Monday, October 6, 2008

The First Assault

After 32 days of siege at Flussburg, in the dead of night, Luftberg made it's first serious assault on the fortress defences. Troops packed the third parallel trenches, a double rum ration was issued, and the storming parties rushed out into the darkness. The covered way assault was underway!

The plan was pretty straightforward - the first waves would charge up to the covered way and then, through close combat with grenades or point-blank firing at the crest of the covered way, beat back the defending infantry. The constant stream of reinforcements fed into the line from the trenches would make up the losses and maintain the pressure until the covered way had been occupied from the tips of the two flanking bastions. Once this was captured, a signal would go back and the following waves would bring up gabions to let the lodgement be fortified. What could go wrong? Success was expected, but the cost was debatable. Would it be too pricey?

Initially the assault went well, as the attack was spotted just as it reached short musketry range - however the defenders rapidly opened up a storm of fire, with a hail of musket balls flying every direction and the cannon in the fortress blasting shots over the defenders' heads. Still, the attack was pressed with reassuring vigour and quickly smashed it's way into the covered way in front of the ravelin. A chaotic and point-blank series of firefights and combats broke out everywhere, over the glacis, into the covered way, and even down into the ditch. The attackers had numbers, but the defending cannon kept on firing canister down into the oncoming attackers. More than a few attacking lodgements were stranded for some time as reinforcements simply couldn't reach them.

Some virtues of the defence, not considered before, began to have a baleful influence. The Zaub bastion, not yet enfiladed and cleared of guns, was able to fire repeatedly into the attackers with great effect - far better than the guns back on the main fortress wall. Also, the zig-zag layout of the covered way meant that the defenders regularly found themselves able to fire into the flanks of the attacking infantry who tried to pass either side of them.

One spectacular feat was achieved by the defence - on the covered way at the tip of the Zaub bastion, a single unit of grenadiers had been stationed. These frosty-eyed killers soon proved themselves to be quite unbelievably lucky, seemingly bulletproof and indestructible, as they destroyed and rebuffed many times their own number of attackers. The mystical forces of dicerolling were clearly with them, as the Luftberg infantry simply couldn't roll a 6 to kill them. Every time they managed to gather sufficient strength to surely tip the statistical odds their way, the cannons on the Zaub bastion would thin them out again and then the grenadiers would drive them off.

However, most of the covered way in the target sector was now taken, and the signal for gabions was successfully sent back. However, the reduced movement rate of the burdened carriers hadn't been anticipated. While the gabions were hauled up with painful slowness, the Luftberg infantry had to endure point-blank cannon and musket fire from the defenders above them on the ramparts, taking heavy losses as a result. Still, very very slowly, the gabions were dragged up and erected, then filled with earth to provide the desperately needed protection.

The defenders' view

Aschenbach infantry on the flanks of the lodgement backed away or returned to the fortress, conceding the position. Finally, the inevitable happened and the grenadiers at the Zaub bastion peak were finally wiped out by point-blank fire, grenades being hurled in, and Luftberg troops from further down the covered way working their way along to them. With them gone, the rest of the covered way was occupied and entrenched.

The heroic defenders - medals all round!

The permanent losses for the assault were - 5 Aschenbach defenders lost, and 33 Luftberg attackers destroyed. The defenders have by now lost around half their strength, while this assault takes the larger attacking force down to around two thirds of it's initial strength. Still, the result of all this bloodshed was the covered way - captured all round the Zaub bastion, all round the ravelin, and up to the point of the Kaisertreu bastion. Problem is, as the diagram shows you in blue arrows, is that as the Zaub bastion isn't yet cleared, most of the trenches are open to enfilade fire from the defenders...

The Lodgement


A J said...

What a desperate and bloody affair! Those Aschenbach Grenadiers surely proved their élite status in defending their work to the end. Is there any prospect of relief from outside? I look forward to the next installment.

abdul666 said...

Now that the covered way is crowned, will the defenders be offered honourable surrender?

Oldpaw said...

Fascinating battle your having. I look forward to seeing how things turn out. I think the defenders should try counterattacking at least once before waving the white flag.