Sunday, 12 June 2022

The Battle of Madling 1753: Part Three - Day Two and conclusion

 I left readers with a view of our battlefield at  dusk on the first day here, in which a Ducal Vanguard had gained limited ground within the Electoral territory. The first brigades of line infantry and cavalry were beginning to arrive on both sides.  Those who have looked at Ken's instructions ( here linked again) will have noted that reinforcements are due to arrive at flexible times - subject to dice rolls and only Ken knew how he was interpreting that. We did, however, have a turn record sheet on the wall (see the last photo below) in which at points he judged appropriate Ken forewarned of the arrival one or more moves ahead. So players could have an impending dread of opponents massing by the brigade name but not knowing what or how many troops it represented.  

I have to come clean here and admit that as I was helping umpire that day, and was in the know, I could see that, as the terrain favoured the Electoral defenders, a balanced game should see their force grow more slowly than the attacking Ducals.  In fact this was not happening, yet, on the day, the Ducal attack did look a bit overwhelming, the Electoral players did feel outclassed and outnumbered (they weren't really), the Ducal players did feel as if they stood a good chance of breaking through. Such was the good nature of the players that I never heard a cross or disappointed word all day....maybe it was just us all being overawed as yet more toys packed the table (ouch!), or was it Steve J's never failing sense of humour keeping spirits up? We shall never know, but Ken's great write-up captures the spirit - hope you enjoy it.

As before - my photos and captions, and the occasional clarification in italics.

So let's have a look at who these splendid and contented chaps were

The second day participants - (from left):
 Keith Flint (Ducal), Ken Marshall (GM), Paul B (Ducal), Steve Johnson, Steve Pearse(Electoral players), CG (dogsbody tea maker)


The view at the start of the second day. The central high ground now has nothing but the (notional) corpses of the previous day's struggle 

The Ducal C -in -C, General Count Guilau, has taken charge of the left flank leaving the tougher job to his subordinate!

Lt General Ulrich has placed himself on the wooden bridge across the Lunzenbach to orchestrate the new arrivals

In the centre the Ducal army hopes to use the hamlet road junction as the jump off point for a major attack uphill. Von Scheither's tired light troops still stand ready

The second day opened dry and bright, and all eyes turned to the West where the Electoral lines looked painfully thin, almost non existent. It was going to be a race to see whether the Ducal infantry could push through the gaps in the line and open a way South before Electoral reinforcements could fill the gaps in the centre of their lines.

Von Scheither urged his jager and the supporting light cavalry on in the direction of the Rosenkrantzhohe but they were too late. As they crested the adjacent hill they were greeted by von Bohlen’s electoral cavalry forming line. Both sides came to a sudden stop and eyed up the opposition, not wanting to be the first to commit to the attack.  

View from the Electoral side of the hill

Over the central hill there is a temporary stand off while new brigades are brought on for both sides

Now the Electoral lines can be seen to be bolstered on both flanks and from Kaindorf
In the foreground the Ducal Grenzers have come back for another crack at the Anhalt riflemen........
......but it did not last long!
Lt Gen Ulrich bravely leads Jungermann's infantry brigade forward into the line of fire

Reinforcements for both sides were quickly appearing. Marching columns of Electoral infantry appeared in Kaindorf and were quickly directed forward to create a line from the Schwedischer Hugel towards von Bohlen’s regiments. 

A strong-looking heavy cavalry brigade bolsters up the Electoral troops on Schwedischer Hugel

On the Ducal side, Jüngermann’s infantry brigade continued their steady advance across the Lunzenbach angling toward Madling whilst on their left flank, Schirmer’s heavy cavalry brigade pushed on ahead to support Scheither’s regiments. Behind them, Ruechel’s cavalry and Rettenburg’s infantry moved onto the table in support. It was becoming clear to Electoral C-in-C, von Stutterheim that the enemy main effort was going to be aimed at his left flank and he was currently outnumbered by four brigades to two. 

Steve J has moved those heavy cavalry up onto the ridge and Keith is bringing yet another Ducal brigade in his centre. On the central high ground a close-quarters struggle is taking place

The Ducal left flank at the head of the Lunzenbach valley


Faced by the Lowenfeld infantry regiment advancing towards them in line, the Anhalt jager retired back from their positions along the Lunzenbach into Madling ready to contest the town. The remainder of the Ducal brigade formed into column of regiments on the left flank of the Lowenfeld regiment and advanced along the road to the south west. 

In the distance von Bohlen's cavalry are engaging von Scheither's lights on the ridge, while the Ducal big central attack is taking shape

The Lowenfeld regiment forms line to try to deal with the riflemen in Madling

They were countered by Lattorff’s Garde brigade forming line south of Madling. A third Electoral infantry brigade followed on behind and angled right to form line behind von Bohlen’s brigade before advancing.

At right the Electoral infantry are expanding the line behind von Bohlen's cavalry who are about to see off the Ducal Hussars. In the foreground the Anhalt riflemen are crossing the Stronbach bridge. What are they up to?


Now confident of support and spurred into action by the need to create space for the infantry, von Bohlen’s cavalry charged forward. Von Scheither’s jager and the light cavalry in front of them caused casualties on the cavalry but were quickly scattered. Pursuing the Ducal light troops downhill, von Bohlen’s regiments encountered Schirmer’s supporting heavy cavalry who countercharged.  Schirmer’s troops made short work of their tired opponents and the remnants of von Bohlen’s cavalry were forced to retire behind their supporting infantry. Buoyed by their success against the cavalry, Schirmer’s troops followed them and charged the infantry.

Above and Below: Von Bohlen's successful but tired cavalry about to be charged by Schirmer's fresh Ducal heavies

Towards Madling the dense Ducal lines are closing in.

Above and below: While the cavalry fight out on the hill the Steves are expertly planning how to complete the ring of steel of their infantry lines. "Hessians" have moved up behind Von Bohlen and a "Hanoverian" cavalry brigade pushes through on the Ducal side


A close up of Ken's gorgeous Prussian/Hessian style Grenadiers and Fusiliers on the Electoral side


An infantry attack goes in on Madling

By contrast action on the Ducal left is developing slowly.....

........but it looks like Electoral cavalry and infantry are building up a counter-attack into the Lunzen valley
The Ducal centre is packed with more arrivals, but in front of Madling Ducal infantry are falling back through each other - not good for "Hits!" 

Faced with charging cavalry, the disciplined infantry presented their muskets and fired at close range. Men and horses crashed to the ground, disrupting the charge. The remaining horses baulked at the lines of unbroken bayonet tipped muskets and Schirmer’s cavalry broke back towards their own lines. 

(I'm finding it difficult to match the photos in the right places for Ken's streamlined text so please bear with me and enjoy his narrative with the pics for atmosphere! - CG)

In the following sequence of four photos Von Bohlen's cavalry have been broken and are followed up by Schirmer's Horse who hit the "Hessian" infantry and are shattered. At this point it looks like Ruechel's cavalry brigade is going to try to back them up. The fourth photo shows they did but are surrounded by muskets.




A great aerial view which shows that while Electoral lines are now a bit ragged they still hold all the significant features

Above and below: the view at this point behind Electoral lines around the hamlet of Mauthaus and along the Sattelbach


At right Jungermann's brigade advances past Madling in a fine looking line but receives canister and flanking fire. Reinhart's brigade dithers behind them spurred on by Lt Gen Ulrich


As the beaten cavalry streamed back past them, the first line of Ducal infantry was approaching Madling, their left flank open to being outflanked by the Electoral infantry. General Ruechel ordered his cavalry forward to fill the gap and charged the outflanking Electoral infantry to delay them and in the hope that they may have more success than Schirmer. They didn’t and although they inflicted casualties on the infantry, his brigade was wrecked.

The demise of Ruechel's cavalry; and Jungermann's infantry are having a hard time too


With the Ducal cavalry now dispersed and retiring behind their infantry, it was going to be an infantry fight (at least near Madling) as they sought to break the Electoral line. The Malsberg Infantry and Lindstedt Grenadiers led the advancing Ducal troops. 

Faced with canister from the artillery to their front, the Malsberg regiment melted away before they could come to grips with the Bornstadt Regiment. Against the most senior regiment of the Electoral army, the Garde Grenadiere, and supporting artillery, the Lindstedt Grenadiers lasted slightly longer before they too were forced to retire. 


The first Ducal infantry attack on Madling has been repelled


Ken's narrative overlooks the exploits in the centre of the field where another brigade of Ducal cavalry (Maj Gen Thuemen) had been lined up to threaten the western end of Schwedischer Hugel and Kaindorf, backed up by two strong infantry brigades awaiting a breakthrough. The following photos show this attack.

Self indulgence - my favourite RSM95 Hanoverians masquerade as the Ducal von Dickmeis brigade and von Thuemen's cavalry are on the right

More of my RSM95 Hanoverians - Thuemen's cavalry charge is met by Electoral Hussars and infantry. It was to prove a hard fought part of the battle of Madling

More Electoral Hussars pile in.....

....watched by reinforcing "Hessian" Fusiliers pulling battalion guns with them

Whilst additional brigades were arriving in support, Count Guilau could also see the Electoral infantry lines thickening and knew it was going to be a hard slog to achieve any breakthrough on his right flank.

This aerial shot shows the difficulties of Ducal infantry before Madling village; the complete Electoral dominance of the central high ground; the cavalry charge towards Kaindorf; and on the far flank at the top of Lunzen valley, Electoral cavalry are moving forward.
Von Thuemen's cavalry are forced to fall back.......
.....exposing Scheither's Grenadiers to volley and artillery fire that finished them off too


The following sequence follows up the Ducal right flank around Madling

The Anhalt Jagers have got in position to enfilade every Ducal advance with rifle fire across the river........

........with predictable results

More Ducal infantry are brought up.......
.....with some artillery support too........
...............but are eventually broken


On the left, the successes of the Ducal light forces from yesterday was working against them. Reinforcements were slow to arrive in support of Cartier’s Advance Guard brigade, having to cover far greater distances (a situation not helped by a dispassionate umpire confiscating one of Count Guilau’s dice after it rolled nine 6s in a row – while he may have needed the help of the dice gods, he didn’t need that much help!). Conscious of the weakness of his position, Lt General Rosen (Steve J) content for his light troops to remain at long range, exchange fire and barrack the Ducal opposition. 

A second Electoral cavalry brigade appeared south of the Schwedischer Hugel and was directed forward in support of Czettritz’s heavy cavalry brigade. Realising he at last held the advantage of numbers, Lt General Rosen ordered his brigades forward. The Kleist Jager pushed forward against the Effern Infantry Regiment who had been under fire from the Electoral artillery all morning. Now cursed by the bad luck dice, they were unable to respond effectively to several rounds of firing from the jager and broke. The heavy cavalry followed up and charged into the supporting Freytag Chasseurs who were also overthrown and pushed back towards Lunzen.

The following sequence charts the progress of the Electoral cavalry attack on their right flank which helped decide the battle.



Electoral Jagers and artillery fire manages to shatter the weakened Effern infantry regiment

Allowing Czettritz to engage the Freytag Chasseurs

Brandenburg's Electoral cavalry then attack the supporting Ducal Cuirassiers of Serbelloni,
some of whom had already broken the Jagers and chased them up Schwedischer Hugel

A mutual exchange of cavalry defeats at the head of the valley.....

But the Electoral side looked as if it had come off best in the end

View from where the senior Electoral commanders had stayed safely on the reverse slope!

And there we pause, as Count Guilau and General Ulrich concede having recognised the strength of the electoral position and their attempt to bludgeon their way past having failed. The Ducal forces will retire blooded but with a large proportion of their army still intact. Congratulations to the two Steves and Kevin, and commiserations to Paul, Keith and Chris. 

An overview at the point we stopped- a decision had been reached

Overall, I’d consider the battle a success although with scope for improvement if playing again. The participants appear to have enjoyed it which is my main measure. Day 1 was required to achieve a partial result and provide the space for the Ducal forces to deploy on day 2, whilst not significantly handicapping the Electoral side. This happened but the subsequent timing of the Electoral arrivals left the Ducal forces with an uphill struggle that they never mastered. 

The arrival of Electoral reinforcements was also key to the result on day 1. If Czettritz’s brigade had not arrived when it did, the Electoral right flank was close to collapse. Omitting a couple of brigades from the Electoral line up would have helped, as would the umpire intervening in the timing of those arrivals. That requires the umpire to be prepared to take on more of a games master role than traditional for this type of game.

The Ducal Army had to retreat and recuperate over Winter

For now, the armies have been returned to their storage boxes, the dice (including the loaded one) are back in their bags, Madling is again a quiet backwater somewhere to the East of the Mur valley and we can await the next phase in the campaign as our two protagonists plot their next moves. 


This photo captures the intensity and concentration which everyone except me showed the proceedings

Afterwords

Ducal

In a small office in the Ducal palace, the Grand Duke waited until Count Guilau closed the door behind him before turning to his War Minister. 

‘So he may have been unlucky, he may have been outclassed or he may have been outnumbered. Either way, we are blocked from moving along the Stronbach and we lack the means to cross it. We will not evict the despot from our land this year’.

His Minister nodded. Years of dealing with his master had taught him when to get concerned, and whilst Count Guilau’s defeat was inconvenient, the Grand Duke had already accepted it and moved onto future planning. There weren’t going to be wholesale recriminations over this setback.

‘Yes Sire. I agree this is a missed opportunity but it does have benefits. We still have most of the army and more importantly the coalition forces were not heavily engaged. When I first heard the news I was worried that our more nervous partners would use this as an excuse to withdraw their troops but I don’t believe that will happen. Most of the damage was to our cavalry and we can rebuild those units over Winter.’

The Grand Duke thought for a moment.

‘Our light troops appear to have performed well. Let them loose over winter to harry the enemy and we’ll see if we can persuade them that the price of our land is more than they can afford. 

For next year we also need a bridging train. Talk to our allies and find out if anyone has those resources. If not, we need to build one. 

And find out about this General von Stutterheim. If we are now faced by an Electoral officer who knows his job, that’s a problem. Previously, although they had more troops, we relied on their officers being incompetent and not knowing how to use them. If they are starting to become competent then we have more than one minor defeat to worry about.’ 

Recognising his dismissal, the Minister stood, bowed and walked towards the door. There was much to do. 

Electoral

In his headquarters South of Tamsweg, the Elector paused his interrogation of his two aides and looked again at the crumpled report in his left hand. It was from von Stutterheim (thanks to Steve Pearse for the report), giving an account of an action around Madling, and the General appeared to be claiming a victory against the Grand Duke. 


Gentlemen at War - Lt Gen Ulrich helps General von Stutterheim
clarify a point in his rules of war!


"Your Highness,


I have the honour to report that the forces, which you bestowed on me the honour to command, have been completely successful in defeating your enemies. The Ducal forces attempted to gain advantage against your Highness’s army by advancing through the valley of Lunzen, and seizing the crossings of the Stronbach at Madling. 

General von Stutterheim"


Our record of Initiative success and when reinforcing brigades would arrive

Both Steve J and Keith have written very nice succinct accounts of their day at this game on their blogs and I recommend them both for a different perspective and loads more photos;
Steve's Battle of Madling


Postscript:

We were very lucky that it was a nice Cotswold late Spring weekend and we were able to enjoy lunch, tea and cakes out on the terrace both days.  Our celebrity local author Keith thought he was off duty, but suddenly, beer in hand, he was assailed by sundry fans clutching copies of Honours of War  and Shadow of the Eagles for an impromptu book signing! Thanks for joining us Keith it was great to have your company and inspiration.


23 comments:

  1. Excellent write up and some lovely pics of a lovely table and figures. Really enjoyed it.

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    1. Thanks a lot Andy. You know how to put on a big game with lovely figures too. I've just had a look at the huge Ayton game - are those rules available to buy or download anywhere? (your blog says comments are closed?)

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  2. Superb!! The whole thing is just the best, so much goodness to pore over, will be popping over to get inspiration time and time again.

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    1. We aim to please Donnie. Let us know if anything in particular inspires, thank you

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  3. Fantastic AAR and stunning images of a wonderful looking SYW figure feast.
    Thanks for posting Chris.


    Willz.

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  4. Chris, an epic battle and supportive narrative in every sense of the word! This was a huge scenario with so many figures on the table. You and Ken did such sterling work in keeping the game under control. Credit too to Keith's rule set in that the rules ably coped with the figure numbers involved. Many thanks for your kind hospitality throughout - also to fellow guests who made the whole weekend wargaming so enjoyable. Awesome! ;-)

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    1. It was great to have your contributions in figures and your company Paul, so glad you enjoyed it. I think my biggest personal intervention was making the ruler elastic to get your or Keith's commander within 15 cm at a critical point! Don't call me biased but I did command the entire Ducal Advance Guard at one point on Saturday!

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  5. A fabulous spectacle as always Chris, and brilliant landscaping, both on the table and in the garden. Looks fantastic. Hopefully you all enjoyed the game.

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    1. Super to hear from you James but sorry that you are so busy these days that you don't get to so many games. Please see if you can make our Waterloo in mid August I know it will be right up your street. CG

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  6. We wus robbed guv’nor! But seriously, I’ve never had such good dice but my troops were soundly thrashed. Well done to the two Steves. As fine a day’s gaming as one could wish for. Thanks again Chris and Ken.

    Keith.

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  7. Yus Keith , I think you really wus!! Yeah, never heard of anyone fail with so many 6s before. Thank you so much for giving us the pleasure of your company.

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  8. Steve J has left a comment which, strangely, came through to me as an email notification but not on here. "Thanks for such a great write up of the Day two action, which immediately took me back to the wonderful day's gaming that we all enjoyed. Once again thanks to all involved for such a pleasant day out. Looking forward to maybe crossing swords once again next year?

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    1. Blogger has been doing this across various Blogs of late for some unknown reason. Just noe of the current problems we Bloggers are having to deal with:(.

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  9. Steve P has sent me the following: Hi Chris,
    Just wanted to say what an excellent blog. For some reason, it will not accept my comments. It is a very inspiring account and excellent photos. It was a most enjoyable game. I felt that the Electoral forces were very lucky, just hanging on by their fingernails on the first day (only last minute arrivals saved them) and for part of the second day. The rules worked well, I thought. All exciting stuff. The terrain and figures were very impressive, and I felt very fortunate to take part. Unlike many other weekends that I have taken part in, I did not come away feeling exhausted and with a headache (your hosting, and the company, must be attributed to that) but rather as having had a wonderful experience."

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    1. I agree with Steve in that after a long days gaming, I did not feel at all tired, which was great, purely down to you as an excellent host and the other chaps who were gentlemen first and foremost. A wonderful days gaming for sure!

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    2. Thanks but I'm not sure what my hosting has to do with it. The game was massive but the rules are sublimely straight forward and slick which is important to me as straining my brain to get a headache is not what I look for these days in my hobby ( cf General d'Armee etc).

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  10. To both Steves: Thanks very much for your kind remarks it was great having you both and you proved a winning combination. I hope some of my photos convey the good collaboration between Steve P and Steve J and Kevin throughout the two days. As for the headaches - your riflemen kept up a good job of giving first me and then Keith a headache!

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    1. On my flank, the riflemen did more than sterling service, somehow surviving a lot of lead aimed at them and then seeing of the enemy line infantry, ably abetted by the artillery to their rear. Maybe next year we can double down again and carry on our winning streak, if one win can be called thus;)?

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    2. Ah ah! I think we shared an abhorence of "double DOWN" so I suspect you are winding me UP!

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  11. Sorry to be slow commenting. Terrific battle and account with lots of excellent pictures! Certainly is a crowded battlefield, as you foretold... Thanks.

    Cheers,

    David.

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    1. Better late than never David. Always great to have your supportive comments
      CG

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    2. Thanks, Chris. Look forward to your next big battle report! :-)

      Cheers,

      David.

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