Thursday, 24 February 2011

Battle - The Plan Unravels

If you are going to have a plan, it had better be a good plan. In this particular case, my plan was an indifferent one, and its implementation was equally lacking. The key to its chances lay in the performance of the left flank cavalry: Kurassiere Regt Hohenzollern. These worthies had the job of blocking the enemy's right wing when it tried to come to the assistance of its left: against whom the rest of my army was supposed to hurl itself.

Kurassier Regt. Hohenzollern Loses Badly

Unfortunately, van Erp chose the simple remedy of masking the Hohenzollern's by charging them with his own Dragoon regiment. As I had formed my cuirassiers into a single formation this left me with nothing to halt the progress of his remaining right flank units.

With both sides fielding twelve sabres in their front rank, it seemed to me that the melee between the Hohenzollerns and van Erp's dragoons was exactly equal. The dice, however, saw things differently and chose this moment to pass severe judgement on the relative quality of the forces of the Reichsarmee. The result was that I lost seven troopers in one round of melee without inflicting any casualties on the dragoons in return. While I couldn't blame the dice on grounds of historical authenticity I did feel rather let down by this turn of events.

Van Erp's Dragoons repeatedly charged, and although the Hohenzollerns held their own in subsequent rounds, they were finally forced off the field of battle, leaving the Dragoons still in fighting trim and positioned to the left rear of my crumbling battle line.

Preparing To Charge

Meanwhile, on the far right, my Cuirassiers had charged the enemy infantry battalion and had come off worse. It had taken some casualties from musketry as it charged and then failed miserably in the subsequent melee. I had never expected to overcome a full strength line battalion with a cavalry charge, but was hoping to enfeeble it sufficiently for my following line infantry to have little difficulty in overcoming it. In the event, the enemy infantry emerged almost unscathed while my cavalry had taken a serious knock. In subsequent turns I split the cavalry in two, one part charging to red ruin against the same infantry battalion to halt its progress for a moment, while the other part attempted to punish the enemy light infantry company that had advanced without any care for its flanks. Even here the dice throws were indifferent and the enemy light infantry survived.

With my attack plainly failing. My line infantry halted and attempted to make some form of defence. With van Erp's succours arriving from his right this was never going to last long. My artillery did finally show some fighting spirit, with a couple of sixes removing a full company of his grenadiers. But its supporting infantry proved feeble and at last the gun was overrun by a charge by his light infantry company, who took some hurt in the charge but showed the by now customary Hessian superiority in the melee. Having reached half strength, the Freikorps then withdrew taking the sole surviving gunner with them: Jim informed me they had spiked the gun although, with no-one left to man it, this mattered little. No doubt, adding insult to injury, they left behind a rude note too.

A Plan Unravelled

By this time there was no doubt that the battle was a decisive victory for van Erp, and so we halted proceedings. I could feel a little let down by the dice, but there was no doubt that van Erp richly deserved his victory. I shall console myself by reflecting that I had simulated the performance of the Reichsarmee only too well.


Jim Wannop said...

Andy, the infantry basing was so unobtrusive that it was impossible to tell they were multiply-based until the figures were picked up and inspected. Much quicker to move around the table. The cavalry could be based perhaps two to a base, with cut-outs between figures to disguise the base as for the infantry. Perhaps stagger the horses on the base slightly so they are not too regular.

tidders said...

Lovely to see your armies in action. The hex terrain looks great.