we definitely were winning the scenario at midpoint. The infantry on my left had repulsed two French cavalry charges and had advanced well forward. In addition I was well along in dispatching the French grand battery. As you might recall, the three sectors were proceeding at their own pace. Suddenly the remnants of a French cavalry unit was at my rear. Had I been aware of what was occurring next to me, I may have been able to take countermeasures. Perhaps I would not, but with open terrain and the action occurring close to me, it's quite possible my troops would have seen a breakthrough. It was still quite a close and enjoyable game. I should have concentrated my fire on a different target on turn two, but other than that, the artillery did what it could."

Der Alte [Jim]: "After the cavalry phase, I thought we stood a good chance of winning if we could continue to press forward in the center and push the French out of Maulbeerkamp. The Brunswickers were holding the edge until the last turn or two when two of our units broke and ran. Then we didn't have enough infantry to hold back the French, and a withdrawal, covered by the cavalry seemed to be the wise thing to do."


Anything more you want to say?

Randy: "I enjoyed the day and the game as well as the company."

Brent: "Thanks again. It is true joy to play at the scale you [Bill] and Der Alte do."

Andy: "It was a great game, I had a lot of fun. I enjoyed the unbalanced nature of the game, both in terms of troop types and placement. I thought it made for some interesting tactical situations. I again enjoyed commanding cavalry. This was the first time I was in a game where I launched a mass charge against unbattered infantry (normally my charges are done against other cavalry or against the remains of infantry late in a fight), and I think it played smoothly and was easy to resolve."

"Charging infantry is different from charging cavalry of course. In cavalry fights the best tactic seems to be to charge in waves of increasing strength, starting with just enough strength to ensure the combat continues more than one round, but then holding back the best until 2 or 3 rounds into the fight where they can deliver a hammer shot. Against infantry you can’t feed additional cavalry into a fight, so it’s better to lead with your heavy armored horse who have the best chance of success, and naturally if you can work on to a flank, you can get a decisive advantage. The breastplate made a big difference in my fighting. Saving on 4 through 6 instead of 5 through 6 kept a lot of my cavalry in the saddle during the time it took us to close the distance, and also made a big impact on my saving throws during the melee."

"Thanks again to Bill and everyone else who made that game possible. It was a lot of fun!"


Closing Remarks:

Doing a Minden 250th was Der Alte's suggestion a few months ago.

Thank you and prodigous compliments for Chuck, Jim K, John, Der Alte Jim P., Randy, Brent, Andy and Keith! You made the whole day a remarkable and striking success.

Viewers: YOU can do this too! Steady on with a group of friends in any scale you desire. YES, you can!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Part 2: Minden 250th, 2nd. and 3rd. Cavalry Waves and Some Players

Photos may be enlarged in a satisfying way, if you click on them. Oh, and please take your time, slow down your internet hunting and enjoy the spectacle with your favorite beverage.

Part of the French right flank Grand Battery is visible in the lower right of this photograph near Maulbeerkamp. Meanwhile, Spörcken's Brigade fought off the first wave of French cavalry. Ranks and files were steadied and closed before advancing farther as you see here. Farther?! The second wave approaches seen from the French right. "Brigade HALT!....Make Ready..... Aim...."

French infantry has come up south of Maulbeerkamp.


The French close in with the sword. Now it is up to each man to wield his sword or bayonet to decide the issue. Again the line holds.

When the wreckage clears, the third wave approaches. Maulbeerkamp is in the distance; the French right flank. Note French infantry moving in. These would soon be countered with the Brunswick Korps seen just entering the main table in the upper left where Chuck is sitting.


Smoke from musketry rises over the combat. Distance between foes drops to nil.

The left-most British battalion is from Spörcken's second line.

Left to right: John and Der Alte Fritz.

Left to right: l'Comte d'Artois, Brent and Andy.

The soon to be silenced French Grand battery on the French left flank.

And way beyond that almost silenced French left flank Grand Battery, the idle Allied cavalry reserve.

This was what it was all about!
Our simulation of the three waves of French cavalry at Minden and...
The celebrated steadiness of the British and Hanoverian battalions of Spörcken's Brigade.
Closing Remarks:

  • As Der Alte reported on his blog, at this point the simulation ended and....
  • We commenced playing a regular game - not a simulation with interference from the stage director.
  • The Brunswick Korps (six battalions) marched onto the field near Maulbeerkamp, engaged the French infantry opposite them and were forced back while....
  • On the other flank, the French Grand battery was silenced as it was historically, the Allies held Hahlen but French infantry coming forward from reserve took out the weakened Allied battery that had silenced it's French counterpart and....
  • L'Chevalier Andy in the center routed a British battalion with the French Royal Regiment of cavalry, pursued it to the Allied back table, took the routers out of the game, rallied and returned to the main table to sweep into the Allied artillery near Hahlen. The Royals will receive a battle honour for these achievements and Andy becomes it's Colonel.
  • Had Gen. Sackville rolled a 2D6=12, the Allied right flank would have been stabilized by his voluminous numbers of cavalrymen.
  • But, we could not allow that, could we? History would have been discombobulated!
  • The game was won by the French winning the wings of the battlefield after thinking all was lost until the two last turns of the game. Victory swung unexpectedly. It is said a game with swings back and forth like this is satisfying. I think so too.
  • And fun!


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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Part 1: Minden 250th, 1st. Cavalry Wave, Action At Hahlen and Allied Reserves

Thank you for looking in. On the actual 250th anniversary, 1 August 1759/2009, our Batailles de l'Ancien Régime 1740-1763 {BAR} group simulated the celebrated battle of Minden. We have lots of photos. Part 1 as captioned follows. Click on photographs to enlarge them.

The first wave of 276 cavaliers viewed from the French left.
A portion of the left-hand French Grand Battery appears in the lower left. The village of Maulbeerkamp appears in the upper right. Large French artillery batteries at these two locations enfiladed Spörcken's Brigade to great effect historically and also in our simulation. Four participants contributed miniatures to compose the French cavalry.

The French viewed from the left flank of Spörcken's Brigade. Infantry losses were due to French artillery fire.

Spörcken's Brigade coolly waits to give fire, {"MAKE READY!"} as the French close in, {"AIM - FIRE!"}

Fire resolution is occurring in this photograph. We play our BAR games using just Quick Reference Charts 99% of the time.

Panoramic view from Village of Hahlen on the French left flank to Maulbeerkamp twenty-four feet away. Allied General Anhalt historically and in our game took the village. Note the units in this and the next photo. These are two-rank units from my old Tricorne Armies based on 1:20. Anhalt attacked with detachments so I thought why not use these old and veteran units in this role. BAR worked fine for them.

Anhalt pushed deeply into Hahlen causing French and Saxon reserves to come forward in addition to a portion of the nearby French Grand Battery shifting fire into the village.

On the Allied back table, Spörcken's Second Line starts forward. Huzzah lads!

While the cavalry commanded by General Sackville is idle nearby.
Closing Remarks:
1. Photos of the second French cavalry wave will appear here soon.
2. Check in at Der Alte Fritz's celebrated blog for a lot more.
3. When I awakened Saturday morning I asked myself, "What bugs are there in the scenario?" I decided I could not be an automaton about player circumstances and bad dice if conditions did not closely resemble the real battle. Therefore, I told everyone I was more of a "stage director" than anything else. There were occasions when I shifted Allied units to where they needed to be and other occasions when units were allowed to recover stragglers and reorganize.
4. Simulation rules are next.
Our Minden commemoration was a scripted simulation. As kind of a "stage director"
I changed conditions as needed using Savory's text as my guide.

1. Elite = All Allied Units, French Gendarmes and Royal des Carabiniers in 3rd Line.
1(a) Mid way through the game all Allied officers were rated Elite.
2. Veteran = All Other Units In The French Army
3. French Artillery firing obliquely at Spörcken’s Brigade gets +3 for fire.

4. Add +2 for units in Spörcken’s Brigade

5. Organize guns in 3-4 gun sections by poundage. No battalion guns.
Eg. 3x3Pdrs., 3x6Pdrs., 4x8Pdrs., 3x12 Pdrs.
6. Fire by section – not individual guns. Multiply result by # of guns in section
Eg. Throw 2D6/section, modify as usual for hits – then hits times # of guns
7. Do not fire individual guns unless that is all that is left.
8. Poundage:
British = 6 Pdrs., Light 12 Pdrs.
Brunswick = 3 Pdrs.
French = Heavy 4 Pdrs., 8 Pdrs. and 12 Pdrs.
Hanover = 6 Pdrs., 12 Pdr. = Brummer Class
Allied Howitzers = 7 Pdr. Howitzer Class
9. No ammunition limitations.
10. Only the Allies have limbers.

11. One round permissible only – not three - in cavalry versus infantry.

12. Spörcken’s Brigade must advance obliquely toward French Cavalry line.
13. French Cav. must charge Spörcken’s Brigade and never wander more than
18” wider than Spörcken’s flanks unless the latter is destroyed or enemy cavalry
come on. First mass charge may not wander at all.
14. 1st line may move to charge after Spörcken enters main table.
15. Other Fr. lines can't charge Spörcken until previous lines are out of the way.
16. Elsewhere:
Artillery may fire at will and move all game long.
Battle for Hahlen may start immediately.
French left flank infantry may advance when Spörcken enters main table.
All others may move:
AFTER three massed French cavalry charges are completed
Or turn after at least two Bns. of Spörcken’s Brigade rout or destroyed.
But Sackville brigades activate only the turn after throwing 2D6 = 12.

17. 1st Line = 276, 2nd. Line = 264, 3rd Line = 216, 4th. Line = 36
18. Recycling = okay.