Battle of Dolfstein

Last night John came around for a game of Black Powder using the Marlburians.  I wanted to try out the Black Powder rules with the ideas that I had in mind from my previous post of tinkering as little as possible.  We also rolled for our general’s leadership, both of us getting stuck with one turkey with a command rating of 5 – the Marquis de Grenouille for the French and Lord Maykit for the Allies.

I was going to post a full battle report on the Frankenberg blog, but the camera batteries ran out and I didn’t get to record the end of the game.  So I’ll a brief summary here with some pictures and commentary on how the rules went.

The scenario was that the Allies have just captured Dolfstein (under siege for a couple of months now).  The Comte de Fois-Gras has moved to the West and is attempting to cut the communications of the Allies.  To do so he must capture two key roads – one through Schue village, the other through Leichardt’s farm.  Two Prussian battalions garrison these positions, with two Danish battalions and a cavalry regiment camped nearby.  The English Foot Guards are also being sent to relieve the garrison for a rest after their sterling work at Dolfstein.

The setup after the first turn.

The initial attack by the French was to get into close range of the buildings and try to weaken the garrison before storming it.  On reflection I should have simply given the order to charge.  The Royal Italien and the Irish Dillon regiment were supported by the Gardes Francaises, but as the battle wore on and the units were disordered from shooting, the chance to attack the built-up area was lost.  This is something to remember for future games, as the benefit of having the Gardes in support was nullified by not actually getting into combat.

This was followed by the advance of the Danes and the refusal to move of the French support under Grenouille.  In the end the other commander, Vieux-Poisson had to ride back to his reinforcements and send them forward himself.  A command rating of 5 is worse than useless.

The firefight rages at Schue

Situation by Turn 4 with the Danish cavalry on the left about to hit the flank of the Swiss von May regiment.

There was little cavalry in this scenario (mostly held back for a strategic reserve), so it was quite effective when it got out and about.  The Danish cavalry rolled over a regiment of Swiss, but was in turn countered by the charge of the Cosse regiment. Having already been weakened, John rolled low and the Danes broke and fled.

The rallying off of hits by generals is vital and something that really came to the fore in this game.  One thing that we were really bad at, and I guess it is natural in wargames, is withdrawing troops to secure positions in order to rally and return to the fight.  Another lesson learned.

Reinforcements for both sides turned up in turn 5, the Brits coming on opposite Schue and the Bavarians coming on at Leichardt’s farm.  Again the Bavarians moved up into musketry range to try to weaken the garrison.  But the next turn one regiment charged. After 2 turns of combat, they captured the farm and one of the scenario objectives was secured.

John’s reinforcements were led by his ‘5’ general, and after watching my chap struggle he immediately sent another commander down to move the troops up. he then promptly rolled the dice before giving an order.  In the past I’ve let this go, but we’ve both played a few games of this now, and he immediately realised what he had done.  We rolled on the blunder table and his reserves promptly retreated off the table!

By this stage John was getting fairly depressed as his Danes were starting to crumble as well, but a final shot and the Italians melted away. The French Gardes charged the Danes and broke them, followed by a similar manouevre from the Lyonnais regiment.  The French hit the British Guards in the flank.  The game was all but over…

Then John rolled his reserves back on board and advanced them towards Schue in time to hit the French Lyonnais regiment in the flank. The Gardes Francaises were also hit in the same position.  The fighting at Schue drew to a bloody stalemate with John still in possession of the village.  So with an objective each the game was technically a draw.  In terms of the campaign, though, the French had failed to seal off the communications of the Allied army, and had to withdraw to plan a new strike.

The rules work fine with minimal tweaking.  A few too many exposed flanks getting hit, but then again this did happen historically (I’m thinking at Blenheim in particular), and it shows the necessity of supporting formations.

A fun game was had by all.

Nate

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