Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Battle of Berkhoek

I have cracked the use of Battlechronicler, so I can now supply explanatory maps and cut down on text - always far better to get the casual blog reader to follow a battle report, I find!

The situation starts with the Aschenbach army behind the small stream near the village of Berkhoek. Their right is on a wood, while their left is near a marsh. The cavalry is on the left, while there is a small field redoubt between the cavalry and infantry to protect the line further.

The battle opens with an artillery exchange, with some troops falling on each side.

The Aschenbach line, seen from the redoubt.

The full Luftberg army, deployed in classic linear style.

The advance got underway - Luftberg planned to pin the front and quickly deliver a flanking blow with the cavalry, which would roll up the enemy line. The Right-Wing cavalry advanced rapidly, splashing through the stream in front of the enemy horse and taking heavy fire from the redoubt.

The cavalry press on and attack the enemy dragoons, flanking them and forcing them back. Elsewhere the left-wing cavalry continue to languish and make slow progress, while the infantry lines trade long-range volleys. The grenadiers push heroically forward however, showing the aggressive spirit necessary!

The cavalry battle in progress.

Presumably inspired by the example, the Hungarians cross the stream too, after the Grenadiers - one battalion of which charges and captures the artillery guns next to the redoubt in heroic style, but sadly the redoubt's defenders make further advance impossible without exposing their flanks to deadly fire. Where are the cavalry - they're surely meant to protect against this sort of thing!

The infantry lines stutter forward towards each other, with battalions being repeatedly halted in disorder by the hot fire. Aschenbach is naturally doing better here, outshooting it's more poorly-drilled rivals.

Aschenbach's line is straining as the casualties mount, but the reserve Fusilier battalion from the depot in the rear finally arrives to help out. Likewise, a battalion of IR7 refuses the flank to keep the line together.

At last! The left-wing cavalry finally roll an excellent move and ford the stream, heading deep into the enemy rear. The right-wing cavalry are stalemated, and a second attempt by the grenadiers to charge some cannons is halted in a storm of grapeshot. The line is holding, but only just - and there's nothing left to stop this cavalry attack threatening to descend. Von Hartling decides to withdraw slowly, hopefully avoiding the enemy cavalry before it can get a successful orders roll. Disaster strikes however, when Von Hartling completely fails his own orders roll - his army is a sitting duck!

Nooo! The cavalry commander on the Luftberg left wing gets the second full-effect orders roll - two turns in a row now! This incredible streak of form sees his horsemen descend onto the backs of the hard-pressed bluecoats, who promptly shatter like glass.

The disaster is total - two battalions are scattered, while a third is surrounded along with the surviving gunners. Caught deep within the milling hordes of Luftberg troops, there's nothing for it but to send out a white flag and begin the genteel process of negotiating an honourable surrender. Von Hartling does however use the time for this wisely, snatching his remaining infantry clear of the wreckage, abandoning the redoubt and falling back behind his cavalry as a screen.

Gentlemen, another glorious victory to the Elector Von Luftberg - champagne!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Technical Problems

Apologies for the delay, everybody. The battle is fought, but I am intending to post photos & the report along with maps using the Battlechronicler software - worth googling as it's a free download for your wargame maps etc. to put on your blog. Only problem is that I'm still going through the 'teething troubles' stage, getting the hang of how to use it. The results should be along soon, hopefully, so please bear with me!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Up-and-coming Fight

Thanks to everyone who commented on the last post - my long-held objective is complete! And now, with perfect timing, the Muckenmire campaign has thrown up an interesting (and large) battle.

Winter approaches, so both sides are largely clearing up the province by engaging in the time-consuming and static pursuits of siegecraft. Von Krumper is now camped outside Veldhuizburg, Von Zaub is away investing the large and isolated city of Oosterheide, and Von Hartling - well, it's not going so well. After entering the province and sweeping a few towns away from the enemy, the dire autumn weather forced a halt and consolidation, building a depot to let him move deeper into enemy territory. Upon completion, he crossed the river Konigveldt and approached the garrisoned town of Vincken for a siege. Sadly for him, there was a late-freeze in November that restored full-speed movement in the province before the serious winter snows set in. With the roads passable, no less a force than the Elector Von Luftberg's army itself (newly arrived in the province and looking for trouble) began approaching fast.

Keeping up the siege was impossible, and hasty withdrawal to the Konigveldt river the only option. However, Von Hartling wasn't about to give up without a fight. The road back to the river is one of 20 miles, but two-thirds of the way back the road is hemmed in - by woods and the river to the north-west, and swampland to the south-east. At this bottleneck, the outnumbered Aschenbach army can make a stand and hopefully bloody the noses of the Elector's men.

Forces are as follows below. The Aschenbach army has every advantage of terrain and position, but is heavily outnumbered: parity in artillery, but facing odds of two-to-one in Infantry and three-to-one in Cavalry.

Aschenbach - Von Hartling commanding
IR4 Von Hoffman Infantry Regiment
IR7 Von Dunckel Infantry Regiment
FR8 Von Grappel Fusilier Regiment (one battalion late-deploying)
DR1 Von Fleiger Dragoon Regiment
#2 Artillery battery
Rudimentary fieldworks

Luftberg - Von Luftberg commanding
Pilsen Grenadier Regiment
IR2 Doppler Infantry Regiment
IR5 Von Trapp Infantry Regiment
IR7 Von Stiegl Infantry Regiment
IR9 Bartok Hungarian Infantry Regiment
KR3 Klimt Kurassier Regiment
DR2 Krauss Dragoon Regiment
HR2 Schiele Hussar Regiment
#1 Artillery Battery
Siege Train (not on field)
Pontoons (not on field)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Painting: Completed!

It's done! In a post I sometimes never thought I'd type, here it is: I have completed my Seven Years' War armies! First conceived in 2008, and now - roughly one and two-thirds of a year later, they are now completely painted and based. I had thoroughly sickened myself of painting after an earlier burst that broke the back of them, and allowed me to play games with a few left over - I just couldn't face mopping up the remainder. Little bits were done here and there, slowly nibbling away at the pile, but that was all.

Then, yesterday morning, I suddenly had the impulse out of nowhere to just get my head down and finish it off. One lazy Sunday transformed into a frenzied paint-a-thon later, and it is over. The final Aschenbach units are complete, painted and based!

Doubtless when they make the film of this deranged painting project (it's all in my mind's eye, so why not?) I'll be on-screen looking all windswept and conflicted, trying to decide whether to go back for one last mission(painting session) before final retirement. I'll be living in some log cabin in the mountains, where I've no doubt sought refuge from the horrors of the war(gaming.) I'll tell my boss(conscience) that I'm through with it - I'm out, and have no more interest in coming back. He'll tell me that if I don't do it, nobody else will - and, just before he walks off to leave in his jet-powered helicopter (yes, he has one of those) he tosses a single, battered figure at my feet. I look down, and pick it up: a Prussian Musketeer, Advancing (Catalogue Number SYWP1 , Essex Miniatures.) Slowly clenching it in my fist, perhaps delivering a skyward shout to the uncaring gods, I know that once more I'm back in the game, damn them. Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in... They pull me back in...

In retrospect, I probably need to go have a bit of a lie down! Ponder all the games to come, and all that! :-) Here's some eye-candy of the second army.

Cavalry above - Cuirassiers & Dragoons

Generals & Grenadiers

Fine regiments of Infantry, Grenadier mitre-caps shining in the foreground

Infantry in foreground, plus Fusiliers and Hussars behind

The Artillery

Meet Otto - the flag-bearer in IR7 (Von Dunckel) who enters my personal painting valhalla, as the very final figure based out of the approximately 719 painted and based to complete this project.

(Also, Thanks to all who ever read the blog or posted on it over the long struggles with kind words of encouragement - it made a big difference!)