This time it was an ‘introductory’ battle between myself and our good friend Arnaud using Stan’s army.
Arnaud won the scouting toss and with some advice from Stan decided to defend.
The objective was the hill (Hawthorn Heights). Arnaud (or should I say Lieutenant Governor Arnaud) deployed with his three regiments of cavalry on or near the hill.
The ‘Elite’ Red Dragoon Guards were conspicuous with their tricorn hats and big chestnut horses sitting as bold as brass on the objective.
He deployed his two batteries of Artillery next in line and then his first infantry force consisting of the Governors’ Hessian Guards and two Regiments of The Line. Next were another 3 Infantry Regiments and finally a Regiment of Conscripts and a Regiment of Irregular ‘Rangers’ infantry.
The Lieutenant Governor gathered his officers and Chief of Staff around:
“As inexperienced as I might appear, I am well educated in the Arts of War. I can assure you we shall be victorious today as long as you all follow my direction to the letter. Besides, my father knows people,..”.
I decided that his Elite units were best dealt with by shooting them to death rather than trying to match them in hand to hand combat, given a cannon ball doesn’t differentiate between Guards and conscripts.
Consequently I massed all my horse on my right with my Grand battery consisting of 4 batteries of Artillery between them and my Massed infantry. Finally on my left I positioned my sole regiment of irregular infantry, Bailey’s Jaegers.
SEE DEPLOYMENTS BELOW as seen from my lines
My plan was simple:
Soften up the enemy’s left wing with artillery before launching a massed cavalry assault on the objective. I would then advance my Infantry ‘en mass’ into the enemies centre and win the day; HUZZAH!
My first turn and my grand battery commenced the bombardment. The red Dragoon Guards on the hill sustained most of the casualties, and even attempted to rally off some of the disruption. Incredibly Arnaud refused to move them back behind the safety of the hill. By my third round of bombardment they were destroyed, and at that point the other two horse regiments took their queue to retire. Lieutenant Governor Arnaud complained bitterly that his Cavalrymen were lacking in zeal. His Chief of Staff explained all the ‘Zeal’ in the Free State wouldn’t stand up to 32 Cannon,…
BELOW: The enemy horse are driven from the Heights, and my Cavalry advance.
With the destruction of the Dragoon Guards I felt confident my cavalry were now in a position to see the remaining enemy horse off. As my cavalry advanced my artillery shifted their fire onto the enemy battery and commenced a counter battery duel.
All the while my infantry stood still and patient.
BELOW: My massed cavalry regiments poised to launch their charge on the enemy horse,...
Glasses of brandy were sent crashing and smashing to the ground at Arnaud’s HQ. Musicians were hurriedly packing away violins and Chellos as the Lieutenant Governor cursed his equestrian arm:
“These horsemen are pathetic. I’ll turn them all into garrison infantry”!
“Oh, that’s what they are calling it when we run away now”? A gunner was heard to comment.
As Arnaud moved his left back he advanced on his right.
As that was happening drums started beating in the Electors ranks of Infantry:
“Vorwarts Mein Kinder”!
The infantry advanced.
Even though the leftmost battalions had to cross a huge cultivated field, scouts had discovered that it was surprisingly good going, and no disruption resulted (read: a "FIND THE WAY "card was in play).
Just as suddenly as my infantry advanced, we were confronted with a major problem. Clearly our scouts were so busy congratulating themselves on discovering a path through the potato fields they had failed to notice a massive swamp directly in the line of advance of the massed infantry, (read: "That's Not On The Map" card).
The Elector moved to a position to better control the now massed but intermingled regiments of Cavalry. Much time was spent in attempting to sort the confused clump of horseflesh and motivate it to continue its attack on the enemy’s flank.
All the while the enemy infantry commenced their envelopment of my left flank.It seemed the whole battle rotated 90 degrees. (see below)
The Elector sent messengers flying in all directions to each of the cavalry regiments:“For God’s Sake, just get the cavalry moving; regardless of their disorder, or all will be lost”!
Soon the disrupted mass of Cavalry was crashing into the enemy’s Gun Line, hacking down both gunners and civilian contractors alike, and consequently the open flank of the Hessian Guards, Due to the disruption on the cavalry however they were unable to destroy the Guardsmen quickly.
By the time they did, the enemy infantry was pouring volleys into the flanks of my strung-out regiments.
Soon my infantry collapsed under the withering fire on their exposed flank.
At one point Arnaud’s Army Moral had dropped to 5, and mine was still at 12. How the situation had turned.
Things I learned.
1. Always have a 'Plan B'
2. Never say die. Even when all appears lost you can still turn the battle around.
3. Open flanks = death on a stick!
4. Avoid ‘Target Fixation’ and maintain situational Awareness. Yet again I was focused so much on one part of the battle (The cavalry battle) I ignored the obvious calamity that was about to befall us (the enemy infantry massing on my left). When I did I found myself devoid of cards to remedy the situation.
As usual comments welcomed.