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.