Monday, November 17, 2008

Battle at Steinkreisdorf - Part One

The Texas Big Battalions Seven Years War game is now history. As reported in several posts recently on the Emperor versus Elector blog, a number of wargamers from Texas, Mississippi, Wisconsin, and divers other locales joined at MilleniumCon in Round Rock, Texas on November 15 to fight a battle in the ongoing campaign between the Electoral forces (Germania, Britannia, and their Germanic allies) and the Imperium (Osterreich, Gallia, and their Germanic allies). This battle was linked to several previous actions that are described on Der Alte Fritz blog. You can see these links to the left.

The objective for the Electoral forces was to halt a Osterreich/Gallian attempt to relief the beleaguered fortress city of Frankfurt. Some 2,500 25-30mm figures were mustered for action. This report will attempt to portray the parts of that battle from the perspective of one of the participants, Col Campbell (my wargaming alter ego). Unfortunately, there weren't enough players for the entire force so in the morning we just fought on the center and one end of the board. The other end of the board was left set up and we fought that battle in the afternoon.

The table was set up in the lobby of the Wingate Inn Conference Center. It was 32 feet (~10m) long and 5 feet (~1.6m) wide. While not as wide it should have been for the Batailles de l'Ancien Regime (BAR) rules, it allowed the participants to get in close very quickly! As always, click on the pictures to see a larger version.

With Ed Youngstrom (red shirt, left rear) and Bill Protz (blue shirt, right rear) giving directions, the forces are deployed on the Champs de Mars.

While Ed gets his official game master portrait made, the commanders gather to admire the troop deployments. Along the right side of the table (game direction south) are Paul (in jacket, Herzog Ignaz of the Herzogtum Pfalz-Kognat-Obersehen), Bill Protz (Msr. Chevert of Gallia and the author of the BAR rules), Fahnrich Brad von Austin (a 13-year old who was later named the game's Most Valuable Player - see the Nov. 15 letter posted on the Emperor versus Elector blog), and a father and son who commanded on the far left Imperial flank.

Markgraf Hapnich of Carpania and his entourage watch the battle from the comfort of his pavilion. Note that his faithful manservant is waiting with a snifter of the Markgraf's favorite schnapps. Frivolous Fiona has brought her own beverage, some fine single malt Scotch whiskey.

A view of the Carpanian infantry brigade with the musketeers on the left backed up by the converged grenadiers, the heavy artillery in the center, and the fusiliers on the right backed up by a battalion of Germanians.

The combined Courland and Sachsen-Wachsenstein brigade, with the Timofievich Cossacks on the far left, then the Tamnii Narod Pandurs, the Courland musketeers and grenadiers (in two lines), the Courland and Sachsen heavy artillery, and the Sachsen-Wachsenstein Contributory Kreis Regiment on the right.

A view of the town of Steinkreisdorf. The monument is the center was brought by me and is patterned on those used by Bill Protz and Der Alte Fritz. In the rear are some of the Imperial infantry drawn up in battle order.

Ed Youngstrom (Landgraf Bogey of Hesse-Fedora) was the game master. Here he gives some general observations prior to the battle beginning.

We were extremely fortunate to have Bill Protz (Messieur Chevert of the Gallian Army), author of the BAR rules present to lend his wisdom to the affair. Here he is explaining how the rules work. The mechanics were very easy to acquire and soon all of us were handling actions almost on our own. Herzog Ignaz (Paul) and Fahnrich Brad are seated to his right and left, respectively.

The battle begins! I was honored to be playing opposite Bill Protz, who commanded a brigade of five or six 2-squadron regiments of Imperial cavalry, including the two squadrons that I brought from the Duchy of Courland. Against this I had two fusilier battalions, one from Carpania (first line) and one from Germania (second line). In this picture you can also see the Hesse-Fedoran brigade to my left and their opponents, the Sachsen-Wachsensteiners.

Msr. Chevert launches his first dragoon regiment against the Carpanian fusiliers. In their first fight, the fusiliers stood firm, shot up the Imperial dragoons, and then chased them off after a fiercely fought melee.

General Gilles (whose last name I unfortunately do not remember) commanded a mixed Gallian and Osterreich infantry brigade. Here the Carpanian musketeer battalion trades opening volleys with some Osterreichers.

On the far western flank of the battlefield was a tremendous clash of heavy cavalry. I think each side had three to four regiments. The Gallian/Osterreichers are on the left and the Germanian/Hesse-Fedorans are on the right. If I remember correctly, the Imperial forces finally prevailed here.

While his cavalry is fighting my fusiliers, Msr. Chevert assists the young Fahnrich Brad in maneuvering and shooting the Sachsen-Wachsensteiners. On the right, the Carpanian grenadiers and heavy artillery occupy Steinkreisdorf without opposition from the Imperials.

With a few losses, the Carpanian fusiliers repulse the Imperial cavalry. But there are more lined up behind these. It would be a long day for the Carpanians!

Further to the east on the battlefield, the Courlanders advance against the Hesse-Fedorans.

An unidentified Imperial commander peers around some trees at the Hesse-Fedoran heavy cavalry as the Courland Timofievich Cossacks gallop into action. Although I wasn't able to keep up with all their activities, I was told after the battle that they covered themselves with glory and were mentioned in the dispatch of General Blei-Sammeln!

As more Imperial cavalry attack the Carpanian fusiliers, the Hesse-Fedoran commander adjusts his line, observed by Fahnrich Brad and the Courlanders and Sachsen-Wachsensteiners

Further to the west, the Carpanian jagers were detached to support a Germanian brigade commanded by General Chris Bump. Chris handled them very well and they assisted in resisting the attack by two Gallian battalions.

The gap between the Germanians of Chris Bump and the Carpanian infantry was filled by the Warsteiner Freikorps and the Hapnich Dragoons. They, along with a Germanian battalion, opposed a Gallian infantry battalion.

After enduring several volleys from the Gallians, Colonel von Valkenhayn launched the dragoons against the Gallians. The combination of the cavalry charge and volleys from the Warsteiners and Germanians was enough to defeat the Gallians and force them to flee for their lives.

Here the victorious Hapnich Dragoons (although at half strength after the melee) keep watch on the Osterreich/Gallian second line. An abandoned Gallian gun stands forlorn to their left.

Meanwhile, the Carpanian fusiliers were finally forced to retire by the Imperial cavalry. But the Germanian fusilier battalion in the second line stepped out smartly and took up where the Carpanians left off, defeating another Imperial attack.

While the Germanians were in action, the Carpanians rallied and reformed under the urging of Baron von Stuppe, the commander of the Carpanian brigade. But still more Imperial cavalry were in the offing and eventually the Carpanian and Germanian fusiliers would be forced from the battlefield by the pressure from Msr. Chevert's well-handled heavy dragoons.

The Carpanian grenadiers held on to the town of Steinkreisdorf at the end of the battle. They assisted the Carpanian musketeers in defeating two Osterreicher battalions, although the musketeers were forced to withdraw due to heavy losses.

On the right flank of the Electorate forces, the Hapnich dragoons, Carpanian jagers, and what was left of the Germanian brigade were able to hold onto the unnamed village. Although the Gallian infantry was still a threat, both sides had fought to a virtual stand-off.

This ends the reporting from the morning's action. The afternoon battle will be reported in another posting.


Der Alte Fritz said...

An awesome looking battle report. What did you think of the first fire bonus?

Capt Bill said...

Very well done! Thanks...

Fitz-Badger said...

Sounds like great fun! Lots of pleasing photos, too! I especially like the Carpanian pavilion vignette. :-)
Thanks for sharing this report!

Bluebear Jeff said...

Yes, a great battle report (and fine photos).

I particularly liked your showing the players and identifying those you could.

I look forward to the second report.

-- Jeff

ColCampbell50 said...


I was very careful to remember Bill's and your descriptions of its devastating effects and reserved my first fire until I was within at 20" of my opponents. It helped my fusiliers in dealing with Msr. Chevert's heavy cavalry!


andygamer said...

under the urging of Baron von Stuppe,
In the photo featuring the Dixon Frederick the Great, there is a sabot on the left-hand side of the photo that has different flags from about five different units. What was its purpose?

ColCampbell50 said...


My battalions are organized as 24-figure units, each with two flags. Since we were using 48-figure battalions, I combined both of my 24-figure fusilier battalions into one 48-figure battalion with all 4 flags. That is what you are seeing. There are several photos earlier in the report that show this combined battalion engaging the Imperial cavalry.


andygamer said...

Thanks for the explanation, Jim. I didn't notice the unit in the other photos.