Saturday, July 26, 2008

Vogelhof Part 2

Hearing the thunder of cannonfire and musketry from over the stream, General von Kress rushed his detachment onwards into the enemy rear. It soon proved problematic to keep pace with the guns, which were quickly left behind. On approaching the bridge, the dragoons quickly located the Croats of IR6 Karlovic in the woods covering the approach. For the heavy cavalrymen, the woods were too awkward a prospect in the face of the irregulars – only the infantry could turn them out. Von Kress couldn’t take the delay however, as the battle was already well underway and the idea of wasting time using guardsmen and grenadiers to chase off some half-civilised rabble through the woods was clearly not an option. Instead, he ordered his columns to turn east and ford the river in front of the woods, short of the proper crossing point.

Even grenadiers dislike getting water in their shoes, it appears

The dragoons of DR1 von Fleiger successfully crossed over to cover the infantry columns’ transit, but the move brought them too close to the Luftberg cavalry of General Frundsberg. This general, remarkably independent for a Luftberg commander, immediately saw the opportunity and fell on them with his entire force. Through speedy movement, the Aschenbach dragoons were still ordering themselves on the far bank when regiments of enemy cavalry suddenly rode over the hill and swooped down on them. Outflanked and caught unprepared, they were scattered by Colonel Schrodinger’s Cuirassiers KR2. Flushed with success, the cuirassiers tore on into the stream, descending on the astonished Foot guard IR1.

IR1 Foot Guards has it's day totally ruined

Caught in marching column half-way through fording a river, the elite infantry regiment was scattered in confusion. The Hirschburgers managed to stabilise things by holding the far bank, but all hopes of the planned outflanking were at an end.

The Aschenbach line, bent back on it's right around Vogelhof

In the main battle, the firing reached a new intensity as each side blazed away, with regiments charging into each other and steadily losing strength in the storm of musket balls and canister. Von Zaub himself waded in at the head of von Klink’s IR2, but couldn’t decide the issue. Clearly stalemate had been reached. What of the improvised outflanking by von Kleintrink – could he once again work a miracle?

The fighting grinds on

For one ideal moment, it all seemed to be going so well as Kleintrink passed the rough ground

Sadly, it was not to be. The reserve Luftberg cavalry under General Kohl rushed to intercept, and the normally dependable von Kleintrink found himself being caught before he had room to deploy. Caught at a disadvantage, KR2 von Kurbitz was routed, but von Kleintrink himself put in a heroic turn, personally leading KR1 von Schnitzel’s troopers in seeing off the enemy horsemen (and very nearly getting killed into the bargain).

Disaster! Von Kleintrink is caught before he can deploy

However, despite his charmed personal efforts there was no escaping it – the enemy horse had stalled his efforts to turn the flank, and they were both forced to back off and glare at each other. That damnable General Kohl even had the effrontery to cheerfully promenade up and down on the hilltop behind his men, reducing von Kleintrink to fits of impotent sabre-waving fury!

Kleintrink stalemated, and angry

The flanking moves are countered

The battle was rapidly winding down, and von Krumper watched his blue-coated infantry tire and slacken as the fire wore them out. The Pilsen grenadiers still held out in Vogelhof, and von Hentsch even led a charge out of the town to rout the exhausted remainder of Dunkel’s IR7 infantry, threatening the entire line’s flank. Von Zaub had wheeled up some cannons to try and tip the balance, but when the Luftberg infantry sensed the enemy failing and counter-attacked he was rapidly forced to run them back. Von Krumper had to face it – he’d failed to break the Luftberg line and his losses were mounting fast with no prospect of a sudden breakthrough, leaving him with no option but to retreat.

The end of the battle

1 comment:

Bluebear Jeff said...

Again, a well-presented battle account. Now to your "thoughts on the battle" (which I'm looking forward to).

-- Jeff