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)


Bluebear Jeff said...

Sounds like an interesting skirmish.

How did you like the way your rules operated? Any tweaks that you deem necessary yet?

-- Jeff

abdul666 said...

Thanks for sharing,

Steve said...

..excellent write up - I look forward to hearing more on this project...