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Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Battle of Oberbratwurst: The Conclusion

The Battle of Oberbratwurst concludes:

Turn 4: The Franco-Bavarians. The Elector of Bavaria and his French counter-part launch local counterattacks to fend off the forces of the Grand Alliance. Careful positioning of the artillery provides much needed support as they slowly push back the Imperial army and all but decimate the Danish infantry.

The English and Dutch are stopped in their tracks as the French reserve line fires a murderous volley into their ranks. To add insult to injury for the English, the English Foot Guards are defeated in melee by the Garde Francais. Viva la France!

The French Guard wave good-bye to the British Guards (far left unit with the white flag with the crimson cross of St. George with crown in the center)

Turn 4: The Grand Alliance. Prince Eugene definitely looked worried as the resurgent French led by the Irish and Swiss continued to stymie his movements on his right flank and center. Hesitantly, he launches a few regiments in an attempt to separate the French on his right from the Bavarians that had just routed the Danes. As fate would have it, they overrun instead 2 Batteries of French artillery.

The gun by itself represents an abandoned battery; Dutch troops captured it. Murray's Scottish Regiment is part of the Dutch Army.
The Duke of Marlborough, also sensing that a moment of crisis was approaching, throws his reserves into the fight; though they don't stop the French, they do destroy one French battery and force the others to abandon their guns.

Okay you Italian troops! Since you routed, you have to wear the crappy brown coats.
The rest of the cream of the Anglo-Dutch go stationary (see the results in Turn 5 below . . . )

Turn 5: "Who will recover my guns?" yells the French commander. Three batteries of abandoned guns were to my front. Prince Eugene's army had been stopped. The Anglo-Dutch cavalry had been repulsed and the English, Dutch and Scottish infantry had been given a bloody nose and appeared to be licking their wounds.

On my left, even though I had no cavalry, the French Infantry of that wing were strong and had taken charge of that part of the battlefield. They continued to advance, pushing back the Imperial Infantry and recapturing a battery of guns.

In the center left, the Bavarians, led by the Elector himself, push back the allied infantry to their front, causing a Dutch regiment to route - they could sense victory! The French on the right dressed their ranks a formed up for the advance - through murderous close-range musket fire they stormed the Anglo-Dutch line and yelled triumphantly as they witness the backs of redcoats retreating and nervous cavalry falling back. And then, as the smoke cleared, I realized that the line they enemy had retreated behind was stationary with muskets leveled . . .

Okay, so what's happening? Yes, the Bavarians and French were successful in their advance; however, they took too many loses and 2 Infantry Divisions (not real divisions as we define them today; more like a grouping of regiments) out of 3 were now each only one "hit" away from Division Exhaustion. Once a Division is exhausted, it cannot advance toward enemy troops; and, if it takes any more hits, it has the chance of Division collapse. When a Division collapses in Volley and Bayonet, all units are permanently disordered, any disordered units are routed, all routing units head to the tables edge - you get the picture. Though I was successful in my attack, my forces were so weak that they were in danger of collapse.

Speaking of collapse . . .

Turn 5: The Grand Alliance. "READY! AIM! FIRE! To make a long story short, the Bavarian Division morale collapses.
Exit most of the Bavarians . . . above are the last two brave regiments.

Looking at the Franco-Bavarian line from the Allied perspective; note the absence of French and Bavarian units in the center - not good!

The French Divison on the right almost collapses as two regiments rout. The only bright spot for me was the continuing resistance of my tough infantry on the left that once again pushes Eugene's finest back. As I gaze at the battlefield I come to an agonizing decision: I tell Honorable Son #4 that I concede.

So what happened?

Plain and simple, I was out-generaled.

The victorious Duke of Marlborough with the 1st Foot Guards and Royal Scots Fusiliers in front of him.

Once my opponent crushed my cavalry on the left flank, he kept the initiative and kept the pressure on me. My cavalry made no impact during the battle - the Austrians, English, Scottish and Dutch simply rode them down.
Once I got my lines re-ordered, however, my infantry fought well. Looking back, I think I was too aggressive; instead of counter-attacking to grab the lost ground, I should have stayed stationary and taken advantage of the increased fire power to wear him down. Though my counterattack was successful, my army was too weak.

Prince Eugene moves up to link up with the Duke after the victory.

All in all, a very exciting and fun game. We really enjoy the speed and feel of Volley and Bayonet. Unlike other rules, it does not get into "tactical" details of individual unit formations, etc.; this is a game that lets you be the army general.

The English enter Oberbratwurst . . . Schnitzel and beer for everyone!

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Battle of Oberbratwurst: Turn 2 and 3

The Battle of Oberbratwurst continues:

Turn 2: Franco-Bavarians. With the threat to my left flank from the Imperial cavalry, I decided to commit my second line of cavalry to protect the flank of the infantry. The second line consisted of Bavarian Cuirassiers, Irish in French service and regular French cavalry. In the center and right, I decide to keep my forces stationary which will allow them to be better prepared (more combat dice) against the inevitable Danish assault in the center and the attack of the Anglo-Dutch on the right. In addition, I was able to get the cavalry on the right into a line of battle. French Artillery supporting the Bavarian line. The lone painted figure behind them is a marker that designates them as "stationary" allowing them a higher rate of fire.

Danish Troops continue to keep pressure on the Bavarian Line. The Bavarians will inflict heavy casualties on the Danes but the Danes will push them back.

My cavalry attack on the left was disastrous as most of the cavarly is eliminated by the tough Austrian Cuirassiers and other Imperial cavalry. It was dawning on me that the battle might be over pre-maturely if I can't stabilize the left flank.

Turn 2: The Grand Alliance. Giving me no pause, Prince Eugene launches an all out assault on the remnants of the Franco-Bavarian Cavalry causing the total collapse and elimination of the cavalry wing.
The sad remnants of the Bavarian Cuirassiers before the total collaspe on the left flank.

As the Franco - Bavarian cavalry collasped, the second line of the Imperial cavalry swings to the side and hits the French Infantry and scattered French cavalry in the flank. The French say "Yikes!"

On the French right flank, the British and Dutch cavalry charge and the French mimic their brothers on the left flank and advance to the rear. The Dutch, English, Scots and Danes continue to attack putting pressure on and pushing back the Franco - Bavarian lines.

Massed musketry and contact along the entire front; linear warfare at its finest!

Turn 3: Franco - Bavarians. Okay, this is turning into a disaster. Most of my cavalry is gone or is disordered and all of my infantry, though fighting, is pushed back. This turn I decide to try and stabalize my position as much as possible as I hold steady and have my "second" line stay stationary to increase their fighting ability giving the first line time to reorganize. It will also be a good turn for the French artillery as they score several hits.

The second line of the Bavarian army stands firm as they attempt to stem the tide the Imperial infantry. The single painted figure behind the line represents the status of "stationary." This will increase the combat power of the Bavarians.

A view of the disordered "first" line as they reorganize. As a reminder, the yellow figures mean "disorder."

The English and Scottish regiments continue to advance.

French Second line moves forward and will not be "stationary" as they help plug gaps in the line from the defeat of their cavalry brothers.

The remnants of the cavalry on my right flank form a "weak" line to the left of Oberbratwurst - but a least it is filling the hole in the line.

That's a lot of Dutch and English cavalry.

One more spot of good news: The Imperial cavalry on my left flank is "exhausted" due to losses they took over the last two turns. They are no longer capable of advancing into contact; however, they can still threaten flanks, defend and cause other mischief that could affect the morale of linear units.

Turn 3: The Grand Alliance. Wow, when he is committed to attacking he is committed to attacking. The Grand Alliance continues their relentless assault - but, they are starting to run out of steam. The continuous fighting all along the line for 3 turns has put some gaps in the allies line as units become disordered and have to fall back. This turn probably sees the most combat of the battle so far: close range musketry and counterattacks by the French and most importantly the Bavarian infantry stop the Grand Alliance attacks in their tracks!

In Turn 4 the Guards of France and England will clash! Plus - the turn the French artillery will sadly remember.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Battle of Oberbratwurst: The Opening Moves

The fictional Battle of Oberbratwurst, fought during the War of Spanish Succession, will be fought using the rules Volley and Bayonet. Volley and Bayonet is a "grand-tactical" level game and allows players to assume the roles of Army and other higher level commanders. Figures are mounted on one stand and rosters are utilizing that have the unit's strength points.

Infantry units for the 18th century represent Infantry Regiments; Infantry units in the 19th century represent Brigades and are on bigger stands. For both centuries, Cavalry are Brigades.

Unlike other rules where players have to worry about the formations of their individual units, in these rules it is assumed that the Brigadiers and Colonels know their business and will deploy their units accordingly. In this game players need to worry about deploying and maneuvering their armies!

As mentioned, a roster sheet (posted in an earlier blog) is used to keep track of the status of units. Each "strength" point of infantry or cavalry represents approximately 500 men. Each strength point of artillery represents 6 guns. Most units for the War of Spanish Succession have 2 strength points each. Units lose points through long range fire and close combat (which represents close range musketry and melee combined).

Morale, command and division cohesion are all elements of the game but not overly complicated. In fact, the basic rules are just 18 pages long! Now, on to battle!

The lovely city of Oberbratwurst at the peak of the tourist season.

Imperial cavalry on the Allied Left Flank commanded by the Austrian Lieutenant General von Natzmer.

The Danish contingent of the Imperial Infantry Corps under the command of the Prince of Anhalt-Dessau.

The Danish Foot Guards (Yes I painted them because they had yellow coats!)

Major General the Prince of Holstein-Beck's Infantry Command consisting of Dutch, Scottish and English troops.

Lieutenant General Lord John Cutts leads his wing of Allied infantry.

Allied Cavalry commanded by General of Horse the Erbprinz of Hesse-Kessel move to the extreme left flank of the Allied line.

The Elite French Gendarmes take the position of honor as part of the Comte de Zurlauben's forces.

The Garde Francaise are held in Army reserve.

The Bavarian Leibregiment in the middle of the Franco-Bavarian deployment. The Marquis de Maffei commands the Bavarian infantry.

More of the Bavarians under the Marquis de Maffei.

Two foreign regiments in the French Army: Dillon's Irish Regiment and the Swiss Regiment Reynold. Both are part of the infantry command of the Marquis de Blainville.

Massed French and Bavarian Cavalry under the Count d'Arco support a French infantry line.

Late Breaking News: Due to Track and Field Events (Honorable Sons # 2 and #3 are distance runners) there has been a change of command:

Honorable Son #4 will command the Grand Alliance.
Yours truely will command the Franco-Bavarians.

Turn 1: Franco-Bavarians. We diced to see who would go first and the Franco-Bavarian Army won the toss. I immediately saddled my horse and pointed at the enemy line. "Advance!" I said. I decided to move and take control of the center of the battlefield, hoping to throw my opponent off by my aggressive move. I had a regiment of dismounted dragoons move into Oberbratwurst and ease the concerns of the inhabitants of the lovely Bavarian city.

Situation Map After the Franco - Bavarian Advance

The might of the French and Bavarian Armies

The French and Bavarians quickly seize control of the center of the battlefield while the French cavalry on the right flank move around the outskirts of Oberbratwurst in an attempt to deploy into line of battle.

Dismounted French Dragoons occupy Oberbratwurst. The yellow marker behind them signifies that the dragoons are disorganized. In other words, they lost their "battle formation" as they moved through the streets and will need some time to reorganize.

Turn 1: The Grand Alliance. So did my advance through off the Allies? Nope. In a surprise move (at least it was a surprise to me!), it seemed like every horseman in the Allied army was bearing down on the Franco-Bavarian left flank. Then I thought - wait a minute, I outnumber him in cavalry about 2 to 1 (BWAH HAH HAH!).

The Austrian Cuirassier units boldly charge into the French cavalry. The line behind the French consists of Bavarian Cuirassiers and more French Cavalry.

French and Austrian Infantry prepare to blast away at each others lines. The Danish Corps and the Bavarians will also exchange fire as both sides have light losses.

And then it got ugly. The French cavalry forgot that they outnumbered their Austrian counterparts. The furious and unexpected charge of the Austrian Cuirassiers disordered and swept from the field the majority of the French Cavalry . . .

The French Cavalry Commander, the Count d'Arco, boldly stares down the Austrians as he wonders where his cavalry command went.

Next: The Franco - Bavarian Response.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Battle of Oberbratwurst: The Commanders

If you are going to have an epic battle, you might as well have some epic Commanders along for the ride:

John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough. The greatest general England has ever produced. He never fought a battle he didn't win and never conducted a siege that was not successfully concluded. Marlborough's stand has a Dutch officer reporting to Marlborough while his trumpeteer and an escort from the Royal Scottish Dragoons look on. Next to Marlborough is the Queen's Regiment.

Prince Francois Eugene of Savoy. One of the great commanders of the Age of Lace; ironically, refused a commission in the French Army by Louis XIV and thus entered Austrian Service. Forged a great partnership with Marlborough. Prince Eugene is escorted by a dragoon of the Prinz Eugene Dragoons and an officer of the Darmstadt Kuirassiers.

Maximilian Emanuel II von Wittelsbach, Elector of Bavaria. Max Emanuel II fought successfully against the Turks on many occasions and defeated the Imperials (Austrians) at Sieghardin on March 11th, 1703. Max is giving orders to a senior regimental officer while one of his staff officers looks on. A dragoon from the Dragoon Regiment Santani provides protection.

Camille d'Hostun, Comte de Tallard and Duc d'Hostun, Marshal of France. A highly successful commander, he received his Marshal's baton when he led 8,000 men against 20,000 Imperials at Speyerbach and captured the city fortress of Landau. Marshal Tallard is accompanied by a staff officer and French dragoons.