Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Battle of Sanderhausen Part 2

I have based the scenario on that presented by Charles Grant in Wargaming in history vol1.

In essence the allied General Isenburg had been told by Ferdinand a few days earlier to do the best he could in delaying the French, therefore he resolved tostand and fight at Sanderhausen.
His right flank rested on a wooded escarpment which ran alongside the banks of the Fulda river and his left resting on the high ground that led to the Ellenbach wood and the village of Ellenbach.

Outnumbered 3:2 in infantry, 2:1 in guns and cavalry this was very much a delaying action. The French under Duc de Broglie whilst outnumbering his enemy had his own problems. All of his infantry were under strength and short on ammunition

The battle commenced at 1pm game time and was due to finish as dusk fell - around 7pm - 18 bounds.

The French objective was simple prevent Isenburg from withdrawing and destroy his army

John Rich took command of the French and Simon Millar the allies

I don't intend to go through all the photos however the opening moves were interesting as Johns brigade on his right commenced the steep climb towards Ellenbach and his light infantry moved into the woods on both flanks to engage the enemy Jaegers it was to see the whole Allied army commence an advance down the valley towards the French! All except the grenadiers who despite protestations were ordered to advance into the woods and support the Jaegers.

I was initially surprised and then I realised what Simon was doing - until the French took Ellenbach and passed the village they were in the narrowest part of the valley and he intended to hem them in for as long as possible preventing them fro bringing their numbers to bear.

 The action in the woods on both flanks was fiercely contested - on the French right the troops were even in numbers and traded casualties as the Jaegers slowly fell back on the French left the French were shocked as the Jaegers outnumbered 2:1 proceeded to decimate the French first one company and then the second company of Chasseurs were driven back and broken ( it was their first battle!)

 The French infantry left and centre proceeded to creep ahead of their colleagues who were climbing towards Ellenbach - the allied artillery pieces had deployed and commenced firing causing casualties on the lead French units whilst in the French guns deployed and seemed to have a bad habit of overshooting!

 The allied heavy cavalry advanced and deployed behind the village both John and I waited for the inevitable attack on the lead French columns who were slowly taking casualties from the allied artillery ( the attack never came!)
 The allied militia holding Ellenbach had the best of the early exchanges with the two French regiments advancing towards them then disaster loomed a French battery fired onto the village, killing an Officer and some troops the Militia wavered

It was about this time that the allied Jaegers on their left flank lost the exchange with their French counterparts and fell back - the allied commander had however ordered his 1 squadron of light cavalry to enter the woods and eject the French light troops. Which they did in style riding down a company without loss in the melee.
 Two more rounds of fire saw the milita retreat out of Ellenbach and the lead French regiment occupy it.
The allied heavy cavalry who had been sat behind the village threatening the French lines now found themselves flanked and the musketry from the village saw the Officer of the lead squadron killed together with two troopers and effectively put out of action yet the cavalry still sat there.
 Unable to deploy into line the lead French regiments sought to attack the allied line, unfortunately they did so in a piecemeal fashion and first one, then two, then three regiments were sent reeling from the allied firepower as they all fell below 50%

The French then tried pushing their cavalry forward and again the lead two squadrons were hit hard

 However the third squadron succeeded in charging home on the allied artillery wiping out its crew and then following up into the nearest infantry who they also broke! So what of the allied heavy cavalry? after losing their lead squadron the remainder had turned around and began to fall back to redeploy behind the allied line.

 As dusk began to close in the French began to push out of Ellenbach and broke another allied regiment sent to delay them, Isenburg had galloped off to recall the Grenadiers who were no longer needed to support the victorious Jaegers
 As the victorious French cavalry fell back ( having fought two rounds of melee) The French 3rd Brigade of infantry began their assault, the early exchanges were clearly in favour of the allies with one French regiment faltering then suddenly the allies lost their composure Simon fired cannister into two French units - 16 hits needing a 5 or a 6, 5 hits needing a 6- not one hit. Likewise 4 volleys from infantry needing 4+ - nothing. The French breathed a sigh of relief as they sought to regain composure.

At this point and with failing light the Duc de Broglie called off the attack - he had lost over 30% of his army and whilst he had clearly broken the allied left his infantry on that flank had no cavalry or artillery support and were being threatened by the Allied heavies.

Isenburg was allowed to withdraw his battered force.

A most enjoyable game and one which had many options, I am surprised the French didn't push some infantry through the woods behind the lights and there was always an option of marching some of the infantry across filed to allow the cavalry through early.

Why the allied heavies never took the opportunity to charge I don't know but the joy of written orders are the restraints it places on players when opportunites appear and they are unable to exploit.

Thank you gentlemen for a most enjoyable day

Monday, 18 June 2018

Battle of Sanderhausen - Part 1

Table set for the arrival tomorrow of John Rich and Simon Miller for a refight of my take on the Battle of Sanderhausen.

Background and details of the action tomorrow.
In the meantime a view of the French lines and along the valley to the waiting enemy.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

42mm Toy soldier collection for Sale

When my close friend Lee died in November 2013 I was tasked with disposing of his large wargames collection of figures and books.
The one collection that was retained by his family was his Irregular miniatures 42mm Franco- Prussian/Austro - Prussian war collection. Lee and I did many a demo game with these splendid chaps painted in a traditional style - gloss varnish and all.
Today his family decided that time moves on and have asked me to dispose of  them
I haven't counted them but in essence there are 9 box files of painted figures  - Infantry, Artillery and cavalry. A full count will take place later.
His wife has asked that I just get rid asap and therefore I'm looking at £1 an infantry figure and £2 a cavalry figure if someone takes the lot. Theres also a couple of medium sized boxes of unpainted figures thrown in for free.

By way of an example here's a couple of pics of some samples from the collection
I have now done a count up, in total there are 635 infantry 80 cavalry, 7 guns, 2 limbers, 2 wagons pack mules farm animals etc.
The armies covered are French, Prussian, Bavarian and Austrian I have a detailed break down of each. Infantry units are 18 figs and cavalry 8. The three main protagonists each have 24 cavalry and a good mix of infantry/ light infantry etc. The Bavarians have 80 infantry a general and 4 gunners.
Including the unpainted stuff looking for £950 or near offer


If any one is interested, wants more details and is willing to make an offer then get in touch.

There was also a box of 54mm Napoleonics (metal) I don't know make etc but again if anyone is interested and wants to make an offer then get in touch.
Dare I say it there were also a few boxes of unpainted figures found in the garage which I now need to wade through!!!

Friday, 8 June 2018

Battle for Maidstone 1744

After an excessively long pause we managed to arrange the next battle in the 1744 campaign.
For those that need reminding this is based on the proposed invasion of England by the French in order to put the Young Pretender on the throne.

As a recap prior to sailing the decision was made that Charles would sail to Scotland  in order to raise the Highland clans, he took with him a squadron of dragoons and two battalions of foot.

Marshall Saxe sailed from France without issue and chose to land at Sittingbourne, British dragoons were patrolling al roads from London and the British CinC Ligonier had called up the Southern Militia and what regulars he had were marching on London.

The disembarkation of the French took time and for some unknown reason the unloading of the artillery was left until last, in the meantime Saxe had dispatched some French dragoons and the German brigade to scout towards Maidstone. The French scouts encountered British dragoons and were roughly handled, likewise the Germans encountered a brigade of British Infantry and dragoons. Their lack of artillery support told in the following engagement when they were forced to retreat after effectively losing one battalion of infantry and two squadrons of Dragoons.

So after much reorganisation Saxe at the head of 11 Battalions of infantry, a regiment and half of cavalry and the Fusiliers de Morliere advanced on Maidstone, Saxe was pleased that he had crossed the River Medway without opposition but as his army approached the town it was to see the small British army deployed behind a stream and along a low ridge to the east of the town. There was only one option - attack.

The rules used were Honours of War - whilst not my rules of choice ( that being The Wargame by Charles Grant) they were the rules used by the English commander and being host I went with that :)

The first trauma that the French were to suffer was that with the exception of the commander of the French Brigade all the other infantry commanders were dithering!! This did not bode well

Ligonier and Saxe were rated as 'Dashing'!

British Dragoons had pushed forward and fortified a small farm close to the French lines ( they were to prove a major thorn for most of the day)
The French infantry on the left of the line were ordered to advance on the village and to eject the dragoons occupying the area.
The weekend German brigade and the lights were instructed to attack the farm and force the dragoons out, the Irish Brigade and the Swiss Brigade were ordered to cross the stream and force the British left.

The Swiss with their two batteries initially made extremely slow progress - declining to advance for the first few bounds, in the mean time the two regiments of Irish and the Italian foot advanced steadily over the stream, their battery began to engage in counter battery fire with British guns on the ridge

The Germans in the centre and the light Infantry were getting roughly handled by the dragoons who were being supported by two British guns on the ridge.

:Likewise the French brigade made slow progress to the village where a second unit of dragoons had now arrived and dismounted to occupy the buildings.

Around lunch time a regiment of Guard infantry, a Militia regiment and a regiment of Household cavalry ( sub'd by my Scots greys)  arrived in the British Centre.

The French brigade had sustained some heavy casualties in trying to close on the village, likewise the Germans had been forced to retreat one regiment and the lights due to casualties. Ligonier ordered the household cavalry forward seeing that a number of French units were wavering.

As the Household cavalry advanced down the lane their CO saw to their right the French infantry withdrawing from the village - he ordered his men to deploy and prepare to charge.

The French dragoons had advanced and then failed a command move to move forward and threaten the British cavalry.

It has to be said that what happened in the next bound couldn't have been scripted and was one of unmitigated disaster.  On the French left the Household cavalry charged a unit of wavering French infantry who had turned to face them - the French fired a volley and unseated a few riders but the Superior cavalry hit home and decimated the French infantry, breaking them and pursuing.

On the French right the Swiss and Irish had positioned themselves ready to charge the British line they had sustained some casualties but there was a good chance if they could charge home at least one British unit would break, both brigade commanders faltered and refused to move, the British facing the Irish regiments poured everything the had into them and broke both Irish regiments, likewise the lead Swiss regiment also broke.

French bad luck didn't stop there, Marshall Saxe had moved to the centre to push the Germans forward only to be struck by British shot and wounded - falling from his horse Saxe would play no further part in the battle.

Little more can be said after that, the French infantry on the left managed to break the Household cavalry but only after they had ridden down a battery of guns, the Italians in the centre were forced to retreat after three British batteries were targeted upon them.

As Saxe was escorted from the field and his commanders sought to cover their retreat little were they to know that off the port of Sittingbourne British ships and transports had been spotted.

A great and thoroughly enjoyable game even if the French almost seemed incapable of getting their act together.