Blogs are meant to be an up to date account of what the author is doing and thinking......but I fail miserably as I still have games from 2018 and 2019 I should be recording!......One day. But today I am "up to date" as this was a lovely game which Ken Marshall and I managed to sneak in at the end of October just before Boris announced a new UK nationwide lockdown!
Ken offered to organise it and he came up with a battlefield sketch map which I did my best to recreate on my 8 x 6 table not knowing what it was. He asked for suggestions and I thought a bridge and roads leading to the village and hills would add flexibility. He instructed that the hills should be steep, the river impassable, and the woods only penetrable by light troops on foot.
I found out later that he had several ideas up his sleeve but on the day I opted for what he called the "standard attack and defence scenario" little knowing that this would turn out to be Ken's take on the battle of Sandershausen, between the French and Allies in 1758. Since we both have armies that are Imagi-nations, but heavily based on real regiments, he fielded a Prussian style force for the attacking "French" and I chose Hanoverians, with allied light troops for the "Allies". I hope this does not spoil the enjoyment of the historically-minded among my readers.
|Ken moves forward the "Prussians"|
For a good account of the real historical situation and Charles Grant and Phil Olley's refight of Sandershausen, which inspired Ken, please see Part Four of Charles Grant's "Wargaming in History, Volume 1". Below is our interpretation of the tabletop for our Battle of Ellenbach. The bridge was broken in Ken's scenario so was removed for all the later photos.
In essence my smaller Allied force had been retreating but decided to stand to fight where the valley narrowed sufficiently to make the Prussian greater numbers less effective. To win I had to hold the enemy back for 8 Moves and get most of my force away intact ( less than 50% with 3 or more hits). Ken gave me the middle third of the table (lengthways) in which to set up. I quickly realised I could just make my main line of 3 good battalions stretch along the road in the gap between Ellenbach village and the river escarpment. I had my small Hussar regiment concealed in dead ground by the broken bridge (Unit 9 marker on later photos). A unit of light troops (Grenzers) was initially concealed on each flank in the woods on high ground forward of my first line. Much of my plan was inspired by Guildford Courthouse in the American War of Independence - classic three lines of which the first was mostly militia ordered to make a show of force but retreat before things got too hot. My third line was reasonably good troops - Horse Grenadiers we classed as dragoons, a Grenadier Battalion, and a medium battery on the hill where I could fire over my first two lines for a while.
|A view of the Ken's Prussian Army's opening dispositions|
|.......and my Allied opposing army in three defensive lines|
|Today about 80% of the figures we used were from Ken's superb collection of Minden/Fife and Drum/Crann Tara 28mm|
|The action begins with skirmishing in the near woods and the Prussian right advancing. Poor Ken had rolled for a Dithering brigade commander in the centre and did not move forward, merely changing formation.|
|Infantry now begin to engage in the centre and my left front militia battalion bravely swings to face the advancing Prussian Grenadiers |
|Jagers and Grenzers start a long term engagement on the highest ground but casualties were rare as both units were small and there was so much cover.|
|Up in the woods my Grenzers gave way slowly as the first line fell back|
|On the other flank I'd had a couple of lucky rounds of fire and was able to keep the Jagers there at bay|
|My retreating Militia battalion with a red circle marker to show it needs to reform before fighting again|
|It was not proving to be Ken's day unfortunately as he rolled a couple of 1s on successive moves when trying to mobilise his lovely Dragoon brigade|
|At this stage though the Prussian infantry line was beginning to look solid and a bit scary|
|However, by Move 6 I was beginning to get the better of the infantry firefights and with help from the artillery Ken's front line battalions began to waver and pull back|
|I had brought my Horse Grenadiers forward to add "support' if there was a melee but in the end they were not needed.|
|Ken's most significant success so far was a Hit on my battery which also caused|
material damage (shown by the little red die) and would deduct one from every
subsequent score. I used that as the excuse for the battery to join my plan of retreat
|Hits mounting up in the Prussian ranks are causing units to retreat and falling foul of those advancing Hussars. The Grenadiers have rallied, reformed and are back though |
|But just when they might have been revealed they rolled for a double move which gave me ample distance to manoeuvre and charge the flank of the advancing Prussians, who were taken by surprise with not enough warning to turn to face.|
|But those Prussians remained in line facing front only to be broken by severe musket and battalion gun fire from my right flank Hanoverian battalion.|