Following their narrow victory in holding the Humperdink Heights the Confederation reformed and launched a surprise attack on the Alliance right flank. L'Cull had recognised the threat to his right flank and ordered Capitaine Antoine Le Pew and his sappers to destroy the key Burrito Bridge. As dawn rose and the sappers commenced their work a large confederation force appeared down the road and debarked from column ready to launch a surprise attack.
The prussian commander had even picked up a lost unit of line en-route so that the force was significantly superior in numbers as the attack developed. For their part the few units of French line and Ottoman skirmishers showed their surprise as they were thrown into confusion and failed all activations at the sight of the Germanics.
The Confederation were having problems of their own though. The large numbers of troops, including dummy units were getting in the way of each other, obscuring shooting and movement. The skirmishers including the infamous Brunswick officers shooting club performed in their usual randomly haphazard manner falling back unexpectedly and causing following line and lights to come under fire.
Meanwhile the Alliance was having its own problems, repeated failed activations was allowing the Confederation ever nearer without loss. The French line in the block house guarding the far bank managed one good round of shooting but it was enough to cause some Prussian light cav to flee and sent a ripple of failed morale around the Germanic units.
At that stage the Alliance should have poured the shooting into the advancing Germans but repeated hesitancy was a constant.
The colonial engineers of L'Pew however managed to pick up speed and were closer to getting the job completed.
The Brunswick shock cavalry were however poised and threw themselves in the French line on the bridge causing it to rout though themselves coming under heavy fire. Next they charged some depleted Albanians and eventually crushed them.
All this fighting had however taken its toll but they had just one more charge to make and set their sights on L'Pews engineers. It was a risky death or Glory attempt.
The cavalry plunged down the embankment and into disorder but at least contacting the engineers who armed with whatever blunt instrument lay to hand fought them back.
Following the Debacle at the Defile the Franco Spanish pursued the Germanics probing for an opening in their lines. The Hudsucker Heights were some low hills over looking farm land. The Alliance command gave two of their junior officers a significant strike force and told them to get the job done. More importantly they'd heard that the Luchs family had erectecd another commemaritive statue in the broken down church on the heights. Capturing the cast bronze would demoralize the Confederation, especially if it was melted down and turned into a cannon.
Unfortunately the two officers were not the most gifted, Wheezy and Unlucky. Against the were Confederation officers of the highest calibre (heroic and cunning). As we were about to see the campaign axiom that the most useless officers are the most successful and the most gifted come to grief was in full play.
The Alliance brought in their most elite troops. I'm not talking about the veteran lights, good shooting line or aggressive light cavalry. No rather those repeated stalwat, fight to the last man, Spanish peasant skirmishers.
Significantly outnumbered the Confederation just had to hold out on the Hudsucker Heights until dusk. Their cunning commander had some 'straw' units and they elected to fight on the front foot so as the Allance advanced, somewhat in fits and starts, firing their artillery occassionally the action was soon underway.
The Alliance commanders had fun identifying the straw units, it was when one of the straw units lasted longer than some real units that things got confusing.
The Confederation cavalry did it's usual thing of being hit by musketry and not charging and the artillery took casualties and became disordered never to recover. One by one the Confederation units fled the field due to casualties and morale and that included the gifted leaders units).
Once again at the forefront of the Alliance battlelines were the elite Spanish peasants. They were assailed by shot and shell but passed all morale and surged forward though fewer and fewer in number.
Eventually only Neo the peasant was left. He was fired on nby the Prussian battery and confronted by an entire Prussian unit and matrixed his way through and singlehandedly claimed the right side Heights for the Allance (OK maybe he was helped a little by other units shooting.
The Prussians concerned about the Luchs bronze uprooted it and carried it to safety.
If only the Alliance had more Neo's.
On the left flank though they got regular skirmish units in place they had no such heros to storm the Heights and as darkness descended they just fell short of attaining their objective of control of the heights.
Here's the ancillary officers table. Feel free to name them.
Spanish French Prussian Brunswick Wheezy Unlucky Ruthless Drunk Fortuna Belli Drill instructor Enfant Perdus Skirmish Vet Quarter Masters
Stonewall Cunning Heroic Leader
Some scenarios for comming weeks.
Maybe easiest to start with the Bridge one first. The forest one involves a force finding its way through unknown terrain which is guarded by the defender. The Penninusla one is a mini campaign so will generate several games/ skirmishes, Bsaically 1 square is one table.
I'll be down but around 7.15pm
Do you want to try the second scenario tonight?
Following the Germanics victory at St Xavier driving the alliance out of the ruined monastry and village the confederation marched on in hot pursuit of the Franco Spanish. The Brunswick commander in particular was full of confidence. He brandished his cockaded hat at every opportunity rousing his troops with a boohuloo (leadership of +2). What could go wrong with the best leadership skills available? A lot as we will see. A key failing was the refusal to pay Sheik Yahbooty his increased pay demands to hire his skirmishers as the alliance were once again fielding their elite Spanish peasants.
The Franco Spanish halted their retreat in the Humperdink Defile, a narrow path besides a river with a mountainous wooded hill coming close to the river. The arrangement was similar to the pass at Thermopylae except no one wore leather underpants (well at least not openly).
There was however a pass through the mountains that led to the rear of the Alliance position. Unfortunately for the Alliance a disgruntled local, it is not recorded whether it was a sex starved hunchback or not, was prepared to guide the Germanics over the pass.
The confederation duly allocated some skirmishers, line and cavalry to traverse the pass whilst the bulk of their force set up in front of the alliance troops who were occupying the defile. For their part the alliance had some line and light guns in the defile and some of the elite Spanish skirmishing peasants that had performed so well in previous encounters.
The battle started with the alliance guns getting the better of the confederation artillery. A unit of Brunswick controlled line were skulking along the river bank slightly in the rear. As the cannon balls started flying they decided that the hostelry they passed on the road had been showing signs of Franco Spanish sympathies and needed further examination. At that they marched off the field ignoring the Brunswick commander's flourishing of his cockaded hat.
The Prussian skirmishers went forward but were met by the elite Spanish peasants who drove them off. This exposed more Prussian line and Brunswick cavalry to the French guns which were firing regularly and finding their range. The line and cavalry suffered casualties. The Brunswick commander was with the cavalry who were elite shock. As more and more fell from their horses his arm ached with the amount of waving his was doing with his hat.
All was still well though as they lined up their charge but then disaster, the troopers did not respond to his 'boohuloo' exhaltations , the charge did not happen and the next turn the Brunswick commander was carried from the field with his fleeing troops.
Similarly the Prussian commander was soon to follow as unit after unit of Germanics turned tail and left the field to re-examine the loyalties and sample the beer at the aforementioned hostelry.
For their part the alliance had suffered few casualties except for the elite Spanish peasants who as usual were fighting to the last man by soaking up all the Germanics shooting
Everying was left to the small Germanic force emerging from the mountain pass. In accorance with everything else that also went wrong. The skirmisher seemed to have taken it as an opportunity to hunt for mountain goats/ collect Eidelweiss or whatever else they commonly did in the mountains. The infantry and cavalry arrived in a somewhat dishevelled, disordered manner only to be met by telling vollies from the French that drove them from the field.
With that it was all over. A total debacle for the confederation and a resounding alliance victory.
I estimated the points by converting lists from the book. Looking at the small fighting area and how much space units take up on the board in our games it may be better to say 20pts v 36pts. Again I'll leave it to what you all think.
Cool, let's do that one then. If everyone could have a think how to work the movement via the path / time to arrival, thanks.
A couple of tables for coming games. Let us know which you want to do tomorrow.
First is a Thermopalae type game Defender sets up somewhere between A & B with 30pts. Attacker starts along X Y with54pts. Each side limited to max 2 light guns so can't just set up and bombard.
The river is impassible. the two lower hill levels are difficult terrain but passible. The top hill level is impassible except for the path indicated. A disgruntled sex starved hunch back has told the attackers about the pass. It's up to them if they want to use it. No arty can use the path, cavalry only at extreme peril, infantry at risk of delay, probably lights and skirmishers would be the most reliable on this route with line less so. Author suggests units appear approx half way through the game but use dice to slow down/speed up appearence. Each unit has to succeed so first may turn up but following ones delayed a bit etc.
Second table is an attack across a farmland situation. Author says attacker has been given half a day the take the hights in the East (right of board) that are held by defender as this attack is a lightening probe. Defender deploys anywhere east of central north south (vertical ) track. Attacker starts 9" in from west side (left). Winner is the force holding the high ground in the east (right).
Defender has 24pts, attacker 72pts. Author says this is due to speed of attack needed. Its a busy board but we could probably manage it. We'd have to agree what half a day constitued in terms of time. Also what was difficult ground. Line just straight marching would take over 10 turns to reach the far side of the table so probably 12 turns. The attacker does of course enjoy significant number benefit. Maybe a big cavalry dust up with a bit of inf/arty support.
Battle at St Xavier the Indomitable
The Germanic confederation was launching a series of probes to open new fronts against the Franco Spanish alliance.
One such probe was through the pass that opened out at the ruined monastery and squalid hovels of St Xavier the Indomitable. Overnight the Germanics had filed out of the pass on to the paths that ran either side of the ruin, which sat atop a rocky outcrop.
As first light dawned the low grade alliance garrison sounded the alarm as they saw the Germanic columns marching down the paths ready to storm the ruin and hovels.
The ruin itself was safe from direct assault but the hovels were on the lower end of the outcrop and guarded only by a dilapidated stone wall. That would be where the confederation hammer would fall.
As in past games the main force commanders were elsewhere leaving junior officers of varying abilities as commanders in the scenarios. Lieutenant Julio Iglesias, the Spanish officer was particularly downcast. After being on the staff of the inspiring Spanish commander Capitain Jose Fernando de Sagras Y San Miguel he was unhappy being detailed to guard a ruin and a few houses that looked more like cow sheds.
Why had the enemy not been detected earlier? – answers in parenthesis (it’s a demotivated garrison force, if they were any good they’d be in the field army). Was everyone asleep? (yes apart from those in the local whorehouse). Why am I here (this is either an existential question unable to be answered without reference to philosophy or refers to some tricky situation that brought disrepute onto de Sagras y San Miguel’s staff office and may have involved the commandantes donkey).
The French commander for his part manned his guns with the ill assorted selection of crews he’d been allocated. The old pieces under his command were to prove no match for the fine confederation artillery.
For their part the confederation had Prussian/ Brunswickers marching in fine formation and some raggedy barbaries they’d hired from Sheik Yahbooty.
Dawn broke to the combined sound of the cockerel crowing on the dung heap and the loud wails of Igelsias, ‘we’re surprised/outnumbered/ outgunned’ went out the cry.
His pessimism was matched by the fine gunnery which raked the French guns, immediately disorganising one gun.
Over several turns there was fire backwards and forwards though the Germanics always got the better of it and for the alliance troops to step into that area of the monastery was a death sentence.
The Germanics were callous with their barbary allies again.
‘Just go up to those walls and see if anyone’s awake’ they instructed the barbaries. The alliance managed some severe salvos which drove the barbaries and then the Prussians back.
Iglesias’ troops were as unhappy to be under his command as he was to command them and this was showing in their sketchy morale. At the first sign of casualty they fled their positions only to rally and return.
For their part the confederation were making slow progress as the day passed. They shot a lot but had not assaulted the position.
The Prussians had a reserve up their sleeve and sent forward a cavalry reserve to race to take the fast depleting position.
As night was falling the Spanish were clinging on but the Germanics were still not near to talking the position. The French commander and his guns had been long lost to counter battery fire. Everything depended on Iglesias. True to form he fled the field with an almost full strength unit just as dusk was falling, even though there were still Spanish units defending.
As darkness fell the Germanics still hadn’t taken the monastery so the gallant defenders had delayed the Germanics sufficiently to win the day- although according to Iglesias it was really a loss!
Looking through the scenario for tomorrows game it converts into the following forces :
Franco Spanish defenders 42pts total. Must have 24- 28pts as artillery. Can be any size of gun.
Must have 2 units of Green troops.
The author suggests 1 line, 2 green line, 3 Hvy Guns (described as fortress guns in fixed positions facing the pass as it opens out). 1 Lt field gun. 1 Lt Cav but within the general description make the force up as you wish).
The Germanics have 60 points in total:
16-18pts as artillery but no heavy guns.
Author suggests 6x line, 1x light 2x lt cav 1 x shock cav 4 x light guns but again make the force up as you wish.
The defenders are a poor quality garisson force guarding a pass out of the wooded hills. They have a fortified old church/ monestry strategically positioned at the opening of the pass.
The attackers are a forward force who are detailed to take the church/monestry so that their main force can come through the pass unmolested. They have moved out slowly in the pre dawn and as light comes up are part way down one or both paths (their choice in setting up march order).
Following the abortive attack at Swampy Hollow the Prussian and Brunswick force reorganised themselves and attempted to strike into Franco Spanish Alliance territory via the crossing at Bad Platz.
Again with main commanders active elswhere it was the juniors staff officers who came to the fore. The Franco Spanish had a fine pair of junior officers who had Stonewall and Enfant Perdu as their skills, good for rallying and counterattacking. The Prussian was a skilled musketry commander good for ensuring consistency in shooting. Then there was the Brunswicker, he was a cad who had some tactical insight, however since the confederation were already the attacker that wasn't much help. There's something about the Brunswick command.
The confederation force comprised aggressive skirmishers and good shooting line with a large shock inf unit and some artillery. They'd also recruited some barbary skirmishers from ther dubious ally Sheik Yahbooty. Calously they put these in the most advanced positions to soak up the hits. A fact not unnoticed by Yahbooty.
For their part the alliance had large green line units (Austrian deserters and press ganged Spanish peasents apparently) along with some skirmish units and a gun. The confederation had a 2:1 advantage but the alliance had the benefit of all the hard cover in the village.
The attack started by the confederation units forming close order and skirmishers moving forward as the artillery roared. In reality not much happened but the activity did look purposeful.
Then the alliance replied. The gunners lined up on a Prussian unit only to see the gun fire prematurely into their ally skirmishers. Panic ensued and the skirmishers fell back in disorder.
They recoverd next turn and moved back into the defences only to be shot at by the confederation and fall back again.
The alliance skirmishers all took hits but hung in there and fired back showing good morale. Up against this with Alliance line supporting the confederation were in for a hard time- or perhaps not as we shall see.
The French gun did manage to counter battery and destroy one of the Prussian guns however so things were looking up.
The confederation were showing superior tactics by refusing a flank though this may have been due to the force on its right refusing to advance for several turns. They were though just in range of the Alliance forward line holed up in buildings at the edge of the village and they and other line joined their guns and skirmishers in musketeering the Alliance forward line.
This was when a major flaw in Alliance plans became apparent. The 'hard cover' promised by the buildings of Bad Platz were not actually that hard. In fact it looked there'd been a lot of jerry building in the village. As a consequence the Confederation musketry easily pierced the flimsy structures causing casualties. Being green the line units reacted badly and fell back. Their officers rallied them back to their positions but the Hokey Cokey reactions were allowing the Confederation to advance up to the village.
The Spanish skirmishers had in contrast been stalwarts all fighting to the last man but as the last man died the wobbly green troops fell back yet again.
At this point it is worth giving a mention to Schnitzel- Grubel the Brunswick capatin. He of the Cad character. It turned out he was rather a dashing cad as he automatically ralled units, double timed advances, and sprung an infiltration sniper unit in the town who took down the Spanish commander and his unit. Oh and did I mention he summoned up unplanned cavalry reserves? Definately the commander of the game, perhaps his cad status or Brunswick nationallity was deep cover for something else.
By the time the close order Prussian shock had stormed into the village killing the last of the heroic skirmishers and overrunning the gun the fight was over. The jittery French and Spanish line fled leaving the Confederation in command of Bad Platz.
As we are playing a few minor games (to win some one off minor bonuses for the campaign) in between major games where honour is earned we looked around for possible scenarios and are going to try some from the WRG book. As ever it’s a bit hit and miss regarding how well they work.
Not withstanding this we tried the swampy hollow game. The Germanics won the dice off and chose to be the attackers. That gave them 24 points to fight against 18 points of Spanish defenders.
We were using minor commanders again as the main commanders were assumed to be elsewhere.
The Germanic confederation of Prussians and Brunswickers filed eagerly out of the dank forest and prepared to cross a rather rickety bridge on to a swampy stretch of land traversed by three paths. Once across this they were on to firmer going and better still into the flank of the Franco Spanish.
As they left the gloomy environs of the forest town the road they were confronted by Spanish irregular skirmishers guarding the swap and some timid line units one guarding each road through the swap.
The Germans tried to open up space for therir cavalry to cross the bridge and charge down the road but a stuttering advance and some poor shooting meant they had little impact. Worse still a unit of light infantry became disordered on the far bank of the river and consistently failed to aid the attempts to clear the Spanish from their positions.
At last the cavalry moved forward and prepared to charge only for a last minute delay to force them to receive musketry and become disordered. When they did charge they ran into the timid Spanish but could only fight a draw and so failed what would have been a crucial break through.
Another failed charge by the second cavalry unit saw an end to the Prussian Brunswick attempts at a break through and as more Spanish reinforcements began to arrive on the battlefield they slunk back into the forest.
Action in Klukfusters Passage
As the action swirled around Luchsplatz the Franco Spanish were attempting to bring forward some supplies and ammunition to help them prepare for the second days battle. French and barbaries were moving their supplies along the infamous Klukfusters Passage, a narrow path through the woods that led onto the plains around Luchsplatz.
Some of the untrustworthy locals who frequented the woods and their passage had tipped off the Germanics who rushed forces to intercept the French as they exited the rough woodland way.
As all the main commanders were occupied in the fighting around Luchsplatz they had dispatched subordinates to carry out the task. All had useful abilities sadly none of their abilities were any use fighting in the Passage.
The French had a lot of very nervous conscripts with the supply train and some skirmishers flanking the column.
For their part the Germanics had some Prussian line and cavalry and skirmishers and the same with Brunswickers. Their forces were however somewhat scattered due to their haste in arriving on the battlefield.
The action did not start well for the French whose conscripts quivered at the site of the Brunswickers ahead of them on the trail and refused to move. The skirmishers did however manage to move out and take some shots at the Prussian skirmishers.
The Prussians took a hard pounding around the passage entrance but their skirmishers stood their ground until a handful of men remained alive defining the French. They were dodging bullets like the matrix but slowly numbers dwindled and they died to the last man. Their sacrifice took the pressure off the Prussian cavalry and line however.
On the other flank and pathway the Brunswicker dashing hussar skirmisher unit moved forward engaging the barbaries but weight of fire forced them back and the Brunswick line made very stuttering advances. The way was clear for the Brunswick light cavalry to sweep away the barbaries and slam into the jittery French conscripts.
They lined up sabres gleaming in the sunlight – and then. A misplaced musket ball from a reluctant Albanian skirmisher dropped one of their number from the saddle and they all bolted back into the middle of the nearest wood.
The Prussian lancers launched a desperate charge against the jittery French conscripts however the first unit were so desperate that they misjudged and the charge fell short. French and barbary musketry saw them broken.
The second unit however judged their charge just right. They hit the lead French conscript unit and drove it back in disarray into the unit behind it. They received musketry for their efforts but they’d created the opening. Now for the Brunswick line or cavalry to follow up………. except it was hiding in the woods.
The Prussian cavalry were broken by more musketry and as the Brunswick cavalry finally emerged from the woods they were fired on again and fled. At the same time the French conscripts recovered and their musketry caused a Brunswick line unit to break.
With that the Germanics fled the field and the French got their supplies through