Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Action on the Ammerbach

A return to Napoleonics this week, with a fictional scenario set along the Danube valley in 1809.  Napoleon is faced by the main Austrian army under Archduke Karl and orders Vandamme to make a flank march with his corps to seize a vital bridge over the Ammerbach at Garbershof and cut the Austrian lines of communication.   Vandamme has 20 battalions organised into 3 divisions, plus a light cavalry brigade of 4 regiments and four batteries of artillery (three field and one horse).
Rosenberg's corps is in the vicinity of Garbershof en route to join the main Austrian army.  He has 10 line battalions, 5 grenz battalions (3 of which are operating as skirmishers) and two battalions of grenadiers.  The corps cavalry consists of three regiments of Uhlans and one of Hussars.  Rosenberg has 4 batteries of field artillery and one of horse.

The Austrians are deployed as follows.  GM Frimont with the Grenz battalions and one regiment of Uhlans is in the woods on the lower slopes of the Ullersberg.  From the Ullersberg, the Ullerwasser runs across the valley to join the Ammerbach at the village of Allmansfeld.  GM Meyer's division (5 line battalions with one field battery are garrisoning Allmansfeld and deployed along the line of the Ullerwasser.  GM Weiss' division (5 line battalions and a field battery) are deployed in and around the village of Garbershof.  The Austrian reserves (Hessen-Homburg's grenadiers and Frolich's light cavalry) are  deployed close to the road along the southern bank of the Danube.

Vandamme advanced with his two Wurttemburg divisions (Neubronn and Stockmayer) followed by Jett's light cavalry and then Ochs' Westphalian division.  His plan was for Neubronn to pin the Austrians along the Ullerwasser whilst Stockmayer outflanked them and headed for Garbershof.  Jett would take on the Austrian cavalry and Ochs support Stockmayer's attack.

Stockmayer supporting Neubronn's advance
 As Neubronn's men moved to their left and advanced on the Ullerwasser they came under artillery fire.  The Jager battalion Neuffer suffered particularly heavy casualties, but at least this allowed the other battalions to approach the stream with little difficulty.  Both battalions of the Kronprinz regiment attacked the 3rd battalion of the Weidenfeleid regiment, but were thrown back by accurate Austrian volleys.  To the right of Neubronn, Stockmayer was advancing along the valley road towards the ford over the Ullerwasser.  As they neared the
 woods on the lower slopes of the Ullersberg they came under fire from the Grenz.  Stockmayer deployed his skirmishers to meet this threat,but they were too few in number to prevent the Grenz from picking off officers from the marching line battalions.  Vandamme ordered Ochs to send forward his skirmishers to assist and this balanced the contest for a time.

GM Meyer's men hold the line of the Ullerwasser

By the ford over the Ullerwasser Stockmayer's leading battalions were now in position to attack 2nd battalion Weidenfeld.  Led by the Konig Jager regiment. the Wurttemburgers charged over the stream ignoring the rather scattered volley fired by the Austrians.  Outnumbered by 2: 1 the Austrians tried to hold their ground but were forced to fall back, leaving behind many casualties and the battered remnants took no further part in the battle.  However, the gallant stand by Weidenfeld had allowed time for GM Weiss to bring up his division and this was now deployed in line barring further Wurttemburg progress.

Pressure builds on the Austrian line
Rosenberg had seen the threat to his left and not only GM Weiss had received new orders.  The cavalry were also ordered to support GM Meyer, whilst Hessen-Homburg was to garrison Garbershof.  On the slopes of the Ullersberg the light infantry fight continued with GM Frimont feeding in another battalion of Grenz.  This increased pressure on Stockmayer's left and Vandamme sent forward another one of Ochs battalions to try and disperse the Austrians.  It was a necessary move as the Grenz had now started targeting the artillery crews, causing increasing casualties amongst the gunners.  Both Stockmayer and Ochs ordered their artillery to concentrate against the Grenz.  Canister was fired but with little effect.  Rosenberg was satisfied that his plan to deploy Frimont was in the woods was working, drawing off resources from the main attack.
 Weiss and Meyer needed all the help they could get, Neubronn and Stockmayer were attacking once again and although Neubronn's men were suffering heavy casualties and needed to pause to regroup, Stockmayer was now ready to attack the second Austrian line. With Konig Jager leading the way again the Wurttemburgers swept forward.  A volley from IR Lindenau stopped 1st battalion Prince Paul, but the remaining attackers closed to melee.  Perhaps unnerved by the resolute advance of their foes, the Austrians broke and ran, sweeping past the jeering Deutschmeister.

IR Lindenau break
However, 3rd battalion Deutschmeister would soon feel the full weight of the Wurttemburg attack.  Launching themselves forward Stockmayer's men charged the Austrians. Again a volley proved insufficient to stop the Wurttemburgers and in a short melee the Austrians were defeated, joining the fleeing Linedenau in a race towards Garbershof.  The Austrian line was now in danger of being wrapped up, but Frolich's cavalry now entered the fray.  The Carl Ludwig Uhlans charged forward and caught 1st battalion Fusiliers Von Neubronn before they could form square.  In a trice the battalion was destroyed, the survivors seeking shelter behind their supporting battalions.  Showing admirable command, the Uhlans fell back to reform, rather than plunging on with the possibility of being cut off.

This Austrian riposte emphasised the need for Jett to get his men forward, but with Frimonts men interfering with Ochs advance and the Austrian line stubbornly refusing to give way there was little room to deploy.  Neubronn's men bought that room by attacking once again towards Allmansfeld.  Ravaged by canister they struggled across the Ullerwasser and charged 3rd Weidenfeld, forcing them back.  This created just enough room for the Leib Cheveauleger to cross the Ullerwasser and form up.  This forced Weidenfeld to form square against the cavalry threat and in such a formation they were vulnerable to a further infantry attack.  Their formation broken by the infantry, the Austrians were quickly destroyed by the Wurttemburg cavalry, who followed up and cut down the gunners of the battery which had done such execution amongst Neubronn's men.

Now enjoying cavalry support, Stockmayer resumed his advance, pushing forward against 1st battalion Deutschmeister.  These proved a much tougher proposition and their volley stalled the Wurttemburg attack.  After trading volleys the Wurttemburgers charged again, this time forcing the Austrians to fall back.  Once again, the  Carl Ludwig Uhlans charged in support of their comrades and this time bested the Jager zu Pferde Konig.  Having relieved the pressure on the line the cavalry fell back to reform.

A combined attack proves too much for 2nd Deutschmeister
Having reformed, the Leib Cheveauleger now attacked the Austrian line again.  Moving round the left flank of Stockmayer's advance they caught 2nd battalion Deutschmeister in the midst of forming square, driving them from the field. Both Wurttemburg infantry divisions werenow being drawn towards Gerbarshof and they came under fire from the Austrian reserve artillery.  Hessen-Homburg's grenadiers were keen to get involved, resenting their garrison duties.  Grenadier Battalion Reuber advanced and fired a volley at 2nd battalion Fusilers Von Neubronn, whilst the Wurttemburgers were trying to restore their line, the Austrians charged and drove them from the field.

Ochs Westphalians were now embroiled in a desperate struggle with Frimont's Grenz and their supporting artillery.  The leading battalion of the 4th infantry regiment was  destroyed by successive volleys of canister and their comrades suffered heavy casualties before capturing the guns.  However, their success was short-lived as Grenz Warasdiner St Georg fired a volley which drove them back in disorder.  The Walisch Illyrian Grenz also defeated an attack by one of Stockmayer's battalions which had strayed into the woods.

The Austrian grenadiers advance
Despite some local successes, Rosenberg saw that the day was going against him.  He had inflicted heavy casualties on two of the enemy divisions, but his two line divisions were worn out.  Frolich and Frimont could delay an enemy pursuit, but it seemed the best course of action would be to cross the Ammerbach by the Garbershof bridge and join the main Austrian army.  As his aide was compiling the necessary orders, a rider appeared from Garbershof.  He had been sent by FML Hiller to say that III and V  Corps would be arriving over the next few hours and he (Rosenberg) should hold his position.

What Rosenberg could not see from the plain by the Danube, was revealed in full to Vandamme and his staff from the higher ground of the Ullersberg.  Long lines of white-coated infantry, with cavalry and artillery support, all converging on Garbershof.  There was now no way he could take the town or it's bridge.Victory had been snatched from him once again.  When would he win his Marshals baton?   

Sunday, 18 May 2014


The sun shone as we crossed the Pennines and headed for the Triples show at Sheffield.  No problems unloading and setting up the game and by 10 am we were ready.   As mentioned in an earlier post the game was Bauge and I commanded the Franco-Scottish forces whilst Will took the role of Clarence, the English commander.  No doubt due to Will's influence, Clarence kept his composure and avoided charging off at the nearest enemy unit.  This enabled the combined English cavalry to act together and trample all over the French forces whilst the Scots looked on.

However, they (the Scots)  soon had problems of their own as the English archers advanced into range and targeted the Scots archers.  Douglas's archers were soon in disarray, (those that weren't casualties), and when the tardy Salisbury arrived with yet more archers, things were unlikely to improve for the Scots.  Buchan did bring on his reinforcements to help Douglas, but the pikes were unable to make an impact.

With half my force lost (5 French units, 2 units of archers and a pike block) the day belonged to the English.  A most enjoyable game which flowed well.  There was plenty of opportunity to talk to visitors to the show and discuss the rule mechanisms.  Another review of the game can be found on Will's blog together with photos of the action and of other games on display.

Once again there was a good variety of games on offer and here are a few photos to give a flavour
Indian Mutiny

French & Indian Wars
Stalingrad (in 54mm)
The photos don't really do the games justice and there were several more games where I didn't manage to get a decent photo.  I particularly liked the 1:300 scale (?) which was in the Kriegspiel tradition.  The Almanza game was also of interest.

The next "outing" is Phalanx in June and there is plenty to organise before then.

Monday, 12 May 2014


Well,we had a couple of runs through the Bauge scenario for next Saturday at Triples and the games seemed to flow well. 
The battlefield from behind Bauge

An account of the battle can be found here and of course Wikipedia.  The scenario begins with Douglas at Bauge with two units of pikes and two of archers.  Buchan, with the remainder of the Scottish forces enters on the same side of the river.  La Fayette, with the French forces is on the opposite bank, facing Clarence with the English mounted troops, who is supported by his illegitimate son and a body of archers. Salisbury, with more archers and a small unit of cavalry enters on the Bauge side of the river.  Clarence is rated as 'rash' and on rolling a 6 on a d6 he will attach himself to a body of cavalry and attack Bauge across the bridge, (the only crossing point for mounted troops).
The French contingent

In the first game Clarence behaved impeccably, resisting the urge to charge pikemen on a narrow front and instead turned his attention to La Fayette's troops.  In a series of charges the English cavalry trampled each and every French unit, whilst the Scots looked on from across the river.  To be fair, the Scots had problems of their own.  Buchan was somewhat reluctant to enter the fray, consistently rolling high dice and therefore failing his command test and thereby remaining stationary.  Salisbury's archers were also tardy in their arrival, but once on the field their fire quickly drove off one of Douglas' units of pikes. The English archers hit with five dice out of 6 and the Scots failed to save any of their casualties due to rolling miserably low dice. However, when it came to deciding on the distance the pikemen would have to fall back the 5 dice produced a total of 28! a score sufficient to have saved three of the casualties if rolled a few seconds before.    28 cms was comfortably more than the usual move for the pikes so they were deemed to have routed from the field.  his loss, taken with the French losses was sufficient for an English victory, especially as La Fayette was killed leading a charge of his last reserve in an attempt to halt the English cavalry.

The gallant La Fayette
 After a break for lunch we played the scenario again.  This time, Clarence played more to type.  Rolling a six at the first opportunity and taking the unit of English knights headed for the bridge to Bauge.  In no time at all the English knights were charging home against the Scots pikes, and acheiving no success whatsoever.  However, Carence would not be denied and the English tried again, this time they did push back the pikes before a counter push forced the knights back onto the bridge.

Clarence on the bridge
 Meanwhile, Salisbury had moved forward and arrayed his archers facing Douglas's men in Bauge.  Some Scottish archers had lined the river to fire at Clarence and thereby offered a flank to Salisbury's cavalry.  Not one to spurn an opportunity, Salisbury ordered the cavalry to attack.  They moved forward but failed a command test to charge and were left as a tempting target for the Scots archers, who redeployed and shot into them.  Flinching from their losses the cavalry fell back and ended up in the river where they milled about helplessly.  Seizing their chance the Scots pikes now charged Salisbury's archers and in a hard fought melee wiped out one unit.  However, they had suffered heavy losses and were now isolated and the remainder were driven from the field by the remaining archers.
Clarence's remaining cavalry were attacked by La Fayette's French knights and were almost wiped out.  Only the supporting archers saved the day,shooting down many of the French as they sought to close to melee.
Back on the bridge Clarence attacked for a third time and gained a little more ground.  Perhaps sensing victory was near he charged a fourth time and this time the pikes gave way, Bauge was his!  Or perhaps not.  Although again suffering poor command dice, Buchan had arrived with his pikes in the nick of time.  Deploying to face Clarence the Scots edged forward, forcing the English back onto the bridge.  It was now that Clarence found that rather than English reinforcements coming to his aid, the men advancing across the bridge were French billmen.  Trapped, he could only surrender and the remains of the English force quit the field.

Two games, a victory for each side, so the scenario was judged a success.  If you are attending Triples on the Saturday, please stop off at the Lance & Longbow stand and say hello and maybe stay and take part in the game?

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

More Medievals

Our next show is Triples on the 17th May.  The Lance and Longbow Society will be putting on Bauge (1421), a battle between the English and a Franco-Scottish army.  One month later it will be the Phalanx show at St Helens and the battle of Hedgeley Moor (1464).  So we are in the midst of sorting out rule sets and figures for these two battles.

For Bauge we will probably use Warmaster Ancients with some 'tweeks' to accommodate medieval troop types.  At St Helens we initially intended to use the Poleaxed rules, but are now not so sure.  Play testing the scenario last week we attempted to represent the Yorkist forces deploying from column to line of battle and the delays involved meant that the Yorkists suffered significant casualties from archery before battle was joined.  Once the melee started failed morale tests (due to accumulated casualties (DPs)) resulted in half the Yorkists routing in no time at all.  The main contingent, commanded by Montague held on, but quickly found itself attacked from front and both flanks.

A re-run, using the Warmaster Ancients also resulted in a Yorkist defeat,but this was more clearly identifiable as due to erratic dice rolls, with the Yorkists seemingly unable to convert any of their saving throws for casualties.  One common theme was that Percy (rated as a Rash commander),was by far the most reluctant to advance.  One of the few historical facts available about the battle is that he was killed in the fight.  Whether this was due to rash advance on his part, or that he stood his ground when the rest of the Lancastrians fled we do not know.

Any way a couple of photos showing the main melee follow

The next post should include some photos of the Bauge scenario