Monday, November 29, 2010

Bridging The Main River

Date: 29 November 1760 (2010)
Location: Main River
Situation: En-route To Frankfurt Am Main And Elsewhere
Click images two times to enlarge them - a lot.
Gallian forces and personalities are preparing for our annual light troop game. Randy and I raised the entire Legion de Fischer in 2009-2010. My half appears below.
Dismounted Chasseurs A Cheval and a Light 4 Pounder Gun lead The Legion across one of Germania's many streams, in this case The Main River.

Horses are being held near the stream while 1st Battalion sends its chasseurs a pied and grenadiers across. Mounted dragoons wait in the rear.

1/Fischer Dragoons and four divisions of the battalion pause awaiting orders.

Overhead view of the crossing

As the crossing continued two troops of Lanciers de Saxe arrived escorting an entourage from the court of Gallian King Louis XV. They are bound for a party at Frankfut Am Main.

From left to right: Lady Cherish Masquerade, Lady Diana Pettygree, Lady Belle Silhouette and Maid Katherine. Wait! The party slows turning toward the building.

Silhouette: "Diana. Who is that in a mist?"
Masquerade: "Oh no. It is...."
Katherine: "That Old Woman, my ladies. She always warns of trouble and...."
Diana: "Yes. Have a care my dears not to look away lest she disappear before giving us her warning. I...."
That Old Woman: "Bound for Germany thee are. Heed my words. Turn back lest a winter storm overtakes you. The winter, the winter the winter is coming."
Silhouette: "Nonsense! The region is as green as Springtime."

Narrator: A moment later the ladies barely looked away and in that blink of an eye the apparition or whatever they saw vanished - as usual. A search of the house revealed no one home. Silhouette not having experienced this before was the most confounded. The others knew to be on the watch from now on. But for what?
1. Chasseurs A Cheval are Eureka Saxons.
2. Most of 1/Battalion and the Dragoons are Front Rank.
3. Minden Miniatures supplied the workmen I've made into Pontoniers.
4. The 4 Pounder is from Elite Miniatures.
5. Ammo Wagon is probably Hinchliffe.
6. Fischer Chasseurs A Pied are Scrubys.
7. Artillery Crew is from Redoubt.
8. Terrain Guy supplied the terrain covering and custom river. Custom because I asked for sections 3' long to minimize seams.
9. Pontoons and their wagons are probably Miniature Figurines from the 1980s. The pontoons are painted copper color because a source now long forgotten said Saxon or ? were made of copper. The wagons were originally painted for my Saxon Army.
10. Flag Dude flags are fictional. There are no records so I made them up.
11. Your remarks are very welcome below.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Audacity At Lobositz

Date: November 26, 2010
Scenario: 1756 Lobositz
Rules: BLACKPOWDER (pub. 2009)
Venue: Home of Rob O.
Prussians: Rob O. and Joe G.
Austrians: Kurt D. and Bill P. (yours truly)
For a brief account of the battle, you may find this useful:
Images below were taken from the Austrian left where I was posted. Achtung! Double click za images quick!
From the Austrian perspective, the right flank was held by Croat light infantry, the center by infantry and cavalry (shown below) and the left behind the Morellenbach stream by more infantry and cavalry.
The Austrian center was stoutly controlled by two infantry brigades seen here. Note cavalry on the right of the image. We'll come back to them (Saxons) in a moment.

Meanwhile, have a closer look at the infantry.

Austrian Left Flank: Behind the Morellenbach Stream was one kürassier regiment, two six pounder sections, three line and one grenadier battalions. Across the stream are two more regiments of cavalry posted with the Army Center.

Upper Right of Image: Lobosch Hill. Austrian Right Flank defended by Croats.

Top of Image: Joe G. watches Saxon cavalry charge straight into the Prussians. The purpose was to stop, delay or impossibly push the Prussians off the table before they could deploy their weight of numbers.

Bottom of Image: Austrian Grenadiers on the extreme left flank have crossed the Morellenbach Stream to anchor the line at Sullowitz Village.

The first clash of sabers! I was kindly permitted to bring along some of my Saxon cavalry though none were at the historical battle; Rutowski Chevaulegers in red and von Brühl Dragoons in grey, both properly rated as heavy cavalry. The chit behind the Rutowskis represents one casualty taken from an earlier artillery long shot. Kurt commanded the Saxons and won. The Prussians fell back and the Saxons pursued.

The pursuit melee cut deeper into Prussian territory. The purpose was to cause as much mischief, turbulence and wreckage as possible. The Saxons won AGAIN! Back went the Prussians - some off the table and away forever. Others were broken.

However, the Saxons were now spent and overextended. Von Brühl was hit in front and flank and was cut down. The Rutowskis fell back and they too were carried of the table - forever. However....

All the cavalry activity allowed the Austrian Center to advance upon the Prussian Center where battle was joined mid-game. This was the high water mark for the Austrians. After initial contacts the Austrians fell back and time was called.

Closing Remarks:
1. I've had no exposure to Blackpowder before. Kurt thankfully took command while I listened and learned relying on linear game experiences and crossing the Morellenbach Stream.

2. After the first Saxon cavalry clash the question became should we stay put, retire or pursue. Each offered a viable choice. I suggested pursuit so we could penetrate deeper into Prussian territory to disrupt their deployment, weaken other Prussian cavalry and impossibly hope to throw the foe off the table. "Audacity, audacity, always audacity." In the next moment thinking the same as I, Kurt shoved the Saxons forward - happily to their second victory.

3. "In any specific action we always have the choice between the most audacious and the most careful solution. Some people think that the theory of war always advises the latter. That assumption is false. If the theory does advise anything, it is the nature of war to advise the most decisive, that is, the most audacious. Theory leaves it to the military leader; however, to act according to his own courage, according to the spirit of the enterprise and his self-confidence. Make your choice therefore, according to this inner force; but never forget that no military leader has ever become great without audacity." Carl von Clausewitz, Principles of War 1812 as quoted in Patton, Montgomery, Rommel, Masters of War by Terry Brighton.

4. What of Austrian Left Flank Forces Bill? Well, BP is a command control game. The officer needed to throw 8 or less using 2D6. He failed on most attempts to get the three line battalions across the Morellenbach. The guns and grenadiers did get across.
5. The Prussians also had some command control failures but the audacity of the Saxon cavalry charge was key in keeping them close to their table edge.

6. Who would have won? The Austrian attack was stopped. Survivors were retiring to the rear to take up posts in Lobositz Village and a palisade wall. My Left Flank chaps were finally getting over the Morellenbach in the last two turns - a not inconsiderable force. They would have bunkered down in Sullowitz Village. The Prussians would have been able to attack these positions. Who might have won there? Hard to say.

7. Rob and Kurt have been experimenting with BP for The Nine Year's War and The Mexican American War. They may have tried with one other SYW game.

8. It was good to see many familiar old units from our "Tricorne" days and have an opportunity to have a very good time with Rob, Kurt and Joe. Always lots of laughs. Another good thing! Looking forward to next time.