Half the fun in campaigns which you record is looking back over the way things unfolded. A blog proves very rewarding for this, I’ve discovered. Looking back over it all, the clash at Vogelhof was the decisive moment – Aschenbach never really recovered from their heavy losses, and despite a pair of minor victories in the following months they didn’t have the strength to produce an upset at Althirschburg. Not that it was a foregone conclusion, as I honestly didn’t know who was likely to win the campaign when I started it – if Luftberg had lost Vogelhof, they’d have probably gone down to a decisive defeat rather than achieve a decisive victory. For what my opinion’s worth, here’s my personal countdown of the winners and losers from the campaign…
The biggest winner must surely be the Elector Ulrich von Luftberg. Architect of the campaign triumph, the victor on the field wherever he appeared (including the critical battle of Vogelhof,) and now the new owner of a brand new province!
Erich von Kleintrink, the furiously hard-charging commander of the Aschenbach cuirassiers, also emerged as one of the more memorable characters in the kingdom. He charms ladies the way that he drinks, and drinks the way that he fights – hard and fast. Denied at Vogelhof in his scheme to turn the enemy flank, he then led the raid that wiped out the Luftberg Hussars and helped demolish the Luftberg force outside Flussburg, before taunting death repeatedly at Althirschburg with a series of charges that would have won the battle if the Aschenbach army wasn’t so weakened. Surely, we’ll be hearing from him again.
The Line Infantry of Aschenbach also buffed their reputation, by repeatedly cutting through their Luftberg opposite numbers in various battles, thanks to their tight drill on manoeuvring and musketry. Only with close artillery support and heavily superior numbers were the whitecoats able to compete. Their finest moment was probably at the Battle of Flussburg, where they forded a river in front of the enemy and then deployed to sweep him off his hilltop through weight of firepower.
The Luftberg Artillery corps proved itself in siege, and also in the two key battles of the campaign. Without clouds of canister being routinely hurled at every Aschenbach infantry attack, the army owed it’s victory in large measure to the gunners.
One individual regiment of note must be Luftberg’s KR No. 2, the Schrodinger Cuirassier Regiment, for it’s feat at Vogelhof. Smashing aside a regiment of dragoons and then routing the startled foot guards of the Aschenbach army as they forded a river was a pretty spectacular achievement by anybody’s standards.
And the Losers…
Grenadiers of both Luftberg & Aschenbach armies had a hard time. I’ve already mentioned the disastrous performance of the Aschenbach guards, but all other grenadiers failed to really grab a defining heroic moment. The Luftberg Grenadiers held the village of Vogelhof impressively, but everywhere else the regiments all had a similar tale – battered by artillery and musketry, steadily declining in strength through various engagements, but never overrunning a battery or piercing an enemy firing line as compensation. Ah well, that’s luck I suppose…
General van der Dijk, of the Luftberg army’s cavalry, seemed particularly ill-starred. Perhaps it’s because he was the sub-general with the best rating, he found himself picked out for the most difficult tasks, which then promptly proved too much for him. His Hussar detachment was wasted by disease, then wrecked in an attack by von Kleintrink so one-sided it didn’t even make it to the tabletop. He then topped this by getting beaten at Flussburg, the one battlefield defeat of the campaign for Luftberg. Still, perhaps he’ll bounce back into favour.
Prinzregent von Krumper – don’t even mention the phrase ‘learning experience’ to him! Odds-on favourite to win at the start, but reduced to a battered husk of an army cooped up in a breached fortress, accepting dictated terms. Clearly, the knack of getting a victory from the Aschenbach army’s qualities has not yet been learned. Could a defeat of this magnitude even push his sickly father over the brink and – whisper it - produce a threat to the succession?
The Graf Conrad von Hentsch, most heroic and capable officer in the Luftberg service, never really came alive as a character. He oversaw the grenadiers’ defence of Vogelhof village, but then his promising career was terminated by a stray bullet at Althirschburg. A dice roll for recuperation managed to avoid death, but a catastrophic has resulted in him being invalided out of the service, sporting an eyepatch, and having less-than-perfect depth perception.
Luftberg’s Irregulars had a poor campaign. The hussars caused damage on a strategic level, but not on the tabletop. Similarly, the Croat skirmishers were regularly just spectators to events. I thought the irregular forces were one of the key strengths of the Luftberg army, judging from it’s Austrian ‘ancestor’. Clearly an opportunity is being wasted (and dumping the poorest commanders on them probably wasn’t helping.)
However, the biggest loser must surely be the Graf Hans von Zaub, who has just seen his family’s estates in the lost provinces given away to Luftberg. Disposessed gentleman-soldier, he’ll be continuing in the Aschenbach service and existing on an allowance from the Aschenbach treasury, who are no doubt anxious to keep him around so his claim on his ancestral lands gives them legitimacy for a future war of reconquest.