Saturday, 26 January 2008

Resisting the Invaders

To Lady Olivia Omagh

I've had several frustrating days, Brigadier Digby-Smythe hasn't a clue about how to tackle the invasion. He has had us marching in all directions only to find the Frenchies marching in exactly the direction I predicted, towards Kinsale. Luckily I had forewarned the militia that this might happen and fortunately they have mustered in sufficient time and numbers to occupy an advantageous position, which should block the enemies advance.

I have great faith in my men, they have been steadfast, especially given their losses in the fighting at Haughy Point. I hope that the government will make provision for those crippled or widowed in both that and the forthcoming action. I just wish our financial position would make it possible to do something ourselves rather than depend on the whim of a Tory government.

Our troops are deployed where the road to Kinsale fords a river and then passes between woodland. We have deployed two regiments and a battery of the Kinsale Volunteer Bombardiers covering the ford, flanked by two regiments hidden in the woods to either side. We are backed up by a squadron of the Cork Yeomanry, so we are confident of resisting the French, but it will be difficult to defeat them in open ground.

I shall write as soon as I have further news.

Your loving husband

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

On the march to Kinsale

From the diaries of Captain Hoehmann.

We have started our advance on Kinsale. Our order of march is: firstly a few officers, who have managed to find mounts out in front scouting the ground; followed by a company of the light battalion; after a gap there is the Jaegers and my company from the light battalion; behind us is the 1st Regiment led by Colonel Stummel, then a collection of wagons we have collected carrying some supplies and finally the 2nd regiment following up and covering the rear. The other two light companies are covering the flanks of the advance.

Our first night was spent close to the coast and we could still communicate with the French fleet by signalling to a frigate lying close to the shore. The next day our road led inland away from the coast so we made our final signals to the fleet. Hopefully Admiral Dorschner will turn up at Kinsale once we have captured it. According to General Hoehmann we have been given sealed instructions on what action to take if this eventuallity should come to pass.

Late afternoon on the second day our scouts returned reporting the redcoats are occupying a position a few leagues hence blocking the road to our destination. They also reprot that there is no obvious detour so we will have to fight our way through. They do not appear to be as strong as us, but they are occupying a defile behind a ford, and they have both cavalry and artillery support.

Given the distance still to travel General Hoehmann has decided to wait until first light before moving out and attacking the British so we will camp in our current position for the night.

I have posted the picquets and wait for what the morrow brings..........

Friday, 18 January 2008

Change of plan

From the diaries of Captain Hoehmann.

We seem to have had a change of plan, the local harbour is too shallow to unload the majority of the ships of the expedition so only the Fundsbergers have been unloaded. Our objective is now to march eastward along the coast to take Kinsale, which has suitable harbour. This of course means that we have no artillery or cavalry to support us and our route will take us inland away from the support of the guns of the fleet.

I have discovered a bit more about our operation, apparently we should have directly attacked Kinsale, but the storm blew us to far to the west and it was thought that the British would have had warning of our approach and would be well prepared to defend Kinsale from any seaborne attack.

It's not too long a march, but we are sure the Omagh Fencibles will try and attack us, although all is quiet at the moment.

Monday, 14 January 2008

But where are we?

From the diaries of Captain Hoehmann.

This evening Surgeon extracted the bullet from my leg, luckily nothing vital was hit, but I was told to spend at least a week without putting any weight on it. Also the bruising on my upper chest means I can only take liquid sustenance at the moment.

To return to earlier today

After the battle our forces rapidly occupied the redoubt and pursued the redcoats beyond the port. My company and the rifles were left on the cliff to hold the position and secure any wounded redcoats. We collected up quite a number of the redcoats and as the only officer available I tried to interrogate them. At first most seemed to talk some sort of gibberish, nothing like English or even French or German, eventually we found one who could speak English. He revealed that we were in Ireland and that our opponents were the local militia called the Omagh Fencibles. This was quite a revelation to us as they had fought like regulars. This unit is under the command of Lord Omagh and most of the regiment had been positioned near the main beach expecting us to land there rather than attack the cliff which is called Haugheys Point.

Looking at the carnage my estimates of the militia losses were that they had lost 15% killed, and 15% seriously wounded and left behind, probably plus another 30% lightly wounded. The rifles had suffered as severely and Major Lowes's and my company had lost 5% killed, 5% seriously wounded and 10% lightly wounded.

Finally late afternoon Sargeant Schmidt returned from the port and reported that it has been secured. Even better he has brought a dog cart, which will enable me to travel more comfortably. Also he brought some of the local schnapps for the wounded. The rest of the day was spent moving the wounded down to the port.

(Note I am using my AWI campaign rules to track the strength, etc of the forces, for the next stage of the campaign I will need to produce a model of Captain Hoehmann on his dog cart)

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Take the cliff battery!

From the diaries of Captain Hoehmann.

As I lie and recover, here are my memories of an eventful day based on my observations and those of my fellow officers.

The action started quietly at first light with the Captain Barner's Jaegers clambering down the ladders into the boats and then heading off to the beach. All was quiet as they landed and I was astonished at the speed that they climbed out of the cove. The enemy seemed unaware of our action with the exception of a continuing plume of smoke from the cliff top battery, according to the French sailors this was so they could fire red hot shot on us if we attempted to enter the harbour. The boats returned and collected Major Lowe's company who were much slower in boarding than the Jaegers and had difficulty climbing the path out of the cove. Shortly before this firing had started from the cliff though we were unable to see what was happening. Captain Schmidt's company was next and they seemed to take even longer boarding and I noticed that both they and Major Lowe's company had taken a slightly different track to that used by the Jaegers. I tried to memorise the route to take with my company and then called my men to attention and emphasised the importance of reaching the top of the cliff as quickly as possible to support our fellow Frundsbergers. My message was emphasised by the sound of cannon fire from the cliff. My troops literally jumped into the boats to the consternation of the sailors and as they rowed to shore assisted in rowing, which helped as the sailors were by now quite tired.

On landing the action above was still continuing so I led my men up the route I believed the Jaegers had followed and to my amazement we arrived on the clifftop just ahead of Captain Schmidt's company.

To recap on the action on the cliff this is a composite of Captain Barner's and Major Lowe's recollections.

On reaching the cliff top with the Jaegers, Captain Barner found all quiet and they headed towards the battery with all haste and felt they would be able to take it by surprise. However just as they were nearing it, three companies of red coats burst out of the woods charging towards them. The Jaegers took aim and felled a large number of the leading company. At this point the Jaegers reloaded with ball and patch rather than a quick load with a loose ball. In retrospect this was a bad decision as the redcoats keep on coming and delivered a volley felling a number of the Jaegers before they were reloaded. At this point the Jaegers were on their own, with no sign of support, so they fell back firing as they went with the redcoats pursuing them. Just in the nick of time, The 1st company arrived and took the leftmost redcoat company in flank with a heavy volley forcing them to recoil. At the same time the rightmost redcoat company had come to a standstill due to the sustained rifle fire. It then fell back to cheers from the Jaegers, however this elation was short lived as this retreat clear a line of fire and gun from the battery fired canister into the Jaegers. Captain Barner was hit, but luckily it was only a flesh wound and he rallied his remaining men.

Major Lowe's company was involved with the leftmost redcoats and an unscathed redcoat company was heading for the Jaegers as my company came up into line. I decided that the situation required an immediate attack on the centre redcoat company, before they overwhelmed the Jaegers, so I led my company forward without deploying. To my shock the redcoats performed a parade ground turn and delivered a crushing volley felling the men to either side of me and hitting me twice in the leg and chest, the latter luckily deflected by my gorget. The respire was all the Jaegers needed and they felled the redcoats at the same time my men delivered our volley. The redcoats then turned and ran.

On our right Major Lowe had charged the redcoats facing him and driven them from the field. The remaining redcoat company decided to retire with the others given its heavy losses and seeing Captain Schmidt's company arriving. Rather than directly assault the battery the remaining Jaegers started sniping at anyone who stuck their heads above the parapet and shortly after we saw the gunners running away from the battery.

Captain Schmidt's company took the battery and found that all the guns had been spiked and that the British had the equipment for firing red hot shot ready so our efforts were not in vain.

(Note this was a first test of some skirmish rules I am developing, in a similar way to some other rules, ordinary rank and file die after 1 wound, officers after 2 and personalities after 3, luckily for Captain Hoehmann he was deemed to be a personality before the battle started.

The move sequence was my card deck and the way the cards fell was that the redcoats never moved until all 3 of their companies had arrived and on the Frundsberg side they rolled very badly on the arrival dice. The net result was the Jaegers nearly had a home run on the redoubt)