Friday, 30 April 2010

Next Plans

As they regrouped in the high woods Ilse called a staff conference “Well gentlemen we did well today, but we need to continue the pressure to assist our compatriots to the north. Now before I ask for ideas, here is the situation as far as I know it.

Firstly the French have taken Fromel and also Bratfurt, this gives them the option of striking up either bank of the Flussweih. We have no definite information on which option they will choose, but my father’s forces will certainly delay any attempt to move up the left bank”

“OK, so today we have attacked the French on the march so they will improve their march discipline and not leave such large gaps between their units leaving them unsupported. We need a new trick to catch them unawares?”

“If I may” answered Friedrich “I don’t know the area but isn’t our problem the presence of the French cavalry, my men can help, but they will always outnumber us, unless we distract them away from where we strike”

Captain Olley waved and then spoke “We need to distract them in one direction and then strike at another point. Now look at the map, Beckdorf is where the road splits north to Sonnenbad and east to Bratfurt. But to the southwest it passes through dense woodland. We could ambush the French rearguard there, but only after distracting the French cavalry to a point beyond the ambush”

“Yes!” exclaimed Captain Von der Hyde. “we have quite a number of woodsmen in our ranks, we can fell trees to block to road and prevent the cavalry from returning”

After some debate a plan was agreed and the forces made an initial advance towards Berkdorf while there was still light and settled down in the neighbouring villages. Before departing Ilse wrote a quick despatch and passed it to Friedrich “Could one of your men deliver this to my father as I can’t spare either of our scouts, and thanks for your careful comments in the discussion, they need to believe that it’s their idea.

“Indeed, I’ll send young Hugo again, he certainly has a knack for finding his way around”

“Like their commander, thanks Friedrich”

Thursday, 29 April 2010

The battle on the road to Fromel (5)

Friedrich rode up to Lieutenant von Pilsner “Well Hans, it looks like we’ve got a problem, the odds don’t look good and we have to give the militia time to get back to the woods”
At that moment the full squadron of Chasseurs rode into view. Standing up in his saddle Friedrich called out “Right lads, let’s deal with them before they are fully deployed, Charge!!”

The Freihussaren gave a loud cheer and charged towards the French whose lead troop promptly countercharged. Both sides slowed before impact and the combat turned into a confused swordfight before both sides fell back to reform.

This is it thought Friedrich as the second troop wheeled into line alongside their comrades. However for some reason they hesitated (*) allowing the Freihussaren to withdraw a certain distance.
The French chasseurs advanced forward as a mass, obviously waiting for the right moment to strike. Meanwhile over in the east the rest of the Freihussaren retired while covering the retreat of the militia in the face of the building numbers of French infantry.

Ilse was with the bombardier “Are you sure this will work?”
“Yes Milady, I’ve not done this all my life to fail now. Then making a final check, he discharged the mortar. The wagon body rocked, but the shot flew high and true landing among the French Chasseurs, causing consternation just as they were about to charge.
Grasping the opportunity presented Friedrich ordered an immediate retreat back to the woods. He did this knowing that the Freishutze were already back in the woods and hopefully could cover his retreat.
Note(*) both troops would charge on a roll of anything but a 1. They rolled two 1's so neither troop charged.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

The battle on the road to Fromel (4)

If it was not for the arrival of French reinforcements then it would have been a simple mopping up operation.
The eastern Freishutze detachment was the first to react to the threat even as the recall signal was sounded by Marulaz. He had been left with Ilse as Friedrich went to join his westernmost troop as soon as he heard the French cavalry was also arriving from that direction. The Freishutze quickly moved to a convenient hedgerow where they opened fire on the advancing French.

However the French kept on coming and charged the hedgerow. Wisely the Freishutze fell back, but only so far so they could continue to cover the retreat. Meanwhile Lieutenant von Zendabrau had seen the opportunity co can the French unawares while they where still in column. Swing out from behind the woods they charged for the nearest French column, only to recoil in the face of disciplined fire.

At the same time the Freishutze came under heavy fire as they were still in musket range and seeing the French already manoeuvring to flank them they fled back towards the shelter of the woods. This just left the Freihussaren to cover the retreat and luckily the French didn’t have any cavalry on this flank, although infantry continued to return from the east.
Meanwhile now safe from the attentions of the enemy, Major Kazinski began to rally his Poles.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

The battle on the road to Fromel (3)

With the breaking of the central French company the way was open and Major Grabner led his men forward, the French were now very vulnerable
Seeing the French is total disarray Friedrich ordered his men forward to cover their flanks but almost immediately a member of the Aufklarungskorps arrived from the east with the news that French troops were already returning and in some strength. Ilse paused and decided to wait for a moment, before sounding the recall

In the open ground Major Grabner saw his chance and sent his militia forward against the French, who despite their position behind the hedgerow were easily flanked by the central companies, some of whom who took delight in setting fire to the French baggage in passing.

The lead company then fled as they spotted the flanking manoeuvre. Almost at the same time another shell hit the rearguard company killing its commander and also causing a rout.

Monday, 26 April 2010

The battle on the road to Fromel (2)

Under the command of Major Kazinski the Polish second battalion marched along the road to Fromel unaware of the forces gathered in the woods to their north.

Meanwhile Friedrich was puzzling about what was the signal for the militia to attack the convoy, but then he heard a muffled explosion and something flew overhead and then landed squarely in the middle of a French company and exploded causing chaos.

At once the militia stormed forwards from their hiding places in the woods with two companies heading for the French centre and a company of each flank supported by a half company of Freishutze. Friedrich’s men were to keep hidden until needed as the French were bound to fall back into the tangled terrain south of the road if they saw cavalry.

The French companies wheeled into line intent on covering the wagons. For a while they firmly held their ground then the eastern company fell back behind a neighbouring hedge leaving some wagons exposed to fire. The rifles gradually picked off members of the baggage train causing them to ride south off the road in panic.

In the centre Major Grabner led his two companies forward in the face of heavy French fire. Although one company attacking frontally was stalled the other swung into the French flank precipitating a rout.

Over in the west the French rearguard was putting up a ferocious defense while gradually withdrawing towards the hedgerows. Nothing seemed to discomfort it, until the mortar found the range. At that point shells rained down on the company causing it to break.

Meanwhile Colonel Anjou had heard the sounds of battle and immediately reversed his order of march.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

The road to Fromel (1)

As the sky began to lighten the Frundsbergers began to move out of Hexengrube, their route was along the various tracks through the wooded slopes of the Pidnem hills. In front Feishutze and a couple of members of the aufklarungskorps checked the ground, but all was calm, even when they crossed the Welle to Pappenheim road. Ilse stayed behind at this point to make sure that all signs of their passing were hidden. After a couple of hours they arrived at a point overlooking the road from Welle to Fromel. It was still quiet and the troops settled down for a breakfast of bread and the local Hecdar cheese.

As the sun rose French cavalry appeared on the road below, checking that the route was clear. Ilse meanwhile was engaged in conversation with an old bombardier who had accompanied the force with an equally ancient cart.

Wondering what Ilse could possibly have to discuss with the old man, Friedrich was alerted as a large body of French cavalry passed along the road. There were both dragoons and heavy cavalry, so it was clear that the French effort was directed eastwards.

As Ilse joined him at the vantage point a large column of French infantry appeared marching either side of the road while artillery moved along the road itself. After 20 minutes a member of the Aufklarungskorps reported that gap had appeared and that the next part of the column was the baggage escorted by a battalion of infantry. Ilse sent messages to the various companies to make ready.


Genral Bercollin woke up refreshed, feeling that the campaign was at last under his control. After a substantial breakfast he left Welle with Twyth, passing the baggage train escorted by the Poles, then the Legere and finally caught up with the cavalry as they entered Fromel.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Assistance at last

As Hans rode south he hoped that it would not be too long before he encountered Imperial troops heading north to deal with the French river crossing. But as the leagues passed he began to despair of any assistance appearing to assist his homeland. Nearing the end of a long days ride he crested a rise to find himself suddenly surrounded by Frundsberg cavalry. Luckily he was recognised and immediately taken to see Colonel Meyer.

“That is excellent news” exclaimed the Colonel after Hans explained that the Bruckewasser bridge was intact. “However I’m not sure how far behind are the rest of the Imperial forces. I’ll send a courier back immediately. Do you think we’ll have any problem with the Pommaine forces reforming in Bruckewasser?”

“No sir, the man currently in charge is a friend of Frundsberg and will help us as much as possible; however the French have stripped the town and immediate area bare of supplies”

“Interesting, therefore we should get prepared for a couple of days of limited supplies before we advance tomorrow”

“Captain, send out patrols to the local communities offering cash payment for supplies delivered to our forces at Adsburg by 8 o’clock tomorrow morning or after that on the road to Bruckewasser.”

Captain Donop of the Light Dragoons saluted and went to organise the patrols, pleased to know that the French were not present and therefore that his patrols could therefore travel faster and cover more ground.

“Now I understand you are one of Major Von Barner’s men”

“With your pardon sir, the Major is now a Colonel commanding our forces against the French.
“That is good news, no wonder the French progress is so slow, you must tell as much as possible about what is happening”


The troops would have a slightly easier easier day since Adsburg was only an hour’s march away and therefore have chance to recover from the last few days fast marching.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Hexengrube (3)

As he arrived at the Headquarters for dinner Friedrich was surprised to find that all the militia officers were present and that this would be a working dinner discussing the plans for the next day.

The dinner was very much a hearts and minds event with Ilse convincing the militia commanders that despite the French change of direction nothing had fundamentally changed in their actions. Dinner closed with general agreement that they would move at first light along the minor trails below the Pidnem hills to a point where they could strike at the French column heading for Fromel if the opportunity presented itself.

Ilse seemed to be in her element both in her emotional appeal for action combined with the power of her logic. Whenever possible, Friedrich supported her “commands”, which seemed both prudent and militarily necessary.

With the close of the discussion, the officers gradually left leaving only Ilse and Friedrich both explained their activities over the last few days. “But what of Hans?” queried Friedrich?
Ah well, once we secured the eastern district of Bruckewasser I sent Hans south to contact the Imperial forces and inform them that the route was open. I left our friend there reorganising the defences, he had managed to find a sufficient number of the militia to at least bring order back to the town.

The conversation continued…………

Thursday, 15 April 2010

On to Fromel

Just after first light the French forces under Colonel Jolais mustered and marched northwards out of Welle but reaching the cross road were directed eastwards towards Fromel. They had only been marching for a half hour when the cathedral bells began to ring. In Welle, General Bercollin sent Twyth to investigate. “I don’t care what excuse they have just prevent them from doing this again”

The bell ringers claimed it was just their regular early morning practice and were dismayed when Twyth ordered the bell ropes cut.

Over in Hexengrube the pattern of the bells was noted.

Ilse called on Friedrich“ the message from our agents in Welle is that the French are heading east. So we need to quickly double check on their activity on the hills. Can you send a small patrol to check, they just need to back track through the Hecdar gorge.” Seeing Friedrich’s puzzled face she added “It’s the route you used yesterday”

Friedrich called for Lieutenant von Pilsner “Hans, take three men and check on the activity on the Pidnem hills, in particular check if Colonel Von Barner is still occupying the same position."

Hans rode back up the gorge they had descended yesterday, but before they emerged onto the open ground at the top of the ridge he pulled up into a copse so they could observe safely. He reached into is saddlebag and drew out a telescope that had been a present from the Reich Duke Wilhelm just before he left.. In was no use, he couldn’t see any clearer using the device than with his normal eyesight.

“Can I help sir” said Render Fhartz “ I have some experience in using these things”

“Certainly you may try”

“Ah sir, there is condensation inside we just need to leave the telescope in the sun for a while for it to warm up”

“Thank you Fhartz, can you see any significant French activity?”

“No sir, just the odd French patrol. I thought they were marching this way?”

“It seems they have other plans” the lieutenant picked up the telescope “It seems the Colonel is still in position. What do you think Fhartz?”

Taking the telescope Fhartz exclaimed “Yes sir, I can still see the flag in the same position as when we left”

There will now be a pause as I'm off to Triples tomorrow and also visiting a few English Heritage sites in the area in passing. If you are at Triples then pop by and say hello. I'll be on the Lance & Longbow stand on Saturday wearing a black Deeside Defenders shirt.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Hexengrube (2)

Now, welcome to our camp” explained Ilse. “It’s a hidden valley not far from Welle, a place of legend. I think you know all of the Militia commanders. Major Grabner is the official commander but he will follow my orders. Now what I intend to do is to strike wherever the French leave themselves exposed, which I know is my father intention. Wherever they march they cannot cover all of their flanks and rear and we have the advantage of knowing the terrain and the back paths. Tonight we have arranged a minor raid on one of their outposts, while some trusted men penetrate into Welle to find out the French plans.”

“So my men have a chance to rest after their exertions yesterday” asked Friedrich.

“Of course, but I expect the French movements to become clear tomorrow so I need them ready to act. Also in case of trouble I’d like half of your men on standby as we will continue tormenting the French outposts.”

“So how will you do that?”

“A number of small parties consisting of a couple of Freishutze plus a dozen militia will advance towards the French picquet lines using the orchard, vineyards and hedgerow to remain unseen. The militia will take up a backstop position and cover the advance of the Freishutze. The Freishutze will then pick off any visible Frenchmen. If the French react then the rifles will retire back past the militia position and if the French follow then the militia will give fire before withdrawing. The slight risk is if the French attack in strength then we might have to make a stand and your cavalry may be needed to cover a withdrawal.”

“Very good, I’ll make Lieutenenat Zendabrau’s troop available.”

“Oh and you will be joining me for dinner?”

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Hexengrube (1)

Emerging from a valley at the foot of the slopes Friedrich wondered how anyone would know that there was a route through the gorge. In a short time they found the Welle to Burndorf road and turned toward Welle. After half an hour their guide turned off along a minor road heading north back to the hills.

Shortly after they were challenged by a militia sentry and told to proceed on to the hamlet. Emerging from the surrounding trees the Freihussaren found themselves in a natural bowl with cliffs forming three sides. There were plenty of militiamen around and as they entered the hamlet they were directed to the command post. As they rode up to an old manor house Friedrich was surprised to see Ilse emerge with a number of militia officers.

“Welcome Friedrich, I’m glad father sent you, we need some cavalry to assist us. Now come inside and discuss plans while your men rest”

“Well I do have a prisoner, that I need to interrogate first” pointing out his captive.

“Oh Lieutenant Raymond Blanc, I thought he was safely in a prison camp. He looks injured, have you men take him over to the priory, the nuns there will sort out his wounds. You probably haven’t heard about the escape from the prison camp at Priddy. It was a nuisance but most of the prisoners have now been rounded up.”

Ilse walked off towards the headquarters and Friedrich observed the change in her appearance, her hair was tied back and she wore the ordinary clothes of a Freishutze but the attitude of the militia indicated that she was the one in charge here.

Monday, 12 April 2010

A quick descent

Just before dawn the Freihussaren set out crossing just to the north of the previous days combat, all was quiet and a thin mist muffled most sounds. After an hour the guide turned sharply and within ten minutes they were descending a narrow road between steep cliffs. Looking up Seamus O’Malley scanned the slopes for any enemy, he was certainly a lot more cautious now.

Raymond had woken shivering in the early morning chill. Remembering his directions, as he had marked out the position of the pole star before settling down for the night, he headed south, finding that the ground became very steep and there were no obvious routes down. As he pondered his next action, he heard the sounds of horses below. Holding onto a stout sapling he leaned forward to see who was there, perhaps a French cavalry patrol? The sapling suddenly gave way and he tumbled down the slope.

Seamus was shocked as he heard a loud crack above him and then a shower of rocks descended the slopes. “Ready your carbines” shouted Sergeant Rhetz. But before he could pull out his carbine a body hit the ground in front of Seamus with a crunch. Sergeant Rhetz was almost as fast “Check it out O’Mally. The rest of you keep watch on the slopes”

Seamus dismounted and on checking found he had an unarmed French infantry officer with a broken leg and his appearance looked like he had been lost for a while. “I think I’ve got a live one, Sergeant”

At that moment Lieutenant Von Zenderbrau rode up “Let’s keep moving” he spoke quietly as if they would be overheard “put the Frenchman on one of the spare horses and keep moving. We’ll sort out who he is later”

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Council of War (2)

In the middle of the cathedral close.

“Right Gentlemen, I have convened this conference here as there is no risk of us being overheard or Twyth being distracted by serving wenches” opened General Bercollin.

We appear to have a problem, despite our success today, thanks to Colonel Letort’s cavalry; it looks like our options are limited. The enemy main body is obviously covering the direct route to Sonnenbad. If we attack that way, I expect them to conduct the same form of delaying defence as we have seen in the Sommerland making the best defensive use of the valleys and ridges to delay our advance.

My immediate instinct would be to strike direct for Pappenheim, while part of our force blocks any attempt by the enemy to disrupt our advance. But as you are aware we find ourselves with limited ammunition due to some criminals tampering with our powder supplies. I have asked Representative Laine to institute immediate investigations as to the cause once we can communicate with Paris. This means that we cannot consider a siege of Pappenheim.

Therefore I propose that we strike east into Iserwelt and secure the bridge across the Flussweih at Bratfurt. This has two advantages, firstly we can find more supplies in areas not cleared by the enemy and secondly it will move us over to the north bank of the Flussweih, which means we are on the correct side of the river to strike at Sonnenbad.

Messieurs, breathe not a word of this to anyone as we want the advantage of surprise. Colonel Jolais your troops will lead, with two squadrons of Hussars in support. Speed is of the essence, so Beau prepare your men, but convince them we are about to strike north.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

A New Mission

Still suffering from a sabre cut to his leg, that he received in the last melee of the battle, Friedrich reported to Colonel Von Barner once his squadron had rallied back to the main force.

Well Friedrich, your troops did well, but they still lack sufficient experience” opened the Colonel “so I have decided that the best is for them to operate on the flanks and rear of the French army. By this means they will tie up much greater numbers of the enemy cavalry and also embolden the militia operations”

“Although I agree sir, will this not weaken your forces too much?”

“Yes and no, it’s a balanced risk. Our forces will only occupy strong defensive positions and there are limits to what the enemy can achieve on this terrain.”
“Very good sir, so what do you have in mind?”

“Right a member of the Aufklarungskorps will lead your men by one of the side roads down from the hills and then to the rendezvous point with the militia at Hexengrube. From there I expect you to strike repeatedly at the flanks and rear of their army.“

“But be careful Friedrich, listen to local advice, and don’t rely on your military rank to inspire the militia”

“Yes sir, when should we leave?”

“Just before dawn so you won’t be spotted when you cross the main Welle to Pappenheim road.”

Friday, 9 April 2010

Council of War (1)

Colonel Letort left his men to reform under the command of Major Dubonnet and rode back to Welle with Twyth. Arriving at headquarters he stormed in all prepared to give vent to his feelings. Instead he found General Bercollin shouting at the Representative en Mission. “Just so I understand this properly, the men you arrested were trying to prevent damage to church property”

“Yes, I ordered the destruction of the symbols of religious oppression”

“And who was carrying out these orders”

“Members of the 17ieme Légère”

“And who placed these men under your command?”

“I took command as they were available”

“Did you not realise that they were supposed to be fighting the Frundsbergers at the time”

“No, but……”

Your role, representative is to support the execution of the war and report on how it is conducted. Not to disrupt it or interfere in the chain of command. I will submit a report to Paris on your conduct."

“But the prisoners need to be executed and part of La Veuve is missing”

“I am not wasting any time looking for your spare parts, my officers and I have to discuss ways of defeating the enemy.”

Thursday, 8 April 2010

A welcome arrival?

An unusually flustered Stammpot rushed into General Wurst’s room “Sir, a heavily armed barge has expectedly sailed up river and is requesting permission to land”

“Very well Stammpot, I assume that the militia are mustering, the guns have it covered and the red hot shot is being heated”

“Yes all that is in progress Sir”

“Well let’s go and see what’s happening”

The General escorted by Stammpot and a squad of the Stabskompanie made his way towards the docks and saw the barge coming to rest in the main dock. Two companies of militia were formed up along the wharf and smoke could be seen rising from the nearby gun towers.

A large ruddy faced man shouted out “Permission to come ashore?” and without waiting for a response swung himself down by a loose halyard and strolled over to the General.

“Jens Gobrad at your service. I heard that you were having some problems so I have recruited some assistance in Rotterdam on my way here”

“General Wurst, I am in command here and this is my aide Captain Stammpot. But how do you know of our problem and how do we know we can trust you?”

“Well General, it was in the last letter from my betrothed, Bettina Von Barner, she said a French invasion was imminent and I read that the French had crossed the river in the papers while I was in Rotterdam.”

“That’s good enough for me” “Stammpot stand the men down” “Now what have you brought me?”

“Well there’s a lot of out of work sailors in Rotterdam so I’ve raised a company of men capable of handling heavy artillery”

“Excellent now let’s get your men ashore and settled in.”

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Cavalry Action at Towench (6)

Colonel Letort watched with satisfaction the crushing of the Frundsberg cavalry, now where was the infantry? He was about to send in the Dragoons to finish off the enemy when Twyth rode up. “So where’s the infantry?”

“I’m sorry but despite our best intentions they are pillaging Welle, hopefully a Line battalion will arrive within an hour"

“An hour, I need them now, when we have them at our mercy”

“Agreed Colonel and that was the General‘s intention”

Suddenly a flurry of movement occurred, the Hussars had spotted the Frundsberg artillery retiring down the road and had immediately charged them. A ragged ineffectual volley from the village had no effect on the charge, but the gunners just calmly unlimbered and fired canister at point blank range shredding the ranks of the hussars and driving the remainder back.

“Now look at that Twyth, with just a few infantry we could have captured them, now they can just slink away to their next position”

In the distance a bedragled man emerged from a wood and was amazed and pleased by the noise of battle. His comrades were obviously winning, but then all effort seemed to cease, despite the enemy retiring from the field. They were so near, but it was such a long stretch of open ground to cover and where the Frundsbergers had cavalry there could easily be Freishutze in hiding. Knowing it was just a matter of time before he could reach safety Lieutenant Blanc headed south through the woods intending to swing east back towards the French lines the next morning.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Cavalry Action at Towench (5)

The action had become general with troops attacking rallying then counter attacking in all directions with the French having fed in a squadron of hussars to replace some missing chasseurs. The beginning of the end occurred when the French Heavy Cavalry squadron advanced on a single troop of Frundsberg Light Dragoons, quite sensibly they fled from the position evading their malevolent intentions. The pressure mounted and Lieutenant Pilsner's troop was broken followed by the rest of the Light Dragoons.

As Friedrich led his men forward to stem the rout, his ranks were broken up by the fleeing dragoons and then the French Hussars were among them, after a brief struggle his men routed and Friedrich followed nursing a bad cut to his right leg.

Luckily one Light Dragoon troop had managed to reform to so it immediately charged some of the pursuing hussars. As the attack came from a flank it was immediately successful. Moments after this brief coup they came up against the French Heavy Cavalry and were routed.

However the brief pause allowed some more of the light dragoons to rally and the remaining hussars had fallen back, allowing the Fundsbergers some semblance of a managed withdraw.


In the meantime all had not been quiet in the village of Towench. Now that the baggage was clear Major Liebnitz ordered the artillery to fall back. By this time more French Hussars were skirting around the village threatening to cut off their withdrawal.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Cavalry Action at Towench (4)

Observing the French advance, Friedrich was unsurprised at the effect of the artillery fire on the French cavalry, but they seemed to be rallying quickly and there was still the main body behind them. The successive blasts of artillery fire reduced the impact of the French charge to a single troop, but this body carved it’s way through the light dragoons facing them causing a major breach in the line. Turning to Lieutenant Von Pilsner he called out, “Hans, charge those Frenchmen penetratating the line.”

At that same moment Major Kummel had signalled a general advance and the three remaining troops of light dragoons charged their French counterparts. Only one troop remained in reserve.

The attack had mixed results with the Frundsberg light dragoons victorious in the east and the French in the west. But the central troop and the Freihussaren were held with both themselves and the French rallying back. The victorious French troop also didn’t follow through but also rallied back to reform.

The French reinitiated the combat with the Frundsberg horse who counter charged back. This time the Freihussaren had the benefit of their better mounts and their momentum broke up the French chasseurs opposing them. The combat degenerated into a series of separate combats. Rhender Fhartz was in the thick of one and ducked just as a heavy sabre swept over his head. In response Render simply thumped his opponent with the back of his sword since he was badly positioned for anything else. He felt a satisfying blow and looked round to see a French officer tumbling off his horse. As the rest of the troop followed the fleeing Chasseurs, Render dismounted, flung the officer back over his horse and then returned to Major Von Wettin.

“Excellent work Hussar Fhartz” greeted his commander “a French Major no less, take him back to the Colonel with my complements”

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Cavalry Action at Towench (3)

The front squadrons of French Chasseurs advanced over the plain towards the Frundsberg cavalry. As they passed the village a sudden discharge of cannonballs from a couple of hidden guns ripped though the eastern most troop of Chasseurs causing them to falter. Major Absinthe called out his usual refrain “Heads up lads these are cannonballs not turds”

The Frundsbergers sat impassively as the Chasseurs continued towards them. They were obviously hoping that the artillery firing from Towench would even up the odds.

The Chasseurs hit by fire dropped back to reform, leaving three troops advancing, again they were hit by artillery fire on their eastern flanks.

Another troop paused to reform, but Absinthe demanded that the advance continues and personally joins the western most troop. Now in reach, the squadron charges toward the Frundsberg cavalry only to receive more artillery fire from more distant guns.

Only the troop led my the Major continued and was met by counter-charging Frundsbergers. However these were battle hardened cavalry and they smashed into the Frundsbergers and immediately routed them

Meanwhile the rest of the French cavalry awaited their commander’s decision on when the next wave would fall.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Cavalry Action at Towench (2)

Friedrich looked out across the plain and the growing mass of French cavalry.

The wagons containing many of the valuables from Welle were only just at Towench and progressing along the road to Sonnenbad. Towench itself was occupied by the combined Fromel and Welle militia commanded by Major Liebnitz plus a half battery of horse artillery. About 500 paces to the north of Towench the road to Sonnenbad descended into a steep wooded valley and then rose up to the next plateau where the sole line battalion the other half battery and the Stockrad militia were drawn up.

The cavalry themselves were drawn up with the two squadrons of light dragoons in the front rank with the Freihussaren in the second acting as reserve. Major Kummel of the Light Dragoons had been quite sanguine about the situation. “We will lose quite a few men today, but we must ensure that we kill more Frenchmen so that they fear crossing swords with us when numbers are equal”

As much as Friedrich tried to raise the spirits of his men he had a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Cavalry Action at Towench (1)

As the Legere cleared the wood to either side of the main road Colonel Letort followed with his cavalry. He emerged onto an open plateau, excellent country for mounted combat. It was well drained and appeared to offer very good going. Although there were areas of rough ground to either flank the road to Pappenheim followed the open ground. To the east was the village of Towench on the Sonnenbad road and he could see the enemy withdrawing to the village covered by their cavalry, a meagre three squadrons. Within a short time he would have double that available.

The only problem was the lack of infantry to tackle the ground around Towench. What was Anjou up to? Their orders were quite clear and this was an ideal opportunity to strike a decisive blow at the enemy. Selecting an ADC he sent him back to Welle to summon all available reinforcements before nightfall.

In the first rank facing the Frundsberg cavalry are two chasseur squadrons under Major Absinthe, these are backed up by a squadron of hussars on the left and a squadron of dragoons in the centre. On the right is a hussar squadron left to observe Towench itself. At the rear are the heavy cavalry just arriving from Welle.