Sunday, 27 December 2009

Mustering of Colonel Homburgs Dragoons

"Well Colonel, what do you think of your unit?"

"A fine body, I must thank you Baron, and the Stadtrat, for providing me with such a well turned out unit."

"You realise that we had to cut a few corners to raise them in time"

"Yes, but you have not stinted in the things that mattered, disciplined troopers and excellent horseflesh"

"I trust you'll remember our little arrangement"

"Certainly Baron, I would have agreed to the arrangement without your offer of a generous discount on the raising fee for the regiment, but I now feel obliged to make any additional effort required"

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Frundsberg Dragoons (2)

"Sire, we have completed our assessment as to whether we can provide the Dragoons for Colonel Homburg."

Please tell us more"

"Basically dragoons do not have to be fully trained cavalry so it would not be wise to transfer any of our existing cavalry to a new unit."


"However we have the equivalent of a couple of squadrons in training and after discussing the issue with the infantry colonels I believe we can raise the same number of men from the infantry with sufficient experience of horse riding"

"Interesting, so the infantry can provide a core of expertise for dismounted operations."

"Exactly, and the two months available for training should be sufficient to bring both groups up to a common standard."

"And the officers and NCO's?"

"Far less of a problem sire, we have more than enough potential volunteers eager to see action against the Ottomans"

"And as for equipment and horses?"

"Again no problem, we have sufficient weapons in the arsenal to equip the unit, and dragoon horses are readily available from our contractors"

"Excellent, but as for the uniforms? you realise we would prefer that the unit is clearly seen as originating from us"

"That is also possible, we still have enough yellow cloth, which when combined with some surplus black lining material will make the unit sufficiently Frundsberg in appearance."

"Thank you Major Stollen, I will inform the Stadtrat and Colonel Homburg that we will proceed with raising the regiment as requested"

Monday, 14 December 2009

New Dragoons requested

A new request arrives in the Freistadt, which initially causes some confusion in the Stadtrat.

"Colonel Homburg, graciously requests the assistance of the Freistadt in the raising of a regiment of Dragoons for the service of Hesse Kassel"

"What support those mercenaries in Hesse Kassel!!"

"An outrage"

"They are up to their usual tricks"

"Gentlemen can I clarify the request, we do know the officer concerned and he was Captain Homburg of the Stocwold Horse Regiment before he was offered a position by Hesse Kassel with promotion to Major, a position for which he was well qualified but we were unable to offer at the time"

"It's still Hesse-Kassel up to its tricks and just using this man as cover"

"Gentlemen Colonel Homburg is certainly intelligent enough to see through any attempted tricks and to get involved would be counter to his calvinist upbringing"

"There's more too it than meets the eye, I'm sure of it"

"The dragoons are to be part of the Hessian contribution to the Reicharmee to help relieve Vienna and defeat the Ottomans.

"So the Hessians will just get us to do the work so that they can claim the credit"

"Colonel Homburg has noted that possibility and suggested that we equip the unit with Frundsberg uniforms"

"Seems as though this fellow is being straight with us"

"I think so gentlemen, as his promotion is to Colonel in command of this regiment and he knows that his career will be in ruins if he uses the gutter sweepings that are all that remain in Hesse after the formation of the rest of the contingent"

"It certainly seems worth considering"

"Yes, and the price is quite reasonable"

"Why not indeed"

Gentlemen shall I ask the muster-master to see if this request is feasible within our current resources and the time available?"

Chorus of "Ja"

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Battle of Slava Crossing #2

Here, from a local source, is an image showing the charge of the Lowenstein Cuirassiers.

It shows the situation just as they crested the hill in the centre of the battlefield.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Battle of the Slava crossing

(xxx-1683) Report from Colonel Sturm to the Stadtrat.

We awoke early to news from our pickets that the Ottomans had crossed the river Slava. This was dire news as so far the area of Austria in which we were moving had been spared from the depredations of the Turks. Our forces rapidly mustered, our one chance was to defeat the enemy before their whole force had crossed the river.

We approached to find a substantial body of the foe across the river, but still not in sufficient number so General Kratz ordered an immediate attack. On our left were two regiments of Austrian cuirassiers ten our brigade of foot our regiment and two Austrian regiments. In the centre was out main thrust of three regiments of cavalry drawn up in succession of lines on the right was another Austrian infantry brigade.

The Ottomans had almost reached a hill in their centre and covered the gap between it and a marsh with a regiment of Janissaries and another of Azabs. behind them were Light horse and Sipahis. On their left were just a another unit of light horse back up by more sipahis In addition more light cavalry could be seen crossing the bridge. Out artillery was positioned on the nearby hills to provide supporting fire but the Ottomans had positioned their guns to provide flanking fire from the opposite river bank.

Our force steadily advanced and the first clash occur ed between the leading Austrian dragoons and the enemy light cavalry, as expected these were routed easily, but the enemy sipahis then charged the dragoons routing them in turn, pursuing them into the gap between our centre and the right flank infantry.

This was the crisis, but the enemy had sent their right flank cavalry round the marsh to extend their line and the newly arrived light cavalry had done the same on the right. However a regiment of delis had crossed the river and was heading for the central hill.

Colonel Lowenstein then grasped the opportunity and leaving the sipahis to be deal with by the following dragoons led his men over the central hill and into the midst of the enemy.

The dragoons and infantry dealt with the sipahis before they could reach our gun line. meanwhile breasting the hill before the enemy Colonel Lowenstein saw a great target ahead the Delis were still advancing in column and the Janissaries had their flank exposed as they faced the approach of or infantry. "Vorwarts" cried Colonel Lowenstein and his men surged forward in a determined mass, causing the Jannisaries to rout, but the fanatical Delis were a bigger problem and the charge became a maelstrom of hard fought actions.

After much maneuvering the Ottoman right flank cavalry had reformed after skirting the marsh and now charged against the Austrian cuirassiers. They were well positioned and both regiments counter-charged the sipahis, who were unsupported by their light horse. Although one regiment was checked weight of numbers told and the sipahis routed. The pursuing regiment then drove straight though the enemy light horse routing them in turn.

At the same moment our cuirassiers were triumphant and routed the Delis driving them into the river.

From this point on the Ottomans on our bank of the river routed back across the bridge or attempted to swim the Slava and a great many drowned. The light horse, who were mainly Transylvanians surrendered.

This was played with the latest draft of the rules, they worked better but I still found areas to improve. Once I make the next set of updates I'll put them up on esnips.

Thanks to Paul and Daffyd for participating

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Action at Ballyboggin - part 2

From Captain Hoehmann’s discussions with Major Lowe and Captain Barner.

After discussions with the priest we assembled our men and followed him across the moonlight countryside towards Ballyboggin. We had decided that the British would be likely to expect an attack from the south, so we would concentrate our attentions on the North with the light companies all assaulting that side with the rifles covering the east to ensure that no one left to the east to warn the rest of the British forces.

We arrived rather exhausted in position outside the village just before dawn and the priest took his leave to try and raise the locals in our support. The lights advanced cautiously but despite their best endeavours a sentry spotted them just before they crossed the final hedgerow before the village and fired raising the alarm.

It then appeared that the two closest houses in the village were held by the militia and they were well prepared to defend them against the advance of the first and second companies the third company meanwhile with further to cover attempted to flank these buildings to the west. The first two companies were now caught in disadvantageous combat with the militia and the rifles attempted to outflank the buildings on the east.

As they just came into position to outflank the buildings they were surprised by a charge of the dragoons on foot with drawn sabres and beat a hasty retreat to some nearby woods. The dragoons then unslung their muskets and proceeded to inflict more casualties on the first light company, which then withdrew behind a hedge. Meanwhile second company had suffered severe losses attempting to entry the village and had pulled back entirely from the action.
Meanwhile the third light company had advanced steadily but found the building ahead to have been occupied by militia following the alarm and therefore just traded fie with them while looking for an opportunity to enter the village.

It was at this point when all seemed bleak and Major Lowe was considering withdrawal that the British were confronted with a new attack from the south led by the priest. All the British forces were deployed to the north defending the village against our troops. So immediately two militia companies were ordered to save the wagons and moved to head off the villagers. Given the proximity of the wagons the militia charged rather than relying on musketry and this was their downfall. The villagers were mostly armed with scythes and pikes with a few assorted firearms so they were better suited to hand to hand combat. Led by the priest who did personally smite several militiamen with his cross the two companies of militia were routed.

Te departure of the militia company to defend the wagons allowed the third light company to outflank the militia company that had just driven off the second company and rout it. Meanwhile the rifles had position themselves to make better use of their weapons and were taking an increasing toll of the dragoons who then fell back into the nearest building.

So the British were left holding the two buildings at the eastern end of the village, but it was still likely to be a hard struggle to eliminate them. It was at this point that the villagers set light to the wagons in the west of the village, luckily for them the ammunition wagon was to the east so they unaffected by the blast when the fire spread to the ammunition. The wagon was just next to the two building held by the British and the explosion killed or badly maimed all the occupiers.

As a result the day was ours and although a lot of good men had died, the wagons were destroyed, we had secured the dragoons horses and the remaining militia had been put to flight with little chance of rallying. Some must have escaped to the east, but this can only dishearten the British forces.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Action at Ballyboggin - part 1

Captain Hoehmann awoke with a start as a large explosion shattered the dawn silence. Within moment he recalled the events of the previous night and considered the sound to be good news.

The previous night most officers were mustered in the general’s tent discussing the actions of the day and the prospects for the morrow, when the adjutant looked into the tent and asked the General if he could reveal some recent intelligence. The general immediately asked for a report.

The adjutant explained that a local priest had appeared at the piquet lines in some distress and was brought to him to be interrogated. The priest was from a village to the north called Ballyboggin and a British column had just stopped there for the night. In between the continual expressions of outrage he revealed that an enemy column of militia and regular dragoons had quartered themselves on the village and indulged in various unmentionable acts, of which the worst was the quartering of the dragoon’s horses in the church. He is willing to guide us to his village and he considers that this would be a holy act. As he calmed down he revealed that the enemy strength was around four companies of militia quartered in various houses and a squadron of dragoons in the church. There is also a wagon train, which the British are extremely worried about any nearby spark or flame, which must indicate ammunition wagons. The Priest was offering to lead them back to his village to inflict divine retribution.

The General then asked if the priest seemed genuine, and the adjutant said that such fury could not falsified. To the officers as a whole the general said that this was grave news as with these reinforcements would strengthen the main enemy body to an overwhelming extent and the presence of regular dragoons would cause problems given our lack of cavalry.

Captain Barner of the Rifles then stated that he was prepared to attempt a surprise attack if any other commander would support him. Major Lowe of the Light Battalion said he was prepared to try the endeavour. Before others could volunteer, the general thanked the two officers for their offer, as they were the most capable of conducting such an operation.

General Hoehmann then announced that Major Lowe with three light companies and Captain Barner’s rifles would attempt to defeat the enemy column in Ballyboggin in particular aiming at the destruction of the enemy dragoons and if possible the wagon train. The remaining company of light infantry would provide a camp guard that night. The whole force would muster at first light and be prepared to march to the support of the lights should this prove necessary. “Now bring in the priest” he commanded. The priest was brought in but he was not overawed by the gathering, he just blessed the gathering before confronting the General and asking if he would “cleanse the unbelievers from the temple” in Latin and then English. General Hoehmann affirmed that he would help and introduced Major Lowe and Captain Barner to the priest. He also asked what assistance the priest could provide.

He was quite happy to guide the troops across the hills to Ballyboggin as there was still enough moonlight left and he also thought he might be able to rouse the villagers to attack the British as well.

The assembly was then dismissed leaving the General, the Major and Captain discussing the details of the operation with the priest.

Monday, 25 May 2009

General Hoehmann arrives

Following confirmation by the Hofkreigsrat in Vienna, General Hoehmann II has arrived in Italy, to take command of the Frundsberg forces now operating in this theatre.

Those with long memories may recall General Hoehmann's exploits in the AWI campaign in Ireland under the command of his father.

Friday, 27 February 2009

Battle at Alexandro

Just a week after the last action at Campo Formagio, French and Austrian forces again clashed at about divisional level near Alexandro. This time there was no clear cut victor and both forces found themselves occupying their original positions at nightfall. The Austrian Jaegers seeing action for the first time advanced into a wood only to be set upon by twice their number of French voltigeurs and lost any advantage that might have been gained with their longer ranged weapons.

Over on the Austrian right the single Austrian battalion supported by the Frundsberg Radstadt Light Dragoons was attacked by two newly arrived Polish battalions supported by some French chasseurs a cheval. The Austrians resisted valiantly , but their Frundsberg supports were routed. However the Frundsberg Stocwold Horse that had been held in reserve drove off the hussars. At this point calamity struck and French dragoons that had penetrated the centre swept round and combining with a renewed Polish assault resulted in the annihilation of the Austrian battalion that had fought so valiantly and the capture of its colours and many of it's men.

Meanwhile in the woods between left and centre the Frundsberg II/4 and an Austrian grenadier Battalion entered the woods to clear out the French voltigeurs.

The left was generally quiet until some French hussars advanced and the Austrian hussars and dragoons attacked and drove them off. However the French dragoons that had been in reserve covering this flank and the centre had now switched into the centre and in combination with their infantry launched a combined arms attack.

The centre had started quiet except for the concentration of french artillery fire, supported by more French voltigeurs occupying the marsh to their front on the Austrian battalion in the centre of the line which was forced to withdraw and reform. At this point French cavalry and infantry launched an attack that succeeded in shattering the line and driving through. As already mentioned one unit of dragoons circled around to take the Austrian right flank in the rear. while a french infantry battalion took the opportunity to attack another Austrian infantry regiment that had formed square.

All seemed lost, however the victorious cavalry returned from the left flank the dragoons surprised the french infantry column before it could fully exploit its success. The hussars with their greater pace moved further and assaulted the rear of the French dragoons while the Stocwold Horse engaged them to their front. The combined assault succeeded it forcing the trapped dragoons to lay down their arms.

meanwhile over on the weakened left flank fresh French infantry launched an assault assisted by the voltigeurs from the marsh and the returning hussars, somehow the Austrian/Frundsberg line managed to hold. But in the centre there were continued attacks and the second French dragoon unit inspired by the leadership of General De Bonnaire crashed upon the reforming Austrian line, while the Poles and Chasseurs a cheval broke the Frundsberg II/4 and the artillery supporting them. The Austrians facing De Bonnair were made of sterner stuff and drove off the dragoons and the body of the general could be clearly seen amongst the bodies.

On the left the spirit seemed to have departed the French infantry and most withdrew to reform so the Austrian battalion took the opportunity to attack the remaining formed french battalion and drove it off as well. In combination with this thrust the Austrian Leichtenstein hussars drove off their French equivalents and the Frundsberger II/3 advanced on the voltigeurs in the marsh causing them to withdraw. This just left the chasseurs a cheval in the centre who were dealt with by the three fold attack by the Stocwold Horse and two Austrian battalions who then fled to the safety of their own lines.

With darkness approaching and both armies quite depleted by the fighting combat ceased with both armies holding their original positions.

The was a real pell-mell battle with lots of situations to test the French Revolution rules.

After the last game I had decided to re-instate 2nd cavalry charges, but with a 50/50 rule that they either pursued or could charge again. This worked well, but I need to document how to deal with some of the possible cases where a unit gets in the direct way of the rout/pursuit.

Similarly the option for evading needs to be incorporated from my SYW rules.

The actions of De Bonnaire in inspiring the dragoons was astounding, his +1 was just what was need to enable the dragoons to ride through a storm of fire from the defending battalion, although he was wounded at this stage. very lucky dice rolls saw the Austrian infantry drive off the dragonns in melee and to compound it De Bonnaire was killed.

So over the next week or so I'll formalise the rules and post up a first draft for those who might be interested.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Battle of Campo Fomagio

Following on from the success at Cochina, the Austrian forces followd up and the next battle was a division sized action at Campo Formagio.  Both armies were well matched about a division in strength.  II/1 and II/2 infantry regiments, the jaeger battalion and two squadrons each of the light dragoons and Sommerland horse. 

The line infantry saw little action, however the light dragoons and horse squadrons acquitted themselves magnificently as they first repulsed the French attacks and they led the counter attack that secured victory.  The jaegers were split between the two flanks and on the left they participated in a spoiling attack in conjunction with the Austrian Hussars, which although initially successful was driven off by larger French forces.  

However the effect of this intervention was to weaken the French main effort directed at the Austrian right where all their cavalry had been massed.  The Artillery and the Frundsberg LD managed to reach a dominating hill before this wave of horsemen arrived and drove them back in fine style.  The French then threw everything on this flank into the fray and for a moment a breakthrough looked possible as an Austrian infantry battalion routed.  This specific thrust by the French dragoons was ably stopped by the second Austrian battalion supported by the Frundsberg Jaegers.  Meanwhile on Austrian extreme right the French commander launched his light infantry in a spoiling attack, but the Austrian grenadiers and the Frundsberg horse sent them routing back towards the safety of some woods.  Further operations caused the remaining French forces to conduct a fighting a fighting withdrawal

As mentioned in dispatches the Frundsberg Light Dragoons captured General de Brigade Bonadventure as he led the French Hussars into combat,  subsequently General de Brigade Malvent was killed while leading the light infantry against the Austrian grenadiers.  50% command looses seem to be becoming the norm for the French command (perhaps it is the threat of the mobile guillotine that accompanies the French army HQ)

Note that as play test second cavalry charges were not used to judge the reduction of effect.  If they had been retained then the French defeat would have been quicker and not so certain.  However it did leave some anomalies and for the next game I will test a 50/50 rule of "pursuit" or second charge.  The reason for not making these changes in the AWI rules is the much lower number of cavalry normally involved.

I had hoped to post a map of the deployment, but I'm running a bit behind at present.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

More Frundsberg Reinforcements

Following their success at Cochina, the Imperial forces were surprised my the arrival of additional reinforcements transferred from the Danube front. Perhaps the rumours that the Corsican Ogre was now commanding the French was true.
The greater surprise was the transfer of the three remaining second battalions of the Frundsberg regiments serving on the Danube front plus a Jaeger battalion This means that the Frundsberg forces are almost equally split between the two fronts.
Here is a picture of the Frundsberg Infantry remustering after arrival in Italy.
To their left slightly in view are the Austrian Grenadiers who accompanied them (link)

Friday, 6 February 2009

Frundsbergers strike the first blow in Italy

Yesterday the Frundsberg cavalry are artillery lead the Austrian forces to victory in the battle of Cochina. The light cavalry moving swiftly followed by the heavy cavalry swept around the village of Cochina and routed the French hussars opposing them. This put the whole French advance out of gear. The Cavalry concentrated on the French main body, which allowed the French Light Infantry to occupy part of Cochina. Further successes followed for the cavalry, including the rout of more French Light cavalry an artillery battery and an infantry battalion. However exhaustion and French weight of numbers eventually forced the Frundsbergers to rapidly fall fall behind Cochina.

The effect of this action was the massive delay caused to the French main body and thereby enabling overwhelming numbers of Austrian infantry to capture Cochina and establish an unassailable hold on the village.

The Frundsberg Artillery played it's part by occupying a commanding hill and providing long range artillery support to the forces attacking Cochina and breaking up French attacks.