Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Affair at Alt Kirchendorf - Part 3

Now we turn to the fighting around the town of Alt Kirchendorf. If you will recall from the intial force layouts, the two reserve brigades faced each other here with the Carpanians defending the town and the Imperials out to take it from them. As usual, please click on the photos to see larger versions.

Photo by Jim Pitts

While the Carpanian grenadiers deploy behind them, the two cavalry units clash. The Courland cavalry (backs to artist) initiated the charge but the Carpanian dragoons quickly countercharged. This melee would last for three turns of hacking and slashing.

Photo by Jim Pitts

While the cavalry fights it out, the Imperials reserve brigade advances towards Alt Kirchendorf. On the far side of the town, Campbell's Highlanders (in the pay of Carpania) have come out to contest the advance of the Courland grenadiers. In the foreground is the combined Sachsen-Wachsenstein and Reichsarmee grenadier battalion.

Photo by Jim Pitts

A panoramic view of the center and west end of the battlefield. In the middle distance the Courland grenadiers and the Highlanders come to point blank range while the cavalry melee continues to swirl beyond the town.

Photo by Ed Sansing

The action has now become point blank as the two lines of grenadiers exchange volleys.

Photo by Jim Pitts

Another view of the point blank firing between the Carpanians on the left and the Imperials on the right.

Photo by Ed Sansing

An aerial view of the fighting. Even though the Carpanians were taking casualties the closeness and heat of the action would prove too much for the Imperial grenadiers.

Photo by Jim Pitts

Back to the cavalry melee, with the Carpanian Braun grenadiers and the pioneers trying to get into the cavalry's action. But a volley in passing by the Reichsarmee grenadiers would cause the Carpanians to halt before they could get into the cavalry fight.

Photo by Jim Pitts

After trading volleys with the Courland grenadiers and their battalion gun, the Highlanders are reduced to below 50% strength and will soon fall back towards the town.

Photo by Ed Sansing

The Carpanian grenadiers and Campbell's Highlanders are left in undisputed control of Alt Kirchendorf, . . .

Photo by Ed Sansing

as the Imperial's reserve brigade grenadiers continue to fall back out of point blank musket range. The Imperial reserve brigade commander just couldn't get his men to go that extra little bit to overcome the Carpanian resistance.

Photo by Ed Sansing

After three turns of hacking and slashing, the Carpanian dragoons (in the distance) and the Courland cavalry (in the foreground) fall back to regroup. Both commands lost about 2/3 of their numbers in the fight. Needless to say, this ended the day for both sides' heavy cavalry.

Photo by Jim Pitts

With the cavalry melee ended and the reserve brigade's grenadiers in trouble, the Imperial army commander directs his second line brigade of Imperium and Reichsarmee troops toward the west flank.

Photo by Ed Sansing

As the fighting winds down, the Highlanders madly move back out to harry the Courland grenadiers. But fire from the Courlanders and their battalion gun quickly slaughter the hapless Highlanders.

So who won? With night falling and reports of Imperium troops advancing on the eastern border of Carpania, probably being led by Reichs Duke Wilhelm von Beerstein himself, the Electoral commander decides to fall back. Although he has stymied the Imperial attack here on Alt Kirchendorf he worries about his flanks. The second line Brittanian brigade and the light cavalry cover the withdrawal. The Imperials remain on the battlefield to recover their wounded and regroup their battered formations.

The next action will take place around the cannon foundry of Eisenmuhlen on 3 October 1759/2009. Can the Electoral forces throw the Imperials back or will they have to emulate the forces of the Grand Duchy of Stollen and fall back deeper into Carpania? We'll have to wait and see!

The Affair at Alt Kirchendorf - Part 2

With the forces arrayed, now let's get to to the action! We'll cover the actions in the center and east end of the table first, then in Part 3, the actions around the town of Alt Kirchendorf. As usual, please click on the photos for larger versions.

Photo by Ed Sansing

Before the game started, the game master (Jim Pitts, on right) went over the rules with the players who weren't able to attend the 7 September School of the 18th Century Soldier (link). John Hesselberg, pictured here, would command the Carpanian Brigade. John is also an 18th Century reenactor and was very familiar with the details of the drill of the period.

Photo by Ed Sansing

The Electoral commanders (from left): Bill Hamilton (reserve brigade), Jay Stribling (army commander and Brittanian brigades), John Hesselberg (Carpanian Brigade), and Sean Pitts (light troops). Unfortunately we didn't get a picture of the Imperial commanders, but they were: Ed Sansing (army commander and light troops), Phil Young (reserve brigade), Clay James (Courland/Sachsen-Wachsenstein Brigade), and John Murdaugh (Reichsarmee Brigade).

Photo by Ed Sansing

On the east end as the Imperial attack begins, the Courland commander has brought a second line battalion up into the first line to increase his firepower. His Carpanian opponents have also advanced to meet him.

Photo by Jim Pitts

This works well for the Imperials as their first volley is devastating against the Carpanian first line battalions. The saving throws for the Carpanians was abysmal!

Photo by Ed Sansing

The Carpanian light troops commander contemplates his initial moves against his Courland opponent. The two groups of light troops were content to "pot away" in the woods and rough ground along the east side of the battlefield without causing much damage to each other. The light cavalry did not engage at all during the battle, just taking a few casualties from long range artillery fire.

Photo by Ed Sansing

A Carpanian volley knocks over a few more Sachsen-Wachsensteiners.

Photo by Jim Pitts

Meanwhile in the center, the Brittanians have advanced against the Reichsarmee brigade and have lost heavily due to poor saving throws. Who knew that the Reichsarmee soldiers could shoot so well! The Brittanian battalion in the center is down to 3 figures out of 24 and will retire from the action very quickly. The Eisenmuhlen Regiment formerly in the second line is now wrecking havoc on a Reichsarmee battalion, sending half of them away as casualties (the movement base in the lower left corner is all casualties).

Photo by Ed Sansing

One of the Courland Pandur companies occupies the Denkmal hill to try to outflank some Carpanian jagers.

Photo by Jim Pitts

A panoramic view of the center and west end of the battlefield with Imperial reserve brigade commander Phil Young pondering his options as he watches the fire fight in the center.

Photo by Jim Pitts

On the Denkmal hill, the Courland Pandurs, now supported by the Timofievich Cossacks, turn to face a new threat, a company of Carpanian freikorps. But the Pandurs quickly learned that even open order is no protection in open terrain as the freikorps first volley quickly forced them to fall back with a number of casualties. [Note: The back drop in this picture is a large piece of cardboard that I sprayed painted with green, brown, blue, and white paints.]

Photo by Jim Pitts

The action continues in the center between the Reichsarmee battalions on the left and the Brittanians and Eisenmuhlers on the right.

Photo by Ed Sansing

On the east, the Carpanian brigade withdraws in response to the pressure from the Courland and Sachsen-Wachsenstein advance.

Photo by Ed Sansing

The Imperials continue to close on the Carpanians who have angled their line to hopefully increase their effectiveness.

Photo by Jim Pitts

As General von Stuppe (bottom right) watches, more Reichsarmee troops fall to the Eisenmuhlen volleys. But the Imperials have also been shooting well and the Brittanian and Eisenmuhlen battalions are steadily loosing soldiers. [Note: Pay no attention to the labels on the Reichsarmee casualties. I raided my American Revolution armies for additional forces on both sides!]

Photo by Ed Sansing

A view of the action in the center from the Imperial perspective. The Carpanian center is very attrited but the second line brigade hasn't come forward. Intelligence has reached General von Stuppe that additional Imperial forces are approaching his deep left (east) flank and that these forces are led by none other than Reichs Duke Wilhelm von Beerstein himself. This brigade may be needed to blunt his anticipated attack.

Tune in later for Part 3, which will cover the fighting around the town of Alt Kirchendorf and the completion of the battle.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Affair at Alt Kirchendorf - Part 1

While his Brittanic Majesty's Army in Germania was engaging the French at Minden (link, link, link, link, link) and Prince Ferdinand's Hesse-Seewald allies were threatening the French and Imperials outside Frankfurt (link), a little further to the east a much smaller host was getting prepared to defend its lands from an advancing Imperial foe (link).

The Margraviate of Carpania, assisted by a Brittanian and allied contingent of six battalions and three squadrons, deployed along its southern border in the vicinity of the small town of Alt Kirchendorf. There they awaited the advancing Imperial army.

Composed of contingents from a number of states, the Imperial Reichsarmeeabteilung Obere Sachsen was commanded by the Imperial general Feldzeugmeister Bernard von Alderheim (link). Under his command were forces from the Duchies of Courland and Sachsen-Wachsenstein, the Imperium, and the Reichskreisen of Obere Sachsen and Franconia. The Empress had expressly charged von Alderheim to punish the Carpanians for their connivance in the underhanded attack (link) on the august personage of Reich Duke Wilhelm von Beerstein (link) the previous spring.

The two forces met on the Champs de Mars on 19 September 1759/2009. This is the first part of a multi-part report on the battle. The first batch of photos was taken by Jim Pitts. As usual, please click on the picture for a larger image.

The layout of the battlefield with the Carpanian and Brittanian forces on the left and the Imperial forces on the right. All my grenadier and line battalions are 24 figures strong while the light troops are of different strengths (32 Carpanian jagers in two companies and 36 Courland Pandurs in three companies). The heavy cavalry on both sides consisted of two 12-figure squadrons while the light cavalry varied in strength from 8-figure to 16-figure squadrons. All line brigades and the light troops on each side had a battalion gun. The Carpanian artillery had two guns and the Imperial artillery had three guns. In the distance is my denkmal (or battle monument). This is the second battle at which it has been; the first was last November (Steinkreisdorf at MilleniumCon in Texas).

Following are pictures of all the formations prior to the battle beginning.

The Imperial Reichsarmeeabteilung Obere Sachsen battleline. The following pictures are of the various elements of that army.

The reserve brigade on the Imperial left flank consisted of two Courland grenadier battalions in the first line and the composite Sachsen-Wachsenstein and Reichsarmee grenadier battalion in the second line, with two squadrons of Courland cavalry on the flank.

Next in line was the heavy artillery with (from the left) the Courland 12-lbr gun and 20-lbr howitzer and the Sachsen-Wachsenstein 8-lbr gun. On the far left are the Dukes of Courland and Sachsen-Wachsenstein and the army commanders aide-de-camp.

The center of the battleline was held by a brigade of four battalions of troops from the Kreis Obere Sachsen in two lines, each of two battalions.

The right of the battleline was the combined Courland/Sachsen-Wachsenstein brigade with two Courland musketeer battalions in the first line and the Sachsen-Wachsenstein musketeer and fusilier battalions in the second line.

The far right was held by the army's light troops consisting of a combined squadron of Reichsarmee light dragoons (behind the trees) and two companies of Courland Pandours (only one shown) in the first line . . .

And the Courland Timofievich Cossack pulk and the third company of Pandurs in the second line.

The Imperial army's second battleline was composed of a combined brigade of one Austrian battlion and three Kreis Franconian Reichsarmee battalions (provided by my wargaming buddy, Mark Stevens).

And now for a look at the Electorische Armee Thuringen:

The right flank garrisoned Alt Kirchendorf with the army's reserve brigade - two squadrons of Carpanian dragoons on the far right flank facing the Courland heavy cavalry and, in the town, the Carpanian converged grenadier battalion, Braun Standing Grenadiers, Carpanian pioneers, and Campbell'sHighlanders.

Immediately to the left of Alt Kirchendorf was a brigade of two Brittanian foot battalions (also provided by Mark Stevens) in the first line and the Regiment Eisenmuhlen in the second line.

The Carpanian heavy guns (one 12-lbr gun and one 10-lbr howitzer) were placed in the center of the battleline. On the left are the army commander, Carpanian General der Infanterie Baron von Stuppe and his aide-de-camp.

The left of the battleline was held by the Carpanian brigade with two musketeer battalions in the first line and two fusilier battalions in the second line. Some of the light dragoons are beyond the infantry.

The left flank was held by the army's light troops, with three squadrons of allied light cavalry, a Carpanian freikorps company (on back table), and . . .

and two companies of Carpanian jagers (one not shown).

The second line of the Electoral army was a brigade of two Brittanian foot battalions on either side of the road flanked by two battalions of hired Germanic troops (one not shown).

The subsequent parts of the report will be published over the next several days. Please stop back by to peruse them. We used Bill Protz's (Msr. Chevert) Batailles de l'Ancien Regime rules.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Old Church

The centerpiece, so to speak, of my "big battalions" battle on Saturday, Sep. 19th, was to be Der Alte Kirche (or the Old Church in German). In fact, it gave its name to the town and the battle -- Altkirchendorf.

The church itself is a paper construction that I glued to foam board to give it some additional strength. It was then mounted on a base of Masonite (a type of hardboard developed here in Mississippi - link). the final size of the base will be about 10" square.

The following pictures show the church and its yard from several different angles. As usual, please click on the pictures for larger versions.

A good look at the church yard with its small number of graves and a few 28mm figures for size comparison. I had the images of the church enlarged to 135% of the original so that it would look more in scale with the 28mm figures I use. I haven't cut the Masonite to size yet on these pictures.

A higher angle showing on of the unfinished wall sections. I tried to match the wall's color to the colors used on the church. The walls are pieces from an Italeri set called Stone Walls. Although they are 1:72 scale (and are thus undersized) they do match fairly decently with the church. The graves are from Tactical Conflict Simulations and have been mounted on 40mm x 20mm steel bases.

Once cut to size, the Masonite base will be painted green and the walls will be glued down to the base. The church will be left loose to allow easier storage.

And a final view of the church set on the battlefield on Altekirchendorf and defended by the Carpanian Braun Standing Grenadier Battalion and the Carpanian converged pioneer battalion.

Later I made a foam core base for the church that I glued to the Masonite and upon which I will mount the church using toothpicks as guide pegs. The rest of the Masonite base will get a terrain treatment over the green paint.

Friday, September 18, 2009

"Unleash the Dogs of War!"

Couriers dash hither and yon! Rumors and counterrumors abound!

With the suddenness of a summer thunderstorm, open warfare between the Margraviate of Carpania and the Duchies of Courland and Sachsen-Wachsenstein has broken out. The armies are on the move - all headed toward the small border town of Alt Kirchendorf. Battle is imminent (tomorrow, Sep. 19th, actually).

The Sachsen-Wachsenstein contingent is reviewed by its Duke prior to marching out of the encampments of the Reichsarmeeabteilung Obere Sachsen.

Under the steady eye of its Duke, the army of Courland leaves the encampments of the Reichsarmeeabteilung Obere Sachsen headed for Carpania.

And in response, the army of Carpania leaves Potzdorf enroute to the southern border village of Alt Kirchendorf. There they will be joined by a contingent of the Brittanian army to repel the Imperial invaders.

Watch for additional postings as the campaign continues! And as always, please click on the photos for a larger image.