Jim Wannop lay on his couch beside his swimming pool. He frowned: there was surely something he had meant to do. For a while he pondered and then it came to him: "I have not given my friend Andy a good thrashing at a Seven Years War battle for some time". The scantily clad maidens attending him were dismissed, a mobile phone handed to him by his PA and arrangements made. I wasn't an eyewitness, so details may be slightly in error: any well read wargamer will be aware that, as the authorities tell us, such remarks must be taken "cum grano salo by the discerning reader".
...Following his last great victory Gouert van Erp's army seemed poised to overrun all of Hesse- Rheinfels. The Emperor, alarmed, wrote letters to the Diet. The deputies met, speeches were made, resolutions passed, motions carried: by some small miracle reinforcements and even some funds were found. Meanwhile, the victorious van Erp remained quiescent: his train had broken down. He had looted the botanical gardens at Gottingen of its finest specimens and so many wagons had been sent north with the booty to his newly acquired Dutch estate that his army was bereft of supply and the means with which to move it. This inactivity angered the Prince who, ignorant of both cause and consequence, demanded a resumption of the offensive. In response van Erp blamed and fired a few members of the commissariat whom he had found to be tiresome on matters of fiscal probity, and once some transport had returned, made his excuses and ventured to move forward.
It was time to set up a battle and this I did by placing terrain pieces in all the worst places, and then deploying two armies in no sensible order. Jim, when he arrived, indulgently refrained from comment on the dispositions so made and threw a dice to determine which army he would play: as this turned out to be the Hesse-Marburg army my narrative could proceed without difficulty.
Army of Hesse-Marburg (Gouert van Erp)
Dragoon Regt. v Platen
Fusilier Regt. Graf von Wied zu Neuwied
Infantry Regt. v Finck
Infantry Regt. Prinz von Preussen
Free Battalion Le Noble
The Hesse-Marburg artillery were not present, their horses being engaged in the transport of tulips at the time of battle.
Meanwhile, von Arlitz had only retained command of the Hesse Rheinfels army by virtue of that elderly Prince's inability to find a general who understood 'the proper use of the pike'. A consignment of that antique weapon arriving at camp was sufficient impetus for the remaining Rheinfels infantry to desert at first in ones and twos, then by company and by regiment, until von Arlitz found himself left with only Imperial infantry.
Army of Hesse-Rheinfels (Graf von Arlitz)
Reichs Infantry Regt Furstenberg
Reichs Infantry Regt Wildenstein
2 coys Karlstadter Oguliner Croats
2 guns Hesse Rheinfels artillery.
Grant rules were to be used, As usual, neither of us had read them before the battle so we were relying on our faulty memories and the recently published summary of the rules. We agreed, for the sake of simplicity, that only light infantry could enter woods as neither of us was entirely sure how other unit types interacted with bad terrain. Our excuse is that woods would be too a severe obstacle to troops as badly trained as ours, whose formations would be likely to break down completely if they had to negotiate it. Always suspicious of templates, we used Charge! rules for the artillery, but with 8" range intervals rather than the 12" intervals of the original to reflect artillery of the second grade.
...confident that their enemies were in disarray van Erp's army lunged forward with little thought of fighting an action, minding the more attractive pursuits of exacting contributions and finding comfortable billets. Van Erp was therefore fortunate that his opponent the Graf von Arlitz was preoccupied with reforming and recruiting his battered regiments. It seems that both sides neglected to send out the necessary scouts and thus, by accident, one army was able to blunder into the other while neither were in any sort of order.
to be continued....